David Farrar and John Key
I for one like the desperation that irrelevance has created in David Farrar.
From being John Key’s Gríma Wormtongue to right wing blogger no one bothers with anymore has caused some blogs that almost scream ‘pay-attention-please-I’m-trying-to-insult-you-with-a-sick-burn’ sad quality to them.
It didn’t take him long to go feral in Opposition did it?
David has attempted to equate Jacinda’s words on Syria as capitulation to the Nazi Holocaust.
No seriously, I’m not kidding.
…and what about this shocker on the rocker?
…so let’s not get too critical on Dave, he’s having some time adjusting to National not winning, which is why instead of spear tackling his absurd insinuation that the NZ Herald is really a socialist rag, we should gently shove him…
I’ve been looking through the list of columnists that the Herald has, and it is remarkable how skewed it is.
I am excluding those who are NZME staff such as Simon Wilson (left) and Mike Hosking (right). This is looking at people who don’t work for NZME but have been offered a regular column that discuss politics. The Editor makes a deliberate decision that we need them to have a regular column.
The sole right columnist is Matthew Hooton, a very recent addition.
On the left we have:
- Brian Rudman
- Rachel Stewart
- John Tamihere
- Jarrod Gilbert
- David Cormack
- Bryan Gould
- Lizzie Marvelly
- Bryce Edwards
So media is meant to be about holding the powerful to account, but actually the Herald is full of people who are ideologically very supportive of the Government. An 8:1 ratio is why trust in media is so low.
Now in no way am I saying any of those eight columnists shouldn’t be in the Herald. What I’m saying is the Herald is failing in having a diversity of views within its columnists. They have basically no one (bar Hooton) who is not a supporter of the Government. It’s like Fox and Friends!
…I don’t know what pains me more. Farrar claiming the NZ Herald is Fox & Friends or the idea that a ham fisted hack like David Cormack is a guardian for liberal opinion. Sweet Jesus is that an admission of defeat right there.
Now let’s put aside the fact that one of the senior ranking editors wrote Key’s bloody biography and let’s put aside the fact that the actual political reporters write as if they are fully paid up members of the National Party, put that structural bias against the left to one side and actually you could argue that this list of left columnists actually balances the left-right political balance at the NZ Herald.
Except it doesn’t does it because what Farrar is leaving out of this ‘analysis’ is the content shearing feature of our corporate media. Online, the NZ Herald is swamped by hard right political opinion from Kate Hawkesby, Barry Soper, Deborah Hill Cone and Heather Du Plisses-Allan and these opinion pieces occur more often as content than the columnists work does.
Farrar rules these ZB columnists out with a pretend one for one ratio by putting Simon Wilson up against Mike Hosking, but that is to create the perception of bias rather than what’s actually being promoted online.
But there’s also something deeper than the true bias of our largest newspaper, a recent review of opinion pieces found a large percentage are right wing think tanks masquerading as debate to promote neoliberal economics…
After universities, think tanks and sector groups are the next most prolific contributors of opinion pieces.
And well out in front among those is The New Zealand Initiative – a think tank funded in the main by the country’s leading corporates. The think tank has a weekly column in the National Business Review, a fortnightly one on Interest.co.nz and in 2017 published about 40 op-eds in the country’s newspapers. The Council of Trade Unions by comparison had 10 or so op-eds published last year.
The NZ Initiative op-eds tend to be well researched and strident. Here’s how its chief economist Eric Crampton began an op-ed on Stuff back in March:
“To begin with, sugar taxes are offensive. They presume that some government official knows better than you about what food choices are best for you. And when we think about how they’re generally aimed at things like soda rather than expensive coffee drinks, they’re also deeply classist. They presume poor people are too dumb to make the ‘right’ choices and must be guided by their betters.”
And he concluded that piece with a dig at some Otago University public health academic who had written in support of sugar taxes.
“It is time that public health activists simply admitted that they got this one wrong and left us alone.”
Despite describing public health professors as activists there was no disclosure on his own op-ed acknowledging that the New Zealand Initiative membership includes Coca Cola – a vocal opponent of sugar taxes internationally – plus the major supermarket chains.
…Farrar wants to sell the idea that the media are socialist rags when nothing could be further from then truth.
There’s a reason people blame the corporate media, it’s because corporate media have manipulated and told us what to read and watch. When Trump screams ‘fake news’ it has resonance because much of the manipulation by corporate media is obvious and seen as the hollow lie it is.
There are days when NZ Herald is wall to wall with these ZB columnists and it reads like a troll farm.
Farrar needs to claim the media are left wing all of a sudden to delegitimise wider debate and new voices joining that debate.
He should go back to accusing David Parker of a political favour his master John Key actually asked for and claiming Jacinda is guilty of actions on par with the Nazi holocaust.
Or we could just give him what he really wants, a column in the NZ Herald.
Am I right?