Last year TVNZ's Paul Henry won my inaugural Media Clown of the Year Award by the proverbial country mile, thanks to his ridiculing of the physical appearances of Greenpeace activist Stephanie Mills and British singer Susan Boyle.
He put in another strong showing this year, with a couple of notable and deeply offensive racist outbursts.
In October he asked Prime Minister John Key on TV1's Breakfast who he was looking at to replace Sir Anand Satyanand as Governor General when his five-year term came to an end.
"Is he even a New Zealander?" Henry asked about Sir Anand Satyanand -- who was born and raised in New Zealand by his Fijian Indian parents.
'Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time... Are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?'
But there was more to come. No sooner had he 'apologised' to the Governor General, he was ridiculing the name of an Indian politician Sheila Dikshit. It was big laughs all round in the Breakfast studio. I'm not sure if co-host Wendy Petrie and newsreader Peter Williams were smiling at Henry's humour out of sheer embarrassment or they really thought it was funny.
Said Henry; "The dip shit woman. God, what's her name? Dick Shit. Is it Dick Shit ... it looks like 'Dick Shit. It's so appropriate, because she's Indian, so she'd be dick-in-shit wouldn't she, do you know what I mean? Walking along the street ... it's just so funny.'
TVNZ runs a tabloid and ratings driven new service and it allowed Henry to use Breakfast to bash individuals and organisations he didn't like - while at the same time praising his favourites like the National Party and the Sensible Sentencing Trust. It was all good for the viewing figures because Henry's redneck fans all tuned in to see their hero in action.
Henry harbours some deeply right wing views and his so-called 'humour' has served only to mask - but not conceal - his hostility to liberals and left wingers alike.
TVNZ was all set to slap Henry over the wrist with a wet bus ticket for the umpteenth. time. Indeed TVNZ Chief Rick Ellis insisted he had 'no intention' of replacing Henry.
But when TVNZ finally hauled itself out of the tabloid gutter it discovered that Henry had provoked a diplomatic incident with the Indian Government and that his racist slurs had gone all around the world. Hardly a good look for a broadcaster that told us that we were all 'one'.
Paul Henry resigned before he got sacked. Since then he has been blaming TVNZ for his behaviour - because it supposedly 'encouraged him' to be a reactionary creep. Boo hoo.
It's rumoured Henry is all set to return to the swamp from whence he came - namely talkback radio. He may be replacing Maggie Barry on the low-rating Radio Live.
Speaking of Radio Live, my second contender for Media Clown of the Year is its 9-12 morning host Michael Laws.
Laws likes to think of himself as a solid, no-nonsense and dependable kind of bloke. He's the good keen man who speaks his mind and fights the good fight against the always threatening mob of beneficiaries , crims, gang members, hopeless Maori parents, druggies, namby=pamby liberals and people who want to introduce an 'h' into Wanganui.
His answer to most things is to be more punitive; less 'molly-coddling' by the sTate and longer prison sentences is Dr Mike's prescription for our social ills. He would also like to see the reintroduction of capital punishment.
Having set himself on a moral pulpit of his own making, Laws duly fell off it when earlier this year it was revealed that he had conducted a relationship with an Auckland woman who used to be a prostitute and a P addict.
The woman in question wearing an electronically monitored anklet during their encounters, which didn't seem to concern Laws at all,
He told the Sunday Star Times: “I’m very supportive of the idea of people making amends for things they have done wrong in their lives.”
Here's Laws talking about child poverty:
'It’s time for some straight talking around child abuse in this country and the link with ethnicity rather than poverty. And the link with blasted parents who consume themselves with drinks, drugs and the wrong partners.'
In 2009 Laws wasn't talking 'second chances' when he argued that members of the 'underclass' should be sterilised in exchange for a $10,000 payment as a 'solution' to the child abuse problem.
'There are too many people who should not have children.' thundered Laws.
This year Michael Laws' former partner revealed to the Woman's Day that she punched him in the face on several occasions during their "toxic" relationship.
Leonie Brookhammer said: 'It was always the same pattern, we'd get into an argument and eventually I'd just hit him in the face with my fist,'
Brookhammer, who has three young children with Laws, claimed the couple's disputes had twice resulted in police being called out – once in 2003 and then again in January this year.
She also said called in the boys in blue in when an 'incident' erupted following their final split.
She said Laws had stood in front of the gates of their Whanganui home to stop her driving away with their children.
Brookhammer said as he was 'hanging off the windscreen wipers', she 'told him to get out of the way or I would run him over'.
I wonder what the neighbours thought?
For not practicing what he preaches and for being an obnoxious right wing prat, Michael Laws was definitely a contender for Media Clown of the Year.
My third candidate is someone who I've been writing about for some years now. It's not that I really want to - he just won't go away. He's like that bad smell that lingers, seemingly resistant to disinfectant.
I thought Christchurch would rid itself of the curse of Sideshow Bob at the October local body elections - but that was before the city was hit by a 7.1 earthquake on Saturday, September 4.
For Sideshow Bob the quake represented a golden and undeserved opportunity for him to salvage his discredited mayoralty.
Trailing rival Jim Anderton by a massive 16 percent in the polls, Bob was all set to be a one-term mayor.
But before you could say 'Put the coffee and muffins on my council card' Bob had repackaged himself as 'the hero of the hero'. 'Never fear, Bob is here!', he cried, bounding out of the council offices in his orange safety jacket.
Bob did what any hero would do in an emergency - he made sure he was in the media all the time.
While Civil Defence and other organisations got on with dealing the immediate consequences of the quake, Bob largely devoted himself to the crucial issue of getting his face in the media as much as possible.
Whenever a TV crew appeared on the scene so did Bob. He even pushed one guy out of camera shot and took over his interview!
Bob also decided that he wasn't going to be held accountable for his mayoral track record and refused to show up at meetings and debates. Indeed he refused to answer any questions that weren't quake related.
'I'm just to busy dealing with the quake' was Bob's standard response. But he wasn't 'too busy' to spend time in various coffee houses and bars.
So for all round narcissism, and for his contempt for the due democratic process, Sideshow Bob is my Media Clown of the Year.
He wins a new orange safety jacket and a bag of muffins.