Mike Hosking has hit back at claims of bias from NZ First leader Winston Peters, but the TV host's political views remain a hot topic on social media today.
Mr Peters fired the first shot in the war of words yesterday with a column for the NZ Herald, in which he accused Hosking of being a "National Party stooge", who had his "jowls up the Prime Minister's cheeks".
Hosking - who also co-hosts TVNZ's Seven Sharp - spoke about Mr Peter's "small pop" at him on his Newstalk ZB radio show this morning.
Hosking dismissed the veteran politician's claims, saying Mr Peters must have made them because he had woken up grumpy, bored and in need of a headline.
He said he did not consider himself a journalist, and also denied there was any political influence in an article on dairy prices he wrote last week for the Herald, laughing off Mr Peter's suggestion that he had claimed to be an expert on dairy.
Labour leader Andrew Little and Green Party co-leader James Shaw have both backed Mr Peters on the issue, while Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that claims of bias were "nonsense".
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce also took to Twitter to defend Hosking:
Opposition politicians outraged that a commentator is allowed to have a different view to them.— Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) August 17, 2015
However, media commentator Brian Edwards pointed out in a tweet that National Party members leaping to the defence of Hosking was "not entirely helpful" to claims of bias -
National Party leaders rush to defend Mike Hosking against charges of right wing bias. Not entirely helpful you might have thought.— Brian Edwards (@DrBrianEdwards) August 17, 2015
- while Steven Joyce's own accusations of bias came under the microscope:
Several other Twitter users have questioned Hosking's impartiality, and his claim that he was not a journalist:
Mike Hosking is both a journalist and not a journalist. He is currently sitting inside a box with an increasingly pissed off cat.— Dovil (@Dovil) August 17, 2015
With Hosking you won't learn anything you didn't already know. You'll just get some complacency or prejudice reinforced.— David Slack (@DavidSlack) August 17, 2015
But while Hosking may not be able to shake off accusations of bias from the public and politicians, few can deny the fight would make great live television:
Hosking should invite @winstonpeters onto his show to discuss this. That'd be genuinely awesome TV— Danyl Mclauchlan (@danylmc) August 17, 2015