Campbell Live news provokes public outcry on social media
An outpouring of shock and outrage has greeted news that Campbell Live may be axed in favour of light entertainment.
More than 63,000 people had signed three online petitions yesterday, calling for the show to be saved, and 8000 joined various "Save Campbell Live" groups on Facebook.
Host John Campbell's advocacy journalism attracted heartfelt praise, with supporters saying Campbell Live was the last serious current affairs show in the 7pm slot.
"Campbell Live has a long history of covering topical issues that hold power to account," a statement on Action Station's petition said.
"These include deep sea oil drilling, overfishing, SkyCity convention centre taxpayer blowouts, the Christchurch rebuild, NZ transport budgets, child poverty, cycling lanes and more."
Veteran arts and social commentator Hamish Keith tweeted his dismay: "Last shred of responsible television to be 'reviewed' while idiocy, sycophancy and vacuity is promoted & celebrated."
Labour MPs Chris Hipkins and Kris Faafoi added to the chorus, with Faafoi suggesting the news of a review was a publicity stunt.
"Campbell raises money to feed poor kids, Hosking says poor people shouldn't have them. Campbell the one facing the chop!! #SaveCampbellLive," Hipkins tweeted, referring to Campbell's competition on TV1, Mike Hosking.
National MP Todd Barclay copped a backlash for his Facebook post: "No surprises that it's only Labour Party MPs scrambling to keep Campbell Live running #goodjobmikehosking." After people branded his comments "disgusting" and "nasty", Barclay took his post down, saying the show clearly had many supporters.
Some pointed out the links between TV3 chief executive Mark Weldon and the National Party. Weldon led National's job summit in 2009.
"I understand that MediaWorks CEO Mark Weldon thinks @CampbellLiveNZ & @JohnJCampbell are too anti-government," right-wing commentator Matthew Hooton tweeted.
Comedians Jono and Ben tried to calm rumours they would take over the 7pm slot. "We've read that we're rumoured to replace @CampbellLiveNZ. Just want to say to say on record this is honestly the first we've heard of this," they tweeted.
Even Campbell's media rivals came out batting for him.
"I know TV3 are the opposition and all, but if they axe @CampbellLiveNZ it will be a very sad day for NZ journalism indeed," One News reporter Andrew Morrison tweeted.
"Ask some Christchurchians how they feel about Campbell Live being threatened, & tell me that decent TV journalism doesn't make a difference," Newstalk ZB's James Robins said.
Campbell himself seemed humbled by the flood of support. "Thank you for your support. Thank you," he tweeted.