Multiple media reviews and the lefthand-righthand rule

When I look at my hands, I’m sure the left one knows what the right is doing. I hope the same can be said of the various New Zealand Government enquiries into a broad range of issues that impact on the media.

Each has its own course and involves different government agencies, with a total of four ministers at the helm.

Each enquiry is working diligently to address areas that have long needed overhaul. The Ministry of Justice’s proposed changes to laws relating to hate speech and discrimination arose out of the Christchurch Mosque attacks but the need predated those atrocities. The Department of Internal Affairs’ review of content regulation had a similar genesis and it, too, has long needed revision (not least over the issue of multiple mainstream media regulators). And work has been progressing on a new public service media entity and, separately, the reshaping of Māori media. Continue reading “Multiple media reviews and the lefthand-righthand rule”

Covid ‘protest’ straight from agitation playbook

Escalation: Expect that word to start appearing in reports of the activities of the ragbag that is using the Covid vaccination as a rallying point.

Commentaries last week, particularly a couple of excellent pieces on The Spinoff, suggested New Zealand was entering a dangerous phase in which, to quote its editor-at-large Toby Manhire, “suddenly things could turn very, very nasty”.

Events of the past few weeks have been drawn straight from the agitation playbook. It started with small and relatively innocuous ‘protests’ that gained media attention more through fears they could become super-spreaders for the virus than any of the anti-vaccination messages being spouted. Continue reading “Covid ‘protest’ straight from agitation playbook”

Beware of Geeks bearing gifts (again)

Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg share an unfortunate character trait: An inability to accept the truth.

The former U.S. president’s response to being confronted by unpalatable reality is to fabricate large and elaborate lies. Facebook’s founder indulges in cynical diversion.

The scale and depth of Trump’s deceptions over the 2020 election was well-canvassed at the weekend in a two-hour special by CNN’s Jake Tapper titled Trumping Democracy: An American Coup.

Zuckerberg indulged in a massive rebranding exercise to divert attention from the revelations to both the U.S. Congress and British Parliament by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen that screamed out the need for regulation. The corporate Facebook has transmogrified into Meta, short for Metaverse – a vast expanse that threatens to take the world beyond post-truth to post-reality.

His abiding denial of truth, however, lies in diverting attention from Facebook’s appropriation without payment of media content for commercial gain. The company only faces up to that reality when it is forced to do so by governments (such as Australia) whose patience with the social media giant has run out.

Such setbacks have not diminished Facebook’s preferred narrative and last week the diversion tactic reared its head here in New Zealand with an announcement by Meta of “a four-part investment to help New Zealand’s news industry to thrive in a changing digital world”. Continue reading “Beware of Geeks bearing gifts (again)”