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My Thinks: A manufactured consent

Written By: - Date published: 2:02 pm, September 13th, 2014 - 28 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, election 2014, john key, Media - Tags: , , ,

Reposted from boonman at My Thinks

Here we sit just a week out from an election. It’s a week in which you face a stark choice. Three more years of smile and wave dirty politics or a new direction.

It’s important to remember that, despite how awesome you think John Key may be, he is a liar. He has spent the last six years creating and maintaining a network of bloggers and public relations people whose job was to manipulate the media and the general public to believing what he wants them to believe. All the time Key has managed this negative network he has maintained his smile & wave public persona.

I mean how could someone who’s such a larrikin possibly be so negative? I don’t believe it!

Believe it you must. I’ve said this before – you don’t get a $50 million by being a bit of a dick. No, you amass a fortune like that by being ruthless. Key is utterly ruthless. So ruthless that he knows exactly how to act, what to say, who to get to condemn the people wanting to spend money on children. It’s easy. Just flick a text to a mate who flicks a text to a mate who flicks a text to Cameron Slater who then says whatever it was that Key or his party wants him to say. That is then repeated by the welcoming media who appear ever so willing to parrot whatever lines they are given.

It’s disappointing. The Greens will be utterly pissed off with National’s current lackey – Corin Dann – for twisting their words. Apparently the Greens saying they would be willing to continue to work with National (as they have done on things like home insulation and cycle ways) meant it was now understood that they were ditching Labour in favour of the dirty party.

Utter, utter nonsense.

It’s like the media have totally given up on reporting the election campaign and have decided to develop a ridiculous standard of punditry.

In 1988 the great linguist Noam Chomsky wrote a book called Manufacturing Consent (I feel loathed to link to a Wikipedia article, but since there isn’t an actual website for this within easy reach, it will have to do). His main thesis was that the mass media in the United States acted in the role of chief propagandist to the government of the time by censoring itself through ‘editorial distortions’.

We are seeing this now in New Zealand. Our media, the media that is owned elsewhere, appears to have turned into this self censored, utterly controlled, repeating what we read on blogs or the twitter – particularly the political correspondent who now appears to be master of creative narrative.

The idea is that Key and National want us to consent to what they are doing so they manufacture the public relations image accordingly.

A freelance investigative journalist such as Nicky Hager who does not align himself with the dominant media hegemony is the most destructive thing to the manufactured narrative being thrust upon us by the mass media. That is why, instead of dealing with the issues raised in Dirty Politics, the National government have gone on the attack with withering claims of conspiracy and insanity and far out leftist extremism. Hager threatens the status quo. He threatens the establishment because he dares to question the back-door dealings and sub-ethical manipulations they use to retain their positions of dominance. It is imperative that he is destroyed.

Unfortunately, after three weeks of repeated questioning of John Key’s reason for being, the media have now gone back to talking about Cunliffe’s inability to multiply one number in the thousands by another number in the billions, or that the Greens might go with National or that Colin Craig is awesome and not insane.

In their efforts to construct a narrative to maintain or enhance their viewership, the political news media are no longer reporters of political happenings, but constructors of Home and Away with Hone.

The thing is politics is not a soap opera. The people currently minding our democracy for the next government need to be questioned. They must be questioned. Why are you doing that? How does that benefit the country? Why are you changing the labour laws in the country after spending half an hour with some executives from Warner Brothers?

If at first they don’t answer your question, THEN KEEP BLOODY ASKING IT. If they refuse to answer your question, THEN CALL THEM ON IT DURING THE INTERVIEW. It’s not that hard, is it? I’m sure they taught you that during your first week at journalism school.

The media are no longer talking about dirty politics. National have succeeded in manufacturing the public’s consent on this one. The media are complicit.

In reality National should be facing some kind of commission of inquiry for corrupting our democracy. But they won’t because the questions have stopped.

When you vote next week, please vote for people who believe in democracy.

 

Manufacturing Consent – It’s a long watch, but if you have time, please get stuck in.

28 comments on “My Thinks: A manufactured consent”

  1. Rich 1

    Good post Boonman, I saw it on your own site because Geoff? had already linked it, but good to see it getting in its own space here.

  2. b waghorn 2

    I agree fully I’ve spent 6 years annoying friends and family that he’s a dodgy barstard . But apart from our vote how do lowly commoners hold people that for all intense purposes live in a different world to account for there crimes.

  3. Melanie Scott 3

    Whether you like Winston Peters or not, the editorial in today’s Herald and John Roughan’s piece (probably both written by Roughan) are particularly offensive. Clearly written for him by some chaps in the Beehive. Even Paul Thomas who is sometimes even handed, and of course John Armstrong are sounding like rabid attack dogs for the right. Obviously a planned, concerted offensive engineered by some nervous pollies in the National Party war office.
    For quite some time now I have been referring to nearly all Herald ‘journalists’ as parrots. They don’t go anywhere or do any investigative research they just wait patiently for the PR spin pieces to arrive on their computers via email.

  4. Sable 4

    Yes the MSM in NZ are dirty, once again not a surprise. What is inexplicable is anyone actually taking serious notice of what these creeps have to say….

  5. Ad 5

    The Left blaming the MSM for following the will of corporate interests is simply preparing an excuse to lose another election: it was impossible because it was rigged. It’s the left-melancholy of permanent doom. We know we can do better than that. After all if Commenters here can unseat a Labour leader and instal one, and Whaleoil can break more stories than the whole MSM put together, I’d say Chomsky’s looking a little dated.

    I remain unconvinced that process issues like democracy and spying are yet sufficient here for the voter, pen in hand, to overcome their interests in whether they have a strong family, a good job, and a house to live in.

    • emergency mike 5.1

      “I remain unconvinced that process issues like democracy and spying are yet sufficient here for the voter, pen in hand, to overcome their interests in whether they have a strong family, a good job, and a house to live in.”

      And yet, under Labour the three things you mentioned there will be improved, PLUS they are not a bunch of lying, corrupt, underhanded scumbags who are actively undermining our democracy and our privacy. So there’s that.

    • Ergo Robertina 5.2

      Another of your reactionary comments, Ad.
      People are first and foremost citizens, not consumers.
      Plenty of ordinary folk cared about NZ’s nuclear free status, and Monday is shaping up to provoke similar feelings, as it becomes clear to what degree our sovereignty has been compromised by John Key. That ain’t a process issue.

      • mickysavage 5.2.1

        Ad’s comments have a degree of sophistication that many of us lack. It is a valid discussion. From a left wing perspective the current regime is so bad but they are still holding up in the polls.

        And it is the perception rather than the reality of National’s handling of issues such as democracy and spying that is crucial. The debate needs to be spread wider than just amongst the political activist class.

        I have been through similar times back in 1981 when the left was incensed at what was happening yet that bastard Muldoon won.

        Progressives need to think about how to stop this happening again.

        • Ergo Robertina 5.2.1.1

          What you fail to grasp is that even if you hold to the idea of people as consumers, in the neoliberal, self-interested, game theory sense, it is nonsense to imply that civic minded folk should not bother to concern themselves with democratic ideals, and problems like media manipulation. It is vital that they do.
          Their efforts influence the media, New Zealand public life, and eventually, the general public.
          When Nicky Hager speaks about his book, and his motivations, he doesn’t talk so much about galvanising the general population, as encouraging the likes of lecturers, school teachers, scientists, and public servants to share their knowledge, and not be afraid of being involved in politics.
          A good 50% of the public do not engage on these topics. But we do not serve them, nor ourselves, by pretending that election campaigns and political life can be reduced solely to materialistic concerns.
          And I don’t know about sophisticated, but I like the fact that Ad is good natured when challenged on his views.

          • Ad 5.2.1.1.1

            The politically engaged lecturers, unions, and public servants are small and rapidly declining as a democratic force. No power now. The measure of Hagar’s political weight is measured in InternetMana’s polls. Civic lessons won’t save us. What will ‘save us’ is hollowing out the MSM and replacing them.

            The election is here for the public to tell politicians and the political class what’s important to them, not the other way round. Let them.

            • Ergo Robertina 5.2.1.1.1.1

              ‘The measure of Hagar’s political weight is measured in InternetMana’s polls.’
              What on earth does this mean? Hager didn’t write his book to help Dotcom’s agenda.
              The Greens have been strong on Dirty Politics, and their polling is at an all time high in the Colmar Brunton.

              Trouble with hollowing out the MSM is that NZ is tiny and corporate agendas run though sites like whaleoil can easily manipulate public debate.
              I’m not yearning for ‘civic lessons’ or lectures from the ‘political class’ to ‘save us’.
              It’s about the scientist concerned about the environment feeling safe to speak out; the principal fighting the Ministry of Education able to write a column for the local newspaper; the NGO manager able to write a frank submission on social policy without fear they will lose their next contract.

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.2

          And it is the perception rather than the reality of National’s handling of issues such as democracy and spying that is crucial. The debate needs to be spread wider than just amongst the political activist class.

          I have been through similar times back in 1981 when the left was incensed at what was happening yet that bastard Muldoon won.

          Progressives need to think about how to stop this happening again.

          IMO the Left (and particularly Labour) is out of step with the cultural and social inclinations of huge numbers of NZers. Those who are advocates of socially liberal politics might even say that this is a good thing – ‘who needs to pander to these 20th century conservative dinosaurs?’. Which may well be the truth, but the truth is that it also comes with a major electoral cost.

          RE: policy. The more policy that the Left push out, and the less that National push out, the more NZers vote blue. Now this is of course an exaggeration for effect – but it gets the point across. John Key said in the debates that Labour’s CGT policy was 30 pages long. You’d be lucky to find 30 pages of National Party policy – in total. But, a very large fraction of these blue voters are also the most highly educated, professional people in the nation. You can’t pretend that they don’t get the importance of policy and policy detail. But other things are more important to them – like (their) values, social norms and peer group approval.

          As another point, the Left is never going to beat National at speaking in neoliberal based orthodox economic dialogue. And that is what large numbers of people (including many “left” politicians and spokespeople) buy into nowadays.

          • crocodill 5.2.1.2.1

            “You can’t pretend that they don’t get the importance of policy and policy detail. But other things are more important to them – like (their) values, social norms and peer group approval.”

            Greed. For power, for material possessions, for influence, for having it their way every time. It’s “The greed we’ve all agreed on”.

            The solution then? Or a possible solution?

            All that springs to my mind is “The Left” not voting and instead giving up the values that “The Right” hold dear in real life, day-to-day ways….Revolution. Peaceful, violent (eventually no choice), but revolution. Sounds attractive to me because I have little to lose, but will sound completely absurd to the comfortable classes who consider themselves Left but aren’t really. And of course it would put an end to the Left, too, because communism is greed also, just a different kind.

            Recently I was reading about quantum physics and how there are no edges to people or objects, or ends, or beginnings from one person to the next and also from one person to the next object. I read that atoms behave differently when they are observed, that they can change from one motion into wavelengths simply through “knowing” they are observed.

            If this is true, there is no materialism vs. nature/humanity, no end or beginning. Objects can be loved or return “love”. Emotions would have no real value, neither would reason and organisation. Good and evil would fail to be separate and politics of course would fail to be of any concern whatsoever.

    • weka 5.3

      “The Left blaming the MSM for following the will of corporate interests is simply preparing an excuse to lose another election: it was impossible because it was rigged. It’s the left-melancholy of permanent doom. We know we can do better than that. After all if Commenters here can unseat a Labour leader and instal one, and Whaleoil can break more stories than the whole MSM put together, I’d say Chomsky’s looking a little dated.”

      So where is the plan for how the left can do better?

      • Colonial Viper 5.3.1

        So where is the plan for how the left can do better?

        A few problems here. Who/what is this “Left” that you are referring to? That is, if you were to call out to them, would they actually answer you?

        As for a plan. The Left is full of plans. And theories. And policies. And analyses. What it doesn’t have, and what is hasn’t had for decades, is money, resources, infrastructure and logistics.

        “…can do better”

        The Left is in it’s current rut because that’s where it’s internal forces, internal politics and internal contradictions have taken it. The Left claims to speak for and act in the best interests of the 99% (or at least, the 95%).

        However, roughly half of those people would disagree with the premise. And at the moment, the Left shows no willingness to accept and confront the massive disconnects it actively maintains with a couple of million Kiwis.

    • Colonial Viper 5.4

      The Left blaming the MSM for following the will of corporate interests is simply preparing an excuse to lose another election: it was impossible because it was rigged. It’s the left-melancholy of permanent doom.

      To my mind, you’re describing a victim mentality here where the victim can cast blame about from the very rooftops, but cannot (or will not) do anything sufficiently empowered to change the substantial circumstances of victimisation.

      I remain unconvinced that process issues like democracy and spying are yet sufficient here for the voter, pen in hand, to overcome their interests in whether they have a strong family, a good job, and a house to live in.

      First time I’ve ever heard democracy and spying labelled “process issues.” Is corruption also a “process issue”? How about cronyism – a “process issue”? Profiteering and privateering – also “process issues”? I think the average voter can link the impacts of these things on family strength, availability of quality jobs, and affordable housing pretty easily.

      It might help if a political party or political leader focussed on consistently spelling out the interwoven connections and their proposed solutions, however.

      • Ad 5.4.1

        God I thought no one would take the bait from that phrase.

        A really good instinctive politician could join process issues to family, jobs, and housing. But they haven’t. Blame whoever you like, name any conspiracy, but there”s been simply no dry wood to burn out there.

        The entire political class has been in a growing uproar about such stuff for the last year, and for 11 months the public gave not a noticeable damn. DotCom hasn’t worked. Nicky Hagar hasn’t worked. Sky City hasn’t worked. It’s not where New Zealand is.

  6. Dont worry. Be happy 6

    Part of Key’s “Manufactured Consent” was the carefully constructed childhood dream to be PM. A Dream and a goal he held close to his heart even as he pledged that heart to Bronagh….and yet….he took no part in the issues of the day at University, did not get involved in student politics or volunteer or seek employment at branch level and after graduation left this country for decades to pursue, not politics, but money, vast sums of it. He turns up again to slip into a safe National seat, aided and abetted by Slater’s Daddy, then President of the Party. Several smart and treacherous moves later he is Leader and then PM. What a bullshit manufactured story we have been fed by the media. Key always wanted to be PM? Nah, Key always wanted power. Time’s up. End of story.

    • superblackbird 6.1

      I have always thought Key’s motivation has been a knighthood. Sir John and Lady Branagh have a certain ring, don’t they? Must open a few doors in the USA and Hawaii

    • Rich 6.2

      Yes well put but that later part is probably manufactured as well, the first feelers might not have been from Slater to Key, but from someone to Slater.

  7. ianmac 7

    There is a parallel with the report that Oracle used an illegal computer operated rudder compensation device but the assessors were looking for only minor rule checks and it never occurred to them to look for something way outside of the rule book. It just couldn’t be!
    The possibility that there are Dirty Tricks and Lying about spying are so far outside the rule book, that we judging public cannot believe that they exist. In our trusted Government it just couldn’t be!
    Denial is the first stage of getting really really bad news. But soon….

  8. Ad 8

    E.m.
    That was my point, hence the phrasing.

    Ergo.
    If polls tilt sufficiently for Labour to win, then I was wrong.

    See you on the 20th.

  9. weka 9

    Great post. Loved this line (after watching Gower be exactly that this morning with Norman)

    “particularly the political correspondent who now appears to be master of creative narrative.”

  10. KJT 10

    “The Greens will be utterly pissed off with National’s current lackey – Corin Dann – for twisting their words. Apparently the Greens saying they would be willing to continue to work with National (as they have done on things like home insulation and cycle ways) meant it was now understood that they were ditching Labour in favour of the dirty party”.

    Yes we are pissed. Especially when several Greens explained it on here and, some that should know better, refused to read what we were saying, preferring the media spin.

    Some in Labour still seem to have fantasies about doing without the Greens.

    A party which has adhered to Labour’s founding principles much more closely than Labour has.

  11. Ad 11

    “So where is the plan for the left to do better?”

    That’s the right question.
    IMHO it’s in the speed at which our humble plural selves (and other blogs) overturn and take the place of the MSM.

    Sites and groupings like this one have a whole lot more power than Occupy ever had.

    The plan is us.

    • weka 11.1

      Shit Ad, that’s what I’ve been thinking too.

      Not so much a plan yet, as an idea. Some interesting conversations to come after the election, no matter how it turns out.

  12. tricle up 12

    I am pondering the use of the kiwisaver as tool to take money out of the economy to stall a interest rate rises .It would look like a savings spurt in the saving tank and money not lost to the banks,land lords would have no reason to pass costs on as it is not related to there property investment only there own personal kiwisaver account .Would all accounts be involved excluding the lower wage brackets to act as a short brake on rising pressures before other tools being used ,i have by no means thought this through..

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