Everything in moderation …

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, July 24th, 2014 - 44 comments
Categories: election 2014, Media, tv - Tags: , ,

I’m not sure it really warranted being front-page news (Gaza? MH17? Anyone?) but the announcement of Mike Hosking as the anointed moderator for TVNZ’s political leaders’ debates was always going to lead to a bit of head-scratching.

Hosking’s political leanings are pretty clear, and very public. Last year he MCed Key’s state of the nation speech, saying “We have bright prospects for the future, so long as you keep them in Government.” When the Listener questioned him about that “ringing endorsement”, he said, “Yeah, absolutely. Why not? I’m allowed to.”

This isn’t the same as other political pundits (who I’m sure you can name in the comments) who get regularly accused of bias by one side, or the other, or both at the same time. Mike Hosking is on the record saying our “bright” future depends on having a National-led government. He simply can’t look unbiased and moderate in that context – and that’s kind of the point of moderating.

(And this isn’t just a leftwing concern: what if the producers are so anxious to prove Hosking’s impartiality that it makes him unduly harsh on Key?)

We’ve had a lot of fun on Twitter this morning coming up with #BetterDebateModerators, but I have a serious suggestion: Rachel Smalley.

I’m no fan of her thoughts about the size of Kiwi women’s butts, but she’s an obvious choice for TVNZ: a talented, respected interviewer who’s already on your payroll, who makes for engaging, intelligent television, who doesn’t have all the biased baggage of Hosking …

And yep, I’ll say it as a feminist: by having a head-to-head leader’s debate, we’re already guaranteed a TV screen full of white dudeliness. It wouldn’t kill us to break that old-boys’-network vibe, would it?

(I’d also accept Mihi Forbes but unfortunately she’s signed to another team.)

44 comments on “Everything in moderation …”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    No disrespect to you Stephanie and I agree with what you are saying, but it is quite depressing that another valuable day is going to slip by where the main topic of debate is not poverty, the economy, the environment, education or crime – but a freaking sideshow.

    We are in the home straight towards the election and trailing by a country mile. Yet on a daily basis we seem to be making issues out of things that simply do not matter to Joe Average.

    • Ad 1.1

      The debates are the last best hope for Cunliffe to achieve a dent in Key’s public perception. Yup, that important. David Cunliffe has been framed so often in the last four months that who frames the final stage really matters.

      For the importance of it writ large in US detail, see West Wing Season 7.

      I put 3% of the undecideds solely on this debate series.

      • Enough is Enough 1.1.1

        Yeah agree, but the moderator issue should be a back office discussion between Matt McCarten and TVNZ.

        This should not be front page news. It comes across as whinging but more importantly it distracts us from our core messages.

      • swordfish 1.1.2

        “I put 3% of the undecideds solely on this debate series.”

        I made the following comment on Brian Edwards Media shortly before the leader debates in the run-up to the last Election:

        “You can certainly never underestimate the importance of these debates. Last year, I saw some research in a British Political Science Journal comparing PARTISAN voters (those who always or usually vote for the same party) with FLOATING voters. Partisan voters were significantly more interested in politics and, in general, took more interest in election campaigns. However, the televised leader debates proved to be a major exception. Not only were floating voters more likely than partisans to watch these debates, but the debates were also by far the most important determinant of their ultimate voting decision.”

        I didn’t realise at the time that Edwards was Goff’s media advisor – so I may have inadvertently been responsible for any extra nervousness Goff displayed in these debates due to the advice that A LOT was riding on them. (I noticed Judy Callingham mentioned my comment a week or two later in a way that suggested the details had been passed on to Goff and various senior Labour strategists).

        Not that it was rocket science, mind you.

      • infused 1.1.3

        If cunliffe was any good, the mod wouldn’t be an issue.

        • McFlock 1.1.3.1

          Within reason, yes.

          But look at the House with David Carter as speaker. Hosking would be a thousand times worse, because the rules aren’t written down as clearly as in the House so it would be less obvious he’s making them up on the fly to favour Key.

      • disturbed 1.1.4

        COMPLAINT RECORDED IN 2013 OF TVNZ BIAS AGAINST LABOUR LEADER GOES UNCHECKED READ ON.

        · Susan Wood was lacking fairness,responsible programing, INTERVIEWING LABOUR LEADER DAVID SHEARER. KEEP AS RECORD

        TVNZ Complaints committee. Response to the complaint below.

        6 May 2013
        Dear complainant;

        Further to your email received 8 April I 2013 wish to advise that Complaints Committee has completed its enquiry into your formal complaint about Q+A shown on 7 April on TV ONE.

        Your complaint has been considered with reference to Standards 1, 6 & 8 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

        The Decision

        The Complaints Committee has not identified any breach of the relevant standards and accordingly declines to uphold your complaint. The reasons for this decision are discussed below.

        The Programme

        As the country’s political show of record, every week Q+A deals with weighty political issues. Q+A is an opinion based programme which crosses the political divide. These ‘political issues’ frequently spark strong debate amongst the show’s protagonists.

        Q+A prides itself on its research and ability to set the political agenda each week for the media, and is very successful at doing so. Being able to canvas topics at times that have a degree of passionate and even heated debate is important for the show, and ultimately, for the viewer. Indeed,

        TVNZ should be fulfilling this role in light of freedom of speech and freedom of information concerns/demands.

        On Sunday 7 April Q+A interviewed David Shearer in the wake of details about the partial sale of Mighty River Power and they discussed whether the income of that sale would be put to good use by the current government. In the course of their discussion, the topic turned to Mr Shearer’s personal finances, a subject that had been under significant scrutiny that week too. Following this, the pair talked about how the Labour Party would handle the Tiwai Point situation if it were in government.

        That day on the programme, Susan Wood also interviewed National MP for Food Safety, Hon Nikki Kaye about a new law to ensure better food labelling that aims to create improved confidence around what is in our food.

        Susan Wood’s interview style was consistent throughout all of the interviews she conducted with Labour’s David Shearer,

        National’s Nikki Kaye, and the panellist Helen Kelly.

        With David Shearer and Nikki Kaye being from opposing political parties this is evidence that she did not show bias.

        The panel on Q+A on Sunday 7 April consisted of Political Scientist Dr Raymond Miller, CTU President Helen Kelly and Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Michael Barnett.

        Your Complaint 2/

        You state:

        · Susan Wood was lacking fairness,responsible programing, & lacking in good taste & decency when interviewing Labour Leader David Shearer during todays Q+A program.

        • It was distressing to watch as she constantly interjected, so much so that it was disturbing, and prevented the questions to be answered reasonably, due to her overpowering manner shown so often with such arrogance and bias that we had difficulty listening to the answers trying to be made by Mr Shearer.

        *· This was very upsetting and very frustrating to the point that the whole interview never was fairly and responsibly enacted. For the record we are neutral voters and have at present no preference. We are definitely not labour Party members, trying to defend Mr Shearer or his associates and are considered swing voters that wished to hear in fairness answers from opposition members to questions asked in this TV program.

        *· We have actively watched Q+A for years and often admired the balanced manner in which the late Sir Paul Holmes conducted such interviews. This is now not occurring, and Susan Woods is ruining the character and balance of the program and should be sanctioned for showing such unfairness and lack of responsible programing. END

        Our TVNZ Standards response to your complaints.

        The Relevant Standards

        Standard 1 Good Taste and Decency

        Broadcasters should observe standards of good taste and decency.

        Guidelines

        1a Broadcasters will take into account current norms of good taste and decency bearing in mind the context in which any content occurs and the wider context of the broadcast e.g. programme classification, target audience, type of programme and use of warnings etc.

        1b The use of visual and verbal warnings should be considered when content is likely to disturb or offend a significant number of viewers except in the case of news and current affairs, where verbal warnings only will be considered. Warnings should be specific in nature, while avoiding detail which may itself distress or offend viewers.

        To constitute a breach of Standard 1 the material shown must be unacceptable to a significant number of viewers in the context that it is shown. Contextual factors include (but are not limited to): the programme classification, the time of broadcast, the intended audience and the use of warnings (if any). In the case of this Q+A interview the relevant contextual factors are:

        The Broadcasting Standards Authority has previously stated (e.g. Decision 2008-080 & 2008-087) that standards relating to good taste and decency are primarily aimed at broadcasts that contain sexual material, nudity, violence or coarse language. The Committee does not consider that the broadcast referred to in the complaint falls into any of these categories.

        However, the Authority has also said it “will consider the standard in relation to any broadcast that portrays or discusses material in a way that is likely to cause offence or distress”. (Practice Note: Good Taste and Decency (BSA, November 2006). The Complaints Committee does not agree that the interview would offend or distress a significant number of viewers for the following reasons:

        • As discussed in standard 6 (below), in his position as Leader of the Opposition David Shearer would expect to be robustly questioned by the media on occasion.

        3/

        In the interview he handled himself with composure and successfully communicated the points he wished to.

        • As Labour leader, David Shearer is confident and familiar with the media and used to being rigorously questioned.

        He held his own in the interview during this questioning telling Susan once that he wanted the opportunity to answer a particular question. This demonstrates that he was confident and able to assert his authority in the interview in order to get the points across that he wished to.

        • Susan Wood’s manner towards Mr Shearer was professional and courteous and although she did press him on some issues this did not stray into being abusive or offensive.

        The Committee does not agree that the Q+A interview would offend or distress a significant number of viewers in the context of a robust discussion of a highly controversial issue. The Committee does not agree the discussion on Q+A strayed beyond the boundaries of good taste and decency. No breach of standard 1 has been identified.

        Standard 6 Fairness

        Broadcasters should deal fairly with any person or organisation taking part or referred to.

        Guidelines

        6a A consideration of what is fair will depend upon the genre of the programme (e.g. factual, dramatic, comedic or satirical programmes).

        6b Broadcasters should exercise care in editing programme material to ensure that the extracts used are not a distortion of the original event or the overall views expressed.

        6c Except as justified in the public interest:

        • Contributors and participants should be informed of the nature of their participation

        • Programme makers should not obtain information or gather pictures through misrepresentation;

        • Broadcasters should avoid causing unwarranted distress to surviving family members by showing footage of bodies or human remains.

        6d Broadcasters should respect the right of individuals to express their own opinions.

        6e Individuals and particularly children and young people, taking part or referred to should not be exploited, humiliated or unfairly identified.

        6f Where the programme deals with distressing circumstances (e.g. grief and bereavement) discretion and sensitivity are expected.

        David Shearer is confident and familiar with the media. He was advised prior to the interview of topic areas and all willingly participated. In turn, Q+A was advised of announcements that he wished to make in regard to his party and ministerial portfolio. In the Committee’s view, Mr Shearer handled the interview/panel discussion adeptly and responded to each of the points put to him.

        In his public position as a politician David Shearer is well versed in being the subject of robust media interviews. The very nature of his role means he is routinely faced with people who disagree with him and he is practiced in dealing with heated debate. Throughout the interview, he came across as principled and composed and succinctly communicated the points he wished to make. 4

        The Committee does not agree that the interview was unfair to David Shearer. No breach of standard 6 has been identified.

        Standard 8 Responsible Programming

        Broadcasters should ensure programmes

        • are appropriately classified;

        • display programme classification information;

        • adhere to timebands in accordance with Appendix 1;

        • are not presented in such a way as to cause panic, or unwarranted alarm or undue distress ; and

        • do not deceive or disadvantage the viewer.

        Guidelines

        8a Broadcasters should use established classification codes.

        • Classification symbols should be displayed at the beginning of each programme and after each advertising break.

        • Warnings should be considered when programme content is likely to offend or disturb a significant number of the intended audience.

        8b All promos (including promos for news and current affairs) should be classified to comply with the “host programme” (the programme in which they screen):

        • Promos for AO programmes shown outside AO time should comply with the classification of the host programme;

        • Promos shown in G or PGR programmes screening in AO time should comply with the G or PGR classification of the host programme;

        • When a promo screens during an unclassified host programme (including news and current affairs) in G or PGR time, the promo must be classified G or PGR and broadcasters should pay regard to Standard 9 – Children’s Interests.

        • When a promo screens adjacent to an unclassified host programme (including news and current affairs) in G or PGR time, the promo should comply with the underlying timeband.

        • Broadcasters should be aware that promos showing footage of violence or other explicit material outside the context of the original programme may be unacceptable to viewers in the context of the host programme in which they screen.

        8c Except as justified in the public interest, news flashes screening outside regular news and current affairs programmes, particularly during children’s viewing time, should avoid unnecessary, distressing or alarming material or should provide a prior warning about the material.

        8d Advertisements and infomercials should be clearly distinguishable from other programme material.

        8e Broadcasters should ensure that there is no collusion between broadcasters and contestants that results in unfair advantage to any contestant.

        8f Broadcasters should not use the process known as “subliminal perception” or any other technique which attempts to convey information to the viewer by transmitting messages below or near the threshold of normal awareness.

        This Standard relates to broadcasters ensuring that the programme is correctly certified and that the certificates are displayed when the programme screens. As a live current affairs programme Q+A was not required to be certified.

        The content of the interview was consistent with audience expectations of the genre of programme and its time-slot. None of the content in the interview would cause panic, or unwarranted alarm or undue distress in the context of its screening. No breach of Standard 8 has been identified.

        Right to Refer to Broadcasting Standards Authority and Time Limit

        In accordance with section 7(3) of the Broadcasting Act you are hereby notified that it is your right, should you be dissatisfied with this decision, to refer the matter to the 5

        Broadcasting Standards Authority, P O Box 9213, Wellington, as provided under section 8 of the Act, for the purpose of an investigation and review of the decision. You have 20 working days after receipt of this letter to exercise this right of referral.

        Yours sincerely

        Complaints Committee

        We see the same bias today a year later and during the election cyle, what can we do??????

    • Gerry Brownlee just offered to resign as Minister of Transport over going the wrong way through an aviation security checkpoint. I don’t think power, the economy, the environment, education or crime were ever going to outplay that.

    • Jenny 1.3

      …we seem to be making issues out of things that simply do not matter to Joe Average.

      Enough is Enough

      These things matter.

      Is the Labour Party a roll over for a Right Wing media?

      Is the Labour Party prepared to make stand on principal?

      With Human Beings, Perception is everything.

      If Labour and in particular David Cunliffe let TVNZ roll them on this, and are forced to back down by TVNZ it will be a personal and a political humiliation.

      Talk about dog tucker at the hands of an extremely biased media.

      Labour needs to make a stand. If not here, where?

      • Enough is Enough 1.3.1

        See 1.1.1

        • Jenny 1.3.1.1

          Sure keep it behind doors if you can, EiE. But who first broke the story?

          My guess, it was TVNZ, to publicly try and humiliate Labour.

          But it doesn’t really matter how it got into the public arena. It is there now, and Labour have to deal with it.

          Capitulation, or Defiance?

          Which will Labour choose?

          Whatever is said in the debate will be forgotten. What will be remembered is whether Labour capitulated to TVNZ, and their National Party sock puppet Hosking.

  2. Blue 2

    It is staggering that TVNZ thought no one would have a problem with Mike Hosking being the moderator.

    • Eralc 2.1

      Who will the TV3 moderator be?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        Tv3 are privately owned and can have anyone they like. TVNZ is funded by the taxpayer, and has a duty of impartiality. They have plenty of adult professionals to choose from.

        So your comment has no possible relevance. No, it doesn’t.

        • srylands 2.1.1.1

          TVNZ is not funded by taxpayers. It is funded from commercial revenue. It receives a small amount of government funding for non commercial activities. Just like TV3.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1.1

            10% of the state owned broadcaster’s revenue comes from the government.

            Whatever the question I’m sure your answer is privatisation, and we’ve already covered your parasitic occupation: you have a conflict of interest; nothing you say can be trusted.

            • McFlock 2.1.1.1.1.1

              It’s a bit like negotiating peace terms with one of those aliens from Independence Day.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.2

          Tv3 are privately owned and can have anyone they like.

          Time to make organising and hosting a decent election debate a regulatory requirement then, put together managed and run by an independent entity.

          • greywarbler 2.1.1.2.1

            @colonial viper 5.46
            +100 it has got to the stage that this game playing of our democratic systems has got to stop. We must get a proper fair system in place to allow for proper television and other debates and speaking times to reach out to the whole country.

            That will strengthen our democracy if done right. It would allow major parties to be seen and heard also, say ones over 8 %, not every little coming one.

            We shouldn’t have to be fighting against such jiggery-pokery behaviour each election with machiavellian figures manipulating us and our political system.
            edited

      • Tracey 2.1.2

        feel free to list quotes from john campbell endorsing cunliffe and maligning key.

      • Clemgeopin 2.1.3

        While John Campbell does many pro humanity and societal issue topics, he does not show open hostility to Key or National nor does he endorse Cunliffe or Labour, unlike Hosking.

        Campbell in fact was devastating to Clarke and Labour when he gazumped Helen about the GE crop issue. Helen was fuming and called him a creep.

        Campbell is any day a better professional than Hosking.

        I dislike moderators that butt in too much and too often and are aggressive. Campbell is sometimes guilty of that too. The debate should not be about the ego of the moderator but about the leaders and the policy issues so that democracy and the people are better served in their choices.

    • Clemgeopin 2.2

      If the totally biased openly pro National Hosking is the moderator, then for some fair balance, Key should be allowed only sign and gesture language, things like planking, eye roll, straight face, grimace, funny cat walk, grabbing troty, the three-way-handshake and oh, the throat cutting gesture all of which of which Key is already well versed.

  3. You_Fool 3

    Apparently Winston Peters has offered his services as moderator – which I think would be awesome beyond measure…

  4. Anne 4

    We’ve had a lot of fun on Twitter this morning coming up with #BetterDebateModerators, but I have a serious suggestion: Rachel Smalley.

    I agree Stephanie. One big plus is that John Key would have to mind his ps and qs… I don’t think Rachel Smalley would be intimidated by his blustering and bullying.

    And I loved this twitter suggestion:

    For balance TVNZ could get David Farrar to moderate one debate & WhaleOil to moderate the next #betterdebatemoderators

  5. Clemgeopin 5

    My personal preference would be any one of the TV3 First Line news anchors,
    Sacha McNeil and Michael Wilson. I find them calm, respectful, non aggressive, fair and quite balanced/neutral in their comments.

    • karol 5.1

      Or Rachel Smalley?

      • felix 5.1.1

        Lisa Owen has distinguished herself recently as a probing and determined interviewer of people from both sides of politics.

        She has even been known on occasion to ask a follow-up question.

    • Disturbed 5.2

      Said well, those two Sasha & Michael on TV3 are the only real true presenters offering no bias. Pity TVNZ doesn’t learn from TV3

  6. Tom Jackson 6

    Should get Valerie Adams to do it and tell her that she is allowed to sweetly threaten an on-air beating of anyone not following the rules.

    Or any one of those feisty Maori grandmothers whom no-one would dare cross.

  7. Jenny 7

    Should the Labour Party and David Cunliffe back down…

    We will not be spared Mike Hosking smug gloating on national TV as he takes the mediators chair…

    We will not be spared the uneddyfying sight of David Cunliffe having to apologise in some way for daring to to stand against the will our national broadcaster….

    Before they even say a word David Cunliffe will be at a disadvantage from the start.

    Mike Hosking will patronisingly overly favour Labour out of charity.

    The whole country will cringe at the sight.

    Should the Labour Party stick to their guns and prevail, David Cunliffe will enter the debate as a winner.

  8. vto 9

    everything in moderation is not a sustainable manner ….

    it must be .. everything in moderation, including moderation ..

    otherwise we would never get anywhere.

  9. Jan Rivers 10

    Miriama Kamo did some awesome reporting and presenting in TVNZ7 days. She is very smart and a superb talent wasted in the roles she has now.

  10. Richard 11

    I guess Cunliffe’s main concerns is that if Hosking is involved, no-one will watch it – like the Mike Hosking’s Show on TV1 at 7pm weekdays.

  11. Rob 12

    They cannot have a leaders debate without the leaders can they
    TVNZ need to take a cold hard look at themselves.
    If Hoskings was a journalist he could be acceptable, But I couldn’t possibly comment about him being one of those could I?

  12. Rob 13

    They cannot have a leaders debate without the leaders can they?
    TVNZ need to take a cold hard look at themselves.
    If Hoskings was a journalist he could be acceptable, But I couldn’t possibly comment about him being one of those could I?

  13. SPC 14

    TV 1 select someone who dismissed Cunliffe as a “moron” and said “Is David Cunliffe incompetent or mad? Is he out to lunch or out of touch? Is David Cunliffe deluded or living in a parallel universe?” as their host of for Leader debates.

    “insulting” to mean “scornfully abusive”, and “bring into contempt” to mean “regarding with deep despise, detestation or vilification”. However, “the right to freedom of expression is also a right to shock, offend, and disturb any sector of the population”.

    The insult to any real journalists and journalism at TVNZ is profound, if this is the best person they can find for this job.

    Surely 7 Sharp is not seen by them as their current affairs flagship programme.

  14. Chauncey Gardiner 15

    THE ALL BLACKS, MIKE HOSKINGS, FRAMMING & THE STRICT PARENT/NURTURANT PARENT FAMILY

    HARDEN UP NZ

    What?

    At present, this post mentions the choice of moderator. Of course this is important; they have influence over the tone, language and the means to steer the debate. Bill Rolaston interviewed on Morning Report today seems to think otherwise, and that the Labour party leader is behaving like Robert Muldoon? No framing of peoples opinion there Bill, the Labour Leader never apologises does he. Mind you, Bill did mention that Keys only wanted a certain number of debates because it was in his interests. Again, they didn’t interview anyone with a counter opinion to Bill. Also he snuck in a criticism that Labour were to busy dealing with the minutiae instead of core issues.

    Funny how the majority of MSM seem to be steering the interviews toward this minutiae, don’t worry about child poverty a, it’s not trivial enough.

    Unfortunately with the selection Mr Hoskins, it could fall into a tag team debate (a 2 on 1 scenario). Not so innocent? The question then is who and how many people were involved at TVNZ and in the wider community into making this decision? A little social network analysis may well reveal their potential leanings, financial backgrounds, wealth etc. There are plenty of better interviewers.

    As people have mentioned a labour candidate had to resign while working in public broadcasting due to using the broadcaster’s premises etc. He was seen by the right as being biased (even though, the investigation showed that he was balanced and fair). To his credit he resigned straight away. He should not have been doing using the premises. In direct contrast we now have a known National supporter (declares it on TV) who has been earmarked for the job of moderator/chair.

    How can this be reconciled, particularly when the real argument in peoples mind for the labour candidates removal was framed in terms of him being biased (not use of equipment) sorry, but I am at a loss. Who picked him? Have you had a look on the board members of TVNZ lately?

    So, what is going on, how is it that National appear to be controlling the debate even down to interviews on radio/TV and live panel discussions before they have even began? National seem to have permeated into every edifice of society. Now John appears to be the number one All Black supporter.

    So how can all these events be reconciled, Framing?

    An article some years ago by Bonnie Azab Powell, NewsCenter 27 October 2003, may shed some light.
    http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/10/27_lakoff.shtml

    They asked the question, why was the Democratic Party (leftish when compared to the Republicans) losing out to the Republicans.

    She interviewed George Lakoff (UC Berkeley professor of linguistics and cognitive science who was part of the Rockridge Institute).

    Here are just some modified (i.e. summary)/unmodified exerts that may shed some light on what is going on in NZ. Maybe some lessons to be learned:

    Republicans have spent decades defining their ideas, carefully choosing the language with which to present them, and building an infrastructure to communicate them.
    The work has paid off: by dictating the terms of national debate, Republicans have put Democrats firmly on the defensive.

    She then asked Lakoff what was the Rockridge Institute purpose:

    “The background for Rockridge is that Republicans (Republicans), especially Republican think tanks, have framed virtually every issue from their perspective. They have put a huge amount of money into creating the language for their worldview and getting it out there. Democratss have
    done virtually nothing…..

    “Rockridge’s job is to reframe public debate, to create balance from a Democrats perspective. It’s one thing to analyze language and thought, it’s another thing to create it. That’s what we’re about. It’s a matter of asking ‘What are the central ideas of Democrats thought from a moral perspective?”

    “The interviewer, then asked Why do Republicans (aka the right) appear to be so much better at framing?”

    “Because they’ve put billions of dollars into it. Over the last 30 years their think tanks have made a heavy investment in ideas and in language.”

    “Why haven’t Democrats done the same thing?
    “There’s a systematic reason for that. You can see it in the way that Republican foundations and Democrats foundations work. Republican foundations give large block grants year after year to their think tanks. They say, ‘Here’s several million dollars, do what you need to do.’ And basically, they build infrastructure, TV studios, hire intellectuals etc. They do all of that. Why? Because the Republican moral system, which I analyzed in “Moral Politics,” has as its highest value preserving and defending the: “Strict Father” system itself. :This means building infrastructure. As businessmen, they know how to do this very well.”

    “Meanwhile, Democrats conceptual system of the “nurturant parent” has as its highest value helping individuals who need help. The Democrats foundations and donors give their money to a variety of grassroots organizations. They say, ‘We’re giving you $25,000, but don’t waste a penny of it. Make sure it all goes to the cause, don’t use it for administration, communication, infrastructure, or career development.”
    “So there’s actually a structural reason built into the worldviews that explains why Republicans have done better.”

    “Whats meant by strict father and nurturant parent frameworks”

    “The Democrats worldview is modelled on a nurturant parent family. It assumes that the world is basically good and can be made better and that one must work toward that. Children are born good; parents can make them better. Nurturing involves empathy, and the responsibility to take care of oneself and others for whom we are responsible. On a larger scale, specific policies follow, such as governmental protection in form of a social safety net and government regulation, universal education etc.”

    “The Republican worldview, the strict father model, assumes that the world is dangerous and difficult and that children are born bad and must be made good. The strict father is the moral authority who supports and defends the family, tells his wife what to do, and teaches his kids right from wrong. The only way to do that is through painful discipline – physical punishment that by adulthood will become internal discipline. The good people are the disciplined people. Once grown, the self-reliant, disciplined children are on their own. Those children who remain dependent (who were spoiled, overly willful, or recalcitrant) should be forced to undergo further discipline or be cut free with no support to face the discipline of the outside world.”

    “So what is the problem for the left?”

    “Do any of the Democratic Presidential candidates grasp the importance of framing?
    “None. They don’t get it at all. But they’re in a funny position. The framing changes that have to be made are long-term changes. The conservatives understood this in 1973. By 1980 they had a candidate, Ronald Reagan, who could take all this stuff and run with it.

    The progressives (Democrates) don’t have a candidate now who understands these things and can talk about them. And in order for a candidate to be able to talk about them, the ideas have to be out there.”

    “You have to be able to reference them in a sound bite. Other people have to put these ideas into the public domain, not politicians.”

    The question is, How do you get these ideas out there? There are all kinds of ways, and one of the things the Rockridge Institute is looking at is talking to advocacy groups, which could do this very well. They have more of a budget, they’re spread all over the place, and they have access to the media.

    Right now the Democratic Party is into marketing. They pick a number of issues like prescription drugs and Social Security and ask which ones sell best across the spectrum, and they run on those issues.

    They have no moral perspective, no general values, no identity. People vote their identity, they don’t just vote on the issues, and Democrats don’t understand that. Look at Schwarzenegger, who says nothing about the issues. The Democrats ask, How could anyone vote for this guy? They did because he put forth an identity. Voters knew who he is.”
    End of exerts.

    Lessons Learned
    1. “You have to be able to reference policy/values in a sound bite. Other people have to put these ideas into the public domain, not politicians (so if you are not involved with big business/media how do you do that)
    2. How do you get these ideas out there? There are all kinds of ways, and one of the things the zRockridge Institute is looking at is talking to advocacy groups, which could do this very well
    3. People vote their identity, they don’t just vote on the issues
    4. The framing changes that have to be made are long-term changes
    5. How do you get the message across of being firm but fair (i.e. not too apologetic)

    However, let’s take a look at the implications of what being a Strict Father type party.
    Strict Father (Conservative)
    In a harden up society, where apparently it is ok not to apologise, not to resign, to be strict and leviathan like, one could see which one would appeal, even to woman (sadly). In perverse terms, this has been shown to happen when a victim falls in love with the “strict father like” kidnapper. We see this strict father figure transformed into strict mummy figures, aka Nationals Collins and Bennett. This is also evidenced in Nationals attempt in attacking the current legal system and trying to destroy the right to silence (i.e. everyone is guilty before proven innocent and needs a Strict Father to sort them out). Can you see now why Schwarzenegger appealed to conservatives? No wonder Colin Craig and the conservatives are courting Nationals.

    Is this what is fundamentally the undercurrent of Nationals campaign “The Strict Father”:
    “Exactly. In the strict father model, the big thing is discipline and moral authority, and punishment for those who do something wrong. That comes out very clearly in the Bush administration’s foreign and domestic policy”

    Anything less would be patronising wouldn’t, it, particularly to those woman and men who have been put through the cultural harden up school. Any hints of apology, kindness etc would be seen as weakness.

    If votes were truly turned in Nationals favour just for a simple apology by the Labour leader (i.e. for being a man), what does it say about the fickle nature of the voter. Surely one would look at the core values of the each party? then decide, or is it just down to the basis of not being a strict enough father (hard/tough enough). My impression (biased of course), is that Labour are firm but fair. But, yes, the Labour leader did come across patronising (but really, thats a one off).

    In my own experience, this type of ‘Strict Father’ type devotees will never mention the economic hand outs they get (i.e. they have been sanatized in the form of grants, tax breaks, bail outs etc) and are soft on their ‘friends’. They also demonise the beneficiaries, and poorly educated or lowly paid on whom they depend to do the drudge work. Secretly do they think Darwin would have wanted it that way?

    To be fair to the Strict Father type model, yes children in particular require guidance; they may not require Authoritarian society with a capital A, but more of an authority with a lower case ‘a’ or nurturant parent family type.

    Nurturant parent family
    Are we seeing an ideological war between Authoritarian ‘A’ type societies (which typically benefits the status quo) and more Liberal (no not neo liberal or hug tree liberals). Liberal in the sense of ability to critical think, to question authority, to be ‘well educated’ (not just school standards pumped into ones brain). Yes I can hear some people say, you partronising git, people from strict backgrounds can be critical thinkers to.

    The book The War for Children’s Minds: by Stephen Law, may give insights into why a more Nuturant parent family approach maybe better.
    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2006/jun/03/family.family7

    In his stance he takes on the authoritarian rhetoric (strict father figure) and states that children (and I would suggest adults) would be better educated through the hard one values of the enlightmentment or if you like a more liberal approach. Liberal in this sense of using authority with a lower case ‘a’ defined as nurturing and caring, guiding and developing. A liberal or a nurturing society does not mean one without rules. It means to develop ones critical facilities to be able to debate and discuss.

    The MSM does not particularly like considering it is funded by big business. They know kiwis like black and white, hard men and woman prefer it that way, the constantly employ heuristics (rules of thumb) to make political decisions as they are probably far to busy working HARD, playing Hard and Hardening Up. Not that the ‘left’ side are angles either.

    So, in a perverse turn, does the left need to ‘harden up’ to at the very least be seen as firm but fair? Keep its messages simple and to the point on the main issues, not drawn into the minutae by corporate funded big business media.

    John, the All Blacks are hard, you just look, well impotent and quite frankly flaccid. What a pr flop. Slimy handshake anyone?

  15. Molly 16

    Why are we not looking at the reporters from Maori TV?

    Mihirangi Forbes is deft and practised, or you could bring back Julian Wilcox just for the debate.

  16. Whatever next? 18

    3000 people all taking the time to express their concern for TVNZ choice of moderator, that is ALOT of people if you put them in the same room……what does TVNZ think they are doing by supporting someone is clearly not right for the job, AND ignoring 3000 people? Yes, that’s 3000 people who are supposed to be served by TVNZ, but are offended by them, wow.

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