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Watkins – independent media?

Written By: - Date published: 1:13 pm, August 23rd, 2014 - 43 comments
Categories: accountability, Media - Tags: , , ,

So, in the midst of a massive dirty politics scandal involving assorted nats and their attack bloggers Slater and Farrar – who does Tracy Watkins turn to to provide commentary? Why, Farrar himself, of course. Classy.


43 comments on “Watkins – independent media?”

  1. Paul 1

    Wonder what connections she has to any/all of the following?

    And I winder what her bosses told her to write.

  2. Bill 2

    Hate to say this, but Tremains comments have a ring of truth to them. Of the (admittedly, fairly few) people I’ve brought this up with – I mean people who are only notionally political – they have no idea and no interest. Eye rolls, shoulders shrug and they express a pessimism that Key will be elected – (‘a shoo in’ is the term I’ve been hearing)

    Fucking depressing that people can nonchalantly accept being governed by a Nixon like administration, but that seems to be the way it is from my limited casual contact. Paraphrasing their thoughts and utterances runs something like: “It’s all about ‘stuff’ that happens in ‘that’ world. And ‘that’ world has always been populated by corrupt wankers and idiots. Fuck the lot of them.”

    So maybe it’s the case that the cynicism and sense of detachment felt with regards social democratic or parliamentary politics runs deeper than many liberals would care to acknowledge? Now sure, there’s about four weeks for penetration to occur, but hey….

    • karol 2.1

      Yep. It’s why the left needs to keep talking assertively about policies, values, and the positives of a Labour-Green+ government.

      I do however, think the media, independence of it, and public service broadcasting and Internet, and related policies, is an important election issue

      • Bill 2.1.1

        Well, I’m not about to disagree with any of that. But we has a problem Houston. It does strike me that talking about specifics and expecting people to generate a larger picture from a number of specifics is too big an ask. Terrible to say, but the whole Slater/Key/Lusk et al saga really does need some basic dog whistling. “Toxic”+”venal”+ “criminal” being used in conjunction with “National” all of the time and every time might help. Let people backtrack from the big picture claim and down into the specifics rather than the other way around.

        • disturbed

          I was there in the beginning of 1972 Watergate, and the press were on to it immediately not like the sleepy lot here, except for a few exceptions.

          They never did a wet bus ticket like the privately owned press here does.

          There was Public Service Broadcasting, and many independent rags & news hounds.

          Also importantly in 1972 this was before the monopoly owned mass media that is so prevalent today.

          Either some straight Journalist goes rogue, or civil servant, or MP, or staffer, blows the thing wide open to save our democracy now, or we are all (Nat’s) included, doomed to the continuation of the dirtiest political Government in N.Z. history.

          God I hope I am totally wrong here.

          The issue of the element of surprise against the Government is very strong in this case even more than Nixon’s case.

          • Hamish

            Also…it was 1972.

            Need I say the world has changed and not entirely for the better?

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.2

        “talking assertively about policies and values” is not going to address the deep sense of cynicism and detachment that Bill is referring to. Why? Because it is all just more talk, by more talking heads, in a very far away world.

        • karol

          Depends on how it’s “talked” and/or presented.

          Otherwise, we may just as well give up.

          It’s also about putting those ideas out into circulation via the people most likely to be supportive and.or to listen with open minds…. spreading the word/s…

          There’s people on the right who will just dig in and defend their views, no matter what evidence or reasoning is presented to them.

          There is also a wearying factor for many of the public. Keeping hammering on the Dirty Politics theme will just be a turn off for many.

          • Puddleglum

            The two can be interwoven. For example:

            ‘National is now more and more focused on how to cling to power, how to smear its opponents, how to collude with right-wing bloggers of questionable ethics. It’s no surprise, then, that it has so little vision for New Zealand’s future; that it relies on business as usual approaches, earthquakes and commodity prices for its uninspiring approach to the economy and to our future. Taxpayer-funded PM staffers spend their days conspiring with self-declared ‘attack dogs’ in the blogosphere rather than working on policy implementation and communication. They have shown again and again that their main goal is to cling to power – by fair means and foul – rather than apply themselves to the hard work of meeting the long-term challenges New Zealand and New Zealanders face. This is just not good enough for our country. Nero is not just fiddling while the fires approach him; he is down in the pit playing petty political games.’

            Or something like that.

            • karol

              That’s a lot of words to fit into soundbites to catch the ears of those busy going about their lives.

              And the reduction of our news media to being led by sound bites is part of the problem.

              • I was thinking more of a speech – old-fashioned, I guess.

                Policy as soundbite is not really policy – when you said how it is ‘talked’ and ‘putting ideas out into circulation’ I took you literally (sound bites aren’t talk or ideas in my book – they’re connotative hooks).

                • disturbed

                  Sound bites is US electioneering do we want this?

                  • karol

                    The problem is, we already have it. That’s why we need a robust public service broadcasting and online media, free from commercial constraints.

          • Karen

            +100 Karol.
            For those really interested in politics this is a big issue, but the bulk of the population are already bored with this story. There has been some damage to the Key brand, but this isn’t going to be enough to lose him the election unless there is a viable alternative promoted. “Dirty Politics’ has dominated the media to such an extent that Labour and Green policy announcements are being ignored.
            The same thing happened in the last election with the teapot tapes. While NZ First made big gains because Winston was able to get into onto the news, the Labour and Green Parties were both starved of media coverage in the final weeks of the campaign.

          • Colonial Viper

            Depends on how it’s “talked” and/or presented. Otherwise, we may just as well give up.

            Not sure I see “how it’s talked/presented” will make any difference.

            • karol

              Talking or presenting or engaging doesn’t have to be talking at people. But I really don’t see how society can change without some form of communication. And how it’s done does make a big difference as to whether people will become more politically engaged.

              Otherwise what you gonna do? Sit back and moan or feel depressed about how bad things are, etc, etc.

              • Colonial Viper

                Certainly not doing that, we’re actively campaigning and working on political projects down here in Dunedin.

      • Steve Withers 2.1.3

        Concentration of media ownership is THE underlying issue in much of NZ politics.

        Once we got MMP and they couldn’t limit the effective franchise through lack of choice at the ballot box, they shifted strategy to ensure lack of effective choice via the opinion-leading news media.

        It’s been working a charm.

    • CnrJoe 2.2

      So keys a corrupt wanker? Goodoh add to th list

    • Steve Withers 2.3

      In my 50-odd years I’ve become more or less convinced that about 90% of the population would rather fight than think.

      The other 10% either run the place or try to hold to account those who do.

      if the 90% don’t care and it comes to a vote…..then Jeb Bush was right when he said no one cares about the truth except a tiny minority…and they tend to have no money.

      • tricledrown 2.3.1

        Jeb bush was practising the same garbage in Florida using every dirty trick to reduce the poor’s access to democracy!

        • disturbed

          True Tricledrown.
          “Jeb bush was practising the same garbage in Florida using every dirty trick to reduce the poor’s access to democracy!”

          That was a jackup election result as we were sitting there figuring Democrats were a win there but the votes (special brought a very slim majority to Bush Jeb.

          Clinton asked for a recount and they were denied the recount, and it was the decider that would have bought a democratic victory to The Whitehouse.

          I lived there when he took over and it went to the dogs, Martinez was a gem but Jeb was a pretty face and no brains, like all Bush prodigy.

          Simply an expensive failed exercise.

    • Ergo Robertina 2.4

      What you say is true, Bill. However, a large proportion of people are switched off to things even more disturbing than Dirty Politics.
      What Dirty Politics has done is dented National’s control of the daily news agenda, the extent of which is being played out now, and is crucial to our democracy.
      As always the minute details inevitably become the focus, but the ugly antidemocratic spirit of the National Party has been exposed, and will not be forgotten any time soon.
      And BTW Tremain’s comment is no different from Craig Foss’s over TVNZ7, when he said he doesn’t get calls from people bemoaning the loss of public broadcasting. But we know it is important and worth fighting for.

  3. MikeG 3

    Farrar is good mates with Slater, although at times he tries to distance himself from him. They share info – remember the almost synchronised posting about ‘someone’ who owns a signed copy of Mein Kamf ?

    And then of course there was the 2008 Election Blogging tour:

  4. weka 4

    The next person that tells me all the parties/politicians are the same, or that national are a shoo in, I’m going to ask them if I can have their vote.

    I don’t mind people being uninterested in politics. Or feeling disenfranchised. I do mind people giving away power out of ignorance.

    • karol 4.1

      I guess many people who bought the Honest John Key, Mr Nice Guy image, are being confronted with the fact they were conned. That’s not an easy thing to learn about your past judgement.

      It probably takes time to assimilate.

    • disturbed 4.2

      A public that is clearly aware of the policies, along with the honesty and integrity of all that are vying for election, are all very important we agree.

      The electorate must have the status of “informed consent” therefore to make the best form of democracy.

      The electorate needs all this clearly defined detail, not sound bites.

      But we now have only last week been given clear reasons why we need to add the integrity and honest trustworthiness’ that must be a part of the plank going forward by our only voice now, “the opposition”.

  5. Rodel 5

    Heard Tracey Watkins on RNZ with Mora. She writes better than she talks. (technique, not content).

    Her question was – ‘Where is Labour leader David Cunliffe? Wherever it might be, it is a political backwater at the moment.’
    The answer to her question- Cunliffe is out discussing positive policies with gatherings of New Zealanders. The people I’ve spoken to who went to meetings to hear Cunliffe were impressed.

    • Rich 5.1

      Yes what will bring Key down is truth. What will bring Cunliffe down is lies.

      The media is rubbish, Key wouldn’t only not be PM now if they’d gone for him he’d be in jail (because the establishment would not have a choice). Now I can understand how media owners sidle up to someone as corrupt as Key but why do the journalists on 50-70k a year do the same thing?

      • Paul 5.1.1

        If they don’t play ball, they don’t have a job?

        • Maz

          Does that mean ‘if National loses the election’ they’ll lose their jobs?’

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            No, it means that the people who own our media expect their employees to follow certain general guidelines in how they report the news. Hardly a controversial observation.

            The media promote statements by people in positions of authority. Perhaps you can see the innate advantage that gives, say, the Prime Minister, before we even consider potential reporting bias.

  6. Guesting 6

    Connecting with the apolitical – let them know that suppressing turn-out (e.g. persuading people not to vote) is exactly what Lusk/Slater wants. If the apolitical choose not to vote, Lusk & Slater win.

  7. disturbed 7

    Paul, You said;

    “If they don’t play ball, they don’t have a job?”


    Corruption & Blackmail for starters with that comment.

    God what are we!

  8. Sable 8

    In my humble opinion you can get more relevant useful information off the ingredient list on a tin of baked beans than Stuff and the Dom Post.

    By the way MSM journos are VERY well paid. More than $50-70K. Hard to know why given the rubbish they consistently churn out but there you go….

    • Rich 8.1

      Yes I figured that some were well paid but I still thought that most would be in the 50-70k bracket as I based my estimate on other 3/4 year graduates like teachers and nurses. I didn’t realise that they got doctors, lawyers or dentist (or IT) type salaries.

  9. karol 9

    Speaking of “independent media” – a very interesting blog post from Selwyn Manning, an independent journalist.

    Somehow or other, he seems to have got the inside running on what’s happening with the Nats’ election campaign. He says they are polling intensely, and seeing the Nats and Key’s credibility taking a bit of a hit.

    My guess is some Nats must be leaking this info.

    • disturbed 9.1

      Thanks Karol For that tit bit of positive lift as I go tomorrow and celebrate 70 yrs on this planet, and wondering why.

      If in any way our collective daily blogs have made a dent in their armour and people are indeed now uneasy about our Democracy slipping away I will regard this as my best Birthday gift. Thank you.

  10. Tautoko Viper 10

    Dotcom has a tweet which is worth retweeting.

    “Not voting isn’t rebellion.

    It’s surrender.

    Not voting is a vote for National.”

  11. Addington Leftie 11

    Your are right Karol to recognise that Key has conned people into believing in him. Without sounding soppy, I think they must be feeling betrayed and powerless. We need to do what we can to not let that turn to apathy and a low voter turnout.
    The cynical Nats won’t be feeling this, their sense of entitlement means they are blinded to the damage to our democracy wreaked by such underhand and criminal behaviour. No need to reach out to them, best to continue to scare the pants off them.

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