TV3's 3rd Degree is a current affairs show in name only.

THERE ARE, of course,  many crucial issues an intelligent and assertive  television current affairs show could be covering right now. Off the top of my head I would of thought the growing level of poverty and the widening economic gap was an issue.  Perhaps an investigation into the unrepresentative and undemocratic nature of New Zealand's 'representative democracy' could be considered. Perhaps the cameras  could visit some Christchurch homes to see the dismal condition that many people are still living in - while the wealthy buy up million dollar apartments in the central city  Again, another issue worthy of coverage I would of thought.

No such stories appeared on TV3's 3rd Degree last night.

Apparently the 3rd Degree team have been living in a time warp because the big story for the first show of the year was all about a three year old plane crash.  Reporter Michael Morrah insisted that there was something dodgy about the report of the investigation into the crash. I thought Morrah was attempting to whip up a mountain from a molehill and the real reason this story  got the go-ahead was because it was thought it would deliver ratings.

And  in an attempt to provoke a controversy where there clearly isn't any, the story also led TV3's six o'clock news bulletin last night  and has been a leading item on Mediawork's radio news bulletins for the past twelve hours or so.  Ah, the joys of cross-ownership.

This was followed by a soft story about a young man, Liam Malone,  who has been given a pair of artificial  legs. He was described as 'New Zealand's  blade runner,' - but I don't think young Liam is presently in court on a murder charge. I think I dozed off at some point during this story.

The whole mediocre ratings-driven exercise  was presented by Duncan Garner and Samantha  Hayes who monotonously explained what we were watching at every given opportunity. Apparently we all have IQ's of a particularly stupid ten year old.

3rd Degree is vanilla current affairs. It doesn't offend the rich and powerful, it doesn't shake any branches of the status quo - it is just there between the incessant commercial breaks.


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