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Granny sez: look over here!

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, February 4th, 2010 - 76 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: ,

Does anyone else think it’s a coincidence that Granny Herald has tried to start a meaningless debate over the national flag – ’11 of 18  Order of NZ members support change!’ wow-wee – just as the wheels come off a flagship National policy?

Nah. Me neither.

76 comments on “Granny sez: look over here!”

  1. Does anyone think eddie’s losing the plot?

    If the days before our national holiday is NOT the time to consider our national identity, when is?

    • Michael Foxglove 1.1

      I think the flag issue is one the Government and its allies are quite happy to have rolling, because it’s popular, irrelevant to the aims of their ideology, and distracts.

      I’m not so sure it’s tightly orchestrated however.

      But I will agree that the Herald did make a conscious decision to run the flag story over other more important and pressing issues in education, the financial sector, and the environment.

      In this case it’s probably more bad media than championing the Government. Though I think Eddie’s point is certainly possible enough to deserve a hearing, and most certainly not “losing the plot” as Daveski suggests.

  2. Clarke 2

    And fair play to the Herald – if they’re going to wait for things to improve for this lame-duck government before having a debate on the flag, then they’ll be waiting a very long time …

  3. Chuck 3

    I would of thought that this was more to do with Waitangi Day,

    • lukas 3.1

      “I would of thought that this was more to do with Waitangi Day,”

      See, here is the difference between yourself and Eddie… you actually thought about it.

  4. Eddie 4

    If it’s about Waitangi Day they could have run the stories on, um, Waitangi Day.

    And if they were serious about generating a cause for changing the flag they would have done a poll. not called up 18 people, labeled them patriots, and used them as the basis for claiming support for change.

    this is transparent distraction tactics. If they hadn’t done this the front page story would have been the growing anti-national standards campaign. Actually, knowing the Herald it would have been a big picture of a sea lion or something.

    • Daveski 4.1

      Keep digging, eddie. The National standards will still be topical next week, Waitangi Day will be another year away.

      • captain rehab 4.1.1

        I’m just fcuked off that it’s on a Saturday and ANZAC day is too! If Key wants my vote he needs to mondayize and fast!

        antispam: mistaken. Sorry Eddie but you are definitely mistaken with this conspiracy theory

        • Eddie

          It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s a widely practiced political tactic.

          • captain rehab

            I just looked at teh Dominion and they don’t have nat standards on the front page either. Are they in on it too?

            • snoozer

              I don’t think you get it. No-one is ‘in on’ anything.

              The Herald just doesn’t want to have to talk about the disaster of the government it got elected, so it’s trying to distract us with something that doesn’t matter.

              It doesn’t require National and the Herald to get together and plan it.

              • Scribe

                You people don’t have a clue about newspapers. Stick to what you know about — bludging off the state.

                • lprent

                  You mean instead of bludging off human stupidity and prejudice the way that most journos do as they re-release press releases?

                  There are very few people here who ‘bludge off the state’. Most of those who do probably use trusts and other mechanisms to reduce their income levels to qualify for WFF. Is that who you’re referring to?

                  If you want to make factless assertions – just follow Scribes example. It’s easy and simple enough for him to understand it… He’s a scribe!

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    And guess whos behind the flag change – Ansell.
    He knows publicity in his sleep. Make that publicity for the right wing noise machine

    Expect more of these tired old going nowhere issues to be running next year.

    Mostly to fill space to keep things like ….. Super City off the front page.

  6. Lew 6

    Bollocks. This is a legitimate seasonal story with genuine news value. It’s not as if they’ve just published a bunch of vox pop “I reckons” with no precedent.

    You can complain all you like about how it’s meaningless symbolism, and how you’re a savvy transcultural iconoclast. But that don’t change the fact that symbolism — and identity — matters to the rest of us.


    • Eddie 6.1

      ‘Look over here’ says Granny

      ‘Where, where’ says Lew

      • Lew 6.1.1

        That’s right, Eddie, disagreement with you means I’m clearly part of the conspiracy.


        • snoozer

          who said anything about a conspiracy?

          Geez you’re an odd one Lew. You claim to understand political rhetoric but you don’t seem to understand how political actors work.

          The Herald is a political actor. It favours, indeed campaigns for, National governments. When a National government is in the sh#t is it going to want to cover that? No.

          What they need is a nice meaningless poltiical story where Key will look good. So they call up 18 people and ask their opinions on the flag, slap together an image of all the union jack flags, and ‘hey presto’ national standards is bumped down the list and everyone is talking about something that doesn’t hurt the government that the Herald supports.

          None of this requires conspiracy. None of it requires National and the Herald to plan together.

          • Lew

            I’m not disputing that this sort of distraction is an effective propaganda technique, what I’m disputing is the assertion that this is the reason for the topic of national identity being given prominence in the three days leading up to our national holiday (such as it is).

            The Herald is indeed a political actor, much as all media are. I’ve spent thousands of words here and elsewhere on how, outside of a few specific issues like the EFA, it’s no more overtly political than other leading media in the country, and furthermore how its political biases can easily be explained by means other than resort of a media-political conspiracy, which is exactly what is alleged here — not in this immediate case, but a long-term agenda of collusion.

            The point I’m trying to make isn’t that it’s not convenient for the government for national standards to be eclipsed by something else — but that it’s fair enough for it to be so at this time of year, and given the national identity debates which have coloured our recent past (Foreshore and Seabed/Orewa/Nationhood revisited; the h debate; the tino rangatiratanga flag decision; the recent visit of Prince William, the recent drawing of Locke’s head of state bill; Ansell’s largely self-promotional campaign to change the flag).

            I understand you lot want a news agenda which is relentlessly critical of the government, focuses strictly on basic material and dry policy concerns, and generally is very much like The Standard. I would recommend that you start your own paper, but you have one — and it’s very good, for that purpose and for people who care about those things. But others care about symbolism and identity, and these are important debates to have, never more important than now.

            As Daveski says, national standards isn’t going anywhere. If it’s half the debacle the NZEI says it will be (and I’m confident of that) then it’ll be an albatross around this government’s neck for years to come. Waitangi comes but once a year.


            • Scribe

              I have found Lew’s analysis of media coverage etc to almost always be spot on. Nothing has changed here.

              You must get frustrated reading the rants of morons who don’t know anything about the media, Lew.

              • Lew

                Scribe, how am I supposed to stay in the left-wing club with endorsements from people like you?

                What I get pissed off with mostly is people who think their own political views are objectively right. The reason I get pissed off with it is because such certitude is a barrier to progress because people think “we’re right, and the truth will out”, and don’t bother to actually examine why the “truth” isn’t outing in the way they think it should.

                It’s something which afflicts people from all over the spectrum, but as far as I’m concerned the right and conservatives are welcome to keep deluding themselves — it’s the left and liberals I want to give a cold shower to, so they’ll (hopefully) realise that in order to win, you have to play — even if you are right, that isn’t enough.


            • lprent

              The Herald is indeed a political actor, much as all media are. I’ve spent thousands of words here and elsewhere on how, outside of a few specific issues like the EFA, it’s no more overtly political than other leading media in the country, and furthermore how its political biases can easily be explained by means other than resort of a media-political conspiracy, which is exactly what is alleged here — not in this immediate case, but a long-term agenda of collusion.

              The problem is that when it exercises its ability to push an issue, it causes immense damage not only to other people – but also to itself. I remember the NZH’s EFA stances which were blatantly political, aligned with their wish to keep high advertising during election campaigns, showed scant regard to the facts, and were fundamentally highly dishonest to its reading public.

              Personally I’ll put the boot in every chance I get until I’ve worked off that level of annoyance. It will take some time. If the Herald goes under – then I won’t be shedding too many tears. Most of the activists on the ‘left’ feel the same way to one degree or another.

              • Lew

                That’s fair enough — but you’re owning that you have an axe to grind, not claiming the moral high ground of truth and purity. I don’t have any problem with people criticising the media — it’s literally what I do for a living). But the point is that for almost any non-trivial political topic, you’ll find similar abuses by the established media. The Dom Post and their coverage of the Urewera Terra is one other apposite example.

                It’s not even especially bad here in NZ, and this business today is particularly weak. It strains credulity to pick on marginal cases like this when there’s actual legitimate criticism to be had most of the time. It weakens the overall argument of media bias (which is a legitimate one, even if somewhat misguided), and builds into a widely-held impression of the (activist) left as terminal victims, conspiracy nuts, and oversensitive inveterate whingers.


              • lprent

                I seldom if ever claim a moral ground on anything. I tend to leave that for the insane certainties of the truly faithful.

                However I do have a tenacious memory and a strong urge towards making sure that no bad deed goes without retribution, regardless how long it takes.

                Agreed the DomPost editorial staff were totally hysterical over the Oct 15 raids, and I definitely intend to rub their noses in it after August next year. But that was mere sensationalism.

                The EFA hysteria by the NZH had a distinct aroma of both self-interested corruption and political grand-standing about it (actually the kind of aroma that I associate with McCully). It definitely merits more of my attention than the DomPost because the dickheads at the NZH will want to try it again. I don’t like ‘kingmakers’.

        • lukas

          please say the password and show your identity card at the gate next time Lew, we wont let you in again without your identity card.

  7. lprent 7

    Personally I couldn’t give a damn about what flag we use. It is completely irrelevant.

    I have a strong suspicion that I’m part of the majority in Nz about this. So to waste time having a ‘debate’ about it just bores the crap out of me. It is a cheap way of filling a front page for the herald with a topic that might interest their unrepresentative readership. It is useful as a diversion for both the Nats, and the Maori party.

    But I grew up without the crass flag waving stupidity of 19th century nationalism, and I have no intention of getting involved in something so trivial now.

    As the leading mouthpiece for the National party, the NZ Herald is aware of this. So I guess that Eddie us probably right. It is a good topic to wind up nutters and divert attention away from things of interest

    • Daveski 7.1

      At the risk of introducing facts to this debate (and therefore risking the wrath of the BOFH), if this is as you state, why does the Granny have on the front page as the leading national news story are less than cheerleading story on national standards.

      With respect, eddie’s post is a crock and you should know better.

    • pollywog 7.2

      hmmm…serious debate eh ?…leading nowhere.

      if Key re instituted knights and dames of the british empire he’s hardly likely to ditch the union jack, even if carly binding referendum said its what the people want.

    • rocky 7.3

      It is a good topic to wind up nutters and divert attention away from things of interest

      You really can be an arrogant prick sometimes Lynn. Just because you don’t care about an issue doesn’t mean you can diminish the right of others to care about it. Feel free to argue the merits of it being a front page news story, but don’t try and write people off as “nutters” because they have a different view.

  8. Bager 8

    I don’t think we need any more proof how out of touch Lew and Kiwipolitico is with what people actually want.

    • Lew 8.1

      It might come as small surprise to you that I consider being thought “out of touch” by the more parochial and paranoid members of The Standard commentariat is a good indication that I’m on the right track.


      • Wender 8.1.1

        I would think your readership stats were a better indication.

        • Lew

          I don’t care as much about our readership numbers as about the quality of the discussion. If I wanted to expand my readership, I’d have tits on the front page every other day, gossip about Brangelina and moonbat conspiracy thories front and centre.


          • Wender

            yeah. It’s pretty fortunate that you don’t care about readership. Would be tough on you if you did.

            • Andrew

              I love the the way that when someone doesn’t agree with your view you start tacky, childlike, personal digs at them. Little more playing the ball and not the man please. How does it matter what his website stats are for goodness sake!

              Lew and I are mostly on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but i enjoy reading what he has to say as he does so in a well thought out, and concise manner, that more people should take note of. Very rarely does he start randomly frothing at the mouth about the ususal matière du jour.

              I think that the flag issue, like politics, is something that people do get very emotional about. Having just got back from 5 years overseas there is a Kiwi camaraderie that is quite unlike anything i have seen from any other nation. We gather together around or flag like it is our sovereign territory on some foreign land.

              To say that the NZ flag issue is meaningless just shows, in my opinion, just how out of touch YOU actually are. I personally think the flag should change to the silver fern, as that symbolises our identity much more than the union jack.

              • lprent

                Basically it is nice to have a flag. But who gives a flying f* what the flag actually is. If it wasn’t a flag then it’d probably be a blowup football.

                It isn’t the symbol that counts – it is what it symbolises that does.

              • Lew

                Andrew, I don’t think anyone would seriously call me “concise”, but thanks anyhow.


              • Andrew

                good point … fairy nuff :o)

          • captain rehab

            Would they be your tits?

            antispam: unsuitable. indeed.

          • lukas

            I hear Trav is available for guest posts 😀

  9. Mr Magoo 9

    No I didn’t notice. Because I don’t read it.

    Along with whale oil, kiwiblog and fox news.

  10. Bager 10

    Go cry into your chardonnay Lew.

    Catchpa: Amount

  11. Sanctuary 11

    The Herald story is a pretty straightforward attempt run interference for the National government by muddying the waters over the flag ahead of any potential annoyance at seeing the Harawira’s heraldry floating over over government buildings on Waitangi day.

  12. Wender 12

    “A Herald survey of 18 of the 22 members of the Order of New Zealand”

    god what a rag.

    The Order of NZ is limited to 20 living ordinary members. They have additional and honorary members too, but it still doesn’t add up to 22.

    There are 17 ordinary members, 6 additional members, 1 honorary member – 24. http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/honours/lists/onz.html

    Speaking of which, I bet Clark was the one who didn’t comment. Not possible in her position.

  13. The letters to the editor in today’s herald are mostly really good. The writers are getting stuck into the nats about their education policies founded on rhetoric.

    The print version does not seem to have the Hone flag corruption story. I would have thought this would have been worthy of the front page.

    Diversion anyone?

    • Daveski 13.1

      What’s the difference between education policies based on rhetoric (which I would otherwise dispute) and tax policies based on rhetoric (Labour stuffing up the tax system through ideology over common sense?).

      As a broader comment – not aimed at micky at all – there still seems to be a blame culture as to why Labour lost the election ie it wasn’t Labour’s people or policies but someone else eg NZH. Until Labour excepts that the people voted them out and Nats in, they can’t stop the rot. Good for me, bad for you.

      • Lew 13.1.1

        Bad for me, good for you, and this is exactly the problem: always someone to blame, always some cause to whine about how it’s not fair, always trying to convert people who make political decisions based on their gut with cerebral facts and figures. Honestly, it’s like they don’t even want to win.


      • Wender 13.1.2

        I take it this is what you mean by rhetoric: “Labour stuffing up the tax system through ideology over common sense”

        • Daveski

          Exactly. Rhetoric is whatever the opponent says because I’m right and you’re wrong. It just that we have polar opposite views so each believes the other is speaking in rhetoric.

    • lukas 13.2

      “The letters to the editor in today’s herald are mostly really good. The writers are getting stuck into the nats about their education policies founded on rhetoric.”

      Darn them and their right wing bias… oh wait. Darn them and their left wing bias.

      “The print version does not seem to have the Hone flag corruption story. I would have thought this would have been worthy of the front page.

      Diversion anyone?”

      Darn them and their left wing bias! Oh wait….

      See how silly this game is Micky?

  14. Scott 14

    It may alarm some people to learn that the Herald has editorial discretion to run whatever story it likes, and that it is not a tool of National.

    That it does not put on its front page an attack on the Nats doesn’t mean it’s in bed with National. It’s probably more to do with the general dumbing down of much of our news media. Flags are bright and colourful and are easier for many to understand than educational issues.

    • Lew 14.1

      Scott, watch out — the people who don’t have a blog will criticise you for having a blog which gets fewer hits than The Standard if you carry on that way.


      • lprent 14.1.1

        Yeah that I’d agree with. Because anyone who actually runs a blog knows how damn hard it is to write posts, moderate, maintain, upgrade, and generally keep the damn thing running. Just keeping yourself interested is always a major struggle. Thats why we run with lots of authors.

        Having lots of hits? – the main thing you notice about that is how hard it is to keep the system going as the traffic increases. I was doing performance tests of the new skin for the standard this morning and thinking that when we make it public, I’d have to take a couple of days off work. There is no way that I can do more than guess the loadings from the available data.

      • Scott 14.1.2

        Yes, but I’m confident my new series entitled “Which Politician has the Biggest Tits” will see an increase in numbers.

    • lprent 14.2

      That was pretty much what I said…

      It is a cheap way of filling a front page for the herald with a topic that might interest their unrepresentative readership.

      It may not be a direct tool of National – that is just how it acts. It probably does represent its local readers who are a relatively small subset of Aucklanders and few outside. From the ones I know, they’re relatively old, frequently conservative, and generally interested in stories that make them feel good. Which usually means looking at the misfortunes and miseries of someone else rather than feel-good.

      What they’re mainly interested in is not having any in-depth analysis (that is largely on the business pages), but they want a superficial understanding of current issues so they can talk about things at work / bowling club / pub / etc.

      In short they are pretty much like John Key. Which is why the Herald usually looks like the cheer-squad for National.

      • Scribe 14.2.1

        This whole left-wing/right-wing bias thing, aimed most often at The Herald, is so boring. People can easily cherry-pick stories to support their argument.

        One can easily make the case that The Herald won the 2005 election for Labour by virtue of its editorial choices — EB on the front, now-imprisoned Mr Field on page 5 (or thereabouts). In such a close election, that decision was possibly enough — along with a few vans and some fast food — to get Labour over the line.

        One can make the case that the Herald helped National win the election in 2008, but it was essentially a landslide, so it didn’t really matter.

        • lprent

          Well apart from the wiingnut myth of Mangere 2005, you’re essentially correct.

          The Herald targets their front-pages audience, a lot of whom are swinging ‘anti’ voters. Just at present that means they support National at the front page – at least that is what the polls say.

          The business and political pages have a more persistent bias towards business interests, and have done since I was a kid.

  15. Daveski 15

    eddie now has more egg on his face than a fox in a hen house.

    Unemployement stats are out and bad for the govt and lead the on line news.

    epic fail eddie.

    • lprent 15.1

      Bullshit. To date you’ve ‘proved’ absolutely nothing except that you woke up on the fatuous side of the bed today. Guess your partner took all of the brains allocated for the day huh?

      • Daveski 15.1.1

        Come on LP – you’re the grumpy one here – it’s in your JD.

        If there was a conspiracy, the treatment of the unemployment stats shows this to be BS. Likewise, the home page (at the time of eddie’s post) still had the standards as its leading national news story.

        How is any of that bullshit?

        • lprent

          The NZ Herald website largely uses an algorithm for determining what articles hold the upper positions. It is largely based on date/time and user feedback in the number of page views and clickthrus. There is limited editorial control – most of that is exercised at quite a junior level.

          The NZ Herald print run has no such feedback mechanism. Positioning is everything to a newsprint run and the decisions are made by editors pretty much on their gut feel.

          This information is provided to you to prevent you from looking like a complete dickhead in equating the print runs with the website.

          • Daveski

            With respect, are we not talking about different things LP?

            The world does not revolve around the printed version of the NZH unless you’re suggesting (as some seem to imply) that the only newspaper in NZ is the Granny and it is the only source of news for voters.

            I think it’s too late to prevent you from looking like a Jafa dickhead 🙂

            BTW Where I live (but not work) there is no daily news but friendly police … just ask Rocky!

            • lprent

              Yeah, but almost all of the NZH print run is sold in Auckland. That is what the article was referring to.

              The website ‘frontpage’ changes hour-to-hour and even in minutes with limited editorial control. So it’d be kind of pointless writing a post about its editorial stance. When the print edition was doing those bloody stupid editorial EFA attacks in 2007/8 on the front pages, the website edition would slide them off within an hour or so of writing. It was a pretty good indicator about how important the viewers though that the issue was.

              I read the NZH print edition solely to find out the current editorial positions on topics. I read the website to get news.

  16. gobsmacked 16

    I don’t have a problem with the Herald running flag stories. If it’s an issue that matters to them, good on them.

    But we’ve just had a visit from the future head of state, whose country’s flag (and its relevance) is the central issue here. If the Herald feels so strongly, it could have raised the matter then. That really would have made an impact …

    … an impact on the nice, soft, glossy coverage of Wills and John Key, blokes at the barbie.

    Hmmm. I wonder why they didn’t.

    • Scott 16.1

      Because fluffy celebrity stories sell.

    • Daveski 16.2

      It’s because there’s a conspiracy. That’s because the only people who vote read the NZH. However, the people who write the GOOD letters to the editor never read the Herald because they are pure and don’t want to be brainwashed.

      There ya go eddie. I’ve written your next post for you 🙂

  17. randal 17

    cut to the chase dudes.
    of course granny will support anew flag.
    then the desiginer will get royalties and granny can sell them.
    doncha know that this is now new zeland inc. where everything is for sale including the truth.

  18. randal 18

    go lprent.
    but I must say it is a fruitless task arguing with idiots.
    so just think of getting it all off your chest and dumping it on right wing sadsacks who haven’t got any money.

  19. Bill 19

    The scoffing at the shallow msm kind of falls over when everyone (including the people behind 62 standard comments) does indeed ‘Look over here!’

    Sweet, sweet irony.

    Maybe the standard should just not post on trivial matters where the intention is to decry news space being colonised by trivial matters?

    • lprent 19.1

      You’re never sure exactly where the comments will arrive. Depends on the mood. But it is a pretty short post – just the comments were long.

  20. randal 20

    the fact of the matter is that the herald is a right wing corporatised money making machine for its owners and stockholders.
    people who are not known to the the writers or the printers but who neverthless hold the whip hand over editorial content.
    as it is privately owned then the owners can do what they like and they have chosen to employ a whole cadre of right wing apparatchiks who wil do anything to ensure that they remain employed and their owners wishes are pandered to and then to compound it all they call it a free press ancd charge the punters for it.
    nice work if you can get it.

  21. The paper wants to sell papers so they can make more money – that is it – putting colourful flags on it’s front page would sell a few more papers i suspect… anyway my flag is the tino rangatiratanga flag so i have no real interest in what design they come up with, if indeed they can even get the ball rolling, because eventually it will go, and there will be only one flag.


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