The excellent Kapiti Independent News puts most other newspapers to shame. No wonder that most media are now so despised.
Without courage, what is left? And what has happened to us as a country that, as formerly happened in the USSR, much-needed debate is now suppressed, and to speak the truth on important issues now takes an act of courage?
The Kapiti Independent News deserves to be acclaimed by all of us. It stands head and shoulders above our mainstream newspapers right across the country – earning respect by its support of debate on the now damaging issues of racial preference and discrimination.This Kapiti newspaper’s support of the fine article by courageous Bud Codger brings to mind the phrase – redeeming the times. Congratulations to all involved. And don’t miss the below.
Judging from my own experiences in relation to my local newspaper, I’d agree it’s no wonder that, in the public mind, it’s been established that the least-trusted group of individuals in any occupation are journalists, “ranked below MPs, even, the second least trusted, and behind local council members, lawyers and civil servants, who are all below the half-way mark in a survey of public trust and confidence. ”
That’s no surprise to so many New Zealanders concerned about the directions in which this country is heading, but finding it almost impossible to be able to take part in that underpinning of democracy, public debate, using the forum of letters to the editor. I’m not alone in the long campaign I’ve been waging to challenge the Nelson Mail in relation to its disgraceful practice of suppressing letters to the editor from well-respected commentators – if the opinions, even the facts that they express, obviously irritate the letters editor – or/and even the actual editor.
My persistent objection to the letters of one highly qualified commentator on treaty issues being ignored has at last seen his letters begin to appear – possibly because I included, in my recent complaint to the Press Council, the constant suppression of his excellent letters, and, even of a well substantiated article pointing out that so-called facts invoked by two local activists in relation to Maori-related historical issues could indeed be challenged. Naturally, he was denied publication. Moreover, invited to give an address to the Nelson Institute, he found this recently cancelled, when the Institute, the Nelson City Council and the public library were asked to cancel his address – with the implied threat that there would be public disruption – possibly violence – “a health and safety issue” – if he was allowed to speak. And I’m referring here to an excellent historian, respected in his field.
Tiring of the constant suppression of my own letters, challenging left-wing, quite wrong or troubling “facts” presented in the Nelson Mail (I would write no more than about four a year – given so much already to juggle – and in particular where others had not highlighted an important issue) I finally submitted a complaint to the Press Council about the Mail’s suppression of these.
My expectation of support from this body is pretty minimal. Our institutions all over the country are now largely dominated by the Politically Correct, and I recognize from my own time as an independent columnist and commentator on current affairs for the Dominion, and elsewhere, two or three familiar names on the Press Council.
However, one of the facts we need to take on board as individuals in this country, concerned about its very worrying directions, is that it is not good enough to fold up under pressure – or to simply be a pushover (in a friend’s words) – when confronted by any form of bullying. On the contrary, it is important to make things as difficult as possible for those misusing positions of power. And this is exactly what too many of today’s journalists are doing – pushing their markedly ” liberal” or radicalized points of view on the public – and then denying the opportunity for public debate.
It wasn’t always the case. C. P. Scott, the long-standing editor of the Manchester Guardian, summed up the professional duty of a journalist, arguing that the “primary office” of a newspaper is accurate news reporting, saying “comment is free, but facts are sacred“.
Once, when journalism had a code of ethics, reporters would be pulled up short when their personal opinions took precedence over the facts. I recall some fine editors or features editors whom it was a pleasure to know. However, training journalists on an actual paper under the eye of experienced editors gave way to an utterly unnecessary three-year (and more) journalism courses where today’s often highly opinionated and self-regarding editors and reporters learned that their inculcated left-wing and PC views were to be inflicted on the readers – and that they are free to push their too often half baked opinions – at the expense of the facts.
As usual the Nelson Mail is now holding back my letter in support of historian Bruce Moon. I very much doubt if the editor has any intention of publishing it, and if this is the case, I will let readers judge for themselves by producing in this journal the letters which obviously offended the tender sense of susceptibilities of editorial staff.
Once more into the breach, dear friends …
© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through my BOOK Page at www.amybrooke.co.nz, or at Amazons Kindle.