- Date published:
8:57 am, April 3rd, 2020 - 63 comments
Categories: Economy, Globalisation, grant robertson, International, jacinda ardern, Media, The Standard, uncategorized - Tags: covid, Covid19, mike hosking
Media companies are under real siege. When 30% of businesses are facing extinction media advertising is the first expense they are going to cut. Media companies that are just hanging in there will fold. Nothing is clearer.
This post started off a couple of days ago as a rant against Mike Hosking.
I won’t link to the offending article. Trash like this should not be rewarded with clicks. But this is essentially he said, the Government, in yet another example of how this whole thing is highly political, is controlling the Corvid-19 messages you hear on any given day. And that Jacinda Ardern was running a very fine line between being an actual leader with decisive decision-making powers, and a TV and radio presenter with lots of time for Facebook Lives, teddies in the window, and a lot of touchy-feely be kind to each other.
The claim was crazy. We are not in a socialist take over of the country using the pretext of a condition no worse than the common flu. We are in a crisis. Our health system faces the prospect of being overwhelmed and many deaths occurring.
And Jacinda’s leadership has been superb. Any time a Labour leader gets praise from the likes of John Key and Matthew Hooton you know she is doing well.
I wanted to do a detailed analysis of what Hosking had said over time because it seemed to me that he has been all over the place on the issue. Thankfully Mediawatch’s Hayden Donnell did the job for me and came up with these pearlers of examples of Hosking’s reckons over the past month:
Donnell’s conclusion is excoriating.
Strangely, Hosking doesn’t appear to have acknowledged his views have changed over the course of the month, and might not even know they have. It’s possible he exists in an eternal present where the past is eradicated every morning, just in time for Mike’s Minute to begin.
Another possibility is that Hosking is more concerned with criticising the government than being consistent. That kind of oppositionality can have its place. But it’s arguably not appropriate during a public health crisis where getting people timely, accurate information can save lives.
One of Newstalk ZB’s promotions for Hosking’s show reads ‘the vital news you need to know, here and now’. It would be nice if it lived up to that promise – at least for the length of the Covid-19 crisis.
But it seems that the problem is that Hosking’s behaviour works in financial terms. At least up to now.
Yesterday was another remarkable day.
Bauer Media closed all of its New Zealand magazines, and in one action took out pretty well every major magazine publication the country has. Suddenly Metro, North & South, Woman’s Day, NZ Woman’s Weekly were no more with their future depending on other interests stepping up and buying them.
The closure has attracted some finger pointing. Tova O’Brien has claimed the Government turned down a request for help. But Kris Faafoi has confirmed that the employer wage subsidy was offered to Bauer but refused.
From Duncan Grieve at the Spinoff quoting Jacinda Ardern:
What I want to make really clear is the government sought to assist Bauer – minister Kris Faafoi spoke to them and asked if they would take up the wage subsidy; they refused,” Ardern said yesterday. “This appears to have been a decision made at the same time as Covid-19, not because of it… The wage subsidy could have made a difference to those writers, to those journalists, and we were very keen that Bauer take it up.”
Ardern’s claim is valid. At the same time as it was moving to close its New Zealand operation Bauer was completing steps to buy Australia’s Pacific Media, whose publications include Better Home And Gardens, marie claire, Who, New Idea and Men’s and Women’s Health.
Bauer clearly has deep pockets. O’Brien confirmed that it offered its New Zealand holdings to the Government but Robertson turned this down. Clearly the Government has more pressing issues to deal with than producing the likes of Woman’s Weekly.
The question is who will be next. And will Hosking’s exorbitant salary be reduced.
And what do we do about Facebook and Google. The case for them paying a fair amount of tax is now surely overwhelming.
But beyond that we face the prospect of our media system being unrecognisable in a year’s time.
Radio New Zealand should be fine, budget constraints depending.
Television New Zealand will survive. I am sure the Government will realise that a national television station is an essential strategic asset.
Spinoff should survive, but its reliance on corporate sponsorship will make it vulnerable.
The Herald and Stuff will be under tremendous pressure. Already some very good writers, the likes of David Slack and David Cormack have been let go. I do not like their chances.
Sky must be on its last legs. A sport free year must have it under extreme pressure. It makes you wonder what will happen to sport after things settle down. Maybe it will become a more grass roots and localised activity, something that I would be quite happy about.
And here at the Standard we should be fine. Authors have eagerly accepted an 80% cut to our salaries.
We certainly live in interesting times.
Addendum – because it is so valid …