Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Why journalists' credibility is declining (No. 137 in a series)

In the past few months I’ve got into the habit of watching the Prime TV news at 5.30pm.

The timing is a bit inconvenient, but that’s greatly offset by the benefits. Eric Young has a very agreeable newsreading style, by which I mean he just sits at a desk and reads the news. There’s never any pretence of Walter Cronkite-style moral authority and no cues to viewers as to how they should respond emotionally to what’s on screen.

The bulletin is only 30 minutes long but that’s enough to cover the essentials. In fact the shorter duration is an advantage because it forces Prime to stick to the basics. It’s a no-frills, straight-down-the-middle bulletin that avoids the editorial posturing and embroidery common on the other channels; this, despite the fact that it uses some of the same reporters as Newshub.

Last night I was reminded what a blessed relief it has been to watch Prime. An important phone call meant I missed the 5.30 bulletin, so I took a deep breath and tuned into Newshub at 6pm.

I didn’t last long. I turned off after about a minute, but only after shouting a profanity at the TV set. I’m not sure what that was supposed to achieve.

The lead item – the event that Newshub’s editors selected as the most significant news of the day – concerned a low-profile Opposition MP who had expressed scepticism about the role of human-induced climate change in Cyclone Gabrielle.

So after 10 days or so when the New Zealand media had a real and vital story on their hands – a dramatic story about life, death and devastation on a massive scale (which, to the media’s credit, they generally handled admirably) – we were jolted back to normality with a mischievous sideshow.

Newshub was back to its default setting of political scalp-hunting, contriving to whip up a storm out of an injudicious comment from a relatively minor player whose chief failings appear to be that she’s honest and politically not very astute. It was a reminder of all I despise about television journalism.

The item should have been headlined News Flash: MP says what she thinks. This, of course, is the worst possible thing a politician can do, especially when media assassins are constantly lurking with their daggers poised.

Maureen Pugh’s statement of scepticism about climate change was seized on not because she’s an important figure in the party (far from it; although she’s National’s junior whip, she has retained her seat in Parliament by the skin of her teeth), but because her gaffe presented an opportunity to portray National as at odds with itself over a cause that the media push with totalitarian fervour.

Even watching the opening moments of the item last night, I could see political editor Jenna Lynch’s fingerprints all over it. When I held my nose and viewed it in full later, I confirmed that it bore all her usual trademarks. These included ambushing senior National MPs and demanding to know whether they shared Pugh’s scepticism – the purpose being to see them squirm – then going to government ministers and effectively inviting them to denounce her.  

I guess this is Newshub’s idea of balanced journalism. After all, both Labour and National had their say.

Predictably, Pugh’s colleagues from Christopher Luxon down scuttled for cover. I didn’t hear any of them defend her right to express a dissenting view. A sensible response would have been that National is a broad-church party, open to a variety of ideas and able to cope with minority opinions. But no: deviation from the party line is not permitted and will be punished – in this case, by Luxon giving Pugh some books and ordering her to read them. Does he not realise he risks losing more votes than he wins by throwing her under the bus? It serves only to gratify the witch-hunters in the media and enhance their sense of power.

As is so often the case, the Newshub item was infused with a moralistic tone. Lynch went so far as to imply that to deny the effects of climate change was to betray the thousands of people struggling with the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle. Brazen emotional manipulation is another part of her tool kit.

But she was able to adopt a gloating note at the end when she reported that a suitably chastened Pugh had “walked back” her comments. Job done, then; another scalp to hang on the belt. Journalists always win because they control the rules of the game.

Of course Newshub wasn’t the only media outlet to engage in the pile-on. The  sanctimonious Marc Daalder of Newsroom was in on it too, demonising Pugh as a denier, accusing her of callous disregard for flood victims (as Lynch did) and – get this – saying she should be disqualified from holding office. This from a journalist who has been in New Zealand for roughly five minutes.

Much as he might hate the thought, Pugh has a legitimacy Daalder will never possess. She’s at least answerable to voters, even if only indirectly via our cockeyed electoral system. Daalder, on the other hand, is accountable to no one other than his employers. I’ll take a wild guess and say there would be more sympathy for Pugh on the West Coast, where she comes from, than for the opinions of a privileged product of the American university system.

And even if they don’t specifically agree with her on climate change, I believe most New Zealanders would support Pugh’s right to express a non-conformist opinion. There has to be space in the political eco-system for mavericks. A parliament full of woke-friendly nodding heads, which would be the ultimate result if activist journalists succeeded in eliminating the ideologically non-compliant, would be a travesty of democracy.  

Am I saying these journalists are biased against National? Not necessarily. While overwhelmingly left-leaning, they are indiscriminate predators who, like hyenas, will instinctively seek out those they perceive to be weak and vulnerable. At the moment this means National, but there’s nothing to say that in a couple of years it won’t be the other side’s turn.

Journalism took a fatal wrong turn when it confused itself with activism and assumed the right to hector the public with ideological lectures, often tinged with an ugly spirit of authoritarianism. Journalists are not our moral guardians, and until they grasp that fact their credibility will continue to decline.

Meanwhile, I’ll be back to Prime at 5.30 this afternoon.




Ken S said...

It is fair to say that Maureen Pugh did not cover herself in glory. However Lux0n"s performance was nothing short of abysmal in that he made no attempt whatsoever to show some support for a colleague when, as you pointed out Karl, a perfectly valid defence was available. This episode is just further proof that Luxon and Nicola Willis are totally inept and unfit for purpose.

JeffW said...

You’re too kind. The vast majority of the MSM in NZ display huge left-wing bias.

Anonymous said...

The other thing I noticed was that Maureen quite clearly said that she believed that the climate was changing but was not clear on whether the cause was man. Most of the News Hub bulletin left that bit out and indicated that she was in fact a climate change denier. That is typical of the non-factual spin that we see more often from journo's.

In the bulletin James Shaw refused to provide access to any documentation that would have been a response to Maureen's concern.

The article should have been (in mirth) "{Climate Minister refused to show any proof of man-made Climate Change"

Karl du Fresne said...

Funny, I could have sworn I said the NZ media were overwhelmingly left-leaning.

Alex said...

We can only wonder of the content of the Luxon/Willis Emergency Climate Enlightenment Programme that poor Mrs Pugh underwent.

Then again , after an hour listening to those two banging on about their own political futures in a blind panic, anyone would agree with them just to get out of the room.

Luxon should have backed her and her right to request evidence, and put the onus back on James Shaw to provide it.
Shaw considers such requests as beneath him. That type of arrogance isn't helpful to the rest of us who would like to learn.
Apparently , curiosity is now unacceptable .

Huskynut said...


Huskynut said...

A Stuff article in the last week reported 58000 Olympic swimming pools worth of water going into the pacific atmosphere from the Tongan volcano eruption.
The Auckland deluge was 50% bigger than any previous. Though no causal relationship has had time to be been established, the proximity of this to the eruption says the likelihood is that it (probably massively) contributed to the deluge.
Only zealots play "either/or" rather than relative contribution.

Zoroforever said...

Reminds me of a certain cultural revolution in a certain Asian country in the last century...I'm surprised Lynch didn't provide the dunces hat

Ben Waimata said...

I am a farmer in HB. I was lucky this time to escape serious damage, but we got hammered by a big storm (localised to the coast) in 2011 that dropped 750mm and caused huge damage. Before that the 1988 Cyclone Bola was devastating. I don't remember the 1974 flood, but it was bad. And before my time the 1959 flood caused slips we can still see today. Then there was the big storm in the mid 1940's, the 1938 flood, etc etc. You could almost think that these events are not 'unprecedented', '1 in 250 years', or 'never occurred before' events after all.

I agree with Maureen, I would like to see some science proving conclusively that weather events are caused primarily by human activity. My humble brain looks at the world and weather systems and sees complexity far beyond my ability to comprehend it, and it is easy for me to suspect our weather computer models may not be 100% perfect yet. The fact that our weather experts seem incapable of accurately predicting weather 2 days out suggests to me that viewing their weather predictions for decades to come with some open-mindedness may be prudent.

Unknown said...

I once asked a prominent Greens MP how much CO2 was in the atmosphere. She told me after some thought that about 50 per cent of the atmosphere was CO2.

The fact is that CO2 makes up four parts in a million of the atmosphere.

Of that four parts in a million, only one-sixth is man-made.

Climate is 'chaotic,' according to Einstein.

To think that the main driver of this chaos is one-sixth of four parts in a million of a gas that is the growth-driver is the main driver of our climate is fanciful.

All the climate predictions based on this notion have failed to materialise.

Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the UN Environment Program, was reported by the Associated Press June 30, 1989 as making this fearless prediction: Entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.

There are literally hundreds of similar fearless 'end is nigh' climate change predictions like this, mainly from people who are not climate scientists, which have never eventuated.

Twenty-two years on flat-earth climate catastrophists like Noel Brown, are still making fearless predictions that might come to pass in a billion or so years time.

Journalists who insist on everyone bowing a knee to the Catastrophic Climate Change 'consensus' need to understand that consensus is a political construct.

The correct scientific construct is 'scepticism.'

Most of the leading climate scientists including Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen, Michael Schellenberger, and President Obama's climate adviser Steve Koonin (in his book 'Unsettled') insist that there is no looming climate catastrophe.

Finally, everyone with an interest in the scientific method needs to study the Piltdown Man hoax, a scientific hoax propped up for more than 50 years by the leading scientists to provide further evidence of Dawrwinism.

- Socrates

Doug Longmire said...

Unknown has made those points very well, and I can add that almost ALL of the apocalyptic predictions made by the IPCC have NOT actually happened:-

1/ No 50 million climate refugees by 2010, as they forecast in 2005. Zero, in fact.
2/ No increase in rate of sea level rising.
3/ Artic Ice is still there, and not melting away
3/ Antarctic Ice is actually growing.
4/ Extreme weather events, world-wide are NOT increasing.
5/ Forest fires, world-wide, are not increasing.
6/ Yes - the planet is slowly warming, in fits and starts, as it emerges from the Little Ice Age of 300 years ago, when the river Thames and the English Channel froze over.

Maureen Pugh was quite reasonably asking for scientific data/proof that the gradual warming of the planet (as it emerges from the Little Ice Age) is caused by humans.
This is not a "denier". The words "climate change denier" are used as a spit-venom insult.

Sorry Mr Luxon you have lost my vote !!!

Unknown said...

Thank you Karl and thank you Ben.

Catriona Kynoch

Odysseus said...

Thanks for once again taking one for the team Karl, in our household we have for some time undertaken a boycott of both TV One and 3 News to bring them to their knees (every long journey begins with a single step). In fact the very sound of the shrieking harpies who purvey the grossly distorted Woke fodder than passes for news on these channels brings on a serious allergic reaction.

As to the substance, Luxon and Wills' credibility has suffered a self-inflicted king hit from this sorry little episode. If National can no longer tolerate differences of view on controversial scientific matters like climate change then they are not fit to govern in a liberal democracy.

As it happens Australian meteorologists had predicted last October the Tongan eruption would have a profound effect on the region's weather this summer by making us more vulnerable to moist tropical airflows, through compounding the effects of La Nina and a positive Southern Annular Mode. You can read about it and watch a useful clip here:

NIWA has recently announced it will be undertaking a study of the eruption's effect on our weather in the wake of the Auckland flooding and the cyclone, does that make them "climate deniers" too?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Karl. Well said. I have not watched TV 1 or 3 since beginning of Covid.
It is appalling the way so called journalists have used this cyclone against 'us'. According to their foolish thinking we in NZ are guilty of causing this storm, a storm that formed hundreds if not thousands of miles away in the tropics.
What should be investigated is why lessons learned from cyclone Bola were not put into action (Ask the Mayor Wairoa). Also, many houses in Gisborne and district have flooded multiple times as they are built very near rivers known to flood.
As for National and Luxon....words fail... just pathetic. Luxon just seems a coward or lacking in intellect.

Doug Longmire said...

And Thanks again Karl for highlighting the despicably biased "reporting" by the media.

Eamon Sloan said...

I have lived in Wellington and its surrounds for mumble mumble years. The climate has changed, but certain patterns remain - such as wintertime southerlies lasting three days plus the equinoxial northerly gales. Where we live now had noticeable frosts which over time have diminished to a simple covering of dew. The southerlies, still three days, seem not to be as cold and strong.

I am more of a climate debater and questioner. My point is basically that if the science was that good it would separate out the effects of natural long term cycles from theoretical man-made causes. I take the point that by simply existing, humanity does have some, some, influence on climate. As yet unproven.

Applause for National MP Maureen Pugh for endeavouring to move the debate to another level. She fell victim to the great Kiwi Clobbering Machine. Some readers might have forgotten about the machine and its origins.

The world’s major effort should be going into securing ways of living with the change – that is firstly living spaces, food security and communications. Rather than an effort to prove a weather forecast for the universe.

Is New Zealand’s current rainy La Nina cycle balanced out by the drought in France and Italy? France has been in drought for 32 days. The canals in Venice are running almost totally dry as of now.

The above might be away from the topic of news presentations. A quick note on news watching. I record both TV1 and TV3 to view later. That allows me the luxury of fast forwarding through the ads and trivia items. Is TV1 and TV3 news a luxury? I refuse to watch TV1’s Seven Sharp (aka Seven Slop) or TV3’s Project (Reject).

Gary Peters said...

An interesting read from a scientific point of view if anyone can be bothered.

Karl I think the point was a "HUGE" left leaning bias and I would take it further and claim that many senior people within the msm see it as their scred duty to estroy anyone "stupid" enough to join their little club.

<|Many years ago a good friend of mine and his wife fell into the hare krishna movement. He was completely mystified as to why I wasn't instantly converted and joining the movement.

At least, unlike "true" lefties, he didn't turn feral but I see the same level of confusion among those left wing reporters today. The greta mantra .. "How dare you".

Anonymous said...

Further to this issue of CO2 being the driver of Catastrophic Climate Change, Maureen Pugh MP needs to point out that this error was one of the nine major mistakes of fact concocted by Al Gore in his Nobel Peace Prize science fiction global warming film, 'An Inconvenient Truth.'

Error 4 alleged by High Court Judge Michael Burton states is that: 'There is a direct coincidence between the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the rise in temperature over the last 650,000 years.'

The Judge pointed out that the two graphs Gore used to establish this 'coincidence' were actually misused.

Gore showed a graph of climate warming over 65,000 years and superimposed on this graph another graph showing increases of CO2 in the atmosphere. The two graphs were in sync.

The problem with this was that the CO2 graph represented warming taking place hundreds of years AFTER the warming.

The climate science is that CO2 increase follows warming.

It is fake science to insist that catastrophic global warming is caused by increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

Maureen Pugh MP needs to take the journalists attacking her on her scientifically valid scepticism about the flat-earth Climate Catastrophe Theory to the NZ equivalent of a Press Council for a similar judgment that Justice Michael Burton delivered against Al Gore on 12 February 2009.

Karl du Fresne said...

I'm sorry to say this, but I don't think she could be entirely confident of a fair and impartial ruling from the Media Council (as it's now called).

Paul Corrigan said...

Morning, Karl:

I can applaud your preference for Prime's 5.30pm bulletin. I used to watch it years ago but then the household discovered The Chase.

I watch very little TV news now. I didn't see what was done to Maureen Pugh. I came on it only after hearing about in on the radio.

It was disturbing what the hacks did to her. It amounted to sanctimonious bullying. No-one is allowed to deviate from or question The Orthodoxy.

Those who do have to be hammered back into their place.

Even more disturbing was the craven throwing her under the bus by Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis.

I believe you would be correct about support for Mrs Pugh's views. Many people, it seems to me, don't believe the crock about climate change but that it is easier to go along with it because, well ... it's easier.

I barely read the offerings of Stuff. It still puzzles me how they think that what they do is 'journalism'. Well, journalism as I used to understand it.

I pick and choose what I read from The New Zealand Herald. I pay $20 a month, and I often wonder if is worth it.

I have a high regard for Heather du Plessis-Allan. She at least is not afraid to tackle politicians.

- Paul Corrigan

Hiko said...

Man made Climate change is a religion
Like Maureen I would like to see some unbiased evidence.
Luxon showed himself up yet again
If he has proper definitive evidence he should point us all to it
as many of us we would like to see it. Cmon Chris lets have it

Ben Thomas said...

It is interesting that there is a certain left wing blog (and there are probably others) that regards the media as neoconservative right wing devils. Mrs Corbyn, some years ago announced that she would no longer be subscribing to The Guardian as it was 'too right wing'. For that matter there is a blog that regards Seymour/ACT as 'left of centre'.

Perception is everything. It is fashionable to describe anyone with opinions that do not match one’s own as extreme something or other (and you have I believe experienced this). In my many years of reading newspapers and listening to radio/TV news I recall their being accused of political bias. These days I let the uproar wash over me. I read and listen as much as possible and try to form my own opinion regardless of some editor telling me 'what I should think'. And as I recall, the person making that comment would have been regarded as an 'old school journalist'.

Anonymous said...

All one need know here is that the earth has been far warmer and far colder over many thousands of years.

For much of this period, humans didn't exist at all. Once humans appeared, almost all of these temperature fluctuations have occurred where human numbers were negligible; and where there was no industrial activity or fossil fuel burning.

Even an ant farting has some environmental impact.

So does human activity.

That part cannot be disputed.

But to suggest that human activity is catastrophically affecting the planet is at best hubris, at worst, deliberate intellectual dishonesty deployed to further erode national sovereignty by turning responsibility for environmental matters over to the unelected One Worlders of the UN and WEF.

The perjorative "Climate Denier" is nothing more than argumentum ad homininem.

For the benefit of low watt bulbs that means playing the man, not the ball.

The go-to tactic of people unable to put up a solid counter-argument against an intellectually better-resourced opponent.

"Clinate Denier" reveals what marketers call "the bracket technique." This means linking the person you want to smear with people whose external characteristics inspire loathing and disgust in third parties.

The enlightened thought bubble is meant to register "Holocaust Denier," which links the Clinate Sceptic with a discredited minority of historians [sic] who wave away the huge body of evidence that the Nazis conducted a mass-scale state-sponsored extermination program against Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, mental defectives, and the disabled.

Since nobody wants to be linked to something as disreputable as "Holocaust Denial," the label "Climate Denier" has a chilling effect on debate, exactly what is intended by those deploying the slur.

Andy Espersen said...

As I read Karl's post, his main objection is not to argue whether climate change is occurring or not - nor whether humans are causing it or not.

But Luxon's silly (and undemocratic) demanding that all members of his caucus must not have different opinions on various important, topical issues is the crux of the matter.

Luxon is the obvious loser in this controversy. Here is hoping that Maureen Pugh will show her mettle as a politician by openly standing up to him - forcefully reject his bullying - openly repeat her quite reasonable opinions on the issue in Parliament or in the media - perhaps even resign from the National Party because of Luxon's demeaning treatment of her. At the age of 65 she is a late-comer to Parliament. She now stands a chance of really making her mark in New Zealand politics. If she plays her cards well, her name will reverberate throughout NZ history.

But if she meekly knuckles under, "duly chastened by Luxon" (as one media report put it), she will never be remembered.

Simon Arnold said...

Just on the specific issue of whether a series of extreme weather events are exaggerated because there has been human GHGs added to the atmosphere, demonstrating this is very hard.

It is worth pausing for a minute and asking what would you regard as acceptable proof? The problem is these are very complex systems with multiple possible events that might cause an outcome and they are very rare within our well measured experience so you have very little data to go on.

The answer typically adopted is to do experiments in model world, but that leaves one asking about their general capability particularly when downscaled to regional events.

I'd therefore be in the camp of wanting to see the basis of claims around Gabrielle, and the error estimates.

Roger Armstrong said...

No one seems to have noticed that our Christian prime minister wants to educate one of his ministers as to “the science” while, if he is true to his faith, believing the earth/universe was created in six days, the moon I believe on the fourth. I find a lot to admire in Christianity but they are on shaky ground when they start lecturing others about scientific evidence.

Luxton was never going to get my vote, but this showed him to have appalling judgement.

Anonymous said...

Not that I saw the 'hunt' of Pugh, but it sounds a bit like that media question that went around the National Party some time back about "whether colonisation was good for Maori." I still remember the look of dismay on Collins' and most of her colleagues faces at being asked such a 'patently preposterous/distasteful' question while just one (Paul Goldsmith from memory) had the audacity (correct in my view) to think otherwise - clearly being portrayed as being against the 'approved' Govt/media narrative.

And just an observation - there is perhaps a good reason why places like the Esk Valley are so fertile?

One thing is for sure - us all getting on our bicycles will not make one jot of difference to our climate. Resilience is what we (here in NZ) should be concentrating on and, naturally, seeking to get the big international emitters to cut back.

R Arlidge

Michael S said...

Journalists should have an inquisitive mind and be open to differing views, which is the sign of a healthy society. Science and data shows us:

Global temperature rises since 1998 have virtually stagnated. (source: Dr Roy Spencer from Uni of Alabama, Huntsville, who supply global temperatures to the IPCC). That’s why their catch-cry has changed from “global warming” to “climate change”. Alarmists had egg on their face.

Low-lying atolls in the Pacific and Indian Oceans aren’t being swallowed by rising seas (source: Professor Paul Kench, Auckland Uni: Swedish marine scientist, Nils-Axel Morner)

Sea levels are barely moving, although sea levels vary globally (some sources: NOAA; Fort Denison, Sydney Harbour)

Cyclones/Hurricanes FREQUENCIES are decreasing (source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology; NOAA; Colorado State Uni; Uni of Alabama Huntsville)

Cyclone INTENSITIES are stable or decreasing (source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology)

Number of deaths from weather-related events are in free-fall (source Bjorn Lomborg). This also indicates humankind’s ingenuity to adapt to changing environments, so we shouldn’t overly concern ourselves when climate changes somewhat.

Crop harvests often break new records – crop production would be a greater concern if we were approaching an Ice Age.

Natural disaster frequencies – flood, bushfire, heatwave, landslide, storm, cyclone – NO upward trend (source: Macquarie Uni,Sydney)

Great Barrier Reef - coral growth is the greatest ever recorded in 2021 and 2022 (source: Australian Institute of Marine Sciences)

Phytoplankton – a recent discovery that benzene and toluene gas over the vast Southern Ocean were not man-made pollutants after all, but were made by phytoplankton – which seeds clouds – which changes the weather. Climate models didn’t factor this in, because they didn’t know.

Lack of trust in temperature collation – temperatures are being “manufactured” rather than “recorded” to maintain the so-called "warming”. Eg. Rounding temps the wrong way, historical temp downward adjustments to produce an upward graph, methodology of temp recording, hiding the hottest historical temp in Australia, removing the coldest weather station in Australia from graphs. The example are too numerous to put in this blog – UK, Australia. Australian scientist Jennifer Marohasy (amongst others) have frequently sought answers from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and answers have been difficult to obtain. What are they hiding?

At Sydney’s Observatory Hill where temperatures are recorded, this year a solar panel was placed on the grass right next to the Stevenson screen housing the thermometer reflecting the warm afternoon sun. When questioned about this, the solar panel was hastily removed. “Manufacturing” the temperatures rather than “recording”.

These are just a few points. There is much more.

Lefty journalists should do some proper research and stop embarrassing their profession. There actually are two sides to this debate, and the alarmist narrative doesn't resonate with me... at all.

David McLoughlin said...

The enlightened thought bubble is meant to register "Holocaust Denier," which links the Clinate Sceptic with a discredited minority of historians [sic] who wave away the huge body of evidence that the Nazis conducted a mass-scale state-sponsored extermination program against Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, mental defectives, and the disabled.

For me, the big irony in this attempt to weaponise the word "denier" by linking opponents with the Nazis, is that many of the people who do this don't much like Jews either, to judge by their coded attacks on "Zionists" and "Israel."

Odysseus said...

Michael S: great stuff, there are also many scientists who dispute the man-made climate catastrophe scam, eg Ian Plimer ("Heaven and Earth", "Green Murder"), Judith Curry ("Climate Uncertainty and Risk"), Stephen Koonin ("Unsettled"), Javier Vinos ("Climate of the Past, Present and Future"), Michael Shellenberger ("Apocalypse Never"), Andrew Urban ("Climate Alarm Reality Check:What You Haven't Been Told"), to name a few. Perhaps Luxon could add these to his approved reading-list, but somehow I doubt he ever would.

Steve said...

Thanks Michael S. Thats a seriously informative & a great post.

The morons at the MSM will look the other way though as they have far more important tosh to report on.

Like the renaming of EQC with a new maori-wonderfullness name…….

Hugh Jorgan said...

Karl, I urge you and your readers (if you haven't already) to read The Parasitic Mind by Gad Saad. It reads like a Ben Elton satire; the truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction.

Hilary Taylor said...

Excellent column & comments. It's all been said & like you we've switched to Prime 5.30 round-up. On Sean Plunkett's twitter advice we watched a delayed TV1 news the other night for post-cyclone news. For ages now I've wished for a recurring short bulletin that's updated with the latest. I'm past the massaged 6pm hour that has longer ad segments the further into the hour you get. Covid's wot done me in.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article, and I totally agree. I can't watch TV1 or TV3 news for fear of throwing up. Journalists working for the msm seem to have the maturity of a teenager, but still caught up in their torture emotions. I'd love to know what they get paid, and at best they would be worth half of that. I remember bumping into one a few months ago working for the BOP Times, and she didn't know who the CDC was, at the height of the Covid scare. Complete and utter muppets would be a generous assessment of them.

Karl du Fresne said...

On paper, the current generation of journalists would be the best educated in history. Bizarrely, they may also be the most ignorant. I don't blame them for this, because they're at the mercy of a dumbed-down and highly politicised education system. But it's important that they realise how little they know. Unfortunately, there's very little sign that they do.

ihcpcoro said...

We are all aware that climate change cycles have existed forever. 'Denier' is just another cheap, meaningless phrase to achieve dramatic impact such as 'anti-vaxxer', 'racist' etc. Maureen Pugh's written question to Shaw was simple, but will always remain unanswered. Luxon's treatment of her appalling, and many, many votes lost from traditional blue voters with his inept, tactless and worrying response. For my money, it would make as much sense to have a Minister for Wind as a Minister for Climate Change.

ihcpcoro said...

Karl, you comment about our best educated journalists in history reminds me of a Spike Milligan quip - 'she could speak 5 languages fluently, and not say anything intelligent in any of them'.

ihcpcoro said...

For a person with a publicly stated stance on abortion, it is somewhat hypocritical for Luxon to not tolerate views within his party that deviate from 'the mainstream'. Extremely concerning.

Hilary Taylor said...

Eamon Sloan...yes! The Great NZ Clobbering Machine...please remind us of the origin of that..?
So many great points raised here, the abortion one not least.

Unknown said...

Anonymous at February 23, 2023 at 5:41 PM said:

"The pejorative "Climate Denier" is nothing more than argumentum ad homininem ... The go-to tactic of people unable to put up a solid counter-argument against an intellectually better-resourced opponent."

They then go on to say:

""Climate Denier" reveals what marketers call "the bracket technique." This means linking the person you want to smear with people whose external characteristics inspire loathing and disgust in third parties. The enlightened thought bubble is meant to register "Holocaust Denier," which links the Climate Sceptic with a discredited minority of historians..."

I think that you fail to go just one step further and see what is staring you directly in the face, which is that the idea "Holocaust denier" itself is used in exactly the same way (and is the model for) as the use of the term "climate denier" as a means of dismissing and avoiding making a case – that is, it is an ad hominem that substitutes for an actual argument.

OK, so many people claim there was a program of state-sponsored and systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe. Fine. Why then are they so terrified of anyone questioning this proposition? Like climate change, if it is a certitude, then I really cannot see the need to go to such great lengths to avoid any investigation and contention.

Karl du Fresne said...

Anonymous (and I think I see why you choose not to identify yourself),
Please clarify: are you actually suggesting the Holocaust didn't happen, or are you indulging in some cute intellectual sport?

Kerry said...

I cannot but help draw parallel's with what's happening in NZ to other instances of history where the press aided and abetted totalitarian regimes.

"There is yet another surprise for someone coming from the East, where the press is rigorously unified. One gradually discovers a common trend of preferences within the Western press as a whole. It is a fashion; there are generally accepted patterns of judgment; there may be common corporate interests, the sum effect being not competition but unification. Enormous freedom exists for the press, but not for the readership because newspaper[s] mostly develop stress and emphasis to those opinions which do not too openly contradict their own and the general trend.
"Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day. There is no open violence such as in the East; however, a selection dictated by fashion and the need to match mass standards frequently prevent independent-minded people giving their contribution to public life. There is a dangerous tendency to flock together and shut off successful development. I have received letters in America from highly intelligent persons, maybe a teacher in a faraway small college who could do much for the renewal and salvation of his country, but his country cannot hear him because the media are not interested in him. This gives birth to strong mass prejudices, to blindness, which is most dangerous in our dynamic era. There is, for instance, a self-deluding interpretation of the contemporary world situation. It works as a sort of a petrified armour around people's minds. Human voices from 17 countries of Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia cannot pierce it. It will only be broken by the pitiless crowbar of events."-Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

Consider the above in the light of the following two comments. One from a promoter of this unwritten law of the press in order to manipulate people's views, and another from an observer like Solzhenhitsyn:

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.” Naom Chomsky

Frederick Williscroft said...

I note that there is a trend developing these days (as evidenced in some of the comments on this post) where people say I'm voting/not voting for Luxton, Ardern, Collins ,Bridges, Key etc.
Unless you live in their electorates then you will not see those names on a ballot paper. What happened to the day when you voted for the party whose policies you thought were best for you and the country, the team best able to implement these (the potential minister of finance is almost as important as who will be PM) and obviously who will be leader is important but it shouldn't be the only factor in deciding who gets your vote.
It seems that many people vote simply on which leader looks best in a 30 second sound bites on TV. How facile! I am fairly certain that if Luxon can run an international airline with thousands of employees then he can run an effective parliamentary team.

Anonymous said...

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ihcpcoro said...

The Lynch Mob at it again.