Rodney Hide carries on with his column explaining the stupidity of journalists when it comes to policy:
[R]eporters are a different kettle of fish.
They spend their livesÂ reporting politics. Itâ€™s their job. You would think they would haveÂ a basic grasp of the difference between good policy and bad policy andÂ some understanding of how policies impact society.Â They talk andÂ write as if they do. Turns out they donâ€™t.
They donâ€™t have a clue.
I vividly remember the first hour or two of my first end-of-yearÂ Parliamentary Press Gallery party.
A senior and respected political reporter bowled up to me. She wasÂ puzzled, she slurred. Why was the ACT Party so against Maori?
I was nonplussed.Â I had just walked in. I naively explained thatÂ nothing could be further from the truth.
I realise now that my reply would have just proved for her that I wasÂ both a liar and a fake.
â€śOf course, you are,â€ť she blurted.Â â€śYou guys donâ€™t want Maori Doctors!â€ť
I was more confused than ever — I still hadnâ€™t got a drink.Â IÂ declared confidently that no one from ACT had ever said such a thing.
Oh but she said, you are against quotas for Maori getting into medical school.
I realised then that I had led a sheltered life before Parliament. IÂ had never before come face-to-face with such mind-numbing stupidity.
I didnâ€™t know what to say. I didnâ€™t know how to begin to discussÂ affirmative action with someone adult and so manifestly stupid.
I explained why quotas donâ€™t work, why they donâ€™t address the problemÂ of underachievement, why they are counter-productive and why,Â actually, anyone supporting quotas was racist.
The ACT party, I said,Â was gloriously the only party in Parliament that wasnâ€™t racist andÂ fervently believed that the law should be applied fairly and equallyÂ to all.
It was only the ACT Party that demonstrably believed that Maori wereÂ every bit as capable as everyone else. She clearly did not.
But her eyes had glazed completely over and her mind had left theÂ party as soon as I started to reason and to explain.Â It was too toughÂ for her.