web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Media Bias & Democracy I: truth to power

Written By: - Date published: 11:49 am, December 20th, 2012 - 37 comments
Categories: accountability, blogs, david cunliffe, david shearer, democratic participation, labour, news, telecommunications, tv - Tags: , ,

Currently in New Zealand, democracy is increasingly under threat.  The mainstream news media and professional journalists have an extremely important role to play in revitalising democratic processes.  However, with democratic decline and the neoliberal capture of the dominant voices in the MSM, disempowered voters are becoming increasingly disengaged from parliamentary politics. Today, journalists covering politics tend to serve power more often than the hold it accountable. Political bloggers, especially if connected to offline activist networks, also have an important role to play in political re-engagement and democratisation.

Due to the complexity of the factors involved, this is the first of a series of posts I will be making on this topic over the next couple of months.

In order to thrive, democratic society needs independent and diverse news media where those with power are scrutinised from diverse positions.   As Nicky Hager clearly explained, politicians and governments need to be questioned and held to account in a way that serves the public interest.  This includes,

the public service of investigating truthfulness in politics and of seeking facts when the truth is disputed, twisted or hidden. It can also involve a different kind of truth: trying to discover and illuminate what is right and wrong. In essence, it is about investigating and challenging the activities of the powerful …

For this to happen, the news media needs to be free of influence from the state and powerful commercial interests.

Currently our government is dangerously undermining democracy, making it harder than ever for the public to have their say on important decisions.  John Key presents a soothing and false face of calm and reassurance that the government is In control and is doing what is best for the country (as in his TV3 interview earlier this week).

john key drunken sailor seaman

Meanwhile his government have dismantled democratic processes in local government and abused the use of urgency at an unprecedented level, in order to ram through legislation without allowing full public and democratic scrutiny (monitoring of this systematic abuse was flagged by NRT in 2011).  This is has been particularly evident in the removal of local democracy:

gerry brownlee as henry VIII

  • in Christchurch with ECAN, (which favours giving water access for corporate farmers over public rights – see NRT on this) and CERA giving the government unchallengeable control over the Christchurch rebuild (see Eddie’s post last year; and NRT last month);
  • and Auckland (creating unaccountable Corporate Controlled entities to manage transport, water and the Ports, with the Ports of Auckland moving to dis-empower the port workers union and undermine their job conditions, pay and security – although as Eddie posted recently, MUNZ shows the unions still have some grunt).

contracting out munz

The media, the government, parliamentary systems and political processes all have a part to play in democratic engagement with the public (Miller, 2004*). When these combine in such a way that people feel powerless to influence change, increasing numbers of people stop voting and/or paying attention to parliamentary policies.  Many continue to be political engaged in areas where they feel they can have influence, such us through consumer boycotts, or community-based action.  This has been a general pattern across the English-speaking world, with New Zealand seeing a steady decline in the proportion of eligible people voting since 1950s (See Colin Hay’s much cited Why We Hate Politics, 2007: p.15) .

People stop voting when they feel their vote will have no influence: when there is too much focus on political game-playing (Comrie, 2012) and not enough focus on the detail of policies and issues, when pseudo-authority of name journalists over-ride the public interest, and when the neoliberal ethos of individualism leads them to believe that collective action will have no impact (Batin, 2008*; Hay, 2007). The decline in voting has been strongest in the age group with least power, the young.  Among the young (Edwards, 2009*), the people least likely to vote are the least influence: those from low income backgrounds, and those with least formal education (Henn et al 2005 *).

The dominant ownership of news media by powerful corporations and the rise of the Internet, have resulted in a skewed and inadequate “fourth estate”.  With the democratisation of news, back when newspapers became affordable and accessible to the working and low income classes, conventions developed to ensure news was written in an “objective” and impartial way.  This was because a democracy required that the public were well-informed before voting (McNair, 2009: p.33).   While total objectivity was never possible, it did provide some checks on the propagandisation and distortion of politics.

However, with the fragmentation of news and the increasing tendency for media ownership to be controlled by a few multinational corporates, the systems now used to ensure impartiality in news production have become counter-productive (UK OfCom Report cited in McNair, 2009: p.37).  Journalists follow some basic rules of impartiality and standards, but have lost the drive to serve democracy by speaking truth to power.

Since the rise of the “neoliberal consensus”, the MSM has come to more strongly represent the interests of the most powerful.  Sure they do stories on the poor and down-trodden from time-to-time, but such voices remain marginal within the whole fabric of the NZ news media-scape.  A similar process is seen in Australia, as argued by Tim Batin (2008*) in his critique of the 2007 federal election:

Australia’s political journalists, another elite group, have shown a reluctance to see much that is deliberate or rational in voters’ behaviour pertaining to disengagement, and are therefore not well equipped to recognise a change in the prevailing circumstances. Indeed, the vast majority seem to accept uncritically the broad direction of neoliberal policy.

This is more to do with the overall structure and priorities of powerful media corporations.  As argued in Brian McNair’s, News and Journalism in the UK: A Textbook 5th edit, news,

… is produced by an industry, shaped by the bureaucratic and economic structure of that industry, by the relations between the media and other industries and, most importantly by the relations with government and other political organisations.

- McNair, 2009

Th examination of media bias will continue in subsequent posts, but, for now, consider how little depth and critique of democratic process is in this Stuff article today on the government’s decisions to go ahead with selling 3 power companies next year:

Fresh from its court victory on asset sales, the Government is considering selling all three state-owned electricity companies next year.

Finance Minister Bill English linked the possibility of three sales to buoyant financial markets and the plan would also mean the most controversial sales were over before election year.

[* Full text of the journal articles were accessed via Auckland Libraries, Digital Library, Academic databases.]

37 comments on “Media Bias & Democracy I: truth to power”

  1. King Kong 1

    Of course the MSM (main stream media ) is not going to champion the opinions (and that is all they are ) of many who comment here. The clue is in the name.

    What you need is the FBM (fucking bonkers media) to tilt at windmills for you.

    • Karen 1.1

      He who pays the piper calls the tune… but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other, better and more truthful tunes that the rest of us would rather listen to.

      • Tom Gould 1.1.1

        So, the MSM run around with cameras rolling to track down Carter for going on an authorised overseas trip, yet Key can flit around radio stations and golf courses completely undisturbed, and Parata can take a ‘holiday’, while a significant issue of accountability is running hot? If it looks like bias, and smells like bias, it’s bias.

    • karol 1.2

      I think those windmills aren’t as stable and confident as you assume.

      I started researching the issue of media bias with the intention of responding to a blog post by MSM journo Tim Watkin.

      http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/bloggers-v-journalists-why-cant-we-all-get-along
      (WYSIWYG option has disappeared from my reply boxes)

      The research took longer than expected, and was quite enlightening. But, as the issue is complex it requires several posts.

      Watkin’s post is a continuing of a debate between some journalists and bloggers – contrary to your view, lately some MSM journalists have been concerned about bloggers. I think Watkin is asking the wrong question when he asked if bloggers are journalists – most of us don’t consider ourselves to be journalists, nor do we want to be.

      I though the crux of Watkin’s argument was that journalists are impartial unlike bloggers. But I think the way the MSM is biased is part of the concern of many political bloggers.

      I see blogs as doing well in re-engaging with some of the people who feel powerless to influence politicians or the MSM – it’s an extension of public meetings, political campaigning, water-cooler, pub, sports clubs and other conversations. Commenters get a space to to engage with others in criticising and commenting on public events, politics, media coverage of it.

      And the fact that Watkin’s felt motivated to question if bloggers were journalists hints at an insecurity – and that is reinforced by comments he makes like:

      The media world this past decade feels like a new territory, with diminishing resources, more pressure to win audiences, the rise of ‘free’ content on the internet, and more voices competing for attention.

      My post is really responding to comments like this from Watkin:

      As one of the few folk in this country who are paid full-time as a journalist but have also invested my own time and money into blogging, I’m tired of those on both sides of the debate seem to shoot first and ask questions later. I’m tired of how little bloggers know about journalism and vice versa. And I’m tired of the silly commentary that’s produced as a result….

      But let’s be honest, it’s most often bloggers complaining about the ‘MSM’, usually with little insight or understanding. So given what following we do have online, why don’t we do a little less demonising and a little more thinking.

  2. Sosoo 2

    I agree with hardly any of this. We continue to have neoliberal policies because enough people keep voting for them, and politicians tailor their policies accordingly. Of course, the policies don’t work very well, but that’s beside the point. The media continue with cretinism because it sells, etc.

    A majority of voters do not understand the issues very well, and at the same time are highly resistant to being told this (as everyone now knows since the popularizing of the Internet – the amount of mindless authoritarianism still amazes me). Hence, we get silly politics. Expecting it to change is an exercise in futility. People now have access to more information than at any time in history. The result has been a tsunami of derp.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      We continue to have neoliberal policies because enough people keep voting for them, and politicians tailor their policies accordingly.

      We went neo-liberal fully against the wishes of the people. Changing the vote in 1990 resulted in more neo-liberalism and so did voting in 1999, 2002, 2005, 08, and 11. It’s not that we’re votong for neo-liberalism but that we have no one else to vote for which is, unsurprisingly, resulting in more and more people not actually voting.

    • ANDRE 2.2

      A tv broadcaster free from commercial influence . Like nz 7 is an answer to redress balance .We have to put our hand in our pockets . democracy depends on a conversation…….It is the elephant in the room metaphor…..

    • Fortran 2.3

      Soso

      It’s all about money – the media only exists if people pay money to read say a newspaper.
      Like the Sunday Star Times got so bad with subs dropping rapidly as crap did not sell.
      Sacked the editors and replaced them with crappy ones again.
      Don’t spend money so you cannot get annoyed with the crap they produce.

  3. karol 4

    I see a post from a (probably) new poster is in moderation linking to this article:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8104365/John-Key-we-ve-got-some-questions

    If you want to comment here, you need to add a comment, not just post a link. I assume the point could be that it’s an example of the media speaking truth to power. Indeed it is. I am not saying it never happens.

    Note in my post I talk about “dominant voices”. This is why the issue is so complex, and I will be dealing with more of this in future posts. However, as a kind of pre-view: there comes times when public opinions shift on some issues, and or when the current government falls out of favour with a significant section of the (usually middle-class) public. The corporate media then shifts to the most likely neoliberal contender in opposition (as with Obama and Tony Blair).

    • rosy viper 4.1

      That’s quite interesting. There’s nothing like ignoring the media to fall from favour. The media doesn’t like to do it’s own investigation (costs too much) so it requires feeding.

      The MSM has also shown this year that it feels it now has another option. Dunnokeyo’s political radar is definitely in need of repair.

  4. alwyn 5

    Having listened to Morning Report this morning, which I guess one would call MSM, I would have to agree with the view that there is political bias.
    About every fifteen minutes we were told that there was increasing pressure on Hekia Parata to quit or better still be sacked.
    Who was calling for this? They turned out to be the secretary of the NZEI, the secretary of the PSA, Grant Robertson of the Labour Party and someone from the Green party.
    In Mandy Rice-Davies immortal words from 1963. “Well they would say that wouldn’t they?”
    The reporter kept trying to get the same statement from the President of the Post-Primary Headmasters group but he wasn’t having any of it. He thought that the Minister had some good ideas but was being obstructed by a disfunctional Education Department. This interviewee was the only one who seemed to be giving any non-biased opinions on the matter and I was left thinking the reporter was frustrated that he wouldn’t go along with the reporter’s view that the Minister had to be sacked.
    So yes, there is bias in the MSM.

    • karol 5.1

      Bias needs to be considered in context, especially when there are more than one reports on the same issue. There were several interviews on Morning Report this morning about the Parata/Longstone issue:

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/20121220

      And there was another one on nine-to-Noon.
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/20121220

      The Prime Minister also had his say, so it’s good they also got opposition opinions.

      So you need to take a look at the bigger picture, and how most news outlets cover the story. There are times when the media turn against a particular politician but it does not mean they shift from a predominantly neoliberal position.

      However, I also get annoyed when interviewers are unable to stop interviewees from being closely interrogated or to let someone have their say, who ever they are.

      RNZ is on the edges of the MSM and does make more of an attempt to interrogate issues than the evening TV News, or the newspaper front pages. It is our last remnant of public service broadcasting. We do get more diverse op ed pieces buried within the papers, which a limited amount of people really look at.

      • King Kong 5.1.1

        Surely State broadcasters have exactly the same issue as you cry about with privately owned media. What is to stop the Government of the day telling its “employee” what it can and can’t say. Been a feature of state owned media in other countries.

        • karol 5.1.1.1

          Peter Thompson (Vic uni lecturer who has made an intensive study of Public Service Broadcasting) indicates ways of setting them up so that there is no government interference It needs to be done well. The system needs to be transparent and open to public scrutiny. Commercial enterprises are rarely that transparent.

          I have been listening to the RNZ interviews on education today. I haven’t found the one yet that stops someone having their say. The Nine-to-Noon interviews does include people arguing that it’s not Parata’s fault, but the team around her. Between this and Morning Report, there’s overwhelming evidence of problems in the education ministry.

          Usually in such cases, the buck stops with the minister. RNZ interviewed a range of different people, with slightly differing perspectives. The PM and minister refused to front up to give their views. No one will be without their biases.

          Bias is not just a case of providing 2 sides: that’s a very limited notion of impartiality and doesn’t prevent bias. RNZ is doing what Hager argues for – it is trying to pursue the truth and get as much facts as they can. Along the way, they provide different angles aand food for thought.

    • Dr Terry 5.2

      Could you please list these “good ideas” (on education) from Parata? Some of us are struggling to discern what these might be.

      • Lanthanide 5.2.1

        Her decision to back down on all the bad ones, for starters.

      • alwyn 5.2.2

        I presume this is meant for me.
        I was not giving my own opinion on this. I am not involved in the education sector and am not qualified to comment on the subject of the Minister’s performance. What I was commenting on is what I see as a very left-wing and anti-National bias in the Morning Report staff at Radio New Zealand.
        What I was doing here was quoting Patrick Walsh who is President of the Secondary Principals’ Association.
        What he said was “I think the minister has some excellent ideas and has performed well in many areas”
        I assume he has some reason for his views, but you would have to ask him for specifics.
        Incidentally I find Evening Report a much more balanced program.

        • karol 5.2.2.1

          Each person interviewed should be given a fair shake. But they shouldn’t just rely on interviews, but news organisation should do do some of their own investigations to get some facts. That’s Hager’s idea about needing to relentlessly seek the facts. But these days, the profit motive means cuts in staffing, and less background research being done.

          I see as a very left-wing and anti-National bias in the Morning Report staff at Radio New Zealand.

          That looks to me like the very narrow definition that is used by news media to aim for impartiality. This is the standard idea these days that journalists take two sides, and let each one state their views/argument. These 2 sidea are usually based on the two main political party positions at the time, with the “centre” being set as the mid point between them. The “centre” sets up a false notion of objectivity. And in neoliberal times, the centre has moved a lot further Right than it used to be.

          Real in-depth journalism would be looking for the evidence and facts behind the issues themselves, looking at it from different angles. “Left” and “right” are superficial notions, whereas the facts need to be examined in detail in order to judge the validity of the politician’s arguments. Compared with most TV news items and the dailies, this seemed to happen more on the morning report interviews, with various angles looked at.

          This is the interview with Peter Walsh:

          http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2542086/principals-president-has-mixed-views-on-longstone-resignation.asx

          It doesn’t seem to me that he was prevented from giving his views. It doesn’t seem any more or less biased than the other views expressed. Yes, more searching questions could have been asked – but there may have been time restraints. It seems to me you are claiming it is the only unbiased view because he supported Parata. This assumes an objective centre between the National government and opposition parties. And of course there were limited pro-Parata views because John key and Parata declined the invite to be interviewed on Morning Report.

          Too often, especially in TV news we just get one side giving their spin, then the other side. Some journalists like Brent Edwards on RNZ are better at looking more in depth at the issues, weighing up each view expressed. However, he may be given more time and resources to do that than other RNZ journalists.

    • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 5.3

      President of the Post-Primary Headmasters group but he wasn’t having any of it. He thought that the Minister had some good ideas but was being obstructed by a disfunctional Education Department. This interviewee was the only one who seemed to be giving any non-biased opinions on the matter

      Biased opinions? Making a decision to have an opinion must involve some bias or the result is just a wishy washy anodyne remark. The PPH group President sounded as if he was being politic rather than direct.

    • Shaz 5.4

      How do you feel that most Government Ministers refuse to be interviewed on this topic (and on many others) on a news platform that aims for serious, in depth analysis?

      If there is a more generous covering of anti-government opinions then perhaps that is because one part of the conversation is missing. And that I think is the real story here. It would surely be wrong to speculate on the Ministers’ and Prime Minister’s thoughts when they are not prepared to make them public. If one side is not in the game then they can hardly expect to call the shots.

    • xtasy 5.5

      alwyn: Excuse me, would you expect the Prime Minister to turn up on Radio NZ’s Morning Report and “demand” the resignation of his education minister?

      Of course the first ones asking for her resignation or sacking are the ones who are in opposition, or badly affected by her incompetence and unreasonable policies (teachers, organised in unions, also principals and parents, I am sure).

      While I agree that RNZ National is not what it used to be, it still is by far at the more acceptable and better end of the spectrum of “MSM”.

      It is at the same time listened to by only a fraction of the whole population, so some may argue, that is not really MSM broadcasting.

      I see more bias shining through the nine to noon show host, the afternoons host and the likes, than in Morning Report, which is by far the most informative morning news and current affairs program on NZ Radio. Forget television, as all they show is true crap, full of bias, personality self promotion and trivial gossip, weather, lifestyle, only selected political topics and whatever.

  5. Yeah but the medium is not the message.

    If anything the media are more democratic today than ever before in history. The ruling class virtual monopoly of MSM is nothing new. But this monopoly is weakening. Even as late as the Russian revolution radical and revolutionary media were illegal, and only surfaced when the masses were strong enough to commandeer the printing presses. Today radical and revolutionary media have their own social channels. Of course they are subject to blackouts because the ruling class has the ultimate power.

    But even so, the real issue is the message not the medium. Only the most revolutionary media and literature critiques the basic assumptions (dominant ideology) of the MSM which in summary is the ideology of the ‘alienated bourgeois subject’. Occupy was interesting because it reflected the global crisis and the contradictions set up in Occupy produced a three way critique of the dominant ideology.

    Liberal democrats critiqued neo-liberalism as unfair enriching the 1% at the expense of the 99%. Some Keynesian tweeking could fix this. This proved utopian as Krugman admitted recently. The dominant ideology was pushed left but still left intact.

    Radical democrats and socialists critiqued capitalism because unequal exchange transferred wealth from producers to owners of capital. Some major mobilisations and state intervention would change that. People like Chomsky, Klein and Zizek got instant global audiences.

    Marxists critiqued capitalism as in terminal crisis as rising exploitation of labour brought the destruction of society and nature. There was no alternative but revolution and the massive creative exercise of building a new society to sustain society and nature.

    If Generation Zero picks up on half of this the creativity will be exponential and there is no way that the system will be able to shut it down.

    • karol 6.1

      I did not make any claims about the “media being the message”. I said the problem was partly to do with the nature of corporate domination of the media, plus the wider political system. I also agree that the control of the MSM is weakening, due to fragmentation and the rise of the Internet. hence the recent attacks on bloggers by some senior NZ journalists. And I am more focused on the content and the way news is reported.

      I do think you may be a little optimistic about how much Generation Zero will be able to dismantle the current power structure. However, I do would love it if that happened.

      The Occupy movement is a hopeful sign. However, most people get their news from the MSM – especially the 6pm TV news and the headlines in the daily papers. This forms the basis of large numbers of people’s decisions about voting, or not voting. And the MSM and right wing politicians were very quick to pronounce the death of the Occupy movement. Dismantling the power of the elites is a long hard struggle.

      • OneTrackViper 6.1.1

        What is this “Occupy movement” of which you speak? I think it died about two years ago. They have almost got the grass in Aotea Square restored now. A hopeful sign of what?

      • red rattler 6.1.2

        Karol my point about the media and the message is that the media doesn’t determine the message. The ideas (messages) which the media mediate already exist in the consciousness of particular individuals in particular social classes which in turn reflect their class interests. The dominant ideology is the default position of the bourgeois media. Whether one reads the bourgeois dailies or state media or not, one tends to take for granted the naturalness of the market, individual rights including the right of citizens to be informed in order to be rational.

        However, capitalism doesn’t operate in reality according to this model, wars, crises and now climate catastrophe, stir up lots of shit. Liberal and radical media advance reformist critiques and programs and produce media to propagandise these. eg the SPD mass paper in Germany during WW1 had a circulation in millions. But as the revolution began in 1918 and the SPD refused to challenge the capitalist order, revolutionary workers and soldiers took over the bourgeois presses and began publishing demands for a socialist republic. In Russia the Bolsheviks whose papers were banned seized the presses of several dailies to print their revolutionary propaganda.

        My point is that none of these political oppositions to bourgeois society seized the press in order to remove ‘bias’ or speak truth to power. They had no illusions that the media could be class neutral or objective. Rather they wanted the close down the bourgeois press and use the machines to print their condemnation of capitalism and their program for socialism. That program was to take power, not converse with it.

        Similarly, today nobody who seriously critiques capitalism wants to create an objective balancing of world views in the centre. Anti-capitalism means exposing bourgeois ideology and taking over the bourgeois media. Occupy WS printed its own version of the WSJ. And social media becomes an alternative to the traditional bourgeois media which cannot be shut down so long as hackers have a power source. The Standard is a good example of an open forum which includes the RWNJs and many various positions from the centre to far left. No-one here thinks that the Labour Right let alone the bourgeois media can tell TS when to shut down.

        The irony is that capitalism in the West is in terminal crisis yet its best performing corporates are in the internet and social media which for the first time are enabling a freedom of expression that hitherto had to be won by force. It is the representation of serious liberal, radical and Marxist critiques of capitalism in crisis in the social media that presents the younger generations with the intellectual and political weapons to resist their Zero status and become the organic intellectuals of the socialist revolution.

        • xtasy 6.1.2.1

          With all that socialist resoluteness, where are your supporters to take the action you suggest?

          I have been to protests against draconian benefit reforms over recent months, and the largest crowds numbered only a few dozen in most places.

          There is such widespread ignorance, indifference and also apathy, it is not funny.

          You are talking “revolution” and seizing the opportunity, but you lack the revolutionaries to follow you and take action.

          With all respect, the Standard is of course a formidable forum, but still it only reaches a fraction of society, and the same applies to all social blogs!

          I actually am starting to notice a tiring of blogs, as people see no point in raising issues, but nobody taking action on the ground and walking the talk.

          Mouse clicks and typed words are not strong enough actions on the streets or elsewhere. It is cyber space activity, sort of.

          People all depend on income earned or benefits. Even so called beneficiary advocates are largely in part paid by MSD by the way. So much for independent “advocates”!?

          You are welcome to convince me that I am wrong, but you better make a good effort, as the realities around me require this.

        • karol 6.1.2.2

          You raise important points, redrattler. I do agree that the MSM will never be that radical. However, I also doubt that it’s going to be possible in the near future for revolutionaries to seize the press and run a socialist alternative press/media that people will follow in large numbers.

          For the immediate future I think it’s important to understand how media bias works, and how strongly it represents the neoliberal position. It’s important to understand how much political parties of the left and right are caught up with this system, and how much leftwing parties aim to appease the MSM. This system, that the media is part of, is having a demonstrable impact on how people think, behave, and vote. It also has some impact on people’s choices for political action.

          Many are choosing political action that doesn’t involve the political establishment: boycotts, occupy-movement actions, etc.

          I think there are several important elements that will contribute to an alternative, but I don’t think any one of them will be successfuul on their own. As xtasy points out, the numbers involved with grassroots activism are very small. Consumer boycotts don’t challenge the system, but tinekr around the margins.

          for any flax roots activism and community action to be successful, it needs a communication network/s. Blogs and other online forums and networks can be part of that, as well as alternative video, radio and TV channels.

          But there also needs to be some interaction with the mainstream. I don’t think ignoring it and working outside it will result in any significant challenge to the elites. How long was the system begun by the Russian Revolution successful?

  6. Too bloody right mate. You are spot on karol.

  7. xtasy 9

    A good topic raised here, Karol!

    I had first hand experience of mainstream media bias early yesterday morning, when briefly listening in to Marcus Lush on the morning program of Radio Live.

    He openly favoured the proposed new convention centre that Sky City Casino want to build in return for extra pokies and game tables. He used to be opposed, but apparently now has “changed his mind”.

    His comments were more or less, Auckland needs a large, international convention centre as the one proposed by Sky City, and it time to get on with it, and to put aside political issues the Greens for instance raise.

    He had Barnett in on his show to also favour the convention centre.

    Now in past years, when I listened to the then more common public broadcasting, it was a total NoNo to ever comment one’s own opinion to the public while being a journalist on a program. It was not the role of a journalist or moderator to add her or his own view.

    Nowadays it is totally common, and you get it all the time on Radio Live, 1ZB and other commercially run stations, and Paul Holmes and others did the same on public television and radio quite frequently.

    So that is what we have now, it is not at all independent, and I continue to claim that this country without a real “4th estate”, is basically run by a selected, opinionated, biased, self serving elite, in some ways like a dictatorship.

    Sadly very few get it, and many young people grew up with all this, knowing none else, and taking it all as the “normal” state of affairs.

    Mind sluttery one may even call some of what goes on, sick, really!

  8. Lefty 10

    I get impatient with criticisms of the msm from the left when it is simply doing a good job of carrying out the function it is designed for – defending its owners’ class interests. Thats what it exists for and it could hardly be expected to do otherwise.

    The broad left certainly has the resources to set up its own media outlets.

    I suspect the reason it doesn’t is that many of the self described left don’t really want to speak truth to power with all the uncomfortable ramifications that would accompany it.

    Yet I think a media firmly grounded in a democratic anti capitalist analysis would actually thrive if it was bright, bold and brave and embraced both traditional and new forms of communication.

    I would love to be proved wrong and would be at the front of the queue to support something different.

    • karol 10.1

      I also would like to see a left wing owned and managed media. But I think you underestimate the resources, power and will of the right wing elites.

      Over the last two or three decades the neocons (often named neoliberals) have been very successful in systematically taking control of any media opportunities available. Before the 1980s, the MSM wasn’t as strongly dominated by neoliberal discourse as it is today. Thatcher, Regan et al were very savvy about the importance for their political aims in having a compliant, or collaborative media. The way the MSM has developed since then has contributed to disengagement by many people from parliamentary politics – this is very bad for the left, and I have blogged about it before:

      http://thestandard.org.nz/name-journalism-voter-dis-engagement/

      Our current government has been closing down the last remnants of public service broadcasting, and shifting what’s left to commercial corporate owned media platforms. Stratos and Triangle were providing and developing programmes like citizen A and the Union Report. Soon there will be just RNZ and Maori TV, that are not totally in the control of big media corporations. I previously blogged about that here:
      http://thestandard.org.nz/public-service-broadcasting-and-politics/

      There is no simple or one solution. The left needs to be active on many fronts and diverse ways.

  9. I suppose I am trying to convince people here that debates in and around the MSM don’t matter except as symptomatic of major developments of new media in global politics.

    Anybody who has reflected on the events of the past 2 years, the Arab revolution, the Indignados occupations in Europe, Occupy, and upswellings of strike action from China to South Africa, would see that events have redefined the role of the media because of the active participation of the new media.

    The bourgeois MSM media cannot prevent a growing anti-capitalist movement from stripping the emperor of ‘his’ clothes. It is the struggles of masses that by using new media that accounts for the growing open polarisation between classes that ultimately exposes and weakens the ability of the bourgeois to fool most of the people most of the time.

    NZ is not a good example of these changes showing through clearly, it is small and its politics are dominated by a self-satisfied middle class. Yet the polarisation between left and right inside Labour is as I have argued symptomatic of this global shift. More obvious are e.g. Syria, where a popular revolution is being fought with small arms and with cameras that prove that revolution is interactive and not embedded in MSM. And Marikana where a massacre was captured on many cameras and where ANC can no longer hide the fact that it is the tool of imperialism.

    The new media’s interactive role in these developments is analogous to the seizure of the presses of last century. I would argue that this time the global revolution will be interactive and truly international and will not be isolated and strangled as it was around a century ago in Russia. Of course for that to happen we have to be actively part of that global revolution.

    • karol 11.1

      redrattler, I think all the things you mention are part of the complicated situation we are in today. However, I do think the MSM continue to matter, as being part of the problem and a possible part of the solution.

      There was a time people saw the new technology of printing presses as leading to a more inclusive democratic society.

      http://books.google.co.nz/books/about/Origins_of_Democratic_Culture.html?id=Tb1-A-IjhHUC&redir_esc=y

      People invest such hopes in each new technology. McLuhan put his hopes in the electronic global village with a particular focus on TV.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan#The_global_village

      In effect you are doing something similar with a focus on new media as the truly revolutionary communicative technology. Each technological change does open new democratic possibilities initially. However, the elites then respond by finding ways to shut down such revolution, and then to harness the potential of the medium for their own uses. We are seeing that now with the commericalisation of the Internet and e-technologies, and with issues around copyright & file sharing – Dotcom, TPP etc.

      I think the left needs to understand how each technology of communication works within the contemporary state, global, social, political and economic systems. Then consider how we can best use them. It’s all part of the total whole.

      The Right tries to dominate from “above”: political, state, commercial systems of control, including using the media and other systems of communication. The left is at its best when its direction is fueled by collective imitativeness from below: flax roots and community movements.

      Currently the MSM prides itself on its impartiality – this myth first needs to be exposed as a limited bias between two centrist neoliberal positions. It characterises and dismisses anything outside that as “extremist”.

      This is my starting position, laying down the evidence-based, ground-work for my later posts in the series. I plan to focus on flax roots activism and community action, and their relationship to the whole picture, in a later post in the series.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Crime Reporting Hides Reality
    The National Government has been clever at fudging data and hiding unwanted statistics. It has refused to measure the extent of child poverty, stopped independent environmental reporting and while there has been some worrying crime statistics, we only hear of...
    Local Bodies | 01-10
  • What Labour needs to hear: the 4th voice
    As he pops back and forth between New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, Shane Jones must look on himself as the luckiest of the three men who took part in the Labour leadership race just a scant 12 months ago.read...
    Pundit | 01-10
  • Extremes report 2013: NZ drought and record Aussie heat made worse by warmi...
    The latest climate extremes report finds that 9 out of 16 extreme weather events from last year were influenced by climate change. In particular, the conditions that led to New Zealand’s severe North Island drought — the worst for 41...
    Hot Topic | 01-10
  • On holiday
    Quick PSA: I won on holiday this week, which is why I'm not blogging much at all. Next week I will post once and only once on the Labour leadership contest....
    Polity | 01-10
  • World News Brief, Wednesday October 1
    Top of the AgendaAfghanistan and United States Sign Security Deal...
    Pundit | 01-10
  • Dancing Traffic Lights
    As a pedestrian it can be easy to become a bit impatient, especially when traffic lights are prioritised solely around the movement of vehicles which can leave a long wait between phases. Here’s one idea to keep people occupied while...
    Transport Blog | 01-10
  • Secure work, health and safety and pay rises
    This week the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (the NZCTU) released their latest economic bulletin today with economist Bill Rosenberg answering the question about whether workers who have a collective employment agreement get bigger pay rises than those on...
    frogblog | 01-10
  • Shock! Horror! Wife defends husband!!!!
        In recent posts I’ve made some fairly trenchant comments about David Cunliffe, primarily about his media performance. Others, including some of his Caucus colleagues, have gone even further. The now resigned Leader of the Opposition has been under...
    Brian Edwards | 01-10
  • September ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    PLEASE NOTE: Sitemeter is playing up again making it impossible to automatically get the stats for some blogs – those I list below. Maybe more bloggers will shift to StatCounter or other counter. No stats could be found for these blogs: Works...
    Open Parachute | 01-10
  • September ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    PLEASE NOTE: Sitemeter is playing up again making it impossible to automatically get the stats for some blogs – those I list below. Maybe more bloggers will shift to StatCounter or other counter. No stats could be found for these blogs: Works...
    Open Parachute | 01-10
  • Auckland: the world’s friendliest city
    UK travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler has just named Auckland the world’s friendliest city in its 2014 rankings. It introduces Auckland with a great photo that highlights the city’s growing urbanity: FRIENDLIEST: 1. Auckland, New Zealand Score: 86.0 (tie) We...
    Transport Blog | 01-10
  • Waterview Breakthrough
    On Monday Alice the Tunnel Boring Machine broke through at Waterview after tunnelling for the last 10 months. And here’s a video of it happening. One of the things that is really impressive is just how accurate the machine is...
    Transport Blog | 30-09
  • Fundamental incomprehension II
    Another day, and another journalist who just doesn't get it about the Greens. This time its Duncan Garner:The Green Party needs a serious rethink. For as long as they have been in Parliament, they have been a left wing party...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • An Open Letter to Green Party Supporters: Why I slagged off your Party
    Last week I called for a Bluegreen Party – an environmental party that I could in all conscience, vote for. It prompted a huge response, which confirmed to me there is a clear constituency that is not being serviced. I...
    Gareth’s World | 30-09
  • Parliament should decide
    Yesterday John Key began laying the groundwork to deploy kiwi troops to Iraq to fight in another pointless American war. And with the Labour Party distracted by its autocannibalism, its left to Winston Peters to stand up for democratic values...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • The problem with warmongers
    The problem with warmongers is they appear to have no empathy for their fellow human beings. That's because war, and the industrial complex behind it, is invariably built upon people's prejudices.History is littered with examples of prejudice being used as...
    The Jackal | 30-09
  • Australia to criminalise journalism
    Imagine this scenario: Australian spies seeking to fight domestic terrorism borrow the tactics of their American counterparts and start running agent provocateurs to "flush out" those with terrorist leanings. But an operation goes horribly wrong, and actually results in a...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • School funding failing vulnerable students – time for a better way?
    1 October 2014 Schools with the greatest needs get too little to meet those needs, says PPTA president Angela Roberts. The current school funding system is failing to support our most vulnerable students and this morning delegates at PPTA’s annual...
    PPTA | 30-09
  • Waiho Papa Moana Hikoi
    More than 1,000 people marched up Queen Streen in Auckland yesterday, as part of the Waiho Papa Moana Hikoi, to protest outside Sky City at the New Zealand Petroleum Summit against plans to begin deep sea oil drilling in the...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-09
  • Why the Prime Minister and RB Governor are whistling in the wind
    Let there be no mistake, New Zealanders want the NZ dollar to be as high as possible. A 65 US cent dollar makes us a hell of a lot poorer than an 88 cent one. So why does the Reserve...
    Gareth’s World | 30-09
  • A targeted transport rate?
    An article in last Friday’s NZ Herald provided an interesting insight into where the investigations into additional transport funding options are at. This is the second phase of the project to close the supposed $12 billion funding gap over the next 30...
    Transport Blog | 30-09
  • Is New Zealand ready for an openly inane Prime Minister?
    In the current leadership race for the Labour Party there are two candidates: Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe. There has been much discussion of their strengths and weaknesses, but one subject has been delicately avoided; perhaps because of political correctness,...
    DimPost | 30-09
  • Is New Zealand ready for an openly inane Prime Minister?
    In the current leadership race for the Labour Party there are two candidates: Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe. There has been much discussion of their strengths and weaknesses, but one subject has been delicately avoided; perhaps because of political correctness,...
    DimPost | 30-09
  • Carpetbaggers
    So, those wishing to participate in the Labour leadership election (2014 edition) have until 11.59pm on Wednesday the 1st of October to join.I won't be joining, but I've noticed an alarming number of people on The Standard announcing that they...
    Left hand palm | 30-09
  • Gordon Campbell on the last rites for the TPP
    Column – Gordon Campbell The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is one of those litmus issues that has always had more to do with one’s place on the political spectrum than with any imminent reality. To date, the Greens have...
    Gordon Campbell | 30-09
  • Gordon Campbell on the last rites for the TPP
    Column – Gordon Campbell The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is one of those litmus issues that has always had more to do with ones place on the political spectrum than with any imminent reality. To date, the Greens have...
    Its our future | 30-09
  • ATTN MSM: this is not a political news story. I repeat, this is not a polit...
    New Zealand your media treats you as if you are stupid and vacuous, and articles like this are the only things your feeble minds can handle at any given time, unless Paddy has turned up with his friends Shouty Paddy...
    Politically Corrected | 30-09
  • How did the UK grid respond to losing a few nuclear reactors?
    This is a re-post from PassiiviIdentiteetti, written by Jani-Petri Martikainen. Answer: mainly by increasing the use of coal in power production. In the second week of August power company EDF decided to shutdown their reactors in Heysham and Hartlepool. This...
    Skeptical Science | 30-09
  • The very public evisceration of David Cunliffe
    Ordinarily, when the coup of a party leader is underway, one of two things happens. Either the incumbent simply walks, having seen the writing on the wall, or attempts to stare down their opposition in a closed room. Someone walks out of...
    Occasionally erudite | 30-09
  • Dr Sean Simpson from Lanzatech
    On 8th October, Dr Sean Simpson from Lanzatech will be speaking at the University of Auckland, on the subject of “Climate-friendly fuel: A challenge of scale and time”.  This is part of the Energy Centre’s Energy Matters lecture series. Sean...
    Transport Blog | 30-09
  • Stuart’s 100 #36 On the Beat
    36: On the Beat What if we had more cops on the beat? Isn’t it time the New Zealand Police started to recognise the changes happening in urban New Zealand? In our central cities and busiest town centres and main...
    Transport Blog | 30-09
  • Bonus growth for SaaS exporters
    The currency fall has a wonderful effect for exporters, especially those who have most of their costs back here in New Zealand. As I write this, the NZD versus the USD has fallen about 10% since earlier this year. As an...
    Lance Wiggs | 30-09
  • Against returning to Iraq
    Last week the US announced a new bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Its hard to see how bombing will do any good (except for US defence contractors), and easy to see how it will cause blowback. To...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe
    Dear David,I want to first congratulate you on the campaign you ran. You gave it your all, and did well in the debates. I was deeply disappointed in the result that Labour got on September 20th - but I’m sure...
    Public Address | 30-09
  • Long run or short season for David Cunliffe?
    When you’ve read this short post have a look at the interview below with David Cunliffe on last night’s Campbell Live .  But first,  if you haven’t done so already, please  read my previous post on the ex Labour leader, titled...
    Brian Edwards | 30-09
  • Seaworthy ships and stormy seas – PPTA annual conference 2014
    30 September 2014 Pirates, privateers, seaworthy ships and stormy seas all featured in PPTA president Angela Roberts' nautically themed opening speech to the association's annual conference this morning. Describing the political context PPTA ventures out into as "often stormy and...
    PPTA | 30-09
  • Key admits exiling people without trial
    Back in February, we learned that John Key had responded to the "threat" of people travelling to Syria to participate in its civil war by cancelling their passports. This was done without any sort of due process or review, let...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • Reflections on Melbourne and Sydney
    2014 was an auspicious year. Whether by cosmic alignment or fickle chance, Easter Monday and Anzac Day fell in the same week, and I was able to shoot off to Melbourne and Sydney for ten days with only three days...
    Transport Blog | 29-09
  • The “Pacific solution” devolves into rape and child abuse
    Australia's "Pacific solution" of imprisoning refugees in remote gulags in an effort to pschologically torture them into going home has turned into a catalogue of horrors: neglect, beatings and rapes, torture, and murder. And now they've got a new one:...
    No Right Turn | 29-09
  • The leadership characteristic that shall not be named
    David Cunliffe formally resigns today, setting up a head-to-head battle between him and Grant Robertson, although there’s still a chance that David Shearer, Andrew Little and/or Stuart Nash might throw their hat(s) into the ring. As the Labour MPs arrived for...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-09
  • The leadership characteristic that shall not be named
    ...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-09
  • Th Austerity Disaster and its impact – Lessons for New Zealand? (Fro...
    Europe’s Austerity Disaster29/09/2014 by Joseph StiglitzJoseph Stiglitz“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is easier to keep the theory and change the facts – or so German Chancellor Angela...
    the Irascible Curmudgeon | 29-09
  • The Damage Fallacies of Neo-Liberal economics cause
    The on-going and recent scandals (Judith Collins & Oravida, Maurice Williamson & Donghua Lui, John Key & Dirty Politics....)  in New Zealand that have swirled around the neo-liberal National Party government of Key, supported by the discredited political parties of...
    the Irascible Curmudgeon | 29-09
  • Changing Leaders Will Not Be Enough
    Trial By Ordeal: The techniques of the Seventeenth Century Witchfinders-General might be preferable to the process Labour has adopted to uncover the reasons for its woeful performance in the 2014 General Election. It's a pity the Party has not allowed...
    Bowalley Road | 29-09
  • Starting a constructive conversation on the future of the Treaty of Waitang...
    To learn more about our upcoming Treaty project click here...
    Gareth’s World | 29-09
  • Gillard on NZ Labour
    I arrived in Australia a month after Tony Abbott had been elected Prime Minister, a week after Bill Shorten had been elected Labor Leader and a month before Kevin Rudd announced his resignation from Parliament. It quickly amazed me how...
    Progress report | 29-09
  • March to #StopDeepSeaOil and #StopStatoil
    There have been amazing and moving scenes in Northland as the Waiho Papa Moana Hikoi made its way down from Cape Reinga to stand up for their coast, their way of life and for future generations. And they are not...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 29-09
  • Auckland Transport Early October Board Meeting
    The Auckland Transport board meeting is on Thursday and below are sections from the various reports that caught my attention. The first thing I noticed was the huge number of items on the closed agenda with 18 specific items for decision/approval or...
    Transport Blog | 29-09
  • Labour not “part of the communities we live in”
    Labour leadership aspirant Grant Robertson told a blunt truism to Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand the Monday after the election. “Politics has to be about more than elections,” he said. “It has to about being part of the communities...
    Colin James | 29-09
  • The mystifying rise of Jacinda Ardern
    As Labour’s leadership debacle lurches nowhere fast, the only winner thus far appears to be Jacinda Ardern. A One News poll (or what One News sometimes likes to call a poll, despite it being a self-selecting online survey. Please, just leave the...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-09
  • Hold fast to your Mana – Harawira
    Hone Harawira today called on the voters of Tai Tokerau to hold fast to their mana, and not be dictated to by those party leaders who have ganged together to tell them how to vote. “I call on our people...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Media Advisory – Interview availability
    This is to advise all media that Hone Harawira will be available in Auckland tomorrow, Friday the 19th of September from 7am to 4pm for interviews relating to his recent press releases. If you are interested in interviewing Mr Harawira on...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Labour stands on proud record on Suffrage Day
    Women have come a long way in the 121 years since New Zealand became the first country to give them the vote on September 19 1893, but there is still more to do, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont says....
    Labour | 18-09
  • Polling Booths asked to treat Maori voters with respect
    “Polling booths without Maori roll voting papers, Maori people not being offered assistance to vote, people getting sent from Whangarei to Wellsford to vote, Maori people getting turned away from voting because they didn’t have their ‘easy vote’ card, Maori...
    Mana | 17-09
  • Aussie Liberals embroiled in Key campaign
    John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says....
    Labour | 17-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit. “If you’re lucky enough to have...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Māori development crucial to New Zealand’s future
    Labour recognises the concern of Māori about child poverty and the rising costs of living, and in Government will make a real difference to the wellbeing of whānau and iwi, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “As our Māori...
    Labour | 16-09
  • MAORI PARTY – DON’T COMPLAIN … WALK
    “If the Maori Party are serious about stopping government spying on NZ citizens then they should tell the Prime Minister to either stop doing it or they will walk away” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, on...
    Mana | 16-09
  • JOHN KEY SUPPORTING LABOUR
    “There is something really sick about a National Party Prime Minister coming out in support of a Labour candidate” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira, after hearing that John Key is urging voters to back Labour in...
    Mana | 16-09
  • SHUT DOWN THIS GOVT NOT KAITI WINZ – Nikora
    “I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can” is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti  said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Winegums make for better polling – Harawira
    I wanted to laugh when I saw the Native Affairs poll the other night (Hone Harawira 38%, Kelvin Davis 37%) because it was almost the same as the one they did back in 2011”, said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 16-09
  • The Leadership of MTS Lied – Harawira
    “Normally I’m happy to tell people that I was right but when I received the news about the staff cuts at Maori Television, I had nothing but sympathy for the three Maori media leaders who are going to be made...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Privileges Complaint Laid against Prime Minister – Harawira
    MANA Movement Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has today lodged a Privileges Complaint with the Speaker regarding the Prime Ministers denials in parliament that he knew anything about Kim Dotcom before 2012. “Information made public today appears...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Sharples’ new appointments are out of order
    The new appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal announced by Dr Pita Sharples this morning are completely out of order given the election is just five days away, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “This Government continues to show disdain...
    Labour | 15-09
  • MANA Movement Housing Policy
    “When families are living in cars, garages, cockroach-infested caravans and three families to a house then we have a housing crisis”, said MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira. “When you have a housing crisis for low-income...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore and Seabed – Sykes
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both...
    Mana | 14-09
  • MANA wants Te Reo Māori petition fulfilled
    Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Te Hāmua Nikora, MANA candidate for Ikaroa Rāwhiti  “More than four decades have passed and the petition calling for Te Reo Māori in schools...
    Mana | 14-09
  • Primary focus on the critical issues
    A Labour Government will prioritise New Zealand’s agricultural sectors by recreating a Rural Affairs Minister and appointing a Primary Industry Council and a Chief Agricultural Adviser. Releasing Labour’s Primary Sector and Rural Affairs policies today, spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Maori Television fears confirmed – Harawira
    ...
    Mana | 12-09
  • More ghost houses from National
    The Government’s desperate pre-election announcement of more ghost houses won’t fool Aucklanders wanting action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “These are ghost houses, to go with National’s ghost tax cut. Families cannot live in ghost...
    Labour | 12-09
  • National bows to union pressure over travel time
    National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “This decision is long overdue...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Party members and affiliates – the real losers in Labour’s leadership f...
    Hey, wanna do a back room deal that cuts the members and affiliates out? Cunliffe must be reeling. He has lost failed Ilam candidate James Dann. It must cut as deep as the loss of Steve Gibson. Apart from providing Claire...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election res...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election result...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • The rich get richer
    Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman highlights the growing inequality in this article in the New York Times. The left wing slogan that the “the rich get richer” is a fact of almost perverse power. The most recent period of expansion in the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • A brief word on reinvading Iraq
    So after telling the country before the election that NZ would not send forces to Iraq, lo and behold now he’s won the election with a full spectrum dominance political majority, Key is suddenly now looking to join the re-invasion of...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • A brief word on the importance of ACT, Maori Party and United Future to Nat...
    I’m a far right wing clown who attacks tax money going on anything collective, gimmie some cash and privilege.  One of the great successes of National has been to implement hard right policy but have it sold as moderate. For some NZers,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Labour’s Angst
    Was Labour’s predictably low vote David Cunliffe’s fault? Was it policy? Was it something else that has aroused perceptions of electoral carnage? My analysis of the numbers suggests that, as uncertain voters made up their minds, there was a late...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Information wars: Gaza as “the last taboo”, the threat of mass surveill...
    “When the truth is replaced with silence” wrote the soviet dissident Yevgeni Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.” There has been a silence these past months full of noise, static and sound bites of those in power justifying their violence,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?
    I was watching The Nation in the weekend, and watched the defenders of NZ media up against Minto telling him he was wrong in his claims of media bias and that the media covered Dirty Politics. I laughed. When the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG – P Campbell – To the Left with love
    A week after the general election results I feel wrung out emotionally, having been through the disappointment, depression and anger of seeing  another right wing government elected overwhelmingly by winning support from the parts of NZ that will never benefit...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – I will be the new Labour Leader!
    One week after the election, while I was still waiting to be consulted about contributing to the review on what went wrong, what do you know? There is a leadership challenge. So instead of opting for a united, thoughtful and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – A Prescient Post
    A very prescient pre-election post by Martyn Bradbury tells us why the Labour Party are at war now. “The NZ First-Labour Party attack strategy against Internet MANA better work” Despite Martyn Bradbury warning them this Right Wing strategy “Better Work”...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – W(h)ither Labour (!/?)
    There’s an old saying that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Not so in the Labour Party, wherein soul-crushing defeat on a scale unseen since 1925 definitely has many fathers (and more than a few mothers and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • At the end of the day…
    At the end of the day…...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty
    Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Internet MANA the election and the media
    I’ve been very critical of media reporting of Internet MANA during the election campaign and not surprised at the predictable response from representatives of the corporate media establishment. I wasn’t going to carry this further but was asked at the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Rachel Jones – A superficial discourse analysis of a superfic...
    On Sunday there was a story about Paddy Gower and his detached retina in the Herald on Sunday. Really? I hear you ask. Really? Yes, really. Pam Corkery will have sprayed toast crumbs over her dressing gown. The reporter has become...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Terrorising Australia’s Muslim population
    We should be suspicious when 800 police conduct “terror” raids across Australia, but only one person is charged with a relevant terrorism offence (of which we know few details). We should be suspicious of the lurid tales of terrorists planning...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its min...
    Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its mind. I know the Labour party has its problems and I’m not even going to try to prescribe what should be done about it. But what I...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Loyalty, Leadership and the Labour Party
    My first after the election and I can only say I’m feeling pretty sad.  It was a terrible result, and feels even more so knowing the number of volunteers hours, hard work & sacrifice made by so many people who...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • A Study in Party Stability
    . In terms of long-term stability, one party above stands above all others, with the exception of personality-driven groups such as NZ First and United Future. That party is the Greens. If the Labour Party wants to look elsewhere for...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Cunliffe vs Robertson – Round 2
    Much to the disappointment of the NZ Herald and other right wing pundits who have decided they would like to appoint the next Labour leader, Cunliffe has surprised by deciding to damn the Caucus and appeal directly to the members...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The tasks before the left and labour movement
    Anyone on the left would have been disappointed at the result of the election. There was an opportunity to win, but that got lost through a combination of factors. There were tactical decisions made by Labour, the Greens and Internet-Mana...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • From Fiji’s dictatorship to ‘democracy’ – the AUT student team on t...
    Mads Anneberg’s profile on Ricardo Morris and Repúblika. David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. THREE STUDENTS from AUT University covered Fiji’s historic “from dictatorship to democracy” general election this month. While the election arguably legitimised Voreqe Bainimarama’s so-called 2006...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • David Cunliffe Resigns As Labour Leader – Forces Robertson Out of the Bel...
    David Cunliffe has made a smart move, resigning as the leader of the Labour Party so as to force a leadership primary campaign. The move draws rival Grant Robertson out of the beltway to parts of the country where he...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Deep thought vs Deep prejudice
    . . This letter to the editor appeared in The Listener, on 27 September, and caught my attention; . . Mr Dawson wrote in response to one of those typically unthinking comments which  condemned the poor for their “unbridled, reckless...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The NZ National voters elected
    The NZ National voters elected...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The post election postmortem is giving me post p...
    I feel the need to contribute to the discourse. This is a new experience for me. Not having an opinion, but expressing it on a popular forum in a public sphere. That’s why I have waited till now and put...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A dictionary of education terms and definitions, brought to you by the let...
    Free to all TDB readers, please enjoy your very own cut-out-and-keep handy primer of terms that I predict you will need to know over the next three years… Achievement Gap (noun) Synonym for wealth gap. ACT (abstract noun) Intangible. Reported to exist in...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA
    New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • Reflecting on Elections Past
    There are a number of past elections that can give the left in New Zealand guidance and hope. Two major points though. Major parties require leaders who can bridge the political divide through strength of personality, vision of what it...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – The Reptile Room
    I stress, at the outset, that I’ve got nothing against reptiles. Some of my best friends are reptiles. Some say I am one, but I’m not really. I just emulate that ability to sit, stationary for hours in court, eyes...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • The success of right-wing counter messaging in the election
    One of the reasons National won the election was due to its success in counter messaging – and the way so many media commentators ran with th the right-wing spin. Here are some examples. Dirty Politics The original message was...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New Flag competition
    New Flag competition...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • Submissions sought on herbicide for weed control in maize
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on a herbicide to improve broadleaf weed control in maize. The substance CADET contains 100g fluthiacet-methyl in the form of an emulsifiable concentrate and would contain a new active ingredient...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line
    Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line TV personality Jesse Mulligan will live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line this October in order to raise awareness of sex trafficking. Mulligan will survive on $2.25 for his food from October...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn?
    Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn? - Sue Bradford, Russell Brown & Kirk Serpes discuss....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change
    Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change at launch of Pacific environment report...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages
    The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management advises that while changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages come into effect from today (Wednesday 1 October), the Ministry has been, and remains, the authoritative voice for tsunami...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Police remove banner at Statoil Offices in Wellington
    Oil Free Wellington hung a banner at 9:30 this morning at the Statoil office headquarters in Wellington as the Petroleum Summit opened in Auckland. The banner, which read 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil', has now been removed...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Mixed massages raise concerns
    Mixed massages raise concerns for Te Taumata Kaumatua Ngapuhi nui tonu, and Te Wakaminenga O nga Hapu Ngapuhi....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Union Slams Port Boss’s Pay Rise
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) says Lyttelton Port CEO Peter Davie’s 18% wage rise, taking his pay packet to $1.24m, is unjustified and inflammatory. ‘Lyttelton port has an appalling health and safety record, with three deaths on...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Prisons expert Ron Nikkel to speak in Auckland October 15
    Prison Fellowship NZ and JustSpeak have the privilege of hosting the former president of Prison Fellowship International, Ron Nikkel....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Hundreds of educators protest IES in Rotorua
    Four hundred educators from around the country took their opposition to the Government's controversial Investing in Educational Success policy to the public today....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Crime drops by 3.2 % in the 2013 / 2014 financial year
    Criminal offences dropped by 3.2 % in the last financial year according to figures released today through Statistics New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: what do we learn?
    I would like to invite you to a Fabians Reflection on "Dirty Politics, Dotcom and Labour’s worst result" with Colin James, Keith Ng, Stephanie Rodgers and Richard Harman. They will provide a debrief of analysis and lessons from the 2014...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Oil Free Wellington drops banner from Statoil headquarters
    Today members of Oil Free Wellington have targeted the offices of Statoil, by attaching a banner reading 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil' to the entrance of Vodafone on the Quay Midland Park, where Statoil's New Zealand office...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Media Statement from Karen Price
    “After a period of intense media attention and scrutiny of our family, I set up and used an anonymous Twitter account over the weekend and made a number of comments that I deeply regret....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Greenpeace disrupts Simon Bridges’ speech to oil industry
    Greenpeace activists have disrupted the opening speech by Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges at the Petroleum Summit in Auckland this morning....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • An open letter to the Prime Minister
    in which Transparency International New Zealand asks the Prime Minister to ensure integrity underpins all work he leads "in the best interests of all New Zealanders"...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Paula Bennett ‘great work’ acknowledged – McVicar
    “Paula Bennett, as Minister of Social Development, has contributed significantly in lowering our crime rate and preventing further victims.” - McVicar...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Key’s Restraint in Propping up ACT Welcomed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the announcement that ACT MP David Seymour will not be appointed as a Minister....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Only Concession is from the Taxpayer
    Responding to the confidence and supply agreement reached between John Key and Peter Dunne’s United Future Party, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A Tent for Any Tenant
    AUT students and Salvation Army Manukau Community Ministries team up to raise awareness, as South Auckland’s housing situation moves from crisis to collapse...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report Seeks Comments
    The Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report and Recommendations was published on 25th September 2014 and the panel are inviting comments. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, the organisation campaigning for consistent speed limits outside schools, is encouraged...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour’s Review – Terms of Reference Agreed
    Labour's Review - Terms of Reference Agreed Following a meeting of its ruling New Zealand Council yesterday, Labour has released the terms of reference for the comprehensive review initiated following its 2014 election result. The review will comprise three...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • The final countdown for Kiwi smokers
    There are just two days left until many smokers stubb out their cigarettes for the last time and embark on Stoptober – New Zealand’s first national quit-smoking month....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose”
    “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose” – Chris Hipkins Labour Senior Whip I would say to all of the caucus and all of the members let's actually hear the arguments from the people who want to be leader,...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Campaign to make Murder of Unborn ”Safe and Legal”
    The IPPF have launched an international campaign through its 161 affiliates including the New Zealand Family Planning Association [NZFPA] to make the murder of the unborn safe and legal and accepted as a human right. This is an acceleration of...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Grant Robertson Labour leader hopeful on TVNZ Q+A
    “Look I think what we need to be is relevant, clear and consistent with New Zealanders about the Labour Party's values,” said Labour leader hopeful Grant Robertson on TVNZ’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour Needs to Get House in Order Before Deciding Leader
    Ex Labour party leader and possible repeat contender David Shearer says the Labour Party is going about the post-election period in the wrong way....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Hate merchants at it again with smear tactics
    “It’s disappointing to see the hate merchants at it again with yet another attempt to smear and silence a health professional who’s doing research they disagree with,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere