Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Birth of the Nasty

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  • Jan Farr,

    All of a sudden, working for a large corporation becomes more attractive.

    You mean someone who will care what happens to their reputation if they start imposing probationary periods?

    Mmm - like the ASB for instance, who, nine years after the demise of the Employment Contracts Act, still proudly and aggressively 'protect' their workers from joining unions. I imagine they and other large corporations will be pushing for a quick review of the Act some time after Christmas.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    Also, with regard to the pushing through of new bail laws, I found this on A Word a Day:

    The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its
    prisons. -Fyodor Dostoyevsky, novelist (1821-1881)

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Fuck you're awesome, Danyl.

    Why, thanks Ben. You might be surprised by how rarely I hear that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I wonder how the Parlamento Nuova Zelanda would deal with a French nuclear blast? Or would it more likely be a British coal explosion?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I think journalists are a little mesmerised by him, and, by implication, their own power to anoint and un-anoint

    That's very persuasive analysis, Caleb. Ta.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    __I think journalists are a little mesmerised by him, and, by implication, their own power to anoint and un-anoint__

    That's very persuasive analysis, Caleb. Ta.

    Isn't it. It's an interesting - and very real - phenomenon. While I'm not suggesting any parallel with Key I remember an Alan Moir cartoon, from the mid-90s Sydney Morning Herald, showing the short-term Liberal leader Alexander Downer, crowned with laurel and borne aloft on a litter, about to be tipped over a precipice by the massed cheering hordes of the media, while John Howard lurks expectantly in the foreground.

    The demonstrably gormless Downer never gave the sense of holding the initiative. Once he'd enjoyed his heady media-assisted rush to the top it's almost as if he looked to them to ask Now what? In that moment they smelt blood, and his decline into dog-tucker was as rapid as his rise.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    Craig I generally read the Gruaniad because of the confirmation bias. I temper it with Aunty's web news and a dalliance with The Times. I do make a point of reading the Torygraph's sports reporting though, it is by far the best and is wonderful enterntainment when the All Blacks come calling, this year thinking that PI bashing might be a bit racist they decided some cultural insensitivity would be good and with the Times bleated about the Haka. It was fun reading it after the Twickers tests though. The Welsh weren't half grumpy mind, the media was all 'aren't England shit?', 'why are England shit?' and 'how can we pull England a bit higher up out of the cesspit?' and just one match report of Wales beating Oz.

    The one that got away though, it would have been absolutely wonderful if Scotland had managed to kick some goals and beat SA and then seen them thump England so hard.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    __I think journalists are a little mesmerised by him, and, by implication, their own power to anoint and un-anoint

    That's very persuasive analysis, Caleb. Ta.__

    Isn't it. It's an interesting - and very real - phenomenon. While I'm not suggesting any parallel with Key I remember an Alan Moir cartoon, from the mid-90s Sydney Morning Herald, showing the short-term Liberal leader Alexander Downer, crowned with laurel and borne aloft on a litter, about to be tipped over a precipice by the massed cheering hordes of the media, while John Howard lurks expectantly in the foreground.

    Though you'd expect Key to have more insurance against a coup given he's delivered National what three previous leaders couldn't. Still, I do see Key as less a leader by force than by default and I think being PM will be too much for him. Everytime I see him, I hear Dimmer's You wanna believe your own scrapbook

    The demonstrably gormless Downer never gave the sense of holding the initiative. Once he'd enjoyed his heady media-assisted rush to the top it's almost as if he looked to them to ask Now what? In that moment they smelt blood, and his decline into dog-tucker was as rapid as his rise.

    I see the the parallels though I can a tell Joe's a kiwi by the use of the phrase "dog tucker" - draws blanks stares here.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But Rodney has a rather different view of the terms of reference:

    Jeanette Fitzsimons owned Rodney on Morning Report this morning when she pointed out that he hadn't bothered to attend most of the select committee hearings on ETS.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    That's very persuasive analysis, Caleb. Ta.

    Thanks -- I wish it were mine! It's basically an observation I remember Hendrik Hertzberg making in the New Yorker about American journalists' peculiar relationship with George W. Bush. Whether Key, too, will eventually succumb to the media's build-them-up-just-to-tear-them-down celebrity narrative, I guess we'll see.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Jeanette Fitzsimons owned Rodney on Morning Report this morning

    I liked the way she said 'this is not a matter of religious belief' and broke out the science, while Hide was all 'but I just don't dig the idea, man!'

    (Yet somehow, in this weird political narrative we've got going, the *Greens* are the crazy unreasonable ones. Oh, those wacky hippies, with their concern for our future and their reliance on scientists - of all people! - to explain scientific things! What *will* they think of next?)

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

  • BenWilson,

    Of all the changes going under urgency, it's the change to bail laws that scares me. All the rest is "Well, you will get that under a National government'. Tax cuts, undermining KiwiSaver, even draconian changes to employment legislation (you'd be crazy not to think this would happen). But I can't really see what's urgent about the need to change some quite fundamental human rights totally unrelated to economics and the current financial crisis.

    Will they get the numbers? Could be some interesting votes coming up, a chance for the Maori party to show their quality.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Of all the changes going under urgency, it's the change to bail laws that scares me. All the rest is "Well, you will get that under a National government'. Tax cuts, undermining KiwiSaver, even draconian changes to employment legislation (you'd be crazy not to think this would happen). But I can't really see what's urgent about the need to change some quite fundamental human rights totally unrelated to economics and the current financial crisis.

    Will they get the numbers? Could be some interesting votes coming up, a chance for the Maori party to show their quality.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Yet somehow, in this weird political narrative we've got going, the *Greens* are the crazy unreasonable ones.

    Listening to Parliament, it occurred to me that it must surely burn some ACT people to be called anti-science by the Greens.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    it's the change to bail laws that scares me

    Another one I'm confused about. Is it just a repeal of Labour's change - which will apparently do little in terms of case law, or will the considerations they are suggesting will apply be written into it?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    a chance for the Maori party to show their quality.

    They should totally steal the ring of power and set up a new Dark Tower in Bowen House.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    it's the change to bail laws that scares me

    Another one I'm confused about. Is it just a repeal of Labour's change - which will apparently do little in terms of case law, or will the considerations they are suggesting will apply be written into it?

    Lyndon, the fact that you are unsure only serves to hieghten my concern. National's use of urgency is gratuitous. They've won the Treasury benches with the least publicly available policy information of my lifetime and now intend enacting it pre-Christmas - as BenWilson's noted, some is entirely unrelated to the financial crisis, surely allowing ordinary parliamentary scrutiny is not too much to ask?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Felix Marwick,

    I rarely post on political matters as it may lead to one of those drawn out arguments where no-one ends up satisfied.

    But I would like to make a small point in regard to previous criticisms made about media coverage of Select Committees as I think it was a little off base.

    I can tell you that members of the Press Gallery do cover Select Committees on a regular and constant basis. My print colleagues (ie Herald, Dom' Post, The Press, NZPA) always have reporters on deck for them. So too do RNZ, Radio Live, and ZB (though for us commercial radio people we do have to pick and choose what we go to as our resources are limited). TVNZ and TV3 are regular attendees as well and so too are representatives from other agencies with Press Gallery accreditation.

    From my own perspective I'd generally get to at least 2 select committee meetings every morning when the committee's are sitting. At least that's what I aim for if I can.

    However there are 18 of them (well 19 now with the new one set up to look at the ETS) and it's simply not possible to be at all of them all of the time.

    And, to be honest, that's not an appealing prospect. A lot of SC business is not exactly riveting stuff. It's a matter of making a news judgment about what's significant, how many people will be affected, and flow on implications ... etc etc.

    Admittedly there are a number of people out there that have a fascination with all things politics and they'd be overjoyed if we were doing more than we are. But you have to balance against that the large number of people that find politics a turn-off, who find other news areas more interesting, and they too deserve to be catered for by news outlets.

    Finally, another issue to consider is the substantial amount of SC business being done behind closed doors - that we can't get to with any ease, no matter how much we might like to.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    They should totally steal the ring of power and set up a new Dark Tower in Bowen House.

    I'm glad someone saw the reference. And it seems like the Ring of Power is exactly what is on offer, for the mere price of selling the Maori party's soul. If I remember our own lame Te Quaeda incident, it is likely to be Maori who will be held by these laws.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    And, to be honest, that's not an appealing prospect. A lot of SC business is not exactly riveting stuff. It's a matter of making a news judgment about what's significant, how many people will be affected, and flow on implications ... etc etc.

    All fairly important factors in the decision about whether or not to start a major political push to scrap something like the ETS. It looks like either laziness, or an agenda hiding behind laziness.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    I think the media flows into the vacuum caused by people's failure to be active.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Felix Marwick,

    Ben,

    I may have misinterpreted your comment, and if I have I apologise in advance, but if you are implying gallery journalists are lazy or have an agenda hiding behind laziness then you would be very wrong.

    My colleagues are among the hardest working people I have ever had the privilege to work with.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    LOL, Felix, you have misinterpreted. I was referring to Rodney Hide's absences.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I can tell you that members of the Press Gallery do cover Select Committees on a regular and constant basis.

    Well, I stand corrected Felix. But when it comes to news judgement, I didn't exactly find Michael Cullen being a procedural smart-arse yesterday exactly "riveting" or particularly news worthy either.

    But you have to balance against that the large number of people that find politics a turn-off, who find other news areas more interesting, and they too deserve to be catered for by news outlets.

    And I've not said anything different. Sports bores my tits off, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be covered and replaced with greatly expanded books/arts coverage -- which I am interested in, and think is in a pretty dismal state both here and overseas.

    Sorry to say this, Felix, but appealing to the authority of populism isn't exercising "news judgement", it's abdicating it. Would your employer run hardcore porn if a focus group expressed an interest? Don't think so.

    A while back I was bitching to an acquaintance who works at The Herald about the frankly excremental standard of local body coverage, and his reply was (guess) "people find local body politics a turn off." My reply: Well, isn't it funny how everyone gives a shit when the gutters overflow, the busses are late, and their rates go up every year."

    And I don't accept for a moment that substantive and sustained coverage of government has to be boring wank for politics nerds.

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

  • 81stcolumn,

    The current incoming government is suggesting far reaching changes in educational accountability and more testing in schools at a time when other nations are actually seeking to reduce testing in schools.

    I would love to see some incisive journalism on that one, but I suppose that’s boring too ?

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

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