Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fiona Mackenzie: Sycophantic Journalism Undermines Democracy


In a normal working week, I’m like many others when it comes to the news.  It’s a quick flick through the headlines, appraising the articles as “not relevant, relevant, or salacious gossip”.

Busy people rely on journalists to find out the important news, the stuff we really need to know and do something about. Unfortunately, this era of quick sound bite entertainment has turned the focus from the profoundly investigative to the superficially sensational - a “shark, babe or tears” level of news.

So while politicians do sneaky backroom deals promoting personal or party interests, journalists distract us with a continual flow of the PM’s inane faux pas or the far-too personal anguish of the bereaved (which you’d have to agree is exploited ad nauseum).

Politicians and journalists continually rank low on the annual trustworthy surveys. Concluding that they’re in cahoots is inevitable when you see political shenanigans going completely unchallenged by the traditional media.

A sycophantic relationship was certainly my impression when I read political reporter Audrey Young awarding Chris Finlayson top marks in a recent edition of the NZ Herald. If form counts more than substance, she could be right. Seeming coldly intelligent, manipulative and clever with detail, he is getting the deals done - but in whose interests?

What damage are the likes of Chris Finlayson and short-term thinking governments doing to the long-term health of our country? A bit like the leaky home saga, it takes a few years for us to see the flow-on effects of these deals. But there are serious ramifications - on our economy, our lifestyles and our race relations.

Young describes Finlayson as ‘emotionally intelligent’. Interesting comment considering this list MP’s never managed to persuade an electorate of that!

Certainly his selective use of the truth reassures some, but glimmers of his underlying attitudes occasionally burst forth. At a public meeting in South Auckland, Finlayson retaliated to a politely challenging Dutch-Kiwi that the man didn’t belong in New Zealand anyway. The viciousness and absurdity of that retort in this land of immigrants created quite a stir amongst the audience.

You might recall Finlayson, his fellow politicians and journalists soothing all concerns over the foreshore and seabed giveaway. Meanwhile their reassurances were never supported by fact. The people whom the politicians and journalists decried as “racist, rednecks” were actually the only ones quoting the written terms of the Act. But at least the gullible were calmed.

Young also applauds Finlayson for doing a deal with Tuhoe yet it is in the same vein as the foreshore and seabed rort. What’s been announced to the public is simply sound bite spin, designed to appease the voters. Meanwhile the wording of the deal allows Tuhoe to get their extensive list of demands as long as they wait a little while, until the heat’s gone out of the issue and voters are looking the other way.

The same can be expected of the current creation of our new constitution. Instigated by a minority political party, developed by a group with disputable qualifications in consultation with select iwi - but paid for by taxpayers. You can be depressingly confident that New Zealanders as a whole will not be given the opportunity to vote yea or nay on its contents.

In case no one’s noticed, there’s a trend here. We taxpayers are perpetually expected to cover all the costs but we get absolutely no say on the issue or the expense. The list is extensive – top of mind items include the relinquishing of the privy council, MPs’ pay raises and perks, inept anti-smacking legislation, the ETS, liquor reform, wasteful bureaucratic process, building and resource consents, as well as the ever-creative and expanding contemporary Maori claims.

Democracy in New Zealand has become a once every 3-year tease. In between times, the public are simply ignored and fed a diet of trivia to keep them amused. Abraham Lincoln’s famous inspirational reference - “government of the people, by the people, for the people” isn’t seeing much light of day. Until we can introduce easier and binding referenda, it’s pretty clear that politicians and the media will continue to run the show – for the benefit of just a few.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The author wrote:"The list is extensive – top of mind items include the relinquishing of the privy council, MPs’ pay raises and perks, inept anti-smacking legislation, the ETS, liquor reform, wasteful bureaucratic process, building and resource consents, as well as the ever-creative and expanding contemporary Maori claims."

You missed one, Fiona -- the scrapping by Red Helen of NZ's combat airforce. This was underscored by the Armistice Day flyover of an RNZAF Boeing 767 -- essentially a civilian jetliner in air force livery.

What an embarrassing joke when we could have had a squadron of Skyhawks (or an even better replacement) roar overhead in close formation.

Prince Charles must have been inwardly chortling, though of course he'd have been much too polite to say anything.

And how the veterans must have been turning in their graves at the deliberate socialist peacenik degradation of our defence capabilities.

Anonymous said...

PEACENIKS I
Nor did the public get a say on Labour's nuclear-free socialist peacenik gobshite.

The oft-asserted claim that anti-nuclear is “a cornerstone of our national identity” is one that deserves to be rigorously deconstructed.

Far from being an statement of national identity, New Zealand's disgraceful anti-nuclear grovel of the 1980s was actually a triumph of Soviet foreign policy that served the Soviet Union’s strategic agenda of breaking apart the ANZUS pact providing for joint regional defence against Communist imperialism.

Observers of the "peace" movement since the 1950s have often noted its ongoing failure to call upon the Soviet Bloc and its client states to disarm, its repeated attacks on America and its allies, and its continual blackening of America as the primary threat to world peace.

There is a simple explanation. The "peace" movement in every Western country was without exception a slew of treasonous hate groups, founded, funded and directed from Moscow.

As Soviet strategist Dimitri Manuilski told the Lenin School of Political Warfare in 1930:

“War to the hilt between communism and capitalism is inevitable. Today, of course, we are not strong enough to attack. Our time will come in thirty to forty years. To win, we shall need the element of surprise. The bourgeoisie ... will have to be put to sleep. So we shall begin by launching the most spectacular peace movement on record. There will be electrifying overtures and unheard of concessions. The capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction. They will leap at another chance to be friends. As soon as their guard is down, we will smash them with our clenched fist."

Anonymous said...

PEACENIKS II
This meant reframing the Communist agenda so as to attract broad support from respectable people. As Mikhail Suslov, the Politburo member in charge of the Soviet “peace” offensive from the Stalin era until into the 1980s, told the Cominform (Communist Information Bureau) in 1949:

“Particular attention should be devoted to drawing into the peace movement trade unions, women’s, youth, sport, cultural, education, religious, and other organisations, and also scientists, writers, journalists, cultural workers, parliamentary, and other political and public leaders.”

Nothing had changed in the philosophy and goals of the Communists, but by seemingly advocating "peace” and “disarmament” they were able to forge broad alliances with individuals and groups who had little or no inkling of their true agendas. Besides obscuring Communist leadership and direction, this “Popular Front” tactic also served to project the false impression of widespread support for Communist causes.

Communist front organisations and activists manipulated a raft of those whom Lenin once described as “useful idiots” into running interference for the Communist Vietcong during the Vietnam War, the Communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the African National Congress (a front organisation for the South African Communist Party) in South Africa, Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO and every other terrorist “national liberation” movement on the planet. Communists spearheaded the nuclear disarmament movement and numerous other campaigns aimed at crippling Western defence capabilities.

Most people regard "peace" as the absence of armed conflict between nation states. When a Communist talks of "peace" he means something entirely different: a world in which all opposition to the imposition of global socialism has ceased. The Communists driving the “peace” movement thus sought to pressure the democratic governments of the West to unilaterally disarm, rendering them defenceless against Soviet imperialism.

Alienating New Zealanders from their traditional US ally and effectively taking us out of ANZUS was a master stroke of Soviet strategy in the service of this objective. The claim that New Zealand's anti-nuclear stance demonstrates our “independent national identity" merely illustrate the extent to which we have been "had" by local Communists and their dupes, as does the elevation of anti-Americanism to a social virtue widely evident among the chattering classes from the late 1960s to this very day.

Barry said...

Young must be very stupid if she believes those lies she wrote about finlayson

Brian said...

My Comment on this excellent article is merely this.

Have we got a really free and independent press, or indeed a free media overall??
Why have we not seen more letters and articles against what is happening in this unconditional surrender of our rights and privileges to Maori? Why elect such a bias Committee to look at a "new" Constitution for N.Z. and why the total secrecy?
The same can be said in most respects for those questioning the Greens ideology and power base, namely so-called Human effects on Climate Change?
Can this emanate entirely from the Political corridors of power or is the source from that mammoth bureaucracy of the United Nations? By using little New Zealand as its experimental Guinea pig to gain world power!!
Brian