Not good thinking, Fran – who trusts the media?
It’s a very strange suggestion from Fran O’Sullivan, long dug in as a New Zealand Herald columnist and named in the New Year’s Honours list as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, that the government should be involved in funding the media. New Zealanders like to be generous with their congratulations. But most would argue that the government already has its tentacles reaching into too many areas of our national life. Arguably, her suggestion is an especially dubious proposition, given the potential of the media to be highly partisan – an issue already causing worldwide concern.
Well worth reading is ”Rex Murphy’s: ‘Time is wrong. Today’s journalists are not ‘guardians of the truth’ Contemporary journalism is frequently as wayward as the social media it deplores. It has long since given up any attempt to be objective.’ ” See below. *
New Zealanders have longed regarded the Honours nominations with mixed feelings, some as highly deserving, some raising eyebrows, baffling. Most would celebrate the one given to that outstanding philanthropist, Sir Stephen Tindall, Knight Great Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit – and to other some deserving candidates. But there are always those that are debatable, some viewed as politicised choices – such as the highly controversial Lloyd Geering, who, while professing to be Christian, repudiated the central tenants of Christian teaching – and then had Honours heaped upon him, initially by Helen Clark’s Labour government. The extraordinary succession of these that Geering received was topped when, as recently as 2009, his previous Honours awards were elevated to that of Tindall’s – Knight Great Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
However, this former minister’s highly opiniated stance has been regarded as extraordinary for a man who apparently decided that his views on the Resurrection were superior to those of the apostles of Christ’s day – as well as those of the hundreds of millions of individuals down through the centuries who repudiated any notion that Christ was either a knave or a delusionist – and who stood by St Paul’s simple assertion that the truth of Christianity depends upon the reality of the Resurrection.
Lloyd Geering decided otherwise. And of course individuals are free to believe what they like, rightly or wrongly. But whether it was a realistic decision of his to still claim to be a Christian – when this depends upon its millennia-held truth – even if his stance was basically fudged as his “belonging to the Christian tradition” – and, more recently, as an atheist a “non-theist” – his nomination became arguably an untenable choice. Very many New Zealanders regarded Geering as having done an enormous amount of damage to Christian belief – particularly because of his still confusingly claiming to be inside the Church – rather than a more appropriate acknowledgement of where he had in reality arrived – repudiating it. He acknowledges he sees no point praying -“There’s nobody up there to answer them.” His out of left field preference rejecting the importance of the individual nation state safeguarding its interests in favour of the concept of One World Government would certainly mirror Helen Clark’s long maintained socialist philosophy.
Society has always had its mavericks and its eccentrics. But when they challenge, with no basis for proof, the beliefs and values that underpin and stabilise our society, they do not usually have Honours upon Honours heaped on them. What these signified, in the eyes of many, is that his views were meeting with political approval at its highest Left-wing level in this country. On form, he regards the anti-the West UN as doing a great job. As with others who, in the eyes of many have been dubious recipients of the awards – including businessmen, politicians, and sportspeople – the selection process appears to so often depend upon the priorities, or the agenda, of the government of the day.
When Fran O Sullivan uses her own Honours listing to argue that governments have a responsibility in addressing how journalism is funded, she strays into the grey area of special pleading – as a journalist herself at the time when public perception of the media, at an all-time low, means that even major media corporations are losing the advertisers that fund them. Although she states that “this doesn’t mean that the government should step in and run media…“ her argument that “a public-private partnership could be set up in some of these areas in the same way it’s made to creative arts ” will be regarded by many as a more than dubious proposition.
Government- funded print and on-line media, no matter the nature of the arrangement, is simply not acceptable. Neither our government-backed broadcasting nor television is regarded as producing an even-handed, quality product. On the contrary, standards are viewed as having markedly declined, and continuing to do so. Moreover, thanks to liberal government backing, the “creative arts” she instances have long become monopolised by sharp-elbowed in-groups of the Left distributing the literary grants among themselves and their politicised fellow travellers – while blacklisting authors and artists who will not toe their politicised line. It is an important and relevant contention that all taxpayer funding should be removed from these well-heeled cliques, and that it should be left to the public to decide which writers and artists they choose to support on the basis of merit alone – not on their politicised agenda.
Miss O’Sullivan’s plea for government funding for the media within which she works – or even for government-owned entities such as the New Zealand Super Fund and ACC to take a stake in media companies “to ensure they were locally owned” – will not meet the approval test of the man in the street – nor the highly intelligent home-maker – nor all those in the trades and professions already fed up with the ever-increasing burden of government edicts, the increasing new areas of taxation – and the mounting compliance issues. Faced with a future prospect of the media “explaining” and supporting these – to satisfy the government of the day – is unacceptable. If there is no such thing as a free lunch, O’Sullivan’s wish list is more than unrealistic. She should well know that bargains are not made on the basis of something for nothing.
Her contention is that “We’ve got to have media that acts in New Zealand’s interests….and it would be great to have a government that valued that.” But that real thinking concerning what New Zealand’s interests really are should never be left to the media, nor to successive governments of the day, each very much with their own agenda – and each long wooing flattered or compliant journalists to help achieve this. Moreover, when the flagrant bias of our media is already so obvious in relation to the stance of highly politicised editorialists and journalists – particularly so in relation to the fact that they themselves are often quite culpably ignorant in areas where their research is far from in-depth – then the prospect of journalists being leaned even more upon by governments of the day is ominous. The standard of most of today’s columnists is basically abysmal.
Examples? The complete lack of genuine debate, or even well-substantiated media writing in relation to the ever-ongoing gravy train of treaty settlements pouring into an already $40 billion Maori economy – many now well argued to be on fraudulent grounds. That these grossly politicised settlements have long deprived the country of vital funding into health, housing and other grossly under-funded areas has been arguably a disgrace. Similarly, with the almost totally one-sided presentation of the highly dubious, man-made global warming claim – long well-challenged in reputable publications overseas – but where the New Zealand media have locked themselves into an over-comfortable relationship with the global warming cultists within this country.
Flying in the face of our media establishment’s claim to objective reporting and impartiality, its palpable bias is almost ludicrous, when one is faced with: “Stuff accepts the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by human activity. We welcome robust debate about the appropriate response to climate change, but do not intend to provide a venue for denials or hoax advocacy. That applies equally to the stories we will publish in”Quick! Save the planet” and to our moderation standards for reader comments.”
“Quick! Save the planet…” ? The claim of the editorial writer who produced such nonsense to promote “robust debate” that is completely its opposite is not only doubly ludicrous – it is childish. It brings me back to Fran O’Sullivan’s virtual plea – which could well be titled –“Quick! Save the media.”
We already know what the public response to this would be. New Zealanders, with good reason, are walking away from their mainstream media and the flagrant bias with which, insultingly they have long been treated. Even the ability to allow for public feedback and debate in relation to most columnists’ and editors’ pronouncements has been largely removed. Space for readers’ comments has largely gone –dissent is not encouraged. Editors reject from correspondents letters with which they don’t agree. Robust debate, as this ridiculous Stuff notification so well highlights, is largely a thing of the past, as far as our media giants are concerned.
There is far better material now available for public information and debate away from the former long monopoly of the giant media corporations, and their day is arguably over – as everyone knows – apart from those still wedded to a new Utopia – or to a past with far more rigorous standards in journalism – a past that has long gone.*
© Amy Brooke. Buy my highly relevant book “The 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand…what has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians.” Available through Amazon’s Kindle – or directly from my website – http://www.amybrooke.co.nz
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”Rex Murphy: Time is wrong. Today’s journalists are not ‘guardians of the truth’.Contemporary journalism is frequently as wayward as the social media it deplores. It has long since given up any attempt to be objective.”
December 28, 2018
1:06 PM EST
”Time, that tattered, shrunken revenant of a once-popular news magazine, continues in its endless decline to delude itself that it has either the authority or the competence to name the “Person of the Year.” Brilliantly it named journalists — “The Guardians” — as 2018’s collective heroes, with Jamal Khashoggi given pride of place on the once-iconic cover. Time neglected to check on Khashoggi and now finds that it nominated a Qatar stooge, whose columns were midwifed by officers in the Qatar government, and whose “journalistic” career was but a distracting pendant to his many more serious activities, latterly as an anti-Saudi lobbyist, nephew to the one-time world’s biggest arms dealer, and a host of other shadowy mésalliances. The neatest summary I have read of Khashoggi, the journalist, is: “a highly-partisan operative who worked with a handler to publish propaganda at the behest of the Emirate of Qatar … in other words, an agent of influence.”
”Great cover photo for a Time “guardians of truth” issue.
”A highly partisan operative who worked with a handler to publish propaganda
”As far as journalists collectively being honoured with the ascription “guardians,” that surely cannot apply in North America or Europe if we take most of their coverage of Donald Trump as the testing ground. Trump journalism will some day earn its place in medical literature, side by side with malarial fever and LSD as engines of hallucination and fitful nightmares.
”Throw in the scandal saga of Der Spiegel, whose star investigative reporter, Claas Relotius, has been proven to be an industrial-scale fraud, a fantasist fictionist, who gulled Der Spiegel and its readers for years, and is now the face for “fake news” worldwide, and ask again how journalists could even be considered the heroes of 2018? The Relotius problem was correctly described in a Facebook post as “a product of an absurdly leftist writers’ fraternity that is increasingly seldom prepared to leave its own convenient moral comfort zone in favour of the facts.”
</mail/u/0/s/?view=att&th=167fd942fdee3887&attid=0.1&disp=emb&zw&atsh=1> Der Spiegel reporter Claas Relotius, who has admitted to fabricating stories, is seen during an award ceremony in Munich, Germany, on March 27, 2014. Ursula Dueren/dpa/AP
”Journalism is frequently as wayward as the social media it ritually deplores, propelled by a lust-like drive to the parts of a story that accord with its prejudices and predispositions. It has long since replaced the attempt to be objective with a commitment to activism and advocacy. Much of contemporary journalism does not report on the game. It sees itself as part of the game — it seeks to massage opinion, reinforce favoured perspectives, take down its “enemies” and shield its heroes.
”There is an old word, not seen much in modern writing, quite possibly in near full decay from lack of use. Which is a shame for it still remains possibly the only full semantic vehicle for certain phenomena. The word is incompossible, and its meaning (taken here from the Oxford English Dictionary) is: adj. – Unable to exist if something else exists. Two things are incompossible when the world of being has scope enough for one of them, but not enough for both.
”Much of contemporary journalism does not report on the game. It sees itself as part of the game
”To illustrate the meaning, I offer a few sentences: Environmentalism and journalism are incompossible. Hatred of and contempt for Donald Trump and honest reporting on him are incompossible.
”Place the adjective environmental to govern the noun journalism and the former swallows up, nullifies, extinguishes quite the latter. What we may call real journalists on the global warming file are, to use a familiar category, on the very sharp end of the endangered species list. The majority of environmental journalists are a choir in perfect harmony on a one-note score, the settled-science symphony of the IPCC and Al Gore.
</mail/u/0/s/?view=att&th=167fd942fdee3887&attid=0.2&disp=emb&zw&atsh=1> This combination photo provided by Time magazine shows its four covers for its 2018 “Person of the Year.”
”Trump journalism is obsessive, manic and unboundedly adversarial. Much of it is wish-fantasy in print or online. The evidence was clear from the night of his election, when that great organ of higher reportage, The New York Times, was giving Mr. Trump an eight-per-cent chance of victory, and poor Hillary a wild 92 per cent. Error of that magnitude doesn’t spring from faulty polling or inadequate assessment of the public mood.
”It is incorruptible evidence that a once great newspaper had chosen to report what its owners and reporters wanted to see as reality, its fantasy of reality, as the reality. They had cut all anchors to objectivity and fact to drift on the currents of advocacy and wish-fulfillment. On that same night, as the results came in on the networks, people saw on the crestfallen faces of the anchor “guardians” for whom “speaking truth to power” is their prayer and motto, just how unwelcome the real truth was, when their power to declare what that truth should be, had been denied them.
”This was infallibly not the year to declare journalists the heroes of our time. but then, it was Time that declared them so, so who, really, thought they were?”
© Amy Brooke – SHARE or LIKE us to support our move to Claim Back New Zealand www.100days.co.nz. And DONATE to help! Thank you!
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