how is it that a US journalist can speak more intelligently about our political landscape than our own media personalities? At the end of the day, Patrick Gower is still on TV and it does not appear to be satire.
Well, it's pretty obvious how that happens. New Zealand these days has a branch office economy. It's all owned offshore and the decisions are made elsewhere, by someone else. The point of the staff in the branch office is to implement those decisions without rocking the boat or doing anything the owners wouldn't sign off on. So the actual job of a local journalist is precisely not to do the kind of thing Greenwald is able to do. Greenwald's from an entirely different economy altogether and doesn't answer to head office, exactly. Patrick Gower, on the other hand, is on TV because he has a proven track record of being vapid, incurious, and obedient to the diktats of power, and this is his real job. To prevent actual, independent journalism happening in his stead. Chomsky put it best, almost 20 years ago:
When you critique the media ... they get very angry. They say, quite correctly, "nobody ever tells me what to write. I write anything I like. All this business about pressures and constraints is nonsense because I’m never under any pressure." Which is completely true, but the point is that they wouldn’t be there unless they had already demonstrated that nobody has to tell them what to write because they are going say the right thing. If they had started off at the Metro desk ... and had pursued the wrong kind of stories, they never would have made it to the positions where they can now say anything they like ... They have been through the socialization system.
As a brief aside, TV3 asked Colin Craig to name his favourite kiwi musos the other day. He chose ‘Dave Dobyn’ and ‘The Police’. Nuff said.
Perhaps he meant the actual New Zealand police force?
I know a lot of working journalists are dismissive of Herman and Chomsky's "propaganda model," but I can't help thinking the glimpse behind the curtain we've had over the past few weeks tends to confirm it. The actions of the "government media team," and media willingness to be thus controlled and dictated to, provide a vivid case study in how the ideas of the ruling class get to be the ruling ideas, in this little epoch anyway.
If there is one thing that comes out of this that is positive I am hoping that no journalist will take anything that Cameron Slater says at face value.
Well, you'd hope so. But, if we're talking about the integrity and intellectual firepower of the NZ mass media, tidbits like this one (RTd on Twitter last night by RB) don't inspire much confidence:
@PamelaStirling: .@johnkeypm looks better than he has all campaign. He's back.
As someone else put it on Twitter, "@citizen_parable: Wow. Colours. Mast. Nailed. Thanks for the clarification." There's a story to be told about the Listener's infiltration by the Right under Stirling, just as there is one to be told about the similar ideological compromise of RNZ under certain producers. I hope one day we get to hear those stories.
Andin has the questions I’d like asked. How, practically speaking, do we resolve the conflict between the country’s two biggest industries, agriculture and tourism? What can be done to mitigate agricultural pollution? How do you do that without completely antagonising the farming lobby?
Thanks to Darren Watson, I will always have an image in my mind now of John Key playing a Hector's dolphin, and I, for one, salute him (Watson) for that.
Another poll with National way ahead and I am just beyond despair. I feel like completely disengaging because it all seems so hopeless.
But that’s the point of these polls and the way they’re reported. They never (or very rarely) predict the actual share of votes in elections. That’s not what they’re for. Their main function is exactly to suppress turnout and encourage apathy and hopelessness. So don’t disengage: that’s what the pollsters want you to do.
I’ve got to say, the NZ media’s craven approach to this so far confirms some of my worst fears about where the country is headed. I remember, during the period 2005-8, when pretty much all media were actively hostile to the Clark government, there was much talk of “narrative” and “a tired government” and “holding power to account.” There was a suggestion that, when National came in, the fourth estate would continue the same antagonistic approach it’d taken with Clark. But no. Over the last 6 years it’s become clear that most prominent media figures are far more comfortable with a government of the right than they were with one of the (nominal) left. In an increasingly shallow and celebrity-obsessed media economy, it seems that journalists now view power and material wealth as marks of moral authority. They know whose side they want to be on. And that’s not exactly conducive to democracy.
It seems that, sometime between Brash’s Orewa speech and now, we lost a country.
Muldoonism + 30 years of neoliberalism = #TeamKey!
Philosophy can be a bloody affray too. I can’t agree with those who say Whyte should ‘go back to academia’. He doesn’t, prima facie, seem capable enough.
Yeah. And those representing Whyte as a former Philosophy Lecturer seem to be misreading the complexities of early career academia. From what I can see, he had a three-year Junior Research Fellowship after finishing his PhD, followed by a short-term (stipendiary?) position teaching at undergrad level. Junior Research Fellowships are prestigious postdoc appointments alright, although they’re a lot easier to get if you’re already inside the Cambridge system. But they're fixed-term: after three years, you're on your own. The “Lectureship” looks to have been another fixed-term position, essentially a Teaching Associateship. So he seems never to have managed to secure a bona fide permanent job lecturing in Philosophy.
These things are hard to read: it could be that had he stuck around for another year or so, he might have found a position. Or it could also have been that no Department anywhere wanted to touch him with a barge pole. Nevertheless, the title “Cambridge Philosophy Lecturer” delivers less here than it promises.