Orthodoxy and Dissidence at Radio New Zealand.


RADIO NEW ZEALAND has appointed a panel of media experts to diagnose the severity of its present crisis. Willy Akel, Linda Clark and Alan Sunderland have been asked to determine exactly how it was that Michael Hall, working in RNZ’s digital department, was able to insert unauthorised material into Reuters wire stories for five years without being either detected or reproved by his superiors.

This seems unlikely to prove a particularly taxing assignment. Hall has confessed, and, as far as we know, he had no confederates. He was trusted by his employers to play by RNZ’s (and Reuters!) rules, and appears to have betrayed that trust. Either that, or he has for five years been interpreting RNZ’s rules in the most creative fashion. The panel must explain why RNZ failed to monitor Hall’s output. It also needs to discover how a man of Hall’s powerful political convictions could enter the RNZ workforce without raising at least some managerial eyebrows?

Conservative New Zealanders will snort derisively at these questions. To their way of thinking the answers are blindingly obvious. RNZ – a.k.a. “Red Radio” – has been hiring people with “powerful political convictions”, that is to say, with blatant left-wing biases, for decades. The wonder is not that Hall “politically corrected” Reuters wire stories, but that he appears to have been the only RNZ  journalist with the political gumption to do so!

Except, those same conservatives – as is so often the case – simply do not grasp how dramatically the “Left” has changed, or, to what extent the current “culture” of RNZ has changed with it. At the heart of RNZ’s transformation are generational, professional, and philosophical divergences sharp enough to have turned the Radio New Zealand of 15 years ago inside out.

What turned Radio New Zealand into RNZ? The short answer is “Generation X”. It was ten years ago this year that the Board of Radio New Zealand, led by Jim Bolger’s former press secretary, Richard Griffin, appointed Fairfax Executive Editor, Paul Thompson (b. circa 1969) to replace Peter Cavanagh. A champion of public service broadcasting, Cavanagh had fought a noble rear-guard action against the John Key-led National Government’s relentless financial strangulation of Radio New Zealand.

- Sponsor Promotion -

Thompson moved swiftly against the Baby Boomer managers of Radio New Zealand. He restructured them out, and brought a younger, leaner and meaner generation of broadcasters in. These new brooms had a very different take on the profession of journalism when compared to the broadcasters they were replacing. Not so much speakers of truth to power as strivers who revelled in their proximity to it, the Gen-Xers were not the least bit embarrassed or hesitant about wielding power to advance their own agendas. Where their predecessors had set out in search of “The Truth”, these new broadcasters went after scalps – the more illustrious the better.

It made for a very different kind of public broadcaster. The Baby Boomers had tested themselves against a powerful status quo, harassing its leaders and challenging its values. Institutional power was a beast to be mistrusted and confronted. No rumour involving the government should ever be believed until it has been officially denied. And while it may not be possible for journalism to beat the powers-that-be, no self-respecting journalist would ever dream of joining them. Baby Boom journalists leaned towards the maverick outsider kicking against the pricks. Generation X admired those who had learned how to pick the locks to the House of Power.

This divergence wasn’t just generational and professional, it was philosophical.

The Baby Boomers had hero-worshipped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two Washington Post journalists most closely identified with exposing the Watergate scandal and bringing down the malignant administration of Richard Nixon. “Woodstein” led many Boomers to the conclusion that not only could the world be changed for the better by virtuous action, but also that journalism – especially investigative journalism – was one of the most effective means of doing so.

Generation X grew up under the influence of a very different duo – Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. “Virtuous action” was a mug’s game. More often than not, those who spoke truth to power ended up having their tongues cut out. Play it safe, play it smart, play to win. What else were the Eighties about?

The status quo has little to fear from cynicism, which meant that, with one or two honourable exceptions (like the editor of The Daily Blog) the status quo which emerged from the economic and social liberalism of the 1980s and 90s had little to fear from Generation X. After all, the triumphant neoliberal order and the global economy it brought into being was Gen-X’s world, and in it the sunny optimism of the 1960s and 70s was as outré as tie-dyed T-shirts and flared jeans.

The journalism of Generation X followed the neoliberal flag – as evidenced by the fourth estate’s general capitulation to the extraordinary deceptions of the War on Terror. Newspapers that had risked Nixon’s wrath by exposing Watergate, eagerly repeated the Bush Administration’s lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction”. The American motion picture industry, which had given the world Easy Rider and Billy Jack, served up the television series “24” – a cold-blooded primer on the mechanics of torture.

Meanwhile, back here in Godzone, as one-by-one the rearguard actions of Boomer journalists and editors like Cavanagh ended in defeat, the principle of going along to get along became ever more deeply entrenched. Careers were not enhanced by challenging the fundamentals of the neoliberal status quo, nor by questioning the social-liberal values that offered the economic brutalities of neoliberalism such excellent political cover. Paul Thompson’s RNZ led the way. The people’s broadcaster became both the purveyor and defender of neoliberal and social-liberal orthodoxy – as swift to denounce Posie Parker as Vladimir Putin. Contracting-out economic commentary to the Aussie banks’ in-house economists, and political commentary to PR firms. It’s journalists appeared to be more comfortable attacking Hate Speech than defending Free Speech.

At least, they were, until Michael Hall tossed an old-fashioned left-wing spanner into RNZ’s works. The special, three-person panel appointed by RNZ’s board-of-directors will have little difficulty removing that spanner. Their most daunting responsibility, however (the task not specified in the panel’s terms of reference) will be to acknowledge how dramatically Hall’s behaviour has exposed the poverty of RNZ’s journalism. Promoting acceptable ideas, and suppressing everything that challenges the prevailing orthodoxy, may be the winning formula in Putin’s Russia, but it should not be Radio New Zealand’s.

Think about it. If a journalist in Russian state radio had done what Michael Hall’s been doing for the last 5 years, RNZ would have hailed him as a hero. Which is why Willy Akel, Linda Clark, and Alan Sunderland should think long and hard before presenting our public broadcaster’s very own journalistic dissident as a villain.



  1. The truism that a ‘Russian Michael Hall’ would be “hailed as a hero” by the N.A.T.O. war machine exposes another uncomfortable problem for the U.S. Alliance. Public trust in the Collective West press corps has collapsed — even as nearly all dissenters were banished, the endless pro-war lies could not be covered up forever.

    The turn towards tighter and tighter mass censorship (‘counter-disinformation’), combined with the Mccarthyite atmosphere created by Russiagate, has lead to a highly embarrassing situation — more dissidents from the U.S. Alliance countries can now be heard on the airwaves of the Russian state broadcasters, than in the supposedly ‘free’ corporate press of the Collective West. This cannot be sustained forever.

    • Good comments. John Michael Greer as a youth learnt Russian reading Pravda and Izvestia, laughing at the obvious bias. He now refers to Washington Post as Pravda on the Potomac, and New York Times as Izvestia on the Hudson. Our media has gone the same way.

      There is however hope. Whether you like Tucker Carson or not he recently broadcast over the Web and had millions of views, dwarfing the audience of his previous employers. Ditto Joe Rogan. What this signals is an end to editorial control of the narrative. For the MSM to counter this they have one option: to report the verifiable. facts, no spin. People love the truth.

    • One needs to separate geopolitical rhetoric from Putin’s war if one wants to understand the world.

      • Johan, the problem existed prior to the proxy war. I’d suggest that the focus on Trump and Putin merely confirms the malaise.

        • No doubt. Ukraine defence actions are protecting the rest of Europe.
          What is the end game? I would suggest that the end game is a moving target.

  2. Perhaps the Gen-X journalists simply saw through the nostrums and nostalgia of the post-war generation?

    Vietnam and Watergate was a long time in the past, and the results of heavily government dominated social economies could be seen in the sclerotic economies of Europe and behind the Iron Curtain.

    • It is all about life experience.
      And I have a suspicion that my views often confused my father as much as my fathers views confused my grandfather.
      I have a hard time to explain stuff to my kids for exactly the same reason.

      I teach them what my father taught me.
      Listen carefully but follow your own agenda and own your decisions.

    • Not to mention the sclerotic economy of the evil empire, which handed all its manufacturing over to the likes of China and other Asian countries, and is now in a state of decline as a result.


  3. Thanks Chris, you said what I was thinking.

    I listened to a Tom Nelson YouTube interview where Roger Pielke (jr) explains what many critics of climate change alarmism thinks.

    “I am sorry to disappoint you Tom, but those who would like to live in a world with atmospheric CO2 at 800ppm will be very disappointed, this will not happen.”

    Understanding that the developed world has been decarbonising industries successfully for more than a century and that this trajectory will accelerate gets lost in the noise. Denying energy to the developing world speaks of “our” disrespect of “fairness and equity”. Woke?!

    We will just have to accept that journalism reflects opinion, even when news is reported.

  4. “No so much speakers of truth to power as strivers who revelled in their proximity to it”

    Contemporary NZ media and academia in a nutshell.

    • It’s a beautiful line in its message and in its restraint. Strivers reveling in their proximity to power conjures a much more derisive term. Yet it is a human failing best noted with precision rather than with contempt.

    • Very true your Holiness. I was reflecting on how in 1974 some journalists scuttled Nixon over Watergate. The journalist had freedom to pursue and America still believed in the rule of law.

      Compare that today with the way MSM journalists will not cover the Biden corruption, and how half of the populace care more for tribal partisan politics than for upholding law.

      • It’s a US proxy war! An attempt to fire up the Cold War with a regime change to boot. Nothing else.

      • I see left and right as a circle. The extremes of both actually join up eventually so you get individuals crossing from extreme left to extreme right without a blink. A typical example is Brendan O’Neil of Spiked Online. Brendan has managed to transform himself from a Trotskyist to a right wing libertarian who, of course, supports Putin.

        • I think that is how reason and an open mind works. One can always find reason to justify you position.
          And then you get ideologues.

    • It’s disappointing how many people think that calling something/someone “right-wing” (or “left-wing” for that matter) actually constitutes an argument.

      • Good on you but reread the article: Chris Trotter say “At least, they were, until Michael Hall tossed an old-fashioned left-wing spanner into RNZ’s works” – saying that Mr Hall was acting under a left-wing influences. It was Mr Trotter himself who brought this up. I would – outside of this – point out that most leftist commentators I know of may be antiwar but I couldn’t name any who are pro Putin invading Ukraine at this point, but I know plenty on the right who do.

        • I have to assume that you are not looking at international scholars interviewed on YouTube or read opinion pieces in our legacy media.

          Sacks, Mearsheimer, ……… fill in the dots. All left wing progressives.

          Matt Robson, Mike Smith……

          They are anti war but their rhetoric fires up Putinistas as they criticise NATO thereby justifying the actions of Putin and imply that the Ukrainians should just roll over and that would somehow create a better world and Ukraine.
          Yeah, right.
          Mandela did not stop fighting for justice and freedom. Mandela won.
          We in SA fought for freedom until we realised we fought against freedom.

    • Cagey, correction, being anti war and anti war machine is a right wing thing now. Not that right wing is even clearly defined today – only using the parlance of our times. Right could just as easily be interchanged with 90s liberal.

      • You are right there – this is a product of neoliberalism: politically, things have been and are being still, pulled to the right. So the liberals of the 90s (and now!) are not that far from the 70s middle right and the middle right is now far right. What would have been middle left in the 70s is now far left. Because the liberal left are enjoying that sweet sweet cash they’re getting and they’re not working for the working man anymore. Oh and being antiwar & pro Putin are very different – the left (what is called far left now) are – generally anti war & the war machine, from what I have observed.

    • I’m not sure what evidence you have for that Cagey. The anti- America/NATO sentiment is strong on the left, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” effect? Much is made of Ukraine’s “Nazi adjacent” fighters by that quarter as well.
      Perhaps it’s fair to say that the far left and far right both support Russia but for different reasons?

      • I was actually saying that pro Putin/Russian propaganda is now a right wing thing, which is wasn’t ever in the past (them being ‘communist’ and all). Though there is antiwar, anti interference, I haven’t seen left wing pro Russia/Putin stuff – you would probably need to sent me links through (remembering criticizing the US/Europe politically or Ukraine decisions is not the same as being ProPutin ). The obvious ProPutin on the right is Tucker Calson. I can put up some others if you want.

        • Well, there are people like me who are lefty, but, more importantly, remember all the the right-wing, bullshit propaganda we got about the Vietnam war. Read the good histories written since, and view Ken Burns’ excellent doco series. You will never trust western propaganda again. The leopard has not learnt anything, and has definitely not changed its spots.
          The bullshit we are having spun to us about The Ukraine has exactly the same stench of what Trump called ‘fake news’.

        • Cagey, this is because Putin has transformed Russia into an authoritarian, fascist state. It has adopted an extreme form of nationalism based on the philosophy of Alexander Dugin, Lev Gumilyov etc.
          Dugin is speaking at the St Petersburg Economic Forum which incidentally has been boycotted by many Russian businesses.

        • you’re right, because the establishment is claiming “the left.”

          Tis all top down v bottom up, really.

  5. RNZ has become a law unto itself.

    In respect of the Kiri Allan debacle where her as a senior minister in a major blatant conflict of interest appears to have threatened RNZ management over her partner not landing the job she applied for at RNZ, they have declined to comply with the OIA of that issue on the basis of “tikanga”, which is outrageous.

    From Thomas Cranmer…

    “RNZ released comments from Kiri Allan’s speech in early May. In response to OIA requests for the full transcript, RNZ’s legal advisor George Bignell said that Dunlop’s farewell was conducted with the strong expectation of privacy “in the context of a farewell done in accordance with RNZ tikanga” which contributed to the decision to withheld the full text.”

    Now obviously what that indicates is what Allan said was bad, and now the cover up. And their te reo binge had gone to their decision making heads One assumes RNZ are worried what Allen will do to them if the truth comes out.

    So RNZ’s tikanga is do whatever they like, who cares about the law! Absolutely marvelous for a taxpayer funded government department to think it’s above the law!

    • X-ray They may be saying that RNZ’s tikanga usurps the public’s expectation of being told the truth about the actions of government ministers, or anything.

      • Pakeha who claim ‘tikanga’ aint the same thing as Tikanga. Don’t mix your Tikanga with a commercial brand(ing) of something that is nowhere near what Tikanga is regardless of whatever their inhouse-niggers say.

    • Journalism today has turned into the opinion of the Journalist.Opinion pieces only.
      That’s bad,that’s wrong,it’s scary.

  6. A great article Chris, thanks.

    Millennials seem to be too fragile to entertain the ideas that contradict their own. I suspect that is the result of never being smacked or being told they’d failed at anything. Hence the lack of a broad discourse in much of mainstream media, including RNZ. For that one has to go to the Platform or Twitter.

    Oh, and just to put a couple of facts straight:

    Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were just patsies for the FBI: It later emerged that ‘deepthroat’ was an FBI agent. They did zero investigation, and the FBI could have chosen any of dozens of other journalists.

    The Bush administration thought Saddam has WMDs because it said he had them. It was that simple.

    • Who said he had them, Andrew? Saddam himself? The CIA? The news media? Clarification needed.

      And, who doesn’t know that Woodward and Bernstein were kept informed by an FBI insider? That’s not really news. “Woodstien” did much more than that, however, as any reputable history of the Watergate Scandal will confirm.

      You need to understand, Andrew, that practically all effective investigative journalism is based on one or more inside sources. Just think of Nicky Hager and the National Party insider who delivered him the thousands of e-mails from which he pieced together “The Hollow Men”.

      • “kept informed by an FBI insider” is one way of putting it but I believe being run BY the FBI is a much more accurate description. Their insider “Deep Throat” was Mark Felt the FBI’s Deputy Director, head of domestic counter intelligence and absolutely the top man for the Watergate investigation. “Woodstein” got exactly the information he wanted them to have. Is that the FBI working for the Washington Post or the Washington Post working for the internal security forces to bring down the duly elected president of The United States ?
        When the journalist get to write history (including a major Hollywood movie) it’s the journalists who become the heroes and the creatures of the night say in the shadows.
        Classic Deep State shenanigans.

      • And then Hager gets criticised for using “ stolen information” It would have been much worse had Hager not made good use of the material which the insider clearly couldn’t, and if he had not exposed National.

  7. All news media is filtered propaganda, whatever your political preferences. It is completely obsolete. Chat gpt is likely to be far more accurate than any mainstream news. AI might even sprinkle in some context, while the propaganda purposely cuts it out.

    • That is off beam ‘Off white’ and exceedingly cynical. Chat GBT can’t compete with the media. And news is not propaganda necessarily. If one has the means to research the sources using triangulation, then one can arrive on an objective truth. That takes time though.

  8. Good on Hall for exposing the hypocrisy and complicity of ratshit radio nz.
    Let’s hope the Gestapo come to their senses and get the current load of pretend journalists up against the wall for an in-person close-up interrogation before their eventual demise. Ratshit radio is toxic. Unfit for human consumption.

  9. 10 years since I spent any time listening to RNZ. Kim Hill’s interview with Posey Parker (which I heard thru another site) proved beyond doubt she is washed up and pig ignorant. The Key government destroyed RNZ by driving out the last vestiges of a valid accountable intelligent news service.
    Thankfully we have Glenn Greenwald, Substack, The New Yorker, Caitlin Johnstone, The Daily Blog,New Scientist, Newsroom, The Platform,Scheerpost, Chris Hedges etc . There is a wealth of intelligent information and commentary for the intelligent reader out there.Fuck all for the viewer but then that was always a third rate way of understanding our world.

  10. Excellent article.

    Winston Peters has a petition calling for a Royal Commission of enquiry into the msm. Another reason for me to consider casting a vote for him.

    The msm new orthodoxy includes ignoring anything that challenges gender ideology and if you can’t ignore it, smear the likes of Posie Parker

    • Anker. “ …if you can’t ignore it, smear the likes of Rosie Parker”. It’s worse than that. The Minister of Immigration tried to stop her entering this fragile wee country, and said she had an incorrect world view. Politicians joined in the mud slinging, and incredibly, the police said that it was not their job to protect women and sat by while powerful people assaulted them.

      Local media failed to report this, as noted by off-shore media, including GB News and the UK Spectator. Our media were complicit in preventing women from being able to speak, which is a far from healthy societal dynamic and another assault upon freedom of speech.

  11. Tony Kevin, a former Australian senior diplomat, ambassador to Cambodia and Poland, diplomat in Australia’s embassy in Moscow and author of numerous books has stated “The examples of journalistic misconduct identified in the two articles match exactly research and opinions on the historical context and causes of the war in Ukraine and mounting Russia-West tensions that I have been trying to express publicly in Australia. Australian Broadcasting Company journalists edit incoming feeds from Reuters and other wire services all the time. They add context, link to previous stories, add Australian-relevant material.”

    In the on-line ‘Media Lens’ there is an article Killing The Story which explains clearly how The BBC and The Guardian have failed miserably to report on the facts. Our media use these information resources as if they are factual. Why don’t we have any reporting from Al Jazzera – a much more reliable source of what is going on in Ukraine and Russia and certainly refreshingly honest reporting on Palestine.

  12. Red radio is gonna red radio.
    It fits the stereotype because it is exactly who they are – watch Sean Plunket at The Platform explain the blatant left bias exhibited by the (gasp) boomers running it in the day when he was there.

    But wait no it’s those pesky younger generations!
    Boomers had absolute integrity, everyone else doesn’t!
    Shakes fist at cloud, hits gong.

  13. Why all the fuss about this fiddling with Russian mafia news..The Nash has been fiddling and distorting news for a decade or so and nobody has said anything, apart from changing the station on the wireless or actually just turning off, the lack of journalistic integrity has been on display for a long time now….

      • Nothing, there is a legal cone of silence over the whole thing. I surmise though that one does not tell Karen Hay what to do. And Karen Hay is too independent a spirit to abide by the cultural dictates of RNZ National.

  14. If the RNZ affair proves anything it is that language is everything when it comes to news reporting. A story might report that the sun will rise tomorrow, but, with subtly and nuance, more words, perhaps describing the cause, reason and likely outcome of it doing so, can convey all manner of understanding, or misunderstanding, of the event.
    This is at the core of the furor over the sub-editing of Reuters’ copy supplied to Radio New Zealand. And so too it is with much in this Chris Trotter piece. For instance, rather than writing “Michael Hall, working in RNZ’s digital department, was able to insert unauthorized material into Reuters wire stories for five years without being either detected or reproved by his superiors.” Chris could have, more objectively written; “A senior Radio New Zealand sub-editor’s changes to the text of several Reuters’ wire stories have raised concerns within RNZ that a pro-Russia bias resulted.” To not accord Michael Hall his title, seniority, and correct job description, and to describe his work as being “unauthorized” and “not detected” is to use words that impugn Mr. Hall’s integrity, which, given that the affair is now the subject of a formal inquiry, is unfair, and even “biased.”

  15. There is some good material here but Chris Trotter’s thesis is all over the shop.
    He sets up the idea that the Gen X RNZ journalists are more closely aligned to the centers of power than their parents generation in the first 3/4s of the pieces and then contradicts that in the last quarter by implying that Michael Hall is a dissident.
    If he is a dissident then what is he dissenting from and why has he broken with the philosophy of his generation ?

  16. I generally enjoyed the commentary but not sure about the framing of Boomers being chased out by Gen Xers. I mean, it’s true but let’s remember it’s the Boomers who voted for the political changes that taught Gen Xers they were better off looking after number 1. It was the Boomer desire to pull the ladder up behind them that created the attitudes of Gen X – a ladder, least we forget, that was built by the Boomer’s parent’s generation.

  17. Transistor in my pocket since 1986, always tuned to the National Programme. I remember their grand independent period, the last opposition to the plutocratic state along with Finlay MacDonald’s Listener.

    This guy is for a foul state. But we need to talk less black and white about the crises that America regularly rarks up.

  18. Was just reading the blog of Craig Murray ex British Ambassador. His comments on a Guardian article where a Palestinian was killed by the Israelis:

    “Terrorist suspect” is the standard media term to describe any Palestinian civilian who has not been convicted of anything.

    Things always just happen to Palestinians. A sentence which starts “Israeli forces shoot” or “Israeli forces bomb” is as rare as hens’ teeth. Gaza however “is shelled” or “is bombed” with remarkable regularity. But it is always “Hamas fire rockets”


    If you read our msm critically you can see this kind of bias built in to every story. I thought the RNZ guy did a good job of balancing it out and showing there are multiple views within a story. He should be commended.

  19. I suppose that there is no reason to waste anymore money on the tvnz merger with rnz now eh?

    Just pull the plug on rnz and then they can all write up an obituary for it and swap notes with each other on how it happened. That will probably be the most interesting read from them that has happened
    in year’s to rnz. RIP rnz.

  20. A good last paragraph. Said it myself first off.

    The pearl-clutching over these “pro-kremlin” edits is hilarious. All it does is expose that these edits were acceptable 5 years ago (not from a Reuters terms point of view), but NZ’s own propaganda bubble has shifted in that time, and looking back they see putinists under the bed. They made no impression on the discourse because they were 1 in 100 diluted by the rest of the propaganda in the discourse.

    Charlie Mitchell’s latest “explainer” piece in Stuff tries to backtrack the damage all the FUSS has done to the perception of our media and how the “truth” is reported.
    By making this fuss hopefully the establishment have burst the propaganda bubble they’ve created – for some people.

  21. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  22. So. Is this censorship? Where Hall corrected the bias and narrative that was writtien in the style of McCartyism Fascism of the 1950’s from msm news feed from Reuters who are well known propagandists for the Canadian Government and also a Whitehouse.
    Anything from those two authoritarian-fascist governments should be censored, fact-checked, verified and sub-edited as Hall did.

    RNZ must be put to the sword on this attack on the rights of a worker to do his job properly as he has done for many years.
    Theres an article on ‘stuff’ by Charlie somebody trying to discredit Hall already by saying he’s ‘Irish’ and a ‘Tankie’ as well as to imply he’s a communist sympathiser.


  23. “Michael Hall tossed an old-fashioned left-wing spanner into RNZ’s works” Chris Trotter

    To identify Michael Hall as left-wing because he opposes American Imperialism and supports Russian imperialism. Makes as much sense as calling Hitler Left wing because he opposed British imperialism and supported German imperialism.

    Nobody who supports imperialist aggression and war is left-wing.

    • Ah yes, “No TRUE Scotsman …”.

      We get it, Pat. The Soviet Union, which invaded Finland, opportunistically declared war on Japan days before the end of WW2, and seized control of Eastern Europe in 1945, wasn’t actually left-wing.

  24. ” What turned Radio New Zealand into RNZ? The short answer is “Generation X”. It was ten years ago this year that the Board of Radio New Zealand, led by Jim Bolger’s former press secretary, Richard Griffin, appointed Fairfax Executive Editor, Paul Thompson (b. circa 1969) to replace Peter Cavanagh. A champion of public service broadcasting, Cavanagh had fought a noble rear-guard action against the John Key-led National Government’s relentless financial strangulation of Radio New Zealand. ”

    Thank you Chris for highlighting that.

    I have been taking to task the people who think they are experts on this site regarding RNZ and its ” Red Radio ” smear because National Radio openly criticised National and Labour governments and the injustices of the unregulated market economy.

    The point is it was unbiased which is why Joyce and Key moved to bring RNZ into the fold along with all the other status quo corporate media.

    It was a sad day for the demise of our own relied upon independent voice that National Radio had always provided us in what we have always been led to believe is a liberal democracy in this country.

    When you only hear one allowed version of the facts as the status quo sees it then that says to me we are no better that the communist countries we were taught to believe were so evil.

  25. Go the Irish!


    Irish neutrality is perfectly compatible with demanding that Russia withdraw from Ukraine immediately and stop its barbarous assaults on civilians and civilian infrastructure, with support for the right of Ukraine to arm and defend itself, with support and solidarity for the Ukrainian people and labour movement, and with backing for self-determination for Ukraine.
    Irish neutrality – in so far as it still survives or ever really applied at all – is about staying out of superpower military alliances and remaining neutral in wars between the powers or between countries or forces waging rivalries for local capitalist domination. In practical words it might be expressed as staying out of NATO and common European armies, and not multiplying military spending when there’s a crushing housing crisis (or at all). That neutrality should be maintained and defended. It is the neutrality that we who support the resistance of the Ukrainian people claim! It is the neutrality that we have as much right to defend as any alliance of political positions seeking to monopolise and define neutrality for their own purposes in relation to the war in Ukraine. Those claiming to defend Ireland’s neutrality are, for all practical purposes, not neutral when they oppose military aid to Ukraine. In effect that policy if implemented would lead to the defeat of Ukraine, and victory for Russian aggression.
    No socialist, democrat or humanitarian should be neutral in a war of liberation of an oppressed people, a war of revolution against capitalism, a civil war against counter-revolution or a war of democracy against dictatorship or fascism, or, as in the case of the war in Ukraine, a war of national defence against an imperialist invasion. The left wasn’t neutral on Vietnam. The left wasn’t neutral on Iraq. February 2022 was not July 1914. When we are ‘anti-war’ we realise that there is a huge difference between wars of occupation and domination and wars of resistance. When we are neutral we remember the words of Desmond Tutu that, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. When we long for peace, as we always do, it is not the peace of the graveyard, Pax Romana, the peace of capitulation or acceptance of the status quo, but the peace of justice and of the defeat of aggression, torture, reaction, rape, mass murder and ecocide.
    James Connolly as ever put it so well in January 1916:
    “We believe that in times of peace we should work along the lines of peace to strengthen the nation, and we believe that whatever strengthens and elevates the working class strengthens the nation. But we also believe that in times of war we should act as in war. We despise, entirely despise and loathe, all the mouthings and mouthers about war who infest Ireland in time of peace, just as we despise and loathe all the cantings about caution and restraint to which the same people treat us in times of war. Mark well then our programme. While the war lasts and Ireland still is a subject nation we shall continue to urge her to fight for her freedom.” (‘What Is Our Programme’, Workers Republic, 22 January 1916).
    The view of the war in Ukraine as a war by NATO, or a ‘proxy inter-imperialist war’, and an urge to deny all support to Ukraine, even sanctions on Russia, even training on de-mining, underpins the neutrality being presented in the June series of People’s Forums On Irish Neutrality and the ‘Conversation’ on Neutrality:Who Cares?. The view – obvious to almost everyone independent of the shocking campism which is almost universal across the organised radical socialist left in Ireland – that Ukraine has been subject to aggression, invasion, war crimes and occupation, supports the belief that neutrality cannot be an argument for denying solidarity to Ukraine or for effectively giving succour to Putin. That neutrality cannot be an excuse for almost complete ‘anti-war’ inactivity on the streets against the horror right here in Europe. A horror that cannot be downplayed and has been recognised by the UNHCR as the largest annual global increase of people forcibly displaced in decades (Irish Times, 15th June 2023).”

Comments are closed.