I know I should be dispassionate but sometimes I despair at the state of the mainstream media in this country.
I thought the media, especially television, had reached a new low with its over-the-top and infantile coverage of The Hobbit premiere. But I was wrong. Just when I foolishly thought it was safe to return to the murky waters of the corporate media, my intelligence was insulted again by a whole load of rancidly sycophantic stories about Princess Muck of Muckly and the announcement she will soon be unloading another Windsor on the embattled people of Britain.
This tabloid story has given the media another sideshow to cavort in - namely a couple of Australian DJs making a prank call to the hospital where Princess Muck of Muckly is presently enjoying the services of a private nurse. TVNZ's hopeless news service actually gave this story greater priority than events in Syria.
I have to say that I only monitor the mainstream media out of some sense of duty - that there must be witnesses to the rubbish that passes for news in this country. For serious journalism that doesn't treat me as if I was brain dead I have to go elsewhere.
I find myself watching a lot of the stuff on RT (Sky 96), formerly known as Russia Today.
RT America is producing several good shows and many can be seen in New Zealand, including The Keiser Report, The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann, Crosstalk with Peter Savelle and Capital Account with Lauren Lyster. None of them I'm glad to say, feature salacious crime stories, celebrity stories and political gossip.
A new addition to the schedule is Breaking The Set with Abby Martin. I wasn't sure if this show was to make it to the New Zealand schedules but, happily, it can now be seen Tuesday to Saturday.
It's a snappy and provocative show that, frankly, leaves Campbell Live gasping in its wake. I coludn't imagine Abby Martin going to Wellington for The Hobbit premiere and sweeping Warner Bros' anti-union activities under the carpet - as did John Campbell and his other TV3 colleagues. (Like the silly Samantha Hayes for instance - whose main 'contribution' was to severely interrogate the Prime Minister about the green bow tie he was wearing. Hayes has now been 'promoted' to TV3's new current affairs show for 2013, optimistically called 3rd Degree.)
While TV1 and TV3 were devoting a chunk of their limited news coverage to Princess Muck of Muckly, Abby Martin was talking with Michael Ratner.
Michael Ratner is President of the Centre of Constitutional Rights in the United States and is an attorney acting on behalf of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
He is also acting on behalf of Jeremy Hammond, who you may or may not have heard of. He has received next to no coverage in New Zealand - unlike the extensive news coverage devoted to Princess Muck of Muckly.
Jeremy Hammond is a 27-year-old Chicago activist accused of hacking into the private intelligence firm Stratfor and releasing information to Wikileaks.
He was denied bail last month by Judge Loretta Preska who told Hammond that he could be sentenced to serve anywhere from 360 months-to-life, if convicted on all charges. Hammond has been languishing in jail for eight months.
Also last month it was revealed that Judge Preska had failed to disclose that her husband had been a victim of the hack because he works for a company which is a current Stratfor client.
Supporters of Hammond are demanding that Judge Preska remove herself from the case.
Martin also talked with historian Webster Tarpley about the unfolding of events in Syria. Tarpley is of the opinion that events in that country are being orchestrated by CIA front organisations.
So if you want to watch a show that isn't like wading through custard, trying Breaking the Set. It's half an hour of news analysis and discussion that doesn't hold its punches. You might not agree with everything but it will get you thinking - as opposed to snoozing with the six o'clock news bulletins.