Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Peter Williams: Media on the attack

Has there ever been a more co-ordinated media attack on a new government in our history? It’s as if the mainstream media, with one or two very honourable exceptions, has just kept up a non-stop barrage of stories pushing back against government policy, policy that was campaigned on, voted for by a majority on October 14th and then agreed between the coalition partners.

In the eyes of the political left this is not democracy. This is called the tyranny of the majority or a new word which has crept into the lexicon, majoritarianism.

As Winston Churchill said in 1947 “democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

But the non-stop attack stories from the self-admitted lefties in the media – remember the survey in April which showed 65 percent of journalists said they leaned politically left – has just continued day after day.

It a hit a nadir last week with more faux outrage over people who are due to turn one hundred years old apparently not receiving their congratulatory letters from the dignitaries because of a delay in designing the letters after the change of government.

The article makes it look like it’s government ministers who are holding up the process because ministers have to decide on the design and content of the letters.

Really ? Surely the public servants could be a bit pro-active here? Can’t they arrange to change the signature? Isn’t the letter essentially going to be the same as for the last government but with a different signature? Was there a similar hold-up when Chris Hipkins took over from Jacinda Ardern?

This is not exactly a big deal and Chris Luxon and Casey Costello as the Seniors Minister would surely be happy to quickly sign off on such letters, but no, let’s make it look like the new government are a pack of grinches in the lead up to Christmas and some significant milestones.

Then there is the matter of the FPAs. We finally find out, via a column written by Roger Partridge of the New Zealand Initiative that both Treasury and MBIE advised the then Labour government against them four years ago saying there was no evidence they increased productivity and that they were contrary to international labour regulations. But you never heard any of that in the reportage of the FPA legislation being repealed. Nope, the only narrative came from the unions saying how terrible the repeal was going to be for workers – although of course not one FPA was ever concluded.

The outrage against the repeal of the tobacco prohibition bill continues apace. This was legislation not due to come into effect till next year anyway and is based purely on an ideology that banning something means people won’t use it. That worked so well with alcohol in the US a hundred years ago didn’t it? It works really well with cannabis too doesn’t it?

Reporting around the repeal of this legislation makes much of modelling and how it would save countless lives and billions of dollars.

Ah, modelling.

Need one say more?

That the percentage of the population who are smokers has dropped from 29.6 at the turn of the century to just 6.8 percent now suggests that education about its harm, combined with high taxes and its social uncoolness is working. That is real evidence.

Modelling is merely predictive and the precedents for other vices suggest what was planned would never have worked.

But you never get any sort of analysis of these matters from the media. All they have in their narrative is the pushback against the idea. Why not some deep thinking about the issue from the other side.

Hell no, we can’t have the government being seen in a possibly good light, can we?

Peter Williams was a writer and broadcaster for half a century. Now watching from the sidelines. Peter blogs regularly on Peter’s Substack - where this article was sourced.


EP said...

Thanks for your good sense Peter - and for keeping it out there in the face of the idiotic woke.

Anonymous said...

While most of NZ quietly slumbered on over the past 40 years a small group of passionate ideologues worked ceaselessly to move into as many of the most influential positions as possible. They have proved Yeats’ lines
‘The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity’.
The new Govt will need to make Genghis Khan look like an Anglican pastor if it wants to save this country. A wholesale clean out of the guilty is essential if we are to retain our country. The Fourth Estate (make that The Fifth Column) is the essential starting point. (Remember, 40% voted for a Marxist Govt in the last election.)