'BIG SOOK': Journalist called out for 'embarrassing' press conference act

·4-min read

A journalist in New Zealand has been labelled a ‘rude man baby’ and a ‘sook’ for his behaviour at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s press conference on Monday.

Political journalist for Newstalk ZB radio Barry Soper attended the post-Cabinet media conference where Ms Ardern addressed reporters before taking questions.

During question time, Soper managed to ask a number of questions before the Prime Minister turned her attention to other journalists in the room.

Jacinda Ardern at a press conference on Monday.
NZ PM Jacinda Ardern holds up her hand as she asks journalist Barry Soper to wait his turn at a press conference on Monday, Source: Twitter

In between her answers to other questions, Ms Ardern was repeatedly bombarded with more questions from Soper, who insisted he was on a tight deadline for his radio program.

“Barry, if you don’t mind I’m just going to come to a few people who haven’t had a chance and then I’ll double back to you,” Ms Ardern says from the podium.

When he objects, she tells him: “Barry, quite a few people need to go so I’m just trying to be fair.”

Ms Ardern then gives another journalist the go-ahead to ask their question, but Soper interrupts immediately.

“Quick question…” he begins.

“Barry,” Ms Ardern says, raising one hand. “Just a little more patience and then I’ll double back to those on time limits which I think include the TVs.”

Later in the press conference, Ms Ardern calls out an order to the questions, saying she’ll address “Jessica, then Barry and then Gina”.

But before anyone can speak, again Soper can be heard calling out: “One quick question about Auckland?”

“Barry, TVs are on deadline as well,” Ms Ardern says before she tells him: “I’m going to have to ask for a little decorum.”

The tense exchange was slammed online by viewers and other journalists after it was posted to Twitter.

“You're embarrassing yourself here Barry. Honestly,” one person wrote.

“Everyone’s got deadlines, Barry, but you still need to learn how to share,” another said.

“Your colleagues who were there have basically called you out for being a rude man baby... take the L Bazza you big sook,” another tweet read.

It wasn't all support for the PM though. Several Twitter users applauded Soper for his persistent questioning and disagreed with Ms Ardern's approach.

In an opinion piece for the NZ Herald on Monday afternoon, Soper wrote that Ms Ardern’s press conferences are “all about control”.

“Jacinda Ardern's press conferences are on a whole new level, she's had more practice at them than any other leader in recent history,” he wrote.

“But for her, it's all about control, to cut off a line of questioning before something difficult takes hold. If it runs the risk of taking hold, she'll over talk the questioner through the power of the podium microphone and move on.

“With the flick of a hand, she'll switch to another questioner. She's trained the media to raise their hands which allows her to rattle off the order in which the questions are to be asked."

He also wrote of his "constant" radio deadlines, and claimed Ardern favours those in television.

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