Holmes and other toxic commentators

Written By: - Date published: 1:50 pm, February 16th, 2012 - 93 comments
Categories: accountability, Media - Tags: , , , , ,

Sad as I am to acknowledge it, there is a nasty streak in New Zealand culture. Angry, authoritarian, often racist, thoroughly unpleasant. One of its symptoms (and of course one of its causes) is the way we tolerate, indeed sometimes glorify, thoroughly toxic commentators and “media figures”.

Take Michael Laws with his multiple rants, and calls for listeners to take a shotgun to reporters (he’s now back on the air). Take Paul Henry, with his adolescent racist dribble (currently polluting the airwaves again until March, then off to Oz). Take Paul Homes, who should never have been taken seriously again after the “cheeky darkie” incident.

But Holmes is back too, and disgracing himself again with a thoroughly nasty and bigoted piece in The Herald after Waitangi Day:

Waitangi Day a complete waste

Waitangi Day produced its usual hatred, rudeness, and violence against a clearly elected Prime Minister from a group of hateful, hate-fuelled weirdos who seem to exist in a perfect world of benefit provision. This enables them to blissfully continue to believe that New Zealand is the centre of the world, no one has to have a job and the Treaty is all that matters.

I’m over Waitangi Day. It is repugnant. It’s a ghastly affair. As I lie in bed on Waitangi morning, I know that later that evening, the news will show us irrational Maori ghastliness with spitting, smugness, self-righteousness and the usual neurotic Maori politics, in which some bizarre new wrong we’ve never thought about will be lying on the table. …

Well, it’s a bullshit day, Waitangi. It’s a day of lies. It is loony Maori fringe self-denial day. It’s a day when everything is addressed, except the real stuff.

Never mind the child stats, never mind the national truancy stats, never mind the hopeless failure of Maori to educate their children and stop them bashing their babies. No, it’s all the Pakeha’s fault. It’s all about hating whitey. Believe me, that’s what it looked like the other day. …

On and on and on he goes, and if anything the piece gets worse and worse. The Herald soon disabled comments, but the reaction spread far and wide. Good to see, for example, Hone Harawira’s powerful piece in reply. If you haven’t read it already head on over and do so now.

So what to do about toxic commentators? For all that they are pumped up with their own egos, in reality these people are just pawns in the media market. They are used to generate “controversy”, and thus viewing numbers or hits, and thus (bottom line) more advertising revenue. If it wasn’t these individuals spouting their bile it would be others just like them. The real issue is that New Zealand, like the rest of the world, is poorly served by profit-driven media, and needs strong public broadcasting as counter-balance. The Nats, of course, are in the process of killing off public broadcasting. So you do the math – more toxic nonsense and a further steady deterioration of the quality of our media looms inexorably ahead…

93 comments on “Holmes and other toxic commentators”

  1. shorts 1

    best thing to do – ignore them, every reaction and column inch they generate gives their masters revenue and thus continues the cycle

    • aerobubble 1.1

      No. I was just watching National implode into incompetence. After just declaring China thinks Nz is racist, after botching the sale of Crafers to China, and pointing at Labour suggesting that the rule National misapplied was alos misapplied by Labour – exactly how many foreclosed farms did Labour sell to the milk producers of Europe or America?

      Its facile to call what our government is competence. If you enter into a contract and it fails you don’t blame the opposition for reading the rule like you have just been shown up as failing to meet, you act honestly and with integrity. No, but what National did was claim Labour would have applied the before and after rule for a bankrupt set of farmers, when materially Labour never applied the before and after rule on the Crafer Farms EVER. National created the before and after rule, and then call honourable members on the other sign of the house racist.

      Sorry but if someone is being racist to me, they invariably will muck up and mess me around, just like National have in its failure to give China a clear decision one way or other. Its truly shocking National actually believe labour correct use of the foriegn asset sales some how justifies National totally messing China around. Worse, National imply all asset sales to foriegners were anit-growth, because in their small minded incompetence they think everything Labour does is anti-growth.
      You know like kiwibank, like kiwisaver, like investing in NZ by saving instead of accelerating the over heated economy with tax cuts as was Nationals prescription.

      To get back to the thread, the problem with National is because some rich fellow makes a heap of money that those rich fellows are gurus we should all listen too, yes, National is the party of Hubbard that’s why they just blew 1.7?? billion of tax payer money because they blind believe they are smart because the got rich once in their past. Your only as good as you next win.

  2. What about a good old fashioned boycott? Or strengthening the Broadcasting Standards Authority to provide more substantive punishments of specific radio content, or amending broadcasting legislation to give it those powers? If it helps, the radio broadcast spectrum and market is highly fragmented, so hardly anyone’s listening to this drivel…

    • Gosman 2.1

      You mean essentially punishing private media for publishing ideas hat you disagree with. Yes I know several countries where that idea would gain traction. Unfortunately most of them are authoritarian dictatorships but so long as the ‘people’ are getting the ‘correct’ message that is what counts..

      • thatguynz 2.1.1

        Perhaps reporting the truth as opposed to ideological bias and outright lies might be a pretty good outcome….
         
        The truth isn’t left nor right, it simply is what it is and people can make of it what they will.
         
        Are you suggesting that we have this non-partisan type of media Gosman?
         

        • thatguynz 2.1.1.1

          No response from the outspoken one?
           

        • Gosman 2.1.1.2

          Ummmm…. the topic at hand is an opinion piece from Paul Holmes. As such it is only his opinion. Unless you are stating that somehow the media should ensure all opinions meet some unspecified standard of factual accuract. If that was the case then many of the opinions here wouldn’t pass muster.

          Regardless of this what factual inaccuracies do you have with the NZ media? I’m not stating they don’t make them but I am saying they don’t tend to be ideologically biased as far as I am aware. Perhaps you could give some examples or doesn’t your belief in the factual accuracy of the media extend to your own comments?

          • thatguynz 2.1.1.2.1

            My comment and subsequent question were in response to your point above.  It was a pretty straight forward question – in fact a yes or no answer would suffice perfectly.
             
            I’ll ask again, Are you suggesting that we have this non-partisan type of media Gosman?

            • Gosman 2.1.1.2.1.1

              I have no real opinion on the matter. What is your view and what is your point exactly?

              • Gossie

                The Herald is part of the private enterprise system.  Surely we have the right to decline to buy it??  What happened to our freedom as a consumer?? 

              • thatguynz

                I find that difficult to believe given you seemingly have an opinion on everything else around here.  As I said, I wasn’t looking for a treatise on the matter – simply a yes or no.
                 
                I’ll just assume it’s a question that you’d prefer to not answer directly then.

                • Gosman

                  I’m suggesting that as far as I am concerned there is nothing stopping the left from building their own media empire except their own excuse making inactivity. This site is a good start. Most of the posts are rubbish mind you but occasionally a couple stand out as good examples of journalism.

                  • thatguynz

                    Putting aside the completely inflammatory personal assessment of the post quality here you’ve just spouted, you still haven’t answered the question.  Surely it’s not that hard.

                    • Gosman

                      What is your definition of non-partisan?

                    • Gosman

                      I suspect it would be broad enough that no country qualifies as having a non-partisan media.

                      Do you believe that Government should attempt to force the media to be non-partisan? I certainly don’t.

                      I do think that the media should be open for all views. Then you can have balance rather than non-partisanship.

                    • thatguynz

                      I would have thought that non-partisan was fairly unambiguous but for your benefit here is a dictionary definition..
                      1.  Objective
                      2.  Not supporting or controlled by a political party, special interest group, or the like.
                       
                      Perhaps “unbiased” or “apolitical” would be equally valid.  I wouldn’t have thought that “my” definition of non-partisan is particularly broad – looks pretty straight forward to me..
                       
                      “Do you believe that Government should attempt to force the media to be non-partisan?”
                      I have neither said nor intimated that so don’t put words in my mouth – I’m more than capable of doing that for myself.


                      “I suspect it would be broad enough that no country qualifies as having a non-partisan media.”
                      So by extrapolation, if this is your belief for the media in this country I have two questions.
                      1)  Why do you think this is?
                      2)  Which side of the “political spectrum” do you believe the media in NZ “favours”?

                    • Gosman

                      How do you measure which side the media is biased towards?

                      I mean you first have to rate each media organisation in terms of some subjective measure of partianship and then total up averages.

                      How would you measure what qualifies as media as well? Only formal media or blogs like this?

                      This is why your whole idea is silly. It is a complete waste of time to worry about this. Just accept the fact that ALL countries have partianship media and then focus on ensureing all shades of political opinion can present their case via some media outlet.

                    • thatguynz

                      “This is why your whole idea is silly. It is a complete waste of time to worry about this.”
                      You’re doing it again Gosman – putting words in my mouth.  If you re-read the comments thread above you’ll quite clearly see that other than making a utopian wish for truthful reporting, I haven’t stated an idea per se.  You seem to be reading something into my comments that isn’t there.  All I have done is to ask you some pretty straight-forward questions which I can only assume from your obfuscation you have little desire to answer directly…


                      Allow me to reiterate (with the clarification that you seem to be after):

                      1)  Why do you think the NZ main stream media (ie. tv, mainstream print and mainstream radio) present a slanted view of the news?
                      2)  Which side of the “political spectrum” do you believe the media in NZ “favours”?  (I didn’t ask for metrics to support your view – I asked which side “you believe” the NZ media favours)

                    • Gosman

                      The reason media generally is non-partisan is because people are generally biased and it just so happens that journalists are people. You might like to put it down to money, (or you might not) I don’t. That to me smacks of a conspiracy theory. Not to state that money isn’t a factor just that it doesn’t influence editorial policy unduly in my mind.

                      I told you I think it is a completely silly idea to try and work out an average level of partianship. Why are you so concerned with this anyway?

                    • thatguynz

                      Gos, you really seem to struggle to simply answer the question.

                      “You might like to put it down to money, (or you might not) I don’t.”
                      I don’t believe I’ve put it down to anything – I’ll say again, all I’ve done is asked you some questions.

                      “I told you I think it is a completely silly idea to try and work out an average level of partianship.”
                      Please re-read the question. I didn’t ask you to determine an “average level of partisanship”. I asked you what “you believe”. I would have thought that would make it clear I’m seeking your opinion – your “gut feel” if you will. If I wanted to understand an analytical breakdown and justification, rest assured I would have framed the question much differently.

                      “Why are you so concerned with this anyway?”
                      Very simple. In the (recent) past you have indicated that you come here to have your views challenged/reinforced. All I’m asking you to do is EXPLAIN what your view is on MSM impartiality in NZ. So far you have danced around the questions and to be blunt – avoided answering them except for in a tangential manner.

                      I have no particular issue whether our views are the same or dissimilar, I’m just trying to understand what yours actually are.

      • mik e 2.1.2

        Groseman Your right wing govt in the UK is doing exactly that.
        Media barons have complete control now we have fairfax being told what to publish by its new majority minority holder.

      • Rosemary 2.1.3

        Your bullshit should be fucking banned for a start.

      • You mean essentially punishing private media for publishing ideas hat you disagree with

        Why not?  It is my money.  I would much prefer to pay the money to the Standard.  The quality of analysis is much better …

      • bbfloyd 2.1.5

        ideas???? what ideas???? are you seriously talking about paul holmes???? i own saucers with more depth than holmes …… are you really saying that you actually think paul holmes actually says things??? things that mean ANYTHING in the real world????

        you’re scaring me …..

        • Populuxe1 2.1.5.1

          I’d actually go so far as to question the sanity of anyone investing significance in whatever Holmsey farts out. He lost the plot yonks ago and is only trotted out now because he’ll generate a controversial reaction that will sell newspapers and grab attention. Mention him not and he’ll go away.

  3. Apropos of ‘authoritarian’ psychology in a capitalist New Zealand.
    http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2011/06/roots-of-fascism.html

  4. Lanthanide 4

    If you look at Hone’s reply, the first few comments that are supporting Holmes get 600+ thumbs up, vs 200-350 for the ones that support Hone.

    • Ianupnorth 4.1

      I noticed that too; too many red necks in this country, Holmes is one of the few that gets air time, whilst others keep their hatred behind closed doors. The same individuals have a double standard, cheering maori and PI blokes when they win rugby games, labelling others as crims and bludgers.

      • Morrissey 4.1.1

        “…too many red necks in this country”??!!??!!?

        Almost all of the worst bigots in the media are not “rednecks” at all. How much hard work in the sun is done by Michael Laws, Paul Holmes, Larry Williams, Leighton Smith, Bruce Russell or Kerre Woodham?

        You need to stop thoughtlessly using this anti-worker and anti-farmer epithet.

        • Tiger Mountain 4.1.1.1

          Heh, I like to use “white trash” for the young often blond racists on FB. Not supporting resolving the post colonialist fall out and honouring Te Tiriti demeans such people. While there is raging inequality we will never all be “kiwis”.

  5. thatguynz 5

    Cue james111 to defend Holmes in 3, 2, 1……

    • Te Reo Putake 5.1

      Jim Jim’s on an enforced holiday from this site for being racist or homophobic or lying, I can’t remember which. Maybe it was all three?

  6. vto 6

    There was no wisdom in Holmes shit. Not a tiny bit, not even a skerrick. Despite his age there is no consideration of others or any of those things we are told come with the years. No wisdom, no compassion, not even the door slightly ajar for an alternative view. There was nothing. Nothing but empty hatred and anger.

    What a poor man.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    The real issue is that New Zealand, like the rest of the world, is poorly served by profit-driven media, and needs strong public broadcasting as counter-balance.

    Well, that but we also need need good regulation. Something that, quite simply, doesn’t tolerate such hate filled rants being published and if such does make it on air then the person needs to be fired and fined. Probably needs some sort of fine for the person who let it through as well.

    • Gosman 7.1

      In other words censorship of ideas that you disagree with. You would make a good Minister of Truth in this brave new world you are dreaming up DTB.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        Communities really do need to mitigate the more outrageous BS so as to maintain civility. If we don’t then we end up with racist/religious/etc etc violence and that doesn’t help anybody.

        • Gosman 7.1.1.1

          The trouble is DTB who determines what qualifies as outrageous BS – You?

          I have been denounced as an extremist by numerous people on this site. I can see a pretty good case being made that people expressing my views should be ‘regulated’.

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1

            The community usually via government. Thing is, we already have similar laws in place but they just don’t seem to apply to the media. Why is that?

            • Gosman 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Government is currently controlled by by a right leaning political party so that would suggest the community you speak of is actually more right leaning than you are.

              • Draco T Bastard

                What’s that got to do with hate speech? Or are you saying that right-leaning people are supportive of it?

                • Gosman

                  The trouble is DTB Hate speech is in the eye of the beholder. You have tried to argue that it is in the eye of the community though. I merely pointed out that you might be surprised what speech is regarded as hate by your wider community.

          • RedLogix 7.1.1.1.2

            Relax Gosman. Your ideas aren’t ‘extremist’ at all Gosman; they’re far too narrow, monetary, materialistic… and turgidly boring to be worth censoring.

          • mik e 7.1.1.1.3

            Groseman instead we get right wing propaganda from Media monopolies

            • Gosman 7.1.1.1.3.1

              That is the price of freedom of speech. You are obviousl;y entitled to band together with like minded lefties and form a left wing media organisation. Good luck with that.

              I am curious why people on the left don’t do it though. Instead they bitch about how it is so unfair that the media is controlled by the right. I’m pretty sure there are lefties with enough capital to put together a hald decent alternative. I mean Warren Buffet is a lefty isn’t he?

              • Colonial Viper

                That is the price of freedom of speech. You are obviousl;y entitled to band together with like minded lefties and form a left wing media organisation. Good luck with that.

                Sure. Where can we get $25M in seed funding from.

              • McFlock

                “I am curious why people on the left don’t do it though. Instead they bitch about how it is so unfair that the media is controlled by the right. I’m pretty sure there are lefties with enough capital to put together a hald decent alternative. I mean Warren Buffet is a lefty isn’t he?”
                    
                Because “the left” can’t rely on $40mil loans on a whim of the government, we make do with the web.
                  
                Buffett is only a “lefty” compared to you. He’s a “righty” who has a modicum of decency and is honest about the shape of the world.

                • Gosman

                  Hit him up for the capital if you think he has a modicum of decency. Are you implying he doesn’t want to support a more balanced media?

                  • McFlock

                    I’m not sure media balance in NZ is near the top of his priority list, no.

                    • Gosman

                      Find someone else then or combine your collective wealth. Are you stating that the only way you can ensure balance in the media is either spending Taxpayers money on your supposedly balanced media or by regulation? How sad that the left can’t attract people who have capital to invest.

                    • McFlock

                      If the GINI gets too far out of whack, that’s exactly what I’m saying.
                            
                      A balanced media is a bit like insurance – 99% of the time you don’t really need it, but you never know when that 1% will be. So for poorer people, that expense goes by the wayside in favour of luxuries like “eating”.
                       

          • Jackal 7.1.1.1.4

            It’s not really so much a who decides what is censored, but a what. From Wikipedia – Hate Speech:

            New Zealand prohibits hate speech under the Human Rights Act 1993. Section 61 (Racial Disharmony) makes it unlawful to publish or distribute “threatening, abusive, or insulting…matter or words likely to excite hostility against or bring into contempt any group of persons…on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national or ethnic origins of that group of persons.” Section 131 (Inciting Racial Disharmony) lists offences for which “racial disharmony” creates liability.

            The problem is that the government has effectively hamstrung the entities that are meant to ensure these laws are applied.

            • Gosman 7.1.1.1.4.1

              How have they effectively hamstrung these entities? What changes have the National led government introduced that weren’t there under the last Labour led government?

  8. Hami Shearlie 8

    Remember when Holmes was trying to up his salary with TVNZ? Remember when he threatened to take his “considerable talents” to Australia?? If only we’d bought his one-way ticket for him. Coulda Woulda Shoulda!!!

    • tc 8.1

      Holmes would be lucky to get a job in rural radio in OZ, the bar’s far too high for his low brow approach and as for TV forget it.

      • Morrissey 8.1.1

        “lucky to get a job in rural radio in OZ, the bar’s far too high…”

        Obviously you have never listened to commercial radio in Australia.

        • tc 8.1.1.1

          Yup and even worked in it, he’d get a gig in the rural but not the main centres, as has been pinted out, despite what you may think the media in Oz has a reasonable level of intellect due to the standard set by the ABC ……. A public broadcaster , funny that.

          • Morrissey 8.1.1.1.1

            Yup and even worked in it,

            Perhaps you should have listened to it a bit more critically.

            he’d get a gig in the rural but not the main centres,
            Oh really? Holmes is not up to the lofty standards of Alan Jones, John Laws, or Jason Morrison?

            despite what you may think the media in Oz has a reasonable level of intellect

            Australian media has “a reasonable standard of intellect”? Really? Have you read the Melbourne Age or the Australian recently? Have you listened to an on-air rant by Jones, Laws or Morrison?

            After you’ve done that, come back and tell us with a straight face that the Australian mainstream media are distinguished by “a reasonable standard of intellect”.

            due to the standard set by the ABC

            How exactly do the producers at, say, 2UE or Channel 7 reflect the standard set by the ABC?

      • Te Reo Putake 8.1.2

        Ha! Been there, done that, as I recall. Some time in the late seventies/early eighties Holmes got fired from RNZ for making crank calls to the pope and ended up in Townsville or Darwin or somewhere equally godforsaken, before snagging a job with ZB a couple of years later.

  9. Leverett 9

    This article is doubleplusgood. Too many NZers bellyfeel crimethink and should upsub or go to joycamps.

    [lprent: I had to look at this comment several times. Akismet flagged it in automoderation. But it is an actual person rather than the fractured bot that both I and akismet initially thought.

    It has trolled here on the odd occasion and has managed to string coherent sentences together in between it’s obsessions about marxists, keynesians (ie marxists), and who appears to exclusively read right wing nutjobs….

    Looks like it is trying out yet another identity as a crazed druggie. ]

    • Leverett 9.1

      Sorry, it’s a reference to censorship.

      [lprent: I mostly try to censor the software robots for making this place uninhabitable for humans. Does that count? Am I a constraint of their freedom to chew my bandwidth? Do I care…. well not really.

      We will ‘censor’ humans as well, mostly when they start reading like robots and droning out of a phrase dictionary. Something you have avoided…

      Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. And 1984 is a book about the human bots, so I guess it is appropriate you got caught in the bot trap.. ]

      • Frank 9.1.1

        Funny thing, Leverett. Rightwingers point the “orwellian” finger at left-wingers…

        And yet it’s National that has implemented the Police & Video surveillance legislation; accessed personal information to destroy critics; given access to private MoJ info to credit agencies; and is now considering outsourcing government services to Google.

        If Labour had tried any of these policies, rightwingers would be running rampant in the streets.

        But if Dear Leader does it – no probs.

    • Te Reo Putake 9.2

      I think Leverett is channelling Orwell, LP. Doubleplusgood is ‘NewSpeak’ from the novel 1984.
       
      Just as an aside, I listened to Bowie’s Diamond Dogs again the other day and it really is a brilliant album, drawing on Orwell and Huxley’s visions of a consumerist future where no one can effectively challenge authority and the masses are reduced to drones, only capable of thankless work and mindless consumerism. Thank God that future never eventuated, eh!

  10. Tom Gould 10

    I know ‘Holmesy’ has been sick lately, but can that alone explain his pertpetual grump with everything and every one, except his BFF Keysy and his other BFF Tories?

  11. Craig 11

    Oh dear. I’m being accused of being Orwellian, am I? Very well, let me remind you that three-minute hate sessions of Emmanuel Goldstein as scapegoat were part and parcel of morning calisthenics in Airstrip One. Scapegoating is a peculiarly populist practise, especially when engaged in by doctrinaire social conservative drones like Leighton Smith, Paul Henry ad nauseum.

    Incidentally, could I also point out that Radio Live was recently donged by the Electoral Comission for acting as a propaganda outlet for our beloved Prime Minister during the general election? Now who’s spreading propaganda. Doubleplusgood is in the eye of the beholder, methinks.

    • Gosman 11.1

      Your point being what exactly? That because abusesof he system in your mind exist that justifies increased regulation of the media?

  12. Eduardo Kawak 12

    Paul Holmes is a crazy old man and shouldn’t even be taken seriously. His column is lunacy. He’s always been a racist anyway.

    • mik e 12.1

      ever since he separated from Hinemoa and abandoned his child

      • Gosman 12.1.1

        What a pathetic post.

        • felix 12.1.1.1

          Oh come on Gos. Holmes has always been a bit wooden and often seems to be thick as two planks, but it’s still not nice to call him a post.

          • Gosman 12.1.1.1.1

            And if I wanted an example of the techniques I picked up from you felix which you criticise me for using you have provided it here.

            Do you think mik e’s comment is acceptable?

            • McFlock 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Mik E’s comment is more acceptable than what Holmes regularly puts forth.

              And Mik doesn’t have tha gall to accept money for it.

  13. hoom 13

    These guys are a complete disgrace, an utter embarrassment to how history will look back on this period.

    Its not OK for such blatant racist crap to be regularly put out in the main media.
    Fuck these assholes.

    History shows there are very many legitimate complaints & the complaints will continue until we actually both properly settle historic grievances and stop creating new ones.

  14. Reagan Cline 14

    They’re all made-up comedians bless them. Have a giggle and get back to it.

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