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Where would you get that idea? 2

Written By: - Date published: 12:04 am, April 8th, 2009 - 21 comments
Categories: law and "order", Media - Tags:

Well, Granny Herald breaks the news: “NZ’s murder rate halved in past 20 years”:

New Zealand’s murder rate appears to have almost halved in the past 20 years despite an overwhelming public belief that crime has got worse

An overwhelming overwhelming public belief that crime has got worse? Where would we the dumb old public have got that idea? I know – perhaps from these recent Herald headlines:

  • David Garrett: Our more violent society demands a more punitive prison system
  • Number of murders rises sharply
  • Rise and rise of fatal knife violence
  • NZ’s poor violent crime rating ‘no surprise’
  • Why have we become such a violent society?
  • Minister ‘in denial’ over crime rate
  • Act outlines campaign for harsh, quick justice
  • Hide pushes tougher law and order stance
  • Is increased violence damaging NZ’s image abroad?
  • Jump in boys’ violent crimes alarms judge
  • Nats: We’ll end parole for repeat violent offenders
  • National keeps parole hard line
  • Alarming figures on teenage crime
  • Family violence blamed for rise in crime figures
  • Huge increase in pleas for help to end violence
  • Crime out of control, say fed-up marchers
  • Family offending pushes violent crime up
  • Police have no faith in crime statistics
  • NZ becoming hotspot for ‘crime tourism’

And so on. Individually each one an attention grabbing headline – no harm surely? But collectively, over years, they amount to misleading the public. Newspapers used to acknowledge their duty to educate and inform. What are they for now, apart from selling advertising?

21 comments on “Where would you get that idea? 2 ”

  1. Pat 1


    Don’t get yourself out of bed, LP. I’ll invoke some Kiwi Can-Do attitude and ban myself. Good luck with Twyfords campaign.

    [Tane: The guest posts are a result of the call we put out a couple of months back, and they seem to have encouraged more people to send them in.

    We’ve found people don’t tend to want to have their names on guest posts, but they’re all contributed unsolicited by regular readers of the blog, and most of them as you’d expect are by people who already comment here. This one’s been waiting to go up since the weekend.]

    • r0b 1.1

      Just in case Pat is seeing conspiracy theories everywhere, I can confirm that I, for example, have been contributing a few guest posts lately.

      I contribute them as unsigned guest posts not because I’m shy of my opinions (I’m a fairly active commenter here after all). It’s because I think a good volume of unsigned guest posts is a good idea, I think it creates an environment in which others who are a bit shy feel more confident in coming forward with a guest post of their own.

      Long live the guest post.

  2. gingercrush 2

    New Zealand’s murder rate appears to have almost halved in the past 20 years despite an overwhelming public belief that crime has got worse

    Do fewer murders necessarily mean there is less violent crime and less crime in general?

    • r0b 2.1

      Not “necessarily” – everything depends on how you classify and count things.

      But crime has been falling.

      There has been an increase in the reporting of domestic violence (one from of violent crime), but this is due to a publicity campaign about reporting it, probably not due to any increase in the underlying rate. Other categories of violent crime have been falling, as is the overall crime rate.

      You wouldn’t know any of this from reading The Herald.

    • lprent 2.2

      As far as I can see, yes. There are always problems with interpretation because of changes in classification.

      But it looks like what has changed has been the number of crimes reported and the number of arrests. The largest growth area has predominantly been in family violence. This is what the police say and have been saying.

      The increase in police relative to the population has allowed this to happen – they have been almost doubled in size over the last decade, both in sworn and unsworn staff. This enabled allowed more crimes to be handled and investigated. What you have to remember is that NZ is still under-policed per head of population.

      One area that they have been concentrating in over the last decade has been family violence as a precursor crime. The new attitude is that if you handle this, then there are less problems later – ie it is preventative. So the majority of violent crime increases have been in the reporting and handling of family violence cases.

  3. Dan 3

    Bait and switch- so predictable on the part of the Herald- if only there were fewer gullible members of the NZ voting population.

  4. vto 4

    The newspaper template seems fundamentally flawed with no fix in sight. You’re correct in that the main aim is revenue through selling advertising and as such readership is more importnt than anything else, such as good journalism etc. This would appear to be the flaw.

    Received our subscription bill yesterday and considered stopping it. Honestly, these days a skim is all that a newspaper is worth to find out the headlines and then go to the net to get the backup.

  5. jcuknz 5

    You remind me of the saying “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”

    I lock my house door, though occasionally find that I have left my car unlocked, on the basis of “not to put temptation in people’s way”.* The one time I had occasion to call the police I was embarrased as hell to find that I had left my car unlocked and this group of teenagers waited for a lift down the road outside my house and one jokingly suggested that they should convert my car. But I admit I am glad that I have a bright street light on the corner of my section which removes the need for me to organise an outside light. * when for instance I do some gardening up the back of my section and out of sight of my door.

  6. Tigger 6

    I for one am alarmed at the fall in murder rates. Falling rates mean less productivity among murderers and this must cease immediately if we are to become the great murderous nation we once were. We must insist the government does something about this terrible downward trend although I assume our wonderful PM will remain optimistic that murder rates can reclaim the glory they had 20 years ago…

  7. BLiP 7

    And which political party fed for years and years this meadia driven climate of fear effectively terrorising the people and deliberately targeting marginalised .communities to leverage their votes . . .

    Such are the base depths ACT will go that they would subject pensioners and new immigrants to terror tactics to such an extent that despite presentation of the facts many are still left feeling as if:

    Violent crimes had reached an all-time high and the community ceased to feel safe in their homes

    Given the diverse ethnic composition of the Mt Albert electorate and the upcioming byelection we , no doubt, can expect more of this filthy behaviour.

    • vto 7.1

      blip “Such are the base depths ACT will go that they would subject pensioners and new immigrants to terror tactics”

      Do you seriously think only ACt has indulged in this kind of behaviour? I recall Labour doing similar with fake notices to state tenants in the 05 election. Similarly with most all parties methinks. Balance up your imbalances..

      • BLiP 7.1.1

        There’s a difference between a one-off advertising goof up and a sustained systemic and sometimes secret campaign designed specifically to frighten people with false information so as to secure their vote.

  8. tommy onions 8

    “Newspapers used to acknowledge their duty to educate and inform. What are they for now, apart from selling advertising?”

    Tk tsk – silly question – they are still there to educate and inform people.

    They educate and inform people on the pre-eminence and benefits of capitalism and the flaws and pitfalls of any other way of organising production and reproduction.

    They tell people the king’s new clothes are not just glorious but that, appearances to the contrary, they are manufactured by happy workers content with their lot.

    They reinforce the myths that it requires brains and talent to make money and if you cannot make money you lack brains and talent.

    They help perpetuate the conjoined twin cults of celebrity and appearance enhancement.

    In sum – they play their part in papering over the ever-widening cracks in the walls of Richistan. They thereby contribute to their own demise because the rulers and apparatchniks of Richistan believe the masses should be content with soap operas and reality tv.

    But, a ‘quality’ newspaper also has to maintain at least the appearance of impartiality – so dissenting voices do appear.

    In this respect I have to congratulate the Press for its Perspective Page – which allows for a variety of opinion on a wide range of subjects.

  9. Lew 9

    What are they for now, apart from selling advertising?

    vot has it right – what were they ever for?

    Educating and informing are just vehicles for selling advertising – vehicles which have largely been deemed less efficient than celebrity and scandal and fearmongering and tits on page 3. If you want media which inform and educate, demand them – only consume those which do. Of course, if you do this you run the risk of existing in a reality bubble different from the reality of those who consume all media, but that might be a worthwhile trade.

    The simple economic fact is that until people demand it, nobody will supply it.


    • Rex Widerstrom 9.1

      Newspapers and magazines, most of which are experiencing falling circulations, supply tat and tits. They attribute their demise at least in part to the internet.

      While there’s no shortage of tat or tits online, there’s also analysis, intelligent opinion, in-depth reportage and much else that is missing from said magazines and newspapers.

      So it could be argued consumers are demanding information and education, and going to where they can get it.

      Publishing companies seem unable to grasp this and instead thrash round looking for ways to “diversify” and “cut costs” to keep the ink from turning red.

      I could be wrong, but that suggests to me that what’s needed is a publisher willing to invest in intelligent print media… and invest for long enough to allow it to gain a foothold.

      However, printing words on paper is never going to be as profitable as it once was, so perhaps the motivation needs to include something else… like a desire to foster debate round a particular political philosophy, say.

      Which is why I can’t understand why non-traditional publishers (or producrs, for that matter) with a bit of capital – from the BRT to the CTU – aren’t rushing to fill the gap.

      Of course they’d need to accept that they’d be funding genuine media and not some upmarket version of The Socialist Worker (or Fox News but with Paul Henry instead of Bill O’Reilly)… NZers are too smart for that.

      Contrary to popular belief there are enough quality journos in NZ who’d be able to make it work. Their professionalism would moderate out most bias, and the fact they’d be drawn from across the spectrum of views would do the rest.

  10. Bill 10

    So our future prospects (and those of our kids) are being slaughtered by governmental responses the to financial sector collapse. But our chances of living through it, if not quite surviving it, are far greater than might have been the case.

    Glass half full then…of soon to be expensive, low grade privatised water that will part quench the thirst for profit. Things just keep getting better. Well done Granny!

  11. Rex Widerstrom 11

    Oh you ain’t seen nothing when it comes to misrepresenting crime reports.

    Australia’s yellow media is ahead even of NZ’s but I’m sure it won’t be long till we catch up.

    I’m just so ****ing angry about this disgusting travesty in which a crime victim was exploited (or, as the Supreme Court Justice put it made “victim of a metaphorical mugging by the newspaper”) that I think I’d better let the story speak for itself lest the air round The Standard turns blue.

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      I understand that you’re upset Rex, but reality wasn’t conforming to their market needs mate. They was trapped, had no choice really.

  12. Chris G 12

    Gee I must say Eddie I’m loving these posts where you find all the newspaper quotes n’ that.

    Some quality dedication.

  13. Eddie 13

    Thanks, but I can’t take credit for this one. It’s a guest post.

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