A dirty election victory hasn’t led to any soul-searching among New Zealand’s Right-wing newspapers and media. Where to from here? M.Y. KEYBOARD (In the spirit of Philip Matthews) reports.
In a parallel universe, David Cunliffe is the prime minister of New Zealand presiding over a Labour-NZ First minority government in a happy arrangement with the Green Party. Internet Mana, backed by German entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, has a few MPs in Parliament, including veteran activist Hone Harawira.
Thank goodness we avoided that nightmare! The Left was soundly defeated in the 2014 election.
“Politics is a dirty, filthy, despicable game, played by dirty, filthy, despicable people” says Right-wing activist and blogger Cameron Slater. “Yay – we won!”.
“Right across the Right we are desperate to avoid conversations” says Ben Dover, co-founder of the newly-launched blog Full Spectrum Dominance. “We won the election despite the public revelations of dirty, filthy, despicable tactics leading right up to the PM’s Office, what does that mean?. Can we, like, do anything now?”.
Apparently the old rules of ethical behaviour and accountability no longer apply. Is it even possible that newspapers are part of the problem?
After all, media by definition is owned by the rich and exists to serve their interests. A raft of journalists and media players are deeply implicated in dirty politics, including many at my own organ, The Herald. By duly accepting and repeating the lamest excuses and spin of the Prime Minister (and or his office or his hats) as if they were plausible, are we not part of the problem?
Ordinary blogs are fringe forums largely preaching to the already converted, their influence is minimal at best. Blogs such as Whaleoil and Kiwiblog, however, which are backed by the government, the manipulation of official information, significant funding, and a very cosy relationship with journalists, created a very successful and powerful dirty politics machine. But of course nothing matches the impact of newspapers and other “mainstream media” – in effect we tell the public what to think.
Do we not owe it to the people of New Zealand, the workers who are being stripped of their rights, the young who graduate in debt and will never own their own homes, the demonised beneficiaries, the neglected poor, do we not owe it to them to speak the truth to power instead of repeating its lies?
Is it even possible that newspapers are part of the problem?
Nah – I guess not.