Don Brash was filmed yesterday calling 3 News reporter Patrick Gower a "deceitful bastard".
Dr Brash is clearly feeling the pressure. ACT is struggling in the polls and has nothing to show for the bloodletting and leadership change it has endured.
The Epsom ACT candidacy is also turning into a farce, with the candidate John Banks seeming to enjoy taking shots at his leader.
So Dr Brash finally snapped and told a journo what he really thought.
The alternative explanation is that Dr Brash has decided a "blame the media" strategy will work better for ACT, as it has for Winston Peters for many years.
Unfortunately, such a strategy is unlikely to succeed. It works for Winston Peters because Peters is a master of the game. When Peters accuses the media of being beholden to vested interests, his supporters (the elderly, the disenfranchised and the disgruntled) take him at his word. It provides to them a convenient explanation for why Peters gets such a hard time in the news media.
But ACT is the very epitome of vested interests, even if many of those interests have now given up on the party and gone back to National. So accusing the media of being captured by a corporate elite isn't going to work for Brash.
It seems clear that attacking the media is an act of outright idiocy, and Brash's outburst is more likely to have been a brain explosion than anything calculated. Even if there was any truth in Brash's claim that Gower has it in for him, attacking Gower while the cameras are rolling is hardly smart. Gower's advantage as a reporter is that he gets to go back to base and edit the piece before it airs on TV.
But I very much doubt that Gower has a grudge against Brash or is targetting the ACT leader. If Brash wants to know why he and his party get such bad press, he should start by looking at ACT's insane policies, loopy press-releases, batty MPs, dysfunctional party machine, and cynical candidate selections.
On current polling, the ACT Party in Parliament will comprise John Banks and Don Brash after the election, but only if John Banks wins Epsom. That is no longer a given. Banks and Brash don't seem able to agree on anything, and both are well past their prime. Their public debates at least promise to add colour to the political landscape following the election, should Banks win his seat.
Compared to the clowns now running for ACT, Rodney Hide is no longer looking so bad.