Friday, June 11, 2004

Charter TV

I watched "State of the Nation" tonight, and was struck by how ambitious it was. The old, corporate TVNZ would never have tried something as risky as sticking a hundred people in a room for two hours and letting them talk. This was clearly Charter TV.

But did it work? Well, it was interesting seeing our national conversation on the Treaty, race relations and foreshore on the TV, and the informational segments were both humourous and informative. At the same time, people didn't actually seem to talk much, and they talked primarily to the camera rather than to each other. Which, I guess, is why nobody had changed their minds at the end. Why would they? Rather than a conversation, they'd seen a collection of (only vaguely linked) positions and questions.

And on the other hand, it may have been successful in getting people to talk (or at least think) about some of the issues, and in getting some facts into the arena. But I guess we'll never really know (unless David Slack's book sales spike enormously).

I was impressed that it managed to remain so civil for most of the time, even though there were some ugly views expressed. The ugliest by far, BTW, was the older Pakeha woman who was upset about Maori "returning to the province" after having been all but completely evicted. While she was factually incorrect, just think about what she was saying: "we'd ethnicly clensed them, and they had the gall to come back!" Even when its based on falsehood, that's a very, very ugly worldview. The traditional slanging over cannibalism pales in comparison.

Finally: TVNZ should sack their stats mook. The analysis of their phone poll was so lacking that the only thing you could tell was that most callers were Pakeha. They should have compared down, not across...