Once again, the Sisterhood has dragged down John Tamihere. Look upon his fate, ye men, and ponder.

According to the NZ Herald, which lifted its story from an interview he gave to Radio Waatea, John Tamihere plans to sue MediaWorks for dropping him from Radio Live's afternoon talkbalk slot next year. You may recall he's already off-air, due to the public (and, in particular, advertiser) response to his and Willie Jackson's "Amy interview" conducted in the midst of the Auckland rape ring story.

There's then a more up-to-date story on Radio Waatea's website today, in which Tamihere trumpets the fact that Mediaworks complaints committee has found that particular interview did not breach broadcasting standards. However, whilst concluding that there was no breach of formal standards, the committee also notes that:

We are confident this incident has sent a clear signal to broadcasters that sensitivity is expected in their line of questioning – this has been a strong message that has been delivered efficiently and outside of the regulatory process as a result of social media reaction and lobbying by certain key influencers.

So it's not that this report says Jackson and Tamihere did nothing wrong; rather, it says that whatever faults there may have been in the interview did not amount to breach of the broadcast standards that the station is required to adhere to by law. A decision, it should be noted, that can be taken to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, if any of the original complainants should happen to disagree with it.

Anyway, my point is that in this later interview, Tamihere's a bit more circumspect about whether the mooted legal action will go ahead. So let's wait and see what actually happens.

Because it's hard to see exactly what basis Tamihere would have for suing MediaWorks. I'd be amazed if it had him on an employment contract, as opposed to contracting his services as an independent operator. So you'd have to think that the employment law protections he'd enjoy are pretty minimal.

Furthermore, he's in a game where players live by their opinions and die by their opinions. To get a listening audience (and thus advertisers willing to pay your employer for broadcast time), a host has to have something to say that people want to hear. If you can do this, then you are a winner. By the same token, if what you say drives your listeners to change channels (or, just as bad, causes advertisers to stop giving your employer money), then you are a loser. The rules are pretty simple here.

Finally, there's the small issue that MediaWorks, which owns the Radio Live station that Tamhere broadcast on, is in receivership and heading for new owners. Radio Live also has struggled in the crowded (and cut-throat) radio market; the October radio survey had it attracting just 3.4% of listeners. And for all the attention it garnered over the infamous "Amy interview", Jackson and Tamihere's show has not been successful in growing its share of the audience. Which makes it look pretty ripe for a revamp, complete with a (partial) change of personnel.

So, sure Tamihere can sue - that's his right. But you've got to suspect that hurt pride and a thirst to "tell his story" are more of a motivation than any real chance of getting legal redress. Indeed, Tamihere's own words - "whenever I go anywhere I will go on my own terms, won't go on anyone else's terms" - seem to indicate that this is the case.

For all that, what really gets me about this story is the last quote of Tamihere's contained in it: 

It's interesting too at Mediaworks, it's a sisterhood running it and I'm just writing up my affidavit now and reflecting on it, it's amazing, it's back to the future with Helen and co.

Tamihere is right about one thing. It is pretty amazing that, when he once again finds himself in an organisation in which women play a significant role in management and decisionmaking, it turns out his actions are considered to be so problematic that he finds himself on the outer. And so I think men everywhere need to pause for a moment and give him thanks.

You see, Tamihere is alerting us to a creeping conspiracy, in which a group consisting of a mere majority of the population are gradually working their way into positions of power, and then using it to the detriment of ordinary, working class blokes with six-figure incomes and a very nice house who do no more than refer to them as "frontbums", or carry out interviews with young women that a large swathe of the population find quite offensive. 

So, wake up male sheeples (or is that ramople?)! If Tamihere can be treated this way, the next thing you know, we'll have a world in which us guys have to accept the proposition that women ought to be taken seriously and considered equally worthy of respect. Because if we don't, our birthright privilege of being selected as a candidate for one of the nation's main political parties, or being paid to go on a nationwide radio station to say whatever is in our heads, will be taken away from us.

And if that isn't sexism, then I just don't know what is.

Comments (12)

by Fentex on December 20, 2013
Fentex

Hang on a minute, this observation...

To get a listening audience (and thus advertisers willing to pay your employer for broadcast time), a host has to have something to say that people want to hear. If you can do this, then you are a winner. By the same token, if what you say drives your listeners to change channels (or, just as bad, causes advertisers to stop giving your employer money), then you are a loser. The rules are pretty simple here.

...seems very at odds with your thinking here, where you argue peoples distaste for these clowns shouldn't be allowed to force them off the air. So is your title here really an attempt at irony or what?

by Andrew Geddis on December 20, 2013
Andrew Geddis

@Fentex,

I'm not sure I see the disjunct in approach. I've always accepted that in fact advertiser response to a show can have an editorial impact on a show. My "unease", as I expressed it in the post you link to, was then lessened to:

From working through this, I think my initial "unease" has lessened into more of a "if Jackson and Tamihere do end up off the air, they probably brought it on themselves" position.

So as addicted to "irony" as I am, in particular with respect to my post titles, I don't think I've been too inconsistent in my approach here.

(That said, I'm responding to this comment after a fairly liquid end-of-year Christmas celebration, so my faculties are not the most complete. In the spirit of which, happy summer hildays!)

by Ross on December 20, 2013
Ross
I clicked the link to the "nice house" expecting to see jacuzzis, swimming pools, and possibly a tennis court. Sigh.
by Andrew Geddis on December 20, 2013
Andrew Geddis

I clicked the link to the "nice house" expecting to see jacuzzis, swimming pools, and possibly a tennis court. Sigh.

What, Ross ...  you haven't had the deal Tamhere has to buy your house? Looks like the Sisterhood has nobled you already ... .

by Steven Peters on December 20, 2013
Steven Peters

What point  are you making Andrew? If they were removed unjustly, that is a genuine issue, regardless of their employment protections and ability to sue.   Was a  'sisterhood' stirring the pot, and responsible, as alleged

Men do not have the sole privelge of being selected standing for parliament, nor being on talk back and saying whatever is in their heads, as you suggest. Besides, isnt that the pupose of talk back radio, hosts and callers talks about what is in their particular head?

Happy Christmas

by Andrew Osborn on December 20, 2013
Andrew Osborn

So is your title here really an attempt at irony or what?

Pearls before swine?



by Andrew Geddis on December 20, 2013
Andrew Geddis

What point  are you making Andrew?

That John Tamihere appears to have a problem with women holding positions of authority over him, such that he could be open to accusations of misogyny.

Was it really so subtle?

by Andrew Osborn on December 21, 2013
Andrew Osborn

Not making a point - just a nice article is all.

Personally I'm pleased they're off the radio as it gives me one more station to listen to when I'm on the road. Their 90 IQ stuff really did get on my nerves. John I can just about tolerate but Jackson was intolerably annoying.

 

 

by Rex Ahdar on December 21, 2013
Rex Ahdar
  1. Nothing to do with this story, so I crave the PUNDIT Editor's indulgence...

I wish to publicly thank Andrew for his important contribuion to public debate. As regular readers will need no reminding, he maintains a steady, indeed prolific, stream of thoughful and erudite articles to this Blog. To boot, he is a splendid and engaging colleague and a pleasure to have around the Faculty of Law at Otago. So to Andrew and his lovely wife Jacinta (also a  legal academic) and their two small children, I salute you on a year well done, my friend. (I forgive you for all the things you said about Tottenham Hotspur too.) Enjoy the Christmas and New Year break.

Rex

by Andrew Geddis on December 21, 2013
Andrew Geddis

John I can just about tolerate but Jackson was intolerably annoying.

Well, Jackson will be back next year. With Alison Mau in the co-host chair ... .

by Andrew Geddis on December 21, 2013
Andrew Geddis

@Rex,

You are too kind - and right back at you. All the best for Christmas, and here's to a better 2014 for Spurs.

by Andrew Osborn on December 22, 2013
Andrew Osborn

Well, Jackson will be back next year. With Alison Mau in the co-host chair 

I must get the car set up for audio books...

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