OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance

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  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Woodward and Bernstein spent two years working the story, and didn’t go to press with anything they didn’t have solidly corroborated from multiple sources and/or with documentary evidence to back them up – which I know is dreadfully old-fashioned nowadays, but there you go.

    I’m aware of that. I’ve also taken the trouble to actually read Dirty Politics.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    What do you mean by “a vehicle”? If you mean that the media quoted Key, et al saying this, then … yeah. That’s what the media does, unless you really want it to stop reporting things that the journalist in question happens not to believe. But if you mean that the media actively promoted this meme … I’m not convinced.

    No, no. But it got repeated to the point where it virtually became the truth. I was really relieved when I was asked about it on Firstline and was able to point out what bullshit it was.

    The way the protagonists kept on being invited onto The Panel as if nothing had happened was fairly troubling. And of course you had the likes of Hosking telling large radio audiences, day after day, that there was nothing to see here, and Larry Williams inviting Slater on as an election commentator at the other ed of the day on ZB. The idiocy of TV3’s poll question asking people whether Kim Dotcom was Whaledump, long after it was clear that he wasn’t. Sean Plunket’s declaration of of same – and then his inadvertently hilarious account of being contacted by Rawshark (spoiler: he wasn’t).

    Then you had the unaccounted casualty of the whole thing – the word “hacker”, which became roughly synonymous with “kiddy-fiddler” . Farrar’s ludicrous claim to have been “hacked or spied on” was reported as fact even after he admitted he hadn’t really been. Key consistently referring to Snowden as having “hacked” private information neatly turned the whole issue on its head. Even Fran O’Sullivan was declaring that Snowden shouldn’t be listened to because his information was “stolen” – and how many stories has Fran broken off the back of leaks?

    EDIT: And of course, the list of people being slammed and smeared as “hackers” included … Keith Ng.

    But I don’t disagree at all with your original point: that voters had other priorities.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    Second, even if the media has some influence, the fact is that Keith starts his post by saying that “the media” actually worked really hard on chasing the Dirty Politics story and tried their hardest to get the PM, etc to answer the questions. And Glenn Greenwald praised the NZ media for doing a good job on chasing up the mass surveillance issues that he revealed in Auckland.

    I'm pretty sure Nicky Hager offered praise too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Reading this thread, I get the impression there are some meta-issues floating around in the discussion of who (media/ politicians/ public) gets to decide what the story is, who gets to declare what is or is not relevant to the story, and how those borders are policed.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Just to tease out: on the one hand the effectiveness you might want from the media - as an ideal - might be to produce in it's audience an impression of the nature and significance of a situation. I don't think it's ever worked that way - as opposed to just, you know, putting it out there - and to actually succeed you would need focus group polling at least as good as Key's. People do have their own priorities, which may or may not include the issue at hand. Or paying attention. Certainly if mass media start hectoring or lecturing they hear from their audience real quick.

    On the other hand the utterances of politicians - perhaps especially their justifications - appear to increasingly be pitched for effect rather than meaning. Reporting on the utterances, no matter how, would be at best facilitating that approach to politics, at worst making yourself the servant of whoever is best at it or whoever you report the most.

    I suppose it could be possible to not do that, but I'm not sure you can get there from here. And everyone would have to play.

    Or maybe Key is right...

    See? Now you're doing it too. :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I’m aware of that. I’ve also taken the trouble to actually read Dirty Politics.

    Guess, what Joe - on Saturday electors didn't have to exchange a fucking book report for their ballot. Sorry about that, but I'm still struggling to see what the media could have possibly done to satisfy you without (as Andrew put it) becoming nakedly partisan in a seriously troubling manner.

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Woodward and Bernstein spent two years working the story, and didn’t go to press with anything they didn’t have solidly corroborated from multiple sources and/or with documentary evidence to back them up – which I know is dreadfully old-fashioned nowadays, but there you go

    I wasn’t gagging for there to immediately be more dumps after Rawshark signed off and said the rest of his material was with journalists. We were past the time of simply throwing out more correspondence.

    The next story you see from Matt Nippert will build on his really good work on the way Slater et al (and possibly Collins) tried to undermine financial regulators, and will include new information brought to him as a result of that story. That definitely won’t go away. Although I think it’s time for the police to say something about the status of David Parker’s criminal complaint over that and other matters.

    Likewise, David Fisher also has more material and anyone who knows Fish knows that he’ll write that story when he’s ready. I suspect there are quite a few OIA requests in the system right now.

    Everyone had assumed that if Mediaworks had unpublished Rawshark material it would be with Gower, but I wonder if it’s actually with Campbell Live, who are currently being dicked around by Judith Collins’ (former) office on an OIA request for correspondence between Collins and Slater.

    So stuff’s going on and journalism’s being done.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lyndon Hood,

    On the other hand the utterances of politicians – perhaps especially their justifications – appear to increasingly be pitched for effect rather than meaning. Reporting on the utterances, no matter how, would be at best facilitating that approach to politics, at worst making yourself the servant of whoever is best at it or whoever you report the most.

    You've phrased what I was trying to say very well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • CJM, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Matt has moved to The Herald, is that right?

    Auckland • Since Aug 2014 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Guess, what Joe – on Saturday electors didn’t have to exchange a fucking book report for their ballot. Sorry about that, but I’m still struggling to see what the media could have possibly done to satisfy you without (as Andrew put it) becoming nakedly partisan in a seriously troubling manner.

    Craig, my reading of Keith Ng’s piece – and Andrew Geddis’s response – is that it isn’t simply about what happened on Saturday night. It’s about the implications of a whole heap of unresolved issues.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    but I’m still struggling to see what the media could have possibly done to satisfy you without (as Andrew put it) becoming nakedly partisan in a seriously troubling manner.

    This is the line that is getting my knickers in a twist - that it's partisan to point out when someone is breaking the law or being blatantly immoral in a public office. It's not partisan, except in as much as it's taking the party of the f*cking public.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    But again, I’m going to repeat Andrew’s question:
    Are you saying they should have actively campaigned against National, in the sense of explicitly told their readers/listeners/viewers “this Government is not fit to be re-elected and you should vote for someone else”? Sorta like the NZ Herald did with the Electoral Finance Bill back in 2007 (remember how much we loved that)?

    and it as fatuous when you re-present it as it was when Andrew Geddis first mooted it, obviously channelling that slick operator Key, with his oft repeated rejoinder on the ‘living wage’ – “$20, why not make it $50…”
    in other words raising something no one else would raise because it is stupid and juvenile and unreasoned – and usually means you don’t have an answer – but by all means carry on with your refusal to engage with opposing views – the world watches…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • CJM, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I thought The Herald giving its whole front page (large border around three sides, large square advertisement within actual page) to the National party on its online edition on friday before the election was pretty nakedly partisan.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2014 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Seriatim,

    Brilliant - but I'm perturbed that nobody has outed the real enemy here, "the game":-
    "The Gallery congratulates “good political management” (aka spin) as if getting away with shit was a virtue and getting caught is the sin; ... and that to be shocked or disgusted by the systemic assholery is to be naive.
    The Gallery’s reporting has contributed to a culture where “political engagement” means to cynically understand “the game”. Can we be surprised then, that ... anything and everything is all just part of the game?"
    That wonderful 'character forming' game, so often referenced during the campaign:- rugby; where getting caught is the only sin. (Right; not a fan)

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    all the news that fits...
    The 'Media' was also effectively hit by a the laws of physics, with all their column centimetres, and broadcast time being eaten up by 'big juicy stories' from all sides, that much analysis and investigation was left out, in the race to get it in front of a baying public, primed for such things, before someone else did ...
    ...and another day goes by.

    I'd lay it at the editors' feet rather than totally on the reporters...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Or have we forgotten a certain newspaper that was determined to hound an elected mayor out of office because they really didn’t approve of where he was putting his penis?

    Which kind of makes Keith’s point for him. Dirty tricks’ the book, may not have influenced the election but the dirty tricks themselves did. To use the Len Brown example you are illustrating this point perfectly, the MSM fell into line behind the spin like flies on shit and hounded the man. That, Craig, is the whole point.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Seriatim, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Good to hear that 'stuff is being done' - it's vital that journalists keep pushing and get some of the results they failed to before the election - admissions, resignations, by-elections, guilty verdicts! … especially now they're clued up and armed with all this excellent analysis.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    So stuff’s going on and journalism’s being done.

    Well, exactly. I know for some people, the meme is "supine media with tongue so far up the Smile-and-waving Assassin's arse it's downright pornographic" (and it will flip 180 degrees as soon as there's a change of government) but it's a wee bit more complicated than that.

    I remember an interview Philip Kitchin did on Media (7? 3? I lose track) that made a salient point -- complex investigative stories of lasting value require pretty serious investments of time, resources and attention. IIRC, he was chasing up leads and building the story around Donna Awatere-Huata for over a year before anything saw print. And I think that work stands up precisely because he puts getting the story right over getting it "right now". Too often, I think media outlets fixated on getting the gotcha have perfectly legitimate stories that get buried under half-baked hype.

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to CJM,

    I thought The Herald giving its whole front page (large border around three sides, large square advertisement within actual page) to the National party on its online edition on friday before the election was pretty nakedly partisan.

    No, it wasn't. No more so than me accepting ads here from Internet Mana and the Greens (not that I dealt with either -- the sale was via Scoop Media). It's paid advertising in an established format. National just happened to have shitloads of money to spend on it.

    The one that did creep me out was the bookending of traffic reports on Radio Live and ZB with "party vote National" ads. This was in the middle of the news, with the electoral ad spoken by the same announcer who gave the traffic information, almost in the same breath. That really crossed a line for me, but I suppose I'm not a commercial radio listener.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    an op-ed column by Nicky Hager.

    You mean Niicky Hager the Left Wing conspiracy theorist hacker criminal?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Well, exactly. I know for some people, the meme is “supine media with tongue so far up the Smile-and-waving Assassin’s arse it’s downright pornographic” (and it will flip 180 degrees as soon as there’s a change of government) but it’s a wee bit more complicated than that.

    I'm guessing you are thinking you are making a really brilliant point here
    - what a shame your imagery is so OTT, vile and debased that any point is negated.

    ...or maybe thats just how all National supporters think, and engage?

    - the world watches and judges...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • CJM, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    You mean Niicky Hager the RICH Left Wing conspiracy theorist hacker criminal?

    I fixed that for you ; )

    Auckland • Since Aug 2014 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    and it as fatuous when you re-present it as it was when Andrew Geddis first mooted it, obviously channelling that slick operator Key, with his oft repeated rejoinder on the ‘living wage’ – “$20, why not make it $50…”

    Again: I will and do engage with opposing viewpoints. I won't engage with your tiresome imputations of bad faith.

    This is the line that is getting my knickers in a twist – that it’s partisan to point out when someone is breaking the law or being blatantly immoral in a public office. It’s not partisan, except in as much as it’s taking the party of the f*cking public.

    Greg: You know what's getting my panties in a bunch? People who think that just didn't happen (and it did a lot), who don't distinguish between reporting allegations and facts, and when it's politically useful elevate the media to a judicial body. Which it isn't.

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

  • Steve Barnes,

    Oh and exelent work as usual Keith. If only we had a media outlet strong enough to support you, a true heavyweight.
    So l suppose a brgrudging thanks to Russ for letting you write here is in order.
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Lynn Williams,

    Katherine Rich on Nigel Latta’s doco about sugar was asked about the food industry’s culpability in actively promoting the consumption of sugar-rich foods and drinks. Her answer was that if she can use advertising as a ‘source of information’ in making consumer choices, so can anyone.

    That’s as cynical and unsustainable a position as the claim that the mainstream media has no undue influence on the decisions people make.

    The media clearly DOES influence public opinion – by which facts are included, which are left out, which are emphasised, what language is used, what images are attached to a story, where it appears in the news lineup, what the headline says….

    The Press Editorial on Monday opined that one of the reasons Labour did so badly was an ‘over reliance on the party leader’. National’s reliance on its leader and his brand is one step away from a cult of personality but somehow in Labour that reliance is a failure. The only inference to be drawn is the editorial writer isn’t critical that Labour put its leader front and centre, but that it had the wrong leader.

    That aside, the presidential style leadership battle is heavily promoted by the mainstream media and as a result, hard for one leader to opt out of it. The Herald’s front page victory photo of Key and his family was pure US presidential imagery.

    The Labour Party at the moment isn’t engaging in a robust debate according to the media – it’s ‘tearing itself apart’.

    David Cunliffe will have: ‘he apologised for being a man’ as his political epitaph – because of the way that what he said and its context was spun by the media, seemingly with the aim of inflicting most political damage.

    Should the media have been more accurate, impartial and balanced in its ‘reporting’ of that comment? Yes.

    Should Cunliffe have been more alert to the way the media would ‘report’ his comment? Yes – because he should have known that anything, however insignificant and trivial that could be used against him, would be.

    But, that says a lot more about the ethics of the MSM (and Cunliffe’s rightwing caucus colleagues) than the man himself.

    Key presided over a series of massive political blunders and was showered with evidence of unethical conduct by his party – and came up smelling of very expensive aftershave.

    Nowt to do wit’ media though.

    I’m not a Labour Party member but if I was I’d vote for Cunliffe because I don’t want to see NZ degenerate further into a small island version of the US with politics dominated by two powerful right wing parties providing a seamless service to global corporate interests and offering no real voter choice.

    The political arena over the past 30 years has been dragged so far back to the right that the centre has been redefined and even moderate left policies and priorities are labelled as extremist.

    The media has played a key role in that – pun intended.

    Canterbury • Since Sep 2014 • 7 posts Report Reply

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