Should Right-wing newspapers just shut up?

Written By: - Date published: 1:12 pm, November 2nd, 2014 - 75 comments
Categories: blogs, journalism, newspapers, Satire - Tags: ,

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.

75 comments on “Should Right-wing newspapers just shut up?”

  1. RedBaronCV 1

    The content wasn’t totally bad but once again the heading and framing could of course be different.

    How about a headline ” should right wing bloggers be more ethical’ and a lot more focus on underhand attacks by those who disagree with the Right? Nope we didn’t get that.

    Nor was it particularly deep, the left is no doubt lots of small people wanting to build a better society in a myriad of different ways. Note how this is presented as disarray not crowd sourcing.
    A similar framing could call the Right autocratic with no tolerance of dissidence and a top down obedience to the rules of the rich ( and zero technical skills) – no we don’t see that.

    Step away from the keyboard – ignores the issue that many also do plenty in the real world.
    Call a win – well no political party is going to say they are losing are they?
    Also the steady and multiple use of blogs should be telling the MSM that there is a world out there that they are not serving.

    The real point is how well the left did. In the face of almost zero positive framing from the MSM, fighting off attacks from the Right with the MSM which continue ( see greens/ petition in the last few days) with limited money (sourced onshore) almost half the voting electorate still managed to stagger down and vote to the left of the Nacts.

    So from me the article gets 10/10 for negative left wing framing, avoidance of deeper issues and continuing the RW media attack based on trivialities.

    • Keir 1.1

      Philip Matthews is not in the pocket of the vast right-wing conspiracy, to put it mildly.

      • r0b 1.1.1

        I haven’t noticed him previously, so wouldn’t know. I thought it was quite a good piece in some respects, and felt a bit mean satirising it. But this was the obvious response to the unexamined assumptions underlying Matthews’ piece, and I think it needed saying.

        • Keir

          Nah, he’s a pretty solid journalist. He’s done a lot of good work as a features writer covering Christchurch politics, and he hates dirty politics & Cameron Slater.

          I thought the spoof was pretty funny! But some of the reaction below the line seemed to assume he was some right winger – he definitely isn’t.

        • karol

          Yes, it is quite a good piece. I wonder who wrote the online headline. In yesterday’s Dom Post the title was “Step away from the keyboard”.

    • karol 1.2

      I also think the idea (from Cosgrove and Matthews), talking about left wing blogs as needing to be more disciplined, is way off target.

      TS and other Left-wing blogs are not organs of or for any political parties. Parties, and especially their caucuses do need to show some discipline. Political blogs, IMO, are more for discussions and debates. Sometimes we questions the actions and statements of left wing MPs. That is good for democracy.

  2. chris73 2

    The jealousy and envy is so thick you can almost touch it

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Don’t suppose you want to address the merits of the post? Or is winning at all costs all important?

      • chris73 2.1.1

        1. National did nothing that Labour doesn’t all ready do or has tried to do
        2. The general public aren’t at all surprised by what politicians do hence why politicians rank among the lowest of respectable careers
        3. The real kicker for the left is that National weren’t re-elected due to dirty politics but because the economy is going well and Labour (as the biggest party of the left) aren’t fit to govern yet
        4. (Nearly forgot) The majority of people don’t care about Hagers allegations, they see it (correctly) as a belt way issue

        As Mike Moore put it: The voters are always right

        • Tom Jackson

          As Mike Moore put it: The voters are always right

          Typical of Moore to say something trivially and obviously incorrect.

        • mickysavage

          1. National did nothing that Labour doesn’t all ready do or has tried to do

          Absolute BS. The left blogs do not go near to the smearing and attacking that Slater has made an art form of. You are right that Key kept saying “the left does it too” even though he knew it was a lie.

          2. The general public aren’t at all surprised by what politicians do hence why politicians rank among the lowest of respectable careers

          And in many instances they are correct. But not all. National made people believe that both sides are untrustworthy whereas the reality is that National deserves the least amount of trust.

          3. The real kicker for the left is that National weren’t re-elected due to dirty politics but because the economy is going well and Labour (as the biggest party of the left) aren’t fit to govern yet

          I agree with you that there as the perception that the economy is doing well. Borrow and spend, a luxury the country has because of Michael Cullen, is working as is rebuilding the second biggest city after it was trashed.

          4. (Nearly forgot) The majority of people don’t care about Hagers allegations, they see it (correctly) as a belt way issue

          The left were incensed, the right thought it was business as usual and they managed to persuade others this was the case

        • newsense

          But the voting ballot isn’t a comprehensive survey about feelings, beliefs and intentions.

          So beyond that the voters wanted National returned we know little about why that is so, or what they think on an issue by issue basis.

    • Care to address any of the serious problems in NZ democracy identified in the post, or do you prefer to screech and fling poo?

      Envy and greed are a right-wing speciality, I would think… ask Gordon Gekko

      • chris73 2.2.1

        There are no serious problems in NZ democracy because the left aren’t in power

        • Colonial Rawshark

          There is no sense to your utterings, merely randomly strung together words.

          Personally, I believe that the use of the police to harrass and disrupt the work of journalists like Nicky Hager, the well documented “two track” dirty politics system Key continues to have contact with, as well as the crony capitalism practiced by this government, are serious problems in NZ democracy.

          • chris73

            I disagree, I don’t think Hager was harassed and “two track” is something thats always been done so nothings changed…except Labour, Labour hasn’t changed which is why its going downhill

            • Dialey

              I don’t think you stand what two track is, otherwise you would not make such a claim

              • chris73

                I do but I don’t really care because the party I voted for is in power and can make the decisions on how this country is run…which is what I wanted

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  I just mentioned several major problems with NZ democracy. You’re short sighted to think that you can let our collective democratic protections erode now and all will be fine for you. Until a different government gets in.

                • You don’t have the mental capacity to understand the problems. Neither do most NZers. That in itself is a problem.

                  • chris73

                    “Neither do most NZers”

                    – That there is part of the reason why the left has been rejected

                    • locus

                      More voters in nz voted for alternatives rather than for key.

                      Of those that voted for national there are many decent people who would have been disgusted by the pm and other nat party behaviour if they had read Dirty Politics

                      The facts uncovered by the emails will gradually work their way into the publics awareness.

                      Rejection of key and his brand will undoubtedly follow. Its just a matter of time.

            • The Other Mike

              “I don’t think Hager was harassed” – well what would you say if the cops came and turned your place over for 10 hours.

              Oh, and you obviously don’t “care” for anyone but yourself. Go back to DPF and the party of me.

              • chris73

                Depends, had I profited from hacked emails? If I had then its something I would have expected to have happen

                • NZJester

                  Why did the Police also not do the same kind of raid on Cameron Slater can you answer me that chris73?
                  Cameron actually had a physical stolen hard drive and documents in his possession that he used to smear someone in his blogs with information that was not really in the public interest.
                  There are also allegations that he was paid to run that smear campaign just like some of the other business related smear campaigns mentioned in the book Dirty Politics.
                  Are you not also worried about the smear campaigns he also ran against people within the National Party itself in order to force out the old guard of National and get his extreme right-wing mates hands on as many top National Party positions and safe seats as possible.
                  If you think Cameron and his mates only attacked those on the left you are in for a nasty shock. They have also been attacking those on the right that are not part of their group in order to take all the power they can.

            • minarch

              chris, you know girls only like guys with SKILLS

              you know nun-chick skills

              bow-hunting skills

              trolling skills…..

        • peterlepaysan

          There are serious problems in NZ democracy.

          There are a hell of of a lot of people not voting.

          There has been and continues to be selling off of tax payers assets to capitalists.

          JK and the Nats continue to woo Wall street (which is currently reviving “sub prime” mortgages.

          US democracy and NZ democracy are not identical.

          Democracy is based on freedom and equality.

          America does not value equality.

          NZ ,once valued equality.

          Our Hawaiian PM prefers Wall street and Hollywood values to new zealand values.

          What planet are you on?

      • Binders full of women 2.2.2

        there are no serious issues regarding democracy raised in the post… the most serious worry at the moment is that we have slipped a whopping 1 place in global transparency & anti corruption rankings and are no longer 1st. We are 2nd behind Denmark. Ahead of the other 3 socialist utopias in Scandinavia and about 175 other countries..

        • A decent democracy has a fourth estate that exposes corruption, not participates in it. No wonder we are slipping.

          Does it not concern you that 2/3rds of New Zealanders are NOT represented in Parliament?

  3. hoom 3

    At this point I’m pretty much resigned to NZ officially joining the ranks of 3rd world banana republics.

    Fundamentally though, Nat coalition is still only a 64 seat bloc compared with 64 seats last time and 69 in ’08.
    It really hasn’t been the rout the media makes it out to be.

    • b waghorn 3.1

      Since health issue’s could take a man of Dunne’s age out at any moment and something dont seem right about Seymour I’d say it’s a pretty precarious lead they have.

    • chris73 3.2

      National Party 1,131,501 47.04

      Labour Party 604,535 25.13
      Green Party 257,359 10.70

      No you’re right definitely not a rout…you know trying to minimize what happened doesn’t help the left in the long term

      • hoom 3.2.1

        64 seats this time vs 64 seats last time does not make a rout.

        Labour Party 604,535
        Green Party 257,359
        total = 861,894

        Labour Party 614,937
        Green Party 247,372
        total = 862,309

        Actually barely any difference in number of votes for Lab/Greens overall.

        The rout is in the fact that the Right actually got away with their bullshit despite their methods being completely publically ousted for the 2nd time

        • chris73

          Yeah you keep telling yourself it wasn’t a rout

          • hoom

            Faith based maths?

            • chris73

              For the left to govern they would have needed:

              Lab/Grn/NZF/MP/Act/UF combined and even then it would have only been a one seat majority

              If you can’t see that then you’re probably one of the left who thought Cunliffe was Labours best shot against John Key (sad thing is he probably is)

              • hoom

                And that differs from 2011 by the one seat of Act, Mana or UF, so is a rout?

                • chris73

                  You’re right it wasn’t a rout so theres nothing that Labour need to worry about

                  All good

                  • hoom

                    On the contrary there is plenty to worry about, just its not as bad as the Right are trying to make it out as being.

              • mickysavage

                For the left to govern they would have needed:

                Lab/Grn/NZF/MP/Act/UF combined and even then it would have only been a one seat majority

                And on the right we have NAT/ACT/UF/MP so what is the problem?

                • hoom

                  Well there is no way that Act could ever be part of a Left coalition.

                  …Unless they did something utterly outrageous & unlikely such as subvert Labour I guess.


                  But then, that wouldn’t really be a Left coalition.

                • chris73

                  Really Mickey?

                  Ok then National could govern with only one other party if it really wanted to but it chose to bring in three parties

                  The difference is Labour needs every other party to lead whereas National only needs one party to lead

                  Quite a big difference I’d have thought

            • minarch

              “Faith based maths?”

              FAN based maths

              FIFY 🙂

  4. dale 4

    The msm is no friend of the right. There is so much left wing bias. This post is the biggest pile of crap I’ve read in a long time.

    • Mark 4.1

      You are either a one man comedy act or just an absolute fucking wanker Dale. Its a tough call but option two looks more likely.

      • halfcrown 4.1.1

        “You are either a one man comedy act or just an absolute fucking wanker Dale. Its a tough call but option two looks more likely.”

        Well fucking said

  5. r0b 5

    Goodness – quite a reaction to a bit of harmless Sunday satire. Too close to the bone?

    For those leaping in with both boots – please first read the Matthews piece that this was a take-off of.

    • chris73 5.1

      The left wing of NZ need to be constantly reminded that they are the natural party of opposition

      • r0b 5.1.1

        Thank goodness we have you here c73, to take care of that for us.

        • chris73

          Well the Greens know their role which is to be in opposition but Labour still have pesky thoughts about leading…

      • politikiwi 5.1.2

        LOL yeah, because human society has always operated on an “every (wo)man for himself” type basis. Neo-liberalism is the natural order of things. Market economies have evolved to work so well in nature. There is no such thing as society. Etc etc.

    • felix 5.2

      “Goodness – quite a reaction to a bit of harmless Sunday satire. Too close to the bone?”

      Methinks the PR hack doth etc etc

  6. RedBaronCV 6

    Please feel free to shift my 1.00pm post off open mike.

  7. The rightwing media won’t shut up until we shut them up.
    In the lead up to the Russian revolution workers occupied the printing works of the ruling newspapers and put out their own papers until cleared out by cops.
    The workers then moved on to the next printshop. The revolution happened.
    The internet is the equivalent of the printing press today.
    Class war becomes cyberwar.
    The spies and cops are everywhere, but they need the social media to make money off us so we just move from one print shop to the next.
    A bit like the Bolsheviks who were penetrated by the Tsars spies, but overcame the problem by putting them to work under close supervision.
    Even with total censorship like in the 1951 lockout, workers are much more ingenious than the censors in finding ways of communicating.
    We should make the best of the time available to us before we face an internet blackout to build a left media firmly rooted in working class culture.
    What is that? you ask.
    Quite. After all, what is the working class?
    The main task of the left media is to ‘rediscover’ the working class under its noses, unite its various factions and help organise it collectively to fight for its class interests.

  8. Ad 8

    Consider it a compliment that they feel so obviously threatened. The proliferation of leftie political blogs underlines the loss of newspapers as relevant only to those European and over 55.

    Right here – in The Standard, Whaleoil, and others – is where most political debate in NZ occurs, precisely because newspapers now lead and break so little and are determined to control content.

    It is also a matter of necessity. With unions shrinking pretty rapidly now, blogs are the last and best hope for leftie resistance. Until the Greens and Labour sort out their relationships, and Labour actually functions as a caucus, it’s pretty much all we have. And speak out we must.

    If political blogs are to be more than contests of ideas, however, they also need to organize people to do things. To letter-bomb, text-bomb, flash-protest, disrupt bureaucratic and official meetings, and find further means to ensure their dominance of newspapers is completed. They don’t do that well at all yet.

    I doubt blogs will topple television’s mass-communicative supremacy, but blogs that can orchestrate twitter and text will most certainly be more powerful than knocking on doors ever will be now.

    Within just a couple of years, all the Baby Boomers will have reached retirement age. The Boomers within Labour, by and large, are what is holding the left back. Let’s assist in pushing them out the door, and use these digital instruments to welcome in this new generation of resistance and renewal.

  9. Hami Shearlie 9

    Personally, the parallel universe is looking pretty good to me right now!! David Cunliffe made politics exciting for me – now it’s just a bit meh!!

  10. blue leopard 10

    I don’t think the right-wing newspapers should shut up.

    What they need to do is state their bias and interests transparently

    This could be a achieved by having a page dedicated to listing who owns the paper and what other business/financial interests they are connected with.

    Any complaints of the content, or requests to influence the content, by the advertisers should also be included on this page.

    The authors of all articles should be clearly stated.

    Papers and articles that present themselves as an objective news medium when that is not what they are, is what is particularly damaging about the way ‘information’ is being presented to us.

  11. Grantoc 11

    The problem with this post is that the writer, like many on the left, is still in denial about why the Left lost the election.

    The self evident fact is that a significant percentage of electors did not buy into the hysteria created around Hager’s dirty politics, Slater’s blog, or Dotcom’s circus, which, by the way, was breathlessly promoted every day and night in the MSM – the so called right wing media mentioned above.

    For better or worse the electorate was motivated by other factors than those relating to dirty politics. However having said this Its probable many of them voted for the Nats et al BECAUSE of the hysteria created around dirty politics etc. In the this way the MSM were actually a problem for Labour and the Left because they focused on dirty politics so much.

    • You_Fool 11.1

      “In the this way the MSM were actually a problem for Labour and the Left because they focused on dirty politics so much.”

      Citation needed

    • Nothing to do with fabricatons about bottles of wine and a weird obsession with Cunliffe’s attire?

      Were there any questions asked of John Key for the whole campaign or was it just an exercise in “Shooting Labour down”?

    • framu 11.3

      shame you didnt spot that you just proved the post right

      one of the points made is that the MSM is the main, and often only, conduit for the electorate when it comes to politics, and that by colluding with the govt they are manipulating the message

      so your self evident fact is describing a result that is the exact outcome the post indicates.

      and unlike the weird moral bankrupts you and your ilk seem to want to sign up with, the issue is about a much larger time period than the single month before the election

      Just like the “hager has stolen emails” argument this line of reasoning cant get past first base. Theres nothing to discuss because you havent even bothered to take the subject into account.

      Clue – its not the result, its how we got there

  12. Orthodoxia 12

    Its interesting to note that whaleoil is just as convinced that MSM is totally biased to the left. My problem is not whether MSM are left or right but that most ‘news’ is regurgitated media releases from PR without any filtering and opinion pieces. Basically journelisim is dying quickly because their is no longer any money in it. Blogs do not provide it nor do books like Hagers or Wisharts are not true journalism. I miss being able to read an article that is well researched, considers both sides of the debate and let’s the reader come to their own conclusions.

    • lprent 12.1

      It is still around. That is why I tend to read much of the NZ Herald for non-news.

      I read the Economist and a few other mags for when I want to read something of the type you describe.

  13. Tiger Mountain 13

    Attempted sting in the tail Nat triumphalism from Matthews.

    This is a familiar thread from the right. These people shout at you! Cunliffe must go! For the tradie tory mob their bigoted opinion is as good as your researched evidence based presentation. Add this to the transmission methods of the msm and partly tax payer funded Kiwi blog (partly means indirectly as LPRENT usefully draws readers attention to) and you can figure out how it all works.

    The torys don’t like nuanced debate or discussion–it is “my way or the highway” standover style on the right blogs and when some of them try their luck on left blogs they hit quicksand. Think fishyanus, King kong, or ’73 above.

    Keep on blogging everyone!

  14. Al 14

    Chris73 can’t read – must of ‘graduated’ from one of Donkeys’ shonky educational facilities – blind faith in a failing market paradigm. He can probably just buy his way out – like the PM

  15. Sable 15

    I have stated my feelings about this again and again. Its only be holding the sleazy biased mainstream media to account legally that we can have moderately honest political outcomes.

  16. dale 16

    Sorry I couldn’t reply earlier but the reaction to my comment just proves why left wing blogs fail. They are full of hate and mindless insults. Take the blinkers off for just a bit and you will see. I would vote Labour if they would just get back to what serves the core principles of the working man.

    • People made fun of you because your comment showed all the signs of a kneejerk response with zero reasoning. Try backing up your opinions with facts, logic, or links. Show a glimmer of intelligence and engage the conversation. People can be rude but just take it with a grain of salt and give it back. We can take it. It’s actually fun after a while..

    • lprent 16.2

      Why would we fail. This site has been running for more than 7 years with a nice steady growth showing up after every election.

      And we haven’t had to puff the numbers like Whaleoil does.

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  • Labour to build rail to Auckland Airport
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