Let me preface this post by saying that I despise New Zealand’s overzealous love of rugby about as much I despise New Zealand’s apparent dislike for Australia and its residents. These two things alone seem to be driven so much by the media that it appalls me. Considering Australia is New Zealand’s #1 overseas holiday destination and many Kiwis choose to live there makes the entire premise a farce, but let’s come back to the rugby element.
On Saturday, New Zealand learned that we had lost one of our greatest minds. Sir Paul Callaghan, the 2011 New Zealander of the Year, held many accolades including being a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. His list of credentials are as long as they are impressive. However, despite this, his death and ultimate loss to New Zealand was relegated to the fourth most important news item on both One News and 3 News, something I thought was worth lamenting.
Only 11 days earlier, another Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit member passed away. His death lead both bulletins. This of course was Jock Hobbs: former All Black and the man who has been bestowed the honor of saving New Zealand rugby and of securing the 2011 Rugby World Cup hosting rights.
On the day the Jock Hobbs died, both networks deemed the story as being more ‘important’ (i.e. higher up in the bulletin) than news of a major breach of privacy at ACC, the conflict in Syria, the Urewera 4 trial, Asia Air X ending its service to Christchurch, the Ports of Auckland strike and the Chris Cairns libel case.
Compare this to when Sir Paul Callaghan passed away, One News thought the return of a sporting event to Christchurch, the refit of a sports stadium and an incident involving a hot air balloon in which everyone was safe were more important. 3 News had the jailing of a Kiwi duped into smuggling cocaine in Argentina, the cost to rent a house in Auckland and President Obama’s statement about a killed teenager in Florida.
Re-read that list of stories again. Is it not appalling? Is it not disrespectful? Could you go as far as asking if it’s fair, balanced or even reasonable?
I simply cannot understand why the death of such a brilliant New Zealander was not given the same prominence as a sports hero.