Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More thoughts on Mark Crysell

Further to my post on Mark Crysell’s reports from Sderot, I have a feeling I may have been wrong in crediting Brian Edwards with that clever description “potty training”, in relation to the indoctrination of TVNZ journalists in the dumbed-down style of reporting adopted in the late 1980s. Edwards gave us the equally apt phrase “coochie-coo news” to describe the style of bulletin that resulted, but on reflection it may have been an anonymous (and subversive) TVNZ journalist or journalists who came up with “potty training”.

And in response to “Johnno”, who defends Crysell’s use of the expression “my report” to introduce material clearly not obtained by him personally but collated from other sources, the statement that this is common practice in TV merely reinforces my point about deceit and sleight-of-hand now being so entrenched in television journalism that it’s considered the norm, and perfectly acceptable. This is the “Everyone does it, so it must be OK” line. Even so, it seems to me that Crysell’s explicit and flagrant claim of ownership of material gathered by others takes the deception to a new level. In the other examples “Johnno” gives, the TV journalist may be happy to leave the viewer with the impression that he/she has gathered the material personally, but doesn’t expressly take credit for it. That’s a qualitative difference.

It’s pretty clear that “Johnno” and another anonymous poster who rips into me on David Farrar’s Kiwiblog, using very similar arguments, are either TV journalists themselves or are employed in closely related fields. This may explain their sensitivity.

Both defend the practice of journalists collating material from diverse sources and putting their own voices over it, but they don’t specifically address Crysell’s shameful claim – or at the very least, implication – that it was all his own work.

Incidentally, it may or may not be significant that in the last two Crysell reports from Sderot that I’ve seen, he hasn’t used the word “my report”.


JC said...

What puzzles me is how NZ.. the relentlessly pragmatic people that we were, could get sucked into a body count argument over a piddling fracas between Israel and some Palestinians.

A generation ago someone on the radio would say there's 800 dead.. "and here's the PM on the matter"..

Kiwikeith "Hurump!, its not good, is it! However, I don't think it'll effect our wool shipments with Saudi Arabia"..

Somehow, we've become addicted to a form of professional and hypercritical wailing about stuff a world away, and to the extent we don't think of our own interests anymore.. it's the ultimate dumbdown for a small trading nation.

That sort of stuff is best saved for a Sunday TV session where the bleeding hearts can have a go.. and concentrate on the things that are important to us, and which we can and should do something about.


kassto said...

As well as being accurate about where their material comes from, I wish TVNZ journalists would just learn when to shut up. The night of the US election, when Obama was giving his rather glorious victory speech, I flicked through all the international news channels, all showing exactly the same thing — just Obama talking. Except for TV One which was showing the visuals of Obama talking but had his voice turned down and a TVNZ reporter talking over the top of him, telling us what was happening and what we should think of it. It was just embarrassing.

Bearhunter said...

I just wish TVNZ news reporters could stop prefacing ever sentence with the phrase "Look, Simon...."