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“Name” journalism & voter dis-engagement

Written By: - Date published: 8:55 am, November 29th, 2012 - 75 comments
Categories: accountability, blogs, democratic participation, labour, news - Tags: , , ,

Attacks on the “anonymity” of bloggers by some MPs and journalists, are a symptom of change that threatens to make political participation more democratic.  Until the early 20th century journalists were largely anonymous.  The rise of “name” journalism and infotainment have increased voter dis-engagement.  A critical, independent fourth estate, free from commercial and state interference, is crucial to democracy.  However, well-managed blogging (by any name) can also contribute significantly to democratic re-engagement.

Auckland Star 12 July 1937 – from Papers Past

As outlined by Zvi Reich (2010), the now standard use of named author bylines, was the result of a gradual development during the 20th century.  With reference to his examination of NY Times and the UK Times, Reich shows how this was the result of a progression through 4 distinct phases:

1) anonymous journalists with an authoritative voice, aimed to stop the journalist coming between the reader and the story, by maintaining an impersonal voice (see the accompanying image of an Auckland Star article where Michael Savage talks directly to the public).

2) generic bylines promoting news agencies or newspapers; (still seen now with NZ Herald and NZ Listener editorials, written by unnamed authors).  It was also and attempt to deter plagiarism.

3) a few ‘star’ named journalistswhich began at the NYT before WWII, and at The (UK) Times after 1967.

4) most authors named with personal bylines, due to journalists’ pressure for an equal share of the public acclaim. This was accelerated by the celebrity-making  influence of TV news.

Reich: UK Times, named personal bylines began 1960s

Reich’s article shows how the use of bylines developed as the result of multiple, sometimes conflicting factors, which included changes in technologies and dominant discourses. In Reich’s article the rise of stage 4 in the UK coincides with Murdoch’s rise in publishing, when unions lost their influence.  They had been resistant to what Reich refers to as “the professionalization” of journalism.  As Geoff Kemp tells it, the introduction of new technologies in UK newspaper publication led to industrial disputes, which resulted in submissive journalists and a compliant press.

Naming of authors is supposed to create transparency.  However, this conceals the co-authors as identified by Reich; such as news sources, editors, sub-editors, spokespeople, and press release writers, each having the potential to add bias.  On TV, with the on-camera reporters being most closely associated with a story, co-authors would include camera and sound operators, editors, producers, studio anchors, and more.

As I argued in an earlier post, the international commercialisation of news has led to the public becoming increasingly cynical about the motives of politicians. One of the more negative impacts of infotainment and celebrity culture, has been the increasing public disengagement from politics and voting.  The visual medium of TV has contributed to the focus on superficial conflicts, the strategic framing of politics as game, and the insertion of well-known journalists into the story.

Running interference between politics & the public

“Name” journalists have become a proxy for the public voice, disempowering potential voters. When continuously associated with political news, they gain a false superficial aura of authority, trust-worthiness, and expertise in interpreting the news.  This was seen during the recent Labour Party conference, when TV3’s Patrick Gower led his own reality show exposé. He repeatedly thrust a microphone in front of David Cunliffe in an attempt to dramatically uncover an alleged leadership coup. The more important story about the democratisation of the Labour Party was side-lined.

Democratic political parties could look for ways to embrace the positive potential of blogs, in order to re-engage with the public. It was a promising development to see the consideration of the potential of  “new” media  at the NZ Labour Party Conference, towards the end of a speech by Judy McGregor. However, she seemed to see participants in electronic networks as an elusive, docile, loosely-affiliated population, unwilling to commit to the hard slog of party work; people whose voting choices are based on superficial assessments of personality and single issues.

In fact, well-moderated blogs enable ordinary people to become part of an extensively networked conversation: one that connects politicians, media stories, party members, and potential voters, while generating enthusiasm for political action on- and off-line.

75 comments on ““Name” journalism & voter dis-engagement”

  1. TightyRighty 1

    I don’t agree with the wholesale bagging of the “MSM” on the Internet. I think it’s a cop out and a failure if organisations and individuals to engage with the media as a stakeholder. Your post Karol however is well reasoned and makes some very good points. I agree with your motion that well-managed blogging encourages participation by otherwise disinterested parties, which is a huge positive for democracy regardless if which side of the political spectrum you normally reside in. Top post!

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      I think it’s a cop out and a failure if organisations and individuals to engage with the media as a stakeholder.

      I reckon the media should be engaging with the communities they serve, not acting as a political power base in of themselves.

      • shorts 1.1.1

        agree

        something blogs like this and many others do amazingly well and succeed with those, like myself, who feel let down by the MSM over so much of what they report/focus on – I care not for the if it bleeds it leads format, its revolting

      • TightyRighty 1.1.2

        Do you know any media types? I do, quite a few in fact, and they engage frequently. But you need a dead horse to flog, however unoriginal the meme “the msm don’t respect me”

        • karol 1.1.2.1

          I would dearly love to see the MSM really fulfill the 4th estate promise.  But, they way it’s become, I can see why so many people are frustrated with it and are highly critical.

          The MSM is more than any of the individual paid employees working within it.  Many on an individual basis are probably well-meaning.  But the focus on individual journalists, with the shift to naming them, masks how much, as Reich argues, they are constrained by the system they work within.

          With the developments in the 80s, there is a contradiction between the ways journalists were disempowered by the undermining of unions, and the way they are fronted as named individuals – often giving them minor celebrity status. 

          • TightyRighty 1.1.2.1.1

            There you go, ruining your previous intelligent comments by spouting some BS about disempowerment due to unions being taken down a notch.

            Blaming the woes of anything on the perceived class enemy only has so much traction. there is no doubt an element of truth in what you say, it’s hardly the entire cause of the problem. Far better to bemoan the fact that the editors who hold sway over the newspapers websites front page have to much power to shape peoples view of the news and yet are still largely nameless. how about how cost constraints on the industry due to the preferred medium now being basically free have forced the globalization of news generation?

            Have an academic debate about the problem, the tendency to ascribe every misfortune of the workers to some kind of class war is rapidly become the new godwin of the left. It also ignores the hindrance unions place on businesses within rapidly evolving industries.

            • Schlurps McGoo 1.1.2.1.1.1

              So Karol’s response @1.1.2.1 retroactively degrades any previous comment of hers that you may have found intelligent.

              Thats not only patronising, its illogical as well.

              As for reading criticism of structural flaws of Identity based journalism as segueing a class war argument in there by stealth is also stretching credulity.

              You don’t have to be a radical anarcho-marxist to observe the media of our time and suspect that there are some serious faults with how issues are being framed and disseminated.

              Anyone Left or Right can look at a dog’s hind leg and tell if its crooked.

            • karol 1.1.2.1.1.2

              I haven’t said the union disputes were the only factor with respect to name journalism and infotainment, but it was an important factor feeding into it.  The talk I linked to by Geoff Kemp, is an interesting take on it.  The undermining of print unions,  is worthy of a topic in its own right.

              I was in London at the time of the 1986 Murdoch-Wapping print union action and it was big news.  One of my lecturers at London uni also did some compelling research on how Thatcher manoeuvred towards getting supportive editors in key publications.  I see he is still talking about some of the related issues.

              During part of the 1980s, a large segment of the national press developed an almost cheerleader relationship to government. Indeed, the Thatcher cabinet minister, Ian Gilmour, wrote that the press during this period could ‘scarcely have been more fawning if it had been state controlled’.

              This was all part of the multi-pronged way Thatcher became so dominant, and also included a concerted attack on unions, including the mining unions, print unions and teacher unions.

              But I do think and independent media and open debate is good for democracy whether you are right or left wing. And too much of a fixation on name journalism can just obscure the ways the debates can be manipulated and skewed.

        • lprent 1.1.2.2

          I really don’t care if they don’t respect me. After all I frequently don’t respect members of the msm.

          I do care when they attack net institutions and standards because they appear to be too lazy to find out what they are and why they were created. My inclination then is to point out why I think that they’re wrong and lazy to try to apply their oddly hypocritical standards to a completely different type of system set up for a completely different purpose.

          I have no frigging interest in being a journalist or a talking head. That would seem to be a retrograde step from being a computer programmer who also expresses my own opinions on a self-published net forum. I don’t have any real respect for their “standards” which often seem to be specifically designed to protect them from criticism about the poor quality of their work ethics. People can directly express their opinion of my writing here, or from other blogs and they do it pretty damn fast. We don’t need intermediaries like the BSA or Press Council with their wet handslap months later.

          Looks to me like a few of the other authors feel the same.

  2. just saying 2

    I know for a fact that routine use of by-lines became policy for INL papers in the 80s.

    The trend from the previous practice of a couple of bylines per paper for features, columnists or “special” pieces, was rolled out as part of the infotainment revolution which also saw shorter stories, sentences and paragraphs, all active in tense, pitched at the reading age of a 14 year-old. The inverted pyramid became all-but compulsary. Regardless of the virtues or otherwise of this writing style, you can see how it fitted with the move away from analysing and informing towards entertaining readers, who researchers had apparently found to have, on average, the attention span of a fruit-fly.

    Cooincidentally, Judy McGregor, first as editor of the Sunday News, and then as senior management at Independent Newspapers was an enthusiastic implementer of the revolution. She also played a significant role in decimating the journalist and printers unions, which happened pretty much concurrently.

    (She also did some good things – women were appointed to senior positions in record numbers).

    • karol 2.1

      Interesting NZ background, js.  I was in the UK at the time, so I’m not so familiar with the background here.  But it did seem to me that the NZ media had gone through similar stages.

      It would be useful if there was documented evidence somewhere of that shift in NZ.

      The inverted pyramid is also important to attend to.  The main general and eye-catching points are put in the headline and opening paragraph, tapering down to the evidence and/or more contentious details at the bottom of the article.  

      It is always useful to see if the headline, lead, and later part of the article are consistent.  Often the opposing viewpoints are buried at the bottom of the article.  A lot of people don’t read beyond the headline or lead, and that is what forms their opinions.

      I was interested that McGregor came from a journalism background, and that she said she worked on the media part of Annette King’s, print-based campaign way back.  It does seem to me she is a little reluctantly looking at “social media” etc with a lot of negative pre-conceptions.

      Was McGregor one of the women who appeared in a TV documentary series on feminism way back in the 70s?  And that was revisited in the doco Sheilas?

      • just saying 2.1.1

        I don’t know. I was a kid then. She is featured in a couple of anthologies of NZ feminists and writings from prominent figures of the eighties, that I have on my bookshelf.

      • just saying 2.1.2

        You’re right about the inverted pyramid. As the industry knows perfectly well, the position, or opinion presented in the first one or two paragraphs, is the only perspective most readers are ever exposed to. Alternative viewpoints, and contentious (or any other detail) is placed further down where evidence shows, few consumers* will read.

        There is no doubt that the older style required more effort from readers. Apart from anything else, they had to wade through more detail to find salient information.

        *The word consumer, of course, took off in a big way at this time. My Mum said she never forgave Helen Clark for turning her from being a ‘patient’ when she needed medical care to a “healthcare consumer”. Point is, these changes evolved in the context of the wider neoliberal revolution, and, as is always the case, the one fed into and helped shape the other.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      (She also did some good things – non-unionised, ideologically compatible women were appointed to senior positions in record numbers).

      Just to clarify.

      • Populuxe1 2.2.1

        Doesn’t matter, they’re still women and that is a definite improvement. It breaks ground. There wouldn’t have been a Helen Clarke without there first being a Margaret Thatcher.

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          nah that’s absolute total bullshit.

          • Populuxe1 2.2.1.1.1

            You’re obviously a man. It may not excuse their politics, but it still opened the way for their gender – glass ceiling broken, deal with it.

            • Pascal's bookie 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Go on, identify the logical fallacy you just used.

            • karol 2.2.1.1.1.2

              I’m a woman, and I doubt that Thatcher made it possible for Clark to become PM – but if you can provide evidence otherwise, I’ll be interested.  

              Thatcher wasn’t the first elected leader of a country, anyway, and I think she did more to set back women’s rights as progress them – especially with respect to low income women.  

              • Populuxe1

                Social change is a cumulative process 

                • karol

                  Indeed, pop. And social change doesn’t move forward in a continuous line of progress.

                  Without a couple of waves of feminism, Thatcher would probably never had made PM.  Pity that she then turned back some of the gains made for women from diverse backgrounds…. and also contributed to the undermining of the media as 4th estate.

            • weka 2.2.1.1.1.3

              Thatcher didn’t break the glass ceiling, she was teleported above it.

      • just saying 2.2.2

        Very true CV.

        I was a wee bit torn. Because although I strongly disagree with McGregor’s politics and many of her actions over this time, from my (minor and pretty superficial) interactions with her, I also liked her as a person. There was some surrounding context with her being the first woman to break the glass ceiling in the field, with all the difficulties and internal conflicts that entails. Which doesn’t excuse anything I know.

        It would be interesting to know what she now thinks about the changes that she helped pioneer.

  3. Tom Gould 3

    “The more important story about the democratisation of the Labour Party was side-lined.”

    Perhaps, but I reckon Labour dodged a bullet with this. Had the news focused on the actual voting system, with a handful of union heavy weights exercising the aggregated votes of affilited members on their behalf, and without reference to them or their wishes, it would have been a worse ‘look’ than the Cunliffe coup sideshow.

  4. DH 4

    Authors should take the criticism as a compliment, albeit disguised and unintended. If blogs weren’t getting an audience the media wouldn’t be bothered by them, ergo it’s the attention that blogs like the The Standard are receiving that causes the angst in certain circles.

    A lot of so-called ‘journalists’ and media personalities see themselves as the news these days . Content comes second to their preening in front of the camera or preaching to us from the soapbox of bylines. Anonymous blogs are the polar opposite of that populist attitude and they don’t like it; it’s undermining their status & stardom. It’s career threatening.

    The real reason they don’t like anonymous authoring is because it nullifies much of the power they wield & abuse. They can’t attack the author because they don’t know who the author is. They’d dearly like to use the name & shame, the belittling, the snide references; any dirty trick to turn people away from blogs & back to the MSM. But they can’t do that when authors are nameless, it pulls their teeth.

    My own thinking is that the Cunliffe chicanery was an attack on the Standard (and others) by the media; they were sending a message about who really wields the power here. That’s what the Winston Peters debacle was really about and this smelled the same. My answer to that would be for everyone to keep doing what they’re doing. It’s obviously working.

  5. BLiP 5

    .

    As overt shills like Clare Curran and the useful idiots like Brian Edwards attempt to soften us up, I’ll just leave this here.

  6. lprent 6

    Damn Karol – you beat me to it. I was reading through exactly the same material over the last week.

    I was going to call it – “Addiction to the byline”

    That Israeli Prof’s charts were quite compelling.

    Oh well, I have several other ones on the similar topics.

    • karol 6.1

      Whoops.  Sorry, Lynn.

      With several TS authors coming out with posts on similar topics and themes around the same time, someone will start saying it’s all been carefully orchestrated by…( ..?) 

      Yes, on the graphs.  And that article was also one of the few academic ones I found on the topic online, that isn’t behind a pay wall. 

      It’s taken me a couple of days to put this post together.  As I said on QOT’s name blogging a privilege thread on Tuesday, I had started researching this angle earlier that day. 

      I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a need to post on variations of this topic some time in the future.  I could have said more on the issue, but the post would have been too long.  An early draft was a lot longer. 

      I usually find research is rarely wasted, even if I don’t use it immediately. \

      PS: Your title is a lot better than mine!

      • lprent 6.1.1

        Don’t worry about it – great minds think alike etc etc… But there is a distinct paucity of visible info on this topic. Kind of weird when you realise exactly how big a change this was in the public discourse.

        • karol 6.1.1.1

          Finding something online on the issue seems to be the problem. I started looking because I had remembered seeing something on the topic & thought it might have been Auckland Uni’s 2011 winter lecture series.  There were other articles I came across in academic journals, requiring a paid subscription.  I didn’t check if any of them were available on the public library e-resource databases.

          I do have a couple of library books out on news media, but neither seem to deal with the rise of personal bylines as a substantial issue. 

          • RedLogix 6.1.1.1.1

            Brilliant post. What I wish I could have written myself. And interesting too how so many of us were drawn to write on the same theme at the same time.

            What is worth emphasising is that indeed it was the dismantling of the print unions which was one of the critical enabling steps towards dis-empowering journalists. There is no question that without even the sometimes tenuous backing of a union it became impossible for ordinary journalists to say ‘no’ to an editor or sub-editor. Or to insist on professional independence from the commercial pressures of advertisers.

            And it also highlights how much professional skill brings to the game. While us ordinary bloggers may bring the day to day experience of our lives and passion to our writing, it takes someone with professional training and experience to flesh this out into something quite compelling.

            Well done.

          • lprent 6.1.1.1.2

            Exactly, I had some material about it in some old books from the 80’s. However I offloaded all of my paper books when I moved to ePub’s.

            When I looked on Amazon I could see books that were likely prospects. However I couldn’t see any that were digital formats that I could buy directly over the net (and convert out of whatever useless format they were using). Most were older than a few years old.

            Journals – the prices per article were too high to do a fishing expedition. I really needed to get to a university library and I never have time for the long hours required. Much easier to just do this when I was at home late at night on the net.

  7. Wheezing&Easing 7

    Respected mag The Economist has a policy of not naming writers and in fact gives “names” to columns within the Mag with particular topics (eg Lexington, Bagehot, Schumpeter)..occasionally names groups that have written special reviews. I get The Economist and I like the policy myself.

  8. Wheezing&Easing 8

    Respected mag The Economist has a policy of not naming writers and in fact gives “names” to columns within the Mag with particular topics (eg Lexington, Bagehot, Schumpeter)..occasionally names groups that have written special reviews. I subscribe to The Economist and I like the policy myself. NZ journalists need to grow up. It’s quality that counts, not names in print – and much of it is not great quality!

    • lprent 8.1

      …I subscribe to The Economist and I like the policy myself.

      ditto.

    • The Economist does list all their writers plus provides their backgrounds. None of them are ‘anon’.

      http://www.economist.com/mediadirectory

      But they do say “…the main reason for anonymity, however, is a belief that what is written is more important than who writes it”

      • leftriteleft 8.2.1

        Exactly!
        As I said yesterday in a previous reply.

        It’s the message, not the messenger.

        Although, sometimes, I’d still like to kill the messenger.

        Pompus pricks that they are.

      • lprent 8.2.2

        Yep. You just don’t know exactly who is writing what in the print edition. It is somewhat easier in the ‘blogs’ except for the numbers of J.P’s and J.A’s at various times.

        • TheContrarian 8.2.2.1

          Though I wouldn’t equate The Economist with it’s integrity to The Standard with its angry assholes.

          • lprent 8.2.2.1.1

            Ummm – perhaps you should read the history of the economist magazine. Especially in its first few decades. They are pretty proud of it, and they still write opinion pieces in that same vein. You know the same one we use, based on a sense of outrage

            And in the now ritual putdown (becasue you don’t seem to ever listen to it): You really do need to get a sense of history

            • TheContrarian 8.2.2.1.1.1

              So you actually are trying to equate yourself with The Economist.

              Wow, now that’s hubris.

              • lprent

                The economist and more particularly their online blogs were definitely one of the models for this site. The authors are pseudonymous and they write opinions on topics that they’re interested in. In the last year or so as they’ve had more than one person writing under the same pseudonym, they’re added initials so people could distinguish individual authors. Still a guessing game as they have several authors with the same initials….. There are also authors initials that are not on their lists of reporters.

                I’ve been reading it for nearly 30 years.

                But I can infer from your words that you’re not going to look at their rather opinionated history as a newspaper? Or why they’re the newspaper that is most likely to be banned in the most countries at any one point in time over the last century and a half. Too useless to learn does appear to be your usual trait.

                • Oh I know about The Economist and am a subscriber myself.

                  The history of The Economist notwithstanding , comparing The Standard to The Economist is delusional…. unless the editor of The Economist also calls people names for no reason and insults their intelligence with comments like “Too stupid to learn” when someone dares question them.

  9. mike 9

    Another good post karol. The way the TV1 and TV3 frame political news as merely a he said / she said, team A spin vs team B spin power game has been bothering me for a while. Garner and Gower are shocking.

    As you say it simply leads to viewers becoming more cynical about politics, and thus less interested. Not a good thing for democracy. Any chance of some in depth discussion with party leaders about policies? Or some reporting about the current govt’s performance in specific areas? Nah, lets just go shove a mic in someone’s face, get a “No comment” comment and call it a story.

    I’m reminded of a quote: “You make a mistake if you see what we do as merely political.” – Adolph Hitler

  10. Wheezing&Easing 10

    My post disappeared before I finished it!

  11. Nunya 11

    I yearn for the day when all public broadcasters are required to wear a bag on their heads, all names are removed and bylines scrapped.

    FFS at time of increasing economic meltdown our pols have been flat out like a lizard drinking debating about the relationship between a former weatherman, his brother and their mother!
    A farce that is the direct result of allowing talking heads the right to self promote and it needs to be stopped. Not by the gutless pols who profit from the celebrity culture yeah I know they all bitch about it when it bites them on the ass, but it is the ability to get a ‘media profile’ by beating up some emotive issue that has reduced all NZ politics to the worst type of populism.
    It is us who need to stop it – not the pols -how? easy. stop clickin on links to gossip, minor legal issues made important because one or more parties have a profile, film premieres, whose up who n whose payin the rent on Tuesday nite gallery opening page, n all the rest of the fat toad in a small pond bullshit that our ‘fourth estate’ foists upon us.

    I find it disappointing that the standard gives every contributor a byline. Sure some use nyms but the nyms are pretty transperant. If the standard truly believes that particular issues should be associated with particular writrers so readers can follow an opinion’s rationale why not just call em citizens A or B or C? Comrade 1, 2 or 3. If writers demand a byline surely that is an indication of a dodgy agenda?
    Standard writer #57, anything which seperates the opinion from a commoditiseable (sp?) persona would be good because I reckon it enhances credibility. That is, if someone is saying something in the knowledge that their expression of an opinion can’t advantage themself politically, it follows that readers are more likely to consider that opinion valid.

    • lprent 11.1

      I find it disappointing that the standard gives every contributor a byline. Sure some use nyms but the nyms are pretty transperant.

      We have no editorial line which was the reason why newspapers had anonymous authors in the first place. If you read the material linked to you’ll find why the Victorians thought that was important.

      We are just a cooperative sharing resources. The only editorial controls that this site places on the authors is that the trust running the site doesn’t want to be :-

      1. successfully sued for defamation,
      2. engage in criminal activities.
      3. bore moderators.
      4. having authors spending all of their time attacking each other.
      5. journalists.

      Because there is no editorial style guidelines and our individual personalities shine through with everything from from QoT’s unique ability to swear at least once in almost every post :twisted:, to Irish’s sarcastic style, to my pontification – we just put a psuedo on each person writing apart from Guest Post and Notices and Features. Even so we get people dancing on the head of a pin in other sites arguing that Eddie has some kind of split personality because of his persistent blandness.

      • QoT 11.1.1

        QoT’s unique ability to swear at least once in almost every post

        I tried so hard in my last one, but then I fucked it up.

  12. Populuxe1 12

    “However, this conceals the co-authors as identified by Reich; such as news sources, editors, sub-editors, spokespeople, and press release writers, each having the potential to add bias.”

    Ah, application of post-structural theory by someone who almost certainly has no experience of the newsroom. For the most part editors and sub-editors do not deliberately alter the content of articles, and it is up to the journalist to read around the projected biases of spokespeople and press release writers. The worst you can say about editors is that they control what gets printed or not, which can certainly slant things, but otherwise the rest is – except for a few scandals – nonsense.  

    • karol 12.1

      Bias most often refers to something that is done without people always being aware of their biases and/or how they are slipped into an article or report.

      It can be seen when the headline doesn’t quite match up to the content of the article.  And too often these days, articles, often by the least experienced journalists, just repeats the content of press releases uncritically. 

      Biases can also be done when a journalist is subtly influenced by their editor’s views.

      News journalism is usually conducted under the pressure of deadlines.  This means that journalists can often unthinkingly repeat views that are all around them.  Sue Abel kind of shows how that works with the way the MSM tend to overlook Maori perspectives in TV news, and the way stereotypes keep getting repeated there.  Abel has done research that includes observing in a newsroom. (see p3 here).

      There also can be (inadvertent?) biases in the selection of journalists for a news organisation, so that the successful applicants tend to be in conformity with the editor’s perspectives. 

      • Populuxe1 12.1.1

        By that reasoning everything in the world is a contingent social construct including your post and all of your sources, so let’s apply Occam’s Razor and assume that a significant chunk of the MSM are in fact living, breathing human beings with functioning critical faculties at least partially aware of their biases and not simply two dimensional theoretical automata bereft of your obviously refined sense of self-awareness.

        • karol 12.1.1.1

          I think it’d be great if more people read/viewed news media critically, rather than just accepted them at face value.  

          I also am more for discussing issues based on verifiable evidence – others can look at the same evidence and, possibly come to a different conclusion.  I don’t see it as a case of impossible relativism, but an on-going critical discussion.

          I would also agree with those who say journalists should be self-critical, so that they are aware of their own values and biases, and make them explicit in relation to their writing. 

    • RedLogix 12.2

      For the most part editors and sub-editors do not deliberately alter the content of articles,

      Oh dear, of course not; they don’t have to. What happens of course is that the journo very quickly learns to write what is acceptable. It happens is most organisations, you go along to get along especially if you feel vulnerable and on the wrong end of organisational power.

      Always most effective if you can get people to censor themselves.

      • Populuxe1 12.2.1

        I’m guessing you’ve never worked in the media then. It may be the case in some organisations, but by an large not the fairly broad cross-section I’m familiar with.

        • karol 12.2.1.1

          Are there humans working for your organisations, pop?  Because it is something we can all slip into.

          RL,@4.39pm:  Yes, I think it is the more inexperienced, least powerful journalists that will be most susceptible to self-censorship.  It’s been a recent shift that there has been a tendency to hire more young and less experienced journos as a cost saving.  And, once they start down that road they may never become aware of how they’ve been subtly influenced.\

          I think it is no accident that some of the most critical news items come from some of the older hands with a little status: e.g. John Campbell.

           

        • KJT 12.2.1.2

          I think that was one thing Beria admired about the USA. He reckoned the, US, media was so brainwashed it was not necessary for them to be censored.

      • lprent 12.2.2

        I have edited substance in a few posts out of the 11,241 posted on the site. Maybe 4 or 5 all up. Violating suppression orders. A couple that had material I thought was defamatory.

        There have been probably a few hundred where I have fixed egregious spelling or grammatical errors. A few where the author managed to say the inverse of what they meant (the fatal missing ‘not’ usually).

        But I’m not an editor. I’m not even that good as an author, a fact that Lyn informs me every time she reads one of my posts. Her doing the nights putting up material on the online herald for a while evidently did interesting things to her ability to see poorly constructed text, because I swear she can see the errors long before she reads the words. Or it could be the material that all of her students give her year after year. I rather pity them :)

        I just like writing posts that get across my meaning.

  13. vto 13

    Been watching this debate and see most every single argument ever has been submitted for consideration, including this one ……

    Brian Edwards can go jump in the lake. Just keep going and posting and bloggering and all in anonymity. What is he going to do about it? Ha ha ha, stupid idiot.

  14. just saying 14

    A lot of great minds thinking alike. A very relevant and eloquent column form Chris Trotter today:

    …The tone of these attacks leaves little doubt that not only do these political journalists consider bloggers to be unwelcome and illegitimate contributors to the nation’s political discourse, but that nothing would make them happier than to see them tightly regulated and controlled. It’s an attitude that should send a shiver down every New Zealander’s spine. A genuine “Fourth Estate” would welcome the democratisation of the gathering and distributing of news which the Internet has made possible. That so many MSM journalists have greeted the competitive spur of the blogosphere with a mixture of self-serving patch-protection and outright authoritarianism is cause for considerable concern

    It also casts much of their recent reporting of political news in a new and worrying light. If the truth is indeed out there, then presumably it’s as readily accessible to bloggers as it is to members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery? If both are present at the same event, then their reports should be (with obvious allowance for nuance and emphasis) at least broadly similar? But what if they are not similar? What if the MSM’s coverage of Event X is radically at odds with both the experience of participants and the reportage of bloggers? Wouldn’t that raise some extremely disturbing questions about the credibility and trustworthiness of MSM journalism…

    Concluding:

    ..If this is true, then the decision by so many active participants in the blogosphere to remain anonymous or write under a pseudonym becomes entirely reasonable. Any system powerful and mendacious enough to suborn the one institution specifically charged with exposing its malfeasance is probably not the sort of system to be openly challenged or taunted by vulnerable individuals using their real names.

    The day focus groups and their deliberations cease to be confidential is the day bloggers will gladly abandon their pseudonyms and the “pandemic of anonymity” will be over.

    • karol 14.1

      Thanks, js.  Yes, Trotter makes some similar points although from a bit of a different angle.  He also sees the attacks on anonymity as a symptom of some underlying shift, or threat of a shift, with the Internet opening up some democratic possibilities.

      He also points to the Labour Party conference as a key event when many who attended the conference, saw it in a totally different light to the standard MSM interpretation.

      He takes a different angle by focusing on the way the press gallery tend to be pressured into producing similar interpretations of events.   

  15. just saying 15

    Relevant and compelling column from Chris Trotter today:

    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/

    Mods: You can ditch the previous comment (currently in moderation) which I realise had wayyy too much quoted text from the above.

    • ropata 15.1

      No don’t ditch it!!
      BTW here’s a more permanent link

    • karol 15.2

      Also, I laughed at the opening of this Gordon Campbell piece – one of the few independent “named” journalist on the internet, taking on one (or two) of the “named” fixtures on the NZ Herald:

      The best way of appreciating Fran O’Sullivan’s attack on Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey in the NZ Herald yesterday is to read it aloud as if you’re actually Maggie Smith on Downton Abbey. In which case the general content of O’Sullivan’s column – does this creature never sleep? How on earth has she managed to commandeer the debate on free trade? Are there no men in this house able to put this, this, this confounded woman in her place? – will sound exactly what it is. A last despairing squawk from the neo-liberal right, as yet another of its castles in the sand is washed away by the tide of history. Get used to it, Fran. It’s your lot that has lost the plot on “free” trade.

      I’m so glad the Internet still provides a diversity of voices to hold the MSM to account, and hope that it won’t be regulated down to an exceptional minority by banishing the use of pseudonyms…. if it was even possible?

      Or are we, as Campbell says, seeing the end to the neoliberal consensus?

  16. Rogue Trooper 16

    There is no point going back to the msm, magazine mounted media imo, not with the Truth accessible
    on the internet if one is conscientious and caring enough to search for it. I almost flinged the
    commodities forecast values link on to the local paper however they have changed their online format
    and I cannot be bothered engaging with them anymore, not when lprent provides a clean daily refill and
    binder. I used to try the articles in North and South, The Listener or such like, yet I found a lot of
    excess padding, non-sequiters, and only a bite of real meat from a couple of pages, i.e, The Conclusion.

  17. MrSmith 17

    Nice Karol

    A couple of things the poly’s fear from the anonymity of blogs is the public servants specking up anonymously and the fact the writer may have to defend their written words and that’s all that’s happening here people, the written word, no guns, no marketing spin or underlying agenda just words on a page that anyone can call bullshit and it’s scaring the crap out of ………..

  18. Rhinocrates 18

    Indeed, some very interesting commentary from Chris Trotter.

    I used to think of him as a bit of a “dinosaur” due to his disparagement of “identity politics”, but I appreciate that one doesn’t have to agree 100% (haha, considering recent statements by a certain someone) to realise that there will never be “100%” agreement, nor should there be.

    Chris Trotter at least is carefully observing what is actually happening in the media landscape whereas Brian Edwards, someone I had admired* has reacted so negatively, so hysterically to the seismic shifts in the landscape of discourse. Chris Trotter is watching and he’s thinking. Others, such as Edwards, O’Sullivan, Armstrong et al are just reacting.

    I don’t suppose that there is an actual conspiracy, but rather a commonality of interest and a tipping point. The old media establishment is, as Chris Trotter says, is perceiving their power slipping away and once someone says it, they all do. Some, like Farrar, Hosking, Trevett, Hooters and Long will certainly say that Shearer is the best leader for the Labour Party because he’s the easy one to beat, while others like O’Sullivan will simply see someone they can identify with. Meanwhile, that spineless cretin Armstrong is an idolator by nature while Garner and Gower just see a drama that they wants to play a leading role in while Edwards is a tired, ossified sanctimonious dupe clinging to fantasies of what “should” be the case among comfortable liberals like himself. Mallard, Goff and King are driven by spite and their own insecurity, Hipkins is Mallard’s Mini-Me and Robertson of course is delighted to see all of this happening and does his best, as subtly as possible, to keep it going.

    They may look like a conspiracy, but they all have different motives to achieve the same end. It’s not a conspiracy – it’s just a perfect storm.

    It will pass.

    For all the problems that I have with Chris Trotter (he’s got to “get” the identity politics thing – there will never be a unified “left” now, but a mosaic of progressives to which all ultimately contribute), I do believe that he’s one of the best observers of politics around today. Edwards, on the other hand, does what he did very well, but like an old dog, he isn’t learning any new tricks. He knows that in a vague way, hence his anger, but he doesn’t want to think why, and it angers him. He’s stuck in what he thinks the world should be, not how it is.

    *Well, I might just despise him on this one issue and respect him otherwise… hopefully.

  19. Rhinocrates 19

    Oh, and by the way, seeing what has happened to Edwards’ post, as has happened so many times elsewhere, as a corollary to Godwin’s Law, can I – anonymously – propose this:

    “The longer a discussion in which Pete George is admitted to continues, the greater the probability is that he will decide that is all about himself. Once this happens, he will ensure that it will cease to be of any worth.”

    • QoT 19.1

      I second this.

    • lprent 19.2

      Yes. Definitely PG is one of the most self-obsessed people on the local web. The really amusing thing about him is the way that he ascribes all of his own worst traits to other people – and seems to be oblivious that is what he is doing. It is a permanent source of amusement to me.

      However, so long as he is not here, it is rather good fun winding him up on other peoples sites. I’m sure that the operators will all thank me and others for doing it. However I’d suggest that it might be a good idea to only do it on posts that are rather crap anyway. Otherwise the sound of a good PG tantrum can drown out some good debates

      :twisted:

  20. Skinny 20

    As someone who has been interviewed from time to time by MSM outlets, it’s often annoying  what actually gets published or broadcast. Quite often a reporter or editor will try skew what your saying to fit their theme or perception of a news item. Unfortunately  the facts sometimes get in the way of a good story. I had a print reporter chasing me for comments on an issue that was topical of the day, since I was speaking out ( whistle blower) against actions of my employer and wary the  
    reporter was seeking comments in reply from my CEO, I demanded he email what was written so I could check for accuracy of the verbatim Interview. The corrections needed before I was comfortable with being quoted was surprising. Once I read the new item in the paper I could see the original attempt too distort the facts! You could say I remain aloof of MSM nowadays. As for the story it’s going to be in the headlines again soon Boss :) 

    It’s great to post on here as an anonymous person as it allows you to have a opinion without threat of being sacked by your Govt employer, who’s HR team will deal to you with their ‘media policy.’ there would be a lot in a similar boat posting on here I’d say.

    p.s B b b b Boss your 800k  J j j j Job is gunna be o o o over!                        

  21. newsense 21

    It is also clear that ‘anonymous Labour-affiliated bloggers’ is a standard attack line now. Mostly from APN it seems. Armstrong, Fran O’Sullivan and Jane Clifton have used it or something similar.

    Interestingly in today’s paper there was a tiny corrections sidebar acknowledging the potentially defamatory inaccuracies in the ‘anonymous’ editorial attacking Dr Joy. Fran O’Sullivan remarkably attacked the university for not acting more as a rubber stamp for government policy over the TPP and allowing dissent a voice amongst it’s staff. There has been very little clear public debate about these trade agreements, that as Gordon Campbell points out are often not actually completely free trade agreements but riddled with exceptions to benefit the larger partner.

    Sorry if this is somewhere else and I missed it!

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    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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