I can’t confirm this, I heard it from a bloke in my shed talking to himself after 16 pints of homebrew, but what the f*%$ I’m live on telly and I’ve got nothing but rumours: Sainso’s moustache is booby-trapped.
Another rumour I’ve heard, this one from a woman in Foodtown: Cambo’s a secret Rambo. Apparently he’s into body-building and small arms.
I’ve also been told, but I can’t confirm it, that Close Up is dead. Sauces tell me this just happened. Unfortunately, the next-of-kin haven’t been told, but sauces close to the programme believe it took its own life, probably with a high-powered, but unconfirmed small arm. However, other sauces tell me that Sainso set of his moustache bomb when he found out that Cambo had beaten him to be first with the rumour that the Napier siege was over.
In my previous post on the coverage of the Napier siege story I mentioned that we’d see a bloody finale to the story live on the news and evening current affairs shows. I was being a bit facetious, but FIGJAM.
It’s not over yet. The siege is ongoing, there’s likely to be more blood on the streets of Napier. The way things are going, we’ll get it live at 6pm tonight and again at 7pm. [A new low in NZ journalism]
On Friday night, there was a whole 90 minutes of breathless reporting. it was a blood-soaked ending to a low week. It’s only a rumour, but I heard that TV3 f*&%@d it up, big time.
TVNZ news had Simon Dallow on a dark corner in Napier talking to reporters standing on other dark corners, also in Napier. Why not put them together? They were probably only a few metres apart anyway. They could have shouted their Q&A, no need for microphones.
Dallow wasn’t very enlightening, but we did find out about a whole bunch of rumours circulating in Napier regarding Jan Molenaar’s mental health, his very successful cannabis biz and that the siege house was booby-trapped.
TV3 had the big guns in town, they were out to make a killing on this story having been badly beaten the night before by Close Up‘s coup with the indecently coiffed Mrs Molenaar.
According to sauces, John Campbell appeared overly excited by his own little scoop. He had managed to talk his way through the police cordon into the living room of a Napier local who hadn’t been evacuated. The TV3 camera guy, Phil Johnson, managed to get some shots of some shooting action outside the Molenaar siege house around 5pm.
Then in a round of shameless rumour peddling we got this list from “Jan Molenaar’s friends”:
“well known cannabis grower and gun owner” [his brother denied any knowledge of this]
“several people claim he’s had run-ins with the Mongrel Mob” [always good to get a gang angle on these Maori crime stories]
“he’s paranoid about people getting into his house. That is why he’s apparently booby-trapped it.”
But it’s OK to make rumours and gossip the basis for a serious news story. All you have to do is stick a weak-as-piss disclaimer on the end. Something like this script from John Campbell:
“We need to say that has not been confirmed.”
At AUT we always tell our students that they have to confirm facts before reporting them. We don’t let student journalists put any old rubbish into their stories, no matter how sensational it might be. But here we have one of the country’s senior and most respected reporters shoveling unconfirmed rumour into his programme like it was going to save his life.
Campbell Live also had an interview with a friend of Jan Molenaar, Tony Moore, who was able to report that the “gunman” was “wounded”, but he couldn’t actually say he’d been shot. That didn’t stop the rumour that he had actually been “shot twice” by police fire making it into Campbell’s intro to Helen Vaughan’s interview.
Moore claimed to have spoken to Molenaar earlier in the day. In response to a question from the reporter: “He’s been shot?” Mr Moore says “I don’t know if wounded means shot, but he’s been shot at, yes.”
So “shot twice” to “shot at”. We, like them, are none the wiser after this exchange with Mr Moore.
But the real action took place later on Campbell Live when John Campbell – in a Q&A with Carol Hirschfeld – said that sources said Jan Molenaar had killed himself.
After telling the senior cop it was “lovely to have you on the show”, Campbell let his mouth get in front of his brain. I heard he had a brain snap, but I can’t confirm it.
Campbell was shot in profile for is interview with the cop, but I could just see the hint of a rictus grin on his face. Totally inappropriate, but an indication of his enjoyment of the attention and adrenalin of the story.
The strain of the ratings war was clearly getting to him, Campbell needed the killer blow, the last shot in the locker and he got it. Towards the end of the show, he starts another Q&A with Carol in the studio:
“Our colleagues from 3News have just told us that it is their understanding that Jan Molenaar may have died from a self-inflicted wound. I do want to stress that has not been confirmed. We have heard similar rumours throughout the day, but this seems to have come from an unusually close source.
My colleague, Phil Johnson, who was in position shooting the pictures you saw in our lead story tonight, has also reported the arrival of ambulances….so what we are hearing is that sources 3news has are telling them that Jan Molenaar may have committed suicide. We also have reports of an ambulance, or more than one ambulance going to the scene, victim support phoning people in the area and warning them that there is some major development imminent…The reports we are getting, from our colleagues, are that there may have been an end to this in the past few minutes.”
Well actually, no. The latest reports available to Ethical Martini , at 1.50am Saturday, are that apart from recovering the body of Len Snee, the status of the siege is unchanged.
I can’t help but wonder how family and friends of Jan Molenaar might have reacted to Campbell’s announcement of his demise, by his own hand too. As far as I’m concerned that is totally irresponsible and poor journalism. There’s no wonder that professional journalists have such a bad reputation. Perhaps we’ve seen a new “new low” in New Zealand journalism.
I’ve heard a rumour that John Campbell is not embarrassed by this lack of confirmation of his rumours, but I’m unable to confirm it.
What I can tell you though is that Close Up is under siege in the TV ratings war. Both Close Up and Campbell Live appear to have been ethically wounded while in the field covering this story under fire.
I can also report exclusively, though sauces are not confirming this, that Sainso’s replacing his pinstripes with a new camouflage suit and Cambo’s going back to the gym and is taking supplements in order to bulk up his small arms.
But, as I say, none of this is confirmed.