Friday, March 17, 2023

On the ritual humiliation of the radio hosts Leah Panapa and Miles Davis

What a despicable outfit MediaWorks is. It’s beyond contempt.

Two of its TodayFM talkback hosts, Leah Panapa and Miles Davis, have been bullied by their bosses into apologising for doing what people in talkback radio are supposedly employed to do – namely, say what they think.

In an on-air discussion last week, Panapa and Davis apparently made mocking comments about the prevailing pronoun hysteria and ridiculed the phrase “pregnant people”.

Panapa reportedly commented “It’s pregnant women, not people” and urged listeners: “don’t buy into this bullshit”. Cruel, hateful stuff, as anyone can see.

According to Stuff’s account, Davis agreed and said he and Panapa were like suicide bombers who would have to sacrifice themselves to make a point.

Trouble was, they didn’t sacrifice themselves. On the contrary, they capitulated almost immediately to pressure from the furious enforcers of work orthodoxy. The ignominious ritual apology came the following day.

Worse still was the even more abject ritual humiliation of agreeing to attend a re-education course – or to be precise, something called Rainbow Tick training, which supposedly demonstrates that companies are diverse and inclusive.

Pol Pot was very fond of re-education courses. Just saying.

Someone named Martin King, director of the rainbow excellence awards (reminder to self: must enter them next year) described the exchange between Panapa and Davis as toxic, inappropriate and shocking, condescendingly adding that the two broadcasters would greatly benefit from potty training (my term, not King’s). How sad that flogging and the stocks are no longer an option.  

“Toxic” and “inappropriate” are words that the wokeists have stripped of all meaning, but obviously MediaWorks’ director of news and talk, Dallas Gurney – a careerist too young to have heard of Pol Pot – concurred with King. “Once Leah and Miles were made aware of the impact of what they said, they were devastated about those they have hurt,” Gurney was quoted as saying. More nauseating condescension.

As Steven Cowan has pointed out on his blog, Gurney hasn’t explained exactly who was hurt, or how. We’re just supposed to take his word for it.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of this is the unconditional surrender by the two broadcasters. Panapa is reported as saying their comments were “inexcusable, inappropriate and deeply offensive”, and apologised for any distress they may have caused. Standard wording, straight from the HR department.

But hang on. Which Leah Panapa are we to believe: the one who rightly ridiculed the nonsensical expression “pregnant person” or the one who, only a day later, said her remarks were deeply offensive? Assuming that most people don’t suddenly change their minds so completely, which of the two Leah Panapas was saying what she truly thought?

For his part, Davis said the comments came from “a place of ignorance rather than malice” and added, “We are sorry – we’re better than this.” If that’s not a grovelling climb-down, I don’t know what is.

I’m not familiar with Leah Panapa as a broadcaster but I’ve often enjoyed Davis on NewstalkZB, his former station. His speciality seems to be cheeky banter with callers. With his signature Cockney accent (which he exploits to the hilt), he portrays himself as a Jack the Lad. But we now know that when push comes to shove, Davis will quietly fold. It seems his bravado is just that: bravado.

I’m reluctant to condemn people too harshly for doing whatever they have to do to save their jobs. They may have mouths to feed and mortgages to pay. I’m always conscious that as an independent blogger with a guaranteed income from national super, I’m in the very privileged position of not having to answer to a cowardly employer.

Nonetheless, it has to be said that if everyone cravenly backed down as Panapa and Davis did, freedom of speech would be even more imperilled than it is already. If you say something, you should be prepared to stand up for it.

As it is, the enemies of free speech have triumphed once again – game, set and match. The message is clear to anyone brave or reckless enough to speak their mind. But we should have no doubt who the real villains are here, and they are not the hapless talk show hosts. Panapa and Davis are merely bit players.

No, public wrath should be directed squarely at MediaWorks and the totalitarian zealots who have succeeded, despite representing only a tiny, demented fragment of the population, in so intimidating the corporate world that broadcasters are punished not even for expressing controversial opinions (although that should be their right), but for affirming incontrovertible biological facts, such as that only women can get pregnant. 

As recently as a few years ago, this entire preposterous scenario would have read like something from a futuristic, dystopian satire. Now it's happening. The irony is that 99-point-something percent of TodayFM’s dwindling audience would have regarded the statements by Panapa and Davis as not only harmless but unremarkable. 

MediaWorks doesn’t deserve the privilege of operating in a free and open society. It enjoys the rights and benefits of freedom while at the same time insidiously subverting them.

It should be noted that the company has previous form. It was MediaWorks that ditched John Banks and Sean Plunket for offences against wokedom, and where Peter Williams quit – I suspect because he was no longer considered a good “fit” for the station, being in his late 60s and of a conservative disposition.

Oh, and one other thing. How do the other TodayFM broadcasters – Tova O’Brien, Duncan Garner, Lloyd Burr, Rachel Smalley and Polly Gillespie – feel about their colleagues’ humiliation? Had they all stood together in solidarity, MediaWorks might have had second thoughts about throwing Panapa and Davis to the wolves. But they didn’t. Shame on them.

The picture isn’t entirely bleak, however. Martyn Bradbury reported in December that TodayFM’s ratings had slumped to a record low. The MediaWorks CEO who got rid of Banks and Plunket scarpered last month and has returned to the airline business from whence he came. Good riddance, I say.

Perhaps the best possible outcome is that MediaWorks will continue on its present course and in the process, commit slow-motion hara-kiri. No one will miss it.




EP said...

I could happily report that I haven't listened to any public media for two years - except that I don't think I have any friends now - my choice. Went to dinner with several old friends a month ago and find to my absolute dismay that they seem a bit woke! And I to my shame failed to challenge them because it would not have been 'friendly'. God help us.

Gary Peters said...

Anthropogenic climate change, vax deniers, baby bearing men, men hideously parodying women, men declaring themselves to be women destroying women's sporting achievements, encouraging vulnerable children to question their obvious gender and offering "remedial treatments" without parental consent ..... All sacred cows to the enlightened ones.

What a bloody sad world the left are forcing us to accept so they can sleep easy at night.

Look at the "objectives" for primary school teachers to impart to their charges, "unlearn racism" and a rehash of distorted local maori history to a level of 20% of school teaching time. Looks like another generation of limited thinking labour voters coming through.

and in case you missed it

Rob said...

And this goes to why Chris Hipkin's policy bonfire is just an illusion. The political left, the mainstream media, the big corporates and academia are all pushing the same critical social justice agenda. The woke to bloke stuff is nothing more than an election year sedative for the masses.

R Singers said...

My two worst employers both had the rainbow tick. It's cheaper than being a good employer. Unfortunately I still pay them money for various products. Something that I hope to remedy soon when i'm not under the fear of break fees.

Trev1 said...

I'm glad to hear Mediaworks are failing, despite the PIJF money they received for Tova's show. As consumers we must boycott them, and look forward to the day they enter liquidation.

Anonymous said...

I agree entirely with your comments Karl, especially apropos the shame the two's colleagues not standing in unison and support. How sad at the purported peak of civilisation we've now stooped to this ridiculous nonsense where the crazy ideas of the few dictate to the sensible but complacent many. Mediaworks deserve our contempt, and they've lost another sometimes listener in me.

Richard Arlidge

Eamon Sloan said...

Some light relief about rainbow ticks. Some distance from us is a rather large building site, a bit less than a kilometre or so but still visible. Occasionally a procession of concrete mixer trucks crawl onto the site to feed the giraffe concrete pumping apparatus. This afternoon I happened to glance out one of our front windows and saw in the distance something resembling a hot air balloon. My binoculars soon told me it was a concrete mixer truck with its giant barrel completely painted out in rainbow stripes. Not sure if it was full gay flag colouring. I would say it was close. So there is probably one concreting firm expecting a rainbow tick award.

Ben Thomas said...

I have never listened to TodayFM, mainly because I have no idea of their broadcasting frequency. It appears to be a closely guarded secret. Having read this I shall give up trying to find the information.

That said I find talkback an irritating medium. I think the comment of 'the Ill informed leading the misinformed' is true.

Sadly the only alternative is RNZ National which veers between the most appalling ' Muzak' and woke chatter. Fortunately with the advent of the internet there is a limitless choice of radio stations.

rouppe said...

It's a shame, I quite liked listening to The Sound, and The Rock.

In terms of music, what I have been listening to quite a bit is a streaming only station called KixFM. It can be found on TuneIn.

If you grew up listening to 80's music...

Guess I'll be listening to more of that...

Anonymous said...

Maoist struggle session

ZTS said...

From a free speech point of view, the apology was appalling but on the other hand, it was so facile as to be immediately insincere and forced. Add in the re-education and it becomes something of a parody. Good to hear that the Free Speech Union is taking it up and I hope they milk it for all its worth.

What I have noticed about all these woke corporates who love to grab column inches with their decisive and damning woke actions is that they never allow anyone to be contacted outside of their PR Dept. If you do send a letter to the PR Dept say about free speech, you will get an automated reply saying they dont answer to emails sent in by individuals and to effectively 'bugger off'.

Its like the whole system is designed to only give voice and therefore power to themselves. What ever happened to businesses being available for feedback from Consumers and caring for staff?

We all joked about Animal Farm 2 years ago but NZ is becoming just about as bad. Leah and Miles clearly had their employment threatened for potentially offending the 1? 2? 3? people in the whole of NZ who are 'men' who have become pregnant.

Ken said...

Thanks Karl, like you suggest we don't know the vulnerability of the radio hosts, but I do wish they'd stood they're ground.
The un-reality activists aren't as powerful as they think, but it does need strong voices to push back against them.
Hearing Dr Ashley Bloomfield speak about 'pregnant people' was a groan out loud moment.
I'm involved in pushing back against Sport New Zealand with their transgender policy which is trying to operate along similar lines.

**** Karl Feel free to delete the next bit if it doesn't suit. Thanks

I'm writing about this at:

Best wishes
Ken Maclaren

Karl du Fresne said...

The idiosyncrasies of Blogspot mean I'm unable to tinker with comments. I either publish them as they're written or I delete them - there's no in-between.

Doug Longmire said...

This is outrageous !!
But uncanny how this is exactly the plot set out so vividly in George Orwell's' book - 1984.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't help wondering what would have happened to Gary Lineker if he'd made those 'pregnant' comments. Instead of striking in support, I suspect his broadcasting mates would have lined up to kick him into touch.

Unknown said...

Check out Peter Williams's new Radio Channel hitting airwaves soon.
Cat Kynoch

Doug Longmire said...

I saw that Stuff(ed) described their biologically correct comments as a "toxic rant" !!

This is the same Stuff media that gave so-called poet Tusiata Avia a long, rave review for her vile, racist, murder inciting, James Cook "poem".

This is the same Stuff media that had a headline saying "It's all our Fault", relating to the floods, apparently because we generate too much CO2 !!!

Cara said...

An amusing instance of Rainbow contagion occurred in a recent interview on the National Program when Kathryn Ryan interviewed Deborah Bush of Endometriosis NZ about a newly developed online resource for girls suffering menstrual pain:
Kathryn launched confidently into the topic referring to women/girls, but after several minutes of her interviewee’s response in terms of people/young people, she adapted with admirable tact to mirror Ms Bush’s terminology which culminated finally in the use of ‘older folk’ which, from the context, one assumes meant ‘older women’.
It seems the process of obfuscating plain language by the random insertion of made-up Maori words is now being exacerbated by Rainbow Tick circumlocution!

Unknown said...

And just like that, no more Dallas Gurney at Mediaworks.

Karl du Fresne said...

So I see.

Not exactly a happy workplace, then. Oh dear, how sad, never mind ....

Paul Peters said...

I used to like listening to Miles Davis on ZB and when he was doing sport ( A Crystal Palace supporter since 1964 my football bias is declared).
He always used to challenge things to liven up the shows ....bit of boyish bravado ...but I sensed a change after Trump was elected and a broad section of MSM more or less declared war on Trump and used him as a label for everything right of what has become the Lib -Left (not the REAL Left) mantra on all things.
I recall about 150 news outlets that deemed themselves progressive (ie bourgeois Left) such as NYT, Stuff Guardian etc said they were changing the way they would report news given the dangers presented (by Trump and non-progressive media and so forth I presume). They sure have.

Miles reinented himself quickly, because even if you did not like Trump you could not explain the underlying issues why he got elected. Or discuss it sensibly. That was seen as supporting him.

Last time I heard him a year ago he was praising Biden and tending to avoid woke traps. Same on Brexit. Adopt a position close to the narrative or you are gone.
Damian Grant, for example, is trotted out on Stuff as one of those fiercely independent alternative views. On economics he is centre right and Act inclined but he is narrative conforming on Aotearoa, name changes, republic and all core Stuff spins . Nothing he writes will make the true believers choke on their organic conflakes in the morning .

Paul Peters said...

Women's rights activists are described by ALL our media as ''anti-transgender''....following the mantra. So does that mean ro-abortionoists could be called anti-young life? Mmmm. The spin from our ''news'' media is blatant

Anonymous said...

You know those horror stories that have a group of sane people and a group of weird robot-like people and one by one the sane people disappear and come back as weird people? They are being cloned, or overtaken or brainwashed by something evil. Well, it’s actually happening in our society. Here’s proof.