Bob Jones on Matthew Hooton

Matthew Hooton is the latest person to draw the ire of national treasure Bob Jones.

After explaining some travesties of reporting against him by various media outlets he then sets about excoriating Matthew Hooton.

Despite my comments, I love newspapers and specially the Dom. But I give it maybe five more years due to the short-sighted Fairfax cost-cutting destroying all their publications. The latest newspaper circulation figures show it suffered a disastrous 14.4% drop in sales last year. Every newspaper is experiencing steady drops but none as bad as that.? Staff lay-offs have become a regular feature of late. These sackees are being mopped up by the Weather Office where their creativity has proven a boon to the forecasting department. The sole New Zealand exception is The National Business Review, which alone deservedly enjoyed a growth in sales.

Still, when it comes to fiction-writing, nothing surpasses NBR?sMatthew Hooton?s July effort headed ?Bob Jones? right-hand man set to save Labour.? Over a full page it described how Greg Loveridge was to be the next Labour leader. Apparently he was about to abandon his $9 million Auckland home and recently acquired $3.5 million Waiheke week-ender and shift to Wainuiomata for God?s sake, to pursue Trevor Mallard?s seat, as a first step to taking over the Labour leadership. Hooton backed all of this with an extraordinary NBR radio interview in which he outlined this virtually as a fait-accompli. ?

We assume that the basis for this unbelievable fiction-writing was that after returning from Cambridge university, last century take note, Greg did a short stint at Parliament in Trevor Mallard?s office, which experience put him off politics for life. As for joining Labour, an embarrassing assertion as he considers the party an anachronism, the likelihood of that is significantly less than the Catholics demanding I become the next Pope. Mind you, if Hooton wants to write that, and on his form it certainly wouldn?t surprise, then I shall graciously acknowledge it?s a possibility.

Greg is a healthy bugger but imagine if he wasn?t and dropped dead with a heart attack after reading this garbage. Reasonable people might argue this would mean about six years for Matthew following a manslaughter conviction. But I believe an excellent case could be made for a murder conviction and if this was Texas, a death sentence.

Within a decade there may be no daily newspapers. Future generations will read of these past reporter creative endeavours with disbelief. Waugh?s Scoop, for half a century after publication, in an age when reporters read books, was firmly established as journalism?s bible, with its tales of havoc-causing fictional news creations. Hootonism and Scoop in the eyes of a more na?ve future generation, will be wrongly categorised with Gulliver?s Travels or H G Wells?s Time Machine and The Invisible Man, as imaginative fantasy.

I, however, shall exploit this situation. Mass tourism has brought the evolvement, particularly in Europe, of specialist museums targeting tourists, who by their third day in a historic city, are bored witless and wondering what to do next. On my observation the most popular museums are those with a macabre theme, such as medieval torture instruments and the like. In that horror category will be my museum of journalist outrages with the first room explaining what a newspaper was to younger visitors. Matthew?s effort will justify a framed photo in the fiction-writing room; nothing more given it lacked malice. If he aspires to be immortalised with a statue at the entrance, he?ll have to do better than that.

I hope someday that someone will fund a statue of Bob Jones. An ideal one would be him hitting journalist Rod Vaughan in the face for disturbing his fishing.

?- NBR