Home > Media, The Body Politic > When the mainstream media go feral: the descent into sheer farce, according to Tova O’Brien

When the mainstream media go feral: the descent into sheer farce, according to Tova O’Brien


Tova O'Brien - foot in mouth award


It had to happen, I guess… The media pack-campaign against Labour Leader David Cunliffe has managed to  plumb new depths of absurdity.

On TV3, on 24 July,  TV3/Tova O’Brien ran this report on their 6PM News bulletin, about Key’s face appearing – photo-shopped – on the cover of the “Rugby News“;


tova o'brien - tv3 - john key - cover rugby news - david cunliffe


The print-version on the TV3 website had this to say on the story;


Key nestles in with the All Blacks


Tova O'Brien 3 News Political Reporter

Political Reporter – Thursday 24 Jul 2014 6:32p.m.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has labelled the Prime Minister a poser and an imposter after yet another photo opportunity coup.

First it was tea with the Queen, then golf with United States President Barack Obama – now he’s managed to nestle in with some All Blacks on the cover of the Rugby News magazine.

“Some people will love it and some people will hate it,” says Mr Key.

With the All Blacks almost like royalty in New Zealand it could be seen as an endorsement, and Labour leader David Cunliffe is not impressed.

“I was surprised to see it,” he says. “It’s not often you see a major sporting body getting involved in politics.”

The New Zealand Rugby Union was forewarned by the magazine.

It did nothing but request a small disclaimer that Mr Key leading the pack wearing an All Blacks jersey was not an endorsement – it was photoshopped.

“I think I need to accept that I’d more than likely make it as a mascot than a player,” says Mr Key.

“It’s posing and impostering,” says Mr Peters. “You wouldn’t put an All Black jersey on unless you’re an All Black. He looks like an imposter.”

He did not request the cover, the magazine approached him and it does not breach any electoral laws.

3 News

However, stuck at the very end of the video-version of the story, is this incredible parting-quip by O’Brien;
“So once again the blue team gets one over the red team.Yes, it’s cringey, but it’s left Cunliffe looking whingey.”

Geddit? “Cringey”. “Whingey”. They rhyme!!

Oh how very witty, Ms O’Brien!

Ho, ho, ho! Tova, you certainly earned your salary with that piece. There must have been several children who laughed their heads of at the ‘funny’ you made!

Not so funny is that despite the fact that the story was ostensibly about Key getting his face photo-shopped onto a magazine and scoring some free election-year publicity – a supposedly well-educated, “impartial” journo still managed to somehow insert a childish comment about David Cunliffe. That’s despite the fact that Cunliffe’s comments were much more restrained and measured than the criticism  made by Winston Peters in the same video.

So there we have it, folks. Even when the story is about John Key – a silly little journo still managed to turn it into a swipe at David Cunliffe. This is what we are being served up as “news”;




This is not impartial, intelligent journalism.

It’s not even close.

So what should be the response of the Left? To work our arses off in the next two months and score a decisive victory on 20 September. That will be our “FUCK YOU!” to the media in this country.





TV3:  Key nestles in with the All Blacks

Previous related blogposts

The GCSB law – Oh FFS!!!

Mike Hosking as TVNZ’s moderator for political debates?! WTF?!

When the mainstream media go feral: A tale of two holidays





david cunliffe stood up on the issue of domestic violence

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 25 July 2014.



= fs =

  1. R McShane
    30 July 2014 at 11:24 am

    Thank you! The hate campaign against Mr Cunliffe has angered me to the point where I can no longer watch the news on TV. Regardless of personal political views ,the level of bias is staggering – to the point where I think they may have overcooked it . The bias is so blatant I think it may actually drive undecided voters towards Labour. The Tania Billingsley story nearly had me smashing my TV. Something along the lines of PM now refuses to apologise BUT David Cunliffe can’t say sorry enough. A huge story where John Key should have been crucified – and even then the media managed to turn that story into an anti- Cunliffe smear.
    I would suggest that if Barrack Obama resigned as US president and led the NZ Labour party even he would not be able to poll over 30% in these circumstances.

  2. 30 July 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Sums it up nicely, McShane.

    There’s more to come on the Donghua Liu Affair, as well. I have lodged a complaint with the Press Council, and OIA requests with several Ministers. Let’s see what develops on theses issues…

  3. Deb Kean
    31 July 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Tova O’Brien is loathsome! I’m interested to see how her name is spelt – she always pronounces it “Tober O’Brine”. 😀

  4. Priss
    1 August 2014 at 6:59 pm

    I’ve long since given up on TV “news”. Too much *opinion* masquerading as analysis. And some of the smart-alecky comments from the like of Garner, Gower, and O’Brien remind me of schoolyard kids trying to clever. That’s not news, it’s editorial. And I prefer to make up my own mind thank you very much TV1 and TV3.

  1. 31 March 2018 at 8:01 am
  2. 16 May 2018 at 8:01 am
  3. 11 January 2019 at 8:00 am

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