Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Think it possible that you may be mistaken

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  • Stephen Judd,

    Another thing which comes to mind about the argument that people might hear other views if only Willie and JT had been allowed to continue -- really? Which guests might they have invited who would try that, after what happened with Matthew Hooton? Which callers would have enlightened them, given the usual dynamic between caller and host on talkback? This idea is just fantasy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

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

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

    Well, weren't a lot of things I was talking about, undisputed boycotts? What word would you have me use?

    And you may disagree, but I do consider that the advertisers here were being made to bear a responsibility for things said on Radio Live over which they have no control. And I think they were getting the message that they would suffer economically if they didn't pull advertising. There may be a difference in emphasis, but I'm not seeing a major difference in principle. Pressure was placed on advertisers to do something about the content of a news commentary show.

    I would also note that discussion of Roast Busters is being used by me as a springboard to a wider discussion about a variety of speech aimed at silencing (or reducing the reach) of others.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Which callers would have enlightened them, given the usual dynamic between caller and host on talkback? This idea is just fantasy.

    Well, the callers who were actually calling in, for a start. There were enough mentions of them in my facebook and twitter feeds to be confident there were quite a few.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Attachment

    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.

    I do agree that the best response to hate speech is free speech – the United Methodist Womens’ response to Pamela Geller’s blatant hatemongering in New York comes to mind (see attached pic).

    An advertiser boycott may be a blunt instrument, but it’s probably the least worst solution in a cartelised media landscape. Free speech becomes an lopsided affair when the loudest voices just happen to have the fattest chequebooks and the closest connections. Who here saw “Shadows of Liberty” at the Documentary Edge Festival earlier this year?

    Lastly, I’ve said it before, but the old adage of shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre comes to mind. And, of course, its direct descendant, telling airport security that you have bombs in your luggage.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Gio's other post should definitely be linked. In which he explains how it went down.

    He's at pains to point out that it wasn't only his efforts that led to this. Nor even social media as the main agitator. This was a society wide response, and calling advertisers wouldn't have worked if it wasn't.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • kiwicmc, in reply to 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.

    A lovely piece of writing for sure. I do note that Gio explicitly refers to "sponsor boycotts" though...

    Waiting for Gio's post here

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since May 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What happened was not a boycott and it’s misleading to characterise it that way.

    I don't know if this is really a quibble that matters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Well, weren’t a lot of things I was talking about, undisputed boycotts? What word would you have me use?

    Oh, come on. You wrote this:

    Supporters of the boycott of Radio Live and its advertisers were hoping to silence the speech of those they see as placing blame on victims of rape

    Can you show the Facebook page of this campaign to boycott advertisers? Where did supporters sign up? And which companies,, among the many who did not withdraw their advertising, were targeted?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I'm in 2 minds, obviously these two oinks needed educating, and I suspect they have - on the other hand they did represent two of the few Maori voices in mainstream Pakeha media who I think spoke to both Maori and Pakeha and by losing that we're all diminished - at times I found them quite infuriating but they did talk about issues that no one else did ... I hope they do come back having learned from their experience, perhaps with a strong female voice as well

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    I don’t know if this is really a quibble that matters.

    I disagree. I think it's an important distinction.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    Graeme - in writing this lengthy post, did you at any point pause to think it possible that you may be mistaken?
    To me, there's a tone throughout it that suggests not.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Lastly, I’ve said it before, but the old adage of shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre comes to mind.

    That analogy of Oliver Wendall Holmes was hilariously inapt. It came in a decision upholding convictions for publishing pamphlets opposing the draft during World War I.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to ChrisW,

    Graeme – in writing this lengthy post, did you at any point pause to think it possible that you may be mistaken?

    I did. That's a large part of why I included lots of may's and might's etc.

    And why, instead of calling for people to not boycott speech they don't like, I simply asked people to weigh the consequences before boycotting. I cannot expect my views to hold sway. Some people will think that some boycotts are worth the risks I mention.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I want you to show us the boycott first.

    As kiwicmc notes, Giovanni discussed his campaign as follows:

    The more prosaic truth is that SPONSOR BOYCOTTS, far from leading directly to gulags and the mass murder of heretics, are a very limited tool that is available to us in the circumstances – likely to be most rare – when events call for it, and most specifically when the issue that is being campaigned around relates to the consumption of hate speech. One of the key aspects that made the Amy interview stand out to the extent that it did is that it was packaged as a podcast, so that the people who didn’t listen to the show would be able to access it, and was even included that evening in promos for the show scheduled for the next day (on this point, and the blame that pertains to RadioLive, see Matt McCarten’s column). So, far from being something that just happened in the natural course of strong opinions being voiced, and that the station regretted, the segment immediately became a product for sale. It is only at that point that it made sense to attempt to disrupt the commercial side of the arrangement, even if it meant enlisting the help of a bunch of PR departments.

    [ EMPHASIS added]

    I’m happy to disagree with him on this as well :-) but should I need to?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    his argument with a straw man

    You are of course quite right, and I didn't even notice that part.

    But to be fair when I asked Toto to stop advertising with Radio Live I did imply it would affect my future dining decisions.

    That is NOT what Gio did, but I suspect many people like me extended the questioning of advertisers desire to be associated with Radio Live to what would amount to a change in purchasing behaviour (a boycott by any other name).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I’m in 2 minds, obviously these two oinks needed educating, and I suspect they have – on the other hand they did represent two of the few Maori voices in mainstream Pakeha media who I think spoke to both Maori and Pakeha and by losing that we’re all diminished –

    Speaking for myself, I feel more diminished by casually homophobic, misogynistic rape culture enforcers being presented as the voice of Maori. There's plenty of Maori out there who can -- and do -- elevate the discourse rather than drowning it in the nearest sewer. Instead of throwing a pity party for Willie and JT, perhaps its time to move on and lift our game.

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

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    That is NOT what Gio did, but I suspect many people like me extended the questioning of advertisers desire to be associated with Radio Live to what would amount to a change in purchasing behaviour (a boycott by any other name).

    Yeah, that too :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I’m hearing overtones of a fancied up version of “women, get to the back of the bus and wait your turn” in this analysis.

    Well, I certainly didn’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I wasn’t anticipating this response.

    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?

    And when is our turn, Graeme? When?
    Nobody is preventing Jackson and Tamihere from speaking freely, only from having a particular commercial platform from which to do so. If only we could all get a personal radio show as part of our right to free speech!

    ETA: snap, Deborah, hadn't seen your reply.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    two of the few Maori voices

    Are you suggesting those two “represent Maori”?

    I don’t really believe that is true. They may represent the opinions of some Maori.

    ETA What Craig said.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I probably have more lengthy things to say, but I'm just taking a moment to note that telling Deborah women who want to speak out against rape culture need to "take their turn" is so hilariously obtuse a stance that I am actually giggling.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Lilith __,

    And when is our turn, Graeme? When?

    But you got Willie and JT off the air: surely it’s your turn now?

    edit: sorry, that's a little snarky, but part of my point is that stopping people you don't like from speaking widely doesn't actually make it easier for you to get your message out there. If the aim of those who were campaigning against Willie and JT was to get a voice for those who hold opposing views into mainstream commercial media, then they have failed dramatically.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    It's possible to argue that the campaign involved the implied threat of a boycott if the advertisers didn't withdraw ("Nice sponsorship you've got 'ere, guv. Be a shame if something...'appened to it, know worra mean?"). As it was, though, it extended to the point of "Do you want you product associated with thuggery?", and the advertisers thought "Hmm, maybe most of our customers DON'T actually condone rape-apologist bullying" and acted upon that.

    Of course, that may be giving too much credit to the advertisers' conscience and not enough to their commercial nous. But even if it is the latter, isn't this more a question of the market saying to Radio Live "Actually, your audience is broader than redneck misogynists". We might think that the management of a company like Radio Live have perfect knowledge of their audience and are just responding to their demand, as if the latter were some immutable force of nature. But what if the management are stuck in a comfortable rut of "we'll just give the punters what they want, which is reactionary anti-PC invective", and have actually underestimated the humanity of their audience? What if this is the market telling them "You know what, we don't want this anymore?"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    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.

    This is not what banning a book looks like. It's still freely available , it's just not stocked in some stores.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    And when is our turn, Graeme? When?

    But you got Willie and JT off the air: surely it’s your turn now?

    If I'm being offered a radio show, this is the first I've heard of it.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    OK Graeme, here's a question. Do you believe that structural inequality - of the type that privileges some voices over others - exists?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

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