I don’t want to jinx things, but it seems to me that there’s been a shift this year at RNZ in the range of commentators and guests they are using.
We’ve all been complaining for a while about the dearth of solid left wing voices in mainstream media commentary positions. There are a few people around, but more often the voices are conservative and/or mainstream to the exclusion of a large number of people and views in New Zealand.
I want an RNZ, and a public broadcaster, that aims for diversity not middle of the road. I stopped listening to The Panel a long time ago because I don’t like yelling at the radio that much. The odd time I hear it now is when I’m in the car. I’m sure I miss some good conversations, but overall for me The Panel has been largely classist white noise. There’s only so much mainstream people talking about things outside their ken that one can take – when you have conversations about people but never hear from the people themselves you risk turning them into objects. This object objects.
So it was delightful and refreshing to hear a left wing, feminist, class-aware voice on the radio the other day.
I’m sure we’re going to hear about how it’s the end of the world now that RNZ is doing and going to do all sorts of interesting things to increase its public broadcaster remit, but it’s not like left wing people have been asking for left wing commentators only. We just want some balance. I’m not talking only about left/right balance by the way, I’m talking about bringing in the relevant perspectives across the different political landscapes and giving them all an airing.
Here’s a snip from Rodgers, when discussing Christchurch City Council’s decision against a by-law to regulate sex workers using a street in Christchurch to find clients.
In terms of the family who was being moved because their daughter was regularly being propositioned, that doesn’t tell me anything about the sex workers nearby. It tells me a lot about the men who are paying them for sex and who are propositioning young women. I don’t know what that family is going to do if their daughter decides to into tech, or the military, or show business, or politics, because you can’t move planets to get away from sexual harassment by men.
Go Stephanie! I was almost cheering for the sheer relief of having a refreshing political voice that is on point and not afraid to be bold in progressive politics. Rodgers also pointed out that in this debate the Panel was missing the voices of sex-workers themselves.
Looking good at the Panel, keep up the good work RNZ.