Friday, February 3, 2023

Virulent bigotry at the highest levels of the media

Not once but twice in recent weeks I’ve learned of occasions when I was labelled by senior journalists in the mainstream media as a misogynist and a racist.

In one of those instances the offender was Wellington-based Ben McKay, Australian Associated Press’s New Zealand correspondent, who tried to have my blog posts excluded from political scientist Bryce Edwards’ daily online summary of political news and comment. I wrote about it here.

McKay is a virtual unknown in New Zealand, but more recently I learned I was described in exactly the same terms by a far more senior and influential editorial figure. A commitment of confidentiality prevents me from revealing who it was, but it was unrelated to the McKay episode.

I deduce from this that it’s now received wisdom within some mainstream media circles, even at senior levels, that I hate women and approve of discrimination against people on the basis of their race. This, after all, is what the words misogynist and racist mean.

In revealing this I am not seeking and don’t want sympathy. The terms misogynist and racist are so degraded by overuse that to me, they are meaningless. (They are also wholly unsubstantiated, although that doesn't seem to bother my accusers.)

However those words still carry force. Though they cause me no lost sleep they are terms of serious vilification which, if published, would probably be actionable in court.

What principally concerns me is not the attack on my reputation, but that such adolescent terms – let’s call them undergraduate-level – should be used so freely by people in senior editorial positions.

Journalism hinges on words. Used properly, they are precision tools. But a generation of journalists has emerged which doesn’t hesitate to use ideologically loaded terms of denigration to discredit people they don’t approve of.

Some of this can be put down to sheer ignorance – the inevitable result of an education system that produces journalists with only a rudimentary grasp of the English language and which does little to encourage respect for the accurate use of words.

To read any newspaper, even some of the more reputable ones, is to gasp at the amateurish writing and the frequency of solecisms that would in the past have been intercepted and corrected by sub-editors. It’s one of the great paradoxes of our age that the most thoroughly (I refuse to say “best”) educated journalists in history routinely produce work so shoddy that it should never have made it onto the printed page.

Ignorance, however, only goes so far as an explanation for the misuse of words.  A lot of it is attributable to sheer prejudice and malice, most of it ideologically based. Hence the frequency with which we see the use of conveniently vague but disparaging terms such as far-right, alt-right, racist, fascist and misogynist – labels used to discredit any political position that doesn’t align with those of the political, bureaucratic, academic and media elites. (It’s another striking paradox that while we supposedly have a proliferation of malignant groups on the right, it’s almost unheard of for the media to describe any person, group or political party as “far left” – still less to suggest that anyone qualifying for that description could have less than wholly noble motives.)  

The absurd and dangerous term “hate speech” should be seen in the same light. In the woke glossary adopted by the mainstream media, “hate speech” means any expression of opinion that upsets someone. But the term is used very selectively, since those pushing for the adoption of so-called hate speech laws are not remotely interested in protecting the feelings or opinions of people they dislike. On the contrary, they freely indulge in vile and repugnant invective against them. Hate speech laws are intended by their backers to run one way only: to shield people and ideas they approve of.  It’s hypocrisy on a breathtaking scale.

Perhaps more to the point, the loaded phrase “hate speech” has been promoted with no regard for the real meaning of that word “hate”, which describes an emotion so extreme and intense that historically it has led to genocide and other atrocities. By applying the term to the expression of opinions that do no more than risk offending sensitive minority groups, the language activists have grossly misappropriated its meaning. But it serves the valuable purpose, for them, of providing a pretext for the outlawing of ideas they don’t like.

All this has implications for public trust in journalism. When readers can no longer rely on words being used with accuracy and respect for their established meaning, and when derogatory labels are used as lazy substitutes for accuracy and considered analysis, with not even a fig leaf of substantiation, journalism loses its moral authority. It risks being reduced to the level of propaganda, vilification and simplistic sloganeering.

The Nazis were very good at this and so is Vladimir Putin. It’s grimly ironic that the same techniques are now used in the Western media by people who smugly think of themselves as liberal. The “othering” of dissenters is an inevitable (and make no mistake, intended) consequence.

I wonder, do those impostor journalists who so freely use damning terms such as “misogynist” stop to think what the words actually mean? By labelling me as a misogynist, my accusers are saying I hate my wife, my daughters, my late mother, my sister and my grand-daughters, to say nothing of my women friends. Really? Try telling them that.

That such accusations are self-evidently preposterous doesn’t stop those who make them. And the frightening thing is that this virulent bigotry appears to have permeated the highest levels of the news media, where editorial gatekeepers decide what stories to cover and which opinions New Zealanders should be exposed to.


LNF said...

I looked up the meaning of misogynist recently when I was reading about people being critical of the last PM, as I might be
Hatred of females. I don't know of anyone with a hatred of females. But they are labelled because they have a negative view of a prominent female
If I made my thoughts about Luxon's performance to date known, would that attract of label.
Thought not

Ele Ludemann said...

That the fourth estate is permeated by such ignorance and bigotry provides good grounds for mistrust in it. How can we trust what is reported when it comes from people so biased and oblivious to the need for balance and fairness, when those who campaign against misinformation are blind to their own use of it? Ele Ludemann

Phll said...

I have stopped buying a newspaper because of this political ideology and am tending to turn off the TV news now. We live in strange times when the media doesn't care if it alienates the people who use their product.

Gary Peters said...

Remember when you chuckled at me identifying you as liberal left .......

Well obviously I was right as others may also have perceived you to be the same and now you must have committed the cardinal sin of those perceived to be on the left ...... You're not bloody left enough now!

The terms "left" "right" have lost their meaning, unless you're in the military of course. Now there's "agree with my failing socialist ideology" and "alt right".

Ephithets are more indicative of a lack of intellect than foul language in my opinion but they are like tattoos and gang insignia, they allow you to identify who's with you and who must be destroyed. Maybe a tattoo of an avocado or soy latte on your shoulder would restore you to full membership of the liberal left club .... although I think they may have lost their inagined gloss.

Anonymous said...

Excellent explanation of so much media bias. Too many journalists mistake ideological dogma for philosophic or even theological clout. They have absorbed an idea, assuming it to be true, without realising they have glossed a range of significant issues.

IainH said...

Erudite as always Karl.
My 2023 treat has been an online subscription to the UK Spectator.
Having given up on NZ media (apart from a few selected blogs), it is a delight to again read good quality writing by skilled journalists on a wide variety of topics.
Pity there isn't a NZ equivalent.

Trev1 said...

It's indeed very unpleasant to hear oneself slandered in this way, but as you probably know you are by no means alone. Welcome to the Culture War. I believe the hostility of the media towards conservative opinion is being fostered and directed from the highest levels within government by the literally hundreds of "communications" staff who have been hired under Labour. They are akin to Sauron's orcs within the rings of power. We see them operating through the ideologically driven "Public Interest Journalism Fund" (Newspeak if ever there was) and who knows what else takes place in the regular Monday morning liaison between the top floor of the Beehive and media editors. I hasten to add that just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they are not out to get us. New Zealand has become a deeply unpleasant place to live, but we must do our best to resist. So glad to see you back in print, your absence was worrying.

Chris Nisbet said...

What else can a regular bloke do, other than simply not consume their product, to get MSM to change their ways? Many people are avoiding MSM nowadays, but it doesn't seem to be enough to make a significant difference.

oneblokesview said...

As always Karl, a good read.

However one thing did ""jump out" for me.

The Nazis were very good at this and so is Vladimir Putin.

While I know that in the west Vladimir Putin is the devil incarnate and hence ridiculed at every turn. I don't believe (after much research/reading) that Vladimir is as bad as many think.

Yes he he is a hard arse. But that is the Russian way. (Have a number of Russian friends)

It seems that the conflict in Ukraine has generated way more propaganda from the west than could ever be imagined in years gone by.

I have given up on Al Jazerra as it just regurgitates the wests slant on things.

Since my youth I have been innately curious as to the "öther side of the story". In the past I could find critical and alternative views on various media. Nowadays that doesn't happen in MSM and so I find myself reading foreign media (thanks google translate)

In summary,
I wonder what the other side of the story is for those in the media labelling you misogynist etc.

rouppe said...

Have a look at Sharon Murdoch's "cartoons". Going at Chris Luxon and Wayne Brown.

If you are misogynist, Karl, surely she is misandrist?

Chris Morris said...

I think you have correctly identified why there is so much mistrust of media and journalists - though when does conspiracy theory become accepted fact? Journalists are no longer disinterested observers. They inject themselves into the story. Their reports use wording that disparage contrary information. They are also invariably of the same social group - young urban females with liberal arts qualifications. Very few seem to be having a family life in suburbia or horror of horror, are churchgoing. That means their social circles are a small often overlapping subset of the population with a lot of confirmation bias occurring.
With the lack of objective sub-editting; errors, bad grammar and faults in logic are more common. The articles that are published aren't objective - they are one-sided advocacy. I suspect many are just pieces written by publicity departments or press officers and just copy & paste with very light changes. Anything that doesn't fit the narrative are dis-information - or called mis-information if it is factually correct.
This haven't gone unnoticed by the population at large. I don't get a paper or watch TV news to be called a racist bigot because I might disagree with the designated opinion. Newspapers have declining membership and journalists have become akin to used car salesmen and politicians in the public's disdain. Yet the journalists aren't self-aware enough to realise why.

Alex said...

Good point about Putin , OBV.
In Russia, last year , about 400 people were arrested for expressing their views on social media .
In Great Britain, the total was about 3000.

Alex said...

Hi Karl

I apply a simple filter to the output of mainstream media:

The opposite of what they say is probably the truth.

Whilst not foolproof it works most of the time, perhaps indicating that deception, rather than informing , is the motive of the media.

I no longer look for logic , facts or reason, that leads to disappointment .

Keep up your good work.

Karl du Fresne said...

It mystifies me that there are intelligent people in New Zealand who defend Putin, but that's their right. I take the view that there's only one word for a leader who deliberately targets defenceless civilians in an attempt to bully a weaker country into submission. He's evil, pure and simple.

Ron Palenski said...

When did AAP decide to leave behind the objectivity and neutrality of which it used to be proud?
Ron Palenski

Alex said...

Hi Karl

Defending someone, or expressing facts that contradict popular opinion of them,does not necessarily mean that you agree with them.
Or disagree with them.
As an intelligent person I could make a case for or against most people or ideas.
It is a useful way of learning their perspective and maintaining a balance of ideas.

Truth is a rare commodity , I appreciate the efforts of you, and your contributors, in its pursuit.
I also hope we have the wit to recognise it if we are lucky enough to bump into it.

All the best

Martin English said...

Regarding this tactic of labelling opponents as "racist" and "misogynist";
As you suggest, with your references to Putin and Nazis, i wonder if McKay has considered how easily the tactic can be reversed, if the political situation turns.
I'm a very amateur historian, and while it was well before my time, I wonder how he would reported on McCarthyism.

Eamon Sloan said...

Karl, you used the term “woke glossary”. I happened upon this anti-woke website recently and have been working my way through parts of it. A skimming exercise to begin with but I will be digging deeper over time. On the website look for the “Plain-Language Encyclopedia of Social Justce Terminology”.

Other media matters. As you have had Karl, I have had occasional issues with certain journalists and editors. Just on twelve months ago I had a very nasty email exchange and encounter with a well known media organisation. As a conversation it started out reasonably well until they went rogue on me. In the end I extracted an apology of sorts from them for an accusation they made against me via the emails. Rather than ask for an apology I asked them to withdraw the remark. I accepted their withdrawal. At which point I declared the whole affair to have ended in a stalemate.

Graeme Allen said...

Good afternoon Karl,

Enjoy the well deserved inner peace you and those around you must feel….to have your integrity attacked by these lesser cretins is indeed a compliment …You have them rattled sir.

I believe the NZ Mainstream media is probably the easiest one can buy , but it is evident they are cheap at $57 Million of other peoples money.

Please keep up your essential and rightful reporting , New Zealand can survive these losers.

Graeme Allen

Dave Witherow said...

"It mystifies me that there are intelligent people in NZ who defend Putin", who is, in your opinion "evil".
Very jolly, Karl, except that you take no account of the genesis of the war in Ukraine, which was engineered almost entirely by the Americans.
Putin, back in 2000, wanted to make peace with the US and Europe. He proposed joining NATO, and the EU, and was told to take a walk.
The CIA organized the Maidan revolt and subsequent coup, and since then have been supporting Zelensky's civil war in the Donbas and arming him for the proxy war against Russia, which, one of these days, may morph into WW3.
To draw attention to this history is not to "defend Putin", rather than to give context to his actions, and to identify the principal source of "evil".
Next stop Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

The ‘journalism’ of which you speak is but one example of the illiberalism that has become the norm in most of the western world expressed through the media, big business and the institutions of State. There are too many examples to quote, but our Government has provided plenty of examples over the last couple of years. It has become the water in which we swim.

Simonda said...

Perhaps we need some critical analysis of the education that is producing these journalists.
Is it possible that they are, in the main, oblivious of the shortcomings you discuss?
What do you get taught at Journalism school these days?

Ben Thomas said...

It puzzles me why there should be a commitment to confidentiality. This suggests the involvement of lawyers and the weasel involved buying confidentiality. This is sadly too common. The individual concerned should be exposed and forced to admit his/her bigotry.

Doug Longmire said...

Well said Karl.
This sort of attack is common from the Left on people who disagree with them.
As you say - we hear terms like "alt-right", "far right" "right extremist" etc, from the Left leaning media.
These labels are used to denigrate any person that they disagree with. This often means that ordinary, reasonable opinions get labelled as if they were extreme right wing nut jobs.
However, the media are completely ignorant of the extreme "alt-left". It just does not exist for the (government owned and directed) mainstream media.

Regarding "hate speech". Time and time again, I have read hate speech being defined as speech that is "insulting". The insulting aspect is solely subjective and basically means that any person whose feelings or sensitivities are hurt by what someone else has said, can claim to be a victim of Hate Speech.

David Heaton said...

I happened to listen in to Kim Hill on Saturday morning.

One of Hill's guests was Byron C Clark. I had not heard of him before. I was not impressed with his delivery or argument. Mr Clark has written a book about the protests last year, which he had labelled "Far Right", and the protesters "extremist".

Hill, to her credit, said that many listeners were contacting the station claiming that Clark himself was an extremist who had run under the banner of the Communist Workers Party for the Christchurch mayoralty. Rather than deny it, Clark said that he was comfortable with being labelled "far left".

I was intrigued. Searching the 'net, I saw that Mr Clark was one of the New Zealand media's most popular experts on the subject of "disinformation", "extremism", and the "far right". None of the articles stated who Clark actually was, where he worked, or elaborated on his past.

I took to Twitter, searching for both "Byron Clark", and "Byron C Clark". Here's a list of the claims the Twitter search engine returned, with some other facts I discovered by pursuing Clark's own website and other sites found via Google.

1. Clark is a call centre worker
2. Clark has a undergraduate degree in history
3. Clark ran something called "Occupy Christchurch"
4. Clark did indeed run for the Christchurch mayoralty representing the Workers Party (in 2007)
5. Clark was still a member of the Workers Party, which was now called "Fightback", and his writings frequently still appear on the Party/group's website (
6. Clark seemed closely aligned on Twitter with members of "Antifa" and Antifa groups
7. Clark appears to have edited a communist magazine called "the Spark" after Lenin's newspaper.
8. The "Fightback" website describes itself as a propoganda PRODUCING group.

It seems to me that Kim Hill and RadioNZ should have known this, all of which should be relevant to any interview.

One might have asked:

a. Is an undergraduate degree in history qualification enough for writing one?
b. Did Clark actually visit the protests himself that he has written a book about, or did he interview any of the people he calls "far right" and "extremist"?
c. Why was his occupation a "good" protest and the Wellington occupation a "bad" one?
d. Does Clark's past and seemingly continued political activity cloud his judgement at all?
e. Is he still a member of the Communist Party of NZ or whatever it is called these days ("Fightback", perhaps?)
f. If Fightback has tasked itself with producing propaganda, and Clark is still a member of said group, is his book propaganda?

The most disturbing fact, an allegation which appeared to be well-evidenced, concerned some fundraising activity for a communist group I remembered being associated with the Red Army Faction some years ago, the PFLP. This and apparent evidence for it can be found by searching Twitter for: "Byron Clark" and "Terrorist", or "Byron Clark" and "PFLP".

If true, and it appears to be true, Clark is not only far left, but an extremist fundraiser for an extremist group.

A producer at RNZ ought to have found all of the above and Hill ought to have framed some questions on the above.

For instance, Hill might have asked:

g. "What business does a man who fundraised for a terrorist group have calling ordinary Kiwis extremists?"
h. "Have you reformed? You call yourself far left, but do you disavow violence and extremism and your connections to the PFLP?
i. Have you had or do you have connections to any other far left extremist groups past or present?

Malcolm Mackay said...

Hi Karl,

I greatly appreciate your thoughtful, considered, and fair-minded commentary on the issues of the day, and encourage you in it.

It has been well observed that while conservatives may see themselves as being correct and their opponents incorrect on the issues, progressives see themselves as good and their opponents bad, or even evil. They generally have a strong sense of their moral superiority.

This explains why the mainstream media, who are overwhelmingly left of centre, are not so concerned about facts, or rational argument, or presenting both sides of the story. Their objective is to take down the "bad" people, and suppress the "bad" ideas.

They feel justified in making ad hominem attacks on those they disagree with, and playing fast and loose with the truth, because they are fighting a moral crusade against the evil forces. Hence the quick denunciation of conspiracy theorists, deniers, heretics, and evil purveyors of disinformation.

Unfortunately, as with the religious zealot, considered and rational argument is often ineffecive against this sensibility.

Trev1 said...

David Heaton: excellent work, and thanks for sharing.

This needs to be widely circulated. Well, that destroys any credibility RNZ once had. The same goes for any other organization or journalist who pimped this fellow as an "expert".

As for the anti-mandate protesters being "Far Right", a reputable poll (Curia?) taken of them found the majority were Labour and Greens' supporters.

Doug Longmire said...

There is another, often used, label that the Left like to fling at anybody who questions their cult-like "humans are causing climate change" belief:-

"climate denier" (As in Holocaust Denier)
This label is used to denigrate anyone who in any way, questions or queries the current anthropogenic global warming belief that is forced upon us in the guise of a "climate emergency".

In fact - I do not know of anybody who "denies" climate change. The climate is in a constant state of change and has been so for the last 400 million years! No-one denies that !

David Heaton said...

Thanks, Trev1.

I am very confident as to the veracity of my post and the claims therein. Before taking retirement I undertook due diligence for insurance companies.

David Heaton said...

After some more digging and asking about I have been provided with evidence of said terrorist fundraising, as claimed in respect of "extremism" expert, Byron C Clark:

Note, this is the magazine of the Communist Workers Party. That party has since rebranded as "Fightback", and Clark is still very much a leader of it.

Tom Hunter said...

What else can a regular bloke do, other than simply not consume their product....

Hence the tag I used for these stories at No Minister, Die MSM.

BTW, you will be interested in this story from the NY Post about a recent, massive study of the MSM vs. Trump that has just been published in the Columbia Journalism Review by a former NYT investigative journalist. Some synoptic quotes from the Post:
[It] demonstrates in detail exactly where Big Media, especially The New York Times and Washington Post, made critical errors in their coverage of the Russian collusion story.

Naturally, all the key mistakes ran in the same direction. Most, including suggestions Trump and others committed treason, have never been corrected despite being proven to be false.

Gerth writes that even now, the Gray Lady brushes off his repeated questions about obvious inaccuracies with sweeping statements to the effect that “we stand by our reporting.”

Including the Pultizer Committee analysing it all and concluding that the reporting was as good as it could have been in the circumstances. Gerth's report kills that self-serving bullshit too:
Gerth’s work stands out as the definitive account of the origin of this modern nightmare and is uniquely valuable because he builds a brick-by-brick case. Reading the 26,000-word, multi-part project requires a commitment, but the payoff is total clarity.

Thanks to his precision and the organizational skills needed to keep a steady focus through reams of articles, interviews, testimony, reports and transcripts, some of them separated by years, never again can the culprits credibly claim innocence. If this were a trial, they would all be found guilty beyond any possible doubt.

The numbers are fantastic in themselves:
The Times, addicted to anonymous sources, used variations of a “person familiar with” more than 1,000 times to shield its sources’ identity.

Showing how the wall-to-wall coverage consumed the nation, Gerth reports there were an astonishing 533,000 articles published about Russia and Trump or special counsel Robert Mueller in the 22 months of Mueller’s probe. The number comes from NewsWhip, a media analytics company, which said the articles led to 245 million interactions on social media.

Kate Turner said...

Very interesting information and, if I may, I'd like to commend you on your research. May I also suggest, if you haven't done so, that you send all this information to Kim Hill and Radio NZ and ask for their comments. I usually enjoy listening to Kim Hill's Saturday morning show but missed this one - I'm quite glad I did, to be honest. Mr Clark sounds a bit unsavoury.

Martin Gibson said...

At this point epithets such as “racist” “misogynist” “conspiracy theorist” tend to be verbal squid ink sprayed with similar aims of obfuscation when it seems preferable to engagement.
We have reached a sad juncture where engagement is better avoided with those who use those terms of abuse because their aim is to goad you to become what they imagine you to be. Times such as these call on sane, humane men and women to guard and strengthen both their sanity and humanity.
A quote attributed to Confucius is good to murmur as we shake our heads sadly and dial down the anger in our own replies: "If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?"
Keep up the great work, Karl. You’re a beacon of sanity and humanity both.

Kenmac said...

Don't you just love it when someone is killed after having an accident? Such bad luck continuously.

another man said...

I take a different view.
I view Hate speech and denigrating you and your charater as an assault.
It is an assault in the reputational, professional, work and personal realm that you exist in.
Just as in the physical realm you would defend yourself, so too in the other realms you exist in.
The behaviour of these reprehensible people must be dealt too.
name them, Shame them and when they step into crimiality, Sue them.
Make complaints against their employers and professional bodies.
they are arsehol;es of himan beinmgs and deserve to be treated by society like that, until they come right.
Name them.
Sunlight helps us all.

Unknown said...

Thanks Karl
As a regular receiver of hate speech, actually, make that 'screech', along with missiles, many middle fingers (do they know what that means?) and just last Friday, physical violence - all because of my religious beliefs, I was naieve enough to imagine that my prolife friends and I may be protected under the new 'hate speech' laws. Bob (McCoskrie) put me straight on that. So, I am sorry to say to all our 'haters', that we will be back next Friday armed with our weapons of prayer and sacrifice. because if we're not, they will have won.
Keep up the blog Karl
P.S You forgot to mention nieces!xx

Bill Moore said...

"It has been well observed that while conservatives may see themselves as being correct and their opponents incorrect on the issues, progressives see themselves as good and their opponents bad, or even evil. They generally have a strong sense of their moral superiority." Thank you Malcolm Mackay.
To put it plainly, conservatives think their opponents are stupid, progressives think conservatives are bastards. This has long been the case. The fact that both are to some extent wrong was for many years reflected in the balanced coverage the New Zealand media provided. While newsrooms were overwhelmingly left-leaning, news executives (generally speaking) ensured that the right got a fair go too. That this balance has been gradually eroded must be sheeted home to the bosses, not the frontline journalists. - Bill Moore

Karl du Fresne said...

Yes, nieces too.

Unknown said...

Albeit, a naive niece!
Cat Kynoch

Anonymous said...

That would be misandry wouldn’t it?

Tomato Sauce said...

hi Carl,

interesting post, slight correction though, its not ALT-RIGHT ALT-LEFT its ALT-RIGHT CTRL-LEFT

ZTS said...

I agree that the left, right labels are a waste of time. Both governments are almost equally captured by the 'process' - political power, their backers and the need to stay in power. If you go back in time, the divide between left and right was much greater with a defined centre, now its mainly a free for all in the middle ground.

Being a former leftie, I dont think identity politics has anything to do with socialism. I am repeatedly struck that identity politics is all about conveying power to small groups and young people who want it without having to work for it. And that is what makes it so visceral, these people will do almost anything to get what they want at the expense of all the rest. So as a once Class Leftie, it annoys me to hear identarians described as socialists - they arent, in many ways they are the antithesis to socialists.

RE: the journalism thing :

Media has deteriorated hugely in the last 3 years. I think the MSM will go the way of the dinosaur until we end up with competing networks a la the US, were paid propaganda is pumped out all day long depending on who is paying the bills.

I dont watch TV or read the MSM, occasionally if I want to find out something in particular but to be honest I find it aggravating. Poor quality writing, poor standard of journalism and blatant propaganda.

Stuff is bleeding money. You cant drive out all conservatives, centrists and males over 50 and take on a bunch of diversity hires brim full of AUT Journalism teaching on critical race and other woke theories and expect to run a successful newspaper. Nothing wrong with the diversity hires just that they will flounder if they all believe the same things and if they dont have enough people of deep experience to guide them and provide balance.

Stuff has been trying to halt falling ratings so have been lauding themselves for producing balanced journalism. Balanced journalism at Stuff is apparently a piece that looks at a topical issue and concedes one dissenting fact. EG: On the Liberal side you will see the 4 points made for it, on the opposing side you will see one point made for it and usually not the most salient points. The article will probably be written by a 23 year old who doesnt even understand what the other side is at all. And then they pat themselves on the back for their balance...

Also of concern, in an election year, I am finding that a number of fairly independent blogs are becoming more polarised. They are rarking up the rhetoric on political hot button subjects such as 3 Waters - whilst stifling comments where the poster disagrees with the substance of the bloggers post and by that I mean, make a rational counterargument to the author's post. They also seem increasingly happy to print, derogatory ad hominem attacks on OP's who diverge from the blog's 'company line'.

Maybe this has always been the way and I had never noticed it before. My view on the media in NZ at this stage is a resounding 3/10 and that's only because reasonable thinkers such as CT and KdF still exist.

Dan R said...

Well put. On the Putin comment, I think you do him wrong with regard to his use of language at least. I challenge you to read the transcript of his speech before invading Ukraine and then to conclude that the following description which preceded your reference to him is accurate. Transcript of speech (actually a most interesting read)

(what you wrote)
When readers can no longer rely on words being used with accuracy and respect for their established meaning, and when derogatory labels are used as lazy substitutes for accuracy and considered analysis, with not even a fig leaf of substantiation, journalism loses its moral authority. It risks being reduced to the level of propaganda, vilification and simplistic sloganeering ... The Nazis were very good at this and so is Vladimir Putin

Disagree or dislike the man and his actions by all means, but do not accuse him of being of the same level as modern mainstream journalists with regards to language! Are the rigidity of your views on Putin all that different from young journalists who are so sure Major Brown can be derided regardless??

Karl du Fresne said...

My comment about Putin was very specific: nothing justifies the deliberate targeting of defenceless civilians. What do Putin's excuse makers say about that?

Dan R said...

Actually, what you said was "The Nazis were very good at this and so is Vladimir Putin"

Absolutely agree on the unjustifiability of targeting of defenceless civilians. But you should apply this principle equally to all parties to the war, whoever the aggressor. Is it so clear which party is doing the targeting though? Is it realistic to think that only the Russians are targeting civilians? Are the reports that Ukranian units are setting up in the middle of civilian areas incorrect? SOme of these reports are from credible, independent sources...

"Putin's excuse makers" may not be the same group as those who want to look at all sides of an issue, and follow the evidence wherever it leads. This used to be called journalism...

Karl du Fresne said...

Fair call.

Odysseus said...

When you find yourself defending a KGB thug who took an active role in brutally oppressing his own people and the people of East Germany under a repulsive totalitarian regime and who has now invaded a sovereign independent country, targeting its cities and overseeing horrific war crimes it's probably time to take a good hard look at yourself.

Dan R said...

When you find yourself concluding anything negative written about someone you dislike must be true regardless of the credibility or independence of the sources, it is time to take a good hard look at yourself.

I have no problem with anyone calling Putin a thug. It does not mean that I believe any and all things written about him or Russia, for that they need to have been confirmed by a number of independent, credible sources. You have to be consistent or you just end up being an unknowing patsy..

It is difficult to get to the truth in the middle of a war.

Anonymous said...

I’m hoping Peta Credlin at Sky News might get hold of this creep McKay. I think she may have something to say to a wider and ‘home based’ audience about his obscene accusations. I am currently re-reading Sowell’s ‘The Vision of the Annointed’. Hard to believe it was published in 1995 as it still resonates as clearly as a crystal bell today. Should be compulsory Journo School study for the brain-washed Jenna Lynch’s of our nutty media. Carl.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ron, I am making an assumption that you are the RP that wrote ‘Men of Valour’. Forgive me if I am incorrect. As someone that has read much about WW2 I am only now learning about and immersing myself in my Grandfather’s experiences through many books and his recently bequeathed letters home from Egypt, Greece, Crete and Africa as an 18th Bn infantryman - he lost a leg in ‘43 and died in ‘88 when I was 22 and whilst knowing he fought, I was oblivious to the detail, bravery and sheer endurance of our men in those bitter campaigns. It seems beyond modern day comprehension. After reading other older books the mystery and intrigue of Freyberg, Ultra and the decision makers in general was a bonus. I thoroughly enjoyed your book and I thank you.
P.S. Please at least be related, RP the Third would suffice.

Paul Peters said...

In response to David Heaton, Stuff this morning, Sunday 12 Feb has a saintly piece on Byron Clark raising no issues whatsoever. He is there sniffing out the bad people (ie non Left) to keep us safe . I expect we will see a lot more of these articles as the election approaches as MSM would like to tie the Opposition (or any member of) into ''Far right'' to help the cause . Prof Spoonley crops up too from time to time. He is their regular ''go- to'' on race and hate and ''far right''

Karl du Fresne said...

An anonymous commenter posted the following: "Facts matter and as is so often the case, yours are inaccurate."

If the commenter is (a) willing to be identified and (b) cares to spell out exactly which facts are inaccurate [sic], I'd be happy to publish a correction.

David Heaton said...

Well noted, thank you.

It t’was the same story on Q&A with Jack Tame this morning (TVNZ), where Clark appeared after an interview with Labour minister Michael Wood.

The most hard hitting questions available to be asked were not asked. At this point, the failure to raise the very serious issues related to Clark’s past is glaring and an intentional policy. As I demonstrated, there is evidence of many members of the pubic being aware of and asking these questions on social media themselves, and posting evidence that seems to corroborate their claims.

Kit Slater said...

I’m afraid, Karl, you’re a victim of the Left’s seditious moral malignancy of ‘no enemies to the Left and racists to the Right’. This is an advance on the Russian revolutionary Kerensky’s maxim which empowered the Bolsheviks. It’s now reduced to a tiny lexis of squawks of Energiser Parrots, demonstrating the bigotry of limited perspectives. It’s an act of what de Tocqueville called ‘coercive conformity’ which seems to work well in the Long March of k-12 through to tertiary education, and is now, according to Jonathan Rauch, at least three times more effective than during the McCarthy era.

Paul Peters said...

In response to David Heaton, Stuff continues the heroic Byron exposes bad people (merely acknowledging him as a ''historian of the Left'' ) with no delving into his background. I am sure they know it but , hey, he's a good guy . To be clear, I am not suggesting there are no extremist nutters (both sides?) out there , nor am I siding with them. But the persistent message and theme via Stuff (not alone) is clear _ if you are no on board with the correct narrative on all things, from vax to race, and ask questions, then you are in the ''Far Right'' camp or a dupe thereof . Stay safe, stay good, vote Labour-Green-''Maori'' Party

Paul Peters said...

Response to David Heaton, the latest article is today Feb 15 headed Conspiracies and the climate of fear: Researcher Byron C Clark on the alt-right by
Philip Matthews

David Heaton said...

Dear Paul

I have purchased the Byron Clark book. On pages 298-299, Clark quietly addresses the accusation that he was a terrorist fundraiser:

"in the aftermath of [the Tuhoe police raids] there was widespread distrust of the state and its counter-terrorism powers, which had been utilised against tino rangatiratanga activists and others on the political left. Some wanted to challenge the state and its monopoly on the idea of who is a terrorist. A decision was made to raise money for a militant group in occupied Palestine. As a young man I believed, incorrectly, that this group had put down their weapons and joined the peaceful political process, like the ANC in South Africa or Sinn Fein in Ireland. As far as I'm aware, not only did the Palestinian group never actually receive any money but also the New Zealand state never attempted to challenge the fundraiser, making the whole exercise futile. This hasn't stopped members of New Zealand's far-right, who found an advertisment for the fundraiser in the group's magazine The Spark (specifically, in the first issue that I edited), claiming that I give money to terrorists."

This passage occurs between two others that concern mistakes made in youth.

I find this cowardly playing down of terrorist fundraising abhorrent considering the rest of the book is a diatribe against so-called "extremists" who have for the most part been foolish enough to have a few beers and make YouTube videos of themselves being angry and rude.