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Watching the journalists

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, February 16th, 2017 - 86 comments
Categories: journalism, Media, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, twitter, us politics - Tags: ,

Alex Jones’ name came up in a conversation on TS last night. He was discussed briefly in John Oliver’s returning video. Watch it from 12 mins for a two minute precis of what level of fucked up we are talking about in using Jones as a credible or reliable source of information (although the whole 23 mins is well worth it for an indepth update on Tr*mp as a pathological liar).

There are something like 75 mentions of Alex Jones on The Standard in the past year. Sarah Kendzior gets seven. Here’s why we should be paying more attention to her. This is a one minute clip of Kendzior on why editorial make-up matters, what results from bigoted coverage, and what journalism’s priorities should be,

Sarah Kendzior is a journalist, researcher and critic, and has been writing for over a year about the rise of authoritarianism in the US. She is a must follow on Twitter.

From a recent interview with her in Cosmopolitan,

Sarah Kendzior anticipated a Donald Trump presidency in late 2015. As a freelance journalist, Kendzior has written extensively about American politics and the economy, but she also has a doctorate in anthropology from her studies on authoritarianism in Central Asian states. She compared Trump to dictators in Central Asia in an article published in The Diplomat almost a year before the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman would write an opinion piece saying the same. Kendzior explains how she got here.

I transitioned into covering the presidential election in March 2016. I had three advantages in covering Donald Trump specifically as a candidate. First, I worked in New York tabloid media, so I knew exactly how he marketed himself.

Then, I studied dictatorships and authoritarian regimes the entire time I was doing my PhD. I learned to speak and read Russian when I was getting my masters. A lot of things that Trump was doing in his campaign reminded me of things I saw in Uzbekistan, Russia, and other authoritarian states around the world. Alarm bells started going off in my head. This was bad. I kept saying that he had a good chance of winning and was dismissed as histrionic or pessimistic. I wish I’d been wrong.

Third, I live in the center of the country, not in D.C. or New York. When they talk about how hard things are out here, that’s accurate. As the country started to rebuild after the recession, some cities thrived but others really struggled. I felt I was in a losing city.

There would be these parachute journalists who would come to talk to people struggling to find jobs and act like they were zoo animals. But these are people I see when I go out to dinner. It’s one thing to go to a rally or show up in a place for a few days. It’s another thing to live here all year long. I love my city, and I love my state, and I want it to do well. I’m frustrated with how it’s been represented.

Trump pretends to speak for the forgotten men and women of the heartland. I am one of those forgotten women. I’m pushed to the sidelines a bit just by virtue of the fact that I live in Missouri. People think, If she were for real, she would live in New York. That’s by choice. It allows me some more financial leeway than some of my contemporaries who are bound to the whims of their publishers or worried about their financial situations.

But I don’t have freedom in terms of my safety. I’m under a lot of attacks now with Trump being elected. I’m a target because I’ve been a forthright critic. There have been phishing schemes, threats. I’m worried about my safety and my family’s safety. The New York Observer wrote a smear piece that singled me out and had inaccuracies; I wasn’t contacted for the story. It’s unnerving because I’m a journalist from Missouri and the billionaire son-in-law of the president-elect is watching me.

I’ve been writing for Canada’s Globe & Mail and other international outlets about politics, which I did on purpose, because I knew that if Trump won, I might lose the ability to criticize him in American publications. I’ve never felt this unsafe or frightened in the U.S. before. But I want a more informed public. I think a more informed public is a more compassionate public. They’re more likely to do the right thing.

86 comments on “Watching the journalists ”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    Maybe some NZ journalists need to get out more into NZ regions.

    Reading of Kendzior’s town in decline, reminds me of a conversation I had with an oldish, probably fairly conservative guy, in Warkworth recently.

    He was saying how his town tends to be neglected by local an central governments. He particularly blamed NZ’s government. He said he used to drive a truck up north to Kaikohe, etc.

    Recently he went up there and was shocked about how much it had declined: e.g. schools closed and/or buildings in disrepair. He talked also of what he saw as the decline of Dargaville: businesses/shops closed down – basically a neglected look to the little town.

    I guess Winston is probably listening. Who else is listening or looking seriously at what is happening in the provinces?

    • tc 1.1

      We have very few actual journalists anymore with shills and opinionators like trevitt, Watkins, Vance etc filling up the space alongside dog whistlers like Hoskins, Williams, Henry and the paid for ‘left’ commenters like pagani all singing for their supper.

    • saveNZ 1.2

      +1 Carolyn_nth

      Part of the issue is there is a lack of diversity in our economy. The government has never embraced Tech which could be run from any where in the world as long as the broadband is good enough (maybe that’s the problem) and looked at the future like Green Tech.

      Saying that I heard that someone has a peer to peer vehicle rental operation with electric cars in Whangarei!

  2. Sanctuary 2

    “…I guess Winston is probably listening. Who else is listening or looking seriously at what is happening in the provinces..?”

    Our urban dominated chattering classes will get a hell of shock at how well NZ First is going to do in provincial NZ this election, mark my word. For better or worse, Labour’s obsession with the bête noires of the petitie bourgeoise means it has more or less ceased to exist as a political option in huge swaths of a provincial NZ that sees a government and elite media in lockstep in promoting neoliberal policies that seem to mean the local economy is always doing OK, but the people not so much.

    I see the police are trying to drum up more work for themselves by floating the possibility of creating a new class of hate crimes. One of the issues with things like creating laws aimed at hate crimes as weapons is they are then used to try to shut down vulgar conspiricists like Alex Jones and tawdry fascist propagandists like Steve Bannon. The problem is that while by using the full power of the state to crush dissent you can just about stop people saying things you don’t approve of, you can never stop people thinking it – unless you want to create an entire new set of thought crimes, which given the way liberals are now cheer leading the deep state counter-attack on Trump I wouldn’t put past them anymore.

    Jones and Bannon have moved from the dark fringes to the centre because while they are dishonest and liars and have an overt agenda, their packaging resonates with enough people to gather a following that has moved it into the centre of political discourse in the USA. No amount of frantic liberal shroud waving in defence of the radical centre is going to put the genie of populist revolt back in the bottle, and pretending you can stop the spread of their ideas by criminalising their articulation is simply fantasy.

    • Gabby 2.1

      You are mistaken. Liberals don’t buy into the hate speech thing, the centre isn’t radical and ‘shroud waver’ is turd blossom talk.

      • Sanctuary 2.1.1

        “…Liberals don’t buy into the hate speech thing…”

        18 months ago, I would have agreed with you. But the “progressive liberal” reaction to Brexit/Trump has simply been inexcusable. The irony is, if the liberal “left” had the empathy to pause for five minutes from their self-pitying and self-righteous thrashing about attacking everyone in sight and considered how horrible it is to feel disempowered anguish even just a little, and considered how angry those who have felt disempowered anguish for the last twenty years in the forgotten rust belts of the UK and USA might be, then they’d be going a long way to beginning to grasp why they are so out of style just now.

  3. Tautoko Mangō Mata 3

    The good news is that lots of people care about the future of the media. Thousands of ActionStation members care enough to have funded a People’s Commission on Public Broadcasting and Media. We’ve joined forces with the Coalition for Better Broadcasting and six industry experts to run a crowdfunded investigation into the current state, and future prospects, of public interest broadcasting and media in Aotearoa New Zealand.

    http://thespinoff.co.nz/media/16-02-2017/new-zealand-deserves-better-than-fake-news-and-clickbait-and-were-doing-something-about-it/

  4. Ad 4

    Much easier to just kill the concept of “journalist” as if they have any ethical virtue above the rest of us. Better to think of a single swilling reservoir of information, which is guided through pipes and spillways to us like a water utility. Information is simply a utility.

    Then we can just let go of this wonderful special case for journalists, and see it for what it is: a kind of liquid power, to be skillfully directed. Like Oroville, or the Hoover Dam, or the Clyde Dam, it’s got risks.

    The decline of MSM “mass” news is a profoundly democratic moment. It’s just the left don’t like it because they are losing.

    • Gabby 4.1

      The notion of storing information and selecting what people find out in the interests of power must be some new kind of profound democracy. Sounding a tad sinister there.

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Sinister:
        of, on, or towards the left-hand side

        The opposite of dexter; the interests of power are served by those who use information skillfully, or dextrously. On the right.

    • weka 4.2

      Lol the Oroville reference. All good until there’s a catastrophe?

    • The decline of MSM “mass” news is a profoundly democratic moment.

      I don’t believe so. Investigating what’s going on requires money and time, which is also effectively money. So the question is: which people and organisations in our society have a lot of money? Because that’s who benefits from the death of journalism.

      • Ad 4.3.1

        Citizens.

        Truth has been permanently destabilized.

        Facebook and Google have zero investigative journalists, but they are the most powerful news organizations on the planet.

        • Psycho Milt 4.3.1.1

          You say that like it’s a good thing. Giant corporations do not have the public interest at heart, so citizens have nothing to gain but plenty to lose from their journalist-free domination of news.

          In any case, Google’s an aggregator, so is just facilitating the distribution of actual news organisations’ content. And Facebook is a disastrous cancer on news dissemination, a rich supply of fake news, sponsored content masquerading as information and the collective “wisdom” that results from the mass distribution of gossip – if it’s one of the most powerful “news” organisations in the world, that’s actually terrible for democracy, not beneficial.

          • Ad 4.3.1.1.1

            That is all those engines are: aggregators.

            I’m not saying I like it, but then, this is the new Gutenberg moment.
            The pre- King James priestly copyists of holy writ didn’t like the printing press either.

            On their democratic impact: it’s pretty easy to call Facebook and Weibo a more efficient form of democracy than any of the ones operating now. It’s just that they dissolve states, eventually.

  5. Bill 5

    There are something like 75 mentions of Alex Jones on The Standard in the past year.

    Just curious if you had a look at how many of those ‘mentions’ were entirely negative (eg – fuck off, you’re using Jones as a source) and how many were using Jones as an authority.

    I’m guessing less than a handful of comments would have thrown up Jones as a credible source and almost all the mentions would have been attempts to discredit what someone was saying by fairly or unfairly linking their opinion to Jones.

    To add a wee bit of extra detail to what Sarah Kendzior is echoing – (ie -that ‘this shit’ either breaks to the left (SNP/Corbyn et al) or to the right (Trump/Brexit etc). )

    According to Mark Blyth, a look at the economic policies of both the social democratic ‘ left break’ and the authoritarian ‘right break’ are remarkably similar. So strip out the xenophobia or whatever – ignore those policies – and there’s much of a muchness going on on the economic front.

    Which then brings us back to the liberals – idiot parties that used to represent workers and protect workers interests killing any nascent ‘left break’ at birth…

    • weka 5.1

      I’d say probably 1/4 were people citing Jones. More than a handful of comments.

      Personally I think if you strip out the xenophobia (and racism, misogyny etc) then you miss the authoritarian aspect, which is a big part of Kendzior’s work. And blaming the liberals, or pointing out that Clinton is evil too, or other two side of the same coin arguments, risks losing action against a rising regime. Which isn’t to say that it’s not true (democrat/republican), just that I’m resistant to such a focus on the polarity.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        I didn’t suggest that the xenophobia be ignored per se. I said that if it’s stripped out in order to look at the economics, both the authoritarian and social democratic economic prescriptions are very similar (according to Blyth).

        The shift is away from liberal economics. The choice is whether we shift away hand in hand with authoritarianism or with social democracy. And whether it’s palatable or not, the observable fact is that soft left or liberal parties that have enjoyed power these past 30 or 40 years are routinely killing off any attempt at a social democratic break.

        Think Sanders. Think Corbyn. Think SNP. Look at Germany. Or maybe even reflect on Cunliffe. It’s a fairly long list where the same suppression of what some might call a proper expression of left wing politics and the policies that they would enact being squelched…by parties aligned to liberalism and by the major media (CNN, BBC, The Herald, The Guardian, NYT, Washington Post…) that are similarly aligned. And it’s done through a mixture of ridicule, gossip and fear.

        edit – I did an advanced google search for the term Alex Jones on thestandard for the past 12 months and only got 15 hits – one was about Shane Jones that had the word “Alex” in the comment. On a quick perusal, only one of those 15 comments was offering up Jones as a worthwhile source. Dunno if this link will take you to my search results… https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&as_q=Alex+jones&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&as_qdr=all&as_sitesearch=thestandard.org.nz&as_occt=any&safe=images&as_filetype=&as_rights=#q=Alex+jones+site:thestandard.org.nz&hl=en&tbs=qdr:y

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          Well I still reckon your argument would gain more traction if you wrote a post on social democracy 😉 I’ll keep saying it, the liberals need somewhere to go now.

          btw, I would hazard a guess that trying to look at economics stripped of identity is part of why we are in this situation with both sides.

          • Bill 5.1.1.1.1

            Liberals need to understand that they need to go somewhere and stop trying to cling to power. (And I don’t really give two fucks where they go – as long as they are out of the way) They think they can preserve the basis of this power they’ve enjoyed these past 40 years and just don’t get that the game’s up.

            There was no suggestion that economics should be looked at ‘stripped of identity’ or whatever. The suggestion was the policies of both social democratic and authoritarian alternatives to this bullshit we have, look remarkably similar on the economics front. And to better see the economic arguments, the suggestion is to look past the other shit and not get distracted by it. That’s all.

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Liberals need to understand that they need to go somewhere and stop trying to cling to power. (And I don’t really give two fucks where they go – as long as they are out of the way) They think they can preserve the basis of this power they’ve enjoyed these past 40 years and just don’t get that the game’s up.

              Yes, I understand that is what you want. But given how much power liberals have in the overdeveloped, I just can’t see how they’re going to be ‘out of the way’.

              We need liberals to change, because they are precisely the ones with the power to avert the worst damage.

              “There was no suggestion that economics should be looked at ‘stripped of identity’ or whatever. The suggestion was the policies of both social democratic and authoritarian alternatives to this bullshit we have, look remarkably similar on the economics front. And to better see the economic arguments, the suggestion is to look past the other shit and not get distracted by it. That’s all.”

              I guess that’s self-evident then. If you don’t intend to analyse economics by stripping out identity, then it’s a bit obvious that neoliberal economics plays out on both the left and right. Not sure what the point is sorry.

              • Bill

                The point is that the economic prescriptions proposed by left wing (not liberal) politics and by authoritarian politicians are essentially the same.

                That’s important in terms of people who have fallen for Trump when Sanders was tripped. And it’s important in terms of how the liberals will, through various iterations of ‘Project Fear’, seek to convince people that the left and the authoritarians are just the same and it’s far better and wiser to stick with them (the liberals).

                edit. there are no liberals left in Scotland any more (they passed with the passing of Scottish Labour). If Corbyn succeeds, there will be no liberals in England and Wales either. They don’t have to change. It’s as simple as us not voting them into power and encouraging alternatives where they exist.

                • weka

                  By liberal are you meaning liberal politicians? I’m talking about the people that vote for them.

                  • Bill

                    Everyone’s been voting for the bastards these past 30 or 40 years. TINA. Remember?

                    Of those, how many are ‘liberals’? In other words, how many consciously and enthusiastically voted for increasingly insecure work, falling living standards or rising personal debt levels and stalling or falling life expectancy?

                    I’ll take a punt and say ‘damn few’.

                    • weka

                      Yes, and those are the ones we need to change. They’re not going to just disappear, or even vote for something substantially better unless they understand.

                    • Bill

                      So everyone who voted for Trump did or didn’t understand something? And everyone who voted to elect Corbyn leader of UK Labour did or didn’t understand something? And everyone who voted for the SNP did or didn’t understand something?

                      I’ll answer that. They understood full well that for decades life has been getting increasingly crappier. No one had to teach them that. They didn’t have to read books to understand it either…or blogs or anything else.

                      All they needed was for someone to speak to the things that mattered to them. Sanders did that. The SNP did that. Corbyn might eventually find a way through all of the monkey-wrenching to do that. Trump did that.

                      Clinton did not do that. Scottish Labour didn’t either. NZ Labour doesn’t.

                    • weka

                      You’ve completely lost me now. Are you saying that Tr*mp voters were liberals? Or are you just ignoring the points I am making?

                      You want liberals to go away. You think they are irrelevant because a big chunk of Americans voted Tr*mp in protest against liberal values or politics or economics. I think it’s more complex than that, but even at that level what exactly do you think all those democrat voters are going to do? They’re not going to go away, and many of them will still hold privilege and sway in society. I’m saying that they have a shit load of power and we need to get as many of them thinking differently as possible. Wishing them into oblivion is not an actual political strategy as far as I can see.

                      I also think there are increasing problems with the idea that Tr*mp isn’t that bad. I don’t know if you intend to come across like that, but when I read your arguments I see a sidestepping of the rising fascism issues and a presentation of Tr*mp as a nutter but not too different than the neoliberals. I think that’s dangerous, because there are obvious differences. It is possible to oppose neoliberalism and still see some pretty distinct differences between that and authoritarianism, and without that seeing meaning that neoliberalism is somehow ok.

                    • Bill

                      Liberalism is dead. That’s point one. (The death rattle is merely a breath or two away)

                      Neither people who vote democrat nor people who vote republican back it any longer.

                      Go to the UK, and the BREXIT vote was a vote against liberal orthodoxy.

                      Whether we’re talking people who’d vote for Sanders or for Trump or for the SNP or for the ‘left break’ from liberalism in Spain or Greece or Italy, the same basic argument flows.

                      Assuming liberalism to be a box room, the only thing somewhat up in the air is whether people will choose the door that leads out of the left (broadly social democratic) or the door out of the right (authoritarian). Either way, people want out.

                      We’re in the situation that if just one door is slightly ajar, people will rush it no matter what (Trump)….that’s an indication of how much the liberal experiment is despised. No-one needs ‘educated’ or ‘convinced’…life under liberalism is increasingly crap and people know this from simply looking at their own life and their prospects.

                      If both doors are in evidence, then it would seem that the non-authoritarian social democratic option is preferred (SNP).

                      The problem is that we have a pile of parties that claim to be on the left, but that really just defend the same liberalism that ‘everyone’ is sick and tired of (New Labour in the UK. NZ Labour. Democat party in the US etc) trying to ensure that the left hand door remains firmly bolted.

                      And that’s not going to end well. That’s going to lead to the option being ‘more of the same’ versus escape into some form and degree of authoritarainism.

                      And people will choose escape.

            • KJT 5.1.1.1.1.2

              The use of “Liberal” in this context is misleading, as it is not how the word is understood in New Zealand.

              Neo-liberal is better to denote socially Liberal, but economically, wants to return to the Dark ages.

              • weka

                +1

                I would guess that much of the conversation between Bill and myself above is us talking past each other because of the differences in the use of the word liberal.

                • adam

                  weka, can I recommend a book. Get it from the Library – they have it in Auckland – not sure anywhere else, so you may have to do a inter-loan.

                  “Death of the Liberal Class” by Chris Hedges.

                  • weka

                    sorry but nope. I”m really happy to have a conversation with you or Bill about it, but I’m not going to go off and study it. The ideas need to be way more accessible than that. (if the book is an enjoyable read maybe nominate it for TS’s book club 🙂 ).

                    Also, the ongoing point of disagreement is between geek level use and common use of the same word. I don’t yet see much of an acknowledgement from you or Bill about that. Bill wants to use it as a weapon, that’s fine, I just think there will be consequences and one of them is confusion and misunderstanding. That could be avoided if we took more care with the language.

                    • Bill

                      Weka. You can’t sensibly stick your fingers in your ears and simultaneously complain about others are using terminology in ways you don’t understand.

                      You don’t want to read a book? Fine. Do some five minute sojourns through wiki if that’s all you’re up for.

                      And if you’re not up for that then I guess you’ll just continue to argue that you want liberalism just to mean something nice about being tolerant while ignoring the broader and universally accepted definition of the term and the implications it carries.

                    • weka

                      Oh fuck off. I’ve been engaged in this conversation with you and adam for months, in part so I *can understand how you are using the term. I’ve already read the wiki entry on Liberalism. And I follow other conversations happening in the US where there is a similar debate going on over liberals.

                      “And if you’re not up for that then I guess you’ll just continue to argue that you want liberalism just to mean something nice about being tolerant while ignoring the broader and universally accepted definition of the term and the implications it carries.”

                      And that tells me that you really haven’t been listening to what I’ve been saying. Because also for months I’ve been arguing for both/and. That the word has multiple meanings and we need to take that into account. I’m not saying that the meaning that you and adam use isn’t true, and I suggest you go back and see if you can find any comment from me that says that. Bet you can’t.

                      That’s not the first time you’ve basically said I’m ignorant and implied that my comments are not that relevant because of that. I don’t have to have the degree of education around classical Liberalism that you and adam to because I get to talk to you both. Likewise, if we want to have political conversations that reach society broadly we need to use language in ways that facilitate that. Kind of ironic given the common man subtext.

                    • Bill

                      No, I won’t fuck off 😉

                      I’ve said before that as far as using the term liberal to denote a ‘live and let live’ mentality, I’d use it.

                      And you’ve previously agreed there’s another meaning when applied in a different context…a broader political/economic one.

                      But then (at least from this exchange) it seems you actually do want an either/or pin or label applied. I’m saying that in light of you apparently thinking I was referring to people with a ‘live and let live’ attitude in the above comments when (looking back to check) I introduced the term in this exchange by writing of “liberal economics” (comment 5.1.1) and then using it in the context of political centres of power in subsequent comments that you (to me) confusingly took down to the level of the individual.

                      Okay. Now I’m fucking off – got things to do 🙂

                • Tamati Tautuhi

                  Read a good description of neoliberalism the other day “neoliberalism is the last pornographic orgasim of capitalism”.

              • Bill

                So, no-one in NZ reads any political literature from anywhere else? Or, if they do, they can’t understand what they’re reading?

                In terms of economics and political philosophy, liberal and classical and neo-classical and neo-liberal all one and the same thing. I just prefer to drop the ‘neo’ because it encourages a perception that there’s something essentially new or different and shiny about present day liberalism in comparison to the liberalism practiced by the British when they were empire.

                You want to talk about catholic attitudes? Open mindedness? And you want to refer to that as being liberal? Then that’s okay. The meanings of words change with context.

                • weka

                  Most people in NZ who use the word liberal don’t read economic and political philosophy. I don’t understand what’s do hard to understand about that. Sure there are people who do*, but in NZ the word does have an actual meaning that you and adam seem intent on ignoring.

                  *and lots of them use the word in multiple ways.

                  • KJT

                    Exactly.

                    One of the first things you learn as a Teacher is to use words of two syllables, that everyone understands.

                    You can introduce new words in different contexts as you go, such as engineerng and science terms, but you still need to use the language of the audience, not yours.

                • KJT

                  Liberal to most of us means open minded, tolerant, etc.

                  Bill. I read a lot, from many different sources, and your use of Liberal is grating to me. And confusing to others.

                  You need to speak to your audience.

                  Neo-liberal is a good description because it specifies a perversion of Liberalism, to hide a non liberal agenda. Describing those who are happy with social liberalism, so long as it doesn’t interfere with them running way with the wealth.

                  • Bill

                    Ah no. I’m going to disagree on the notion that neo-liberalism is somehow a perversion of liberalism. It’s essentially the same now as it was back in the 1800’s – free trade imposed and power taken from workers.

                    During its first romp around the block, am I correct in saying that what you’re referring to a social liberalism also got out for a jog as an adjunct or branch of liberalism? eg – abolition of slavery, the franchise being extended to women with property and then men with no property and women with no property etc.

                    And this time around it’s come by way of various rights for sectors of the population…meaning it’s essentially just the same…the individual interacts with the market and there is a divergence only insofar as the state ought or ought not to afford some equality of opportunity.

                    There is no reason why greater non-economic freedoms or rights need to be tied to any notion of liberalism. There are intrinsic reasons as to why economic freedoms or rights are lost under liberalism though…and why we all get to be more equally done over ;-).

                    Which perhaps brings us on to social democracy and maybe even socialism…

        • weka 5.1.1.2

          I used the comments search in the back end.

          • lprent 5.1.1.2.1

            That thing is getting way too slow. There are too many comments (>1.2 million) for it to be efficient with what are effectively whole-text searches.

            If I get the front-end search running with sphinxQL, then I want to do a back-end search with the added bits that aren’t allowed on the frontend sphinx search. About the only thing that is a problem is the lack of sleep due to Newton Road being repaved overnight over the last 4 days, and warm humidity.

    • Pat 5.2

      having just discovered Blyth ,thanks to a post on here, I spent much of last night viewing many of his presentations and am impressed by his succinct and clear analysis of that which has gone before, and further note he states there is no going back.
      As good as he is there remain for me a couple of areas of concern…..apart from a brief mention at the end of a Q&A he never mentions CC and nor does he appear to address the unlimited growth model in a finite world.

      • Bill 5.2.1

        I’ve been thinking of mining the one I linked to above for a number of posts.

        • gsays 5.2.1.1

          hey bill, great mark blyth link.

          the idea of the liberals (illiberal liberals, h/t cv) getting out of the way, seems wishful. as mark says in the clip and labour here showed in last election, they will drown in the bath any new left initiative.

          • Bill 5.2.1.1.1

            People simply need an alternative. Fuck. If a tangerine clown passes muster, I can’t see what the problem is…apart from parties aligned with liberalism killing anything to their left.

            So give your vote to any party that isn’t espousing liberalism. Mana or TOPS perhaps. Just not Labour (assuming National are not an option for commentators hereabouts)

            • gsays 5.2.1.1.1.1

              there have been a couple of conversations around here, wanting to know what the strategy in voting mana, internet or top.
              to me the strategy is to show the ‘centre left’ party that there is room to move left.
              may take a long time i know, but a quick painless solution was available last election but labour ran aginst hone and the rest is history.

              • McFlock

                That was pretty much my logic for voting alliance in the election or two after the anderton betrayal.

                These days, I think it’s a hard lesson to have a nat government for another three years if the difference between that and lab6grn1 was a few percent scattered amongst no-electorate <5% 'true' left wing parties…

                • gsays

                  hi mcflock,
                  i have long been of the opinion that there is less than a cigarette paper between nats and labour, and now nat, act, uf (hair and the hologram as a wit someone here wrote) and lab/green.

                  we need fundamental, substantial change (not radical, honest), and i do not see anyone in labour thinking this let alone being allowed to vocalise it.
                  i heartily reccomend the mark blyth video bill linked to, if you have a bit of spare time.

                  maybe drifting back to labour from the alliance is more about the passing of your years. (insert cheeky wink here)

                  • Bill

                    A party pursuing social democratic alternatives would be good enough at this point. And sadly, really quite massive (ie – kinda radical) given the current state of affairs.

                  • McFlock

                    lol it could indeed just be the inexorable progression of time steadily abrading my soul 🙂

                    However my personal feeling is that the thickness of a cigarette paper in this instance is measured in lives and quality-adjusted life-years, rather than millimetres or gsm.

                    It is absolutely not the declared opinion of my employer or industry, but frankly I believe that the current government kills more people than even a majority Labour government ever would, and certainly massively increases the suffering around the country.

                    I cannot back that up with public population-level data in general, and we know the local tories are great at minimising recurring mortality patterns of individuals as unique anecdotal tragedies, but that’s my sense from various sources and functions I have and have encountered. These bastards kill people, Labour not so many.

                    So, in lieu of a farther-left party with a realistic chance of parliamentary representation, I vote Labour.

                    • gsays

                      well said and fair enough.
                      i am now off to conquer japan with three mates.

                      a board game called shogun.

                • KJT

                  Greens are in the mould of true Social democratic parties.
                  However they may run against the strangling effect of the Labour establishment, on any meaningful change.

                  • McFlock

                    I like a few of the Green caucus members. Competent and onto it.
                    I also like many of their policies, and respect fellow lefties who vote for them.

                    But to me the Greens are primarily an environmental party, rather than a left wing party. At the moment the left are in ascendency in that party, but their priority is the environment. In the same way that Mana were primarily the party that the Maori Party should have been.

                    A tweak in a couple of leaders, they might compromise social activism for water quality regulations or snail preservation.

                    • KJT

                      Greens have always been much more than just an environmental party.

                      Most Greens eventually come to the logical conclusion, that environmental sustainability is not possible without social sustainability.

                      Which is why Greens are not compatible with NACT.

                    • McFlock

                      And they’ve always had a subsection who disagree with that approach.

                      The one who explicitly said it was tanzcos with his “the greens are not a left wing party” speech, but there’s always been more than a few chardonnay environmentalists. The “the visual pollution will lower my property values” crowd.

              • Bill

                I’ll probably vote either Mana or TOPS. And if Labour/Greens fail to form a government…okay, let’s think about this for a sec.

                A fucking tangerine baboon offered an alternative to ‘business as usual’. And in spite of everyone ‘knowing’ the guy was a blawhard, he won. As Blyth put it in link above, people had a choice between a bullshitter and proven liars…and opted for the choice with the most possibility for change. The liberal establishment is that detested.

                In BREXIT, people had a choice to vote for the certainty that next year would be crappier than this year. They took a punt on ‘anything but’.

                So if Labour/Greens scrape home or just fail to scrape home then presumably everything that’s being voted for is a matter of shade of detested. And we’re opting between the devil and the deep blue sea/ a rock and a hard place.

                I say ‘we’ but I won’t be bowing to that range of options.

                • gsays

                  the other attractive thing about the options on the left/top, they are not beholden to lobbyists.
                  they give the impression of being their own person, with an idea or vision that they will enact.

                  as opposed to the tentative, maybe, don’t scare the horses, what do you all think, approach to a ubi.
                  i may be old fashioned but i like leaders to lead, not take the most popular approach, a la dear leader key.

              • weka

                “to me the strategy is to show the ‘centre left’ party that there is room to move left.
                may take a long time i know, but a quick painless solution was available last election but labour ran aginst hone and the rest is history.”

                If we weren’t already in the age of CC I’d probably support that. But we’re too late for that strategy. By the time that slow change happens, if it happens at all, we’ll be in the quicksand.

                I’ll measure the thickness of the cigarette paper in CC terms and point to the massive difference between having the Greens in parliament or National.

                A 4th term National govt at this stage will cement in so many losses for NZ that I don’t think we will recover, and it’s likely that many of those will be democratic ones. It also runs a huge risk of having those bastards in power when the next GFC hits, and if it hits hard then bang we’ve got our own authoritarian state. I’ll take L/G over that any day not least because activism is far easier (read, more effective) under a left wing govt.

                No-one’s coming to save us. Labour will follow when enough of us are showing them the way.

                • gsays

                  re CC i agree, there is a clock ticking.
                  the idea that wellington is going to show leadership around this is highly laughable.
                  transparent lobbyist register, publicly funded election campaigns (end private donations) and a few other radical changes that i can’t think of now, and then maybe i will look to wellys for leadership.

                  til then its gardening, building community resilience and energy spent locally.

                  yes to the greens in parliament, especially in higher numbers than now.

                  “No-one’s coming to save us. Labour will follow when enough of us are showing them the way. ”
                  that is why i intend to vote left- to show labour the way…

  6. mac1 6

    This journalist from the Washington Post understands.

    “As I’ve argued, the Trump White House has established – as an explicit, actionable doctrine – the goal of trying to obliterate the possibility of agreement on the news media’s legitimate institutional role in informing the citizenry, and even on facts and reality itself.

    But this Flynn episode suggests that facts and reality do matter. The Trump White House is not invulnerable to them. A dogged and determined press corps can indeed ferret them out, notwithstanding the White House’s efforts to render them meaningless and irrelevant – or indeed to make them disappear.”

    Greg Sargent

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/89420743/kellyanne-conway-flubs-way-through-tv-interview-trying-to-spin-mike-flynn-exit

  7. weka 7

    I see Gareth Morgan is continuing with the slag off the journalists to their face approach to his election campaign. First he said they were unethical, now they’re selfish.

    Govt o’ship of commerc TV is senseless & bastardises standards of its journalism. Sell 2 Murdoch et al, invest proceeds in a public good 1/4

    Yelping journos defending State o’ship of TVNZ just speak their book, defend their jobs, avoid issue. Pathetic defence of indefensible 2/4

    Not in taxpayers’ interest to invest in businesses, even if make good rate of return, let alone pathetic one like 4% on capital deployed 3/4

    Why is commerc journalism so shallow?Failed 2 read Trump,Brexit & no interest here in policy, driven by sensationalising & tittle tattle 4/4

    Gareth Morgan ‏@garethmorgannz 2h2 hours ago

    • KJT 7.1

      I am the opposite to Morgan in this.

      Private ownership makes reporters first loyalty to their employers profits. They lose their jobs if they don’t toe the line.

      State ownership in the old New Zealand model, with a politically independent charter, and union protection for those that speak out, worked well.
      Successive Governments have got rid of criticism by shutting down State broadcasting and sacking Journalists.

      • weka 7.1.1

        Unfortunately Morgan’s policy isn’t that clear. I quite like the idea of TVNZ being sold off, because it’s not really a state broadcaster. But not RNZ and despite his protestations now Morgan did originally say it should be sold too. He’s a bit all over the place on this one.

        • KJT 7.1.1.1

          Morgan also throws ideas up to stimulate discussion.

          Hard to say if he is wedded to them, or is looking for a “robust” discussion. Brain storming.

          • weka 7.1.1.1.1

            That’s a good way of describing him. I find that part of it useful. Less useful is that he’s not that good at listening. And his ideas need improving, which he seems resistant to. It’s all very well to provoke robust discussion but not if you then don’t want to have it.

        • Carolyn_nth 7.1.1.2

          There’s a very good post on Public Address following a twitter debate with Morgan on his public interest journalism policy.


          0:19 Feb 15, 2017 39
          Broadcasting and the Public Interest

          The policy documents from The Opportunities Party are focused purely on journalism. To me this seems like a narrow-minded view of the ways in which a public service broadcaster can serve the public.

          Beyond simply informing the public there is also benefit in entertaining the public.

          My view is that TVNZ should be used in its current form to provide a platform for content that might not always be commercially attractive. But beyond that I think it should be expanded to also address purely public service interests. To deliver programming without any regard to traditional commercial metrics.

  8. Andre 8

    With Trump and his team trying to normalize the complete disconnect of everything they say from objective reality and facts, journalists need to come up with a different approach to how they report lies. Since reporting the lie in order to debunk it mostly just reinforces the lie.

    http://www.salon.com/2017/02/15/can-journalists-debunk-trumps-lies-without-amplifying-them-its-challenging-but-not-impossible/

  9. Thanks weka I’m going to search and read more of Sarah’s work.

  10. inspider 10

    Jones is a 9/11 “troofer” and moon landing conspiracist. Nothing more needs to be said. Put him the discard box with homeopaths and chiropractors.

  11. Tamati Tautuhi 11

    Catch 22 the media are meant to be the watchdogs for society, however many journalists are policed and directed by their editors and shareholders, likewise State Media now in NZ appears to be unbalanced and parrots the ruling party’s mantra, ie Mike Hoskings love affair with John Key and the National Party.

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