Before the internet we used to whittle soap if we wanted to waste time. Now we dream up fascistic petitions. The latest one is an attempt to scribble Right-wing commentator Mike Hosking out of his job on TVNZ’s prime time, current affairs show Seven Sharp.
I personally voted on Hosking with my feet – or rather my remote. About a decade back, when Hosking was a breakfast host, he was unbelievably rude, for no discernible reason, to visiting South African novelist Bryce Courtney. I’ve never watched him since. The only time I ever see him now is when his detractors moonlight as his personal content distributors and fire clips of him around the net. If it wasn’t for their efforts he really would be dead to me.
So why the need for a petition? I certainly didn’t need one to purge my life of Hosking.
I’ve been given a variety of reasons as to why the petition is necessary. All are variations on the same theme, and none of them are compelling.
“TVNZ is a public broadcaster and, as such, shouldn’t give airtime to a man with such a clear political bias”.
This is the sole argument I feel worth unpacking, but only if you squint at it. It shares the same motor as all the others – a contempt for dissenting opinions. A biased Left wing commentator would never be confronted by the same signatories because, of course, when you’re “correct” you’re not being biased. Hosking supporters would no doubt agree that being correct means you can never be biased either. But it’s unlikely they’d argue he was ever hired to perform some sort of public service, which hands the moral high ground to his ideological opponents. After all, public broadcasters exist to promote Left wing views, don’t they? The Right can bloody pay for a platform if they want to lie to us all.
I’ve supplied you up to a minute of reading since I last denounced Hosking so it’s probably timely I do it again lest you try to dismiss me as his #1 fan. I despise the man. I never, ever watch him. I will go out of my way to avoid him and even try changing the subject (with little success) when my 78-year mother wants to talk about how short he is and how he “scurries” rather than walks. I know exactly where Hosking stands and I stand someplace quite different. But I’m also a liberal and a staunch defender of free speech. I simply don’t have the right to deprive others of his opinions. I changed the channel. If enough people did the same, I’m sure the network would take care of him. If, on the leger, more people stay watching, he deserves to stay exactly where he is.
Jeremy Wells is a creative man who came up with a creative answer to the Hosking’s “issue”, the “Like Mike – Hosking’s Rant”. I haven’t been compelled to challenge anything Hosking’s says in my comedy because many of his views I find too dusty to inspire a rejoinder. Power to anyone that wants to tear him down using satire; satire takes a degree of imagination and balls. Signing said petition requires neither. It’s small and petulant. Intolerant and obnoxious. It’s pathetic, quite frankly. Grow the fuck up.
Another point, certain to be lost on the signatories of this shameful schmatta, is that TV actually needs assholes. If you believe, as many do, that TV is struggling (I don’t think it is), then removing its viler personalities will finish it off. We need villains on the box and he plays that role expertly. In fact, a petition against such a performer will only swell the legend of an epic asshole. I’d kill to know I’d inspired a petition designed to take me down, as most people in the art and media world would. It means you stand for something. And, most importantly, that your enemies are listening.