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”.