MEDIA WATCH: Lords Of The Lies


The Chair of the NZ Media Council has praised the Australian government for standing up to Facebook’s attempt to blackmail Aussies into letting it post their media’s news content for free, but which it has now agreed to pay for. 

Comparing the Australian resolve with that of US President Teddy Roosevelt who, 120 years ago, passed anti-trust laws to break up big US business monopolies, Hon Raynor Asher QC wrote; “It represented an important issue for democracy.”

Laying aside that Facebook’s power epitomises everything that Roosevelt opposed and that the Australian scrap hasn’t lessened that, Mr Asher emphasised how important the widespread dissemination of news and opinion is to the maintenance of open government. “It puts misinformation in balance, and exposes corruption and bad practice,” he wrote.

However, despite Mr Asher’s assurance that the media is accountable to his Council, and the Broadcasting Standards Authority, “to meet principles and standards of accuracy balance and fairness,” the New Zealand media’s crucial international news coverage is selective, arbitrary and biased. 

In fact, with their international news stories sourced from just a fraction of the world’s news agencies, the resulting world view that the New Zealand media then propagates is surely itself a minority monopoly view.

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Our understanding of issues that confront us are a reflection of the information our news media supplies, and so it follows that the media’s role, as the provider, is indeed, as Mr Asher wrote, “an important issue for democracy.”

But if our media is practicing “the required principles of accuracy, balance and fairness” Mr Asher asserts, how is it that our “understanding” of world affairs is so consistently at variance with that of large swathes of the rest of the world?

How is it that our understanding of world affairs has actually more to do with our geo-political alliances than with truth, honesty and fair reporting?

It’s because, just as colours on a world map once defined the breadth of empires, today they define the areas of managed news media influence

New Zealand’s foreign policy opposes the exact same “bogeymen” as those of our allies and, lo and behold, the news agencies that supply them with the stories that paint those “bogeyman” pictures are the self-same ones that supply our media!

Could it just be coincidence, or is there something else at play here?

Since the advent of the internet, independent newspapers having been losing money, and yet, as each succumbs, the best of them are inevitably bought up by multinational news media.

Why would a big multinational organisation, with all its obvious business acumen, buy a news publisher that’s losing money? Because by controlling the media a multinational can control the news narrative which underpins the viability of its much larger and more lucrative other business interests!

And when that control is backed by untold millions of dollars spent, in the guise of promoting democracy, on lobbying politicians to foment distrust, enmity against and fear of concocted enemies, you get the situation we’re in today – perpetual war. 

Just as the Herald promotes its One Roof real estate pages with properties-for-sale stories set among general news, so too do multinationals steer the news narrative to benefit their investments in the military industrial complex, agricultural chemicals, aero-space, and the newly-arrived and highly lucrative domestic security industry.

Multinational don’t even have to own news media organisations to promote their interests!  A newspaper publisher told me recently how, when he ran a story detailing how a bank’s operations were threatening ruin for a significant number of readers, the bank pulled its advertising. 

Now think about that for a moment. If advertising is about the effective promotion of a product or service, surely to pull your advertising is cutting off your nose to spite your face. Unless advertising is treated as a sum paid to discourage media criticism.

Bribery and corruption?

And now, in the name of protecting us from objectionable material and “hate speech”, multinational media organisations are lobbying Governments to further enhance their control of the news by banning material deemed “abhorrent.”

Professor Noam Chomsky, co-author of “Manufacturing Consent”, the book that first exposed the duplicity on the media in its presentation of news, said; “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all,”

Still, if such a law is passed, imagine if the first to be slapped with a writ by “the Hate-Finder-General” was media that run “bogey man” stories that promote hatred of sovereign states.  But don’t hold your breath!

None of which is meant to imply that today’s newsrooms are full of evil people working to deceive us – the system is more sophisticated than that. 

Chasing after real news, once described as “that which somebody somewhere doesn’t published – all the rest is advertising,” real reporters are doing their job, but still one rule is observed – don’t upset the established order of things.

And so to ensure that, responsibility for foreign news is left to a select group of foreign news services from which the ubiquitous “Bogeyman” stories, many of them rough rewrites of propaganda handouts that turn victim into villains, constantly spew.

But the really sad thing about all of this is that it’s not readers of the Daily Blog who need to know how the media manipulates people, and ultimately encourages them to send their sons to fight and die, opposing those who reject the narrative.

Those who need to know are the hard-working people, politicians included, who live and work in our towns, cities and countryside, whose carefully nurtured trust in the media has them believing the “Bogeyman” stories, which our media won’t ever admit to fostering because they themselves often don’t realize they’re doing it.

And if the Chair of the NZ Media Council doesn’t know that, then he should.






  1. Briefly – I no longer take the Dom-Post, but was annoyed when, under a previous editor, they stopped publishing the late Robert Fisk’s columns. At some stage they made a statement acknowledging their cutting back on reporting international news, but gave no good reason why. Round about the same time they abolished their regular “ religion” column contributors, sometimes rather parochial , but sometimes leading academics like Lloyd Geering ; in the context of “ religion” – and its permutations- now being big global influencers, it was odd.

  2. Well put Malcom.

    Forums like TDB are to be treasured, and indeed anyone that swims against the tide–for it is a strong, pervasive current produced by neo liberal hegemony, and the narratives instilled by global corporates and imperialist powers.

  3. Spot on!

    But the ‘slaves of the empire’ are so well indoctrinated into believing nonsense they actually clamour for the lies and reject the truth out of hand!

    Take 9/11, the pretext for invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, for instance. It only took a modicum of understanding of physics to recognise a demolition job. Even the BBC report declaring the demolition half an hour before it happened was not enough to convince people it was a set-up.

    The propaganda machine was so powerful, and the lies repeated so frequently, the bulk of the populace believed that buildings constructed to withstand aircraft impacts could fall to the ground at free-fall acceleration as a consequence of low-temperature, oxygen-starved fires in the upper storeys. Even the obvious crimping of the roofline of Building Seven and the evidence of massive girders being thrown across the streets and embedded in distant buildings as a consequence of ground-level explosions was not enough to overcome the belief in the official [bullshit] narrative.

    People were (and are) quite happy to believe that titanium alloy aircraft engines could evaporate on impact with grass and that passenger aircraft could fly in the most heavily guarded airspace on the planet for up to an hour-and-a-half unchallenged. Although every aspect of the official narrative is ridiculous. yet it is believed because it is ‘from the government’, and therefore must be true.

    Jacinda Adern spoke these words on ‘Breakfast’ this morning: “The truth is so valuable to us” [the government].

    Yeah right!

    Here’s the truth, Jacinda.

    We live in a society that is in the terminal phase of collapse, which is a consequence of failure to heed the numerous warnings given about the short-term nature of fossil fuel use (commencing 1956 for certain, if not before) and failure to heed the numerous warning about the highly disruptive effects increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide has on climate stability (commencing 1896, if not before).

    We live in a society that is in the terminal phase of collapse as a consequence of bankers, economists and industrialists sabotaging the perfectly valid analysis carried out by Meadows et al, and published in 1972 under the title ‘Limits to Growth’.

    We live in a society that is witnessing the biggest speculative bubbles in history -bubble that are a consequence of the banker’s (more appropriately described as bansksters) Ponzi scheme. And the speculative bubbles are ripe for collapse.

    We live in a society in which ALL the systems are unsustainable and destructive of the future habitability of the Earth. And young people are going to pay an enormous price for the scams, Ponzi schemes and lies promulgated by governments, both of NZ and elsewhere.

    • “Even the BBC report declaring the demolition half an hour before it happened was not enough to convince people it was a set-up” So you really think that whoever did the “inside job” felt the need to brief the BBC in advance, and nobody at the BBC leaked anything? All of these organizations, have real people with differing opinions in them, and the wars that followed were very very unpopular in the UK. Political parties by definition have people with fairly similar views in them, but even they they all leak like sieves. Just ask yourself what purpose would US insiders have in reveling their crime to a media organisation in a foreign country that has a history of not being particularly sympathetic to many US governments?

      It is not uncommon for governments and media to lie, but it is very difficult for them to keep even mildly embarrassing secrets.

      Just because there were some qualified people who did not think the buildings would collapse like that, it does not necessarily mean they were correct. Their opinions need to be balanced against the more numerous and perhaps better qualified people who determined that the buildings were in fact likely to collapse when struck by large aircraft carrying full tanks of jet fuel.

      “… aircraft could fly in the most heavily guarded airspace on the planet for up to an hour-and-a-half unchallenged” The transponders were turned off and there are a hell of a lot of aircraft flying in that airspace. Cock ups happen all the time, but Americans often find it hard to believe that their own governments systems are fallible, despite all the evidence that they are (e.g live nuclear warheads being dropped out of planes during exercises in the early days of nukes

      And then you have to add in that it would be very difficult to lay sufficient explosives without being noticed. Have you investigated exactly what is required to fell a large building in a controlled demolition?

  4. I remember hearing from a mate who worked in China a few years back. This Chinese lady once remarked how she was struck on just how Westerners, this NZer included, actually paid any attention to the news. How for example the way the world sort of stopped when the collective attention tuned into the main news at say 6pm or whatever. When she was asked if people in China watched the news she replied something along the lines that some do but most realise much of it is only propaganda and treat it as such.

  5. I worked as a journalist many years ago but I did learn some basic truths about journalism and class divisions.
    Newspapers get their income from the advertising in them.
    Poor people, homeless people, unemployed people, uneducated people, people in prison do not have the money to advertise in newspapers.
    Therefore these people are only useful to newspaper owners as readers that boost circulation figures so that newspapers can charge advertisers more. They do not directly contribute any income.
    Advertisers are usually business people, interest groups like ratepayers and property owners and political parties.
    Newspaper owners know that if they annoy this group of people they will not buy advertising space and there will be a significant loss of income.
    So there is no mystery as to why people like Mike Hoskings and his ilk favour the business community and display contempt for Maori. They follow orders.
    So what is the solution? Well the BBC, the NZBC and Radio New Zealand were intended as media that did not need advertising and therefore would be independent.
    Enough said but people dissatisfied with mainstream media need to realise it is a child of capitalism and will not change as long as capitalism runs it.

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