Sunday, April 24, 2022

Journalists' offence detectors were switched off

When Scott Morrison says he was blessed not to have any disabled children, there’s an outcry. The media are constantly waiting to pounce on the Australian prime minister for any injudicious word or phrase, no matter how harmless the intent.

Yet when Jacinda Ardern is reunited with a former Japanese homestay pupil who stayed with the Ardern family 30-odd years ago and comments that “I grew up to be taller than you”, no one thinks to complain that she has belittled short people.

Of course no one should, because it was an innocent remark. Yet the contrast is revealing.

Morrison wasn’t callously asserting some imagined privilege or suggesting that parents with disabled children weren’t themselves blessed. Only people who are ideologically programmed to take offence – which, unfortunately, means most journalists – would have interpreted it that way.

Politicians are constantly at risk of making make off-the-cuff comments without considering how they might be wilfully misconstrued by opportunistic opponents and hostile media. They’re human, after all. But obviously the reporters who witnessed the meeting between Ardern and Madoka Watanabe had turned off their offence detectors for the day.


Gary Peters said...

As I have repeatedly said, our media treat Chris Luxon the same.

He will face an endless campaign against him which I believe is prompted by the ardern PR team but which the media willingly subscribe to.

hughvane said...

Shades of Randy Newman's 'Short People'.

Even Brian Edwards in his National Radio days on Sat mornings was moved to comment that to have the song banned for allegedly (imaginatively?) causing offence to those of shorter stature was going too far.

It was about then that euphemisms evolved, so short became 'vertically challenged'. I wonder if today's ludicrous media would seize on that to thrash our sensitivities into politically-correct submission.

Mark Wahlberg said...

"Short People" Aint that the truth. I have always interpreted the song as a euphemism for small anything.

I'm a 35 year left leg amputee and facetiously refer to myself as a "cripple." Politicly correct people who hear me use the term are usually horrified and attempt to reassure me I'm as good as anybody with two legs and I shouldn't demean myself. In my best interests, they suggest I should discuss my lack of worth with somebody qualified.

I explain that my scars are the tattoo's of my life, I wear them with pride and will describe them anyway that takes my fancy!

Offense is the usual reaction.

pdm said...

Gary Peters not only Luxon.

Bridges and Collins were smeared continually - perhaps even worse than Luxon has been to date and they even stooped to smearing Harete Hipango even before she was back in Parliament.

David George said...

Taking offence is, and should be seen for what it is,: a weapon.
The headlines will screech "Twitter outrage", ignore them.

Andy Espersen said...

Quite right, Karl. “The media are constantly waiting to pounce on [anybody] for any injudicious word or phrase, no matter how harmless the intent” (quoted and altered from your blog). That is what journalism has developed into these days. These clueless young woke’ists, calling themselves journalists - but with never an original opinion of their own, think their God-given job in life is to educate, brainwash, us plebs in how properly to judge and assess Prime Ministers’ every remark.

Actually no – they are brainless but not “clueless”. They take all their clues from Twitter – from the idols they “follow” here. Grace Tame, Australian of the year publishes a tweet - and obviously her opinion must be right. People are genuinely scared of running foul of Twitter opinions - and for good reasons. They may be cancelled! Even the followers of the President of the United States, Donald Trump, were not allowed to continue reading what he had to say.

In this connection, it is marvelous news that Elon Musk, for ethical reasons only, has made a take-over bid to buy Twitter – and convert it into a private company! For the exclusive reason to provide us with a global news platform dedicated to Free Speech! And, knowing Elon Musk’s amazing ability to come to sane, successful business decisions, my guess is that also this will turn out to be immensely profitable for him (though I am naive enough to speculate that he is not really interested in making money).

His net worth is $US 273 billion! Money he all earned starting from nothing, through his own creative efforts building up a number of highly, successful businesses - as well as always investing wisely. Money coming not just from one stroke of luck (like Bill Gates hitting it off with Microsoft) – or from inheritance and luck (like the Arab oil-sheiks). Is he a genius?

Watch this space.

PaulL said...

The short people song was supposedly an allegory for racism - basically taking things people say about those with other coloured skin, and switching to height. The fact that anyone thinks it literally means that he hates short people is sad in itself. The fact people would suggest banning it without doing any research is even worse.

Gary Peters said...

Well PaulL,

"They got little baby legs
And they stand so low
You got to pick 'em up
Just to say hello"

You are probably close to the truth but I've never seen the above "attributes ascribed to black or Asian or white people ....... unless they were short ;)

Your point stands though but cuurently so the so-called minority, maori elite, are behaving more racist against Europeans than the other way around.... In my opinion.

Andy Espersen said...

I am surprised about the world’s reaction to Elon Musk’s takeover bid for Twitter (as well as the lack of comments on Karl’s blog to my above comment).

I have just been searching the net re this – and find no understanding of, and hardly any mentioning about, the stated reason for his initiative, namely to provide a news platform guaranteeing global free speech. I copy and paste a typical statement : “Musk is known for his wacky antics, irreverent public statements, and unexpected business decisions – so you would be forgiven for questioning whether his threats to purchase Twitter are legitimate”.

Musk is regarded as a bit of a clown on the world stage. He was recently awarded the prize as “Person of the Year” by Time magazine – who made sure to add that this is not a reward but rather “recognition of the person who had the most influence on the events of the year, for good or for ill”.

But Elon Musk is not a clown – he has proved this simply by quietly, during the last quarter century, becoming the richest person in the world – earning $US 273 billion through his own, creative efforts. He has singlehandedly built up a number of hugely successful businesses - and invested extremely successfully in other businesses. Even without Tesla he would still be richer than anybody else. He is not a typical billionaire either : He owns no super-yacht, he owns no ostentatious real estate (at present not even a house to live in!), etc..

And nowhere (except in Muriel Newman’s latest weekly newsletter) do I find any mention of the amazing fact that with his bid he is following purely ethical considerations. I do not think Musk is bidding for Twitter, hoping to make money (though he probably will!) – my understanding of him is that he could not care less about money (an attitude not understood by many today). To him life is just a smorgasbord of great opportunities for action. He happens to be rich simply as a consequence of being more brainy that the rest of us.

Andy Espersen said...

Latest news : The Twitter Board has agreed to $44 billion buyout offer from Elon Musk.


Hilary Taylor said...

Like you I have no time for silly nonsense like the Scomo remark and fallout... we know exactly what he meant. Beat-up. Can't bear to watch anything Jack Tame makes so the Luxon interview has passed me by...if not the reactions.
Andy, I joined twitter over a year ago, having let my facebook lapse for anything other than startling photos, usually found on twitter as it happens. I'm still there, I find it's immediacy attractive and have made a few solid contacts. It's great about Musk, thought he was just messing about. Can hardly be worse ...lets see what comes out in the wash. As someone said today...'if they'd just left the Babylon Bee alone...'

Mark Wahlberg said...

As an aside and just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, I was struck by a headline in todays Dompost.

"Hopes for strong turnout to prayers as mong-long Ramadan nears end"

"Justin Wong
05:00, Apr 27 2022"

"a person who is stupid or who has learning difficulties."

Karl du Fresne said...

I noticed that too. They seem to have given up caring about basic editorial standards a long time ago - possibly about the same time they adopted the name Stuff, thus demeaning their own product.

M&D said...

Forgive me if I sound naive, but I thought Short People was just a funny song written by someone with a sense of humour.

Mark Wahlberg said...

Welcome to the real world M&D.
IMHO there is nothing funny about being a 6' 4" man in world of 5' 5ive's. Tall people become the butt of the unsavoury jokes, not the other way around.

Gary Peters said...

Not only do many journalists have their "offense detectors" on pause, they also have the grammar checker well and truly disconnected from their brains.

Today's little pearl.....

"Neither Barnett or Bridges both declined to comment to the Weekend Herald"

They obviously never had a Mrs Steltzer as an english teacher with a steel edged ruler .....

Karl du Fresne said...

It makes you wonder how many solecisms these sub-literate dolts can pack into one sentence.