Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: UPDATED: Media Take: Election Songs

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  • WH,

    You have to be a bit careful about giving primacy to free speech rights in the context of the statutory regulation of elections.

    This was one of the issues in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the US case that involved a hit job documentary about Hillary Clinton that a private group wanted to screen just before the Democratic primary.

    I know it's not a major issue in New Zealand but in other places people work hard to get around the laws designed to ensure elections are fairly contested.

    Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Ah, the power of propaganda spread via a complicit media addicted to certain news sources.

    Peter Fowler is to polite to say it, but you’ve all been played by Slater/Farrar/Hooton/Williams – BlogWatch: Anatomy of misinformation.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Bunji at Te Standard is more direct about it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    More generally, the PM appears largely successful in his 'left-wing smear campaign' smear. That ties 'Dirty Politics' with 'F#%k JK' and effigy-burning (not smears, but who's questioning it) as well as 'Kill the PM' and 'Shylock'- and associates them with 'the left' eg Labour, the Greens, IMP, and most of us PASers.
    A journalist needs to sit down - sympathetically - with the PM and say, "let's talk about this left-wing smear campaign - who's running it, and what nasty lies are they spreading?"
    If you unpack it, there's no credible connection between these things (thus no campaign), and not much you could credibly call a 'smear'. If we don't unpack it, it becomes a central part of the election narrative.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    If you unpack it, there’s no credible connection between these things (thus no campaign), and not much you could credibly call a ‘smear’. If we don’t unpack it, it becomes a central part of the election narrative.

    Yes. The usual suspects were very keen yesterday to link 'Kill the PM' to Kim Dotcom. The fact that Tom Scott has frequently expressed his contempt for Dotcom was no impediment.

    They must have been unable to believe their luck when Tom gave them exactly what they needed yesterday.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And an even bigger part of it is the Electoral Commission is there not to be “fair” but to apply the law, even if it’s a bit of a flustercluck, in the world as it is.

    To be fair the the Commission, its main job is running free and fair elections, which it seems to do very well. Assessing, satire and speech, not so much.

    And the fact that its only power if it suspects infringing material is to pass the matter on to the police is seems less than ideal. If Jono and Ben are an indication, the police will busy themselves with more important things until the six-month time limit expires. But speech is chilled in the interim.

    As others have noted, we should be grateful to Watson for doing what the Commission stubbornly refuses to do -- seeking the view of the courts.

    Any one seriously want to suggest there would be a different reaction if the track was called Silent T rather than Planet Key? Seriously?

    Who'd bother, right now? But if Cunliffe had been PM for six years, long enough to make a bunch of unpopular decisions and piss people off, it's not unlikely someone would write an unhappy song about him.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    They must have been unable to believe their luck when Tom gave them exactly what they needed yesterday.

    This song dates from 2013. It was dredged up as a counter-play by National (probably their research unit) and fed into a oh-to-willing media via Slater/Hooton/Farrar and Lusk. And yes, you also took the bait.

    Must we continue with blindly accepting the right's framing of issues?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    This song dates from 2013. It was dredged up as a counter-play by National (probably their research unit) and fed into a oh-to-willing media via Slater/Hooton/Farrar and Lusk. And yes, you also took the bait.

    Must we continue with blindly accepting the right’s framing of issues?

    Please try not to lecture me unless you know what you’re talking about.

    The song dates to last year and the chorus further back than that.

    But it was posted on Soundcloud two days ago, in the misguided belief that a bit of shock would get voting into young people’s minds. The National Party research unit didn't need to dredge it up. Tom posted it and Stuff noticed.

    Perhaps it actually succeeded to some extent. There have been 16,000 plays and 187 reposts on Soundcloud in two days. But it was politically naive to give the usual suspects something so tasty to act out their outrage on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    We had someone come and get all the Year 13s who were 18 or who would be 18 by the election to fill in a form.

    I don't mean people who are going to be able to vote at the election that is coming up in the next few months, once every three years.

    I mean every year sign up everyone while most of them are still in school, even if they election is two years away.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Eh, shitty misogynistic lyrics in a rap song: news at 11.

    I mean, I get your issue, Russell, Labour (and Green to some extent) are trying to run a positive campaign about how they are running a positive campaign, vs National's negative campaign, which they totally picked. It's similar in many ways to actual positive campaigns, but having random people on the internet get all off-message is more harmful to the tautological version.

    Having said that, it fails to express the obvious anger in society that goes totally unmentioned in the mainstream press. Fucking Christchurch, man, words fail me. The plan is to subsidise novice property developers. Really. Still hanging out for the invisible hand. Which is a metaphor for how God loves capitalism, and not an actual thing which exists and will help anyone. Fucking insurance companies still not paying out, that's your divine presence right there.

    Not to mention the classic National party 6% unemployment rate (plus single mums and all the sick and disabled now), falling real wages, the cute little trick in the budget of making health boards rent their hospital buildings from government to "balance the budget without health cuts" that are actually huge health cuts. Where labour talks about free doctors for more people and I'll still be paying $60-70, or rather just wont ever be going, and we all know how the long term there plays out.

    Not the corruption, the blessed ministerial family businesses and the surprisingly fortunate law changes and massive government subsidies for them, not the bridges and the fucking truck lobby, not the random $30 million dollar Bill finds every time some company helps them with their PR, just the ordinary gods-damned punitive bullshit they put on the poor and disadvantaged all the fucking time, and how it mounts up.


    And I get that sort of thing doesn't really help Labour's message here, which could be bad for actually getting National out of office, maybe. But you can't honestly expect the internet to not contain just a little bit of rage, and if some random guy sees the internet chanting "fuck John Key" and puts up his song to match it, that's what the internet is.

    Maybe vapid positivism just isn't going to cut it any more, even though it obviously did for Mr Hopey Changey in recent years, with technology having moved on, maybe there's never going to be just one message again.


    Or, you know, more National, more TV shows where journalists talk about how they feel for the poor in their nice suits, how maybe another gigantic subsidy to Fonterra will help single mums in Auckland while they're out looking for some zero-hour work to pay for the private daycare they're required to put their children into now, maybe save up enough for school one day (not).

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to tussock,

    Well said.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to tussock,

    and if some random guy sees the internet chanting “fuck John Key” and puts up his song to match it

    He invented "Fuck John Key!" too, just quietly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to tussock,

    Hear hear!

    Tussock for Mayor!

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    He invented “Fuck John Key!” too, just quietly.

    Indignant splutter..... I claim prior use, I have been saying that for over 6 years.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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