In order to get access to the money, editors at the Herald, the Press and others, and at TV broke the age-old golden rule that all the news fit to print would be printed. Letters columns, news stories, op-eds are all being censored these days because not to do so might expose the recipient to an obligation to repay the government grants already received. The initial $55 million in the fund is running down and the MSM is starting to wonder whether the Public Interest Journalism Fund will continue to exist after the next election. In the meantime, editors are being extremely cautious. Lots of facts aren’t being mentioned. Did you know, for instance, that Nanaia Mahuta was attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting taking place this weekend in Africa? Pretty extraordinary to have Jacinda Ardern’s Rasputin attending that meeting while Jacinda herself is engaged in Europe on a foreign policy trip? Why the reversal of roles? Is Nanaia at CHOGM an exercise in co-governance? Is she our head of government when it suits her? I’ve seen no mention of this odd reversal of roles in any MSM. What is going to happen as Labour continues to slide in the polls and an election gets closer? Is the MSM just going to become Jacinda’s cheerleader? To date this hasn’t happened entirely; several journalists still earn their keep by holding the government to account. But how long will it stay that way? Till the Fund runs out, at which point the boss will be back wanting more?
In the end this sinister drift towards authoritarianism in the name of fairness to Maori has to be sheeted home to the feeble quality of Labour’s current caucus. Did none of that slew of low-level lawyers raise questions about “Te Tiriti” let alone its use in a nation-wide move to undermine our constitution by way of co-governance? And about the semi take-over of the MSM that comes with strings attached to the Public Interest Journalism Fund? Co-governance is contrary to the real Treaty that was signed in 1840, contrary to our Bill of Rights, and to international conventions among those countries that believe in democracy. The Fund is contrary to customary democratic standards that govern the relationship between governments and the MSM outside of authoritarian regimes.
Do we need any further evidence that it’s high time Jacinda and her sneaky bunch of third-raters were put out to pasture? And surely the MSM should be big enough and ugly enough to fend for themselves without rushing to the government?
Historian Dr Michael Bassett, a Minister in the Fourth Labour Government, blogs HERE.