Dr Michael Bassett

Dr Michael Bassett

Newspaper Columns


Radio New Zealand Partially Redeems Itself

15/09/2014

After being let down by its basic news coverage over several weeks, Morning Report partially redeemed itself this morning. While clearly itching to repeat his appalling behaviour of a couple of weeks back, Guyon Espiner let the Prime Minister get his message out. Last year, according to John Key, he knocked on the head some "really preliminary stuff" from the GCSB proposing mass surveillance, and then passed the legislation now in place. Espiner wanted to know why John Key hadn't told us all about the earlier proposals. The obvious answer didn't spring to Key's mind: "Why worry New Zealanders about something that didn't happen when they have enough problems, day to day, with things that are happening?" But any sensible Kiwi listening would have been able to infer that from the Prime Minister's reply.

Suzy Ferguson did a much better job than Espiner when she later spoke to Glen Greenwald. Quietly, but with determination, just as Geoff Robinson used to do, she probed Greenwald to the point where he was clearly uncomfortable. He asserted that the Prime Minister had been changing his story about what had happened before 2013, but a more careful observer would have realized that all that Key had done was reveal a little more during a series of interviews about what had been proposed by the security services. On one point Suzy Ferguson's interview was less than satisfactory: she failed to find out from Greenwald what was the last date he has for the information he claims will undermine the Prime Minister's credibility. In other words, is his info already rather out of date? After all, his source, Snowden, has been a chum of Vladimir Putin's for rather a long time now, and in no position to keep feeding the likes of Greenwald.

Ferguson did finally subject Greenwald to questions about his fee ($25,000), and the charity he intends gifting it to. A Brazilian one, in all probability. And she asked penetrating questions about why he waited so long to come to New Zealand with his revelations, arriving only a few days before our election. Greenwald was far from convincing, and obviously uncomfortable. He'd been too busy was the gist of his reply, which of course raises the further question "Funny you were freed up to come just before our voting?" It was Suzy Ferguson who managed to penetrate the protective layer around this American motor mouth, and she deserves credit.

If this nonsense with Dotcom persists, and it looks like it will, further probing of his motives is surely warranted. He only leases his property at Coatesville. He knows he's on the way out of New Zealand when all his expensive appeals are exhausted. And it looks like he's quite capable of doing nasty things before he's told to pack his bags. What exactly has been his purpose in bringing a motor mouth plot theorist to our country at this time? It would be interesting to see the puddle develop if Dotcom were given the blow-torch.


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