A New Zealand journalist is currently the recipient of widespread praise after a video of her shutting down a politician over Covid-19 conspiracy theories during an interview went viral.
The incident occurred when Tova O’ Brien, political editor of a Kiwi multi-platform news service, was interviewing the leader of the Advance New Zealand party, Jami-Lee Ross. Ross’s party failed to secure enough votes in the recently concluded general election, after spreading rumours and misinformation on social media about the coronavirus.
“You know exactly what you were doing; you were whipping up fear and hysteria among vulnerable communities,” O’Brien was heard telling Ross during the interview.
At one point during the show, the journalist was seen throwing up her hands as Ross compared the mortality rate of Covid-19 with that of the seasonal flu.
She interjected saying: “No, no, no, I do not want to hear any of that rubbish”, before swiftly moving on to her next question.
She finished the interview telling Ross he would not be invited back and signed off saying: “You’re dreaming, mate.”
Video of the exchange, posted on Twitter, has so far attracted over seven million views, with many calling it a “masterclass in interviewing a politician”.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 18, 2020
Mary Trump, niece and vocal critic of US President Donald Trump, also shared the video, saying, “America media, take note: This is what’s possible when an interviewer couldn’t care less if a guest ever comes back on her show.”
— Mary L Trump (@MaryLTrump) October 18, 2020
The exchange comes just days after the landslide re-election victory of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who called it an endorsement of her government’s efforts to stamp out the coronavirus and reboot the nation’s economy.
Ardern’s liberal Labour Party got 49% of the vote, crushing the conservative National Party, which got 27%. Ardern said the margin of the victory exceeded their expectations.
The result will give Labour an outright majority in Parliament, the first time any party has achieved that since New Zealand implemented a proportional voting system 24 years ago.
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