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The role of the media

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, November 25th, 2010 - 91 comments
Categories: Ethics, Media - Tags:

What is the role of the media in a democracy? Is it to inform? Is it to make money? Is “the public’s right to know” paramount, or can other factors, such as respecting the wishes of a grieving family, take precedence? Who decides what the public wants to know anyway?

I know, I know, earnest volumes have been written on such subjects, and will be written again. But I was moved to ponder these questions again by the following report from the Greymouth Star (see also The Herald):

Mine crisis: Pushy journalists invoke anger

Pushy journalists in Greymouth to cover the Pike River Mine disaster have tried posing as Air New Zealand victim support workers just to get a foot in the door of the homes of distressed families.

There are also reports of some news agencies opening their cheque books to get people to talk, with media from all over the world fighting for stories and video footage.

Inspector Brigitte Nimmo, police welfare co-ordinator, told the Greymouth Star the antics of some media groups were “despicable”.

“It is very disturbing that the media can behave in this manner and I have seen first-hand the effect it is having on the families.” …

As the days wear on, journalists, who want to break stories or get exclusives with family members who have loved ones trapped underground, are resorting to extreme measures to be first with the story.

Mrs Nimmo said it to had to stop.

Sadly, our current answers to the questions that started this post seem to be all wrong. The media (with some honourable exceptions) exists to make money. It uses “the public’s right to know” as a supposed justification for any kind of rapacious behaviour. And those deciding the direction of the media, what it is that they tell us that we need to know, are driven by advertisers, focus groups, and the small elite who own it all.

The behaviour of some of the journalists covering Pike River, as reported above, is an example of all that is wrong with the media taken to the very worst of its extremes. I can see the problem, but (short of gratuitous violence) I can’t see the solution. Any ideas? Or are the light and dark sides of the media simply inseparable?

91 comments on “The role of the media ”

  1. ianmac 1

    Wonder where those pushy “journalists” are when questions need to be asked like “Where is Pansy Wong?”
    I guess the money will lead journalists to get the Scoop, especially free-lance ones and those who buy and read the scoop are also responsible.

    • freedom 1.1

      i asked that very question in comments on the ‘Tv has got mining reporting right’ article over at the Dom. Was completely amazed it actually got published

    • Swampy 1.2

      Pansy Wong is entitled to privacy too.

      Sorry but this post just reinforces the impression that politicians will not touch the press because they get so much publicity through them.

  2. Alan 2

    Your quote from the Grey Star article stopped too soon – “School gates around Greymouth have also been closed tight and many have teachers on guard constantly to ensure the pupils are not hounded by reporters.
    Some schools report having had journalists loitering around the school gates attempting to interview children.”

    I was at the Greymouth Hospital, Tuesday morning. They had the doors locked, “to keep the bloody media out!”

    When are these ghouls going to fuck off and leave us alone?

    • Vicky32 2.1

      Someone, probably Bridgette Nimmo was critical of the journalists when talking to Kathryn Ryan this morning – later on, Ryan was defending journalists, (as of course she would.) I would have liked to hear her acknowledge the complaints, at the least…
      Deb

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    I can see the problem, but (short of gratuitous violence) I can’t see the solution. Any ideas?

    Publicly funded journalists with a charter to report actual news (politics, weather, stuff that is “need to know”) removing the need for profit. Throw in some rules such as don’t approach the grief stricken and we might get a news service that actually keeps us informed.

    • D14 3.1

      >>I can see the problem, but (short of gratuitous violence) I can’t see the solution. Any ideas?

      Re the ‘journalists’ staking out the schools and hospitals.
      Take their photos and tell them unless they leave the photo will be published on a popular blog with an explanation of what they were doing.

    • KJT 3.2

      I always had a bit of sympathy for Bob Jones when a Journalist tracked him down to his fly fishing spot.

    • Swampy 3.3

      Doesn’t remove the professional pride that most journalists have regardless of who they work for. Even on National Radio you can’t convince me that presenters like Kim Hill and the media watch guy aren’t on there to advance their own political agenda. You only have to look at jumped up jerks like John Campbell (who was responsible for some of the press conference harrassment) to see that many journalists regard themselves as some sort of white knights and the free press as the guardians of democracy. I suppose the fact so many big name journalists these days are media personalities has a bit to do with it.

      • Vicky32 3.3.1

        I completely agree regarding John Campbell! I have always seen him as a, to quote Queen “a self-loving boy” with delusions of grandeur…
        Deb

    • Geoff 3.4

      Some of the journo’s in Greymouth are publically funded – they work for Radio NZ . And I’ve listened to them this week just reporting the facts and avoiding wallowing in anyone’s personal tragedy.

      Commercial radio and Tv are desperate for the ratings, and that desperation comes through in their actions this week.

  4. Bill 4

    What is this with Air New Zealand victim support? Is Air New Zealand employing aid workers? Or do Air New Zealand have some permanent response unit? How developed is any such unit if such a unit exists? Is it nascent or fully fledged? Finally, is an Air New Zealand victim support presence an indication of the thin edge of a wedge whereby disaster responses will be increasingly privatised?

    From my perspective there is a world of difference between corporates donating logistical or financial support to aid agencies such as the Red Cross or rescue teams or victim support agencies and private corporate being the support.

    Investigation of any hint of privatisation of disaster responses would be a worthy focus of media, ’cause any move to privatise disaster response, or aspects of disaster response opens up whole cans of worms. It was for good reasons that emergency and disaster responses were put under public control in the first place.

    • KJT 4.1

      All airlines maintain a network of victim support people on contract.
      I do not see anything wrong with Air NZ donating that support as they did in this case.

      There is a lot wrong with the corporate culture, but they are made up of people and sometimes they do good things.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        Companies having internal response units is fine. Hell, a person with a first aid certificate in a workplace is valuable.

        But if a company is unnecessarily replicating existing publicly funded services in the field of general disasters or in disasters unrelated to their operations, then I think questions of motive and questions relating to the consequences of corporate replication (replacement?) of publicly funded services over the medium and long term need to be posed.

        Meantime, all I’m getting punted to me is a misleading meta message (if that’s the correct term) that Air New Zealand is a corporate with a well developed social conscience that values and cares for people.

        • KJT 4.1.1.1

          They maintain the network because it may be needed in their operations.

          Helping in this case is an example of corporate social responsibility which should be encouraged, not rubbished. I

          If they can point to some brand advertising to help justify the expense to harder nosed money men that is not in itself bad.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1

            In a parallel situation, if BP actually had the emergency response resources they said they had, Deepwater Horizon would have gone quite a bit better.

            We are in a system which needs buffers and redundant systems for resilience and robustness against sentinel -ve events (‘Black Swans’ if you will).If corporates can contribute to that framework of robustness (ie not take away from that framework to cause fragility) then all and good.

      • rich 4.1.2

        Primarily for when a plane falls out the sky.

        Unless it’s Ryanair in which case you get an email along the lines of:
        “your rellie pegged it in our plane disaster. Harden the fuck up and get over it. If you want us to fly the remains back, it’ll be $150. Plus $20 for a bag”

    • freedom 4.2

      Air New Zealand Victim Support has a fair experience of Industrial/Commercial disasters involving mass death, so there is a logic to the use of their team, but i personally want to see any and every media employee who was party to this criminal charade to be charged and met with the full weight of the law

  5. freedom 5

    the solution is very very simple

    stop buying their media
    stop watching their broadcasts
    stop supporting their advertisers

    it is like John said
    war is over if we want it

    • Swampy 5.1

      Hear hear. I stopped buying newspapers a long time ago. The newspapr is full of gratuitous breach of privacy and a lot of whining.

      • lprent 5.1.1

        And I can read the interesting bits online without the garbage (and that does include disposing them).

        Bloody hell – something we agree on?

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    “I can see the problem, but (short of gratuitous violence) I can’t see the solution. Any ideas? ”

    ungratuitous violence + jury trial = walk.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    For starters, the media academics and senior journos should start speaking up about the problem culture in NZ media. Pretty tough for pollies to since the journos can pump oxygen into a pollies room or suck it out…nevertheless it has to be done.

    The left wing needs to own its own MSM.

    • burt 7.1

      The left wing needs to own its own MSM.

      Yes yes indeed, the last highly successful example of open and honest communication and the awesome power house economy that it sprung from are an excellent example of what your ideology could deliver for NZ.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pravda

      Just a thought, perhaps you could list the strong socialist economies that prove your ideology is worth pursuing. Just the first 10-15 examples will be sufficient.

      • jimmy 7.1.1

        Something along the lines of the Guardian was what CV was probably thinking burt, and for strong social democratic economies the nordic countries do pretty well for themselves. Try again…

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1

          NZ was doing pretty well as well – until the 4th Labour government threw it out when capitalism began collapsing in developed countries.

        • burt 7.1.1.2

          NZ was a basket case when the 4th Labour govt went about it’s radical reforms – or are you thinking they radically changed a whole pile of shit becasue it was working well?

          • KJT 7.1.1.2.1

            Really. That was Neo-lib shock doctrine. Propaganda. The proportion of National income owed as debt was much less than NACT are ok with now.

            They radically changed a whole lot and caused an even bigger pile of shit which we will be dealing with for generations to come.

            • burt 7.1.1.2.1.1

              <history_rewrite>Right you are, the urgent devaluation of our currency was just for fun, the passing of new laws to make sure that power was transferred predictably after Muldoon wouldn’t let the incoming govt do what needed to done was just for fun and hey… Socialism works…</history_rewrite>

            • burt 7.1.1.2.1.2

              rOb

              Perhaps you could add some more detail of how Muldoon was significantly less than honest about the state of the economy at that time and how dire the situation we were in really was as a result of Muldoon’s leadership which although under a “National” banner was probably significantly more left wing than any left wing party we have today.

              • KJT

                Since when was Muldoon a socialist?
                Didn’t have much time for him either. Just one of a long line of incompetent politicians, but he was at least more honest than the current crew.

                The situation is much more dire now after right wing neo-lib policies since then.

                NACT borrowing for election bribes and welfare to the rich is eerily similar to Muldoon’s policies.

                • Gosman

                  “Since when was Muldoon a socialist?”

                  Since when he massively involved the NZ State in attempting to industrialise the country via Think Big, attempted to control prices and wages via legislation, and effectively put the productive sector on welfare through misguided policies like SMP’s.

                  Please tell me how providing Production subsidies to our productive sector and slapping on price controls isn’t a left wing policy prescription? It certainly isn’t a right wing one.

                  • KJT

                    Why are NACT doing it for movies now?

                    Think big was not wrong. Many of those things paid off. Unfortunately mostly after the private sector aquired them at fire sale prices.

                    Giving payouts to cronies and their voters to keep themselves in power may be against right wing philosophy, but they always do it!

                    • Gosman

                      Excuse me but I believe production support/subsidies to particular sectors of the economy isn’t contrary to left wing political thought processes. However it is completely anathema to free market policies.

                      Of course you would think ‘Think Big’ wasn’t wrong. You are by definition a person from the left of the political spectrum. The policies are therefore attractive to you as they are left wing in nature.

                      Hence Muldoon was practicing socialist policies even though he was supposedly from a center right political party. The Fourth Labour government practiced right wing policies even though it was a left leaning political party.

                      It isn’t that hard for you to comprehend is it?

                    • KJT

                      “Hence Muldoon was practicing socialist policies even though he was supposedly from a center right political party. The Fourth Labour government practiced right wing policies even though it was a left leaning political party”.

                      Don’t know what argument you are in.

                      We all know that.

                      “Free marketers” principals disappear very rapidly when it is too their advantage.

                      In fact the last thing they want is a truly free market. They want a market where they are free to make as much money as they like, but freedoms which interfere with that, such as the individuals right to withdraw their Labour are severely curtailed.

                    • KJT

                      “Of course you would think ‘Think Big’ wasn’t wrong. You are by definition a person from the left of the political spectrum. The policies are therefore attractive to you as they are left wing in nature”.

                      Think big was fine also from the right wing view that overall they made more than the money invested. Unfortunately the real returns were hidden by transfer pricing and they were sold so cheaply that the investors, us, did not get their money back.

                    • Gosman

                      “In fact the last thing they want is a truly free market. They want a market where they are free to make as much money as they like, but freedoms which interfere with that, such as the individuals right to withdraw their Labour are severely curtailed.”

                      Once again you spectactularly fail to understand the other side of the political divide’s views and misrepresent them.

                      I think you will find that many on the right’s arguments about withdrawal of labour is that collusion in the supply of labour is as bad as collusion in any supply arrangement. Hence just as monopolies in say food production should be discouraged so too should monopoly control over labour.

                  • burt

                    KJT

                    You could just say ‘ooops, thanks I learnt something today’.

                  • Gosman

                    “Think big was fine also from the right wing view that overall they made more than the money invested.”

                    You really don’t understand Right wing political thought at all do you?

                    Regardless on return of investment the right of the political spectrum tend to take the view that any State involvement in production will lead to distortions and inefficiencies compared to private sector alternatives.

                    This doesn’t necessarily mean that all State companies will make a loss or that all Private Sector companies make a profit just that, over the long run, the Private sector will tend to be more efficient at running businesses than the State.

                    • KJT

                      History has proved that, especially in natural monopolies, infrastructure and banking the private sector is much less efficient than the State.

                      Private business and the market does have its place. Properly regulated by a democratic society so cheats do not take over.

                      The most successful societies in history are the left wing socialist mixed economies in Europe

                      I am not mis-representing right wing thought. The only thoughts the right wing have is bugger society, I will grab as much as I can before someone else does.

                      Why don’t you all bugger off to your ideal free market societies, Columbia and Somalia and stop trying to bugger mine up.

                      Sure Muldoon had socialist leanings. Even though he had many faults. Like many politicians on both sides in those days he did care about NZ’s future.

                    • Gosman

                      “History has proved that, especially in natural monopolies, infrastructure and banking the private sector is much less efficient than the State.”

                      How has history proved this at all?

                      What is a “natural monopoly” by the way?

                      Is an IT operating system a “natural monopoly”? Microsoft certainly has a huge share of the market. Are you suggesting that Microsoft should be nationalised?

                      Good to see you finally acknowledge Muldoon was essentially a socialist in conservative clothing.

                • Jim Nald

                  If a single, simple view can be credibly held and argued, it is that the most damning thing Muldoon did was to raid the super.

                  That stupid, fatal move took the strength and stamina out of NZ to keep up and steam ahead while the world was changing.

                  Stuff has been written about this,
                  eg Brian Fallow in 2007 “How Muldoon threw away NZ’s wealth”
                  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/economy/news/article.cfm?c_id=34&objectid=10465138

                  Btw, Vernon Small has just reported on David Cunliffe’s latest speech to IPS. Well worth checking those out.

                  • Gosman

                    While I agree that Muldoon’s super policy wasn’t clever his King Canute like ability to resist any reform of the N.Z. economy to make it more internationally competitive was far more damaging in my view.

                    SMP’s, Wage and Price Freeze’s, and Squeezing out the private sector in the economy was Muldoon’s worse sins by a long shot. All these are typical left wing economic policy prescriptions.

                  • KJT

                    If Muldoon hadn’t raided the Super Douglas would have sold it for half price.

          • KJT 7.1.1.2.2

            Borrowing was a lot lower proportion of national income than NACT are prepared to borrow for election bribes now.

            • burt 7.1.1.2.2.1

              Have you a link for that assertuion ? Perhaps a chart of debt levels over time would be helpful because then we could compare the colour of the govt and the level of borrowing that occured. Add in some nice quotes about the relevance of debt levels over time and then we could really see a true picture.

              hint: You may be surprised and shocked to find out which colour really were the kings of borrowing and spend policies.

                • burt

                  Good link thanks, have you studied what it really tells us ?

                  I had a look at this data under heading; D4.1 Central government debt.xls

                  Debt as a % of GDP starts being measured in 1960. and kicks off at 69%. (ouch – Wiki notes of the 1960 Election

                  “The so-called “Black Budget”, introduced by Arnold Nordmeyer, increased taxes substantially, with particularly large increases for alcohol and tobacco taxes — Labour became widely seen as both miserly and puritanical.”

                  Umm, familiar sounding policies.

                  Then it generally travels down till about 1975 when it cranks back up again. It gets pretty heady about 1983 ( 60 %) then climbs a bit more sharply through the period we discussed earlier peaking about ’87 at 78%. Ouch, that would be Lange years I think. Fueled on the previous nationalisation campaign of Muldoon.

                  You will then note a steady decline starting from 1990 (any bells ringing on that year?) From that data in 2000 debt was at 35%.

                  From Wiki I see in 2009 we were very low at 22%. So sure great effort on Labour’s part paying down the credit card by overtaxing the workers.

                  I don’t expect you to read the full Kiwiblog link, but you really should read the quotes Clark & Cullen made to check you are not barking up the wrong tree hunting the debt monster.

                  • KJT

                    I agree about overtaxing the workers. Tax should be extended more to many of the wealthier people who do not pay taxes now by getting rid of loopholes, higher rates over twice the median family income, taxing capital gains and financial speculation so wage earners do not have to pay a disproportionate share.

                    Bells ringing. State and Private borrowings combined are heading higher now than any time since Muldoon.
                    Douglas and Richardson cut State debt by transferring it to private debt.
                    And selling all the income earning assets.
                    Labour recently at least managed to cut debt while increasing social spending. NACT are borrowing for bribery just like Muldoon.

                    Any other points you want to argue apart from the obvious one of general incompetence of politicians. Right wing ones being worse.

                    • burt

                      Personal debt is really another issue separate of govt debt, although intertwined for sure. I would investigate the effects of the 80’s reforms, access to foreign currency, removal of consumer good tariffs and the general greed is good theme of the 80’s in relation to personal debt. Liberation of labour markets and removal of deliberate wage flattening policies and taxes also increased the difference between have’s and have nots. This introduces more keeping up with the Jones’s into consumer spending and that combined with ever increasing access to personal finance make a pretty heady cocktail.

                      You are right though about one thing, Muldoon went and stuffed it all up by wanting the govt to own all production and most employment and ditching the super scheme was ridiculous lolly scramble stuff.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Who gives a **** about whether debt is at 35% or at 40% if you have children living in poverty and 250,000 under employed people? Really, who does? And if you slash Govt expenditure and benefit levels and debt goes down to 30% whooopppeeee so what? You still have children living in poverty and even more unemployed.

                    Reduce debt in a way which helps people not hurts them, its not brain science.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Hmmmmm burt are you a new model? I’m having to agree with several points you are making.

            • burt 7.1.1.2.2.2

              KJT

              Here is a little background to help you get started;

              http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/08/clark_and_cullen_on_debt.html

              • KJT

                If it is in Kiwiblog it is almost certainly rubbish. I am not going to challenge my sanity by going there.

                • KJT

                  “Good to see you finally acknowledge Muldoon was essentially a socialist in conservative clothing”.

                  When did I say anything different.

                  Both Muldoon and Douglas were total F U’s. Muldoon because he tried to overcontrol everyone. Which is not only a failing of some socialists. And Douglas because he got drunk with ideology and power and threw out the baby, the bathwater and the bath!

  8. Lanthanide 8

    “The behaviour of some of the journalists covering Pike River, as reported above, is an example of all that is wrong with the media taken to the very worst of its extremes. I can see the problem, but (short of gratuitous violence) I can’t see the solution. Any ideas?”

    Fines starting at $200 for journalists (or anyone, really) mis-representing themselves to the families of the victims.

    • D14 8.1

      >>I can see the problem, but (short of gratuitous violence) I can’t see the solution. Any ideas?
      (This comment was in the wrong spot)
      Re the ‘journalists’ staking out the schools and hospitals.
      Take their photos and tell them unless they leave the photo will be published on a popular blog with an explanation of what they were doing.

  9. pundit X 9

    The media are there to tell the story to those who are not. Most show compassion and are there because it is a story that needs to be told. Some overstep the mark. The media in New Zealand does need a wake up call on priorities – as ianmac said where were they with Pansy Wong. We’ll see how the story unfolds now that the men are confirmed to have perished in the explosion. Are we going to see searching questions now being asked, or will papers like the Herald become complicit in a whitewash of managements responsibility towards mine safety. I don’t hold out much hope there. Already Fran O’Sullivan is writing on the need to support management: Courageous coal boss in need of back and suggesting: “A subsequent inquiry should examine whether conservation values and “good old-fashioned mining practices” can co-exist in practice.”

    The arguments for open cast mining in the conservation estate on grounds of safety are already being formed. Let’s not distract ourselves over a few pushy tabloid journos.

    • Swampy 9.1

      Sorry, now you are saying media behaviour is excused if they would only serve your political causes. I think now you are saying it is OK for opposite politicians to have less rights because of their political beliefs.

  10. M 10

    Put the wind up journalists hanging around schools trying to get a scoop from children by threatening to phone the police and report them as nonces.

  11. prism 11

    Looked at the Herald in the weekend and there were pages filled with stuff about the mine disaster, much of the inside pages probing into how people felt, what they did. It seems that interest in others’ wellbeing rises exponentially with the numbers involved, so one woman shot while enjoying the countryside, a pregnant mum, cyclist or a child pedestrian run down by careless, negligent or recidivist drunken drivers get a certain coverage, and this goes up exponentially in 5’s. This allows for a family of five suffering a tragedy which would count as one with some extended coverage. When it is 29, condolences come from the Queen and other countries.

    The real concern now is to ensure it doesn’t happen again. To turn our emotion and concern to ensuring that the safety, and health of people doing dangerous work isn’t treated in a she’ll-be-right way. Workers themselves get casual about the dangers and health problems and have to be chivvied to follow procedures meant to protect them, management can become complacent or irresponsible or just greedy and cost-cutting at the expense of safety measures, inspectors can become too close to the company and slack in their duties. Government should be in charge of ensuring workers’ safety with appropriate legal requirements, grimly adhered to. This is expected in a modern, responsible democratic country. The question has to be asked are these adjectives applicable to us?

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      It seems that interest in others’ wellbeing rises exponentially with the numbers involved,

      But a quarter million NZ’ers living in quiet desperation, trying to make ends meet day to day, struggling to pay the basic bills, while being brow beaten and villified by the wealthy and the powerful don’t even rate a mention by these pricks.

      • ak 11.1.1

        ….not to mention the 40,000 perfectly-formed children who will quietly starve to death today for want of pennies while we groan in obesity, fret over trillions, fawn over smiling golden calves and wallow in maudlin mass sentiment…

  12. freedom 12

    it is not rocket science

    stop buying their media
    stop watching their broadcasts
    stop supporting their advertisers

    • burt 12.1

      No no no, we need state intervention to stop them. New laws, new rules and lots of people employed to monitor them. Just cutting off their income will only make them change – we must control them so we can make sure they report the news that we want them to.

      What chance have we got of making the people think the right things without complete state control of the MSM?

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1

        What chance have we got of making the people think the right things without complete corporate control of the MSM?

        FIFY

        And that is what we actually have and you, burt, are proof that it’s working in the corporates favour.

      • Swampy 12.1.2

        I would like you to explain to me why I am subject to the privacy act when the news media are exempt.

    • bbfloyd 12.2

      it’s already happening freedom, although it’s not on a grand scale. maybe the shift toward “infotainment” rather than information based news is their reaction so far.. wouldn’t surprise me, as i’ve not noticed any intellectual vigour being employed in news presentation for years now. maybe they won’t ever get it?

      • freedom 12.2.1

        It is an individual’s decision that draws a mass movement that delivers change.

        We must create the structure for change from the ground up, which is as we know the most difficult of tasks, but it is still the only way to build a healthy home’s foundation

        We are, each of us, responsible for the media we consume, but that does not stop us from talking to our neighbours friends and family about our choices. It does not stop us from asking them to question, reflect and change the way we view all forms of media

        An individual asking for change does not stop us from being a community of individuals

  13. ak 13

    This could be the most important news of the year. Let’s see if it even makes our dailies.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-11/24/content_11599087.htm

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      Probably the most important of the decade and possibly the century. It certainly spells the end of Pax Americana.

    • Colonial Viper 13.2

      ak, nice pick, I think that this is the start of a tsunami proportioned trend. The tsunami will finally hit when the US has its first failed Treasuries auction. (It won’t be widely reported most likely, as the Fed will unexpectedly step in to buy the remaining Treasuries).

      Is it my imagination or is Wen grinning broadly while Putin is at best grimacing?

      • Jim Nald 13.2.1

        Interesting observation. Prolly quite correct.

        The giant awaketh.
        The Celestial Empire slept and was plundered in the 1800s, thanks to the misguided leadership and policy mistakes of the declining Qing Dynasty.

        And after sorting out its own house in the 1900s, the Middle Kingdom finds the centre of the global compass.

    • KJT 13.3

      I hope all our finance types who have put our super etc in dollar investments are watching.

    • rich 13.4

      That’s not news.

      Almost all trade is denominated in the currency of one of the trading countries. If I buy a secondhand car from Japan, the price will be in yen, not USD.

      Also Russia China trade is not that large, somewhat less than Dutch/Belgian volumes which I doubt you’d get all excited about.

      • freedom 13.4.1

        last year china grew over 8%, Russia grew over 7%, India grew over 7%

        the USA shrunk over 2%, Britain shrunk over 4% we shrunk over 1%

        Apart from China being everyone’s manufacturing partner, (excluding arms sales which is still the dominion of the USA) when two of the fastest growing economies on the planet decide to dump the dollar, yeah it’s news

      • Draco T Bastard 13.4.2

        That’s how it should be but that’s not how it is. For example oil is priced in US$ which is what actually makes it the reserve currency. It should, of course, be priced in the currency of the exporting country and all currencies should be floating.

  14. The Voice of Reason 14

    Anybody else here grateful there’s no grinning chimp on morning telly cracking jokes about the dead miners’ moustaches, accents or surnames?

    • freedom 14.1

      dammit, i had happily not even thought of him so a pox on your onions for mentioning the gimp 😛

  15. Swampy 15

    The first helicopters over the mine site were not (apparently) rescue helicopters, they were the news media getting pictures before the police got around to imposing a no fly zone. There is something hideously unethical about the fact that in major emergencies these days half the helicopters in the sky will be the media filming. The police put cordons around sites to protect people’s privacy and the media go up in helicopters so they can get through the cordons.

    When we had the earthquake the local paper published the addresses of council flats which were being abandoned despite the council putting out a press release saying they did not want the locations identified due to risk of burglaries.

    A good start would be to remove the blanket exemption from the Privacy Act (why was it ever put there) and replace the toothless Press Council with something that respects people’s rights.

  16. Drakula 16

    with regards to the way the national radio and TV have handled the Pike River issue, I just can’t help but being totally cynical and absolutely suspicious of some political collusion.

    Like yesterday the radio 12.00 covered the issue for 20 minuites solid, but as I was listening and anylising the information there was very little content with very little substance.

    The very few facts (being the mystery of the traped miners) that did exist were repeated over and over again and shots of grieved relatives (who wanted to be left alone) were repeated and also interviews of dignitaries who couldn’t really offer more information than anyone else.

    All in the name of sensationalism, furthermore they are at this moment patting each other on the back.

    It is an absolute shame and a disgrace!!!!!!!!

    As for other news could anyone tell me how Matt Mc Carten did in the Mana election? We know that labour got in with a very much reduced majority.

    I don’t think that I am going to get it from the MSM maybe I will have to rely on rumour or maybe a crystal ball.

  17. Normally, the role of media should be to give us information about people, services, products and so on. The fact that the main role of it has loosen importance and secondary or not so important facts, characteristics are related to media is the fault of the people who are managing the whole thing. After all, they are still people, and they can make mistakes.

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