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.
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.
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;
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;