Sigh. Another day, another discipline session for the National Party caucus from Newshub’s resident dominatrix, Mistress Tova, and her understudy Jenna Lynch.
Last night’s round of punishment took up six minutes of the 6pm bulletin and started with Lynch rapturously reporting that Paul Goldsmith had been thrown to the wolves - my words, not hers, although that was the tone - by his caucus colleagues over his comment that Maori, “on balance”, had benefited from colonisation.
A procession of National MPs, all looking like frightened rabbits, eagerly dissociated themselves from Goldsmith before running for the hills. But not before Lynch had given us the benefit of her own view that colonisation was “brutal” – and as if to substantiate it, wheeled out Professor Margaret Mutu (now there’s a dispassionate judge for you), who equated colonisation with murder, theft, rape and pillage. That was followed by a parade of Labour MPs poking scorn at Goldsmith (who would have thought?), followed by a puerile jibe from Debbie Ngarewa-Packer of the Maori Party.
Then it was back to Lynch, who reminded us that Maori continue to experience poor outcomes in health, housing, justice and education. We were invited to conclude, therefore, that Goldsmith’s comment was clearly that of an unreconstructed racist – and an ignorant one at that, although Goldsmith has an MA in history.
Not content to leave it there, Lynch then seized yet another opportunity to bring up Goldsmith’s unwitting involvement in the media feeding frenzy that erupted last year when the then National deputy leader Nikki Kaye, in a pathetic attempt to fend off media accusations that the party caucus was insufficiently diverse, blurted out that the palpably Pakeha Goldsmith was of Ngati Porou descent.
The point of recalling that episode wasn’t clear, since Kaye dug that hole for herself with no assistance from the hapless Goldsmith. But it served the purpose of implying that Goldsmith was somehow tainted by association with the party’s shameful whiteness.
Newshub then played a clip of Goldsmith explaining at the time that no, he wasn’t Maori, as if that somehow further incriminated him. This provided a cue for Lynch to chime in again, saying “Not Maori himself, but speaking for Maori.” Actually, no: he wasn’t purporting to speak for Maori when he talked about the consequences of colonisation, but it suited Lynch to frame his comment that way.
Whatever this was, it wasn’t journalism. It was a hit job of the type we’ve come to expect from Newshub.
There is scope for a balanced, nuanced debate on the effects of colonisation, but don’t expect to see it in the mainstream media, and least of all in anything Lynch or Tova O’Brien have a hand in. And don’t expect it, either, from Goldsmith’s spineless caucus colleagues, who are so cowed by media bullying and so lacking in political conviction that they appear to have completely lost sight of what a centre-right party is supposed to stand for.
All that needs to be said is that Goldsmith’s opinion that colonisation, on balance, was good for Maori is one that a reasonable, informed, non-racist person can validly hold. Yes, colonisation resulted in the dispossession of Maori land, the loss of their language and the disintegration of their traditional way of life. But it also signalled the end of merciless tribal warfare, slaughter, cannibalism and slavery. It introduced the rule of law and led to the evolution of a society that is admired as one of the world’s freest, safest, most tolerant and open. Only the most incorrigibly woke zealot (Debbie Ngarewa-Packer springs to mind) can ignore that.
But Newshub wasn’t finished with the National Party. As if in a tag wrestling bout, Lynch vacated the ring and O’Brien stepped in. Her target (yet again): Judith Collins.
Not for the first time, Mistress Tova was pursuing Collins over the recently announced retirement of long-serving National MP Nick Smith. But whatever intrigue lies behind Smith’s departure – if indeed there’s any intrigue at all – is a classic Beltway issue, of interest only to political obsessives and too convoluted for the public to untangle even if they could see any point in doing so.
No matter. It provided another opportunity to torment Collins. And once again, she meekly submitted to the dominatrix’s querulous questioning. Is there no limit to the mortification Collins is prepared to endure? I loathed the style of Robert Muldoon and Winston Peters, but sometimes I find myself wishing for a politician bold enough to put amoral, mischief-making journalists in their place.
Left-wing media academics love to talk about journalists speaking truth to power, but that’s not what’s happening here. Almost nightly, Newshub revels in pummelling a demoralised, fragmented National opposition while allowing the sainted Jacinda Ardern and her ministers a largely free run. (I say “largely” because Newshub reporter Michael Morrah is an honourable exception.) It’s the journalistic equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.
To be fair, National’s weak, divided and ineffectual caucus invites derision. We are witnessing a catastrophic failure of the centre-right, and surely the moment is David Seymour’s to seize. But there’s nothing noble or heroic about gloating, power-tripping journalists savaging a politician who appears to have lost the will to fight.
Yet Labour get nothing, despite ruling over the biggest land grab NZ has seen for a very long time. In fact, at 43% of Northland, possibly the biggest confiscation the area has ever seen. But they did force local councils do the dirty work and raise the funds from some of our poorest.
On this, not a word, but Judith gets pilloried for something she had no control over. Is it any wonder our media are treated as paid shills at best.
An excellent article Karl.
You have highlighted two very significant items:-
1/ The total Left bias of the media. To some extent we can understand this, as the media are paid for by the Comrade Ardern commissariat, and are told what to do.
2/ The extreme nastiness of Ngarewa-Packer, who launched a vindictive personal campaign to have a citizen fired from his job. This is the same professional victim who claimed to have had her family subject to a "holocaust" and "genocide" committed by the parliament of New Zealand.
But Tova only did what journalists always did : try to create headlines. The real idiocy comes about because our New Zealand society now takes it for granted that, for example, Maori’s propensity to commit violent crimes and join criminal gangs is necessarily caused by colonisation 200 years ago. This opinion is really only a theory – and as a theory it can be disproved (c/f Karl Popper) by being falsified.
Fact is that colonisation did NOT cause Maori to become criminals. Only in the 1960s – when they first began moving into our industrialised cities did this phenomenon arise. We did NOT have inordinate numbers of Maori in our prisons before then – period.
So the colonisation theory can be falsified – and can therefore be disregarded. The real reason turns out to be that Maori culture cannot cope having to adjust to individualistic, European city culture.
Thanks for watching Newshub for us Karl. I guess someone has to do it. National sadly haven't been centre-Right since Don Brash stepped down. Those votes go to Act now, with many more to come. Goldsmith's colleagues should be ashamed of themselves - frightened rabbits is too kind. They did doggo on one of their own for expressing a perfectly reasonable opinion. And just why is Todd Muller still hanging around? As for colonisation, it was a tremendous boon giving this country the rule of law, democracy and a first world standard of living. All those things are being deliberately eroded now of course, with the charlatans of the Climate Commission delivering the coup de grace. Aotearoa is becoming a very unpleasant place and it happened so quickly.
We had that awful Abortion law last year and many National MPs voted against it and I think ACT were on board with the Government. This puts me off ACT but from what we are seeing now I wonder if I will have to hold my nose and vote ACT at the next election. As you outlined the other day, Karl, this NZ $50 million outlay on public service journalism is a staggering corruption of our country and I don't hear any fight coming out of the National Party.
Anyone who sits through a Newshub or TV1 newshour has to have masochistic tendencies: I stopped doing that during last year's Lockdown. The less painful thing to do is go to their websites and go through the items and see if there is anything worth looking at. It's rare that anything under the heading "politics" is. We know what we're going to get: "isn't the cuddly Jacinda government marvelous; do we really have to mention what the opposition parties think? Oh well then, let's give David Seymour a 10 second soundbite, and how can we make the Nats look bad"? Tova probably reckons she gets more from being a primetime cheerleader for Jacinda on Newshub than being a Labour MP.
I gave up TV1 etc years ago. Life is too short (and by watching it I fear you’ll make it even shorter, as blood pressure rises). Time for the National Party to take a long look at itself. And also time for a loser like Todd Muller to find a job more suited to his talents.
Tova O'Brien could well be our Minister of Propaganda after the next election.
We should all calm down and listen obediently.
Loving your dominatrix Tova...piece of work that she is. You just wanna scream at those spineless Nats, even Judith. I've screamed at them, civilly, via email. No bloody wonder Winston P chewed them up & spat them out when it suited...they could do worse than taking lots of leaves out of his book. Rest has been said, above.
Turn it off. Hit the off switch. Do not help their rating. Hit them where it hurts.
I can tell you both TV1 and TV3 chortle over these 'reactionary' comments about their product.
No viewers = poor ratings = angry advertisers = no income = changes at the top.
Richard, the problem with your theory is they don't care. The government is willing to fund them and their propaganda so an echo chamber is were they are happiest. In some ways I wonder the turning our backs is what they want. If we don't watch we can be laughed at if we complain. They get the freedom to be even more biased.
At the same I must admit it has been several years since I have watched TV.
Eamon Sloan - just what is wrong with the word "woke"?? I think it is excellent. And you are so right about the concept of "colonisation". Our woke masters are now re-interpreting this historical phenomenon, blithely following their own modern ideology. But history is fact - and cannot, should not, ever be re-interpreted. They are imbuing realistic, stone-age Maori with today’s notions of “nationhood”, “constitutional partnership”, “responsibility of individuals”. But that was not, could not, be the motivation for Maori to sign the Treaty – simply because those concepts were quite unknown to Maori. Maori did not even know that they were in fact “victims of colonisation” – neither did the colonisers really perceive they were conquerors.
Reality was that European science, technology and culture was hugely superior to that of Maori – reality was that Maori were desperate to become part of this new civilisation, to share the enormous benefits flowing here, to copy the European technology, wisdom, governance and religion which was so obviously superior to theirs. They rushed to do that – but, of course, keeping their own communal, tribal culture and customs – except, significantly, immediately scrapping any part of their “tikangi”, which was offensive to their European invaders, such as cannibalism, inter-tribal warfare, slavery, etc.
New Zealand really need lots of debate on all this – but that is now non/PC. “The science is settled” – say our woke masters.
Yes, Eamon Sloan. I agree completely with you about all that. With some amusement I have also tried to find the origin of it. In your comment you used the word for want of "a replacement" - and that is precisely my point. That is how languages often work : one funny, often quite irrelevant word slowly slips into common usage to describe a new phenomenon - for want of a better one.
So - hey presto : suddenly we have a perfectly meaningful word.
Several commenters obviously wonder why I continue to torture myself by watching Newshub's 6pm News. Others have previously made a similar point about RNZ, which I still occasionally listen to. But if no one monitors these outfits and tries to hold them to account, even if it's mostly ineffectual, then they have complete freedom to impose their biases on us. Silence isn't an option. As an old management adage puts it: what you accept, you approve.
Karl - one thing you don't mention, and I think it should be pointed out - not listening to, viewing, or reading, current events in our media various does not mean or even imply that we are indifferent and apathetic to the point of being socially comatose.
Some of us, particularly of a certain vintage, are too tired (in its figurative sense) to kick continually against the prick, in large part because we know that it will not make a jot of difference, never more so than in this era of socialist domination of media and politics.
And, hughvane, with a certain vintage you get tired in a more than figurative sense!!
If you watched a severe journalist back then, such as Simon Walker or any of the other earnest young men who followed him, would you have compared them to a Bondage mistress? Are you falling into the older man trap where you can't abide an earnest young woman reporter? Criticise her journalism all you like but suggesting she is like a bondage mistress is just plain sexist You made many good points as you always do but this bondage thing was so last century (actually no, so 19th century).
You mention Simon Walker. Walker became famous because he put Robert Muldoon on the spot, which was something few journalists had the guts to do. (Walker's natural arrogance helped.)
A couple of obvious points of difference between what Walker did and what O'Brien is doing now:
Muldoon was the prime minister, and an autocratic one at that. He was in a position of real power and had few qualms about how he exercised it. He dominated politics so completely that the country was agog when Walker challenged him.
Judith Collins, the target of O'Brien's aggression, wields no such power. There's nothing heroic or journalistically praiseworthy about monstering a lame politician. When it happens repeatedly, it starts to look like a form of sadism. It's certainly not "speaking truth to power", to use that overworked cliche.
I ask again: why are O'Brien and Newshub so fixated on a floundering Opposition when those in power, namely Jacinda Ardern and her government, get a free pass night after night? That's where critical scrutiny should properly be directed.
Further, Walker didn't pursue Muldoon relentlessly. They had only one celebrated confrontation. By way of contrast, O'Brien harasses Collins and her party constantly. It appears to be a deliberate, sustained campaign to undermine and destabilise National (and in saying this, I stress again - though I'm probably wasting my time - that I am not, and never have been, a National Party supporter).
You suggest I criticise O'Brien because she's a woman. That reduces the issue to one of sexual politics, which probably says more about you than it does about me.
P.S. "When it happens repeatedly, it starts to look like a form of sadism" - hence my description of O'Brien as a dominatrix. It's called satire, though I don't claim to be a master of the form. To see it as sexist is tiresome but sadly predictable.
I have no argument with your criticism of O'Brien's tactics, merely your description of her. At first I was amused by the satire but then rethought it because I was uncomfortable with a female reporter being mocked for her doggedness in such a way. I could not think of an example where an earnest male reporter has been labelled in this manner.
Doggedness in continuing to apply the lash when the victim is prostrate on the floor and patently beyond resisting?
Just over a week ago Andrea Vance published a hard-hitting article on the government's propaganda operation and its efforts to suppress official information: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/125352433/this-government-promised-to-be-open-and-transparent-but-it-is-an-artfullycrafted-mirage. In the article Vance revealed the Prime Minister's office starts every week with a conference call with political editors to "cement the agenda". Tova O'Brien is Newshub's Political Editor. Does she take part in those conference calls? Does the government give direction in these conference calls on which political opponents are to be harried that week and on which issues? The public are owed an explanation, but of course none will be forthcoming.
I'm with Eamon on this one. Trying to give political reporters "directions" would be unthinkable even for this government. There's still a residue of professional self-respect in the press gallery.
Sorry but I think you are being naive. Things have changed very quickly. The media have forsaken journalistic standards and are now enthusiastic participants in Labour's New Order. We are reminded of this daily.
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