MEDIAWATCH: The list of subjects you CAN NOT talk about in NZ Mainstream Media


Graham Adams over at The Platform has made the argument that the failure of mainstream media to engage with the debates occurring online is a threat to democracy. With trust in NZ media at an all time low, I wondered what is the list of topics that you simply are NOT allowed to discuss on NZ mainstream media.

Here were my thoughts over 30 years in NZ media.

Palestine: You can not talk about the brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel in NZ media. It’s just not allowed, any discussion has to be framed as ‘Poor Israeli’s being terrorised by evil angry Muslims’, there is never focus on the brutal occupation and when it ever does emerge in the media it’s always insinuated that any criticism is anti-Semitism.

Child Poverty NEVER adult poverty: We only talk about child poverty because they deserve our pity. Adults in poverty can go fuck themselves. Despite numbering around 800 000, adults in poverty are there because they ‘choose’ to be there. The most important myth of neoliberalism is that your success is all your own, as is your failure. If an adult is in poverty, neoliberal cultural mythology states that is all on them and we have no obligation to help. That’s why we only ever talk endlessly about children in poverty because the vast majority of hard hearted NZers want to blame adults in poverty on them so we can pretend to be egalitarian without actually having to implement any policy.

The Neoliberal NZ experiment: You are never allowed to question the de-unionised work force that amputated wages, you can never question selling off our assets, you can never criticise the growth uber allas mentality, you are never allowed to attack the free market outcomes and you can’t step back and evaluate the 35 year neoliberal experiment in NZ because you remind the wage slaves of the horror of it all.

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Class: You can not point out that the demarcation line in a capitalist democracy like NZ is the 1% richest plus their 9% enablers vs the 90% rest of us. Oh you can wank on and on about your identity and your feelings about your identity in a never ending intersectionist diversity pronoun word salad, but you can’t point out that it’s really the 90% us vs the 10% them class break down because that would be effective and we can’t have effective on mainstream media when feelings are the currency to audience solidarity in an ever diminishing pie of attention.

Immigration: It must always be framed as positive. It can never be argued that it is a cheap and lazy growth model that pushes down wages and places domestic poor in competition with International student language school scams and exploited migrant workers. Any criticism of Immigration makes you a Xenophobe and because the Middle Classes like travelling and have global skills for sale, they see any criticism of migrants as an attack on their economic privileges.

Hyper Tourism: We are never allowed to ask ‘how many is too many you greedy fucks’. The tourism industry that doesn’t give a shit about us locals, live for the 4million tourists who visit annually. We are not allowed to ask why that amount of air travel is sustainable, we are not allowed to ask why selling Red Bull and V at tourist stops is somehow an economic miracle and we are certainly not allowed to question why these tourists aren’t directly being taxed meaningfully for the infrastructure they clog.

Dairy as a Sunset Industry: We are never allowed to point out that the millisecond the manufactured food industry can make synthetic milk powder, they will dump us as a base ingredient and the entire Dairy Industry overnight will collapse. With synthetic milks and meats here within a decade, it is time to radically cull herds, focus on only organic and free range sustainable herds and move away from mass production dairy forever. No one is allowed to mention the iceberg that is looming up in front of the Fonteera Titanic.

B-E-L-I-E-V-E victims: It’s like ‘How to Kill a MockingBird’ was never written. People making serious allegations should be taken seriously, not B-E-L-I-E-V-E-D. That’s a tad fanatical Christian for me. It’s led to a change in our sexual assault laws where the Greens and Labour removed the only defence to rape so as to get more convictions, which when you think about it, is cult like and terrifying. Gerrymandering the law to ensure conviction isn’t justice, but in the current B-E-L-I-E-V-E victims culture it sure is and anyone saying otherwise is probably a rape apologist who should be put in prison immediately.

The Trans debate: This debate is so toxic and anyone asking any question gets immediately decried as transphobic. I’ve seen nuclear reactor meltdowns that are less radioactive than this debate. I’m so terrified I’m not going to say anything other than ‘please don’t hurt my family’ for even mentioning it.

It’s never climate change for this catastrophic weather event: Catastrophic weather event after catastrophic weather event but it’s never connected to global warming! It’s like the weather is changing cataclysmically around us but because it’s not 100% sure that cigarette you are smoking right now is the one that causes that lump inside you to become cancer, so we can’t connect this catastrophic weather event with a climate warming model that states clearly that we will see more and more catastrophic weather events.

Scoops: No NZ media will ever acknowledge another medias scoop despite a united front being able to generate more exposure and better journalism.

Te Reo fanaticism: You are not allowed to point out that barely 5% of the population speak Te Reo and that everyone who militantly fires up about it being an ‘official language’ never seem that antagonistic about the lack of sign language use. Look, my daughter goes to a Māori immersion class and when she speaks Te Reo it makes me cry joyfully and I feel more connected to NZ than any other single moment, but endlessly ramming it down people’s throats seems woke language policing rather than a shared cultural treasure. You can still be an ok human being and not speak Te Reo.

Māori land confiscation: Māori suffer losing 95% of their land in less than a century, they were almost decimated by disease and technology brought via colonisation, they endured the 1863 Settlements Act, they survived blatant lies and falsehoods devised to create the pretext for confiscation and saw violence in the Waikato. Māori have lived throughout that entire experience and still get told to be grateful because Pakeha brought blankets, tobacco and ‘technology’.

The Disabled: Almost 25% of NZ is disabled, yet for such a staggeringly huge number of people, theire interests get sweet fuck all mention in the mainstream media.

Corporate Iwi: You can’t bring up that the corporate model used for Iwi to negotiate settlements is outrageous and has created a Maori capitalist elite who are as venal as pakeha capitalists.

House prices will increase FOREVER! Too many middle class folk are now property speculators and they must see their values climb to afford the extra credit cards the bank sends them. We can never talk about house prices coming down. They must never fall. Fuck the homeless, fuck the generations locked out of home ownership and fuck the working poor. Buying a house is only for the children of the middle classes now. Fuck everyone else. Boomer cradle to the grave subsidisations that didn’t extend to any other generation uber allas baby! Free Ben and Jerry Ice Cream for every Boomer forever! ME! ME! MEEEEEEEEEEEE!

You are also not allowed to criticise the Public Journalism Fund that all the mainstream media use.

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  1. Another issue that the media will not tackle is the control invalid economics has over political issues. It is inadequate to complain about the failure of ‘neo-liberal’ economics. The whole of classical economics and neo-classical economics are failures, failures to conform with reality. Economics has the features of a religion. Joan Robinson in her book “Economic Philosophy” (1962) says “Economics is not only a branch of theology.” before explaining how economics has tried to “win itself the status of a science.” “Economists are the theologians of the 20th century, asked to give blessings and directions on issues of the moment. They are not unlike the monks of the Middle Ages, selling indulgences to the nation, poorly informed and often poorly trained, unaware their universal prescriptions are often based on narrow experiences and personal interests. If knowledge is power, the powerful demand the soothsayer support them, even if it involves a string of false prophecies. No wonder economics is dominated by fashion and evangelism, not teaching and discussion.” Brian Easton. 1992. The existence of the Prize in economic science in memory of Alfred Nobel’ does not make economics a science.
    The dogmas of growth, equilibrium, and the virtue of a ‘free’ market ‘efficiency’ appear like essential creeds to be held by a religion. Other ideas held by heterodox economists such as satiation, limits to growth, private debt criticality, thermodynamic laws, and chaotic processes are treated as heretical. Heretics must be ignored, censored and prevented from publishing. While religions appeal to strong positions of faith, (faith is evidence-free self delusion) economists rely on assertions, presumptions, assumptions, and just pretend. False assumptions lead to a false theory. All economic textbooks are saturated with the word assume and its equivalents and do not use real observed data scientifically to propose theories. Economics is not a science. Science is verified knowledge, verified by evidence. Evidence is acquired by observations, observations that are measured and are repeatable. A theory based on the evidence is improved by being able to make confirming predictions. Evidence is improved by using an experiment that would prove a false theory actually fails. If economics was a science it would not ignore discrepancies in its assertions.
    Orthodox economists (preaching”great moderation” and “the outlook is benign”) did not predict the global financial crisis of 2008 but were saying everything was fine. That failure proves their model is wrong. Economists show ignorance of double entry accounting, finance, banking, manufacturing, farming, differential calculus, system dynamics, thermodynamics, and physics. They should be replaced by the heterodox economists who understood economics better and did see the crash coming. Economists having sincere beliefs that are demonstrated to be wrong should not be influential in policy making.

    • spot on paul, absolutely spot on.

      it’s a poor lookout when some posters on a lefty blog are more erudite, knowledgeable and cogent than our entire media.

      • Please don’t use the word “erudite” gargarin.
        It’s only used by indoctrinated drone lefties that think they are smarter than everyone else and I think better of your posts- even if I don’t always agree.

  2. Martyn you can certainly google and look at discussion around the pro and cons of journalism fund in mainstream media. There was an opinion piece as recently as the 29th of March on the RNZ site. You might not like the opinion but is that the same as not being able to criticise it?

  3. I’m about to write something so broadly I had to open the doors and windows.
    Money, as such, is a logical fallacy. We’re conned into believing that money has a God-like status which beguiles those who want to have theirs, and yours too. In that ‘process’ of grabbing all and every money-thing, reality begins to warp and buckle. Fundamental natural systems begin to tarnish, buckle and fail as can be seen by climate destruction including ocean, air, and fresh water pollution. In the pursuit of ‘money’ we’re literally burning down our only home, lock stock and larder.
    The logical fallacy that’s ‘money’, has created a vast network of consumer-humans who for reasons beyond their comprehension, go to the mall, exchange a $-fiction for stuff and things they didn’t know the needed until they got there, then they go home to where the novelty of the thing they just bought wears off so they throw it away. That, right there, is a madness.
    In short; modern humanity living in a first world environment are being driven quite insane by a psychological anomaly, a logical fallacy, leading to a mass psychiatric illness as a direct result of a mass hypnosis.
    The MSM can’t talk about [it], write about it, admit it or debate it because the MSM is as effected by it as the rest of us. I think that the broader humanity is in deep shit. The addiction to money is an unspoken terror which will lead to our destruction.
    There is a solution, however. Don’t Do Debt. The Triple D’s. I just invented that. Don’t do debt and crush the banksters. Russell Brand would argue, I’m sure, that financial centralisation is a means of world domination. The World Bank, the WEF and the IMF would agree. The MSM is merely a means to their ends.

  4. Lets also not forget we are not allowed to call our health system a third world system that is actually worse the the USA Slovenia Cuba and Brunei on the world health rankings at 41st place 7 years ago. Thats before we even get started on Medicines funding. The number of people who are still blatantly ignorant of our health systems failings staggers me.

    • I agree with the sentiment on the health system Geoff but I would think at least something is being attempted to fix structural problems and post code treatment. Of course removing a ridiculous amount of health boards does not address funding in the first place, but at least it’s not a case of throwing more money at a system that is full of duplication. Ironically there is more vocal opposition to such changes on this blog.

      Completely agree also with medicine funding. PHARMAC being the “envy of the world” is clearly not from a patient point of view ( unless you want your GP to offload about blisters of paracetamol). If you want an agency that controls messaging and spends a good amount on PR look no further.

        • Actually I don’t think there is any disputing our medicine spend is way down the bottom of the list for comparable oecd countries. That’s nothing new. As for the sentiment piece I was referring to our poor performance in terms of delivery and I think 20 odd executive boards don’t help that. That performance relative to US etc I don’t much care but, fair enough, third world is probably way too harsh. We certainly don’t spend third world amounts relative to GDP ( excluding meds of course)

          • but we do have astroturf groups campaigning for expensive medications of dubious efficacy at the behest of big pharma..who’s long game is to create a public mood of ‘health is so fucked up’ let’s sell it….the same process is underway in the UK ….
            THE YANKS HATE AND TRY TO UNDERMINE SOCIALISED MEDICINE wherever they find it, because a)they want your money and b)working socialised medicine shows up the 3rd world shambles that corporate medicine is in the US

            • Quite frankly Gagarin that is probably the most insulting thing you could say to people looking for genuine options for treatment. It’s also a typical response to actual data about oecd spend on medicine. I realise you have an issue with the US but that’s an overly simplistic view. I didn’t say fund everything. There are plenty of physicians that back funding based on clinical data and yet PHARMAC says no because of budget constraints. The most fucked up part of it is that on a number of occasions medicines are the cheaper option when looking at a reduction of utilising other healthcare services. But PHARMAC is not tasked with looking at the overall cost. That’s not their fault it’s just a stupid situation.

              A company that makes medicine “wants your money”. You can say that
              about any company, sole trader, etc that makes things.

              • oh FFS sake wheel …express your outrage to pharma companies for the prices they charge for medications with miniscule incremental benefits…I’m not the one trying to fill my pockets at your expense

                • So what do you mean by astroturf groups? Are you suggesting they are fake?Those with actual patients or relatives of them trying to get legitimate options funded? Did they just get sick to promote medicine did they?

                  You overlook, with your complete generalisation on efficacy. the fact that pharmacs prioritisation list would not be so fucking long if the medicines were found to lack evidence of effectiveness. PHARMAC themselves have determined the medicines to be effective. That’s a big part of how they make the list. You can also say that with all of pharmacs economic modelling the drugs they pay for clearly are not too expensive as they have funded them. So why not give them more money?

              • re-read ‘wants your money’ refers to the US private health care system NOT a specific company though truth be told they’d all like to get their hands in your pocket too.

                • and yes I suspect some of the NZ patients groups are funded directly or indirectly by pharma and or it’s surrogates…wheel
                  I understand and get terminal patients desperation…I’m sure I’d say ‘kill 100 puppies – just let me live’ but that’s no reason for their suffering to be monetised

  5. Martyn, watch the coming week.. it’s already started.. it happens to all governments.. – The Self-Implosion!

    Labour is beginning to eat itself!?

  6. Great article and so many good points. I am personally tired of all the f*cks kiwis don’t give about each other. I just want to sit and have convos with people who CARE enough to actually sit and listen to other every day people.. whether a homeless dude or a long term friend or family. Switch the blimmin TV and interwebs off. You don’t know these people from a bar of soap. They are all just repeating the same things to each other verbatim like some programmed automatons. I am tired of people with zero f*cks and just no heart or gut instincts.. No spirit?

    • People care but they won’t engage if they are just going to be told they are wrong again.
      Overwhelmingly most kiwis agree on most things, the current polarization comes from the deliberate schisms of identity politics, neo marxists splitting society in to male vs female vs non gendered, black and brown vs white, old vs young vaxed vs unvaxed, to ready us for their revolution.
      Don’t play their game, accept genuine people for who they are, they will reciprocate.

      • Oh so hang on, it’s got nothing to do with the rise in fascism and the deliberate spread of misinformation and hate? Nothing to do with anti science and medicine?

  7. When it comes to media sites, rule of thumb – if you can’t comment on their articles then they’re completely dodge. Nice and easy one to remember

      • Just to quantify Steven Joyce, Paula Bennett, Barry Soper and Hosking all have regular columns with the NZ Herald Roz. Couldn’t get more hard right than those 4.

        • Bert you can add Hooten, Prebble, O’Sullivan, Trevett, Roughan, Young. Only balanced by Simon Wilson & Munroe.

          • True Nikorima, it appears the so called, or should I say made up $50 mill given to media by the government to control the narrative was bullshit by the rightards all along. But those with any intellect new that.

          • Shit even Stuff are posting Paul Goldsmith columns . The print media has never ever been so right wing bias.

  8. Good post! An almost comprehensive list, but another that comes to mind it this one: you are also not allowed to talk about the cruelty and the failures of that toxic poison 1080 – the time it takes for an animal to die (up to 18 hours), the hammering of non-target species (such as the carrion eating NZ Falcon), the fact it hasn’t worked (witness the repeated drops on the same areas over many years), the divisions it creates in communities, the money-go-round that locks in millions of dollars into these operations and thus will never end because too many vested interests are at stake, and the suppression of legitimate scientific studies that proves its failures.
    You never could talk about it pre-covid because of all the above reasons as well as the neoliberal myth, taught in the universities, that if you were against 1080 then you must be for the extinction of our native birds. But you especially can’t talk about it now because the whole anti-1080 cause has been discredited and contaminated by the anti-vaxxer, chemtrail lunatics, and especially, almost single-handedly, by that crackpot Sue Grey.

    • ” the fact it hasn’t worked (witness the repeated drops on the same areas over many years)”

      Is that deliberate misinformation Mr Judge? Or do you genuinely not understand the use of 1080? 1080 drops have always been a knock-down tool that has to be used repeatedly. There was never any hope (or belief) that 1080 drops could eradicate possums, stoats or rats, which will always reinvade from neighbouring areas. Even a simultaneous drop over the whole country (don’t worry, it’s not going to happen) would not eradicate pest mammals. It’s a knockdown tool that gives native birds temporary respite from predation, boosting breeding success.

      Yes there is sometimes by-kill of native birds. This is acknowledged by DOC. Keas seem especially prone to eating 1080 baits, so there’s been research into suitable repellents that will keep them away from the baits. Quite promising results here:

      The anti-1080 lobby is very good at bitching, but I’m still waiting for them to come with a practical alternative to 1080. Trapping is fine in small, easily accessible areas. But what about Fiordland, or the Kaimanawas?

  9. Another issue that the right wing MSM media do not mention are the low number of deaths in NZ from Covid compared to every other country. They hate to attribute anything successful to jacinda. Winner – Jacinda, Losers right wing MSM.

  10. I wonder why “Co Governance” is not listed here. Did we have a serious debate on it that I missed?

  11. Her latest poll numbers.

    From a 26pt lead in 2020 to now a 6pt deficit.

    So. She’s having a hissy at the poor brown peoples in the Armed Forces. Off to War against Russia!

    This is exactly how we got suckered into Afghanistan!

  12. You can add vaccines to that list. How dare people question vaccines and actually have a belief that as an individual they will not vaccinate. How dare they? Disclaimer: I myself do vaccinate.

  13. A first class list of prohibited or dismissed topics – just who do we vote for? And do not forget the battle for freedom of speech as Julian Assange is condemned to a slow death by appalling conditions of incarceration by a corrupt UK Judiciary and a decade of psychological torture.

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