The Media versus the inconvenient truth

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Since it surfaced a couple of weeks ago, the story of Radio New Zealand’s foreign agency-supplied stories on Ukraine being subbed to give them a “pro Russia slant”, other media have chimed in on the vilification of the digital editor responsible.

The NZ Herald has run three consecutive reports, an editorial and a feature piece, and the Sunday Star Times carried comment by the media’s “go-to Guru”, former Herald editor Gavin Ellis. And no doubt other papers around the country have also got in on the act. Each piece implied it was published in defence of the time-honoured principles of good journalism; “accuracy, fairness and balance,” but nevertheless, amazingly, no “letters to the editor” on the subject were published.

If the principles of “accuracy, fairness and balance” are The Media’s primary concern, then it beggars belief that not one reader has written a letter to the editor on the topic. And the only logical conclusion to draw from that is; someone ordered it so.  Or perhaps falling circulation numbers have left newspapers bereft of literate subscribers.

That’s Censorship!

But even more worryingly, from all that’s been published, The Media is obviously defending a position that allows for only a pro-Ukraine version of the war to be reported. And if “spiking” letters to the editor is part of holding that position, then our media is clearly managing the public’s understanding of the war. That’s censorship! It’s what Noam Chomsky has called “Manufacturing Consent – the political economy of the mass media”, which is far more serious than anything the RNZ journalist has been accused of doing. 

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If we don’t know what we’re not being told, we don’t know the whole story!

Make no mistake, at a time when draconian laws designed to limit what we can and cannot say are being drafted, this is a very important issue, and we ignore it at our peril. 

With the earlier referred to media accounts loaded with pejorative phrases and analogies designed to diminish the integrity of the journalist at the centre of this furore, their writers’ ignore the very principles they claim to be defending – “fairness, accuracy and balance.” 


But then, lest we forget, this is the same media which has completely ignored the plight of Julian Assange, for years turning a blind eye to his cruel imprisonment in the UL,, without conviction, awaiting “the pleasure” of the United States, for exposing the lies it tells us, through – “The Media.”

And this is the same Media that told us Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction” and which for the past 75 years has defended Israel’s Apartheid system. The same Media that ignores the genocide being waged on the indigenous people of West Papua, because it will upset Indonesia. The same Media that were the handmaidens of Neo-liberalism’s sell-off of everything we owned collectively, so that Capitalists could profit privately. And it’s the same media that perpetuates the evil myth that hard work is all that separates the poor, toiling in this slave-wage economy, from enjoying “the good life” it offers. 

Writing in the Weekend Herald, former Herald editor Shayne Currie twice used the phrase “bad apple” and implied the suspended RNZ staffer lacked the “integrity, high ethical writing and personal standards,” integral to journalism. And Currie compared him to two notorious journalists whose careers were built on fraudulently concocted fake stories. And defending RNZ as an employer he wrote that it was as powerless as an airline would be, to stop “an idiotic pilot who wants to fly an aircraft into the ground.” 

And writing in The Sunday Star Times, calling it an “appalling situation,” for the “falsehoods” this “rogue” had edited into Reuter’s copy, “Guru Gavin,” went on in like vein. And here it’s worth recalling, this is the same Gavin Ellis who, twenty years ago, and in the same year that I was judged NZ cartoonist of the year, dismissed me from the NZ Herald when I refused to stop drawing cartoons critical of Israel.

Incidentally, since my dismissal twenty years ago, in which time most of the world has come to see Israel as my cartoons then depicted it, not one of the cartoonists who replaced me have produced a cartoon critical of Israel’s Apartheid regime – funny that. 


None of this is by way of saying that media people are consciously involved in a fiendish conspiracy to deceive – I’m sure they believe in the positions they hold, but that’s the point.  As Noam Chomsky once told a BBC journalist, cynical of Chomsky’s belief that journalists are puppets of the system; 

“I’m sure you believe everything you say, it’s just that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you are?”  

For a more comprehensive account of how The Media works to disguise and perpetuate the system that controls us, Caitlin Johnstone’s essay is worth your time; 



28 COMMENTS

    • Good point Castro – doesn’t fit with the ‘agenda’ Malcolm is desperately trying to push though does it . . .

      • Well, the other half of this story is that the US has nukes located in several locations within Europe…this fits nicely with Malcolm’s so-called agenda of many of us not really knowing the full story. By all means call out Russia on placing nukes outside of Russia, but again, don’t forget to call out the other country, a country that is not even located in Europe, – the USA – for placing nukes outside of their country also.

        Nukes are a big, big, big issue and this type of behavior should alarm us all!

  1. One used to be able to read many labour movement newspapers, produced by trade unions and other such organisations. The N.Z. Worker, N.Z. Weekly Herald, The Highway, The Transport Worker, N.Z. Watersider, the Labour Bulletin, The Standard, the Tribune, People’s Voice, Labour Review, etc.

    You could tune into 3AR., 3KZ. and 2UW. union radio. There were educational programmes aired on television. People understood that it was foolish to simply believe whatever press barons like Murdoch, Packer and Fairfax want you to hear.

    • Left out the “The Argus” on the West Coast, my Great Granddad was on the broad of Directors until our mine was forced to shutdown as the NZG of the day withdrew our Mining license IOT close the nearby unproductive State Mines & as a result the Argus folded as well as we funded close to 25% of paper.

  2. New Zealand’s RNZ apologises for ‘pro-Kremlin garbage’ on Ukraine

    13 Jun 2023
    The editor-in-chief of New Zealand’s national public service radio broadcaster has apologised for publishing “pro-Kremlin garbage” after changes were found to have been made to more than a dozen wire agency articles covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Al Jazeera reveals that named journalists had their work altered.. This is fraud and opens RNZ up to being sued by the individual journalists whose views were misrepresented by Michael Hall. To avoid being sued is probably the reason that RNZ has rushed to make an apology.

    The articles, nearly all of them from the Reuters news agency, some of which appeared with the bylines of the agency reporters,….

    Not even the vile publishers of Kiwiblog would alter contributors comments and posts to mislead readers to what they actually wrote.

    I hope the journalists whose copy was altered by Michael Hall do sue.

  3. MSM are full of sleaze, slime, corruption and deception. Fuck the lot them

  4. In essence I share your concerns but …. you make generalisations that are just not true.

    I am aware of the Julian Assange situation. I have read both sides of the argument in mainstream media. I am aware of NATO and have read both sides of the story in mainstream media. I am aware of the Palestinian situation and have read both sides of the story.

    I have followed all these stories with great concern and interest trying to find solutions to the problems that are so well articulated by journalists and scholars.

    We need to protect freedom of speech and democracy.

    • If, as you claim, the mainstream media’s accounts of these problems, “so well articulated by journalists and scholars” had actually “made you aware” of the full unexpurgated truth, there would be no need for your “great concern…..trying to find solutions to the problems – they would be self-evident. But you’re not fed the unexpurgated truth, and never have been.

      • Reading the opinions of both sides create awareness of only one side?
        Now that is what I would call a distortion of fact!

        PS.
        Articulating a problem is very different from articulating the proposed solution.

  5. “I’m sure you believe everything you say, it’s just that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you are?”

    The NZ media is fucked. I hardly listening to MSM especially when it covers apartheid Israel or any other foreign US intervention preaching BS.

    • I’ll try again. (Hazards of the interweb)
      ABSOLUTELY @ Countryboy. indisputably and without question. There is No Alternative. (Not so much Exceptionally though).
      I’m glad to know you’re going to now bow down and worship this Iconic feature (Malcolm Evans) of this media space (going forward).
      Things could change though eh. Or not?

  6. This is the role of modern day mainstream media – they are a part of, thus they serve – “the system that controls us”. Telling only half the story is their bread and butter, demonizing those that dare question system goals, that has quickly become common place now also.

    The system is anyone with enough money to shape political policy that is then implemented on a near global level coupled with an ability to influence global-level media to held push this policy and or other interests. The system.

  7. “If we don’t know what we’re not being told, we don’t know the whole story!”

    How true! Write your own list of current issues ‘reported’ in the media. Incidentally, much the same could be said of history.

  8. “And the only logical conclusion to draw from that is; someone ordered it so.”

    Yes. And I wonder if those orders come from overseas – or perhaps an embassy in Wellington.

  9. Russia/China/Iran/North Korea Et Al have never been our enemy’s in the strictest sense a threat to our lives, but to our “Way of living” as it is sold to us peons.
    With a complicit MSM manufacturing discontent and chaos for their political masters humanity has lost the ability to listen and compromise which is the root of all conflict. Palestine is a perfect example of this, Ukraine is another.
    Imagine a honest media that spoke the truth no matter how painful and embarrassing toward our own actions done in our name by our “elected Officials”, maybe just maybe we would develop a sense of empathy and understanding that reaches into us and enables us to speak out.
    Those who wish to understand the truth seek the truth by any available means and MSM has now lost its credibility.

    • I cringe at the term MSM. Are you still in the 50’s?

      RNZ have over-reacted but who can blame them. Ukraine took the NATO drug deal over Russia’s. End of story.

    • fingrinn,
      Problems in Palestine, the media and the Ukraine you say – hmmm, in an anti-semantic way I could accuse you of being anti-semite…because most anti-semite accusations are anti-semantic!

  10. But, but, but, but the media were given $55 mill for favors to Labour remember?

  11. This conflict has certainly created strange bedfellows. For example I’m considerably more right-wing than most of you and support Ukraine in this conflict, while my kids are quite pro-Russia (although they accept that Putin’s a bit of a scumbag). However, even I want limits on the support and get pissed off with idiots who think this could lead to the breakup of Russia, as if Yugoslavia was not bad enough.

    But on your side of the fence I’m curious how you can reconcile all this Leftist stuff of Chomsky and company with a Foucault and Trans supporter like Paul Buchanan, who had this to say about the RNZ situation:
    Knowing about Russian disinformation campaigns in the US dating back to at least 2016 as well as similar campaigns in various European states since that time, and watching the spread of foreign sourced disinformation during the pandemic and afterwards here in NZ, I have been trying to call attention to the insidious nature of these types of psychological warfare. After all, if you can subversively undermine trust and confidence in liberal democratic governance from within, then there is no need to confront it from without. The Russians are not the only ones who play this game.

    As it happens I don’t watch, read or listen to the MSM, starting with dumping One News and Three News twenty years ago, to dumping RNZ around 2016. Why? Because from my POV they’re as shallow as shit in their reporting, and that shallowness extends to being partisan in sticking to National and ACT especially (not that I’m keen on either of them myself) and relentlessly pushing every Lefty politician and cause there is. WRT to Israel I’m on the opposite side of all of you, but for all this “pro-Israel” bias you claim, I observe that they all, starting with the BBC and American alphabet channels, hate Netanyahu’s guts.

  12. Good to see someone on the left side (not sure if this is the correct descriptor these days) standing up for Free Speech Malcolm. Hopefully now some of the progressives here will be able to understand why it is so important and how it has absolutely nothing to do with Nazis and far right freaks!

    This media straitjacket has been going on for years on certain topics but it has got so much worse over the last 5 years or so. The list of one sided topics grows yearly in NZ and it is so utterly wrong. And regardless of how progressive you are, these topics always boil down to the politics of power and money.

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