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The media in 2015

Written By: - Date published: 12:25 pm, December 29th, 2015 - 88 comments
Categories: blogs, broadcasting, david cunliffe, john key, journalism, Judith Collins, Media, national, newspapers, radio, same old national, slippery, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mark Weldon John Key

This year saw the continuation of a trend that has been evident for some years.  The media became dumber and nastier and more superficial as cuts to spending on serious journalism increased and power was increasingly dominated corporate interests. The two primary examples were the axing of Campbell Live and the gutting of Mihi Forbes show Native Affairs.  Both journalists are now based at Radio New Zealand but this appears to be the last bastion of quality journalism.  And don’t be surprised if the Government does something about that.

TV3 is failing miserably.  The final straw as far as serious reporting is concerned may be the culling of 3D which was met with resistance by those remaining who want to actually be journalists but their fate was inevitable.  If you want to understand the calamity that has happened the latest ratings that I have seen suggest that the current viewing of Story are about a quarter of the final Campbell Live viewing figure.  The panic button was pressed when Campbell Live figures hit 240,000.  The Story’s figures are just above 140,000.  How do you describe the level of competence that achieved this?

Elsewhere Rachel Glucina left the Herald after questions were asked about how her breaking of the Amanda Bailey John Key ponytail pulling story.  Her new Mediaworks venture failed miserably.  Julie Christie faced questions after a Scout page featuring a video of “her home” magically disappeared after questions were asked.  I am sure that just like Cactus Kate’s website it was just a matter of tidying things up and there was nothing significant happening.  But whoever thought that videos of Mike Hosking washing his car was going to work?

While on the left we celebrated the fitting conclusion of the right’s attempt to manipulate the media for their benefit the basic fact is that overall the media has been damaged and is worse off because of what has happened.  There has to be a better way.

Elsewhere the same old continued with Mike Hosking and Paul Henry continuing to dominate although in both cases the damage they are doing to the concept of an independent media is either being ignored or promoted.  If someone can provide a rational reason why the state broadcaster should employ as a front person someone so clearly supportive of the Government please do.

The reverberations of Dirty Politics continues although it is noticeable that National, while denying that Dirty Politics is even a thing, is busily taking steps to remove any remaining links that previously existed.  Speaking of taking steps to remove any remaining links Cactus Kate has been busily making her blog disappear.  Who knows why.

It is clear however that National is no longer using Slater to attack its opponents and he is now no longer the recipient of Beehive sourced information.  I am sure that Judith Collins’ return to Cabinet was made on the promise that she will no longer feed Slater with the sorts of information that she used to.  The tip line I suspect is now permanently out of order.  And I doubt that Mark Hotchin is contributing to Cameron’s running or living expenses.

I suspect also that John Key is no longer taking Cameron’s calls.  The occasional attack post he writes about the party must be causing them concern because he really is a loose cannon but hey when you live by the sword you may die from wounds inflicted by said sword.

The police raid on Nicky Hager reached an appropriate conclusion, at least for now, with Justice Clifford determining that the police behaviour was “fundamentally unlawful”.  I expect there will be appeals but I predict that the basis of the decision should survive as the breach was too egregious.

One aspect of the case that has not, as far as I am aware, received detailed comment was the police’s decision to label Hager as a “political author”.  It may be that they were relying on this decision of Justice Winkelmann involving Kim Dotcom where she ruled that writing a book was not a “news activity” within the meaning of the Privacy Act and therefore outside the provisions of the Act.  But this is an extreme stretch of the decision and confuses the Evidence Act protection for journalists with the Privacy Act requirement for gathered information to be disclosed.

And just to clarify, this was not a case of Kim Dotcom seeking the information.  It is a case where the Crown and the Police said he could get it so he should ask for it and then disclose it.  It is concerning that the Crown and the Police have such limited respect for private information held by a journalist.

Russell Brown foresaw the problem.  He posted this in June 2014, pre dirty politics, about the implications of the Dotcom decision:

There’s an obvious candidate here: Nicky Hager. Hager’s books, which have told us a great many things the powerful would not wish us to know, rely strongly on his interactions with whistleblowers. If Hager, Fisher, Gilbert and others like them cannot promise their sources confidentiality, their stories will go untold.

There was similar controversy when John Roughan was forced to release tapes of John Key relied on to write Key’s biography.  The principle is the same.  Journalists writing newsworthy books should be allowed to rely in journalist protections.

The blogs continue to grow in relevance and this is where more and more informed commentary can be discovered.  As an example Peter Aranyi’s review of the papers that formed part of the Chisholm review into Collins and the head of the SFO provide essential reading and he is performing a job that the main stream media has ignored.  His first post is on Slater’s evidence and his second analyses Collins’ evidence.

Overall I would rate the current year as just like last year only worse for those interested in quality independent media.

This is not a peculiarly New Zealand phenomenon and elsewhere through the Western English speaking world similar issues of corporate control and the slide of the media into irrelevance and bias are occurring.

For instance in Australia Jim Parker in a post titled the business of anger recently made these comments:

A perennial tension in journalism arises from balancing the professional requirement to accurately inform the public and the commercial one to actively engage them.

The destruction of media business models, where classified advertising subsidised across a Chinese wall the quality journalism that attracted the eyeballs, has gradually swung that balance from the professional to the commercial imperatives.

Of course, every journalist wants their work to be seen, shared and remarked on. After all, there are plenty of people on the web and elsewhere writing worthy but dull tomes that bury the lead. (And not all of them are tenured academics).

But in the brutal supply-demand economics of new digital media, where an ever growing surplus of content competes for an ever shrinking quota of attention, the only strategy (garage band style) is to turn up the volume….and bugger the standards.

His conclusion appears to be as relevant in Aotearoa as it is in Australia:

The media wants conflict for its own sake. And it doesn’t just want polite and civil disagreement. It wants desk-thumping, spittle-spraying, shoe-chucking tantrums – whether it be on talkback radio or Q&A. The issues in dispute don’t much matter. It’s anger, fury, hatred, and blind incoherent rage as a business model.

An example is what happened to the Herald this year.  Competent accomplished journalists were sacrificed for those able to generate the most noise and clicks.  Hosking is not only a star because he reflects a business view of the world but every time he says something stupid and invokes a social media backlash the Herald’s bottom line is improved.  The twin imperatives of respecting the corporate view and engaging in click bait journalism is leading us into some pretty ugly places.

But we should also acknowledge that the Herald and its reporters sometimes achieve great good.  For instance this guest article by Jarrod Gilbert on how the Police were attempting to vet the results of his academic study and how he was then deemed to be unfit to conduct research was given prominence by the Herald.  BLiP gave it the treatment it deserved in this post.

The best summary of the year in media was this comment by Kathryn Ryan transcribed by Danyl Mclaughlan.

Politically there’s a complete policy vacuum. Some of the stuff we’re going to talk about today – pony-tail pulling, Colin Craig – frankly it’s just barely worthy of the public’s time. And yet what we’re seeing is a very effective management by the incumbent government of a new media environment. John Key rightly copped a fair bit of criticism for the embarrassing ridiculous situation he walked into on radio stations but if you look at it from a perfectly cynical point of view many of the listeners would be people who are completely disinterested in politics. And what they heard was something that made them laugh and a good guy who showed up and played along with the joke. So the loss of the centralised media and the scandal of the day means that being able to occupy a place in all different parts of the spectrum whatever it takes is not only necessary but very effective and that is very hard for an opposition to counter.

But all is not lost.  As said by Danyl Mclaughlan:

At least the left enjoys full-spectrum dominance of twitter. When the day that pitching hysterical tantrums on social media becomes the key to political power, no one will stop us.

To finish this post I thought that I should repeat David Cunliffe’s recent speech to parliament summarising the damage the independent media has suffered.

Happy new year.

88 comments on “The media in 2015 ”

  1. Paul 1

    10 steps to fascism.
    Naomi Wolff.

    8. Control the press

    Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s – all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.

    You won’t have a shutdown of news in modern America – it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it’s not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can’t tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment

    Other steps include:

    1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy ( terrorism since 2001)
    3. Develop a thug caste ( Glucina, Slater, Hosking, Henry, Lusk. )
    4. Set up an internal surveillance system ( revealed to us by Snowden)
    5. Harass citizens’ groups (problem Gambling foundation….)
    7. Target key individuals ( Mike Joy, John Campbell, Nicky Hager….)
    9. Dissent equals treason ( “get some guts” over Iraq….)
    10. Suspend the rule of law ( Canterbury)

    Key is not a moderate.
    He represents an extreme right ideology.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Key is not a moderate.
      He represents an extreme right ideology.

      QFT

      • Tautuhi 1.1.1

        Too much Natzi interference in the media?

      • Redbaiter 1.1.2

        Key is not a moderate.
        He represents an extreme right ideology.

        Yeah, more people in govt, more debt, more expenditure, more even than Helen Clark.

        All the hallmarks of an extreme right wing zealot.

        FFS…!!

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2.1

          Of course they are: no matter how much lip service you pay to small government, the inevitable result is always the opposite.

          What exactly was Jason Ede for again?

          Not to forget that centre-right governments the world over always need more prison guards and uniforms and willing hands to open and close the gates.

          • Redbaiter 1.1.2.1.1

            Key has taken NZ and the Nats so far left there’s no real political argument any more.

            That is why current affairs/ political shows are dying out.

            There’s nothing to watch or listen to other than silly inter-socialist bickering.

            A complete lack of discussion on real policy.

            Notice what a boost Trump has given to US media, with debates drawing more viewers than ever before?

            Because Trump brings something new to the table.

            In NZ its the same old socialist mashed potatoes every night.

            You guys on the extreme left have, with John Key’s far left help, succeeded in closing down political debate to such an extent that NZ politics is now a complete and utter bore.

            Well done.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Your lower lip is trembling. Whining noises emerge. Someone mentions the yawning credibility chasm that engulfs ‘small government’ advocates, you go all to pieces, and the result is that stream-of-consciousness waffle.

              Take some personal responsibility for a change. Your policy prescriptions achieve the exact opposite of the rhetoric that accompanies them. It’s never too late to admit it and apologise.

            • Kelly-Ned 1.1.2.1.1.2

              Key? Left? Far left? Really? Yeh right!!
              I think you have lost you sense of direction!!

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Redbaiter affects an “extreme right” belief set, whereby Key must be a leftie because his government provides (after a fashion – mostly via flailing incompetence and corruption) some social services.

              • Redbaiter

                I think anyone saying that Key is far right really has a mental problem.

                I’ve already explained above how by means of the size of govt, expenditure and debt NZ is further left today than it ever was under Helen Clark.

                It is the opposite of what anyone far right would have done.

                If Key was far right he would have cut the public service numbers by at least 30%, reduced govt expenditure to at least 75% of what it was under Clark and been at least concerned with paying off NZ’s $100 billion worth of debt.

                He hasn’t done any of this. Because all he is is Helen Clark in a suit.

                He’s Barack Obama’s best golfing buddy for Chrissake.

                You need to read some of that old commie Erich Fromm, who said-

                “The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.”

                I repeat, it is insane to classify the champagne socialist John Key as “far right”. He is a weak and ineffective typically far left socialist leader interested only in his own ambitions.

                • ropata

                  Key isn’t libertarian right, he’s authoritarian right.
                  http://www.politicalcompass.org/nz2014

                  But compared with the corporate puppets running the US government, perhaps JK appears left to those who spend too much time watching Alex Jones
                  http://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2012

                • Chris

                  Key is further to the right than the most radical ACT party supporters. The difference is that he knows fast wholesale reform doesn’t work so it’s all by stealth, mostly via gradual but steady and deliberate shift in cultural values, shutting down dissent, dumbing down of citizens role in shaping political/cultural/economic direction etc. If Key could achieve this overnight he would.

            • Tautuhi 1.1.2.1.1.3

              Red what are you smoking?

    • North 1.2

      The ‘muddying’ has become the ‘New Black’. Emblematic of that Hosking sighs and Henry snorts in belittling attack launched on those who demur. To demur on virtually any score is characterised on a scale from not-cool to risibly stupid to utterly outrageous. Forget the occasional sharp word directed Key’s way. That’s ‘balance’. Notionally, Key offers us the opiate of ‘a beer’ with his self-made fifty mill’. “Oh Wow ! I just know it’ll rub off !” Meanwhile dark shit is creeping.

      The methodology was always ready and waiting. Why else was Key ‘imported’ in the early 2000s ? Forget the false political provenance constructed to impart credibility making the rise explicable. 13 years old, thumping the state house kitchen table – “I’m gonna be prime minister one day”. Yeah right !

      No…..this gauche, characterless figure was brought here to do a job. To normalise surrender to the quintessential greed of those who own and direct corporatism. To make that the ‘New Black’.

      A very, very unhappy picture which once I’d never have believed. Seems patent now, sadly.

      • Paul 1.2.1

        Key is the front man for the extreme right, promoting the expansion of the neo-liberal ideology in New Zealand.

        • Tautuhi 1.2.1.1

          The sale of NZ Inc to corporate interests is almost complete we only have the housing stocks and farmland to go? Neo liberal economics and experiment has been very successful for the chosen few here in NZ who have been the primary beneficaries of State Asset Sales.

          However the majority of New Zealanders are oblivious to what has been going on, Winston Peters is the only politican who has stood his ground on this issue from day one. Are we a better country from the sale of State Assets – NO !!!

      • Invisiphilia 1.2.2

        What a well constructed and poetic comment!

  2. sabine 2

    Don’t watch the shit box. Essentially that is the key. Don’t listen to radio, cause frankly the days of good music DJ’s are gone, and you might aswell just stream. If a movie is needed, there are dvd’s, downloads and the movie theaters.

    but the shit box? why would anyone turn it on?

    • Bill 2.1

      All that’s fine and I basically agree with the sentiments and thoughts, but…and it’s quite a big ‘but’…when information is fragmented, non-descript and puerile, how do we ever get beyond this bullshit of no-one really knowing anything or understanding anything and of our unaccountable ‘masters’ getting away with selling soap as they stack up piles of very bad shit everywhere?

      At least when it was traditional for families to sit down to watch the 6 O’Clock snooze, there was a degree of, if not accountability for individual acts, then an on-going attempt to justify the wider political underpinnings and direction of society.

      Now, well…what a thoroughly fucked up state of affairs it is when ‘the powers that be’ don’t even really have to bother their heads with any vaguely informed propaganda. Could it be that the art of control has finally been honed and perfected through the roll-out of fragmented chaos and nonsense?

      • sabine 2.1.1

        i think first needs to come the disconnection from the noise. I remember well the times when we all sat and watched the 8:00pm news at home and then would discuss the events shown.

        By allowing ourselfs some quiet time and a noise free environment, and maybe a book or two we can gather our thoughts and re-calibre our morals and our needs and our wants.
        As really this is what is out of whack, wants have replaced needs, and in order to get what we want we do away with morals, and then suddenly we get leader like Greed is Good Reagan, History won’t judge cause i am gonna be dead then Bush the second, she has a tantalising ponytail Key. And normally people would see them for what they are, and even if they did, its good, the tv says so, the radio says so heck even the internet said so, the video games say so, the end justifies the means. and winning is everything even if it costs the planet or the business or the country.

        So yeah, first step is to kill the shit box. Refuse to watch the garbage. there is always downloads, independent news and such online.

        The powers that are never bothered about appearances in the first place, the only thing now is that they are not hiding their contempt any more, but instead are preaching to their followers that it is ok to despise and vilify others, make fun of the disabled, ridicule and insult the beneficiary (even if that is family or elders) and so on and so on. It allows them to hide the fact that they are the only ones winning, but for some at least depending on the group that they are in they too can abuse and control. (And that is one reason i believe this current government is so glib about domestic violence…..its the biblical ownership of chattel belonging to the head of the household thing….)

        • Bill 2.1.1.1

          Okay.

          So I killed the ‘shit box’ as you call it some years back. I take sweet fuck all to do with most msm beyond reading some UK newspapers to get a feel for what the latest crap is….what I mean by that is that I’m a kind of dispassionate observer of most of what they report. (Yes, I’ll try to drill into some stuff by searching this here net and applying whatever capacity for critical analysis I possess) Add to that my ‘world view’ or politics is mostly based on personal experience and just thinking things through, rather than being based on books or grand political theory.

          But most people, and not necessarily through choice, never had or will have the space or time that befell the likes of me – that allowed me to form or develop a reasonably independent and critical evaluation of the world.

          Most of us ‘receive’ our views or opinions and are then bound by our acceptance or reactive rejection of whatever is placed in front of us.

          So what’s the way forward when no-one has time and all that’s presented is smash? Is this going to be our lot….?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxVNydFrBqc

          Or lecturers not going to Otago University because of some obviously bollocks ‘newsboard’ message (Yes, I read it and it really was obvious bullshit)

          http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/286418/police-receive-tips-on-otago-university-threat

          Or 1000 schools in Los Angeles being shut down for much the same bullshit reason?

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/12052028/Los-Angeles-closes-all-schools-due-to-electronic-threat-live.html

          And we run and we run because….well, because we’ve a fucked capacity with which to evaluate the world because all we feed one another is shit and soap?

          • greywarshark 2.1.1.1.1

            More shit than soap. Mud wrestling is equal or perhaps superior as a subject for the front page of a newspaper while the world is bombed into obscurity.

      • One Two 2.1.2

        Could it be that the art of control has finally been honed and perfected through the roll-out of fragmented chaos and nonsense?

        Yes

        The techniques have been developed over an extended period of time and honed aggressively over the past 60 odd years

        Knighthoods to the likes of Crosby serve to substantiate the existence & perceived success of the operations waged against the human psyche

    • David H 2.2

      Well a 42″ is great for shooting things on. But watch actual Free to air tv? Only the kiddy shows for my 4.5 year old. They have taken off all morning shows and filled all channels up with infomercial crap from about 10 am. Great now all the children are home on holidays (Thank who/whatever it’s fine) So turn on the shit box ? yep to play movies for my son.

  3. Paul 3

    Shadows of Liberty

  4. Paul 4

    Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite
    George Monbiot

    ‘If you think the news is balanced, think again. Journalists who should challenge power are doing its dirty work.’

    ‘Those entrusted to challenge power are the loyalists of power. They rage against social media and people such as Russell Brand, without seeing that the popularity of alternatives is a response to their own failures: their failure to expose the claims of the haut monde, their failure to enlist a diversity of opinion, their failure to permit the audience to see that another world is possible. If even the public sector broadcasters parrot the talking points of the elite, what hope is there for informed democratic choice?’

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/20/broadcasters-mouthpieces-of-elite-balanced-news-journalists

  5. Paul 5

    John Pilger.

    ‘We all live in an information age – or so we tell each other as we caress our smart phones like rosary beads, heads down, checking, monitoring, tweeting. We’re wired; we’re on message; and the dominant theme of the message is ourselves. Identity is the zeitgeist. A lifetime ago in ‘Brave New World’, Aldous Huxley predicted this as the ultimate means of social control because it was voluntary, addictive and shrouded in illusions of personal freedom. Perhaps the truth is that we live not in an information age but a media age. Like the memory of Mandela, the media’s wondrous technology has been hijacked. From the BBC to CNN, the echo chamber is vast.’

    http://johnpilger.com/articles/is-media-just-another-word-for-control

    ‘Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?

    Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

    These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.

    The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.

    The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.’

    http://johnpilger.com/articles/war-by-media-and-the-triumph-of-propaganda

    • RedLogix 5.1

      – a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.’

      Christ on a bike … Pilger can write.

  6. Paul 6

    Chris Hedges
    The Myth of the Free Press

    ‘The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism. They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia. The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses. The corporations, which own the press, hire journalists willing to be courtiers to the elites, and they promote them as celebrities. These journalistic courtiers, who can earn millions of dollars, are invited into the inner circles of power. ‘

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_myth_of_the_free_press_20141026

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    I wonder how the Right would cope if the Left used Lusk’s playbook for a bit – incessant hyperaggressive fact free invective on everything right of centre. Might not be effective but very theraputic.

    • CR 7.1

      The right would pull out a big-ass can of “Labour does it too” and forever refer back to the example, to justify their own nasty behaviour.

      Better to be true to ourselves and continue to rise above it.

      • mickysavage 7.1.1

        Key did use the line that Labour did it too when talking about Dirty Politics. He did not care that it was not true …

  8. NZJester 8

    I guess the Brownshirts like Slater an co are becoming a liability to the National Socialist Party and their days are numbered.

  9. thechangeling 9

    Cunliffe’s speech was damn good. Wasn’t on the main stream TV news was it? It covered too much that was thought provoking and relevant rather than emotive, sensationalist or headline grabbing.

    • Hami Shearlie 9.1

      Agreed, possibly the best political speech in 2015! Must have had many squirming from many parties!

      • Anne 9.1.1

        And the saddest part… Cunliffe was subsequently demoted although I have no idea whether that speech contributed. I’m waiting for an opportunity to speak to someone who might be able to shed some light on that Caucus demotion.

        • RedLogix 9.1.1.1

          Most interested as well Anne.

          This almost permanent wedging of the left in the country is all that keeps Key in power. It’s not an accident, it’s the result of careful political and media management by Key and his enormous team of minders.

          Whether the Labour caucus has been coerced into being complicit, or whether it’s been covertly co-opted is something I’ve often wondered about. Certainly the blatant right-wing panic over Cunliffe’s brief ascendancy can only be read as one big fat tell.

          • Anne 9.1.1.1.1

            This almost permanent wedging of the left in the country is all that keeps Key in power. It’s not an accident, it’s the result of careful political and media management by Key and his enormous team of minders.

            Bang on! But the moment some of us dare to suggest such insidious machinations, we are accused of being deranged conspiracy theorists – sometimes from those who are also [supposedly] on the Left of the spectrum. And the more the supporting evidence piles up, the louder the screams of “conspiracy, conspiracy” become.

            • Sacha 9.1.1.1.1.1

              We do not need conspiracy to explain ongoing political incompetence from Labour’s back office and caucus, sadly. Not as exciting an explanation but easier to solve when that party is ready.

              • Invisiphilia

                The problem as I see it is partly one of funding. The Labour Party won’t attract corporate money of course because they are for the workers and for more freedom of the press. under the Nats NZ has become the back yard playground of the US. There is no way in hell they will let an independent thinker such as Cunliffe lead the way.

          • tracey 9.1.1.1.2

            Agree 100%

          • Ad 9.1.1.1.3

            Cunliffe’s comprehensive defeat (electorally, in activists, and in caucus) rules out any strong leftward shift in Labour or coalition for at least a decade.

            • Stuart Munro 9.1.1.1.3.1

              Meh – prior to Key the Gnats weren’t going anywhere for decades – but a few months later everything changed.

              Strong leftward shifts could readily come from:

              A global economic crisis

              Success of any kind by Corbyn, SNP, Trudeau, or Sanders.

              Disaffection – third termitis

              Decapitation – tragic loss of Gnat leadership to campylobacteriosis, leptospirosis, trichinellosis, scale rot, or the rage virus

              A public response to the naming of the Gnat equivalent of Hastur the Unspeakable

              Just to name a few

  10. joe90 10

    Sounds familiar.

    What these people so dear to us fail to understand is that Fox News is not only uninterested in being fair and balanced; it is also uninterested in being a reliable source of news. That’s because Fox News is playing a zero-sum political game in which every major news story is an opportunity to use their viewers as pawns to advance the power and agenda of the most extremist ideology of the Republican Party.

    http://www.autostraddle.com/this-is-how-fox-news-brainwashes-its-viewers-our-in-depth-investigation-of-the-propaganda-cycle-297107/

  11. Ad 11

    +100 mickey

    Ryan was on form there, and instructive for an Opposition.

  12. BM 12

    There is a policy vacuum because John Key has redefined what government is.

    Government is no longer politics, it’s management.

    Have a look at this picture of what is considered good management, John Key ticks most of these and it’s why he’s so successful.

    http://iforce.co.nz/i/w0cgn3qm.mo4.jpg

    • thechangeling 12.1

      Except they’re all superficial ideas even more so the way Key extorts them.

    • Ad 12.2

      Don’t be fooled.
      He’s achieved much, just more quietly.

      His policy secret is English.

      • BM 12.2.1

        Best way to do it.
        Boil those frogs.

        • tracey 12.2.1.1

          Yes but again you showed you operate from a shallow position BM. There is no policy vacuum as you suggest just policies being enacted while using other issues as smokescreens to let them through largely unnoticed.

          So at 12 you say there is a policy vacuum and give your reasons or evidence and then at 12.2.1 you agree he has achieved much *but quietly). So there is not a policy vacuum

      • Stuart Munro 12.2.2

        Yep – but none of it in the public interest or loyal to NZ.

        He’s a high performing traitor.

    • Pat 12.3

      and management for the corporates, not the populace

    • North 12.4

      You may not realise it BM but your comment exemplifies the methodology designed to advance that always sought – normalisation of surrender by the many to the interests of the few. And Lo……you do it in faux technical, wise person standing back, terms. Further exemplification !

      • tracey 12.4.1

        I agree, BM is an archetypal example of a precise and orchestrated strategy of manipulation by this Government. That he doesn’t realise it is nothing to do with him being stupid or voting national but the result of a deliberate plan. Of course, it has been pointed out to him a few times and he continues, as is his choice. But he is the perfect absorber of propaganda

        • McGrath 12.4.1.1

          That’s a bit of a call to suggest that National have undertaken some evil Machiavellian scheme to convert BM (and the public in general). What happened to simple ‘Freedom of Choice’ between the various political parties? To say otherwise insults the intelligence of the voters.

  13. Tautuhi 13

    MSM is absolute shite here in NZ, we are fed tripe on a daily basis, the Key cheerleaders in the Nanny Herald makes you wonder whether they are on the National Party Payroll, since Muldoon in the 70’s this country has been steered down the wrong path. However these politicans are put on pedestals by the media, critical investigative journalism is dead in NZ.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      MSM is absolute shite here in NZ

      QFT

      The comparison with Australia is stark. Sure The Australian and The Herald Sun are awful rags, but at least there is real balance elsewhere.

      Frankly the sooner The Guardian, for all it’s faults, can be persuaded to take an interest in NZ the better.

  14. Your pants were dropped when you said this : “While on the left we celebrated the fitting conclusion of the right’s attempt to manipulate the media for their benefit the basic fact is that overall the media has been damaged and is worse off because of what has happened. There has to be a better way.”
    You immediately showed your approach and political context.
    For the record, I consider that the Government should ask for a Royal Commissioner to investigate the political bias of the Main Stream Media in New Zealand as well as the syllabus of the academic institutions who train them so as to identify the extent of the infiltration of those institutions by socialist doctrine. The MSM enjoy some special privileges in law, but those privileges exist solely at the will of the people. It is timely for the majority of MSM journalists to understand they have gone too far, and reflect on the alternatives. The pursuit of truth, integrity, examination of the position of all sides in a controversial subject and down right honesty is needed from our “overseas owned” media. Think about it?

    • Anne 14.1

      Do correct me if I have got the somewhat confusing comment wrong bjmarsh1, but are you trying to say that:

      Paul Henry,
      Mike Hosking,
      Paddy Gower,
      the JK fan club at the Herald in particular John Roughan
      Claire Trevitt
      Tracey Watkins
      Fran O’Sullivan
      to name just the better known.

      are a bunch of left wing socialists?

      • mickysavage 14.1.1

        😀

        I had to let that comment through …

        • In Vino 14.1.1.1

          Yes, excellent riposte to a comment of drivel.
          “Socialist doctrine infiltrating our institutions?” O di immortales! I think this guy must look under his bed every night for Reds. And imagine that he sees them.

      • North 14.1.2

        Oh Jesus. B… J.. Marsh1 – ‘something must be done about the infiltrating SOCIALISTS…..!’

        Another exemplification of the power of the methodology to which BM has fallen……delivery more tyrannical in pitch than BM’s though.

        You could swallow amendment of the Evidence Act could you BJ ? Detractors then bound to cough up all when dragged before Key’s Stasi ?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1.2.1

          BJMarsh’s witch hunt is already in progress throughout the public sector. I have no doubt that the evidence act will need to be amended, where defunding the justice system doesn’t get the desired results.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.2

      Define ‘Socialist doctrine’.

      Your proposed Royal Commission would be a biased and pre-determined farce. This can easily be seen by the fact that its terms of reference are so constrained.

      Since I doubt your ability to ‘think about it’, I’ll simply note that Micky Savage’s opinion is backed by specific and easily verifiable examples, and yours: assertions and invective, which after all, is all you’ve got 😆

    • tracey 14.3

      ” I consider that the Government should ask for a Royal Commissioner to investigate the political bias of the Main Stream Media in New Zealand as well as the syllabus of the academic institutions who train ”

      Please provide the kind of examples you would use to persuade Parliament to issue the enquiry.

      Like this one for example

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/276812/more-scientists-complain-of-gagging

      oh, wait a minute…

      • One Anonymous Bloke 14.3.1

        Criticising the government is Socialism. Presenting evidence that contradicts government messages is Socialism. Expecting ministers to be accountable is Socialism. Freedom of speech and assembly are Socialism.

        The rule of law is Socialism.

        • ropata 14.3.1.1

          whereas disinformation, exploitation, cronyism, and covert control of the levers of government are the hallmarks of Capitalism, especially the dirty version practiced in NZ since 1984

  15. Incognito 15

    ”Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past”

    This quote by George Orwell comes to (my) mind upon reading this post. National has made it more than an ‘innocent’ habit to blame Helen Clark and the previous Labour Governments for all sorts, even when they are blatantly and factually wrong. It is as if they are trying to rewrite History, i.e. “controlling the past”.

    National, John Key in particular, dominates (in) the MSM as well as (on) blogs but possibly less so (on) Twitter although it/he always seems to be the subject of conversation. John Key has something to say on almost anything, no matter how trivial it seems; this is mirrored by people like Paul Henry and Mike Hosking, for example, and they take up all air time (Michelle Boag?), suck up all oxygen (Michelle Boag?), and create a lot of noise (take your pick). In some way, this is akin “controlling the present”.

    While on Orwell, does anybody agree that many Ministers and the PM practice “doublethink” and “doublespeak”? Even John Key’s ‘moments of amnesia’ could be considered “doublethink”. This “doublethink” evidently extends to many who think John Key is the best that’s ever happened to NZ, to many journalists and others who work for MSM (the usual suspects), and to the well-known army of John Key sycophants and adorers (some of which do comment here on TS often in their usual and thus so predictable drive-by shooting style).

    Are these good examples:

    1) Making KDC and his “little henchmen” look like the bad guys and thereby exonerating National from everything presented in The Moment of Truth?

    2) Making Nicky Hager look like a criminal and thereby getting off DP scot-free?

    3) Accusing the Opposition of being supporters of rapists and thereby appearing to be doing the right thing regarding Kiwis (but not a single rapist!) detained on Christmas Island?

    • tracey 15.1

      Clark pretty much dominated the media in her time as PM too.

      • Incognito 15.1.1

        You could well be right although I don’t remember her being quite as omnipresent as John Key. I also don’t remember anything like the overwhelming and almost suffocating sycophantic support National and John Key are enjoying in the media though it could be that I have a selective memory.

        Many of the workings and machinations of the current National Government show similarities with the previous Labour-led ones, which is not really all that surprising. Just like there are many similarities between mice and elephants, in reference to a comment by fisiani yesterday.

        For some light reading on mice and elephants try How Much Elephant Is In That Mouse? and Mouse to elephant? Just wait 24 million generations.

        • Tracey 15.1.1.1

          I dont recall her having sycophantic media support the whole time but as PM she got lots of air time and “go to” by media. She wasnt much on private radio stations but was at least once on radiosport.

        • Tracey 15.1.1.2

          I dont recall her having sycophantic media support the whole time but as PM she got lots of air time and “go to” by media. She wasnt much on private radio stations but was at least once on radiosport.

    • Tautuhi 15.2

      It will be a Crosby Textor brief chew up as much oxygen as possible and create diversions and distractions, I wonder whether Lynn Crosby will be knighted here in NZ as well as the UK.

      • Incognito 15.2.1

        “Doubleknighted” is something possibly even Orwell hadn’t thought of, i.e. knighted for services not delivered to society and mankind. I like it!

  16. Wainwright 16

    Great post but god it’s boring bashing on the Twitter types. Little did it in his conference speech too, diminished the power of everything he said around it.

    • ropata 16.1

      twitter is the opposite of the MSM dinosaurs, it’s a stream of collective consciousness, and it makes traditional media look extremely stodgy

  17. Whispering Kate 17

    Was watching Al jazeera this morning on TV, the terrible flooding in South America and York in the UK. A resident of York was telling a roving reporter that the city had been promised extra funds for flooding prevention and it had been insufficient. He said that Cameron the PM had been praising/boasting on TV how wonderful and efficient the troops were and the Government agencies – Police etc, at assisting in the rescue of citizens from their homes etc – but the PM had not been admitting they had been systematically undercutting funds towards future flooding and was not providing what was necessary – the citizen was saying that you never hear the truth from the Government and literally it was just hollow words people heard. The problem is world-wide with our information via MSM.

    Citizens will be bringing back the old printing presses and going underground with their news. Uprisings will be much harder to achieve by the disgruntled in our modern times as the crowd control mechanisms are too sophisticated and lethal. We’re all f…….. if you ask me. Its going to take someone very talented to tackle the right-wing control of the media in our times. Children are also being brain washed in schools right through to Uni level as well so I believe the rot has set in.

  18. Smilin 18

    “The police raid on Nicky Hager reached an appropriate conclusion, at least for now, with Justice Clifford determining that the police behaviour was “fundamentally unlawful”. I expect there will be appeals but I predict that the basis of the decision should survive as the breach was too egregious.”
    As I read that the contention level from surmising how Key is over it I feel is something we should keep an I on as to how he will try to pervert the legality of the decision in the future .
    His govt has already eroded much of what we have in basic legal standards

    • Tautuhi 18.1

      Still haven’t heard anything on Jason Eade hacking the Labour Party website, does he still work in the Beehive with the National Party?

      • tracey 18.1.1

        he resigned the friday before our last election…. but of course it wasn’t announced til Monday

  19. kingslander 19

    shades of the nazis
    ;
    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  20. tc 20

    RNZ is fixed already so great place to park Campbell, Forbes etc as they starve it of appearances and keep that lot away from the air anyways unless harmless out of cycle stuff.

    The shows that can damage them are fronted by friendly sorts like gluon and suze and in the big scheme it’s not impacts muddle NZ.

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