Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A wretched editorial

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I’m not sure what that the quotation marks around “activist” are meant to signify

    I assumed they were meant to signify that the word was a quote.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    That would be covered by the "self confessed" surely?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Well, lord forbid any mere slip of a girl should criticise the goverment and its ministers over their handling of a matter of direct importance to her. The nerve!

    You can argue that it’s a perfectly legitimate question to ask (though I’d come down on the “yeah, but… nah” side), but more than a little rich of the Sunday Star-Times to complain about another media outlet not doing its legwork for it.

    The editorial moves on to bitch about 3rd Degree’s “sympathetic portrayal” of Billingsley – apparently, it is only proper to be unsympathetic to sexual assault victims.

    Let's all cash the reality check. When the trial begins, I’m sure the defense will take ever opportunity to assassinate Tania Billingsley’s character, with the press bench faithfully transcribing every ghastly word as it gets turned into fuel for the entirely predictable orgy of multi-media slut-shaming and victim-blaming that happens every damn time. Why the rush, SST?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    So they can get to relay any juicy details and innuendo, with a healthy side dish of "we told you so, already"?

    I can sure as hell guarantee there will be no mea culpa statements if the innuendo in this piece is unfounded.

    :-\

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Alex Coleman,

    That would be covered by the "self confessed" surely?

    You can confess to something that is reported as a paraphrase.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The facts of the case itself were not traversed in the 3rd Degree programme that featured her interview. There have been any number of high-profile news stories that have run far closer to the line of sub judice.

    And just to throw some crazy reality-based supposition into the pot, wouldn't it be a fair assumption that Three had lawyers running the proverbial fine-tooth nit-pick over every second of that interview before it aired? Just as, as Russell points out, I'm (reasonably) sure the Sunday Star Times would have under the same circumstances.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And just to throw some crazy reality-based supposition into the pot, wouldn’t it be a fair assumption that Three had lawyers running the proverbial fine-tooth nit-pick over every second of that interview before it aired?

    That appears to have been precisely the case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Dean Wallis,

    Seriously, do we think that anyone actually read the SST? They were too busy catching up with the really important news over in the Herald:

    John Key's holiday selfie

    Point Chevalier • Since Jan 2013 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Connelly, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Indeed - that is what quotation marks often do. Well said.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2012 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • David MacGregor,

    As a layperson - not a journo or a poli or jurist - I saw the interview and wondered a couple of things:

    a) what is the point here?
    Was it an item about the 'diplomat' (who seemed to be a functionary, rather than an envoy) and his flight from New Zealand's justice system after allegedly burglarizing a property and attempting to molest its female occupant?

    b) what is the point here?
    Was it to promote the interview subjects views about 'rape culture' (whatever that neologism really means)?

    c) What is the point here?
    Has media become such a circus that there is no point questioning it. Politicians won't front up. News outlets don't care because when they do show up they come so addled by scripted 'talking points' penned by handlers that they might as well not have bothered - because viewers have become conditioned to prefer the naked honesty of My House Rule's couples at the emotional brink…
    Activists seek any opportunity to promote their cause and will fill the vacuum at the drop of a spat. In my view if this pushes extended coverage of kiwi butchers winning a trade show prize in the UK further back in the show - or out of it altogether then the cause has been just.

    The whole thing is a jumbled mess. The public are none the wiser. As for the 'sub judice' commentary…sigh…it's all just piffle. The case wasn't discussed and if every person with an allegation were denied a right to utter an opinion or a venue to vice it then governments would be using parking tickets to silence detractors.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've amended the post to reflect the fact that the Star Times did in fact eventually get an interview with Billingsley.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    That was an extremely welcome column by Toby at the time. I was feeling pretty bummed out by what the internet I mostly use had to offer. It's an issue I feel strongly about but have lost all interest in discussing with men, and they seemed to be the only ones talking, with a few exceptions. But maybe I just don't know where to look.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    had the Star Times ... secured an interview with Billingsley, the paper would have been all over it. It would have been yesterday’s lead story.

    But it actually gets worse ... Fairfax reporter Kim Knight eventually did get an interview. It’s there in the Sunday Star Times, where she explains her decision to go public.

    I'm not sure how that is worse. It shows 1. that they didn't front-page the interview, and 2. that their news team thought the story was on the speaking out, which was also the focus of the editorial.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I’m not sure how that is worse. It shows 1. that they didn’t front-page the interview, and 2. that their news team thought the story was on the speaking out, which was also the focus of the editorial.

    Yeah, sorta. My original point was that they if they'd got the exclusive 3rd Degree got, they'd have gone with it big-time. But I think I'll let the amendment stand now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Buckman,

    such as whether she had any political affiliations

    Why do people talk about political affiliations the same way we would talk about financial conflicts of interest?
    Firstly, it get the causation the wrong way round - it implies that one's political affiliations are influencing one's opinions. Hmm.
    Secondly, even if that were, very weirdly, the case, why would it be something to be ashamed of? Unlike a financial interest, the purpose of a political interest is to make the world a better place. People might disagree about the means of achieving this, and what 'a better place' might look like, but I don't think many people disagree about the the actual objective.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2014 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • steve black, in reply to Dean Wallis,

    My wife bought the SST and I saw it this morning. I started to read the editorial but soon stopped. I did not like what I was reading in terms of content or writing style.

    Look left and the snipped extracted is "The interview smacked of political opportunism". I say the same is true of the editorial. Kettle, meet pot.

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 116 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to David MacGregor,

    Was it to promote the interview subjects views about ‘rape culture’ (whatever that neologism really means)?

    Feminist theorists have been talking about rape culture for about 40 years now. Susan Brownmiller's Against Our Will came out in 1975. Also, if you're actually interested in what it means, it has a wikipedia entry complete with academic references.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to BenWilson,

    It's an issue I feel strongly about but have lost all interest in discussing with men, and they seemed to be the only ones talking

    I suspect that's because many women can relate to the first half of that sentence.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Danielle,

    Feminist theorists have been talking about rape culture for about 40 years now. Susan Brownmiller's Against Our Will came out in 1975

    thank you. I had a foamy reply on its way but that's very polite and succint.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to B Jones,

    That was my thinking, and I'm making no criticism of such a withdrawal, which seems more than understandable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to BenWilson,

    I didn't read any criticism there. Also in the spirit of observation rather than criticism, when one party to a dispute stops engaging on it, things tend to go downhill. I doubt the walls are going to go up around Women's Country any time soon, but I'm sensing a lot of anger and not many places for it to go. Two things keep me positive: one is that a 22 year old, who would have been a preschooler when I studied feminist legal theory, feels she's on solid enough ground to go on national television calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs over the handling of her case. Wearing awesome red lipstick, no less. The other is the growing number of men who get it, and are prepared to argue with the dinosaurs when women get fed up with constantly having to fight the catch-22 rules around their behaviour.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Samuel Buckman,

    Why do people talk about political affiliations the same way we would talk about financial conflicts of interest?

    I can't add much but I completely agree.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to B Jones,

    Also in the spirit of observation rather than criticism, when one party to a dispute stops engaging on it, things tend to go downhill.

    That's my fear, but I'm not sure it's always true. Sometimes walking away from a dispute is the thing to do. Especially if the dispute is an endless relitigation of basic principles.

    The feminine absence feels ominous to me, rather like how the water rapidly disappearing from a beach does.

    The other is the growing number of men who get it, and are prepared to argue with the dinosaurs when women get fed up with constantly having to fight the catch-22 rules around their behaviour.

    I hope that true, but it's a suckful job when you don't even feel like it's your battlefront. I tend to avoid commenting in the feminist discussions recently because they seem to be well in hand, saving it up only for times when there's just no response to sheer male pig-ignorance or worse. I just don't have tank mentality to keep doing it all the time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Samuel Buckman,

    Why do people talk about political affiliations the same way we would talk about financial conflicts of interest?

    To demonstrate that facts are irrelevant, or perhaps that they feel safe with a great deal of hypocrisy. The whole "did she dislike National before they shat in her breakfast" question is one that's hard to answer.

    I mean, if that standard had any relevance many media outlets wouldn't be able to criticise half the political spectrum. Can you imagine the Herald if they never criticised anyone left of Key? Aside from having a lot of space to make up, half their writers wouldn't know what to talk about.

    Mind you, their standard for financial conflicts of interest is very loose, so perhaps it wouldn't make too much difference. I'm amused that in Oz there's pressure for Clive Palmer to abstain on votes affecting his mining interests, but in NZ no-one seems to ask Key to do anything similar (any more, anyway).

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to BenWilson,

    The feminine absence feels ominous to me, rather like how the water rapidly disappearing from a beach does.

    I remember reading about East Timor, when it was first independent, and the way the peacekeepers would judge whether a neighbourhood was a safe or about to blow up, and the presence of women on the streets was a marker of safety. That applies fairly well to discussions about sexual assault.

    Two things I think about before I comment - has someone else got this (Danielle and I seem to have an informal tag team going), and is there any point.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

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