web analytics

‘Malevolent males’, ‘Mistress Collins’ & a ‘free press’

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, August 29th, 2014 - 7 comments
Categories: blogs, broadcasting, election 2014, internet, newspapers, tv - Tags:

Nicky Hager has long been concerned about the need for journalism to be in the ‘public interest’, and to critically speak truth to power, in order to enable democracy to thrive. His latest book, Dirty Politics, shows why we need a news media, or at least a strong section of it, that is independent of both manipulation by politicians and governments, as well as being independent of commercial, especially powerful corporate, influence.

Hager and his book Dirty Politics

Hager outlined his perspective on this in his Bruce Jesson lecture a couple of years ago.  Dirty Politics is about the insidious, often covert and malicious influence of those trying to establish and maintain influence and power, in the interests of some of the most powerful groups in society.

In the preface to Dirty Politics, Hager summarises the content of the book:

New Zealand junior minister John Key had constructed an easy-going and relaxed public image.  He began the 2014 election year by appearing at university orientation weeks, not to give speeches or debate policy, but to pose in ‘selfies’ with a crowd of students, more celebrity than politician.  In rural Te Kuiti, he smiled for a beautifully composed photograph that would feature that night on his Facebook page.  To the public, he was a man who stayed above the name calling and personal attacks of politics. He had declared during the 2011 election campaign ‘there’s no room for negative campaigning in New Zealand’. The reality was very different.

Key had overseen a government involved in more personal attacks and negative politics than any in living memory.  Robert Muldoon, National leader in the 1970s and 1980s, is remembered for his abrasive, attacking style, but the Key government had outstripped it in the frequency and breadth of attacks, while still managing to maintain the leader’s genial image.  It had done this in part by using others – political allies, bloggers and the news media – to deliver the blows.  The result was a new kind of attack politics that was rapidly changing the political environment in New Zealand.  That is the subject of this book.

In the course of the book, Hager shows how mainstream journalists colluded (not necessarily intentionally) with the attack politics of the Lusk-Collins-Slater-Williams-Ede faction of the National Party and government.

There are systemic problems with our current mainstream media, because it is dominated by powerful international corporates.  The bottom line is profits.  So they have increasingly cut back on spending on investigative journalism, and journalism in general.  Consequently, journalists under pressure for speedily created content, latch onto sensationalist stories of conflict, celebrities, and drama, in order to attract more eyes and ears to their publication and news broadcasts.

The primary tactic of two track politics, borrowed from US Republicans and repeatedly used by the Lusk-Slater smear team was one [p.36 Dirty Politics],

where the primary purpose of the attack politics is to embroil the opposition in petty crises and scandals so they cannot get on with promoting their own messages.

Hager differentiates this politics of distraction from holding politicians to account “in their exercise of power”[p. 34 Dirty Politics]. Right wing bloggers aimed to draw many mainstream journalists into running their lines. Hager explains how this developed [p.21 Dirty Politics]:

The configuration was to be Ede-Farar-Slater, with Lusk in the background, and stories and attacks fed out from them to people such as Rachel Glucina and a series of journalists and underresourced news organisations willing to take an easy scoop. Farrar’s brand was independent, rational analysis and Slater’s aggressive attack dog, but the consistent mission week after week was defending their party and mauling its opponents.

For Hager, its about the democratic ideal [p.14 Dirty Politics]. Today Lucy Lawless has an op ed piece in the NZ Herald making some similar points.

Even if dirty politicking is nothing new, the scope of influence of malefactors via toxic blogs is unprecedented. Mercenary string-pullers are now able to access and repackage sensitive information at a rate not dreamed of in the 90s – and with very few people involved.

Never before have New Zealand’s mainstream media been so systematically sabotaged by vested interests. No wonder they’re pissed off. A free press is one of the cornerstones of a democracy.

In her article, Lawless fantasises about playing one of the villains in the a dramatic enactment of Dirty Politics: a story of:

Playing Crusher Collins is a dream role that I may one day have to arm-wrestle Robyn Malcolm for. (I suspect I’ll lose and have to settle for Cactus Kate.)

And the malevolent males are beyond Shakespeare’s villains, whose conflicted selves produced the great soliloquies. No such trouble for Slater & Co, whose revelations come by way of pathological boasting. Excessive pride exposes what Nabokov called “the streak of stupidity that fatally runs through even the most competent tyranny”.

Their lust for power is grotesque. Who’s more powerful than the king? A kingmaker.

But the really curious thing is that the main players seem to crave approval from some beast higher up the food chain. And they all seem a little in thrall to Mistress Collins.

 

xena vampire

I understand the attraction for an actor of playing a villain. However, if Cactus was played by Lawless, I fear her malevolence would be overlaid with Lawless’s celebrity status.

Our media needs to change in the interest of democracy.  That is why I am interested in this debate on Sunday, organised by the Caoalition of Better Broadcasting: ‘what’s going on with broadcasting in NZ?’  I see Laila Harre and Colin Craig have now been added to the line up:

AUCKLAND – Sunday 31 Aug at 6.30pm (Doors open 6.15pm)
The CBB presents
the Auckland Broadcasting Debate.
With new guest speakers – Colin Craig and Laila Harre!
Come to the Pioneer Women’s Hall on High St, Auckland City to see speakers:
Maggie Barry – National
Kris Faafoi – Labour
Julie Anne Genter – Greens
Laila Harre – Internet Mana
Colin Craig – Conservatives
moderated by Guy Williams
and asked pointed questions by you the public
I hope Williams doesn’t turn this into some infotainment circus.  I’m looking for substantial policies for reformation of the media, broadcasting, and related online content.

 

7 comments on “‘Malevolent males’, ‘Mistress Collins’ & a ‘free press’”

  1. disturbed 1

    ‘Never before have New Zealand’s mainstream media been so systematically sabotaged by vested interests. No wonder they’re pissed off. A free press is one of the cornerstones of a democracy.’

    We can but hope for a debate about this topic rightly referred to by you above, about honest open media, but with the arrogant Maggie Barry who is in Parliament yet another attack dog to match Crusher Collins I wont hold my breath.

    She will control the show if anything like her manner we have seen in Parliament.

    Still if we can have some good Journalists speak about the destruction of our freedom of investigative Journalism under Barry/Key government maybe it will be useful.

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      I think you are too pessimistic.

      I have not heard Kris Faafoi speak. But both Julie Genter and Laila Harre are strong personalities who can cut a rightwinger to pieces.

      After Key’s budget address proposing $12 billion in roading over the next “X” number of years, Genter cut Key to ribbons. I had rarely heard an MP make such mincemeat of a PM.

      This could be a hot debate.

      • disturbed 1.1.1

        We watch parliament every day so we do know who is a strong speaker.

        Maggie Barry is equivalent to Collins or a Parata.

        Best you stack this venue with strong ammo to fight back here.

        Looks like Nat’s are sending the dogs out for dinner here.

        Chris Faafoi spoke quite strong like Cunliffe Vs Key yesterday, when he addressed the parliament about the need for a fully functioning state independent broadcaster less than two months ago during debate.

        I think he is a good speaker.

        Julie Anne is a soft touch compared to all there. She needed us to fire the meeting up when she was in Gisborne to talk about our loss of rail but kept talking about Auckland.

        She doesn’t have fire in her belly yet, wait a while she may come alive.

        • karol 1.1.1.1

          I think you are over-rating Maggie Barry.

          I haven’t seen her deliver a speech of any note in the House. Her grasp of issues seems pretty shallow to me, and her rhetoric often just lame.

          • yeshe 1.1.1.1.1

            +100% Karol. She is terribly weak. Only in because of name recognition as the country’s favourite gardener, and a previous broadcaster.

  2. yeshe 2

    Any hope of a webcast I wonder ?

    And re Lucy as Cactus being overshadowed by her celebrity status ? No, Karol .. she is a better actor than that. And what a brilliant Nabokov quote she offers.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    “the streak of stupidity that fatally runs through even the most competent tyranny”.

    “Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens” – Schiller, in The Maid of Orleans.

    Another apposite old saw is Lao Tzu’s “The strongest force grows old, and then its violence will return, and kill it.”

    It’s the violence that’s the problem, not the strength. Physical violence certainly, and also the violence done daily to language and reason. It might be said that the ends justify the means were it not for the truth: neither ends nor means get a look-in when “we can do this” is the only ethical guide.

    Stupidity indeed.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Vaping legislation passes
    Landmark legislation passed today puts New Zealand on track to saving thousands of lives and having a smokefree generation sooner rather than later, Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa says. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill regulates vaping products and heated tobacco devices. “There has long been concern ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Government repeals discriminatory law
    A discriminatory law that has been a symbol of frustration for many people needing and providing care and support, has been scrapped by the Government. “Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced under urgency in 2013 by a National Government,” Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • More competitive fuel market on the way
    Kiwi motorists are set to reap the benefits of a more competitive fuel market following the passing of the Fuel Industry Bill tonight, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says.  “This Act is where the rubber meets the road in terms of our response to the recommendations made in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Government delivers on rental reforms promise
    The Government has delivered on its promise to New Zealanders to modernise tenancy laws with the passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) Bill 2020 today, says Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing), Kris Faafoi. “The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 was out-dated and the reforms in the RTA modernise our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • New rules in place to restore healthy rivers
    New rules to protect and restore New Zealand’s freshwater passed into law today. Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor welcomed the gazetting of the new national direction on freshwater management. “These regulations deliver on the Government’s commitment to stop further degradation, show material improvements within five years and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Foreign Minister announces new Consul-General in Los Angeles
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced the appointment of Jeremy Clarke-Watson as New Zealand’s new Consul-General in Los Angeles. “New Zealand and the United States share a close and dynamic partnership, based on a long history of shared values and democratic traditions,” Mr Peters said. “Mr Clarke-Watson is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Rental reforms provide greater support for victims of family violence
    Victims of family violence can end a tenancy with two days’ notice Landlords can terminate tenancies with 14 days’ notice if tenants assault them Timeframe brought forward for limiting rent increases to once every 12 months Extension of time Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases via phone/video conference Reform of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Apprenticeships support kicks off today
    Two employment schemes – one new and one expanded – going live today will help tens of thousands of people continue training on the job and support thousands more into work, the Government has announced. Apprenticeship Boost, a subsidy of up to $12,000 per annum for first year apprentices and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Infrastructure to transform Omokoroa
    The Government is funding a significant infrastructure package at Omokoroa which will create 150 new jobs and help transform the Western Bay of Plenty peninsula, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the Government is investing $14 million towards the $28 million roading and water package. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Bill passes for managed isolation charges
    The Bill allowing the Government to recover some costs for managed isolation and quarantine passed its third reading today, with charges coming into force as soon as regulations are finalised. Putting regulations into force is the next step. “The COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill and its supporting regulations will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Unemployment drop shows Govt plan to protect jobs and support businesses is working
    Today’s unemployment data shows the Government’s plan to protect jobs and cushion the blow for businesses and households against the economic impact of COVID-19 was the right decision, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ said today that New Zealand’s unemployment rate in the June quarter – which includes the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New role to champion reading for children
    A new role of New Zealand Reading Ambassador for children and young people is being established, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Internal Affairs and for Children, Tracey Martin announced today. The Reading Ambassador, announced at a Celebration of Reading event at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Funding boost for Community Law Centres
    Community Law Centres will receive a funding boost to meet the increased need for free legal services due to COVID-19, Justice Minister Andrew Little said. The $3.5m funding is for the next three financial years and is additional to the almost $8 million for Community Law Centres announced in Budget ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • New Zealand joins initiative to boost women’s role in global trade
    New Zealand has joined Canada and Chile in a new trade initiative aimed at increasing women’s participation in global trade. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker, together with Canada’s Minister for Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrés Allamand, and Chile’s Vice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Government provides $2.2m to heritage buildings for quake strengthening
    Building owners around New Zealand have benefited from the latest round of Heritage EQUIP funding with grants totalling $2,230,166. “The Heritage EQUIP grants for seismic strengthening assist private building owners to get the professional advice they need to go ahead with their projects or support them to carry out the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Better hospital care for Northland babies and their whānau
    •    New paediatric facilities, including a Special Baby Care Unit •    Up to 50 extra inpatient beds  •    New lab facilities  Northland babies and their whānau will soon have access to improved hospital care when they need it with Health Minister Chris Hipkins today confirming new paediatric facilities and more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Green light for Wellington and Wairarapa in $220m nationwide cycleways package
    People walking and cycling between Featherston and Greytown, or along Wellington’s Eastern Bays will soon have a safe shared path, as part of a $220 million shovel-ready cycleways package announced by Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. “During lockdown we saw many more families and kids out on their bikes, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • New Zealand expresses condolences on passing of Vanuatu High Commissioner
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today extended New Zealand’s condolences following the death of Vanuatu’s High Commissioner to New Zealand, Johnson Naviti, who passed away yesterday afternoon in Wellington. “Our thoughts are with the High Commissioner’s family and colleagues during this difficult time. This is a terrible loss both to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government announces allocation of three waters funds for councils
    The Government has today set out the regional allocations of the $761 million Three Waters stimulus and reform funding for councils announced by Prime Minister Hon Jacinda Ardern this month.  "I want to thank Councils around the country for engaging with the Central Local Government Steering Group who have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding boost for students with highest learning support needs
    Students with high and complex learning needs, as well as their teachers and parents, will benefit from a substantial increase to Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) funding, Associate Education Minister Martin announced today. “Nearly $160 million will go towards helping these students by lifting their base support over the next four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt connecting kiwis to affordable, healthy food
    Funding for innovative projects to connect Kiwis with affordable, safe and wholesome food, reduce food waste, and help our food producers recover from COVID-19 has been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “COVID-19 has seen an increasing number of families facing unprecedented financial pressure. Foodbanks and community food service ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Getting infrastructure for housing underway
    Eight shovel-ready projects within Kāinga Ora large-scale developments, and the Unitec residential development in Auckland have been given the go-ahead, Minister for Housing Dr Megan Woods announced today. Megan Woods says these significant infrastructure upgrades will ensure that the provision of homes in Auckland can continue apace. “The funding announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Napier walk and cycleway to improve safety
    The Government is funding a new separated walking and cycleway path along Napier’s Chambers and Ellison streets to provide safer access for local students and residents across Marine Parade and State Highway 51, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Police Minister Stuart Nash announced today. Funding of $2.7 million has been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PGF creates more than 10k jobs, success stories across NZ
    More than 13,000 people have been employed so far thanks to the Coalition Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has today announced. The number of jobs created by Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investments has outstripped the 10,000 jobs target that the Government and Provincial Development Unit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Inaugural seafood awards honour sustainability
    Scientists and innovative fishing operators from Stewart Island and Fiordland to Nelson, Marlborough and Wellington have been honoured in the first ever Seafood Sustainability Awards. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has congratulated the winners of the inaugural Seafood Sustainability Awards held at Parliament. “The awards night honours six winners, from a wide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Climate resilience packages for regions
    The Government is providing an investment totalling more than $100 million for regions to protect against and mitigate the effects of climate change, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones have announced. Six regions will receive funding from the $3 billion allocated to infrastructure projects from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Southern Waikato shovel ready projects get the green light
    Three major local projects at Te Kuiti and Otorohanga have been given the money to get moving after the impact of Covid 19, says the Minister of Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  The projects range from a Sports Centre for Te Kuiti, a redevelopment of the Otorohanga  Kiwi House and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand extends Middle East and Africa peace support deployments
    The Coalition Government has extended three New Zealand Defence Force deployments to the Middle East and Africa by two years, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today.  “These deployments promote peace in the Middle East and Africa by protecting civilians and countering the spread of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt progress on climate change essential, risk assessment shows
    The release of the National Climate Change Risk Assessment shows that the progress this Government has made to solve the climate crisis is essential to creating cleaner and safer communities across New Zealand. “Because of this report, we can see clearer than ever that the action our Government is taking ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $10m sport recovery fund open for applications
    The second round of the Community Resilience Fund is now open for applications for sport and recreation organisations experiencing financial hardship between 1 July and 30 September 2020. “The fund opens today for five weeks – closing on September 6. The amount awarded will be decided on a case-by-case basis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Rakitū Island declared latest predator free island
    Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today declared Rakitū Island, off the coast of Aotea/Great Barrier Island, predator free. “I’m delighted to announce that with rats now gone, Rakitū is officially predator free. This is a major milestone because Rakitū is the last DOC administered island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding to restore significant Māori sites in the Far North
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing $8.75 million to restore significant historic sites at Ōhaeawai in the Far North, upgrade marae and fund fencing and riparian planting. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcements following a service at the historic St Michael’s Anglican Church at Ōhaeawai today.  Just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Big boost for Chatham Islands’ economy
    The Chatham Islands will receive close to $40 million for projects that will improve its infrastructure, add to its attraction as a visitor destination, and create jobs through a planned aquaculture venture, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the islands, first ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More initiatives to reduce energy hardship
    The Government is delivering more initiatives to reduce energy hardship and to give small electricity consumers a voice, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said today. “In addition to the initiatives we have already delivered to support New Zealand families, we are responding to the Electricity Price Review with further ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Turning the tide for hoiho/yellow-eyed penguin
    Government, iwi, NGOs and rehabilitation groups are working together to turn around the fortunes of the nationally endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguin following a series of terrible breeding seasons.  The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage helped launch the Five Year Action Plan at the annual Yellow-Eyed Penguin symposium in Dunedin today. “I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Taskforce ready to tackle tourism challenges
    The membership of the Tourism Futures Taskforce has now been confirmed, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced at an event at Whakarewarewa in Rotorua today. “The main purpose of the independent Tourism Futures Taskforce is to lead the thinking on the future of tourism in New Zealand,” Kelvin Davis said. Joining ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Investing in the tourism sector’s recovery
    More than $300 million in funding has been approved to protect strategic tourism businesses, drive domestic tourism through regional events and lift digital capability in the tourism industry, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. A $400 million Tourism Recovery Package was announced at Budget 2020, and with today’s announcements is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Permits to be required for exporting hard-to-recycle plastic waste
    From 2021 permits will be required for New Zealanders wanting to export hard-to-recycle plastic waste. The Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage, today announced the requirements as part of New Zealand’s commitments to the Basel Convention, an international agreement of more than 180 countries which was amended in May ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Growth in new building consents shows demand is still high
    The building and construction sector is still showing strong growth, with the number of new dwellings consented up more than 8 per cent compared to last year, reflecting a welcome confidence in the Government’s COVID-19 response package, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. “While it is still too ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $23 million for Bay of Plenty flood protection
    Government investment of $23 million for Bay of Plenty flood protection will allow local communities to address long-standing flood risks and provide jobs, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced in Rotorua today. These projects are being funded by the Infrastructure Reference Group’s (IRG) shovel ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago