Monday, March 25, 2024

Mike's Minute: The conspiracy theorists should be ashamed

You would like to think that the haters and the conspiracy theorists felt sick to their stomach when the Princess of Wales went public with her cancer battle.

No, it wasn’t a Brazilian bum lift. No, it wasn’t an affair and yes it was her at the farm shop at Windsor.

I am not sure there is anything that can be done per se, but if you read the Australian E-safety Commissioner's report out last week Julie Inman Grant describes just how astonishingly relaxed the social media giants are when it comes to the filth they allow on their platforms.

Somewhere along the way we have decided free speech trumps all. Worse, the people who run the platforms have decided making money out of it is good business, while at the same time pretending they care and are working hard to be decent corporate citizens.

There are questions too I would have thought, to be answered by every advertiser, and that includes local advertisers in New Zealand, who spend millions on platforms that are largely unregulated and pedal the worst of us. How do you defend putting your product and brand next to the sort of muck so readily available on your nearest screen?

The Commissioner's report dealt a lot with paedophilia and criminal activity. The Princess of Wales doesn’t fall anywhere near that. Indeed, the sort of behaviour we have seen isn't even illegal, it's just stupid and nasty and low rent.

But it is a lesson in the human condition. When left to our own devices, collectively, we aren't up to much.

If I have one criticism of the family, the quid pro quo of who they are is there is engagement with the public and once you have set the precedent you can't manipulate it to suit your circumstances. The relationship is built through good times and bad.

You can't put out the Christmas message, then vanish. Look what happens. So they would have been wise to say earlier what they have finally got around to saying.

That doesn’t make the vacuum that got filled with filth right. But it is a two way street.

The King was praised for his forthrightness and the help and comfort it would bring to millions of fellow sufferers. The Princess will now most likely achieve the same thing.

But the King doesn’t have young children and the King doesn’t have the bulk of his life ahead of him. So you'd be heartless not to have given the Prince and Princess the room they needed to navigate what, for the rest of us, is often a deeply shocking and difficult time.

As much as they could have got out earlier with this, you were left with the impression they got flushed out by the onslaught of sheer horribleness that pervades too much of the social landscape.

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings - where this article was sourced.


EP said...


Anonymous said...

There was no excuse for the appalling gossip. The British press seem particularly cruel.

The secrecy did however, just add fuel to fire & worse, hiding the nature of both the surgery & type of cancer, makes it that much harder for those sufferers who don’t have the privilege of endless funds to access treatment. This is especially for cervical, ovarian, bowel, bladder & rectal cancer. All things which, if detected & treated early, can mean a full recovery. There is a huge lack of conversation on & funding for these cancers though, so if she, as an extremely privileged person, is being treated for something like this, then by hiding it she is doing all those in the same position a massive disservice.

Yes it’s hard, especially as a parent of young children, but being Royal comes with a responsibility to those who actually work for a living & get a lot less to show for it.

Regular cancer sufferers don’t have cleaners, chefs, nannies, gardeners, ladies in waiting, hairdressers, dressers, stylists, PR people, security, drivers & God only knows who else they employ so they can swan about going from charity meeting to charity meeting.

Us commoners often still have to work in amongst chemo treatments, & with nowhere near the support a Royal gets, while still trying to manage everything else.

hughvane said...

To the first respondent, and the person with 20/20 hindsight about what the Royals (Catherine in particular) should or shouldn’t have done/said, try to imagine the personal shock to someone so young, vibrant and attractive to be told that cancer was present. I cannot imagine, but then I’m elderly, and so far cancer has avoided me.

All I can add is my - and those from many thousands of others, including cancer sufferers - very best wishes to the Royal family as they battle and deal with not only the two cancer cases, but the cancerous and insidious intrusion into their private lives.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it. People are going to talk when photoshopped pictures are released from the palace. It was a PR fail that could've been addressed with a statement "Princess Kate is taking longer than expected to recover from her surgery but is progressing well."

Calling people "conspiracy theorists" for speculating as to why the palace released a photoshopped image and then using this as an excuse to justify claims that we need to reduce free speech on social media because of this incident is an example of using the media to manipulate what people think. Because you must all feel horrible about gossiping about someone who wasn't ready to reveal their cancer diagnosis publicly. But that isn't a justification for censorship, rather it is a call to use self control to regulate your own speech and not to idly talk about things that aren't anyone's business.

Please stop using the phrase "conspiracy theorists." Groups of people getting together and promoting a specific cause is an everyday occurrence. The use of that phrase is designed to shut down legitimate discussion about what is going on in our world.