Thursday, December 2, 2021

The hit jobs on Luxon came even sooner than I expected

I’m not in the habit of saying I told you so, but … I told you so.

In an article I wrote for the BFD last week and republished on this blog, I predicted the media would be out to destabilise Chris Luxon from day one, which turned out to be literally true. But even I’ve been taken aback by the intensity of the character assassination he’s been subjected to.

The media appear obsessed with the fact that Luxon is a Christian. At the press conference that followed his elevation to the National leadership, the first question he faced (from TVNZ’s Jessica Mutch McKay) related to his religious beliefs.

In the eyes of many political journalists, being a Christian automatically categorises him as a weirdo and possibly a fundamentalist right-winger. But in the 2018 census, 37 per cent of New Zealanders identified as Christian, and my guess is (in fact, logic dictates) that they span the political spectrum, supporting Labour and even the Greens as well as conservative parties. “Christian” is not a synonym for loony, wild-eyed extremist or tragic Gloriavale cultist.

It got far worse on Newshub News last night, when Luxon was subjected to an undisguised hatchet job that focused on his wealth. In the eyes of many in the media, being rich is almost as bad as being Christian (unless, that is, you're a rock star). It goes without saying that being both rich and Christian makes Luxon an irresistible target for journalists like Newshub’s smiling assassin Jenna Lynch, who snidely claimed he was so wealthy he didn’t even know how much capital gain he had made on his property investments (but don’t worry, Newshub had calculated it for him).

Lynch linked Luxon’s ownership of seven properties to the housing crisis, as if he were personally responsible for the continuing surge in house prices and had cynically exploited them for his own gain. “If you’re going to attack me for being successful, I can’t defend that,” Luxon protested. But appealing to Lynch’s sense of fairness is about as futile as asking a pitbull to desist from lunging at your throat.

Stuff followed up with a similar hit job headlined Christopher Luxon’s property gains soar as National promises to tackle housing crisis. Stuff calculated that he was earning $90,000 a week in capital gains and commented: “While the Opposition has hounded the government for allowing the housing crisis to worsen, National’s new leader is benefiting more than most from soaring house prices”. In other words, we’re encouraged to assume that Luxon is a hypocrite as well as a callous profiteer, getting richer by the day at the expense of the homeless and destitute.

But Luxon is  no more responsible for the housing crisis than the hundreds of thousands of other New Zealanders who have similarly benefited from economic circumstances which they have no control over or responsibility for. What, I wonder, does Stuff think he should do? Bury his money in the garden? Give it all away?

In response to Luxon’s statement that his property ownership hadn’t caused the housing crisis, the Stuff reporters commented: “But it’s hard to separate the property portfolios of Luxon and [Nicola] Willis from their position on housing”. Really? That implies a degree of culpability, but what’s the connection? Stuff didn’t explain. It’s easier to make facile judgments.

Now here’s a very intriguing thing. In three separate interviews, I heard Luxon being asked exactly the same question. Lisa Owen on RNZ’s Checkpoint, Ryan Bridge on Newshub’s AM Show and the smiling assassin on Newshub News all demanded to know whether he regarded abortion as murder.

It seems beyond coincidental that all three asked the same question, the more so because it came out of the blue. Abortion happens to be an important issue to me, but it isn’t something you hear people talking about in the pub and the supermarket. In a country beset by Covid-19, runaway house prices, rampant crime, inflation and inequality, it was nonsense to suggest (as Owen did on her programme, in an attempt to justify the question) that abortion was a pressing issue for her listeners.

The truth is that abortion is an ideological shibboleth – a test of Luxon’s acceptability to the left-wing media elite. The question was clearly linked to their apparent obsession with his  Christianity. If you were of a conspiratorial mindset, you couldn’t help but wonder whether this was a co-ordinated set-up. It certainly looked that way.  

And what was the point of the question, given that abortion isn’t currently on the political agenda? Could it be that tens of thousands of New Zealand women have had abortions, and that trapping Luxon into suggesting they’re all murderers would ensure National would never get their votes?

Trapping politicians, baiting them, trying to catch them out and make them look silly, hypocritical or indecisive … that’s what now passes for political journalism. And of course the journalists always come out on top, because they can set themselves up as judge and jury, are responsible to no one, pay no penalty when they get things wrong  (as they frequently do) and always have the last word.

What’s more, they’re highly selective about whose feet they hold to the fire. Luxon wields no real power at this stage of his political career, yet he’s subjected to far tougher treatment than the sainted prime minister, who clearly enjoys immunity from difficult questions. But most New Zealanders still believe in giving people (even conservative politicians) a fair go, and the media are probably doing far more damage to themselves than to Luxon.


Trev1 said...

It certainly appears to be a coordinated campaign by the media against Luxon. Was it set up during the 9th Floor of the Beehive's weekly link-up with media political editors on Monday morning? Was a list of recommended questions focussing on his Christianity and property portfolio passed around? Whatever the truth New Zealanders should be filled with disgust but also hope because the Left are clearly rattled. For his part Luxon should not indulge these lines of questioning which are clearly not intended to elicit facts of interest to the public but to trip him up. He would be best advised to keep the media at arm's length and communicate directly with the voters via the many other platforms that are available.

Doug Longmire said...

Well - we could see it coming Karl.
It was predictable that The attack dogs of the government owned Pravda media would have been lining up for the attack on Luxon.
It was also completely in character that these media dregs would make the attack very personal. This is completely in keeping with their track record.

Andy Espersen said...

Bravo, Karl. Bravo, bravo bravissimo. I have no other comment on what you say in your article - so may I ask, why on earth have you replaced the true picture of yourself as a pleasant, elderly human being with that weird cartoon image??

If you think that is an improvement you are mistaken.

Kiwiwit said...

Everyone in New Zealand knows that NZStuff, NewshubNZ, Radionz et al are so in the pocket of the Ardern Government they discount 90% of what the media propagandists say. I’ve even noticed the Ardern Government’s most ardent supporters are starting to voice concern at how ridiculous and obvious the propaganda is and how it is starting to backfire.

Karl du Fresne said...

The caricature of me was drawn by my 15-year-old grandson Gabriel and I'm rather proud of it.

homepaddock said...

Why are the left obsessed with conscience issues they’ve already won? Why, if Luxon’s Christianity is an issue, isn’t Ardern’s role with Socialist Youth? And shouldn’t Luxon taking a huge pay cut, showing he’s not in politics for the money, be praiseworthy?

If the media was balanced, they might find out how many MPs took a pay cut when they got to parliament and how many got a pay rise.
Ele Ludemann

Tony B said...

I've always struggled to understand the hysteria over capital gains. If one is buying and selling in the same market the fact that your house is worth more than it was when you bought it 5 years ago means little. I bought my current property in 1992 for $134k. It is an ordinary 1970s bungalow in a reasonable 'middle class' suburb. Its present market expectation is $1.1m to $1.2m. In the eyes of the envious, I've become incredibly rich because I've 'gained' nearly $1m in 30 years. The trouble is, to buy a new home in the same area to a similar standard I'll have to spend over $1m. So what have I gained?
Jealousy ...

Phil said...

I watched the TV3 6 PM News early in the week and it was very uncomfortable viewing. The nature of the attacks on Chris Luxon's character, beliefs and finances was sinister. The sort of TV journalism we would expect in somewhere like Russia profiling Alexei Navalny. I will not be watching TV3 News again and very concerned for the future of this country.

Andy Espersen said...

Gabriel has obvious talent, Karl. No wonder you are proud of it and him. If I were you I would have it framed (you most likely already did).

Coupled with his grandfather's politically astute nose he could make a great career for himself as a cartoonist.

Grantus said...

Great commentary as always thanks. Luxon handled them with ease... Unbiased
mainstream journalism died years ago. People tend to think it's only recently with the govt money but I think virtually all the major players weeded out any of those with a conservative view ages ago. So the attacks are as expected. I like the fact he is unashamedly Christian.

LNF said...

Would they be interested if he was Muslim or Hindu
If Muslim would they ask about homosexuals
I want details that are important to NZ in general, not some lightweight and biased agenda. It is all too obvious

Eamon Sloan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry M said...

I'm sure Luxon will have been expecting to have to deal with that sort of life form after seeing the treatment dished out to his predecessors. With his superior intellect he has the advantage. That is why he has his position and they are just recipients of a corrupt governments graft.

Unknown said...

I saw a comment on Stuff along the lines of "well if he's rich having been in business, that means he will be good for NZ". That doesn't necessarily follow as the sort of firms that may have made him wealthy don't have to benefit the country as a whole. Also being rich and successful could mean out of touch.
Most damning (to me) was "hes very much into the culture of modern NZ" (something like that).
To me that means he's a post-ethnic cosmoploitan; citizen of the world (NZ doesn't have a people). John Key2.

Ray M said...

I am not so sure the media/journalists do win. I generally don't open Stuff but did yesterdsay so I could remind myself the Charlie Mitchell is brainless and was why I switched them off anyway. As for RNZ after listening for over 50years I haven't listened to it since the beginning of this year. As for TVNZ and Newshub, they deal in irrelevant trivialities. As a newshound I have had to look further afield for both local and interenational news to satisfy my appetite. So Tova et al are no longer my source of what is truthful or factual becuase they are clowns. When the $55m dries up such clowns will be ethically stranded.

Andy Espersen said...

You are right, Tony B. In his article Karl deals well with the small minds who criticise Luxon for his wealth (e.g. Jenna Lynch, the smiling assassin). Jealousy is probably behind it - what else can it be? Their pitifully restricted intellects cannot even imagine being so successful that you make more money than you need for a reasonable, daily existence for yourself and your family.

What is more, they cannot imagine a person with an ethical mindset such as Luxon - who naturally recoils from spending his extra earnings on luxury items and on a show-off, expensive lifestyle - like they would do if they won Lotto.

Unknown said...

Because of their left wing bias our corrupt mainstream media are becoming increasingly irrelevant. It is no wonder that their readership, listeners and viewers are dropping fast. They are not journalists, the majority are biased commentators who have accepted the thirty pieces of silver.

BJ said...

I too watched the TV3 6 PM News, uncomfortable viewing was an understatement like watching Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned woman reporters (you know who the two are) trying to scratch the eyes out of a genuine person trying to make a difference in this world. If your into thinking, have to ask the question: why is mainstream media ( owners offshore) so so so keen to keep a fiscally responsible party out of leading NZ finances. Labour has certainly done a hit job on everything 'that worked' or working to make NZ prosper - remove poverty ????

TW said...

Christians are the most persecuted religion in the world.

Read Bishop Truros report.

The media here have an anti Christian bias.


Odysseus said...

I think we are seeing the emergence of a new notifiable disease, LDS or Luxon Derangement Syndrome. The more assured and "grounded" Luxon remains, the more hysterical LDS' sufferers become. I await the first sighting of a column trying to link him to Donald Trump.

hughvane said...

Trev1’s fourth sentence sets bells ringing - well put sir.

As I said in an email to a friend who shares deep concern about the state of the media - or should that be State media - “do we see a balance telling us which Labour or Green MPs own substantial assets? Key’s financial manipulations during his time in office seemed not to draw as much attention. In fact it was touted as firm backing, alongside Stephen Joyce’s management skills, of the country’s economic affairs, eg. asset sales and debt repayment, but back then the media was more balanced and not diseased with government bribes."

Richard said...

The most interesting part of all this is what it reveals about the media, and how they perceive themselves.
During the last National-led Govts, the media, especially TVNZ, saw itself as 'Speaking Truth To Power'. Think John Campbell at 7pm 'grilling John Key about some conspiracy theory, Nigel Latta fronting several programs about Poverty, Homelessness, Mental Health etc. Newspaper and Stuff articles about wee kiddies missing out on Christmas, despite Facebook pages showing 60" TV screens, Christmas Trees bulging, and an undisclosed Labour Party or Union official position.
Since the change to a Labour Govt, we get soft-soap "Seven Sharp' fawning over the PM regularly, articles about 'The Wedding' and how cute Neve was when she interrupted 'Jacinda' on Facebook. Campbell now emotes on Breakfast TV with a band of fellow-travellers. Latta appears to have disappeared, despite Child Poverty blowout.

Max Ritchie said...

The cure for LDS is clear - instead of cancelling the media slush fund, refine it. Then watch Stuff and Red Radio change their tune. Time for National to stiffen the sinews. “Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage”. Happy to see lefties complain about Blue Radio for a change.

Hilary Taylor said...

Didn't watch any of it, couldn't. Read the odd thing and plenty of feedback on blogs. Emailed the Press to say, like HughV, waiting for that re-balancing piece...ignored. Laughed at what Tall Paul said on Twitter today...'if he has a normal teeth-to-face ratio I'm in'...

We have a 15 yr old grandson called Gabriel too the toon.

Ian P said...

I'm sure these quality journalists will be similarly applying their analytical minds to Jacinda Ardern's assets over the last few years. Could make very interesting reading. Excrement is always easier to throw than catch.

Tom Hunter said...

Now here’s a very intriguing thing. In three separate interviews, I heard Luxon being asked exactly the same question.

That's entirely normal for today's MSM. Check out this post, At least the Internet has different ideas, with the embedded video collection of all these US TV news shows and people using exactly the same phrases and claims. It would be understandable were it say, to pick one example, local CBS stations picking up a script from CBS central, but this stuff crosses all of the major US broadcasters.

Talk about hive mind material.

Tom Hunter said...

Nice to see some of you regular watchers of One News, 3 and RNZ turning away from them.

I gave up on One News in 2000; 3 News in 2003; RNZ around 2015. Papers I dumped in the late 90's, after years of buying two Sunday papers and spending a morning devouring them.

There are many reasons for the decline; dropping revenues restricting investigative reporting, increasingly shallow soundbite efforts that mimic Social Media to grab eyes, ears and clicks. But I'd say it's also down reporters being taught that The Narrative is everything; you chose the story line in advance and then pick and choose whatever supports it, discarding that which does not. You're not "reporting", you're telling a story, and it needs to be a story that catches the emotions of the reader, nothing else. That last may also tie into the Social Media clickbait.

I don't see anyway out of this aside from the bankruptcy of the legacy media and the rise of something new, although my hopes in the world of internet blogs and the like has been dampened by the rise FaceTwit etc and the incredible power they've gained to promote or squash media stories.

You might want to check out Substack where increasing numbers of former MSM reporters like John Kass (Chicago Trib, moderate right), Matt Tabbi (quite left) and Glenn Greenwald (very left), are increasingly found as they produce quality articles that you may agree or disagree with.

Also check out the following link to a series of posts I've done over the last couple of years for exposures of their failures, shallowness and outright lies (mainly US-focused I admit), Die MSM, Die.