Whodunnit: 3rd Degree journalism

3rd Degree’s Bain story last night gave the typically low rating current affairs show a rather large shot in the arm.  The average audience for the episode was 371,630 viewers, up a staggering 109% on the series average so far.  I’ll go out on a limb and say this point on the graph is going to be an outlier.


The ratings gave TV3 a win in the timeslot and many praised Melanie Reid’s journalism in uncovering such an apparently monumental piece of evidence.  I’m not convinced, however, that there was much journalism going on at all.

While there were those who viewed the story as some brilliant investigative reporting there are others who believe it was little more than a well orchestrated publicity stunt by a group of people seeking a payday.

According to Joe Karam, he was first made aware of the evidence on the 7th of February.  The footage from the testing of the murder weapon was obviously filmed during the summer so why has it taken at least four months for this all to come to light and why on earth would you use a TV show like 3rd Degree to break the story?

Once the episode had finished, the NZ Herald immediately published an article that included the photograph of the thumb prints from everyone who tested the magazine.  TV3 issued their press release shortly afterwards but the photograph wasn’t included.

Leighton Smith succinctly put it at the beginning of his show on NewstalkZB this morning that the evidence presented last night was not conclusive, it was persuasive.  And that seems to be the point – persuade the court of public opinion in the hopes that the Government will then be swayed into forking out compensation.

Regardless of what was presented as evidence last night, it was all very one sided with very few, if any, hard questions being asked.  The police have also confirmed that they weren’t even approached for comment.

Was this chequebook journalism?  Was it journalism at all?  Either way it appears as though we have a TV show that has been rather complicit in putting forward an argument without living up to its own name.

And now I see there is suggestion that the photo may be a fake.

When will it end…

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • Trevor Ashman

    Robin did it, why can’t people accept it? 🙁

  • Reece

    It failed to appear as journalism more a personal crusade.