Sean Plunket: Put your name where your opinion is

Opinion 24/01/2020

By Sean Plunket, Magic Afternoons host.

Robust public discourse is vital to the maintenance of a healthy democracy. Our fourth estate, the media, are an important player in that discourse. While our national psyche sometimes discourages passionate debate and looks the other way when it occurs I believe we have a good record in being able to disagree and discuss without coming to blows or being venal and personal.

I've spent much of my professional life engaged in or observing that process and as  I recognize I cannot expect to be immune from personal attack and the odd bit of hate speech as a result.

But there are some fundamental rules around that.

One of them is if you want to have a crack at me and my ideas have the guts to say who you are. If you do I'm likely to invite you to expand on your views and ask you onto my show. If you choose to hide behind anonymity and a bogus twitter account I can't do that and to be frank that says a lot more about your faith in your position than anything I have said or done.

I kicked off 2020 with a "twitter battle" with cricketer Jimmy Neesham over the planned indoctrination and radicalisation of Year 7 -10 pupils in state schools. Jimmy had the balls to put his name to his views and while he couldn't muster the courage to come on my show to argue his case I respect the fact that he stuck to his woke doomer position.

I wish I could say the same of the anonymous Otago Daily Times editorial published this week. While willfully ignoring the substance of the issue Jimmy and I clashed over a nameless keyboard warrior at the ODT decided to have a personal crack at Shane Jones and myself.

I'm sure they'll be sipping their craft beer at Friday drinks tonight and telling their colleagues how they had a crack at a "shock jock" because they are so woke and with it. If you have to listen to their drivel ask them why they didn't have the guts to put their name to their cheap shot and why they haven't got the guts to accept this inviatation to come on Magictalk this afternoon and put their money where their mouth is.

Sean Plunket is host of Magic Afternoons, weekdays 12-4pm.