Why is AUT sponsoring right wing posturing pretending to be journalism?


The associate professor of politics at Canterbury University has every right to feel pissed off.

The Spinoff is a copy for cash hipster website. Pay the dollars and you get the story you want. Dressed up with lots of middle class pretensions masquerading as opinion, it is run by a man who felt that being invited to a Mediaworks season launch in 2014 made him feel proud to be a New Zealander.

Currently they are trying to pimp their interests via a ‘people’s commission on public broadcasting‘ which would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

The real question here is why are AUT sponsoring right wing think tanks spinning their corporate masters propaganda. There is  a story on there right now being pimped by the bloody NZ Initiative.

This is the future of Journalism? A site that takes money for copy and it’s never exactly clear who is paying for what.  Wow, the hard right think tank doesn’t think a tax on sugar drinks works, what a fucking surprise.

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Cameron Slater used to do this shit, he took cash from right wing industry to attack and denigrate health officials who demanded change, The Spinoff just makes that process look more palatable because it’s framed as a ‘debate’ with Julie Anne Genter.

Remember, this is The Spinoffs charter…

…Hipster millennial media is just as hollow and compromised as mainstream media.

The Daily Blog has advertisers and sponsored blogs – they are clearly marked advert and ‘sponsored’ blog, there is no pretence or blurring of lines.

Someone should be asking some hard questions of why AUT is supporting a glammed up version of Cameron Slater.


  1. Good research Martyn,

    It’s about time we demanded political parties place a ban on lobbyists donations as Trump has done couple of days ago placing a freeze on donations from lobbyists in Washington in an attempt to drain the swamp there, so maybe it could work here?

  2. Jenesa Jeram writes the most pedestrian analysis possible. Why does she even bother to write?

    She’s a yawn-fest and a corporate poodle. A turnoff for the Spinoff. She’s like a posh and ignorant first year sociology student who was born with her silver foot in her mouth. A joke. No critical thought.

  3. However, she’s right: A tax on sugar will achieve nothing but tax poor people.

    On that basis I reckon it’s a damn good idea! 🙂

    • Sure, just like the tobacco companies claimed a tax on cigarettes would achieve nothing but tax poor people. Some of the handful of low income people I know who still smoke do whinge about how much it costs. Others have started growing their own organic tobacco and sharing it with fellow smokers; for these people, tobacco has become an occasional treat, rather than an everyday habit. But the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”, and the statistics show that the tobacco price rises (combined with funding practical support for those who want to quit and the denormalization of huffing on cancer sticks all day, every day, everywhere) has massively reduced the number of tobacco smokers, and the amount of (mostly imported) tobacco smoked in Aotearoa.

      I would support a tax on added sugar (as opposed to the natural sugars in fruit, vegetables, milk etc), as long as the money collected could *only* be spent funding the public health system, including free doctors visits.

    • History proves taxation kicks off more revolutions than any other because it gives insight into how the 1% actually lives, tax free. So I’d be cautious if I were you revelling in glee

  4. It is not just the Spinoff that is doing this kind of “journalism”, it has sneaked into many other media publications, including stuff.co, NZME and of course television. Sponsors are at times mentioned, at times they are not.

    Also concerning was the fact that our trendy psychologist Nigel Latta did a program funded by Kiwibank, for TVNZ, which had Kiwibank ads sprinkled in between parts of the program.

    Now while I think Kiwibank deserves some support as it is an alternative to the mostly Australian owned banks we have, I am concerned about this trend, where sponsors with vested commercial interests are allowed to put in their “weight” on contents.

    It is bad as it is with our media, the future seems to become even much worse. There is danger of NO media being left, that we can really rely on for objective reporting.

    • This is not a new problem. In commercial media, ad-sponsored journalism took over from subscription-sponsored journalism a long time before the internet was a thing. Since the time that ad-sponsored TV news became dominant, if not before, news content has been distorted by a need to keep advertisers happy (see the Chomsky and Herman book ‘The Manufacturing of Consent’ and the doco based on it).

      What used to provide balance was public funding for investigative journalists and documentary film-makers, and free-to-air public broadcasting to make sure people had the opportunity to see what they produced. The amount of money available for this is now a tiny proportion of the amount spent on producing commercial content and running commercial distribution channels.

      This ability of corporations to filter and distort what we tell each other, through both professional and social media, is a serious problem, with no quick-fix solution. But it’s essential we all do what we can to improve the situation.

  5. It’s the era of Trump and English.

    It’s the era of Trump having “alternate facts” and English blaming everyone and anyone – except unbridled immigration – for the high cost of housing.

    AUT becomes Big Brother English’s Ministry of Truth [sic.]

    And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed— if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control’, they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink’

    This day-to-day falsification of the past, carried out by the Ministry of Truth, is as necessary to the stability of the regime as the work of repression and espionage carried out by the Ministry of Love.

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