Wednesday, November 17, 2021

No one should be surprised by a backlash against the news media

One of the least surprising things I’ve read lately is that journalists have been getting a hard time from protesters. I mean, who’d have thought?

Bryce Edwards reported that broadcaster Mihingarangi Forbes tweeted last week: “As a journo I have always felt safe at protests, most understand we have a job to do but the ‘Freedom and Choice’ protests feel different. ‘F*ck the Media’ is the new catch phrase. It's dangerous.”

NewstalkZB political reporter Jason Walls struck a similar tone in an article headlined: Attacks on the media are escalating and look like they’ll only get worse. Noting that there had been “a stark and worrying change in the level of animosity directed at journalists”, Walls wrote that a 1News cameraman had been attacked at an anti-vaccination event in Greymouth and a Newshub reporter was heckled.

According to Walls, anti-vaccination protesters are united by distrust of the government and hatred of the mainstream media. When Jacinda Ardern disappointed protesters by not turning up as expected at a vaccination clinic in Whanganui, “the mob turned on reporters”. Police had to intervene as protesters “loudly yelled [sorry to be pedantic, but have you ever known anyone to yell quietly?] about how journalists’ salaries were paid by the Government”.

Last Tuesday, a Stuff photographer was reportedly grabbed and pushed at the Freedom and Rights Coalition rally outside Parliament and protesters threw tennis balls at journalists (which sounds a charmingly gentle protest gesture, except that one claimed a ball was hurled at her head).

As depressing as this apparent trend is, it should surprise no one. I deplore attacks on journalists, just as I deplore attacks on anyone lawfully doing their job (supermarket checkout operators and parking meter wardens come to mind). But the media’s air of wounded innocence isn’t wholly convincing.

The first thing to acknowledge here is that journalists have never been popular. For as long as opinion polls have been conducted, journalists have jostled with politicians, car salesmen and real estate agents at the bottom of the “most trusted” rankings.

This is no mystery. It’s partly the “shoot the messenger” syndrome, where the bearers of bad news (and news tends to be bad; a fatal plane crash is news, but no one wants to read about a plane that has arrived safely) end up copping collateral blame for it. Journalists are associated in the public mind with adverse events and can serve as a convenient lightning rod for public resentment and anger.

They are seen, sometimes with justification, as exploiting human tragedy and being obnoxiously intrusive. (They do themselves no favours, for example, by harassing accused people outside courthouses, pursuing them down the street and shouting questions that they know won’t be answered, all for a bit of drama on the evening news bulletin.) Small wonder that in films and TV dramas – rare exceptions such as Spotlight or The Post aside – journalists are almost always portrayed negatively.

For all that, they have generally been tolerated. Even in the rage and heat of the 1981 Springbok tour protests, I don’t recall reporters or photographers being targeted for abuse beyond the occasional sotto-voce curse from rugby fans. It seemed to be accepted that they were performing a necessary function.

So if the impressions of people like Mihingarangi Forbes and Jason Walls are correct and something different really is happening now, then perhaps the media should be asking why.

Part of the explanation, but only part, probably lies in the unusually brittle mood of the times. Covid-19 has set the country on edge and social media channels haven’t helped (do they ever?) by providing platforms for the extreme views of the paranoid and the perpetually enraged. Protest rallies like the one outside parliament bring together disparate groups whose grievances aren’t always easy to discern but who are united, as Walls says, by distrust of the government.

Traditionally the function of the media has been to stand back and report these events dispassionately. By sticking to their role as neutral observers and reporters of news, journalists generally managed to protect themselves against public acrimony. But in recent years the media have made themselves active participants in the culture wars and in doing so, have stoked the fires of polarisation.

For decades, New Zealand had what was often described as a “broad church” media – one that catered to and reflected a wide range of political views. Comment was generally restricted to editorials, letters to the editor and clearly delineated opinion columns.

News pages were apolitical and any reporter presumptuous enough to express a personal view was likely to be quickly reined in. No journalists dreamed that they had a licence to moralise; that phenomenon would come later, when training shifted from the newsroom to the lecture room – from on-the-job learning (which, admittedly, was sometimes less than adequate) to a more academic grounding, often coloured by ideology and sociological theory.

Not so now. Today’s media are overtly and vigorously politicised. Identity politics is relentlessly promoted; journalists have become polemicists, using their privileged position to lecture readers, listeners and viewers and to put their own spin on events. “Consumers” of news, to use a ghastly contemporary expression, are bombarded with a barrage of ideological propaganda in place of straight news. (In fact many of today’s journalists have been indoctrinated with the notion that there’s no such thing as “straight” news; that it’s a mere “construct” created to serve the interests of those in power. But that’s another story.)

Some newspapers have taken the extraordinary step of placing themselves at odds with much of their readership by adopting political and ideological positions that they must know many of their readers don’t share. They are, in effect, alienating the people on whom they depend for support. Often their stance is one of moral superiority, implying to readers that they need to get on board or be dismissed as bigots and dinosaurs.

One obvious but telling example is the routine usage of Maori terms and place names that most readers, listeners and viewers are unfamiliar with. Usage of te reo has become both an ostentatious form of virtue-signalling and an ideological shibboleth, marking people as either enlightened or beyond the pale.

This is new. Many Maori words have long been adopted by Pakeha New Zealanders: for example, whanau, hui, iwi, kai, mana and taonga. They have been absorbed naturally and organically into New Zealand English over time and are used widely and unselfconsciously.

The difference now is that previously unfamiliar names and terms (Tamaki Makaurau for Auckland, motu for nation, mahi for work) are being used so routinely by those in positions of authority and influence – including journalists – that many New Zealanders feel their language has been taken from them without consultation, still less permission. It’s the difference between adopting Maori terms gradually through popular usage and social consensus, as in the past, and having them imposed by an elite and used as a test of ideological conformity.

On a broader level, bias that was once confined to editorials, where it was legitimate, now permeates the whole paper. It’s evident in the subjects that papers choose to cover and in how they report them (or don’t report them, as in the case of any heretical opinions on the subject of climate change, which are excluded as a matter of editorial policy). Newspapers and other media have become platforms for the promotion of ideological agendas. Stories are often written in highly judgmental tones; just note the frequency with which loaded words like “racist”, "misogynistic" and ”transphobic” occur, as if these have agreed and settled meanings.

The response has been a massive cancellation of subscriptions by the people most in the habit of reading newspapers, as confirmed by circulation figures which show a decline of about 16 per cent since 2019 for The Dominion Post and the Christchurch Press. (No figures are reported for the New Zealand Herald, which may in itself be significant). Depressingly, figures are no better for many provincial papers – although the ones least affected by the decline, significantly, are those that remain truly independent and locally owned, and which have tried to stick to their knitting.

In recent months the media have given the public even less reason to trust them by eagerly lining up to take ideologically contaminated money from the government’s so-called Public Interest Journalism Fund – or as I prefer to call it, the Pravda Project. No one is convinced by newspapers’ protestations that their integrity and independence are not compromised by signing up to a thinly disguised propaganda exercise; I’m not even sure they convince themselves. Well might protesters complain that journalists are paid by the state, because it’s almost true. Authoritarian governments overseas deal with the media by shutting down troublesome radio stations and newspapers, assassinating journalists or putting them in jail, but Labour under Ardern has realised there are less messy ways to ensure media loyalty.

What makes things even worse is the tiresome sameness of the prevalent ideology. With the notable exception of commercial radio (and more specifically Newstalk ZB), there’s virtually no ideological contest within the New Zealand media. It is overwhelmingly homogeneous in its embrace of left-leaning orthodoxies.

The net effect is that trust in the media, never high even at the best of times, continues to decline, and I suspect more sharply than ever in the past few years. A survey by the Auckland University of Technology suggests that in 2021, only 48 percent of New Zealanders trust news in general, down from 53 percent last year.

To be fair, the same is true worldwide. The international Edelman Trust Barometer reports that trust in information sources has plunged to a record low, with trust in traditional media down from 65 percent in 2019 to 53 percent this year.

People no longer look to our journalistic institutions to reflect the society they live in. The crucial nexus between media institutions and the community they purport to serve has been strained to breaking point. In fact the media often seem implacably opposed to the society they live in and determined to re-shape it, whether people want it or not.

And there has been a change in the nature of that distrust. The old media were distrusted because they were seen (usually unfairly, I believe) as unethical and prepared to do anything to get “the story”. Now the media are widely seen as an institution that has squandered its democratic mandate because it no longer reflects – and in fact often actively disparages – mainstream community views and values. To many, the media have become an enemy of the people.

This is not to say journalism no longer performs a valuable and necessary function. There’s still plenty of quality journalism being produced in New Zealand, a recent example of which was an article on Stuff by Philip Matthews (not a journalist I have always seen eye-to-eye with in the past, as he would attest) on the complicated ethics of vaccination mandates. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but I sometimes get the feeling that some editors are now making a conscious effort to revert to traditional journalistic strengths and values, in which case I just hope they haven’t left it too late.

On that note, I’ve seen left-wing media commentators sneering at the notion that the late 20th century was a golden age of journalism – but it was. It was a time when the media made a genuine effort to be fair and even-handed, when they conscientiously reported events and issues that mattered to the community, and yet had the guts and resources to investigate wrongdoing and expose abuses of power. What’s more, they were profitable enough to be strong and independent.

I now barely recognise the media that I spent more than half a century working in. Rather than expressing hurt and surprise at the ugly backlash that has recently become apparent, perhaps journalists should ask themselves why it’s happening and how they might start rebuilding faith with the public.



MarkJ said...

Get out of my brain Karl :)

Media now (in the most part) posts online with comments disabled. Opinion pieces often don't have an authors name attached.
News is all about slant, and there is never an effort to understand any dissenting views.
People don't like being preached to, and once people tire of that, they simply tune out.
Earlier this week - on Newstalk ZB a US reporter covering the Kyle Rittenhouse case reported the obvious repeated mistruth that Kyle shot at three black men. It was only when listeners texted HDPA, that she corrected the narrative (they were all white men). Its a poor state of affairs when an audience has to correct the host. Even worse when NewstalkZB would chose to use the reporter in question, given his inability to report such a simple fact without lying.
When things like this happen we often ask - how much of the news we hear is dictated buy the NZ medias view of the world?

I guess prefer the old line from the movie Dragnet - "Just the facts Ma'am".

pdm said...

Excellent summary Karl - keep up the good work.

I am presently banned at Stuff (who would have thought) for daring to suggest that Climate Change is only Nature doing what it has always done and on another tack that the current Government is incompetent and not up to the job. I contest points of view but never use foul language and never call people names.

Fortunately I can still reply but, not initiate, comments on Rugby and Cricket so I am not a total pariah - yet.

Richard said...

The media's surprise at tennis balls being thrown is ironic.
Some years ago a woman threw a dildo at a cabinet minister which struck him in the face. The media treated the incident as a huge joke. A couple of years ago Seven Sharp had the woman on and treated her as a heroine. Laughs all around.
I see Stuff is trying to openly push Collins out now. Asked if she would require a vax passport if she was a bar owner, she replied it depends on the circumstances - size of bar, location, is there a crowd, outdoors, health and safety etc etc.
Stuff gotcha headline..."Judith Collins says she might not ask for Covid vaccine passes if she owned a bar"
These attacks are relentless. Frankly if I came across a reporter, I'd be giving them both (verbal) barrels as well.

Russell Parkinson said...

Excellent article Karl. I think the situation is best summed up by the notion that during most of the 20th century journalists told us the facts and it was up to us to decide what we thought about them and what moral stand we should or should not take. Now in the 21st century we are told what to think and must work out for ourselves what is the truth.

This is the reason why so many turn to the internet to get alternative views. Those views use to be be published and we could asses them against others, now they are not and people suspicions of a coverup just grow. The media only has themselves to blame in my view.

The Pravda bribe (or team of $55M) does not help the situation along with the clear and obvious bias on the way news is presented especially on TV.

Anonymous said...

Your best line is "People no longer look to our journalistic institutions to reflect the society they live in. Sums up what I think exactly.

On TV the only kiwi program that reflects my values is country calendar which show cases ordinary people taking risks and improving their situation. Personal responsibility used to be big in NZ. Not today. Not in Wellington, not in the media bubble.

Doug Longmire said...

Excellent article Karl. Yet again you have summed it up comprehensively.
The Left wing, pro government bias of 95% of the media is blatant and there for all to see.
Examples from TV1 Pravda recently:-

Brief item about Judith Collins - and yes of course they have carefully edited the coverage to show Collins fumbling and wearing a poor fitting mask. All shots of Collins on Pravda 1 are similarly selected to show frowns or mumbles etc. Contrast to the beaming smiles of Comrade JA.

Climate change (sigh...) COP26 news is backgrounded against shots of forest fires, scorched earth, flooded cities, tidal wave pictures. Never an objective, rational discussion.

Similar with Stuff - they actually have published that it is their policy it NOT ALLOW any scientific discussion or scrutiny on the topic of human-caused, catastrophic climate change. Their minds are closed. As is the BBC.

Trev1 said...

Today's "journalists " are venal liars. They are justifiably held in profound contempt by an increasing number of New Zealanders. They have betrayed their profession for bribes. We have canceled our subscriptions and no longer watch the "news". Total disgust for this GDR style media.

Graham Adams said...

The media's determination to look the other way as law changes for Maori separatism (aka co-governance) are rammed through Parliament is simply shocking.
I have written several times in the past few months for the Democracy Project on Three Waters, raising questions about royalties that iwi will undoubtedly get and the sham consultation with councils, as well as Mahuta's broken promise to allow councils to opt out.
The last two columns have had between 60,000 to 50,000 views each (once numbers from other small sites that have republished the articles have been added). These are extraordinary figures from a handful of small websites but I believe that sort of readership has only been possible because the mainstream media refuses to do its job on Three Waters (and on similar issues), and because many people want to hear a more critical and analytical view than is routinely offered.
The $55 million media fund prescribes a view of the Treaty as a 50:50 partnership, which is exactly what needs to be discussed but virtually never features in media commentary.
I'm not at all surprised that hostility to journalists is becoming more apparent as more and more people smell a rat with this government's agenda.

Graham Adams said...

* Minor correction: "50,000 to 60,000 views each".

kruger said...

Good read Karl. I'd like to add it's not only the 'Pravda Project' that provides the avenue for the bribing of media companies. This government spends infinitely more than any previous on advertising. Remove government advertising from any of the big media players and they'd hit the wall with a thud. That's a hell of a stick to be holding over them.

Anna Mouse said...

I have followed the process of the devolution of our media and our democratic governance for sometime now and it saddens to think that New Zealand can be so easily bought and fed such propaganda we see in the media to date.

When I first read the PIJF criteria I thought surely not, it cannot be true that our media who profess independence would sign up to something that is clearly an historical untruth.

Today I stand disconsolate that they have and continue to do so and they have the temerity to state they feel they are threatened?

We stand upon a precipice as a nation and if David Seymours speech in parliament on Pae Ora, Graham Adams articles on 3 Waters and the Elizabeth Rata articles on He Pua Pua are guides, then unless the citizens of New Zealand speak we will be swallowed.

Apartheid is being spoken of in plain sight and our media are blinded by their professional bankruptcy. It is no wonder Karl, that they are receiving backlash but are they listening enough?

Phil said...

Great article Karl and also well done to Graham that your articles are getting so many views. Lately several journalists are starting to adopt the Government line that critics are spreading 'disinformation'. Nanaia Mahuta in particular regards any criticism of Three Waters as 'disinformation'. Journalists rather than interview critics are tending to back up Nanaia and accuse Councils of spreading
'disinformation'. This is all very disturbing as appears that the Government is corrupting the country.

hughvane said...

Let's not forget the issue of the execrable 'begging', now intensified to pleading, banners/notices/popups that are to be seen from Stuff, even the BBC, asking us to cough up some lolly. Both claim to be trustworthy. Oh? Why then does their management consider it necessary to keep asking for subscriptions, or, in the case of the NZH, to pay for your news fix (only they call it Premium)? I rest my case.

Unknown said...

You lost me when you mentioned climate change - climate change denial is akin to opposition to COVID-19 vaccination. A responsible media should be very careful in giving space to extreme views of any kind.

Ian P said...

The 3 waters proposal is probably the most significant change to NZ governance structures EVER. Has anybody seen a single article from the mainstream media setting out the exactly what is being proposed by the government, the pros (if there are any) and the cons, plus the rights of all citizens and ratepayers (of any ethnicity) to participate in these discussions? It used to be said 'the pen is mightier than the sword' - our media appears to have mislaid theirs. They do not deserve to survive, in their wholesale rejection of their fundamental democratic obligations.

SidH said...

Excellent article Karl.

I was saddened but pleased to see the substantial percentage loss of the DomPost subscription over the past few years. Saddened as I have been a subscriber for 27 years, and totally enjoyed my morning delivery, but with the never ending untrustworthiness of the reporting (with the odd exception)I discontinued with this avenue of getting my news updates. The bias and move from reporting, to deciding and being the news, gave me sufficient impetus to cancel not only the long held DomPost subscription but alas a SundayTimes subscription of 19 years home delivered as well. And with young people not buying newspapers, it is a generation or two that the media cannot really ford to lose, as there is no replacements coming along behind to fill the void.

Unfortunately the reporting of news has become a lost art in this day of likes and friends on social accounts, and it appears that it is about the amount of content and not the content itself. I have noticed that very few of the reporting genre now put their work email accounts under their names ( some still do, take a bow Andrea Vance) as accountability for ones actions also takes a back seat.

I now treat both written and NZ TV media, as a biased product, not to be trusted or believed. A mimicked hardcopy Twitter or facebook account. As the saying goes. Go woke, Go broke and if a business loses 16% of its revenue, as a business owner, one can certainly see the writing on the wall. But we know that if you keep doing the same, you will get the same outcome.

Karl du Fresne said...

If I "lost" you, well and good. The moment we declare legitimate dissent to be "extreme" and therefore beyond the pale ... well, there goes the open society.

Eamon Sloan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug Longmire said...

"Unknown" has used the terminology of biased media himself.
Any attempt to engage in discussion, scrutiny, or scientific search for proof regarding the possible cause and effect of human CO2 emissions causing climate change is immediately condemned as "climate change denial", as in Holocaust denial.

Dicky said...

Very well said, Karl. You can add to that, the uncritical regurgitation (for there is no better word for it) of syndicated content from news services abroad, cherry-picked to fit some questionable woke narrative or progressive talking point. After years of repackaged, one-sided articles regarding Trump scandals, identity politics and climate change, many of which are later proven to be misleading at best if not downright false, is it any wonder that NZers looking to cultivate a balanced world-view find it difficult to swallow the turgid output of many main-stream media outlets here in NZ. That this distrust is extended to local journalism should be of not surprise to anyone. Perhaps they see us as dim-witted consumers of whatever slop they see fit to serve up, incapable of finding our own truth in the world.

Chris Nisbet said...

Many upticks.
Being doubtful that we're in the grips of a 'climate emergency', or being certain that CO2 is _not_ pollution, or pointing out blatant cherry-picking, etc., is hardly extreme.
I doubt you ever 'had' Mr. Unknown, so I doubt you 'lost' him.

Dicky said...

"Unknown", you can challenge the extent of the threats from climate change and question the efficacy of the steps we take to mitigate those threats without being a "climate change denier", just as you can also question vaccine mandates and vaccine efficacy without being an "anti vaxxer". This very insidious notion that you can't question the response to a thing without being against the thing itself just serves to shut down legitimate debate and is to be resolutely challenged.

Hilary Taylor said...

Great column again. Can't add much, except like you I think I may see glimpses of a recovery in the Press...but then I skip so much of it perhaps my impression is now skewed.

Re the po-faced editorialising on the haka...what a load of bollocks. You can't stop the hoi polloi picking cultural elements up & running with them, mongrelising them, just as you can't stop language evolving...that IS the cultural bit....not some fossilized artifact that elites can pontificate on. How silly, dumb even, of those editors. Where have they been? Have they not heard of jazz, blues, rock n roll for heaven's sake? Did Maori strum guitars and sing tunes historically?
Had I been in Wgtn I might've attended the protest for fun.

Ian P said...

In most discussions about climate change, you never see the word 'cycles' added. Most would agree, I think, that climate cycles have always existed. What I have great difficulty with is the pervading 'scientific' logic along the lines of 'temperature here was 10 degrees 2 days ago, it's 20 today, therefore it will be 60 early next week'. Without CO2, there would be no life on earth. 97% of it is not man made. NZs share of the 3% is just about zero. So where's any logic in severely damaging the NZ economy in pursuit of these pointless fantasies?

Unknown said...

Why is the media surprised by this,if they were honest in their reporting then they might just engender some respect.
Questioning and doubting what's going on these days does not make anyone an Anti anything nor does it make anyone a conspiracy theorist, Actually questioning is and should be the place of reason, the fact that Questioning has become "Taboo" should send a chill up everyone's spine.
So a bit of honesty and integrity in reporting just might garner some respect.

Unknown said...

So spot on with everything you have stated a Karl. One other issue though, is the generally ghastly quality of what is written. English Grammer has all but gone to hell in a handcart. I really dunno wots tort at journo skool but propa sentence construkshin, spelling and correct, punktuation itsnot.

KB said...

Excellent article - right on the money. Predictions for the future? Will we continue to receive content primarily reflecting only one side of the ideological divide? Is the eventual inevitable consequence of what you describe a US-style choice of "Right wing" and "Left wing" media content (assuming the Right was to be somehow funded to produce the same), where you simply select the media content supporting your choosen ideological view point; or do you believe a return to the "good old days" of relatively factual opinion-free news reporting is somehow possible?

Unknown said...

Speaking as a farmer/grower Country Calendar does not represent the ordinary rural working kiwi, rather, the cream of the crop.

Kublai7777 said...

Not many people know that Denzel Washington studied journalism and in 2016, in an interview he was asked about his views on the state of journalism.

His comments have stuck with me:

Denzel Washington is making the rounds discussing his latest movie Fences, but at the Washington D.C. premiere of the film he took some time on the red carpet to revisit a topic absent from the film: the media.

The Academy Award-winning actor (and former journalism student at Fordham University) discussed the state of news today and, in the process, spit some real truths about the "fake news" epidemic we find ourselves swimming through.

"If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you do read it, you're misinformed," Washington said in response to a question regarding a fake news story about the actor's political leanings before the election.

Washington then asked the reporter what the long-term affects of too much information would be before explaining that one of the problems is the "need to be first, not even to be true anymore."

"So what a responsibility you all have to tell the truth—not just to be first, but to tell the truth," Washington told the reporter and other members of the press surrounding him.

"In our society, now it's just first. Who cares? Get it out there," he explained. "We don't care who it hurts. We don't care who we destroy. We don't care if it's true. Just say it and sell it," Washington lamented.

"Just say it, sell it. Anything you practice you'll get good at — including BS."


Unknown said...

Reading this article I was reminded of the the song "video killed the radio star", the inference being that the internet has largely superseded traditional media (print & TV for example). Worse still, revenue streams from advertising such as real-estate have also jumped ship across to on-line platforms such as "TradeMe". This is quite a conundrum but can't be solved by being paid backup singers for the current government.

Unknown said...

You've written many, many worthy and entertaining posts over the years Karl, but this is to me - probably because I was once a reporter - the very best. Bravo. Thank you.

hughvane said...

Is there some way Karl, without imposing excessive monitoring and moderation from you, for we followers to insert graphics/images to get our supportive points across? "A picture paints a thousand words", etc.

One of the better ones I've viewed in recent weeks has been an image of a muck spreader with the caption 'The 6 O'clock News'. Seems about right.

Ken Horlor @KHorlor said...

I was sent here from a link supplied on Gab. Funny that. As a result of their reporting on Covid-19 and the response to it, any trust I had of journalists has completely evaporated. I want to see the newspapers bankrupted, television news shut down and the reporters unemployable. I see myself as being very reasonable on the matter. Journalists have reported Ivermectin as horse de-wormer when it is one of the most effective and safest drugs in the world. They've witnessed the entire healthy population of a country put under house arrest and said diddly about it, apart from barracking support for the measure - naturally. Then people are being coerced into undergoing a medical procedure, the efficacy and long term effects of which are unknown. Where is the searching inquiry? All we are fed are answers to soft questions from the prime minister's podium of truth. And then these same journalists are a little startled by public perception of them? Gimme a break.

Andy Espersen said...

Ha - hostility towards journalists!?! - Came to think today when I went shopping that I actually felt hostility against all personnel there - simply because they told me to "put my mask on", to "sign in", to "keep the distance", etc. I naturally resent being told to do anything - as I think all free people naturally will!

I had to get hold of myself and force myself to be friendly towards all those pleasant, innocent shop assistants! I think this is a direct result of the particularly harsh lockdown regulations here in New Zealand. I am familiar with the atmosphere in Scandinavian countries where things are different - simply because regulations are much gentler. Sweden, of course, had no enforced lockdown - they may have a few more fatalities, but now have no residual, problematic difficulties at all in any strata of their society. In Denmark authorities are not really "officious", as far as I can judge - unlike in New Zealand.

Karl du Fresne said...

Unfortunately my comments section is more Lada than Audi.

Unknown said...

Nothing wrong with lada's..... They employed a lot of mechanics. And kept many a poor Russian in employment. .. Audis...well they are dodgy emission dodgers that cost VW billions.

Doug Longmire said...

Just to let readers know, Ivermectin is effective in killing virus (Covid)
However, that is in a dish in a laboratory, and the concentration of ivermectin in that dish is quite high.
Taken orally, the human blood concentration is only ONE TENTH of the required virus killing concentration. Higher oral doses do not achieve the required concentration.

Richard Arlidge said...

As always Karl, very well said.
Knowing how sycophantic and censorial our local rag has become I posted, some weeks back, a comment regarding 3 Waters on Neighbourly, in a bid to increase awareness and to promote discussion. Nothing offensive, just calling it as I saw it. It was taken down by Stuff/Fairfax who, you'll appreciate, own that site. So much for free speech I see there has since been another more public outing of how bad its got when Stuff refused even to accept money for a paid advertisement requested by the NZ Taxpayers' Union, because it challenged the desired narrative of supporting the 3 Waters proposal, as espoused recently by a Stuff reporter you'll know. Clearly, the 'Pravda Project' pays better and I think even Mr Putin would be impressed how successful its been
It's disgraceful and it's very sad it's come to this, but like Bob Brockie in that earlier piece, do keep up the good fight, for we're so in need of some honesty.

Ian P said...

When there is a change of government in 2023, what sort of employment prospects do the current MSM management envisage? There will be a price for their blatant prostitution and betrayal of their role in any healthy democracy. Maybe their replacement with a few older, battle scarred sub editors, if such people still exist? What goes round, comes around generally.

Unknown said...

The anti-vaccers remind me of Aesop's fables The Sun and the Wind. They had a contest to see who could get a man's coat off - the sun won. Just accept that some people's views are hardwired (in the short term at least).

I've been an opponent of our immigration policy and I've had to go outside the MSM with the exception of Graham Adams and Bernard Hickey. The regular programs on government media "in association with Massey" have always been forgone conclusions. I understand it well now (I think).
Immigration is the 5th pillar of the open economy 1. Employers want skills (but what is good at the firm level may not be so at the macro - Michael Reddell). 2. Universities and second rate export education. 3. A wealthy middle class in India and China are choosing us and they land at the top (quoting George Megalogenis - Australian experience). Consequently we get an extra million regularily and livability suffers.
I complained to the BSA about Nigel Latta's The Hard Stuff on accuracy and balance. I said Spoonley claimed we aimed for 1% resident increase as we have an ageing population. If that is why we do it then it is muddle headed as the population size increases more than the demographic profile - so not really a reason.
They said that (in fact ) the Hard Stuff meant adding balance. In their view it wasn't about truth (good or bad) but shoring up a case.

Andy Espersen said...

Karl – the coming backlash will not be directed only against journalists. It will be a fundamental reaction against this whole tyrannical way of governing, against ad hoc legislation, against citizens being treated like recalcitrant children by an arrogant, cocksure, naive, sermonising, overbearing bunch of politicians, against having all accepted, century-old values and culture done away with - and first and foremost against being robbed of our freedom.

An article from this morning’s Spectator Australia is worth reading : “This is a restoration, not a revolution”, by Alexandra Marshall. Just look at how the big farmers’ protest yesterday is played down by the media today : In the old days there would have been big photos, numbers of participants, reports of inconvenience to city traffic, etc. – Here in Nelson ordinary traffic was held up for long periods.

Roll on, 2023 election

Eamon Sloan said...
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Ray Chung said...

Absolutely superlative article thanks Karl! It’s the same with letters to the editor. Most of these support the mantra Stuff imposes on us