Is Mike Hosking objective?

Posted August 20, 2015

This week’s discussion about the objectivity of Mike Hosking has failed to recognise the two roles he plays. When he interviews people, he is more of a reporter. But when he gives his editorial views, he is more of a commentator. So what does this mean?

Hosking as interviewer

As an interviewer, I believe he is totally objective. While he may put the counter view to someone he is interviewing, he always gives them a fair chance to express their point. A recent example was when he spoke to Jane Kelsey on Seven Sharp about her views on the TPPA. He clearly didn’t agree with her, but gave her ample time to express her view. She did it very well.

He did the same in last year’s Election campaign. He gave David Cunliffe just as much time as John Key in the debates. John Campbell, who appears to come from the left, did the same.

There is one requirement here. Everyone I’ve mentioned had good media interview skills. This is the most important requirements of any live interview, rather than who is asking the questions. Also remember that everyone has their own views, even reporters and broadcasters. The key is for them to give those they don’t agree with a fair go. Hosking does that.

Hosking as commentator

When Hosking presents his editorials, he has obviously been asked to by his employers. So any complaints should be made to them, not him. He just tells it as he sees it.

Mind you, in this day of talkback radio and social media, all presenters do this. It’s what people want. Willie Jackson does this on his talkback show and he’s from the left. But he also gives guests he doesn’t agree with a fair go when he interviews them. Paul Henry is a former National Party Candidate while Pam Corkery does occasional talkback slots and she’s unashamedly from the left. Even Political Reporters like Patrick Gower write their own opinionated blogs. Duncan Garner also does this and often shares his opinion on his radio show. But he is a fair interviewer too.

What should we expect?

While this editorialising may seem unfair to some, it’s now standard practice.  But I suspect that people only complain if the view expressed is different from their own. I don’t think Winston Peters or Andrew Little were complaining when Campbell Live ran a campaign on the GCSB issue last year that some would argue was anti-Government.

All we can ask is that when interviewing, those with different views are fair. I believe in most cases, they are.

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