Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Think it possible that you may be mistaken

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  • George Darroch,

    I'm rather surprised that this post does not even once reference Giovanni Tiso's compelling writing on The Business of Free Speech.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    In fact, I wonder if Russell might consider hosting that post in its entirety. It stands as a rebuttal to Graeme's claims, without alteration.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    There are several aspects to this. I do not think that advertisers should exercise control – even indirectly – over content.

    Josie Pagani ran a similar argument over on Pundit (and I'm not inclined to link for reasons of tangentially related privileged arse-hattery), and you know what? I'm not buying it.

    Regulars will remember our host used to do a magazine show for Radio Live called Public Address Radio, to which I contributed. Russell can speak for himself, but I had all kinds of "controls over content" -- none of which were advertiser-related.

    I was (quite reasonably) expected not to get anyone sued for defamation, charged with contempt of court and if I could tone my *cough* salty language down to a paler shade of blue that would be wizard. Beyond that, Russell and the line producers and I did have some back and forth on matters of tone and taste (but a lot fewer than you might think), but it worked out.

    Honestly, my freedom of speech felt surprisingly unmolested.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Whereas I’d say: it’s not going to die until you counter the idea, rather than silence some of those who give it wide currency.

    It's got plenty wide enough currency. It doesn't need to get currency from advertisers who don't want anything to do with it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Thomas Beagle,

    What I did see was more of a “Do you really want your company to be associated with these people’s ideas?” and the advertisers responding, either out of cowardice or principle, “Actually, no, we don’t want to be associated with this.”

    This. Of course advertisers think about associations when they choose where to advertise. We do make connections between two things we hear or see right next to each other, and advertisers have every right to decide what associations they want their potential customers to have. This was like the people who take screens shots of ads next to hate-speech on Facebook, send them to the advertisers and say, "Okay with this? Because if you are I have a right to know that too."

    The assertion that victim-blaming (look! no scare-quotes!) is generational is so astonishingly wrong I don't think it needs countering.

    Free speech is not a level playing field. People ringing a radio station, who are as a matter of course either not let through or cut off when the hosts have had enough, do not have the same power as those hosts. Well, except right now, when Willie and JT have exactly as much free speech as I do.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I don’t like advertiser boycotts; especially not boycotts of advertisers for the content of the programmes during which their advertising appears, and especially not if that programme is news or current affairs.

    This seems a very odd way to begin, given that no boycott of any advertiser was undertaken or, so far as I’m aware, even proposed.

    I may agree that the speech targeted in one boycott is ill-considered, or harmful in some way, but next time a boycott succeeds it might have the effect of reducing speech I like, or think is valuable.

    What do you mean, “the next time”? Which advertisers were boycotted or had a boycott threatened against them this time?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s got plenty wide enough currency. It doesn’t need to get currency from advertisers who don’t want anything to do with it.

    No – and the other side of that equation is (to paraphrase Emma) why the fuck do rape surviviors have to be responsible for filling in that missing stair every fucking time? I can actually see the point Graeme’s making, even agree with a lot of it, but let’s be honest with ourselves that these arguments very often come from a place of epic (and often unexamined) social, economic and political privilege. It is possible to use that position for meaningful change, but not if you're floating face down in the River Denial.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I can actually see the point Graeme’s making, even agree with a lot of it, but let’s be honest with ourselves that these arguments very often come from a place of epic (and often unexamined) social, economic and political privilege.

    Yup, Danyl made this point beautifully on Chris Trotter's earlier version of what Graeme has written here.

    Can they be used against mainstream progressive left-wing commentators? Well, these people don't really exist in New Zealand: we're doomed to be hectored and talked down to by droves of reactionary bewildered old men instead;

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Thomas Beagle,

    You could respond that this is just a question of semantics, that the impact is the same, but I think it’s an important distinction because there was no threat to the advertisers.

    It's way more than semantic. It's a key distinction. Graeme has opened his argument with a straw man.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    no boycott of any advertiser was undertaken or, so far as I’m aware, even proposed

    It's like the Man Ban: if you can convince enough people to call it a duck loudly enough and frequently enough then it is a duck.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • James Dunne,

    If I go across to TV3 and ask them to give me a job as a television presenter hosting the Holocaust Denial Power Hour and they tell me to go away, is this:

    (a) A reasonable decision by a broadcaster who does not want to broadcast the Holocaust Denial Power Hour because nobody would watch it, nobody would advertise during it, and they don't want to be associated with vile and reprehensible views;

    OR

    (b) A alarming infringement on my right to say whatever I want on whatever platform I see fit?

    Answers on a postcard to...etc

    Wellington • Since Sep 2013 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yup, Danyl made this point beautifully on Chris Trotter’s earlier version of what Graeme has written here.

    Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but this is the same Chris Trotter who got spectacularly pissy when he got some flack (OK, a lot of flack) for comparing criticism of Winston Peters to “media gang rape” and “a lynching.” Trotter really had his privilege-blinkers on in his failure to be even open to the possibility that it was astonishingly tone-deaf and downright trollish coming from the bully pulpit of a high-profile straight white dude pundit. Blargh…

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James Butler,

    no boycott of any advertiser was undertaken or, so far as I’m aware, even proposed

    It’s like the Man Ban: if you can convince enough people to call it a duck loudly enough and frequently enough then it is a duck.

    Yeah, but Graeme’s not just “people”.

    And he uses the word "boycott" 24 times in this post.

    I’m a bit taken aback, to be honest.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I guess maybe I suggesting that the better option is to take your turn at the same time as others, rather than silencing others so you can speak?

    JT and Willie have not been silenced. They just don’t have access to the same platform as they had before.

    Taking your turn… ie. women have to take their turn amongst all the men to get their views heard. Here’s the problem with that: it assumes a world in which gender has no particular influence, and that women do get a turn to speak as a matter of course. But in the real world, many, many more men have access to platforms of influence. As a woman, it’s hard to get access to a platform, and hard to be heard.

    In this highly gendered issue, your analysis lacks a consideration of the impact of gender.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Free speech is not a level playing field.

    This :)
    If WJ and JT chose to freely express their opinions today, it'd be news, and they'd be widely published and broadcast. They wouldn't get paid, and it might affect their future employment, but it'd definitely get heard.
    What we have seen in this affair is widespread discussion of rape culture in the MSM. That's something I can't recall ever seeing before. And it's involved a considerable widening of the public discourse, and a large number of previously unheard voices being heard.
    Overall, it looks to me like a big win for freedom of expression of all the the diversity of views on the subject. (Because it would be rather disingenuous to claim that the views expressed by these Radio Live hosts hadn't been been given a decent chance in the marketplace of ideas. )

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Graeme's terminological inexactitude aside, one of his main arguments is essesntially prudential: what if this sets a precedent that lets conservative voices shut down progressive ones in a parallel way?

    I don't fear this. The reason that Willie and JT, and Paul Henry before them, were successfully shut down, is that the objections to them had wide and deep support. Indeed, those objections weren't primarily about progressive causes so much as they were about notions of decency that people on the left and right share. (Exhibit A, Matthew Hooton). The kinds of culture war censorship that Graeme alludes to don't have parallel support in this country and I doubt they ever will.

    The speech recently being denounced as “victim blaming” does not come from people who think they are victim blaming. Much of the advice they give they see as information that would help stop some women and girls from becoming victims of rape or sexual assault.

    This is wrong (otherwise we'd be going after Rosemary McLeod and half the panel on Afternoons with Jim Mora for a start). Wille and JT weren't giving disinterested advice on safety to young women listeners. They bullied Amy about her sexual past, quite possibly motiviated by JT's son's connection with the Roastbusters crew. Their behaviour was nasty and indecent, just as Henry's was.

    It's possible they didn't think so, but I don't care. And for a nice angle on intent in speech in a related context, I refer you to Morgan Godfery.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Emma Hart,

    This. Of course advertisers think about associations when they choose where to advertise. We do make connections between two things we hear or see right next to each other, and advertisers have every right to decide what associations they want their potential customers to have.

    Please point me to where I said they didn't. Because I'd like to amend it, if you really think that's what I said.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    The kinds of culture war censorship that Graeme alludes to don’t have parallel support in this country and I doubt they ever will.

    Some bookstores have pulled Into the River.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Please point me to where I said they didn’t. Because I’d like to amend it, if you really think that’s what I said.

    I want you to show us the boycott first.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This seems a very odd way to begin, given that no boycott of any advertiser was undertaken or, so far as I’m aware, even proposed.

    I'm not so sure. Maybe no formal organisation pushing a consumer boycott, but large numbers of individuals contacting advertisers- via twitter, facebook pages, email etc) along these lines.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    You argue that we shut down discussion, well I’d argue the reverse, there was far more discussion of what rape-culture actually is because of the boycott, certainly in our tea room and in the media I saw.

    But what was the audience for that discussion? Was it people who listened to Willie and JT interview Amy?

    I’ve been involved in some culture-change implemetation for large organistations, and one of the rules-of-thumb was that when implementing change, the percentages in the organisation within which change was being implemented would nearly always break down at roughly 20-60-20 (20% strongly for, 60% neutral, 20% strongly resistant). There was never any point talking to the two 20% groups at the ends of the bell curve, because you’d either be preaching to the choir or wasting your breath. However, getting the 60% on board gave you an 80% majority, and then it didn’t matter whether the 20% still strongly opposed the changes or not, because the tide would sweep them with it regardless.

    Given that, which group here is the better group to be the audience for this discussion? Willie and JT’s core audience, or the entire rest of the country? Which one is more likely to facilitate a shift in culture?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Google reveals the name of only one such bookshop. The book is freely available across the country, as far as I can tell.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Some bookstores have pulled Into the River.

    Yes - and the one highlighted in the initial coverage didn't do so because of any kind of boycott threat, but because the owner/manager thought it was decadent and depraved trash.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I guess maybe I suggesting that the better option is to take your turn at the same time as others, rather than silencing others so you can speak?

    Sorry what? Maybe if we didn’t live in a patriarchal society, that by its very nature, has silenced opposing voices to rape culture and misogyny for millennia, you could get away with this. But we do, so you can’t.

    Free speech in the context of gender inequality, or any inequality, is not a level playing field. All the cards are stacked on one side, and people arguing from a position of strength that their privilege somehow warrants them greater recourse to the rules of free speech, is just plain wrong.

    Or something.

    Grr.

    ETA: and what Emma said. I should remember to read ahead before posting.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2450 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    I’m not so sure. Maybe no formal organisation pushing a consumer boycott, but large numbers of individuals contacting advertisers- via twitter, facebook pages, email etc) along these lines.

    Were any of the advertisers who didn’t withdraw targeted any way?

    Can you even tell me their names? No. What happened was not a boycott and it’s misleading to characterise it that way.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

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