Friday, October 8, 2021

Toxic Tova's weird obsession with Judith Collins

Newshub has ratcheted up its attacks on wounded National leader Judith Collins. These have progressed from being merely pointless to sadistic and even pathological.

Political editor Tova O’Brien, aka “Toxic Tova” (I normally avoid using nicknames, but this one is 100 per cent apposite) seized on the findings of the New Zealand Herald’s latest Mood of the Boardroom survey to aim another kick at the head of a politician who’s already reeling and on the ropes.

This isn’t journalism; it’s blood sport – and a particularly savage form of blood sport at that.

O’Brien could have extracted a number of angles from the Herald’s survey of 150 chief executives. The finding highlighted by the Herald itself was that “Jacinda Ardern’s Covid honeymoon has soured,” in the words of Mood of the Boardroom editor Fran O’Sullivan. Ardern’s rating was down from last year’s 3.91 out of 5 to a far less complimentary 3.03.

That’s significant news, indicating that the business community, which generates New Zealand’s wealth, is losing confidence in the country’s leadership. But what O’Brien considered most newsworthy from the Herald survey was a peripheral and inconsequential finding that business people (the traditional backers of the National Party, as newsreader Mike McRoberts’ gratuitously reminded us) had issued a “brutal report card” on Collins and were calling for her to go. 

"This is bad, real bad," said a delighted O'Brien, before proceeding to recite a string of uncomplimentary comments about the National leader. 

Not a word was said about the unflattering result for Ardern, which can only reinforce the impression that much of the media – and Newshub especially – functions as the unofficial propaganda arm of the government.

You don’t need to like Collins, or even to be a National supporter (I’m certainly not) to regard O’Brien’s constant attacks on her as grotesque, vicious and weirdly obsessive. What journalistic purpose is served by mauling a lame and politically impotent Opposition leader while the politician wielding real power gets away scot-free – in fact avoids situations where she might be asked awkward questions about the government’s multiple failings? (I note that this week Ardern was out in the boondocks smiling for the cameras – anything to avoid having to explain the government’s about-face on its Covid-19 elimination strategy.)

This is the prime minister we’re talking about – the person making decisions that will affect New Zealand for a long time into the future. Aren’t journalists supposed to “speak truth to power”, to quote a pompous phrase much favoured by leftist media academics? Well, let's see some of it. If O’Brien is as tough and merciless as she doubtless wants us to think she is, let's see her apply the blow-torch to the prime minister. I'm not holding my breath. 


Max Ritchie said...

Ardern has bought Toxic Tova and her employer, using your money, Karl. Corruption but you’ve got to admire the Mafia-like quality!

Trev1 said...

Isn't O'Brien a former flatmate of Ardern? Or so the rumour goes.I simply don't watch the shite that passes for TV journalism these days. O'Brien is a Labour shill pure and simple, absolutely no credibility.

Karl du Fresne said...

Hmmm. Not sure about the flatmate story. I'd be very sceptical.

Eamon Sloan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy Espersen said...

“Aren’t journalists supposed to 'speak truth to power', to quote a pompous phrase much favoured by leftist media academics?"

I sense grief in your heart-felt question, Karl. Grief and longing for journalism as it used to be. Grief and longing for a world when the 4th estate knew its importance in society – and its awesome responsibility.

Get over it Karl. Forget about it. The 4th estate is of no importance any longer – stands for nothing. Blogs like yours together with a free internet have taken over - and in the end may work just as well.

Trev1 said...

This is brilliant! The kiwi song for the resistance, just now released: Share widely.

pdm said...

Karl I would like to see Ardern v Collins in an old fashioned one on one TV interview - say an hour no ads.

It is my view that Collins if given a fair go by the moderator would provide articulate answers or admit she did not know on the one or two she did not actually know. Ardern would waffle on most of them and obfuscate as much as she could in order not to answer asmany as possible.

Maybe Peter Williams to moderate and the two would not get a look at the questions before hand - no I-pads etc.

As they say in sport class is permanent and Collins has that over Ardern when it comes to hard political questions.

Terry M said...

Tova O’Brien
A narcissistic wee twerp who represents TV3, which has been bought and paid for by the current socialist Labour Government via the Public Interest Journalism Fund. Would certainly not know balanced reporting if she did it on four legs.
I have little respect for her level of professionalism as a journalist. Great as the head of Black Ops.

Richard said...

I think the pre-election debate chaired by O'Brien last year revealed a lot about her relationships with Ardern and Collins.
After the debate, O'Brien's body language when interviewing Ardern was a revelation. She could barely refrain from throwing herself at her. My partner, who is not particularly interested in Politics, suggested they 'get a room'.
When Collins entered for her chat, O'Brien turned side on and was very distant.

Ian P said...

The media are the most important defenders of our Democracy. That requires intellect and courage. If that is missing the sword will inevitably prevail over the pen. Tragic.

Connect-Ed CTA said...

In my view, the nation is being run by a weird elite celebrity 'gang'. They clearly see themselves as some kind of 'marginalised group' and talk down to the people in a similar fashion. They move in the same circles, support and defend each other, and are immediate and meticulous when it comes to blocking out any sentiment or activity that may threaten their shallow, nepotistic cabal. They have their own codes, their own set of slanted ethics, their own sense of entitled exclusivity about their actions, and are operating in plain sight. This elite celebrity gang feel they can do what they like with impunity, say what they like when they like without challenge, run roughshod over other peoples' human rights by caprice. Tova is merely a mirror-image of the PR-representative the Mongrel Mob enlisted to add shine to their public image. How she got to her exalted position is anyone's guess, but it speaks volumes about the craven arrogance of the elite celebrity gang, that she is still in her job. Any actual 'journalist' would have long ago investigated this incestuous circle-jerk of mutual pleasuring, and uncovered it. In many other societies, this openly biased payola act would have been properly called out for what it is. It is therfore refreshing to see your insights, Karl. Lee Clark

Unknown said...

I've been seeing a trend where Collins attacks he puapua whereas Luxton appears to be another corporate progressive (although he does confront the economic side of 3 Waters). The media hate populists.

The media promulgate a lie

Hilary Taylor said...

Could it be an inferiority complex, akin to the cultural cringe, lurking beneath the aggressively loathsome surface? Whatever...O'Brien is unwatchable. I don't know how Collins faces each day, frankly. The more those partisan Labourites cheers for 'kind', the less they display. It's truly weird but it's where we are. Hate it. Can't believe how far RNZ, TVNZ et al have fallen. And what the others said above.

Alex M said...

We call her Covid O'Brien, equally annoying.
Don't be fooled by the $55 million public interest journalism fund.
The really big money is in the government covid and Three Waters advertising. The government are paying full retail for these. They are the big money maker for the media companies.

Unknown said...

I note that O'Brien quotes Datacom chair Tony Carter in her article attacking Collins. If she was truly impartial she may have added a comment stating Tony might be a bit miffed about Collins because his brother David lost the National Party chair vote to incumbent Peter Goodfellow and promptly resigned from the party.

Still don't let the facts get in the way of a good story Tova.

Martin Harris said...

I've come across the tale a few times now, that Tova is an ex-flatmate of Ardern. However, a straightforward Google search for verification of that claim turns up thousands of items, none of which seem to actually address the claim nor confirm or deny.
If anyone has any information to verify the "flatmates" claim I'd love to hear about it!