Polity by Rob Salmond

Read Post

Polity: Post "post-truth" post

33 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

  • Michael Meyers,

    Here's my take: Politicians lie. They are known liars, being as trust-worthy as real estate agents and car salesmen. Because of this when a lie is exposed, no one cares because they all do it. Or they were misquoted. Or they didn't understand the question. Or they were misinformed.....

    The polls don't change in the event of lies because if my blue (or red or green) politician is found to have lied, the voter won't immediately switch to support red or green, they'll just tell themselves that the other side lies too so it's all ok.

    And if politicians aren't lying then they are telling half the truth. Think about the debate about health spending: National says they are spending more than ever on health, Labour says that health spending is not keeping up with inflation and population growth. Both statements are truth but both only tell half the story.

    Do politicians actually lie more now, or do they just get found out more?

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Michael Meyers,

    Do politicians actually lie more now, or do they just get found out more?

    That's a pretty serious question, which affects all of us. I do not know the anwser to that. Mabe they do mabe they don't. Who knows...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4015 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I think some (maybe even most) politicians are very honest and ethical and do not lie. They might have a version of the truth that others disagree with but they do not construct a truth just because it is convenient. Trouble is, many of these people do not go far because they don't play the media versus politicians game properly or are not good at manipulating power.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3142 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Not all politicians lie, and they certainly don't all lie to the same degree. Claiming that they are all equally cynical is the way to a) ensure the liars win, and b) deter decent people from standing.

    "They're all as bad as each other" is a lazy line that only helps the worst.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1254 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    "A very well respected ex-journalist once put it to me this way: “I saw my job as being biased against whoever was in charge.”

    Yes, I know this means arguing the media should be biased against Labour when it wins. I agree with that idea. Having an editorial stance biased against the most powerful, whoever they are, is good for democracy."

    Wow, I'm so naive. I thought the media where all about keep its readership up to date with reality. But I now see its more about being hard arse than anything else. I did know that back in the day, journalist could smoke two packets Rothmans per day.

    But seriously, how can it be good for democracy - would it not be better if journalism maintained a healthy neutrality? Its not good for democracy to have media companies to bully governments out of power just because they can.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4015 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to steven crawford,

    What's unhealthy about the MSM is precisely that they're not "hard arse" about critiquing the government, but rather, lick-arse.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1808 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to steven crawford,

    would it not be better if journalism maintained a healthy neutrality?

    Sure, if that were possible. Since it's not, it would be better if all journalists were honest about their biases.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Whatever the motivation, the truth has gone out of fashion.

    WTF! Is truth a fashion accessory now.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1715 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Hi Rob.

    Politicians aren’t punished for lying partly because too often the media chooses not to punish them. The media is the closest credible witness to the statements our leaders make.

    I don't know if that's entirely fair. To use a tired metaphor, modern media is fighting a war on multiple fronts. It's less powerful than it used to be because the government doesn't need it to communicate its message any more.

    Dirty Politics was an excellent example. At least some of the media tried really really hard to hold the government to account. Ministers just stood there, ignored it, and talked past the questions, confident that so many people these days augment their understanding of issues, if not entirely replacing it, with independent media. Blogs, social media, comment threads below media articles, cherry-picked opinions that help people feel good about what they already think instead of obliging them to reconsider. It's never been easier for audiences to choose not to reconsider their view of the world, merely by selecting their sources of information. To a point, we're doing it here right now!

    After a couple of weeks of the same old denials, audiences just got bored, started blaming media for boring them, and bleeding away. What's media meant to do in that scenario, when pointing stuff out doesn't work?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1133 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to linger,

    What’s unhealthy about the MSM is precisely that they’re not “hard arse” about critiquing the government, but rather, lick-arse.

    Thats kind of why mentioned the thing about bullying. They have a tendency to take the opportunist position to get the boot in after the top dog has downed its opposition.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4015 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    A diminished and pressured pool of journos rely on being fed packaged points which only one political wing has been doing reliably. It is faster to do a 'he said, she said' story than to analyse and probe for truth. You can also get away with cheaper, less-experienced staff.

    Blaming only the media for the political left's appalling inability to frame and communicate for the last 8 years will not produce the improvements needed to win. Well past time to pull our socks up, Labour and allies.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19518 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    There is a considerable Anglocentricity about posts like this. Now, that is fair enough as far as it goes. We all speak english and we are all, by and large, monolingual. But the thing is, the depth of the rot is largely (but not totally) confined to the Anglosphere. And we need to ask ourselves why that is. It seems to me the set of economic and social ideologies that have dominated the Anglophere for the last forty odd years have produced a society that is completely atomised, In Spain, for a direct example, people don’t like the idea of moving 100km from their home town for a job. For them, family, community and culture is central to their lives, not work, materialism and hyper-individualism. The same applies, although to a somewhat lesser extent, to countries like Germany. In fact, to practically every non-English speaking non western country. This of course produces economic and social problems of their own, but in my experience, Almost all Spanish and German communities seem much happier places on average than New Zealand or the UK are. And even if we park with reflexive Anglosaxon racism the indolent Spanish, if the high productivity Germans can maintain happy communities then we need to seriously rethink how we orgainse our society.

    Our atomised, over worked and debt riddled non-society no longer has the anchors in the community of a decent civil society that moderates wild swings of extremism, filters nonsense, and provides a widely understood ambient understanding of reality and the truth. Couple to this is a Murdoch media that constantly reinforces fear and materialism. The result is a wierdly schitzophenic Anglo culture where people want to be part of a community of decent humans who believe 99% of their fellow humans are good people but are constantly fed a diet of Hobbesian brutalism; isolated, and subjected to relentless media propaganda people no longer believe or trust their own basically good instincts. This represents a fundamental loss of civic moral confidence that leaves a society where dishonesty is no longer a particularly morally reprehensible act, and increasingly savage compliance governance replaces the self governance of functioning communities.

    To my mind, any call for the elite media to behave in an ethical or responsible way in telling the truth will always fail in societies as shattered and broken as ours. If we want to get back to lying having consequences, we first need to rebuild communities and society that understands what the truth actually is.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2197 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    This certainly isn't new, in NZ, or I assume from what I've read, anywhere else.

    Machiavelli didn't write about how things could be, he wrote about how they really were, behind all the lies. Where the powerful serve the interests of the very few who keep them in power at the expense of everyone else, and that they do so with the cruellest of methods imaginable if it fits their purpose. Offshore torture camps to keep the racist party donor happy? Why not.

    French oil interests in Lybia. US/British oil ambitions in Iraq. German banker loans to various poor Euro states. No one really thought cutting taxes for millionaires and wages for the poor and middle class would "trickle down" the wealth, or no one who mattered, when obviously it just creates new landlords for an ever-more indebted underclass. Which politicians always promise to "fix" by giving us more loans and subsidising our landlords, funnily enough.

    Democracy hasn't changed that. It just makes for less revolutions, because we get to swap the puppets for the puppet show now and then.

    Since Nov 2006 • 597 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    What I'm finding a bit interesting is the huge amount of noise we all make on the Internet. And it hasn't changed much of anything.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4015 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to steven crawford,

    Neither did all those hand cranked Gestetnered flyers we used to print after hours at the local high school, but we did it anyway.

    *remembers the smell of purple spirit when making handouts*

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2197 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Fanzines on corporate photocopiers?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4015 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    purple spirit

    aah

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19518 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Meth – an foetid meme

    the smell of purple spirit when making handouts*

    or - when the spirit mauves you…
    …there ends the purple reign?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell,

    Purple spirit was used in "Banda" copiers. Gestetners used a thick goopy black ink.

    See here: http://publicaddress.net/system/cafe/cracker-flashback/?p=16763#post16763

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 468 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to John Farrell,

    Attachment

    John, the link was broken, but I managed to find this image of the Banda being used to do old fashioned blogging.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4015 posts Report Reply

  • despud,

    One of the things I really liked about having Helen Clark as a PM (at least for the first two terms), was she appeared to tell the truth. It wasn't always shiny, and at times she appeared to get frustrated trying to talk about real-world complexities in short sentences. But she spoke the truth.
    I think in her third term some laziness or arrogance started getting in the way.
    John Key, in my view, started reasonably honestly. But after a couple of years it all turned to spin, and memory holes, and evasions, and barefaced lies.

    I wonder if some of the attraction of Trump is that he's prepared to stand up and say "they lied! they're a big fat liar! Lying Ted! Corrupt Hillary!" We all know this is true, but the american political establishment is all sufficently dirty that no-one on the inside wanted to start that sort of war.

    Why do we not see headlines of the form:
    "John Key lied about X"
    "Andrwe Little said X, but last week he lied about Y so until we check X we're not sure"
    "Gerry Brownlee mislead the country"

    Since Nov 2015 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I wonder if some of the attraction of Trump is that he’s prepared to stand up and say “they lied!

    I thought he was popular for saying things like “Barack Obama is not an American.”

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4015 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to despud,

    I wonder if some of the attraction of Trump is that he's prepared to stand up and

    ... lie like a champion? Trump is almost the definitive post-truth politician, at least in the west. We're all used to the Communist menace telling the most unbelievable whoppers while everyone involved pretends to believe them. Now we have the same thing happening here. "Our five year plan for Auckland's housing market has been achieved" "yes, your worship, the peasants are crying tears of joy".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1118 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to despud,

    Why do we not see headlines of the form:
    “John Key lied about X”

    Where's "Murray McCully lied and misled parliament" over the Saudi sheep bribe?

    While Phil Vine's excellent report Inside the Saudi sheep deal on The Nation finally provided proof and exposed McCully's lies, none of the MSM have picked up on the fact.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    none of the MSM have picked up on the fact.

    Maybe they should have put it on outbrain as "New Zealand sent some sheep to Mecca. You'll be amazed what happened next."

    t seems though that nowadays no one will report someone elses story, because you know, ego and money.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2197 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.