Post-lockdown NZ media revert to attack journalism

Comm 14 7 20

Journalists endanger one of the cornerstones of their profession when they lose sight of the fact that politics is a contest for power. And in New Zealand right now their vision is blurred.

Emboldened by opposition politicians eager to exploit real or imagined weaknesses in the post-lockdown management of Covid-19, some news media are indulging in a blame game.

They are the eager messengers of ‘knocking stories’ that seek to reverse public perceptions that the Government and its ministries did a good job in containing a virus that is decimating other countries.

Not that the Labour-led government did everything right. It didn’t. However, in the giddy pursuit of accusations and culprits, journalists are losing their sense of balance. And, in the process, public confidence in our health systems is being undermined. Continue reading “Post-lockdown NZ media revert to attack journalism”

Kiwi kids on social media

Lumo_4.5x7_Static_Pornography-1 Tuesday Commentary dinkus

Updated: Stuff’s bold clarion call.

Moralists invented hell so they could inflict cruelty with a clear conscience, according to Bertrand Russell. I think technocrats invented social media so they could inflict untold damage with no conscience at all.

Yesterday, Stuff put a hold of all activity with the social media giant Facebook and its associated platform Instagram as a reaction to that indifference.

The trial applies across all titles owned by New Zealand’s largest news publisher. It is a big call: Nearly 953,000 people follow Stuff’s news Facebook page, 134,000 follow its Instagram account, and it has dozens of other Facebook pages for its various titles and brands. Those users, however, have a clear alternative – Stuff’s own platforms.

Stuff ceased advertising on Facebook after it carried footage of the Christchurch mosque attack that was live-streamed by the shooter on a fringe platform. Yesterday’s move was another principled stand in response to Facebook’s abysmal record on hate speech. Stuff should be applauded for its bold move – likely to be the first of many under its new owner Sinead Boucher – and its should act as a clarion call for other media companies to follow its example and give the multinational the fright of its life.

Last week, more than 500 companies reacted to the proliferation of hate speech on Facebook’s pages following the Black Lives Matter campaign and joined the Stop Hate for Profit advertising boycott that could put a sizeable dent in the social network’s $US70 billion in annual ad revenue. They rightly judge that the only way to force Facebook and its ilk to show real corporate responsibility is to hit them hard in the pocket. However, for the umpteenth time, Facebook offered ultimately self-serving ‘solutions’ to yet another problem of its making. Continue reading “Kiwi kids on social media”

This could be 1 News at 6

CBS_Evening_News_with_CronkiteTuesday commentary July 2020

Television New Zealand does not need a Covid-19 revenue nosedive as a reason to rethink its two-person early evening news hour. The format is a 1980s American import that should have disappeared with power shoulders and Miami Vice.

There is no journalistic benefit in presenters taking turns in reading from a teleprompter and if female/male partnerships are a gesture to gender equality, who says a single news reader must be male?

The double act hit our screens in 1989 after TVNZ brought consultants from the United States to tell it how to face competition from TV3. The advisors were surfing the wave of neoliberal marketing and peddling razzle dazzle formats. Continue reading “This could be 1 News at 6”