Monday, May 13, 2024

Caleb Anderson: Time is up for our State Broadcasters

Few will have missed the unrelenting ratcheting up of anti-coalition rhetoric from the media.  This began from day one and is now deafening.

While the NZ media has never been favorable to the centre-right ...  this is more obvious now than ever.  The state media has become a political force with a never-ending funding stream.

Consider ....

1.  The media's appalling antics in the long build-up to Waitangi Day (a day which long ago ceased to be our National Day)

2.  Its efforts to discredit any centre-right politician on the day itself  ...  and more generally

3.  Its continual undermining, and negativity, around the government's efforts to return NZ to some sort of viability

4.  Its fawning and uncritical coverage of (often bogus and unsubstantiated) Waitangi Tribunal pronouncements 

5.  Minimal coverage of the political (and personal) scandals on the left of politics

6.  Its willingness to repeatedly broadcast activist threats of civil unrest if critical race and/or environmental activists do not get what they want

7.  The deification of historic activism (and activists)

8.  Its persistent efforts to justify a public service that has well passed its use-by date

9.  Its absolute refusal to cover (and to aggressively misrepresent) any countervailing view

What is new is the level of venom, the sheer extent of their bias, and their seeming willingness to ferment civil unrest.

It is hard to see the government's strategy here.  It seems to me that they have a clear duty to ensure, to the extent of their ability, that any state-funded broadcaster covers all sides of an issue evenly, and that their reporting does not fuel division, dissent, and civil unrest.

It is past time to deal with those whose ideological obsessions are driving state-funded broadcasters to such extremes.  This government was elected to sort the economy, improve the civil service, and end the incessant activist threats to fair and equal citizenship.

It has been commented that if the government continues to ignore the clear anti-government agenda of our state broadcasters, they will get what they deserve. Unfortunately so may the undeserving.

While it is true that the greater portion of the population now actively avoid state media, and that the media is dying anyway, in the here and now it still has an influence.  It provides the stage on which the haters and wreckers so long to strut ... it strokes their egos, validates their causes, and provides them with a ready and gullible audience.

The state media's willingness to sow social unrest in pursuit of its ideologies marks it as no longer fit for purpose.

Enough.  Mr Luxon, Mr Seymour, Mr Peters ...  deal with it, and deal with it soon.


Should we persevere with our public broadcaster a number of measures could be implemented.

1.  Regular neutrality audits by an independent authority established for that purpose.

2. An expectation that if certain issues have dedicated reporters (e.g. climate and Treaty) then dedicated reporters are appointed for other issues (e.g. economy and free speech)

3.  That alternative views are sought on all issues, and that these are broadcast fairly and evenly

4.  That a genuine effort is made by reporters to gather information rather than advancing a cause or ridiculing a viewpoint

5.  That funding is cut each time an audit is failed

Some of these things would be challenging to measure but measurement is possible.

Caleb Anderson, a graduate history, economics, psychotherapy and theology, has been an educator for over thirty years, twenty as a school principal. 


Kawena said...

German philosopher Arthur Shopenhauer said: All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Hitler and his gang used this to good effect. It is the recipe for wars. We now have Maori eletists and certain people in authority, plus all politicians of the left, using these same tactics. It is time to tell the communists in our midst to "turkey off", (and that goes for all countries in the western world). Let us have a forum on TV where one side can state why the Maori eletists should be given more for evermore, and the other side to tell the truth!

Basil Walker said...

Jack Tame on Q&A with the Minister of Police last Sunday should have been the nail in the Q&A coffin as it was spiteful and pitiful .

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Caleb, great piece. Keep up the good work. Time to hold these guys to account for sure.

Anonymous said...

Caleb, I am not sure that a "-"Regular neutrality audits by an independent authority..", is going to 'solve any issues of current and/or establish protocol into the future.

We had a Grocery Commissioner appointed, and what I see todate, is that he seems to be 'writing objective documents' rather than confronting the 'enemy'.

But, then again, this Gent 'has had a past hand holding association with Foodstuffs, to whit 'many hands do not make the light work'.

Thus a 'New Authority' just might end up being a cost expensive, non-entity.

Me thinks that a 'cast your mind back', to the days of Marion Hobbs (Min of Broadcasting, Helen Clark Govt) and what she 'decided for TVNZ, going forward', might shine a light on what is occurring today.

Anonymous said...

A better question to ask is "Who's been preparing the parrots?


Marxist Journalism Teachers

SAP. 17 Dr Martin Hirst -- by Trevor Loudon
My latest Socialist Academic Profile looks at Auckland University of Technology School of Communication Studies curriculum leader, Dr Martin Hirst.

According to the AUT website:

Dr Hirst joined the School of Communication Studies at AUT University in January 2007, after a 12 year teaching and research career in Australian journalism education. He has an extensive background in academic research in journalism and communication/media studies and is the co-author of three books: Look both ways: Fairfield, Cabramatta and the media (2001, with Antonio Castillo), Journalism Ethics: Arguments and Cases (2005, with Roger Patching) and Communications and New Media: Broadcast to narrowcast (2007, with John Harrison).

Sounds impressive. A very experienced man for a very influential position. Dr Hirst will be influencing the course content for hundreds of NZ’s student journalists. He will be in a position to influence the way they think and most importantly, how they write.

One experienced journalist, the Dominion Post’s Karl Du Fresne is not quite so impressed with the good doctor.

Writing in the Dominion Post du fresne discusses a recent journalism seminar he attended:

Cleverly titled Journalism Matters, the seminar in Parliament’s Grand Hall had the declared aim of promoting “quality journalism”. It mixed a recitation of age-old union gripes – such as claims of understaffing and low pay – with debate over broader philosophical questions about where journalism is heading.

While the roster of speakers reflected an unmistakably left-wing agenda, the seminar attracted a handful of executives from the two big newspaper groups, Fairfax Media and APN, and covered some issues that transcended industrial politics, such as the threat to traditional mainstream news media from competitive pressures unforeseen a few years ago…

The political theme continued throughout the seminar, perhaps reaching its low point when the curriculum leader in journalism at the Auckland University of Technology, self-proclaimed socialist Martin Hirst, declared that journalism was not about reporting the world, but about changing the world.

This highly politicised interpretation of journalism, which sees journalists not as reporters trying impartially to cover matters of public interest but as agents of political change, is now so entrenched in some journalism schools that it barely raised an eyebrow.

That criticism has led to a media spat between Du Fresne and Hirst and some rather incredible statements by Hirst in a newspaper article.

Anonymous said...


I quote from today’s Christchurch Press:

First Hirst praises leftist journalist John Pilger:

“John Pilger’s crusading work over many years is another example of what I describe as the journalism of engagement.”

Then he attacks the virtue of journalistic objectivity:

“Objectivity as a principle of journalism is no longer the holy grail. The fact that some journalism editors are prepared to say so and put such ideas in front of their students is just a recognition of this idea. In the respected Columbia Journalism Review, Brent Cunningham has written a thoughtful piece called ‘Rethinking Objectivity.’ He makes the point that often it is an excuse for lazy journalism and that it forces reporters to rely on official sources. He also argues that it allows the news agenda to be captured by the ‘spin doctors’…”

Then he discusses his socialist views”

“My politics are in the tradition of international socialism…I don’t believe for a minute that the charade of democracy practised in the free market West is the be all and end all of human political development.”

Well just how “socialist is Dr Hirst.

I can report that Dr Hirst joined a small Trotskyist sect while at university in Sydney in 1975.

I can also report that he remains a Trotskyist to this day.

Dr Hirst is listed as a contributor to the Australian Trotskyist website Marxist Interventions, where he is described thus:

Martin Hirst has been active in socialist politics since 1975 and claims to have been the only Trotskyist to ever work in the federal press gallery as a journalist

I quote from the comments section of Australian blog Intercontinental Cry:

just a quick line to let you know there was a very militant occupation of the Australian Consulate in Auckland this evening against the invasion of Aboriginal lands and in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters facing John Howard’s racist attacks…

Kia kaha
Joe Carolan
Socialist Worker, Aotearoa

very good speeches from all the groups in support-

Julia and Joe from Socialist Worker, Martin Hirst, Lecturer in Media studies at AUT, Jared from Workers Party, Jim Gladwin from Citizens against Privatisation, and statement read out from Kulin Nations and Aboriginal declaration of sovereignty’ by UNITY editor Daph Lawless in Consulate occupation that broke through police lines.

So there you have it.

Your taxes are paying a lifelong Trotskyist, who does not believe in objective journalism, to design curricula, to teach future Kiwi journalists how to work for “social change”.

Am I being fair to Dr Hirst here? Or am I being too “objective”?

You judge, dear reader. It’s your world this man wants to change.

Anonymous said...


S.A.P. 19 Janet Bedggood -- by Trevor Loudon

Martin Hirst and Geraldene Peters are not the only socialists training our future journalists at the Auckland University of Technology.

My latest Socialist Academic profile looks at Senior Lecturer, School of Communication Studies AUT, Janet Bedggood.

Mrs Bedggood of course is the wife of Auckland University Sociology lecturer David Bedggood, the subject of an earlier Socialist Academic Profile.

Like her husband, Janet Bedggood has been a Trotskyist for decades.

In 1985 Janet Bedggood represented the Marxist-run “aid agency” CORSO on a three week tour of Nicaragua as guests of the Sandinista Trade Union Confederation.

Several members of the 11 person delegation were members of the Socialist Action League, or the Workers Communist League (including current Hamilton city councillor Dave Macpherson).

In April 1986 Bedggood was part of a delegation which lobbied Parliament in an attempt to get Labour government support for the Nicaragua Must Survive Campaign.

The Bedggoods were founders and leaders of Communist Left, the Auckland University based New Zealand section of an international grouping of Trotskyist sects, the League for the 5th International.
The international Trotskyist movement as embodied by the 5th Internationalists suffered a huge blow in the mid ’90s when the Bedggoods quit Communist Left to form a new sect-the Communist Workers Group.

The CWG is based at Auckland University and has managed to attract a handful of converts including Scott Hamilton of the blog Reading the Maps and Dave Brown (who may or may not be the Dave Brown who also lectures at AUT’s School of Communication Studies).

In recent years Bedggood has been active in the socialist dominated Association of Staff in Tertiary Education and has been the AUT branch secretary.

At a 1999 Sociology conference she gave a paper entitled “Rank and file teachers against their union bureaucrats: towards a proletarianisation of teachers.”

Bedggood was a confirmed member of the Communist Workers Group as late as March 2004 and is believed to still be a member.

Anonymous said...

mr hirst sounds like another marvelous import from australia along with russel norman and the tarrant creature.we really know how to pick them.