There were a couple of interesting stories yesterday relating to the mainstream media and the blogs.
Firstly it was announced that Guyon Espiner will become the new host on Morning Report. This has caused some comment. His appointment from the Mediaworks stable is unhelpful. Radio New Zealand has always been part of the public service independent media model and an influx of people from private media, especially those being shown preference by the current government, has the potential to undermine the principle of independence.
Bomber Bradbury jumped into the debate and described Espiner’s appointment alongside that of Mike Hosking on TVOne’s Seven Sharp and Paul Henry replacing Nighline on TV3 as “the 3 broadcasters of the apocalypse” giving a hard right view of news just in time for the next election. His criticism of Espiner may be a bit harsh although his comments about Hosking and Henry are appropriate. But Espiner has come from the hard corporate edge of the media and you have to wonder if there was not someone within RNZ’s ranks who could have stepped up to the job.
And Josie Pagani has jumped into the debate describing Bradbury as abusive, in part for calling her a “Fox News Democrat”. But she also took the opportunity to criticise the Standard despite Espiner’s appointment not even being commented on until this morning.
Martyn Bradbury’s unreasonable aggression has produced a truckload of ugly incidents lately, but the pattern of reprehensible abuse and aggression is not restricted to him.
Check out the tone of comments on The Standard nearly any given day.
I have no problem with argument – it’s why we are here. The contest of ideas is vital to progress and the only way we can tell good sense from bad. So therefore it is important to distinguish argument from bullying, from hatred and denunciation, and from the politics of exclusion.
There is something wrong with a version of the left that despises people. The fundamental principle of the left is our compassion, our belief that no matter where you come from, or who you are, you deserve the same opportunities as anyone else. Ours is the politics of redemption, forgiveness and humanity.
She also describes herself as a “pro-Labour commentator”.
She has been vilified in the past in part for her partner John Pagani’s rather bizarre campaign ideas. His beneficiary on a roof speech written for David Shearer was justifiably ridiculed for its ham fisted beneficiary bashing tone. And of course Josie should not be criticised for her partner’s actions.
But she has some strange views. For instance:
The desire amongst activists is that they just want a spokesperson who actually represents what they think, not someone who feeds into right wing spin on what the Labour party stands for. If the media want someone to speak on behalf of the Labour Party they should, like, actually reflect the thinking of members.
This is not radical. Nor is it being mean to criticise her every time she comes out with a crazy notion such as support for casualised labour.
What Pagani does not appear to understand is that her views are at odds with those of most of the Labour Party’s activist base. Her use by the media to present a Labour Party view of matters jars because she does not do that. The media would be much better off using Queen of Thorns to provide lefty comments.
Rather than criticise commentators on the Standard Josie should consider her own views and wonder whether she is actually reflecting the views of progressives. And if not she should question what her media role actually is and whose interests she is serving.