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)”

Two hundred candles on the cake

The Guardian has celebrated its 200th birthday and the London-based title is optimistic about its future. Can any New Zealand newspaper expect to reach that milestone?

Our oldest surviving masthead, the Whanganui Chronicle, has another 35 years – or more than 10,000 editions – before it can reach its double century. The Taranaki Daily News is a year behind and a further eight dailies – including four metropolitan papers – would celebrate it in the subsequent decade.

To meet that milestone, they must weather a perfect storm of technological, financial, and demographic challenges.

They will be in good company. Every news media outlet in the country faces those same storm fronts that threaten the bicentennial of some, the centennial or golden anniversary of others, and the ability of the remainder to move beyond their childhood or teenage years. Continue reading “Two hundred candles on the cake”

They don’t give a Stuff about New Zealand

The New Zealand High Court has confirmed what was long suspected. An Australian media company was within days of closing vital sections of our news media – an action it would never have dared to take on its home turf.

The release of redacted material in a judgement over the Nine Entertainment Company’s sale of Stuff is further proof of the fact that foreign ownership of news media is contrary to the public interest.

Continue reading “They don’t give a Stuff about New Zealand”