How to improve NZ’s political reportage: assign Soper and his mates for Teleban target practice

Alf’s spirits lifted enormously, when he spotted a headline at Scoop this morning: NZ journalists under fire in Afghanistan.

The story beneath did not quite meet Alf’s expectations – or (he confesses) deliver on his hopes.

All that happened was this:

A TVNZ journalist and cameraman were travelling with the NZ Army bomb disposal patrol that came under fire in Eastern Afghanistan late yesterday afternoon.


Small arms fire and mortar rounds were directed at the patrol but no-one was injured.

The army was checking for improvised explosive devices along a road just outside Khost, near the border of Pakistan.

ONE News’ Defence Reporter, Michael Parkin (28) and Cameraman Blair Martin (26) – both of TVNZ Wellington – were travelling with the bomb disposal experts as part of an assignment covering the work NZ soldiers are doing in Afghanistan.

Bugger.

Alf holds no grudge against this Parkin bloke, or his cameraman.

He does bear a grudge against most hacks in the Parliamentary Press Gallery who persistently ignore his regular outpouring of media statements, thereby denying him the publicity – and the national adulation that is bound to flow from it – that he unabashedly craves.

If he were calling the shots, Barry Soper, Duncan Garner and a raft of others of the same ilk would be packed off with the next contingent to Afghanistan and exposed to some front-line gunfire, preferably for the next several months.

Political journalism, in their absence, would be remarkably improved if the new bunch of hacks took the trouble (a beer or two would do the trick) of making Alf a confidante and using him as an unnamed source for their reportage on the goings-on in caucus, especially if they also recognised the great wisdom contained in his media statements and gave them a fair go.

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