OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance

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  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I wouldn’t go as harsh as “if you don’t vote, don’t complain” – because I think even if you don’t vote, you’re still a citizen and have a right to curse your employees in the legislature as incompetent malign numpties, fairly or not, even if it gives me a migraine in the process.

    Oh, sure ... you can complain. But don't expect to be listened to. Case in point - why do policies so markedly favour old people over young? Which may be terribly unfair and all that ... but it's what you get when you (or, rather, your age/class/ethnicity cohort) aren't active participants.

    My point then is that saying "National only got the support of 30-odd percent of New Zealand" is potentially as misleading as "National got the support of 50 percent of New Zealand". There's no such thing as "the proper figure" here, because "proper" depends on what purpose you're using it for.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rob S,

    There is a cloud over this Government and all it's actions point to them not wanting to be held to account for their deeds.

    Hear hear, Sir's right Madam.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    Oh, sure … you can complain. But don’t expect to be listened to. Case in point – why do policies so markedly favour old people over young? Which may be terribly unfair and all that … but it’s what you get when you (or, rather, your age/class/ethnicity cohort) aren’t active participants.

    You imply that democracy consists of putting ticks in boxes every 3 years. It doesn't.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Keith Ng,

    Even if, as you suggest, people thought the government was taking NZ in the right direction therefore Dirty Politics didn’t fly, it is still true that the media failed to hold Collins to account, failed to hold Katherine Rich to account, and more or less failed to hold Ede/Key to account.

    Well, this presupposes there was a "correct" outcome. I assume you believe (as do I) that Dirty Politics really ought to have seen Collins immediately sacked, Rich shamed from her various roles, and a large voter swing to the left of politics. You're then saying that the fact this has not in fact happened represents a failure of the media (despite the media trying to do what it should have).

    But why? Why isn't it the voters or the people of New Zealand that failed? After all, they were given chapter and verse of the allegations Hager (and Greenwald and Snowden) raised. The media pounded those responsible (well, most of them) for days and days on end and showed the results on TV/in the papers/on the radio. And 48% of those who voted shrugged and said "meh" - with more people voting this time than did 3 years ago. So, just who "failed" here?

    Which raises a nasty possibility, Whisper it just quietly in your inner voice at the dead of night: maybe it's people like us and what we see as being "correct" who are ... wrong? Or, at least, in a small minority that is unable to affect national politics ... which amounts to the same thing? And if so, what right do we have to demand that the institution of journalism/media "reform itself" to produce the "correct" outcomes that we desire?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    I thought ess than 1/3 of eligible voter voted National?

    Yeah should've been 30% not 40% - damn editors where are they when you need them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Lilith __,

    You imply that democracy consists of putting ticks in boxes every 3 years. It doesn’t.

    No. I'm saying that if you don't put a tick in a box every 3 years, then all the other democracy stuff you do is pretty much pointless.*

    *Caveat - if you do democracy stuff that affects how other people put ticks in boxes, then it still has a point. But trying to get other people to change how they vote is still less effective than being part of a heavily voting cohort that garners politicians' attention for that reason alone.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    depends on what purpose you’re using it for.

    So what purpose is the MSM using the 50% figure for?

    If you say "of the population" you should use ~20%
    If you say "of eligible voters" you should use ~30%
    If you say "of those who voted" you should use 48%

    Unless you are trying to deceive, then use whichever mashup of numbers suits your purpose.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Ianmac,

    I just cannot get over how the waters just flow over the jagged underwater dangerous Key sabotage tactics. This post by Keith suggests that there are still some people out there who are concerned enough to at least write about the collapse of integrity. What can we actually do about it though?
    There must be some National MPs and supporters who care as well -isn't there?
    Mighty effort Keith!

    Bleneim • Since Aug 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    So what purpose is the MSM using the 50% figure for?

    They're using it as shorthand for "the electoral system that allowed those who wanted to use their easily accessible vote to choose their representatives produced an outcome where National has a majority in the legislature, thereby permitting it to govern on its own."

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    I assume you believe (as do I) that Dirty Politics really ought to have seen Collins immediately sacked, Rich shamed from her various roles, and a large voter swing to the left of politics.

    The first two would be basic expectations in a functioning democracy (which journalists are meant to be part of).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Sacha,

    The first two would be basic expectations in a functioning democracy (which journalists are meant to be part of).

    So ... are we not in a functioning democracy? Seriously?

    Because, if so, what on earth are we doing arguing on a blogsite ... we should be building a fire on main street and shooting it full of holes!!!

    You go ahead and get started. I've a couple of things to finish up before I join you later.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I have given up calling the employees of the Herald, Journalists, even those with that word in their job description. If they must have a word to differentiate them from the mail boy or the tea lady, the press operator or the typesetter (yes I am that old) then let it be Advertising Copywriter or, as the early elite of that field were called, Madmen.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    We're talking here because traditional media isn't. The 4th estate has long been regarded as an arm of democracy. Good luck claiming ours has been doing its job.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Keith Ng,

    The idea that a mob of journos chasing politicians around sticking a mic in their face could hold them accountable needs to be reexamined. But of course, that’s tantamount to a radical reinvention of political journalism

    Is there a reason why it needs to be journalism that’s responsible for this? Why not (I don’t know), the Police, who always seem so reluctant to get involved in anything that involves politics? Or some constitutionally-designed non-partisan overlord of Cabinet which is there to make sure the laws and rules are followed and that Cabinet members and their staff are held accountable, instead of those laws and rules simply being ignored on the grounds that it’s easy enough to eclipse any bad publicity with a popularity contest?

    As you say, there’s possibly only so much that journalists can do. Ministers stonewall or completely avoid them, while at the same time obfuscating the issues through outlets more favourable to them, and it ends up being stuff that much of the public doesn’t want to hear about anyway. People get sick and tired of watching when nothing’s happening. Even a crusader like John Campbell has to give up and find other stories, or his ratings would plummet.

    CE’s of companies are bound by the law, enforced on behalf of stakeholders by any number of government entities. Even government dept chief executives are accountable to the SSC. But Cabinet’s apparently responsible to the Prime Minister? IMHO that’s something that needs an impartial review longer term of how it works. We shouldn’t have to simply trust Cabinet members and their staff to be doing the right thing, especially with all the political conflicts of interest, no matter who’s in power.

    Maybe the PM and his colleagues and staff are all completely innocent of all of these recent allegations, but when it’s Key himself who kicks things off and controls its terms of reference for an inquiry, don’t mind me if I’m sceptical of how complete and meaningful its conclusions will be.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    After all, weeks – literally weeks – of Dirty Politics coverage didn’t move the polls at all.

    Because "the media" (with damn few exceptions) didn't cover Dirty Politics as much as National's dismissal of Dirty Politics.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Sacha,

    Good luck claiming ours has been doing its job.

    Of course, when you define "its job" in terms of "produced the particular outcome I would like to see happen", then it hasn't. But is that the correct definition?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Bee,

    Off topic. Just spotted Stuart Nash, Josie Paganism lunching together.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • SHG, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    JK was secretly calling DPF every night

    "Secretly"? What was he supposed to do, announce each call at a press conference?

    It was a campaign. Farrar was a pollster employed by the National party. Frankly I'd be surprised if Key didn't speak to him on on hourly basis around the clock.

    nup • Since Oct 2010 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Bee,

    Scuse the typo.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to izogi,

    CE’s of companies are bound by the law, enforced on behalf of stakeholders by any number of government entities.

    Unless the CE can get someone to smear the head of the SFO badly enough that they back off...

    edited to add: Or the funding for the IRD investigations for tax fraud is reduced, (while the funding for investigating welfare fraud of much less funds is increased)

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    Andrew,
    1. have you had time to read
    http://pressthink.org/2011/08/why-political-coverage-is-broken/

    2. To the extent that journos aren't of the Jay Rosen view then the notion that we are in a functioning democracy fails.

    3. It also fails because NZ electorate seats are far from being decided democratically. Counting them under a preferential system where

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Keith Ng,

    The idea that a mob of journos chasing politicians around sticking a mic in their face could hold them accountable needs to be reexamined.

    So much this. But that's not going to change any time soon. It's not unknown for Gallery journos to do actual investigative reporting, but it's not really part of the job description. There simply isn't time for it when Gallery journalists' job is to produce something every day and capture the major moments (which everyone else has too). On most days, the distinction between the leading reporters is in how they editorialise on the same news.

    Hager's actually pretty understanding about this when he's asked in interviews. They're just different jobs operating to different deadlines.

    I do feel the need to praise the Herald for expanding its investigative team with the Nippert hire. It's worth noting that Harkanwal Singh, their data journalist, also works in the investigative team.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Felix Marwick,

    In the first moment of downtime I've had since the election campaign I thought I'd go back through my files and check on these stories that apparently I hadn't been writing about over the past 8 years because of my abject failure as a journalist.

    Government Minister's feeding information to Slater - wrote about it (still am in fact)
    Threats made against Ministerial services employee Simon Pleasants - wrote about it
    Judith Collins and Oravida - wrote (lots) about it
    SIS release to Slater - wrote about it (got summonsed by the IGIS because of it)
    Lusk's candidates college - wrote about it
    Who was told what and when about the Donghua Liu dump - wrote about it
    POAL links to Slater - wrote about it

    I could go on but the point I'm trying to make is any suggestions this stuff wasn't written about is malarkey of the highest order. I'm not dissing Hager's book. It had some very valuable material in it and shone some light into some dark places. But a lot of its impact was that it collected events from over a period of five to six years and gathered them in one place. That gave it some real punch. The stories that I, and others, wrote happened individually and were (I suspect) passed over as being a bit beltway and of limited interest.

    Judging by some of the opinions I've seen exhorted here I realise I'm unlikely to change your minds. But some of the views expressed are sweeping generalisations, if not factually inconsistent, and I thought it only fair I post a response.

    I'm now going to have some time off and make a dent in the 18 days worth of overtime I racked up in the last 5 weeks. Enjoy the rest of the debate and best wishes to you all. (and that even includes those of you who see me as an evil tool of the corporate media and a manipulator of the public agenda)

    Chur

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Why isn't it the voters or the people of New Zealand that failed?

    I don't see it as an issue of agency or responsibility in a philosophical sense. Even if it's voters who refused to be persuaded, I think the media still ought to worry that they were powerless to persuade; and if they don't have that power, then they have no leverage to hold those in power accountable - and we ought to worry about that.

    Maybe a rephrasing: Media isn't (necessarily) responsible for the failure, but they are responsible for making it work again, because it's their raison d'etre.

    maybe it's people like us and what we see as being "correct" who are ... wrong?

    But nobody is saying that dirty politics is anything but dirty. It's nearly universally decried as unethical behaviour - the only response has been "that's the way politics is". That's a fundamentally toxic and corrosive idea which we ought to fight - even if the election proved it's a popularly held opinion.

    And yeah, I accept that voters deciding Key should remain in power despite dirty politics is a totes legit outcome. But does that mean that Key should not have to answer any questions about Ede? That Collins should (almost) stay a minister? That Katherine Rich should stay on the HPA?

    And that the media should be okay with all these things, because Key is Very Popular?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Rachael, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Agreed on your description Russell. This is beyond a joke. Does Jordan Williams still have a practising certificate? Surely the Law Society must be interested. I heard that a complaint has been made about his attitude to women demonstrated by that delightful exchange with Whaleoil dumped by Rawshark before the election.

    Since Sep 2014 • 1 posts Report Reply

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