Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, April 26th, 2013 - 21 comments
Categories: accountability, brand key, capitalism, democracy under attack, john key, Minister for Photo-ops, national, news, slippery, spin, Spying, us politics - Tags: GCSB, ian fletcher, intellectual property, kim dotcom
Today’s Dominion Post anonymous editorial is an interesting one: it constructs some false equivalences; it glosses over the role of the MSM in providing an extended honeymoon halo for John Key; it glosses over the significance of Key’s GCSB cover ups; however, it does point to the fact that the tide has turned and our PM is losing the trust of the country.
Obfuscation over the PM’s role in intervening in the appointment of the GCSB boss, and over his role in supporting illegal spying on NZ residents, are of much greater consequence than a PM signing a painting for a charity auction. The editorial sets up the PM’s fall from grace, this way:
The revelation that Miss Clark had signed paintings and doodles produced by others that were then auctioned off for charity was not terminal. Miss Clark won two more elections after the practice became public in 2002.
But, before Paintergate, Miss Clark was the Teflon Lady. Nothing her opponents threw at her stuck. After it she was just another politician with a flexible sense of right and wrong.
John Key’s forgetfulness about his part in the recruitment of an old school mate’s brother to a key government post shapes as a similar watershed moment.
Like Miss Clark in the first years of her prime ministership, Mr Key has been viewed as a politician apart. His memory lapses put him back in the herd.
This glosses over the fact that Clark had to put in the hard yard of political service to gain the support of the media and a significant proportion of the electorate. In contrast, from the moment Key was ear-marked as a future National caucus leader and PM, the MSM gave him a dream ride. I guess many in our non-Fourth Estate saw him as being like them, and/or the kind of person they’d like to be. And they continue to disavow their own power; The editorial says:
Whether he has genuinely forgotten the part he played in the recruitment of Ian Fletcher to head the Government Communications Security Bureau or whether he simply decided it was better to pretend he had forgotten than admit to playing an important role is beside the point.
People now know they cannot rely on what the prime minister says.
If the public choose to view him as just another untrustworthy politician it will not be the fault of the “knucklehead” journalists who dared to question his actions, but the prime minister himself.
In keeping with the way they have colluded in the presidentialisation of the image of our PM, the editorial focuses Key’s personal attributes. This diverts attention from the substantive issues of the dismantling of democracy: it diverts from the shift in the PM’s role to becoming like the CEO of NZ Inc; it diverts from the re-focusing of the GCSB from ensuring the country’s physical security from external threats, to a focus on “economic security” for the corporate world; it diverts from the specific shift to supporting the US in the re-focusing on intellectual property and commercial interests.
There is a certain rationale in the editorial’s focus on Key’s personal qualities and trust in him. Key’s government and the National Party have always depended on the spin focused on his personal qualities to gain the votes that enable them to govern. Key has governed by photo op, and that focus will also be the undoing of him and his government.
The editorial goes on:
Mr Key possesses many admirable qualities. He is affable, optimistic, economically literate, decisive and, despite his wealth and success, without airs and graces.
But, at times, he gives the impression he finds elements of his job a bit of a chore.
It is as if he thinks the public should be grateful he has chosen to put off retirement for a few years and should not expect him to trouble himself with matters he considers inconsequential.
If that is the case, Mr Key is wrong. New Zealanders did not elect him so he could fulfil his boyhood dream, get photos of himself alongside world leaders or kid around on air with popular radio hosts.
Ouch! John Key’s self-serving ambition unmasked!
Accountability and transparency are critical safeguards in a democracy.
Indeed, but there’s far more happening on that topic that needs critical examination by our MSM. There is more going on here behind the scenes, and to put it down to the PM’s laziness is lazy journalism.
As we lack a truly critical fourth estate, such editorials lead to some kremlinology. At what point did Key start to lose the trust and support of the MSM and why?