Calling talks between rival gang members who are trying to bring an end to senseless conflicts – talks that have been occurring for years – a ‘merger’ and the creation of a ‘super gang’ means 3rd Degree have either been led up the garden path, are ignorant of reality, or they are deliberately misleading viewers for the sake of provocation. And given some of the reporting in the programme, the latter is my guess.
At one point it was mooted that this ‘merger’ (which doesn’t exist) was a “carefully timed PR stunt” in the wake of the Mallory Manning murder. That would indicate the gangs contacted the media. No. The media contacted them. And initially they had no story idea they just wanted the gangs. I know because the media contacted me first.
3rd Degree do know stunts, though. The dramatically described “moment of truth” meeting at the Hastings Mongrel Mob clubhouse between Black Power and the Mob was completely manufactured for the show. 3rd Degree set it up.
The best way to break news is to make it, I guess.
In their own realms the gangs have much power, none more so than the Mongrel Mob and Black Power, but they are no match for cunning media. The gangs have been a deep well from which the media has drank for time immemorial. Gangs attract an audience.
Don’t get me wrong, elements of the story were accurate. There are some within the gangs who are looking to have greater communication and cooperation. Respect to them for that. The editorialising was, however, too often grossly misleading. Having some engagement with each other and merging are entirely different things. Furthermore, there is still much more antagonism than cooperation between the decades-long rivals. Super gang? Pure fiction.
I feel for presenter Samantha Hayes. She fronted the show well, but she is reliant on those who construct the programme to set her on the right path. In this instance, that didn’t happen.
When I was contacted by the show’s producer he told me that he wasn’t about the sensational, and that he wanted to do things well. I told him I’d heard that before. He told me he was different to the others.
He sure was different to the others. He was worse.
But hey, it was great telly and that’s all that counts, right?
*unfortunately my website provider had a nightmare and reset the Facebook and Twitter counters. Thanks, though, for making this by far my most read and appreciated post to date.