Saturday, May 9, 2015

Why I'll no longer be watching 3 News

At about ten past six last night I switched off my TV in disgust. Then I sent a text message to Mark Jennings, TV3's head of news and current affairs, telling him I wouldn't be watching 3 News again anytime soon. I doubt that he'll lose any sleep over that, but at least I felt marginally better for having registered a protest.

What I'd just seen on 3 News made me feel literally sick to the stomach. The network reported that Kaikohe police had arrested a 15-year-old girl for an assault that was captured on video and put online.

Journalist Karen Rutherford's report on the incident included the video footage. It was hard to watch, as only real-life violence can be - the more so when the perpetrator is a teenage girl.

The assault was shocking in its savagery and intensity. The victim, a girl of similar age, was reportedly ambushed as she got off a bus. She attempted to defend herself but was overwhelmed by the sheer fury of the attack, which involved knees to the face and head as well as a hail of punches. The assailant looked as if she had done this sort of thing before.

That a 15-year-old girl should be capable of such sustained and clearly premeditated violence was only one of several reasons to be shocked. Another was that someone, probably an associate of the attacker, captured it on video and put it online for others to enjoy. A third was that bystanders stood around and did nothing.

But this simply tells us there are feral people out there who indulge in behaviour (presumably learned from, if not encouraged by, their elders) that most of us find reprehensible. We knew that anyway.

What was inexcusable was that 3 News magnified and compounded the outrage by screening the footage - and not just briefly, which would have been all that was necessary to convey what had happened, but at length. And repeatedly.

I replayed the item this morning. Rutherford's item ran for more than two minutes, during which there were six video segments - that's right, six - showing the attack. The longest ran for about 13 seconds and cumulatively the footage ran for nearly a minute.

It was stomach-churning, and what made it all the more repulsive was that the incident was reported with the hypocritical tone of moral disapproval at which television journalists excel.

We were told that the Kaikohe police were disgusted that someone had filmed the assault, and an academic interviewed by Rutherford suggested that the person who did the filming was no better than the perpetrator of the attack.

Amen to that. But where does that leave 3 News, which obviously liked the footage so much that it showed parts of the attack two or three times?  A few seconds would have been sufficient to show us how ugly it was, but the footage was gratuitously replayed over and over, even as Rutherford was telling viewers in tut-tutting tones how despicable it was.

If the person who shot and uploaded the footage was morally complicit in the offence, then 3 News is too - in fact far more so, because 3 News took what would previously have been seen by only a very limited online audience and replayed it, at length, on national television.

I would feel complicit too if I continued to watch a news bulletin that demonstrated such an abysmal lack of ethical judgment, so I won't.


Bill Forster said...

Unfortunately TV1 news also ran this story at length, with similarly gratuitous use of the bystander's video.

Brendan McNeill said...


It seems as we grow older, our world is shrinking through boycotts.

I wrote to Levi’s more than a decade ago saying I had purchased my last pair as a result of their running a ‘stalking’ advt at the movies where the stalker peeled off his Levi’s as he grabbed his victim who appeared to welcome his attentions.

It was with some pleasure I noted they went into chapter 11 shortly afterwards. No doubt unrelated.

Likewise I have boycotted Lynx deodorant for the gratuitous use of sex to sell their products. They don’t appear to have suffered economically – yet.

And I have purchased my last Time magazine after reading an article that blamed the Christians for causing their persecution by Muslim Jihadists in Syria.

I support their right to free speech and opinion. Thankfully we are not obliged to reward their attitudes or behaviour.

Jigsaw said...

I agree in many ways but on the other hand I thought that the violence was so shocking that it might make people think. There are people like teachers who have to teach and otherwise deal with people like this on a daily basis. Just think what you woul do... I was a teacher and we had to step into just such a confrontation always aware that we could be accused of violence just in order to stop what was happening. Just imagine the family background of a 15 year old girl who is capable of such a sustained and frenzied attack on another person. Incidentally my experience of such attacks was overseas not in this country but I see in the last 20 years we have managed to catch up!

Julia du Fresne said...

The time may come when you'll feel compelled to stop watching telly altogether.

Sapna Kapoor said...

Ritual sexual abuse is not confined to the Satanic seat of power, it has filtered down through society, from the top to the bottom, to a local level. People regarded as upstanding members of the community, often in influential positions, are involved in paedophilia and their respectable public face is far removed from their sordid private lives. They are operating in our schools, churches, hospitals and even the council.

In the 1990's, senior staff members in Lambeth council were producing pornographic material of a "sadistic, bestial and paedophile" nature in the basement of the housing department, where they knew they would not be interrupted. A female member of staff disclosed how she was subjected to a rape on council premises "of horrendous proportions" which she was still suffering serious injuries from one month later. She described being raped alongside children and animals by senior figures in the council.

The findings of a report which included rape, assault and posession of indecent images of children, was never formally investigated by the police at the time or made public. Bulic Forsythe, a housing manager who told a colleague he was about to 'spill the beans' was found three days later, bludgeoned to death in his burnt out flat. The BBC's crimewatch launched an appeal for information, like they didn't already have the answers.

Bulic's daughter, who was born three months after his murder said, "It's really clear the fear that operated in the council - it seems from the report my father felt that fear," she added, he was scared that if he moved jobs "people in power could still get to him." He clashed with an individual who held a senior position and is named in the report as the head of this ring.

Sapna Kapoor said...

"Imagine a country where the history of your people is told twice: once by your family and community, then again by your school and society."

As a working class pakeha, this is the country I live in.

My family and community tells a struggle of resistance against capitalism and working class solidarity. My school and society tells a story of lazy bludgers who deserve to be poor.

Goof Off said...

I cannot watch any news on TV anywhere because I know it is not only indoctrination on many levels but it is almost always biased left wing propaganda.

If people don't believe it go to another country and watch what says about issues in NZ. Its totally left wing and hopelessly biased to give a certain impression. That is not news, that is fiction.