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A little case study of media misrepresentation

Written By: - Date published: 4:54 pm, March 9th, 2015 - 42 comments
Categories: broadcasting, democracy under attack, journalism, Media, radio, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

This morning we had a perfect example of what so deeply frustrates those of us who keep harping on about pro-government bias in how the mainstream media report political events. After an appalling display of obfuscation and a blatant disregard for public concern from PM John Key over his ex-spy boss confirming mass surveillance of Pacific Island countries (and by default, many NZers) on Morning Report at 10 past 7 this morning, by the 7.30am headlines it had been reduced to something along the lines of “PM assures NZers there is no mass surveillance” and a dig about stolen emails. This ‘Bluewashing’ continued for the rest of the morning.

As if this wasn’t disingenuous enough, they programmed Kim Dotcom to be interviewed straight afterwards, thereby dog whistling to all those who have a negative response to Dotcom that the current concerns about mass surveillance are all part of his Dr Evil-like plan to misinform the public and take over the world (cue little finger in mouth and demonic laugh.) I fail to see how this is merely unfortunate programming – it’s provocative at best and highly manipulative at worst.

I desperately try to hold on to the hope that this kind of reporting won’t happen on National Radio, and time and time again find myself yelling at it when another such example blurs the issues and gives our Machiavellian Prime Minister yet another opportunity to shrug off concerns about his government’s erosion of privacy and democracy. It’s so depressing.

42 comments on “A little case study of media misrepresentation”

    • Sable 1.1

      Good to hear other people switching off the bullshit too.

      • hoom 1.1.1

        And then they will say ‘oh nobody listens to that anymore, time to sell it/shut it down’.

        But yes, RNZ has really gone down hill under National, which is really sad.

        • Colonial Rawshark 1.1.1.1

          That’s the plan. They weaken it, drive good staff away, reduce the numbers tuning in, then its a perfect set up for funding cuts. Rinse, repeat. After a few times, sell it off to your mates at mediaworks for fuck all.

          • saveNZ 1.1.1.1.1

            @C R
            My god, you could be a National MP, you understand their tactics so well:)

            But you forgot cronyism…

            put in a Nat stooge to control the discourse on the taxpayer, by putting in Richard Griffin as chair of board RNZ, former press secretary Jim Bolger.

    • Paul 1.2

      I have switched off morning report thanks to its new bias.

    • Saarbo 1.3

      That’s interesting but not surprising….I think its fair to say that most RNZ listeners are well informed and or tertiary educated, when we are fed Right wing biased bull shit we will turn off. in fact Ive found myself listening to a lot of Radio Hauraki these days…Mikey Havoc in the afternoons is awesome!

  1. Disabled Liberation Aotearoa NZ DLANZ 2

    The Media plays a big part on how a government does in modern society. They show little care as what you say on National Radio is also viewed on TV ‘s 1 and 3..etc
    Good luck with this story mate
    Waiata / Song ‘Supersticious
    Regards
    Doug Hay
    Cordinator DLANZ

  2. Sable 3

    Agree with everything said here. The MSM in New Zealand can at best be described as “sleazy” corporate sell outs who back any political entity that supports right leaning, pro US corporate interests.

    What’s really revolting and offensive to me is these journalistic charlatans are even allowed to tout their line in misinformation on publicly funded television. This is inexcusable and gives some insight into how far we have moved from being a democratic nation that values fairness and transparency.

    Like many others I don’t watch anymore. It simply fills me with disgust.

  3. Tom Jackson 4

    They aren’t even trying to pretend they are impartial. I’m actually with the right on this – Public broadcasting is an embarrassment and should go, Maori TV excluded.

    • Or, it should be run as a public service.

      • Tom Jackson 4.1.1

        There’s no point other than catering to the tastes of a minority of the public. Media choice means that most people won’t listen to it because they don’t have to, and its effect on politics will be increasingly negligible. There’s no going back to some golden age when public broadcasters were political referees.

        • greywarshark 4.1.1.1

          Why isn’t there going back? Sigh. All these systems are man-made and can be unmade if enough people could get a party with good beliefs and backbone in.

        • Murray Rawshark 4.1.1.2

          Maori TV had over a million viewers for the Kapa Haka competition. As far as I know, its audience is increasing. People do want good media, but the media tycoons and politicians don’t want us to have it.

  4. Corokia 5

    Absolutely agree Mandy. Key must have been relieved that the focus went onto Dot Com and events of 6 months ago. What Espiner ignored was that Key said NZer’s didn’t need to know if mass surveillance has been happening, a decent interviewer would point out that that is a very convenient stance to take by someone who said he’d resign if it was happening. I texted them (again). Sometimes they read them out, on Friday I asked if Bruce Ferguson really didn’t know the difference between a supermarket loyalty scheme and mass surveillance.

  5. Wynston 6

    Shonkey is now referring to it as “collection”, not “surveillance” and stated that he wouldn’t resign if it were proven!
    It’s all weasel words … simply weasel words!
    When on earth will the “sheeple” of this country see through the prick?

    • b waghorn 6.1

      I know several people who voted key in, none of them think he’s honest how nz politics can come back from the damage he has done is beyond me,

  6. Maui 7

    Agree with depressing. Bring on this revolution!

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.1

      And that’s exactly why TPTB are moving western “democracies” into the framework of totalitarian security and surveillance states.

      • Maui 7.1.1

        At least National voters are continuing to work hard for the economy and creating a better life for their kids, so they think… At least that’s what I guess goes through a National voter’s head… Climate, surveillance and economic collapse are in some made up dream land.

  7. Rob Taylor 8

    Clearly, Shonkey Johnkey is a student of US politics:

    “I did not have surveillance with those people: I merely collected all of their private correspondence”.

    Sound familiar?

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.1

      Shonkey has apparently been recently briefed by our intelligence agencies (who have in turn been briefed by the Americans and the Brits) on how to legally lie to the public. In the USA, NSA officials came up with secret interpretations of ordinary English words.

      Along the lines of how Clinton tried to redefine the meaning of “sexual relations.”

      The fact that the entire citizenry’s communications and signals metadata and content is being captured and permanently recorded doesn’t mean there is mass surveillance simply because the NSA redefined “surveillance” as being something which only happens if a human being is actively monitoring the process.

      Of course, it’s all done by machines and sorted automatically, so by their own secret interpretation, there is no mass surveillance.

      • HumPrac 8.1.1

        Quote: “In the USA, NSA officials came up with secret interpretations of ordinary English words”
        I think you will find it’s even deeper than that again. For example, to make a word we SPELL it. Modern day sorcerers cast SPELLs using SPELLing(words).
        Also WORDs are sWORD. A simple switching of the “s” from the front to the back makes the secondary deeper meaning (“sword”) come through.
        What I’m implying is that – I expect the English language was designed from the start to include the “secret interpretations” that you mentioned, rather than being primarily a recent modification.

    • Murray Rawshark 8.2

      Do we need a blue dress with spy stains on it?

  8. Bill 9

    A wee rant about Radio NZ…

    So, I ‘get it’ that at least one of the news readers has a voice and tone so fcking loaded that the guy surely ought to resemble a mule. He’s been there some years and such shit just comes with the territory I guess.

    But, given that I was tending to only listen at weekends these past many months (for reasons not a million miles away from what this post is highlighting), am I wrong in thinking the scheduling may have been deliberately changed to discourage listening?

    In particular, the most dire and fairly lengthy of segments hit the airwaves immediately after Sat and Sun morning programmes – ‘Simon bloody Morton’ on Saturday’s immediately after Kim Hill and ‘Full Bloody Spectrum Brain Death’ on Sundays after Wallace Chapman. I’m sure they weren’t always scheduled in those slots. Were they?

    I expect to dislike a fair bit of radio, but the road-blocks and deserts between any good bits just seem to stretch for ever now.

    • adam 9.1

      And this is why I stopped listening. I listen to the links when put up here.

      Ever since the Tory Scum started to politically interfere Radio NZ, it has become Radio National party.

      A joke.

    • weka 9.2

      Simon Morton’s been in that slot for years. Not sure about Spectrum, has it moved around, or is it that it gets repeated?

      I like Morton’s programme when it’s about something I’m interested in, the format works for me and I sometimes listen to things I’m curious about but wouldn’t bother reading up on. But since the podcasts started I generally listen only to things I’m interested in, I don’t very often turn the radio on and let it run. I miss that though, where the radio is the main connection with the wider world. Bloody internet ruined that I think. Maybe we’re all so used to choosing our own content now that having too much on the radio that doesn’t work is way less tolerable (I don’t watch TV for that reason, but it’s way more obvious how much it’s deteriorated).

      • Lanthanide 9.2.1

        I agree, I listen to Morton’s programme if it happens to be on (ie, I’m in the car, or in the shower or something) and it’s on an interesting topic.

      • Coffee Connoisseur 9.2.2

        it is a very unique time that we live in. There has never been a time in history when we have been able to pick and choose the experiences we want to have to the degree we can today (Limited to our means at the present time).

  9. philj 10

    RNZ is on the down hill slide. Quite predictable since the funding has been frozen for 6 years. RNZ is losing credibility. Jim, Wallace, Suzie, they have dumbed public radio down. Scoop are trying to raise pledge money to fund independent, quality media. An essential for a healthy Democracy. Pledge now for an informed media and a better government.

    • greywarshark 10.1

      Don’t give up on Radionz – they have a core of good keen reporters with a sense of humour and also a sense of what’s news, what’s tight reality and how to be professional. TPTB there have stopped advertising Jim Mora as having the country’s foremost opinion makers and common taters, for the present anyway. And they have to appeal to all tastes. Omportantly without the Maori news I wouldn’t hear so much real Maori info and about positive Maori doings that otherwise get ignored.

      Don’t be all doom and gloom. Remember the cautionary line, Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it. We have it, it can be improved if we get a left-wing Party that doesn’t think spirit relates to alcohol. And if you want change and get it from RWs, you may find the truth of another oldie, that you’ve thrown out the baby with the bathwater. Radionz is my baby despite imperfections which I will grizzle about. So don’t dump on it too much.

  10. Saarbo 11

    Yes, I have been noticing this on RNZ lately….very frustrating.

    In fact it seems RNZ in general has gone backward in the last few years

    Can no longer listen to Mercep at all…atrocious.

  11. tc 12

    RNZ is simply another outlet for nact spin, gluon, suzie, moras bs panel and all the soapboxes offered to hooten, farrar etc.

    Its granny on the radio and yields little influence with swingers and non voters, move on people focus elswhere.

  12. Venezia 13

    I no longer listen to RadioNZ National for the reasons outlined by Mandy above. Neither do I watch much TV at all apart from some items/ current affairs/documentaries/movies on Maori TV. I have basically given up the dumbed down, trivialising celebrity focus, and National Party Propaganda focus of the current offerings. Its amazing how much more time for productive activities I have gained plus what other news sources you find when you look for them online.

  13. vto 14

    One thing the MSM can’t misrepresent is John Key’s increasing child-like nastiness ….

    screwing up his nose like a kid
    making snide comments
    no mana, no dignity

    just

    nasty

    clear as a bell

  14. Ant 15

    David Edwards’ 2013 article on ‘advocacy journalism’ (Media Lens) is a good reminder of what we are up against. Yet Media Lens and many others continue to survive! Perhaps there is hope.
    http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/alerts-2013/738-advocacy-journalism.html

  15. idlegus 16

    tv3 journalist working at tv3 while becoming press sec to stephen joyce

    http://ruminator.co.nz/tv3-seemingly-prepared-to-help-the-nats-with-a-dirty-deal/

  16. Ron 17

    There are things we can do. Firstly everyone should should join The Coalition for Better Broadcasting. http://betterbroadcasting.co.nz/
    We need an organisation that is working to improve all aspects of Public Broadcasting.
    Many of the ideas need funding but that can be dealt with but first we have to organise and show that there is a need for good public radio and Television
    Some things that need doing now.
    Digital Radio
    More channels to reflect the diverse nature of New Zealand
    It’s hard to believe that we have no radio stations offering the following genre’s
    Blues, Jazz, Country, Classical etc etc
    With Digital radio all these extra channels are easy to add in at little cost.

    Television a non commercial channel should be available. The current TVNZ channels are just commercial rubbish.

    If you want change then you need an organisation to drive the changes and the only one available at present is the CBBC
    Join now and come to the AGM on at end of this month (if you live in Auckland)

  17. Gosman 18

    I keep asking how the government is supposedly influencing the editorial style of Radio Nz National and all I get is some sort of vague answer along the lines of via the board which is controlled by National party appointees (at which point Richard Griffin is produced as exhibit A because he used to work for Jim Bolger). The actual specific way the board manages to influence the editorial decisions is not mentioned. Nor is the fact that not one opposition party has raised (what would constitute a gross abuse of State power) in any forum at all considered. This is why when the leftists here bang on about supposed bias in the media many people roll their eyes. Without confronting those two points you are just another wacky conspiracy theorists like people who think the moon landing was faked.

  18. Marksman33 19

    Ok Gosman , I have listened to Radio New Zealand all day , everyday for the last 20 years. I know what it used to be like, I know what it is like now. What has happened during this time? Presenters have changed, the board has changed, Govt has changed. Seems pretty obvious to me. I have gone from being Rnzs biggest fan to spending a half hour every night discussing the rightwing bullshit that I have heard on there every day. When this Govt gets the arse , heads are going to roll there, thats for sure.

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