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Opposition Party statements; what the MSM doesn’t report

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, November 10th, 2012 - 39 comments
Categories: hone harawira, labour, Minister for International Embarrassment, news, nz first, paula bennett, poverty, telecommunications, tertiary education - Tags:

Press releases on opposition party websites, often highlight issues that the MSM don’t pick up on.  This often indicates some of the biases and/or weakneses of our news media.  It’s not always wilful and politcally-biased avoidance.  Sometimes it’s just that the MSM news looks for sensationalist, dramatic and simplistic headlines.  They don’t do a lot of in-depth and analysis or background explanation.  Nevertheless, the majority of journalists and editors have unthinkingly absorbed neoliberal values, and this also influences their judgement.

Yesterday, the MSM picked up on a press release almost immediately. Clare Curran posted an article on the Labour Party site (and on Scoop) just before 2.30pm, claiming there had been a catastrophic failure of the Southern Cross Cable earlier that date. This is the under sea cable that connects the NZ Internet with other countries.  Curran claimed the failure still hadn’t been resolved. Within an hour it had been picked up by Stuff (3.15pm); TVNZ (3.52 pm); TV3 News (3.45pm); NZ Herald (3.17pm); NewstalkZB (2.56pm); NBR (3pm).  Southern Cross responded by saying it was an ‘incident’, but not catastrophic’.  This is an issue that is easy to understand, dramatic, and would have a significant impact on the business and finance world, as well as on ordinary Kiwis – and no doubt it would impact on NZ journalists and media organisations significantly.

By yesterday afternoon, there were other statements on opposition party websites, that still hadn’t been picked up by many (if any) of the MSM news outlets.  These were on issues that either mostly impact significantly on  low income and marginalised people, or were critical of our current government’s policies and politicians.

These included, on the Labour Party website:

Jacinda Ardern has done some digging, via OIA requests and Questions for Oral Answer.  She has discovered, that Paula Bennett had previously mislead the public on reasons for:

… the hasty departure of the head of Work and Income just 11 months after she was hired, ….

“That leaves two options – either Ms Bennett lied, or her oversight of what is going on at Work and Income is so lax that she didn’t know that its top executive had to be sacked.

Grant Robertson says tertiary education cuts show Joyce’s true agenda:

to privatise as much of the provision of tertiary education as he can

Tertiary education as been suffering from neoliberal policies which value vocational relevance over independent research and critical thinking.  This is just another destructive step for our tertiary sector.

Clare Curran ponders on the appointment of National Party-affiliated Ricard Long to the board of TVNZ. She is rhetorically expresses hope that he won’t show political bias in this position.  So far I have only seen the NZ Herald report on this appointment, and it’s pretty bland – merely reporting Craig Foss’s recommendation of Long’s suitability. Given how much NAct have worked to destroy public broadcasting, I find this a worrying appointment.

The Mana Party website has an article on the recent draw of Harawira’s ‘Feed the Kids” Bill from the Private Members’ Ballot:

Harawira said that his Education … Bill would provide free breakfast and lunches for all children in decile 1 and 2 schools in New Zealand.

Like Idiot/Savant, I’ll be looking to see if Peter Dunne will vote against it, thereby repeating his hypocrisy this week in voting against Turei’s Bill to extend in-work tax credits.  Turei’s Bill aimed to provide immediate help to children in poverty.

The most curious opposition website article comes from NZ First, that claims John Key’s buffoonery exposes the fact that he is actually a “bumbling Marxist”.

The really frightening aspect to all this is that Mr Key’s predilection for Groucho Marxism is growing as he runs for cover over his incompetent handling of issues such as the economy, unemployment, a crisis in manufacturing, and the Dotcom illegal spying fiasco.

In contrast to the press releases that were ignored, the “Southern Cross Cable” story does not threaten to disrupt the “neoliberal” discourse that is still dominant in the mainstream media.  Nor does it significantly challenge a system that benefits the powerful and wealthy elite, and demonises those struggling on low incomes.

There may be more effective ways to get the attention of the MSM on crucial issues, but, it is difficult to do that without collaborating with, and reinforcing, the dominant neoliberal discourse.  A new narrative needs to be developed over time, across diverse platforms, and in creative ways.



39 comments on “Opposition Party statements; what the MSM doesn’t report”

  1. marsman 1

    KAROL. Just noticed the news about Richard Long’s appointment on Scoop. Long is one of the Hollow Men, a racist and misogynist. Of course he has been put on the TVNZ Board to do his nasty dirty work for National.

    • tc 1.1

      About as predictable as the many other board stackings they’ve done, gotta reward the elves and sprites.

      TVNZ is in terminal decline anyway, an alternative is desperately needed.

      • karol 1.1.1

        Agreed, tc.  If we get a change of government in 2014, I hope they get onto that.  Revive a freeview public service channel, maybe strongly linked to online videos etc.

  2. BM 2

    There was nothing to report regarding the Southern Cross Cable.
    Hysterical rantings from Curran != news.

    In a statement, Southern Cross said Labour’s media release was “misleading and inaccurate”

    “No ‘catastrophic failure’ has occurred on the Southern Cross Cable. The cable is, a figure of 8 network providing internet services to New Zealand, Australia, Pacific and the US.


    • RedLogix 2.1

      That faint whistling sound being the point sailing 10,000m over BM’s head as usual.

      The actual failure was trifling yes. (Yes boss the methane levels are not very high…)

      The point is of course that it highlights our dependence on ONE fucking cable and it’s infrastructure.

      • tc 2.1.1

        Yup just like Auckland CBD power which until the cable from Wairau rd is run back to Hobson st over the bridge is reliant on a single cable still.

        Over 15 years after the blackout and no redundancy yet, when its done, it’s using the harbour bridge (feel free to list the risks that carries) so that free market, de regulation doing a bang up job, bravo bonuses all round.

        KD’s second cable would be a fantastic outcome, give that man a knighthood, especially if he helps bring down the hollow house of cards.

        • BM

          KD is going to be extradited back to the US.

          • RedLogix

            Romney is going to be elected President.

          • Colonial Viper

            KD is going to be extradited back to the US.

            The day that happens is the day NZ declares itself a vassal state dependent on foreign instructions.

            • BM

              If he’s wanted for trial in the US then the extradition treaty we signed with the USA comes into play.
              When the Asian who killed his wife,ran off with his daughter and shot through to the States, the US tracked him down and extradited him back to NZ.
              Don’t think the USA would be very forth coming in helping us out again if we don’t reciprocate.

              • Colonial Viper

                Oh except for the small detail that both the US and NZ legal cases against DC are as strong as wet cardboard, and full of compromising errors.

              • mike e

                Blind monetarist So whats different from KD Breaking rules as opposed to all the money shufflers doing the same the money shuffler gets to run for presidency or run our country while the data shuffler gets all his money and freedom taken away

        • Fortran


          Dotcon has virtually no money – it is all tied up overseas from whence he cannot get to it without leaving New Zealand, at which time another extradition would be upon him – even in Gabon which has now shut down his new Megaupload.
          If he liquidated his NZ Government stock, upon which he bought his way to New Zealand, he would be out.

    • BM – so you believe Southern Cross without question?!?!

      Hmmmm, can I interest you in some shares in Wellington Harbour Bridge?

    • Tracey 2.3

      and your assessment of the P Bennett issue BM????

  3. Only hunger strikes and dramatic scenes draw their attention, MSM wants great Hollywood rather than reality. 😉

  4. MikeD 4

    I think Labour needs to look to itself and wonder why it gets little media traction. I’m not denying that the media, like any other business, has an underlying ideological bias and inbuilt limitations on debate. But I don’t think that’s the case here. Labour has little credibility in the media. It has no coherent message (outside perhaps Cunliffe and Parker on the economy), it has no apparent strategy and it’s hard to know what the party stands for. I mean, does anyone know what, if anything, David Shearer stands for? Without a compelling story to tell these press releases are just noise. I’d strongly recommend against blaming the media for Labour’s failings. They should be looking inwards first. When they start performing in an even vaguely competent way then we can reassess.

    • Well Labour looks like it is sleepwalking to victory, which is what National did last time round. The problem with that however is that people switch their votes to other parties i.e. Green; because a possible future Labour government isn’t giving enough of an idea of what makes Labour different from any other center-left party.

      • Dr Terry 4.1.1

        So what is the problem with switching to the Green Party (or any intelligent alternative). That is what, by this time, needs to be happening.

        • Fortran

          Russel will make a great Prime Minister, with Cunliffe as Deputy, with Finance, and Winston in Foreign Affairs (anywhere out of NZ).

    • tc 4.2

      WTF does that have to do with unbiased well researched and diligent reporting of events as they stand, you know what they get paid to do.

      Another blame labour shill, try harder.

      • kiwicommie 4.2.1

        They get paid to support an agenda, we don’t have much media that isn’t either government owned, ex-Murdoch or foreign owned. All we have is TV3 and community papers, and they don’t always provide the best of stories or question the system.

        • karol

          Yes, we did need some mainstream media that are free of commercial imperatives.  But I think, in the mean time, there needs to be a concerted effort to build a new narrtive across as many platforms as possible.
          Some creative approaches are needed.  Maybe something like the Rock Against Racism live gigs I went to in the 80s in London – but now with some video and web coverage? Putting a new and constructive discourse out there font and centre.

    • Jim Nald 4.3

      It is quite easy to see what individual caucus members like Shane Jones stand for, not once, not twice, but on repeated occasions.

      And the party leadership appears reluctant to do anything about that. How interesting.

    • RedLogix 4.4

      I think Labour needs to look to itself and wonder why it gets little media traction.

      Why WOULD a left-wing worker friendly political party (Labour, Green or Mana) get traction from a corporate owned and controlled media?

  5. Olwyn 5

    One thing I have taken heart from is the reduced influence of the MSM in the US presidential election: the grass roots trumped the opinion makers, which is a hopeful sign. Fear of speaking to deaf ears may wake up the media more surely than appeals to fair play.

    • People are starting to realize the media doesn’t represent them, save those brainwashed by Fox News who are yet to be liberated from right-wing mythos and the Reagan cult.

  6. Yesterday isn’t spelled with a ‘b’.

  7. Shaz 7

    There are news services “of record”, in the sense of an attempt to keep citizens informed on a broad range of issues, in NZ – Radio NZ and Scoop Media are IMHO the trustworthy sources. As far as I know all of the government’s and party political press releases and most of the speeches are posted to Scoop. There are also individual heroes in the rest of the MSM and working independently but, for the rest, its not the same as having a robust fourth estate in support of a robust democracy is it?

  8. aerobubble 8

    Just watching Media TV3 and was wondering if they had hired an actor to sit in for the conceited Republician view point, this got me wondering if they vet any right-wingers for actually being right wingers since it doesn’t really take much to pander to stupid.

  9. PlanetOrphan 9

    Great article again Karol, John Keys’ “Anarchy in Economics” policy is a failure.

  10. Just to clarify, that NZ First article is referring to the comedian Groucho Marx, not Karl Marx.

    A quote from Groucho Marx:

    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
    ~Groucho Marx

    More Groucho Marx quotes

    • karol 10.1

      Yes – I cut down the NZ irst quote to keep the post from getting too long.  Ah, yes, some calssic Groucho – though some of his “woman” quips are a bit  dated.
      This though, totally sums up our PM.

      The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing.  If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

  11. all our newspapers and magazines are owned by Neo concervatives thats why I don’t buy any mags or newspapers. Why would I want to support their businesses?

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