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.
But I do agree with some other explanations; my last experience (The National) of standing around impatiently on a sticky plastic sheet for 2 hours waiting for the band to deign to join us has rather put me off live music.
A number of people have touched on this, but I think it bears repeating. The difference between listening to live music in NZ and, say, London, is phenomenal. I can't stand the lackadaisical "doors open at 7; band shows up whenever" approach in NZ. It's exclusive, complacent, and basically contemptuous towards the audience. In London, however, noise ordinances mean that live gigs have to be over by 11 pm. The support act comes on at 8.30 sharp, the main act about 9.30, and everyone gets out with enough time to catch the tube and be home by midnight. The result? Gigs are a hell of a lot less grueling to attend in London. I also love how bands actually apologize -- profusely! -- if they're running a bit late.
It's a cultural thing, sure, but also a good example of how gig-going cultures are a product of their local regulatory environments, which then go on to shape audience expectations. No Londoner would tolerate NZ gig culture and neither, frankly, should New Zealanders.
I was 8 too. We were on holiday in the UK when the election happened, and I remember my parents -- Labour/Values types from way back who hated Muldoon with a burning passion -- making a special trip into NZ House in London to cast their votes. And so inadvertently helping to usher in the mass public sector retrenchment that would see them both restructured out of jobs by the end of Labour's second term.
It seems to me that this is a fairly standard move from the Karl Rove playbook. Attack your enemy’s strengths, and where possible, engage in tu quoque arguments and false equivalences to drown out your opponent’s signal. But I do wonder if the actions of National’s loyal defenders in the media do betray some measure of creeping anxiety about Key and the phenomenon of the “brain fade.” This counterattack on Cunliffe reflects Labour’s recent success in generating a fledgling media narrative about National’s dishonesty. Using standard tu quoque techniques, National are essentially projecting their own history of dishonesty back onto Cunliffe, making him bear the consequences of the kinds of moral failures they themselves have been accused of.
But there’s something else going on here, too. Key is currently untouchable (apparently), so Cunliffe can only play the role of whipping boy. But the more Cunliffe is whipped for what are essentially Key’s faults, the more it becomes apparent that people (perhaps even media people) really are disturbed by Key’s history of obfuscation and what it suggests about the nature of National’s dealings with China. At the moment, this anxiety can only be displaced onto the weaker party (Labour) because National seems to be in an unassailable position and mainstream commentators are basically moral cowards. But the anxiety is still palpable nonetheless.