Dishonest journalism from Campbell Live and why Alasdair Thompson should refer it to the BSA

EMA chief executive Alasdair Thompson with Campbell Live's Mihingarangi Forbes

Here’s a little quiz: Who said this?

“I believe that in life most women are more productive totally than most men. I absolutely believe that. When you take into account the things that women do in their lives compared to most men. They often do all the arranging of the finances for the whole family, they run the household, they care for the children, they do all manner of things and they go to work. Their total productivity in life, in my opinion, is higher than most men.”

The answer? Alasdair Thompson. Where? In an interview with Mihingarangi Forbes for Campbell Live.

How come you didn’t know that? Because that part of the interview wasn’t shown on the programme. In fact only 4’18” of this 27 minute interview was shown.

TV3 is entitled to edit the programme, a fact which Thompson acknowledged and accepted at the start of recording. But what it is not entitled to do is to select a passage which is totally non-representative of the original interview in its entirety.  That is precisely what it did.

As it happens, the piece which it did select constitutes roughly the last five minutes of the original interview. This is because the previous 22 minutes did not suit the programme’s or the interviewer’s agenda which was to cast Thompson in the same role that other branches of the media have already cast him, as a male chauvinist pig.

Annoyingly for Campbell Live and its reporter, Thompson comes across in those first 22 minutes as pleasant, reasonable, a strong advocate of gender equality in the workplace and, in one reply, as  an exponent of values that could almost be called “feminist”. He also says to Forbes that she is probably more productive than most of the men she works with. She agrees, but points out that she has three children, sometimes has to take time off work and suspects that she isn’t being paid as much as her male counterparts – the very point that Thompson has just been making. His reply? That, if that was the case,  she should be taking it up with her employer. It’s all about productivity.

At one point in the interview, Thompson indicates that he doesn’t want what he is about to say on camera. (“Not for this interview, by the way.”) His reason is that he doesn’t want to bring one of his women employees into the debate. It becomes clear that she is the person in the organisation who keeps the employment records and on whose information he has based his comments on some women being less productive than some men.

He later asks Forbes to ask him the question about where he gets his information from again. Forbes does so. He begins but isn’t happy with his reply and says, “Just go off camera for a moment.” Forbes protests. He says, “I’ve just got to get the answer for you correctly, I’m very sensitive at the moment as you can imagine, having been hung, drawn and quartered today. I want to tell you the answer and then I want to frame it for you on camera.” He then gives a reasoned explanation of where he gets his information.

Forbes then asks: “So then if someone is sick here, you ask them why they are sick, and they tell you because they’ve got heavy period pains?”

Thompson hasn’t actually said this and angrily gets out of the chair and walks away. He finally walks back. Both are standing. He is clearly angry. This exchange follows:

Forbes: “Ok, maybe you should resign then because you can’t represent half of the population – women.”

Thompson: “Did you come into this meeting thinking that?”

Forbes: “No, I’m just telling you because you don’t represent me very well as a female, because you believe that I’m less productive a female…”

This is precisely the opposite of what Thompson had said earlier in the interview, not only about women in general but about Forbes herself. He justifiably protests, accusing Forbes of telling lies.  They both sit down again and a further exchange follows.

Thompson then asks: “When do you want to roll again?” Forbes replies, “It’s an interview, we’re rolling the whole time.” Thomson protests that he had stopped the interview. Forbes says, “You didn’t say you were off the record.” It’s correct that Thomson did not use those words. He may well have thought that getting up, walking away and heading for the door was sufficient indication that the interview was over.

It’s our advice to clients that they should never say anything to journalists “off the record”. We frequently add that it’s often not clear when either interviewer or interviewee understands the conversation is “on the record” again. This is very much the case in this interview.

But even if we give Forbes the benefit of the doubt on this, the fact remains that four fifths of the interview, in which Thompson came across in an extremely positive light was not shown to viewers, while the remaining fifth, in which he became animated and angry was.  That is dishonest journalism.

What’s more, and to add insult to injury,  it was on the basis of this dishonest journalism that viewers were invited to take part in a poll on Thompson’s competence to remain in his job and whether he should resign. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of respondents said he should.

I’m a fan of Campbell Live. I regard it as superior in almost every way to Close Up. I also really like Mihingarangi Forbes.  But this item was a journalistic disgrace. I don’t agree with Thompson’s views, but my strong advice to him would be to refer this matter to the Broadcasting Standards Authority. I would happily support him.

In the meantime, watch the full interview and the broadcast edit for yourself, and see what you think.

Brian Edwards is one of New Zealand’s most respected broadcasters and writers. His career spans every branch of the media – columnist, author, radio and television interviewer, media commentator and trainer. He’s the only broadcaster in the world to have solved a major industrial dispute on television; he’s the guy who first started asking Kiwi politicians sticky questions; he’s the chap who invented Fair Go; he’s been media advisor to four New Zealand Prime Ministers and to hundreds of top people in the public and private sectors. He regularly posts media commentary at Brian Edwards Media.

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92 Comments & Questions

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I produce Campbell Live and I would argue, Brian, that we were being honest. Yesterday was a huge day for Christchurch and after the good work we have done there for the past two weeks (I would argue a combination of our caravan of complaint, compelling stories consistently night after night and John’s interviews over the past fortnight put some pressure on the Government to bring yesterday’s zoning decision forward.)

On a day that meant so much not just for Christchurch but for the rest of the country too, we’re hardly going to run a 27 minute interview with Alasdair Thompson. In fact, if we had you would probably have written a column about it! We had to choose the best part to put to air. That’s our job. When John does an interview with someone in the field, e.g. John Key on budget day, he might speak to him for 20 minutes. We don’t put the whole interview to air. We put the best bits to air. I had four spare minutes yesterday and now the whole interview is on the internet for people to watch, judge and draw their own conclusion. That’s what good journalism is all about (I think you taught me that during my journalism course?)

If it wasn’t on the internet, you wouldn’t have seen it. You wouldn’t have known what else Alasdair said or the context of the interview so to say we are dishonest I would argue is wrong. What didn’t go to air in the TVNZ interview? Would you have watched the first four minutes of Alasdair speaking with Mihi? The middle four minutes? The last four minutes? It was pure coincidence that he was interviewed by two TV3 female reporters. I asked Mihi to ring Alasdair and she did. She then went down to his office for an interview. At this point he had already done two other interviews. He had every opportunity to tell her to go away but he didn’t and instead spoke with her for 27 minutes. At no point did he ask for the camera to be turned off or the interview to be stopped.

Re the poll. The story had been around all day. John promoted the poll at the top of the show but people didn’t see Mihi’s interview until the last segment of the show. People were voting on what they had seen and heard all day and in the news. They must have been because 80 per cent of our votes were in by the time the story went to air. Others rolled in after the show and after the interview but were not included in the result that went to air. Interestingly, the percentages didn’t change.

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Good on you Brian. This was a witchunt of the vilist proportions. I cringed at the standard of the interviewer. She was obviously out to trap Alisdair and her questions were inane. How can I make a complaint about her and TV3?

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Hi Pip.
I totally agree with Brian Edwards here.
You state that from this interview, you only put 'the best bits to air'.
By the 'best bits' I am gathering you are meaning 'the most controversial' or 'the most ratings-gathering bits'.
You have NOT been fair here to Mr Thompson, and that, to me, means you have been completely irresponsible.
An entirely different angle here could have been that you aired his statement that 'women are far more productive than men' - for a nationwide discussion.
To isolate one comment and run with that, at the expense of a persons' career, family and income, is a disgrace.
Mihis' interview was atrocious, amateur and muck-raking rubbish.
How embarassing for TV3.
C'mon, John. You have allowed your producers to lower your standards on your behalf, and I'm very surprised at this.
Todays news 'might' be tomorrows' 'fish and chip wrappers' but in the process you have potentially ruined someones' life.
Shame on you.

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Once again Campbell Live is showing us what a B grade movie it usually is.

Remember what Campbell did to Ken Ring who is a honest man with a different perspective on the world and he's entitled to have an opinion.

This unfortunately seems to be the norm for Campbell Live who have a ongoing agenda of personal character assasination to try and get some ratings.

I personally can't stand Campbells insincere buddy buddy stuff that he trots out night after night and then they turn out this sort of rubbish.

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Ironbridge need to cut costs at TV3 - getting rid of Campbell and his pack of hyenas would save a few million and would be great "PR" for them.

How about showing the "best bits" of Keane, Forbes and Campbell getting sacked?

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good idea. Marvellous !

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Don't use Christchurch as an excuse to lie

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Pip, I find it incomprehensible that you say "At no point did he ask for the camera to be turned off or the interview to be stopped".

You must have missed the bit where he says "Just - we go off camera for a bit, okay?" And then a bit later, "Okay, let's go on camera".

Good attention to detail, there, Pip. Brian Edwards is completely correct in his article and response to you.

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So what this article tells me is that Mr Thompson was able to conduct himself in a civil manner for 22 mins - then his mask slipped and we all saw the real Mr Thompson - a power-tripping bully who relys on intimidating people when things don't go his way. Intersting!

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We all saw that on Breakfast, with the CTU representative, over the Youth Rates issue. And yes of course Edwards has an interest. They are both dinosaurs milking the last gravy trains available .

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Campbell has been making up news for his own ends since he started & none of you bs hides that fact.

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Horrible Journalism - design to show him in the worst possible light without representing the facts clearly or putting it in context! gutter-ball journalism and put together in such a way to show him angry or frustrated after being goaded by the reporter after repeatedly being asked the same thing over and over. Wow! you guys really know how to destroy a guy after he apologises...and whats worse is that YOU knew he thought the interview was stopped, but you just had to show that part only... Good greif! I dont agree with everything he says, but I respect him a lot for doing many interviews that day to apologise - that takes courage for any person - I lost all respect for TV3 and even question the beliveabiltiy you now put out as "News"

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Thanks for your response to my criticism of the Campbell Live item on Alasdair Thompson. I had not intended to reply to any more comments [other comments are posted on BrianEdwardsMedia.co.nz], since a majority seemed to be about Thompson’s opinions, which I had said in the post I disagreed with and which were not intended to be the subject of discussion.

However, it was an episode of your programme which I attacked and you quite clearly deserve a response.

I should perhaps begin by saying that Judy [Callingham] and I have had numerous discussions recently about Campbell Live. We have been struck by the manner in which the programme has increasingly taken on the role of crusader on behalf of the dispossessed and of those unfairly treated by large institutions, including the Government. The “caravans of complaint”, to which you refer in your comment, are a very good example. I also said in the post that I regarded Campbell Live as “superior in almost every way” to its competitor on TV One and that I really liked Mihingarangi.

But the item on Alasdair Thompson was not in that category. It was, in my opinion, unworthy of you, and I do not resile from the judgement that it was unprofessional, unfair and (if not by deliberate design, then certainly through lack of judgement) journalistically dishonest.

Your response to my criticism of the programme is essentially based on television production values rather than on journalistic ethics. What it comes down to is that you didn’t have time to be fair – it was a heavy news day, Christchurch was the big story and you only had four minutes to spare for Mr Thompson.

A similar appeal to television production values as justification for unfairness was advanced by Fair Go a year or so back when it put the photographs of people who refused to front in the studio up on its ‘wall of shame’, even though several of those people had completely put right any wrong they had done the complainant. The rationale for this was essentially that having the complainees in the studio made better television.

The journalistic ethics question in this case is: could you do justice to Thompson’s argument and demeanour in the original, unedited, 27-minute interview with a 4-minute clip from the end of the interview during which Thompson loses his composure? Was that fair?

Your argument is, I didn’t have time to play the full interview, I only had time to play four minutes and so “we put the best bits to air”. The obvious next question is, “Why, in your judgement, were they ‘the best bits’?” I’m happy for you to respond to that question in a further comment. But I’m pretty sure I know the answer already: They were “the best bits” because the interviewee lost his cool, stormed off, came back, stood very close to the interviewer – he’s taller and bigger than her – argued with her and accused her of telling lies. You might not have liked Thompson, but for 22 minutes he had been reasonable and calm and maybe a bit boring, and then suddenly there it was, the core ingredient in audience-pleasing current-affairs television: CONFLICT!

Not quite Dennis Conner perhaps, but close. Careers have been made on episodes like this.

With regard to the poll, you suggest that viewers would have been largely uninfluenced by the four-minute clip since “people didn’t see the Mihi interview until the last segment of the show. People were voting on what they had seen and heard all day and in the news.”

You’re correct that many viewers would have been unsympathetic to Thompson as a result of the media publicity which his comments had received during the day. But you’re not entirely correct in your assertion that “people didn’t see the Mihi interview until the last segment of the show.” They did. Not the whole interview of course, but the bit that really mattered, the “really best bit” if you like: Thompson losing his cool, storming back, standing face to face with Mihi, arguing with her. That short but oh-so-vital clip was shown right at the beginning of your programme, on the first of four occasions on which the poll was promo-ed during the show.

You place considerable emphasis in your reply on the fact that the interview could be seen in its entirely on the TV3 website. But this was not mentioned anywhere in the programme. Nor is it in fact particularly relevant. The Broadcasting Act requires broadcasters to provide balance on any particular issue either within a single programme or over a series of programmes. It makes no reference to other media. The reason for this seems to me simple: the viewer or listener should not be expected to look for balance beyond the programme itself; the number of those who do will be considerably smaller than the audience for the original programme; and the impact of any clarification will be considerably less than the impact of the original live programme. Something to do perhaps with first impressions.

Finally you say that “at no point did he ask for the camera to be turned off or the interview to be stopped”. I’m afraid I can’t agree.

There’s one very interesting aspect to all of this. In a live radio interview Thompson made a single remark that brought the world down on his head. He then agreed to two television interviews, and possibly other media interviews which I’m not aware of, in which he attempted to explain and contextualise what he had said. This had the opposite effect of increasing the outcry against him.

Though I did not agree with what Thompson had said, it was my view that he had been unfairly dealt with in one of these interviews – your interview on Campbell Live. My objection was to the way the interview had been edited which I considered dishonest. I said so. Almost no-one agreed with me and I came in for some heavy flak.

At that point pretty well everyone was on your side. That was until you decided to comment yourself. This was because, within your quite lengthy comment, there was one short sentence that you may now regret having written: “We put the best bits to air.” That single comment was enough to turn the tide against you. (Andi Brotherston may have experienced something similar when she opined that, in his interviews, Paul Henry was often just saying what most people thought.)

Over the last few years I’ve become very aware of an increasingly prevalent media phenomenon. A single unscripted comment, often made during a media interview, frequently taken out of context and, in some cases at least, out of keeping with the speaker’s personal history or known views, can lead to calls for that person’s immediate dismissal or resignation from his or her job, with the resultant trauma and suffering that that will incur for the person and their family. Every apology is dismissed as worthless and every explanation merely serves to provide further ammunition for the accusers. This is the mentality of the lynch mob.

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Well said Brian Edwards - a discraceful attempt at self justification from Pip Keane.

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Which crowd are you pleasing? The middle-aged males?

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Has Anonymous actually seen the full interview where he says stop the camera?

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I have never liked Brian Edwards but I totally agree with him -never saw the tv3 interview ; saw the full interview b4 the bit for tv - totally digusting. Sack the interviewer-very unprofessional.

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I agree with Brian the interview was dishonest and she did lie. It would be interesting if a fair and honest cut of the interview was made for comparison. I regard the one aired as a sad day for New Zealand journalism.

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O/S Unknown,

A "fair cut" is available and has been since the aired interview - TV3 were happy to put the full 27 minute interview up on their website and promote it ahead of the edited version. Three times as many people have viewed the full version online than the edited version. They obviously have no problem with people seeing the full interview.

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I understand that and have seen the full interview myself. It would be interesting to see what a fair cut of 6 minutes would look like compared to the sensationalism of TV3. I would suggest that 90% of people who saw it on TV3, not the Internet, have not seen the full interview.

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@ Steve Why would anyone spend the cost of downloading the content, and the time watching the full interview containing mostly boring bits, when you can get the edited version containing the most relevant bits compiled by journalists with integrity?

Unless of course you believe these journalists to not have integrity which would be a fair criticism of the Campbell live team.

Their mostly one-sided reporting of the response to the governments earthquake relief package by affected home owners in Christchurch was unbelievably blatant and desperate. Its becoming clear that the fear of being axed is driving Campbell live to tabloid journalism to boost ratings.

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@Brian Edwards. Where you see an increasingly prevalent media phenomenon in the media, I see something entirely different. What I see is the NZ good Old Boys Network coming to the rescue of someone who clearly is not suitable to hold the position he has. Even if it is not based on his (clearly outdated) opinion, it should be a no brainer that his subsequent comments and behaviour are a reason for resignation or dismissal. How disappointing and what a disgrace for New Zealand.

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No journalisim here. An appalling attempt by TV3 to jack the ratings and make money from the proceeds of the poll. I voted based on what TV3 broadcast. It was completely unbalanced. I demand my .99c back.

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Don't be greedy: the texts cost 50 cents.

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TV3 are clearly duplicitious in the matter, and may also be in breach of the Fair Trading Act with regards to the poll.

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In response to Paul Marsdenb | Saturday, June 25, 2011 - 6:31pm
Don't be greedy: the texts cost 50 cents.

I added labour + humilation damages.

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The shrieking from the feminazis is truly quite frightening; somewhat reminiscent of: 'Kristallnacht'.

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nice one, you pulled a Godwin. Not even a subtle one.

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I hope Alasdair Thompson does make a complaint to the BSA and takes up Brian Edwards' offer of support.
If anyone needs to resign it is Pip Best-bits Keane whose reply to Edwards is almost as disgraceful Forbes' interview.

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Pip Keane - what a shambles - no one expected you to run 27 minutes but we expect you to pick the bits that capture the essence of what Thompson was saying not the ugly bits at the end.

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Pip Keane - Your error of judgement is a 1000 fold that of Alastair Thompson's. The damage you have done him, his family and the EMA, is immeasurable. You deserve all the condemnation and scorn, NZ can bring to bare against you.

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Thank you Brian Edwards for bringing all this to light and along thanks to Pip BestBits for so lucidly capturing the attitude of many in the media today.
Sadly media training today is more than how to sit straight in a swivel chair and maintain your eye-line while desperately thinking how to deliver a credible response.
It's also about how what you think are the best bits can be ignored and a damaging stitch-up used instead.
Standard rules are:
Every microphone is always live
Cameras are always rolling
There's no such thing as "off the record"
There's no rule that says you have to answer every question
And last of all:
Be very very careful - none of the bastards can be trusted!

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Dr Brian Edwards...Congratulations!
On this matter you hold both the moral and intellectual high ground and I hope Alasdair Thomson takes the matter further.
I now put Pip Keane on my contempt list and feel the company well kept with that treacherous ctu trash Helen Kelly involved in this debacle also.

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Tv 3 are for-ever being third rate journalists,they are well named.

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If the media were on the ball they would ask his views on other subjects. I believe they would find plenty of other reasons why he should stand down.

He believes NZ has been sliding backwards for many years and that opportunities for the next generation are best found offshore. He often mentions how his son works US.

Alastair is worn out. He doesn't inspire me with his leadership or fight. He is stuck in the past with an old left vs right fight mentality, red vs blue and all. I think the future is left and right vs Asian competitors.

Bruce Goldsworthy and a fair few others need to go too. The governance of the EMA is going to be put to the test,. Otherwise it is going to become nothing more than a cheap training and legal advice provider, not a leader for NZ business advocacy.

The tradable sector is in decline.New leadership please. The EMA should be far stronger in objecting to our borrow and hope strategy with all the tax benefits given to investment in property and farmers. If I owned plant and exported I'd be looking at the dollar and be pretty pissed off with the state of affairs.

But to make changes will take real fight. I don't see it in the EMA. Not in a bunch of worn out waiting / wishing they could retire relics.

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Perhaps, but we're actually discussing TV3's interview with Thompson so keep on topic.

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In an interview with Mihingarangi Forbes for Campbell Live, Alasdair Thompson appeared to be arrogant and intimating Ms Forbes. As a honest Kiwi, I feel that Ms forbes was tolerant and professional. Well done TV3, always stand up to your respectable programmes and don't ever let any Tom, Dick or Harry run over your honest reporting to most NZers.

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If you watch the interview again you will see it was actually Forbes who initiated the aggressive behaviour. She stood their gesticulating and pointing with her pen as she raised her voice. Admittedly his voice is louder but only because it is a male voice. if anyone was intimidating it was Forbes and she got the response she was looking for. disgusting interviewing and very amateurish

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It appered to me that perhaps a 'lady Interviewer" might not work in this sensitive case...grow up and get real, guys!

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Thompson was shown up to be an arrogant, mansplaining, condescending bully. Kudos to TV3 for the revelation. Campbell Live was honest in putting the entire interview online. I don't see how any complaint could possibly be upheld. He knew the camera was rolling and he tried to rectify his mistakes after the fact.

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Anyone who watches mainstream media, particularly Campbell looking for truth is simply naive

It's all about crusades, conflict, and sticking it to the "man". Juvenile, shallow, and ultimately onanistic. At the same time the economy flatlines and our talent leaches away overseas. New Zealand is a rather sad case these days.

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TV3 got it about right. All it shows is that Thompson's capacity to fake a normal demeanour only extends to 22 minutes.

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Yip - and his normal demeanour is explored further in this morning's Herald article: "PM link with 'sexist' Thompson claims" And from the final comment it looks like Alasdair's not quite the right man for the job. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10734588 -

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i think brian edwards is wrong

Close up and Campbell are both equally appalling.

Both networks never show real news but rather small pond life new zealand stories and large sections on all blacks, black cap, tall black blah blah blah what they had for lunch items......

I watch bbc and sky news.

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Agree Anon. Why anyone with an intellect would watch New Zealand news and current affairs programmes( and please include "Breakfast" in this basket) is beyond me. Apart from the repetitive shallow content(when you can get to see any over and above the mind-numbing ad breaks) you then have to endure cringeworthy worthy , average abilty, journos and auto-cue readers (craving to become Z listers), with appalling diction, telling you their philosophy on life.

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Journalistic ethics or no, thompson behaved disracefully and that is simply that. weighing in after the fact is pointless and changes nothing. Edwards take a dose of your own medicine and disclose your relationship with thompson amd the ema northern. this whole write up reeks of pr damage control.

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Well thought out and argued point Dr Edwards. I learned something in that exchange. I did look at the full interview on line and I agree that it was an unfair and unbalanced snap shot of what Mr Thompson said. I didn't like his comment that women get less pay because they get their periods but we should be celebrating ladies!!!!! Why? Because FINALLY we know what we are dealing with in terms of the thinking that goes behind justifying the pay gap. I had NO IDEA that men thought that way mainly because my period is irrelevant to my performance - in my head. The real issue here is - is that aspect of Mr Thompsons view representative of male employers views on why women are paid less for doing the same job? Time for an investigative panel to look into this in my view. It is great that the pay disparity issue is being debated in public like this. Hooray. Thanks Alasdair Thompson :). Your goof up has stimulated a fantastic debate. Just need something constructive to come out of it. Should he lose his job? No I don't think so. But going by what happened to Paul Henry - he's skating on thin ice.

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I totally agree - it is great the debate is being had and that these sorts of prevalent views are now coming out in the open. There is no doubt that women continue to battle with gender equality and pay equality issue because some established business leaders see pregnancy, families and "monthly cycles" as adversely affecting productivity.

You have to say that working women (and males) that are primary caregivers are amazing. They take responsibility for young children, sick children, our children's education as well as running the home and ensuring their other half can continue to go to their higher paid job.

Given this, shouldn't we see the statistics referred to as a productivity success. Only one extra day off work to do all of that !!

The real issue here is about the need for the NZ work environment to become more flexible and open to support better utilisation of women given that they are often also primary caregivers. In this regard when assessing productivity we should also consider what it would cost the country should all those high paid males have to take days off to have a baby or look after a sick kid.....most of these men wouldn't do this job for any money as it is ironically too much hard work!!

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It does appear that how Alisdair Thompson came across in Campbell Live, was a pre-thoughtout construction.

Whether, you agree with Brian Edwards' post or not, he does hold the mortgage on NZ's best blog site.

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the same thing can be said for fair go... they do it ALL the time. taking part of an interview and screening them to make the bad guys look worse, or leaving out an entire part completely. in a recent screening involving laguna pools in hamilton, fair go didn't add in that the matter had already been resolved prior to them stepping in, there was a contract drawn up and in fact the people wanting their deposit back also received 15% interest on the money the had with laguna pools... yet all fair go said was 'this matter has now been resolved'... people leave in and take bits out of interviews all the time. the stories will be positive to one person and negative to another. its just the way life is!!

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This is why I never watch campbell. Complete waste of space

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Bestbits' reply to Edwards is like listening to a child using naive excuses to explain her bad behaviour

Resign Dean!

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Good morning class. The fact you have all taken the double Politics / Media Studies major indicates I have the cream of the student body before me.
Today's case study is EMA CEO Alasdair Thompson and how TV3 conducted, edited and broadcast an interview with him.
You have before you the opinion of media commentator Brian Edwards. Dr Edwards suggests in NBR that Mr Thompson should complain to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.
Meanwhile, the EMA board is due to meet to decide Mr Thompson's future.
You have a two-part assignment designed to test your knowledge of the issues, your critical thinking, and your ability to research and present logical arguments. Both assignments are to be presented in the form of 500-word media statements.
The first will be from the board of the EMA. Imagine it has met and made it's decision. Explain the decision, fully backgrounding the issues using NBR and other media coverage, and explain the reasons.
For the second part of the assignment, imagine you are the spokesperson for the BSA, which is about to issue a statement explaining the decision it has made on the Thompson complaint against TV3. Explain the basis for the decision under BSA legislation.
Both assignments are due 10 am Monday. No extensions will be granted.

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Lets get all the facts from NZ Employers and have the facts regarding this issue out in the open.

Drop the emotional villification and face the real truth whatever that might be.

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A Thompson should have known better than to give a full and frank interview with the media. He has put himself in an exposed position.Once you have seen the full interview you will see the that the media cannot be trusted. I cannot believe the blog from tv3 justifying their position.

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I have made a formal complaint to TV3 over this edited interview under Sections 5 and 6 of the Broadcasting Standards of Practice on the grounds of fairness and accuracy. I suggest others who believe this was a gross abuse of media editing power do the same by going to the TV3 webpage and scolling down to the bottom where there is a button for complaints. Is time people stood up to this sort of gutter journalism

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The media today create reality they do not present it.

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Some might say Forbes was just being a bloody bitch..

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The full interview version is a revelation to me, and turns my view on AT 'mostly around.' I'm still a little uncomfortable about his manner when he got fired up. TV3 and the interviewer were disgraceful.

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If Mr Thompson did say:

"...They often do all the arranging of the finances for the whole family, they run the household, they care for the children..."

This is also part of the problem - childcare and housework are not just concerns for women. Women would have less of a tough time balancing work and personal life if these things were shared with men as they should be - if two adults live in a house they should both share the housework and it takes two to have a child - therefore it IS both parents' responsiblity to care for the child. There's your reality.

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Irrespective of whether or not you like Mr Thompson, the parts of the interview put to air amount to character assassination. I believe it was Mihi who was being sexist - she purposely twisted the meaning / interpretation of Alasdair's words, and then claimed he was unable to represent her on the basis of his sex. Poor poor journalism.

All of those people who were quick to condemn Alasdair might want to be a little more circumspect before voicing their criticisms in future. I hope the real story gets as much air-time as the original edited interview and subsequent talking head experts.

I have an idea : the next topic should be the ethics (or lack thereof) of certain reporters. Let's see how they respond when the boot is on the other foot.

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Whilst I agree Mihi went into the interview with her own baggage and she is a pretty crappy journalist, the fact remains that Alisdair could have handled the matter a LOT better and not come across as such a tactless sexist fool. EMA is a membership driven organisation and his comments have no doubt created a lot of problems. Even if Alisdair gets his mate edwards to weigh in, the fact remains that Alisdair has bought the EMA into major disrepute and should cease to be in his role as he is a liability.

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The media world has changed .For better or worse whole interviews can be recorded, broadcast and viewed. There is no need to edit ecause the medium is cheap and all material can be shown.

Alastair and Brian are living in the past if they think the camera start and stops.

I wonder if Alasdair will be in a spot of bother with the board for openly discussing his staffs remuneration?he shouldn't have discussed this.The woman working for him have the right for this to be confidential.

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Go Brian

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Poor words and a confusion of issues by Alisdair Thompson but that doesn't excuse media behaving so badly - I agree with Brian Edwards on that.

I would not be surprised if the slight difference in sick days is linked to women's biology. Actually I'm surprised that the gap isn't higher. Working parents often have to take time off to look after sick kids and I know Dad's do it but it's still more commonly most practical for Mum to be first option.

I quote from one article "Deborah Bush, a member of Pelvic Pain Steering Committee Australia, said, although she agreed his comments were discriminatory, he had a point.

He had unwittingly highlighted the fact that millions of women suffered from debilitating pelvic conditions such as endometriosis, which could force them to take time off work, she said.

Pelvic conditions were "a real problem" for about 10 per cent of women and girls aged 15 to 49, she said."

I know my own health issues of migraine are tied to being female. Not all migraines are but a certain type is and it even has a genetic link. Myself, and friends who fall into the group Deborah Bush describes don't just take sick days, these are long term health issues and most women struck with this have evolved careers that accommodate their health issues. Yet there is a time, when things health wise are going crazy, before one realise what’s going on, gets diagnosis, medication & accommodating work sorted that it can be an issue and one uses sick leave to cope.

That doesn't mean we work less – we just work differently. Some are so sick they can't work at all times and many choose part-time work, or jobs with flexible hours. Some, post raising their own children, concentrate in contributing what they can via voluntary work in the community rather than return to the paid work force. Pain is real and debilitating. Such women don't expect employers to treat them any differently to any other employee with a health or disability limitation.

I have been both employer and employee when 'womens' health issues have got in the way of work. It is a time, like any other health issue, that may have workplace consequences. This needs honest recognition and this PR frenzy is crazy.

In fact, if one reads all Alisdair's comments, and gets past the muddled words he sounds to me like a someone who does understand this can be a real problem for some working women. What's more he sounds like someone who understands the reality that such health issues are not sudden events but tend to creep up and gradually worsen to stage they interfere with life.

Some of the responses have amazed me in their passion. One wonders if Alisdair Thompson is a man many were wrapt to hear had blundered enough to be pushed. Cynical maybe but it would explain what appears to me to be more like a zealous crucifixion! Kerry Woodham even bemoaned the vinyl couch in the loos of some place. She sees that as an attitude of menstruating women should be out of sight & don't talk about period pains! Well Kerry, for me such spaces have been a wee haven of quiet to take a pill to stop a migraine enabling me to return to work within the hour.

Health issues aside equal pay is still a problem. Rates will remain inequitable for as long as we retain such a strong gender bias of who performs what role, bias to the value of certain roles (which is as much as issue for men as women) and continue to buy into the myth that someone who's paid employment career has been interrupted by having children or a health issue is less capable.

Let's have honest discussion. Let's get beyond emotions, PLEASE! Oh hang on, what lunar phase are we in?

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I watched the full interview on-line and technically he did say "the right thing". However his demeanour showed a thinly disguised patronising attitude towards women and a man who is used to staring down his opponent. This was proven when he did use those standover tactics with the interviewer. It is unfortunate that some ill chosen words will be what he is remembered for, but even more unfortunately, he does represent a sector in the business world which we used to call the old boys club. The good news is that more women are infiltrating and the dinosaurs are dying out- but it is taking an awfully long time.

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At the point at which Thompson's actual behaviour gave lie to the message he was trying to convey, that behaviour became the story.

Any producer who could not recognise that shouldn't be working in news and current affairs. It was never Campbell Live's job to dig Thompson out of his hole by hiding his conduct from the viewer.

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The quality of TV3 reporting has fast been deteriorating. They seem intent on creating sensationalism when it doesn't exist.
It seems that producers like Pip are to blame for the ever increasing amount of tabloid journalism we now have to tolerate.

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I saw some merit in Alasdair Thompson's arguement and would say that Forbes, for the most part seemed unbiased, but both became undone at the end.

Thompson's true character came out in those last four minutes. Someone with so little media ability and who appears to have a very mean bully streak in him should not represent the EMA.

The days of the bigoted old boys club are numbered.

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regardless of who is right and who is wrong, I think Brian Edwards should declare his interest in the matter and his relationship with Alisdair Thompson. His response (and the level of attention NBR is giving it) reeks of a PR clean up. Honesty please folks

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I agree Alisdair's mates (who read like a business who's who in Auckland) seem to be moving to clean uo this mess. It stinks to high heaven

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i think what is happening is a bit of balance to the character assassination from TV3. John campbell's days are numbered. NZers have had enough of that left leaning PC rubbish TV3 promotes as journalism.

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Behind every top excecutive n NZ (probably a male)...is a highly paid PA (probably a woman). Women are wonderful. They also bleed... have children...take ttme off work. Its the way of the world. Build a bridge and get over it. The likes of Forbes is the kind of woman who hasn;t full matured and is the kind I would argue to death with. Her and her ilk reminds me of the mold of Germaine Greer... and boy, look at her now!

The twain between men and women will never meet.... Long may it reign,

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Furthermore, if the recent 'slut walk' is a measure of the depth of thinking of NZ women, then they set themselves up to be targets. Thank God for the classy, sexy, mature women I have the privilege of knowing

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Why should we be surprised? I was councelled many years ago by a well known and highly respected senior journalist - "Never trust a journalist (also called reporter in those days) - they never stop work. There is no such thing as "off the record" - the journalist takes such comments for what they are worth and more often than not uses them as bait. In my work I met many journalists, male and female. A fair few thought the sun shone out of their posteriors. Preciously infallable. The passing of the years seems only to have heightened the egos and diminished the quality.

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Never let the truth get in the way of a good story ....

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are we confusing hatred for Cambell Live for the real story here?

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There are two real stories...one about the EMA CEO and the fact he has made comments that upset some of the population....and one about the fact that TV3 is only interested in ratings - not balanced reporting

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Let's see the Campbell Coven treat one of their wet liberal heros like this then maybe they can make some claim on objectivity and balance.

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Mihingarangi Forbes's interview with Alasdair Thompson was in direct response to his earlier comments that women "" take the most sick leave... because... once a month they have sick problems..."
So then Mr Thompson does 20mins of PC babble b4 spilling out his true position once again...
Dishonest journalism? Me thinks it's Mr Thompson that' is being dishonest?

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I've always found John Campbell and his show a sensationalist, arrogant piece of so called journalism. Methinks he likes to think of himself as the newsmaker not the news reporter hence their claims of "making so and so happen faster". I'm sure there are blokes out there with sexist views but most female employees run rings round their male employers and as a female employer with a high ratio of female employees, yes some will take time off for "women" problems but it's productivity that counts not presenteeism. In a salary and commission environment, most of our female employees have a much higher work rate than their male counterparts. And everyone gets the same salary package with equal opportunity to earn commission. Let's examine what the real reasons for gender pay disparity are and not destroy a person's career because it's good sport.

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Brian Edward's response hardly reflects the very basis of the media training he and his wife provide.

Thompson is a significant lobbyist and media spokeperson/commentator. Talking to the media is a key part of his responsibilities and one that he has presumably received training for.

He therefore should know the reality of preparing in advance of any media interviews; of the need to provide media "bites"; of the dangers of very lengthy responses to questions and of the journalist's right to interrupt such length, especially when it is not directly responding to the question; that he can expect to be challenged over the grounds/evidence for his assertions; that you can only go off-record if it is agreed with the journlist in advance; that he doesn't have a right to do an answer again; that he cannot instruct a camera to stop recording; that if he refuses to answer a question, the public have a right to know that he has done so.

People like Brian Edwards train people to deal specifically with these situations. In the position he holds, Alistair Thompson should already know everything above and know how to deal with it (regardless of consecutive late nights etc). I suggest that Brian provides further training for Alistair rather than act as an apologist for how badly he has responded to the media over the issue he created. In fact I'm sure Brian's training also includes how to ensure you don't create initial issues in the way Alistair has done.

Brian knows that there are not any extended interview programmes on television anymore. I've seen the full interview on the internet and found myself confused by Alistair's long-winded, meandering initial response. And even by the end of it, I'm still not sure what substance there really is to his claims or whether in fact he just made a silly off the cuff remark that he shouldn't have.

And the real issue for me re TV3 is why the reporter allowed herself to get personally involved in the interview, rather than get clarity over the issue and its substance. Frankly I thought she was far too soft with him in this regard. Imagine if it had been Brian or Ian Fraser interviewing Alistair?

But in the end, perhaps Alistair's emloyers should be looking beyond simply the issue he created and examine whether or not he is able to perform adequately the key part of his responsibilities that relate to dealing with the media and acting as a spokeperson for his organisation.

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If anyone should lose their job over this, it is Pip Keane - and her response above incorporates all the reasons. TV3 is clearly not interested in balance or fairness and is quite happy to feed into that moronic part of public sentiment that wants everyone who says something they disapprove of crucified. This is the Dr Goebbels school of "journalism" at its ugliest. There definitely should be a robust complaint to the BSA.

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Well I am very disappointed that Campbell live has suddenly become Fox news. Thompson was completely stitched up! I was disgusted by Forbes after watching the full interview. Shame on you Forbes! You have put women interviewer's to shame here. I am a full time working mother with periods and I felt Thompson can actively represent me and my employer.

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I am unreservedly ashamed of this interview, if you can call it that! If anyone should be forced to resign it is Mihi! What an amateur performance, I really hope she's not the best NZ has to offer otherwise broadcasters everywhere should just pack up and go home!! I am a woman and I am both a Mother of 3 and a worker. I know I am most likely underpaid in comparison to my male counterparts but if Mihi Forbes is putting her hand up to be MY spokesperson I would rather continue to be underpaid!!

I am embarrassed by this interview, and agree wholeheartedly with Dr Brian. What a joke this interview is, It reminds me of the crap we did when fooling around at Film School!! It was badly executed, poorly thought out and just general rubbish. I am utterly shocked at the validity this interview has been given. Mihi was being nothing more than a bully. She wasn't interested in the truth and TV3 had no intention of giving a balanced view! If anyone should be made to resign it's the producer who agreed to let this rubbish go to air.

I would hope nobody with any sense of justice or who themselves has ever been the subject of a witch hunt, will call for Alisdair's resignation. His original comments, though perhaps not well said, they're point was about productivity, no matter who you are. This is the issue, let's focus on that!

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It's time a few facts and reasoned arguments were put forward on here as opposed to the rabid rabble by those seeking to lynch Thompson without a fair trial.

Thompson was asked to comment on the 12% pay gap between men and women.

He suggested that there were many possble reasons. Firstly he stated that he fully supported equal pay for equal productivity between the sexes.

Amongst the reasons put forward were: some genuine gender bias, women not applying for higher paying jobs, women having to look after children more and taking more time off work when they were sick, a slightly higher percentage of days off by women for their own sickness (backed up by studies), and a subset within that of women who 's time and productivity were affected by heavy periods and other women related medical conditions ( of which there are also studies).

He pointed out that this only affected pay rates when it had a noticeable effect on productivity. He also said that by far the greatest influence on productivity was passion for the job.

He never said that women should be paid less beause they had periods or even that they were paid less because of it. He pointed out the effect of periods on productivity was a very small part of the possible reason for the pay gap.

However I guarantee 99% of the lynch mob calling for his head on a platter have never watched the half hour long interview, just the 4 minute edit by TV3 which had as it's only aim to cast Thompson in as bad a light as possible.

If Thomson is guilty of anything it is his poor judgement in trusting the media to listen objectively and judge fairly what he was saying. That is the only area his employer should be looking at. He was obviously tired and stressed and should not have been laying himself wide open for the tabloid press of TV3 to take him to the cleaners.

I sincerely hope he doesn't give in and resign for what he said. It will only result in more lynch mob mentality in the future.

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Socrates distrusted the written or reported word. He felt that the only sincere and honest communication was face-to-face dialogue, where all our senses worked together to convey messages. If one is not part of the discourse, one needs to be well within earshot to be get a true account of what is be said or shown. Unfortunately, most journalism sucks the audience in and out of sound bites to issues they know little about. This has been exacerbated with email, internet and other cut-and-paste technologies. That's why, for me, the only open and balance form of journalism is the unedited interview, where the audience witnesses the full discourse. Campbell Live should have shown the whole interview if it was serious about serious journalism.

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Pip Keane said it's her job to show the "best bits". Ms Keane, no it's not; it's your job to give a true, balanced and fair account of an interview. If you think journalism's about some sort of bloopers hit parade, then you're seriously misguided. I suggest you spend a week listening to BBC's Hard Talk, Charlie Rose in the US or even a few of the "classics" from our own Ian Fraser, Kim Hill or Chris Laidlaw to understand what good journalism interviewing is.

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Mihi Forbes is a %^^$'n DISGRACE to journalism....It was an obvious blatant attempt to put the words in Alasdair's mouth and when she couldnt even do that she decides to fire off all these accusations just to wind him up.....yeah...Alasdair's surely a sexist because am sure if it was a GUY reporter he wouldve punched his lights out.....

Mihi...lets hope you and I never cross paths in the above sort of utterly pathetic cheap journalistic kind of situation..... :)..for your sake. I'd rather go to jail rather than having my name disgraced and my life ruined by some militant feminist female canine such as yourself...

There is always Karmic justice in the world and I wish nothing more than misery and a downhill life for you and I will pray for that to happen on a daily basis just to make the process that much quicker.

And when it finally does....you can thank me for my small part in it ;)

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long year acer trends show only 001 more acelenolysunci topics now pr11 in 2012

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Fact is the media in NZ lack morals and ethics. They are a bunch of self serving self indulgent people. They are incapable of presenting a balanced view. Instead they resort to taking one side that suits their agenda. in this case Forbes had an agenda and that was to destroy the subject of her interview. Time the tables were turned and the media had a dose of its own bad medicine

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What really happened to Laguna pools Waikato

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