MUST READ: The People vs The Media

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THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN has exposed weaknesses in New Zealand journalism that have hurt and surprised many New Zealand journalists. The chief weakness exposed has been the news media’s eagerness to both exploit and amplify anti-political feeling within the New Zealand public. In normal times this is generally a low-risk/high-return strategy. In abnormal times, however – and the times we are living through currently are about as abnormal as you can get! – the anti-political strategy simply does not work.

The reason for the strategy’s failure in times of crisis is simple. When people are frightened they do not want to hear that the leaders whose job it is to look after them are useless cretins. On the contrary, they want to be reassured that their leaders are competent and compassionate in equal measure. They want to feel safe in their hands. They want to trust them, respect them, and – Gawd help us! – love them. Shrewd editors and smart journalists get this. Inept editors and obtuse journalists do not.

Overcoming the anti-political journalistic reflex is, however, an extremely difficult thing for “mainstream media” professionals to do. It is, after all, a strategy that kills so many birds with a single stone.

Encouraging the population to view politics and politicians as corrupt, ineffectual, and best left alone, absolves the news media of all responsibility to present political news in a way that reveals its absolute centrality to their readers’, listeners’ and viewers’ well-being.

In its turn, this “politics is bullshit” approach safeguards the management of media outlets from the negative reaction that would certainly follow any attempt to inform the public comprehensively about current affairs. The owners of newspapers, radio stations and television networks have little interest in fostering a politically aware and politically active population – quite the reverse in fact.

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Finally, highlighting the personal failings of politicians plays directly to people’s prurient impulses. Everybody enjoys a good scandal, especially when it involves people who normally wield power over them, people who typically justify their authority by posing as ordinary, decent men and women dedicated to promoting the public good. Exposing political scandals reassures the average citizen that their lack of meaningful political engagement is entirely justified. It’s all lies and they’re all liars. Why would any ordinary, decent person want to get involved in such a seedy business?

All of this carefully nurtured cynicism and disdain disappears in an instant, however, when ordinary, decent people are threatened by an enemy capable of inflicting real harm on them and their loved ones. Overnight, the political process ceases to be a seedy, grubby business full of ambitious sociopaths. Politicians and the systems they control stand revealed for what they have always been: the guarantors and instruments of public welfare and safety. Far from despising them and sneering at them dismissively, the citizenry is willing them to succeed.

It’s enough to set your average political journalist’s head spinning. Suddenly, they’re expected to talk-up the virtues of the politicians they’ve been doing their very best to trip-up. Suddenly, instead of going for “gotcha!”, they’re supposed to be encouraging the punters to say “good on ya”.

It’s a lot to ask.

From the moment they entered journalism school most journalists have been told that it’s their job to “speak truth to power”. “News”, they are told, “is what somebody, somewhere, doesn’t want the public to know.” They soon learn, however, that there are some centres of power it is very unwise to over-burden with the truth.

Their employers, for example, or the shareholders who own their employers’ company, should be considered off-limits. Major advertisers, also, should probably not have too much truth shoved in their faces. Litigious individuals with deep pockets are, similarly, best left unmolested by over-eager investigative reporters. Ditto (with bells on!) for large transnational corporations with phalanxes of sharp-suited lawyers.

Leaving, in the political journalist’s target department, only hapless politicians and humble public servants. Speak “truth” to them, even when unverified and leaked by their political opponents, and everybody from your employer’s shareholders to the largest of large transnational corporations will slap you on the back and give you an award.

The ability of the political journalist to make the transition from critic to cheerleader isn’t assisted by their isolation from the very citizens they purport to speak for. This is not altogether their fault. The Parliamentary Press Gallery takes them as far – maybe even further – from the average citizen as the House of Representatives itself. At least the politicians have their weekly clinics with constituents to keep them grounded. For the ambitious Gallery journalist, however, there is no such respite. Only the endless quest to prove to their colleagues, their bosses, and yes, to the politicians themselves, that they have what it takes to ruin reputations and destroy careers. In the much better remunerated job of Ministerial Press Secretary, to which so many political journalists ascend, the killer instinct is a deal-sealer.

New Zealand’s political journalists’ disconnection from the public of was on display as never before during the Prime Minister’s and her Director-General of Health’s daily Covid-19 press briefings. Broadcast live, New Zealanders were able to hear not only the words of Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield, but the questions of the assembled journalists. The public reaction was one of disbelief seasoned with rage. The same journalists who castigated Simon Bridges for his tone-deafness clearly had no notion of how painfully their own behaviour was setting Kiwis’ teeth on edge. Who were these people!

The journalists were genuinely hurt. They railed against the public’s utter ignorance of what was expected of them. Did these ingrates not understand how vital an assertive Fourth Estate was to the health of our democracy?

Well, no, they didn’t. At least they failed to grasp how all that carping and whingeing and “gotcha!” questioning could possibly contribute anything positive to their democracy. As far as they were concerned Jacinda and Ashley were making a simply splendid job of looking after them and their loved ones. They were deserving of the news media’s praise – not its blame.

The Press Gallery didn’t – and still doesn’t – get this. The way a crisis instantly clarifies the nature and purposes of state power. How it sweeps away all the petty distractions which under “normal” conditions are the news media’s bread-and-butter. Nor do they appreciate how very unappreciative the public is of those who think that “good journalism” is about picking things apart rather than pulling them together.

Certainly the Covid-19 Lockdown has inflicted enormous damage on an already faltering news media. Slowly, the realisation is dawning in the minds of media owners and editors that New Zealand journalism – and journalists – will only be saved by entering into an entirely new relationship with the state. That, pretty soon, most of the news media’s shareholders will be the ordinary citizens of New Zealand. They will have the power, and they will expect their journalists to tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

 

47 COMMENTS

  1. I do think most people were disgusted by what’s been going on. On the contrary Chris Trotter puts all of his hope in the working class.

    So! lefties, who claims that Chris Trotter committed the cardinal sin of attempting to understand thy enemy?

    So who is like that now?

    So who of you are truly committed to the working class now?

    Now the pure temple lefties just think it’s the working classes fault that we are in this situation. Instead of taking a good long hard look at ourselves and our politics and asking well why isn’t my ideas catching on?

    why can’t lefties convince people and why aren’t we convincing and capable of exiting people and really having a long hard look at ourselves which I think we need to do and there’s some commenters on the last blog that Chris Trotter put up who need to be interrogated for spreading rumours and fake news about Chris’s intentions and motivations.

    Yknow if we want to change the world then we need a good portion of the world on our side. Now ask yourself what ideas are you offering that is better than today’s?

    • The working class and their plight are the litmus test applied to gauge the health of any society. In all aspects including social development, economic success, and a functioning democracy. It is also the gauge applied to a govts success or failure in its policy’s. If the working class suffers in any of the above, then that govt has failed.

      Basically , a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

  2. ‘They will have the power, and they will expect their journalists to tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.’

    Oh, come on Chris, that’s a nice fantasy but the reality is this: both the government and the media have their own, generally unspoken, agendas which are not in the best long-term interests of the general populace. The whole system is maintained by a system of lies and half-truths.

    The government’s prime agenda is to maintain business-as-usual for banks, corporations and opportunists, to maintain New Zealand’s role as a participant in global financial Ponzi schemes, to ensure that NZ Inc. keeps remitting profits to [overseas] owners of large NZ, to ensure that New Zealand continues to participate in as a major per capita consumer of fossil fuels, to downplay or totally ignore major medium term threats to the system (peak oil, continuously declining EROEI, abrupt climate change, accumulation of toxins in soils, waters and the air, the Sixth Great Extinction Event which is underway, the over-dependence on industrialised agriculture etc., and to promote and implement phony ‘solutions’ (e.g. carbon trading, energy efficiency -never forget Jevon’s Paradox) to existential threats to the system and existential threats to the general populace. And to make NZ a safe haven for the tiny fraction of the ‘elites’ who have already established bolt-holes here, as the world rapidly turns to custard.

    Any care of the general populace by the state is akin to that of a farmer tending his/her livestock, with sufficient resources being allocated to keep the populace docile and compliant whilst denying the general populace the resources that would result in an extremely healthy and well-educated and well-informed populace, and a healthy environment to live in.

    The prime agenda of journalists in the commercial sector (we really don’t have much, if anything of a public sector these days, and National Radio is exceedingly pro-business and anti-environmental) is to maintain the fantasy that business is a good thing, and that we really don’t have anything to worry about long term; to maintain confidence in the system; to maintain, or even better from their perspective, increase levels of consumption, in order that short-term profits flow to owners and shareholders: hence, for decades the corporate media denied the reality of global warming (despite irrefutable evidence) and provided prominent platforms for the lunatic fringe (so-called sceptics) that denied the evidence, or invented phony evidence to demonstrate that “the Earth was cooling” and other such nonsense.

    Similarly, the corporate media predominantly refuse to discuss the peaking of conventional oil [around 2007] and the increasing dependence on short-term fixes with low EROEI like fracking and extraction from tar sands (both of which are in deep trouble now that demand destruction and zealous extraction by low-cost nations like Saudi Arabia have clobbered oil prices to below extraction cost for unconventional oil). Never mind that atmospheric CO2 is now approaching 418 ppm (140 ppm above ‘normal) or that the sea ice in the Arctic is not far off disappearing completely in the summer. Never mind that the oceans are not just dying but are being actively ‘killed’ by industrial humans: gotta keep using those fossil fuels! Gotta keep pretending there are technological fixes to the predicament we are in, a predicament which has been generated by the use of fossil fuels and is exacerbated by the use of fossil fuels, of course.

    Heaven help if the general populace were to recognise that pre-Covid-19 arrangements based on extraordinarily high per capita consumption of energy and extraordinarily high levels of generation of waste, were totally unsustainable, and that returning to pre-Covid-19 arrangements is a recipe for disaster in the medium term and extinction in the long term. There is no danger of that happening, of course, because you won’t hear that irrefutable truth from any politician or journalist, and the mainstream media will continue to tell the populace how wonderfully well we are doing and that getting back to business-as-usual will make everyone exceedingly happy and happy. And a large sector of the NZ public will believe the garbage churned out by the media and politicians. Just consider the response to the reopening of drive-through fast food outlets. Heaven forbid people stay home and plant vegetables: just think how bad that would be for GDP, the phony measure of economic progress that politicians and the media harp on about so much.

    As for me, I’d literally have to be starving to want to ingest the highly-processed, overpriced, industrially produced and distributed fodder that some people call food. (Never forget that those who have attempted to live on McDonald’s -or any other similar ‘food’- have become exceedingly sick within weeks.)

    • Couple of quick points.

      1) though we should at some stage reach a point where we’re extracting more oil than we’re finding, it seems we haven’t yet reached “peak oil”.
      1a) I would prefer to see more efficient use of vehicles (and no, the coal-burning “electric’ vehicles are NOT more efficient, not with the resources that go into their manufacture!)

      2) Carbon (and CO2) are absolutely essential to all life. Want to see what a “zero carbon” landscape looks like? Visit the Sahara desert or somewhere like that. Or visit Mars. Want to see what our world could be like with double the current carbon? Visit a rain forest. Our current 418ppm of CO2 is drastically low, we need it much higher.
      2a) I say this as someone who does a lot of growing of my own food, and ‘organically’ as well (ie no pesticides or herbicides, only natural composts and fertilisers). ALL pollutants bother me, especially plastic and the toxins the spew from our vehicles. But CO2/Carbon are NOT pollutants, they’re essential to ALL life on earth. We lower them at our peril.

      Oh for an effective government who, instead of a silly ban on supermarket bags, would first have tackled the more problematic plastics AND set up one of the myriad of good ways the bad plastics can be recycled or broken down into fuel or fertiliser – spend a moment with google/youtube and look into how even the worst plastics can be tamed – not saying I want them in use (I don’t), but there were much better ways to handle them.

      You can do a lot to live a greener life y’know. Drive less, use public transport where you can, walk/bike more, grow your own veggies where you can (takes all of a few minutes a day and is very therapeutic), shop and buy as local as you can and support local industries as you can. Oh, and educate yourself about what goes into making EVs and various forms of electricity generation. Why can’t our sewerage plants largely power themselves by capturing and burning the methane? Why can we not have the solids from such places used as fertiliser, why is so much dumped into the sea? Why don’t more of our rubbish tips capture the methane and use it in power generation like they do up at Silverstream?

      So much better we could be doing, but Jarjar Cinders has her bloody minded focus on population reduction (hence voting for the abortion and euthanasia bills – anyone who believes she is doing her nationwide lockdown to “save lives” needs to look at her voting records!) and keeping people locked into an unsustainable and unmanageable “green” economy, which is neither economic nor “green” – they’ll do vastly more damage to the environment if her favoured policies go ahead. I say this as a labour supporter and fan since the early 80s.

    • Apologies for the typing errors.

      An excellent article on the ‘death of US oil’:

      ‘It’s game-over for most of the U.S. oil industry.

      Prices have collapsed and storage is nearly full. The only option for many producers is to shut in their wells. That means no income. Most have considerable debt so bankruptcy is next.’

      https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/The-Death-Of-US-Oil.html

      Needless to say, the usual strategy of the US government in conjunction with the FED of bailing out faltering companies will result in even greater long-term harm.

      • Fixated on this:
        ———————

        ”Any care of the general populace by the state is akin to that of a farmer tending his/her livestock”

        ———————–

        I stopped there and almost heard it,…that of John 10. That of the good shepherd. And govt’s can only aspire to such heights. Here it is …

        ———————–

        John 10 New International Version (NIV)

        The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

        10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

        7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

        11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

        14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

        19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

        21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

        ————————

        We are, were, still are,… a sheep rearing country. The analogy is simple, as it is well understood by New Zealanders, …as is what you mirrored and echoed in this statement…

        ————————-

        Any care of the general populace by the state is akin to that of a farmer tending his/her livestock, with sufficient resources being allocated to keep the populace docile and compliant whilst denying the general populace the resources that would result in an extremely healthy and well-educated and well-informed populace, and a healthy environment to live in

        ————————-

        Which simply goes on to expose the wolves.

        • Sigmund Feud’s nephew Edward Bernays gave lessons on how to manipulate populations, and corporations and governments were eager to learn.

          ‘Of his many books, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and Propaganda (1928) gained special attention as early efforts to define and theorize the field of public relations. Citing works of writers such as Gustave Le Bon, Wilfred Trotter, Walter Lippmann, and his own double uncle Sigmund Freud, he described the masses as irrational and subject to herd instinct—and outlined how skilled practitioners could use crowd psychology and psychoanalysis to control them in desirable ways.’

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

  3. In all fairness Chris, in defense of some of your media, our leaders did not help themselves by being incredibly vague with some of their instructions. You don’t make up combat rules as you are already storming the enemy. You make them up before and you make them crystal clear.
    The problem being that this govt just loves buzz words, they like to brand every thing and every event. Example: Buzzword – Rent Freeze. You tell me what that means? To all of us it means not paying rent. They should have said “No rent increases!” No wonder the media piled in.
    On the other hand, as a non-politician, Ashley Bloomfield was brilliant when that one irritating reporter kep t asking: “What about Maori?” JA would say ‘we have a special approach for Maori’. Whereas Ashley would say: “We treat everybody equal.”

    • ” On the other hand, as a non-politician, Ashley Bloomfield was brilliant when that one irritating reporter kep t asking: “What about Maori?” JA would say ‘we have a special approach for Maori’. Whereas Ashley would say: “We treat everybody equal.”

      That sums up Jacinda in a nutshell.

      Saying what certain people want too hear.

      They are frightened of offending their hard won maori seat majorities.

    • Erm… ‘rent freeze’ is pretty self-explanatory, mate. When you freeze something, you put it in a kind of stasis… so it becomes, for the most part, immutable. A frozen thing doesn’t suddenly cease to exist, it’s just no longer subject to change (decomposition usually). How people interpreted the phrase ‘rent freeze’ to mean “Hooray! No more rent payments for me, matey!” I’ll never know. Wishful thinking, perhaps?

      In addition, I believe some people are being deliberately obtuse for the sake of bagging the government. They know full-well what Jacinda means when she says something — it just suits their narrative to pretend it’s all dreadfully confusing, and National would never be so vague and wishy-washy. Much of this behaviour is painfully transparent.

  4. I don’t think the public in the USA have the same criticism of their media’s coverage of their leader’s handling of the covid crisis . I think the public in both countries are generally correct in their assessment .

    D J S

    • No ones hiding, people remain vigilant as we are in level 3 lockdown still. As is the govt. We shall see if the level 4 lockdown was effective, if level 3 starts a new round of outbreaks , you will eat your own words.

      And your reckless goading will mark you out as the fool.

        • LOL. call me whatever you like..water off ducks back.
          Even Bert I wouldn’t call a ‘troll’. Calling someone a troll only confirms YOU have no real intellectual argument to offer. Bert’s passionate….if somewhat naive but not a troll. I suspect Bert is retired and loves to vent on this site for the entertainment & human interaction it gives him. Love ya Bert!

  5. Interesting, but what happened to our media during John Keys corrupt 9 year regime? Seems the media took a holiday. I guess one can only reason that it was:

    —————————-

    ” Their employers, for example, or the shareholders who own their employers’ company, should be considered off-limits. Major advertisers, also, should probably not have too much truth shoved in their faces. Litigious individuals with deep pockets are, similarly, best left unmolested by over-eager investigative reporters. Ditto (with bells on!) for large transnational corporations with phalanxes of sharp-suited lawyers”…

    —————————-

    Which I suppose is a double whammy of selective hypocrisy.

  6. @ SAM. ‘Lefties’ / ‘Righties’… What bullshit.
    It’s human versus inhuman. It’s good people versus arse holes.
    There are more than a few people out there, in the drab and dire and slow playing nightmare that’s called ‘life’ who’re thoroughly enjoying the misery they, and their like minded others are inflicting on yet others still.
    If [it] were a conflict of values in some quest to see who can do their best by others, there’d be no human suffering at all.
    What we have, instead, is a cadre of simply horrible people who do their very best to derail and derange good others for their ‘shits and giggles’.
    The media, as it is today, is one of the vehicles by which they vent their perversions on us.
    The Listener’s gone. RNZ’s a dead cow across the railway tracks. Our TV’s abysmal and populated by dull witted chattering finches sitting on a fence.
    And if our news media’s genuinely afraid of Big Business goose stepping ahead of lawyers in sharp suits then we have more to worry about than a deadly virus.
    There is a way to help recognise good news media.
    Ask yourself when you listen/read/watch…
    Is news person being inclusive, kind, funny, gentle, direct, clear and invites discussion?
    If not, then it’s probably safe to assume that, that [news] media is having its strings tugged by some deep, dark third party with secret agendas in a brief case and money on its breath, and what is money?
    It’s a representation, a measure, of your time living on this earth spent doing their bidding for their, often obscenely bloated wealth creation.
    The term ‘Lefties’ is belittling of good people and the term The Right doesn’t go far enough into how most of them are so hideous in their acts and beige in their thinking.

    • I don’t want workers bodies to be ripe for exploitation or harassing people telling them how they should think or how they should behave or how they should feel.

      We need to have a movement that’s based on everyday people and seeks to convince reasonable people who can be convinced and cultivate people who can get excited for what’s to come.

      Excessive focus on agriculture and language and I also do focus in on language and I do find myself saying culture causes everything when digging down into the culture instead of seeing my reflection in the quagmire

      I do think it is important we don’t let go of the economy side of things and understand what the right is in order to find a way out instead of excessively focusing on culture in isolation.

      • I know I use Weka as a heavy bag to beat on but she and woke people like her make me uneasy about finding more ethical ways to do things I mean we can have our agriculture industry but not with out its colonial essence because if we want to survive in a neoliberal nation then we need to have a certain amount of surplus value just to plough back into production and yknow never mind the reward from your investment.

        So I think people like Weka say that they don’t want to buy these products anymore unless they are ethically produced which is just romancing the stone through trying to get in touch with these deeper understandings of moral criticism but what I claim we need is an economic criticism that avoids to an extent of the possible moralisms.

        I guess I’m saying the way out isn’t to be nicer but to find the contradictions with in the system that can never be over come and will produce worse and worse crises and more suffering regardless of how nice everyone is we are all forced to on pain of extinction to extract surplus value just in order to survive. So I’m saying there’s no amount of niceness that can fix a broken system because the problems are deeper.

  7. A recent example of Press Gallery journalists’ unpleasantness has been the nastiness and nitpicking harassment of Ashley Bloomfield over his statement early this week that New Zealand had “currently eliminated” but had not “eradicated” Covid-19, despite the continued daily identification of cases.
    I like my online etymological dictionary’s definition of “eliminate” as meaning to be shown the door and told to bugger off:

    eliminate (v.)
    1560s, from Latin eliminatus, past participle of eliminare “thrust out of doors, expel,” from ex limine “off the threshold,” from ex “off, out” (see ex-) + limine, ablative of limen “threshold” (see limit (n.)).

  8. As I commented on another post: My biggest beef with the MSM is that most of the stories concern hard luck tales of middle-class people. How they are denied their usual latte holiday-home-at-the-weekends lifestyle. Very little about the people for whom the virus hasn’t just deprived them of the little luxuries -it has made their existence even more precarious.
    I am talking about the poor, the homeless, the pre-COVID unemployed.
    Only a few stories, most of them from Trade Unions or Maori groups, about these people.
    It shows how our MSM choose chaff over wheat.

    • Its a matter of following the money these days for media in decline. The chaff are the declining number of subscribers and the demographic that their advertisers are targeting this week. Like housing, if you cant afford our products there is no reason to involve you in the process anymore.

    • Another example of our MSM choosing chaff over wheat.
      It seems that their latest fetish is about McDonalds running out of lettuce!
      Wow!
      Real important eh?
      Where do they train these bozos?

    • Yes Mike the Lefty, hearing the MSM continually waffling on about the stress of caring for your own children, not being able to get a good coffee or takeaway meal.  Or advising parents to ensure they have good supplies of wine and Netflix for the lockdown period. Can you imagine the results of boozed up parents in times of stress. These middle class journalists and TV/Radio presenters just do not get it.

      But maybe now some of these middle class whingers will be starting to experience just what it is like to try and support a family on the minimum wage or a WINZ benefit.

      These are going to be hard times for many NZ’ers, I just hope we don’t go back to what everyone thought was Normal Times.

      Lets ensure that our Normal Times makes sure that no-one else has to live in a car or a garage, that the gap between the rich and the poor is reduced, and that all workers receive a living wage, and most important – STOP SENDING ALL OUR MANUFACTURING JOBS TO ASIA.

  9. Every morning I watch all overseas media news clips firstly and then turn to our mundane sloppy stupid faceless NZTV one and News-hub finally.

    Then upon reflection after viewing the NZ media news all I see clips of the overseas media stories so why bother watching NZ media news????

    We are now just a shell of what we used to be when in 2005 Labour under Helen Clark began the real first “public affairs channel brisling with investigative Jorno’s so many we couldn’t remember all their names.

    Then in 2013 under John Key he axed that TV7 public affairs channel, so we are now living under the ‘cloud of National’s media policy today’.

    Labour need to reconstruct the media ASAP before they get the chop- with no voice presently to sell their good virtues and policy’s whatever they are, going to the election, – as of now few in the community will even hear their voice.

  10. Sorry Sir, but I don’t see what you seem to see.

    Our politicians have been leading us astray over this whole thing, and we need a media who are calling them to account. Every time the politicians fail to answer a question the next reporter should restate that question and ask why they won’t answer it or give very evasive answers.

    We don’t need the media to paint our current lot as corrupt. A few moments of watching Ms Ardern is enough, especially if you keep an eye on her body language and facial expressions (don’t let the sign-language person distract you from what her body and face are saying!).

    We need media who instead of fawning over them and praising their every ill-thought word and dangerous act, we need a media reaching for the pitchforks, picks and shovels to run them out of town and bury them. We need a media who calls her out on her lies as soon as she speaks them – not lovingly waiting on her every breath and orgasming if she glances in their direction but interrupting her and calling out her lies as she speaks them.

    She should only be shown respect if and when she deserves it. She’s not shown any respect to our nation, so why should we respect her? I am so disgusted that I voted for her. I should’ve abstained (not like I could in good conscience vote for National – but if they can get off their foreign ownership kick and also kick Collins, Bennett and one or two others I cannot recall at present from the party I’d seriously consider it)

    • No, Madam Jacinda deserves respect for shutting down and she did so because the people demanded it- if you remember we stopped even sending our kids to school, the news was bad while they were insisting , “wash hands, it is a flu.” And there was plenty of reasons for shutting down – the Iranian and Italian strain had been detected and a teenager being diagnosed with symptoms as I recall. She was not going to have an overload of dying and dead people here, and I cannot blame her for that. I respect her for that.
      But now, you are right- it has become a contagion of confusion and the daily briefings are like wandering aimlessly into a hall of mirrors. And the most important thing that none of the “experts” or professional journalists ever dwell on is the validity of the tests. Flaws in PCR testing are well known and documented – so what changed? Now we are being told if you experience as much as a sniffle you should be tested, WHY? Also, we are being told people have recovered. What does that mean? Do the experts believe that people can catch it again or not? It has been reported that recovered patients have been diagnosed again. Furthermore, how many patients have died of Coivid19 alone without other deadly illnesses? Can they prove that it was Coivd19 alone that killed them? And I could go on – but instead- This- (not specifically directed to above poster but to all reading) The freedom of speech is the freedom to inquire and think, and to question, it is a virtue. This virtue is integral to any healthy community. At the core of this unique freedom lays dialectic. This is a method that presupposes the confrontation of opposing opinions of many BUT ( this is the key) – of equal consciousness (meaning for the better good) and an audience that is not fanatic. The point of promoting a multi-vocality of interpretation is essential at arriving to truth. And to see reality clearly is the only way to solve problems.

    • List the lies that she has told.
      Enumerate the occasions that she has disrespected our country. In other words put up or shut up. Your opinions carry no merit and paint you the colour you truly are.

      • At the start of all this it was said by Jacinda that there could be 80000 dead. At the moment there is about 60000 dead in USA..I am happy with the lockdown concept but it was over sold and did not need to be so destructive to the economy. My fear is that many will now die through cuts in services and suicide by those that have lost everything. Their lack of help to small businesses is shocking and could come back to bit them at the election.

        • There is still a lot we don’t know about corona. The 2% death rate is very deceptive because flues are a lot more infectious than a virus with a higher death rate, those typically burns themselves out faster than flues. Even if we moved to level 3 earlier the fundamentals of the economy is high debt, low wages, high immigration, low investment would have crushed the economy anyway.

        • There is always one ….

          ” If I had a time machine blah blah blah … we should have .. ” What are you, 10 years old ?

          That is not an adult or constructive conversation to have.

          The original figures were based on China. And that was a worse case scenario. With high pollution and unhealthy population. But that being said, in doing risk assessments you ALWAYS quote worse case scenario. This is also how the entire Medical Fraternity works when it comes to predictions.

          In war you “prepare for the worst ” and pray for the best. Our PM did exactly what was required balanced out with other real world issues, like Kiwis being stuck over-seas.

          As far as ‘The economy” is concerned. Well after the 1918 Pandemic, those that shut themselves off entirely had their economy back up and running faster than everyone else. And a new study seems to predict the same thing will happen here.

          In fact the ONLY major problem N.Z. will have is us having to wait for OTHER countries who got hit hard to recover so we can resume normal trade.

  11. What about restoring public broadcasting and the “TVNZ charter” that John Key abolished in 2011. And then extending it to all media channels.
    Surely it is in the public interest to have good investigative journalism funded by the taxpayer.
    And fund their education to become good investigative journalists as opposed to corporate media hacks.
    Why has the left not called for this, and even this opinion piece ignores the importance of re-establishing independent news.

    • Or what about restoring an Air Combat Force to the Airforce? The reason we don’t is because we’ve been developing into all the wrong areas for the past 20 years for ideological reasons to make us feel good. Wast of time!

  12. Thank you for that… I agree – The Press seem somewhat bewildered by the fact their appalling behaviour in press briefings has been outed now that the public can attend first hand.

    And it raises the question of who needs journalists? Especially if the questions are predictable, banale and rude.

    Your comment ‘critic or cheerleader’ got me thinking and I think the problem is that journalists often think they have to take sides rather than forging their own path.

    I realise that I want journalism to provide two things. Firstly, a potted version of what was said or what happened with as little embellishment and interpretation as possible, so I understand what happened – that traditional role of reporting the news.

    Secondly, I want people who are SMART and can THINK FOR THEMSELVES and who make it clear that what they’re providing is a social and political commentary and analysis from a particular standpoint. Not mimicking the ideas that are already out there or trying to pursue a hidden agenda. In the reading, I then get to think about how my views fit into that, or how I might change and think about things differently.

  13. I think you’ve aimed at the wrong target Chris, because you’ve misread the general sentiment

    The vast majority of people aren’t anti political or even particularly anti politicians. Sure they have their pet likes and dislikes but that’s perfectly normal.

    No. The real issue is that people are anti media, and for good reason: For the most part their product is utter drivel and often highly biased.

    I make it my business to record the TV1 News every night and suffer whilst listening to about ten minutes of it. Not because it’s informative in anyway, but to see just how much they’re pandering to the current government and how they mangle the overseas news content. It’s so bad it’s almost a self-parody. (Note that I record it to avoid their endless adverts – it’s a broken business model and by avoiding the ads I’m helping break it some more 🙂 )

    So much for the much vaunted 4th Estate holding the government to account. That’s the makings of a great Tui ad.

    It awful overseas too. I watch a broad selection and I can pretty much anticipate the spin before I change the channel.

    I’m part of a global trend: https://news.gallup.com/poll/267047/americans-trust-mass-media-edges-down.aspx

    • If people want to claim the Fourth Estate are pandering to the current government, they’re obviously entitled to. But let’s not deny the fact that they pandered so hard to the previous government you could hear the slurping sounds as they tongued Key’s sphincter. (I apologise for that repugnant mental image.)

      • Odd!
        I recall John Campbell trying to attack John Key on TV and getting totally owned by Key.

        • Campbell was quite obviously an exception and he’s never been shy about which side of the political divide his sympathies lie. The rest of them, by and large, had their tongues firmly down the back of Key’s trousers. Hosking could have performed an impromptu colonoscopy his head was so far up the PM’s arse.

      • The Forth Estate and the Greed Driven Highly Unethical joined forces under Key.

        Every time he stated ” There is no housing crisis ” and the media just nodded, along with the people that voted for the housing crisis to continue. All willing to look the other way for their own personal gain. No matter who or what was going to be damaged.

        That is when I knew we had a divide in N.Z. of Evil Vs Good. And that divide still exists. Changing the Govt did not change those people. They are still out there ready to hurt other Kiwis futures by action or inaction if given half the chance.

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