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Speaker: The crisis is all around us, and so are the solutions

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  • SHG,

    If Labour addresses the need for nationwide public-interest broadcasting by setting up a personality-driven TV station in Auckland, you know they’re part of the problem too.

    nup • Since Oct 2010 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Ron E Wilson,

    As someone who worked at Televsion NZ the last time Labour tried to organise TV along more Public TV lines it forgot one small thing. Replacing a few people at the Top of the Tree is not sufficient to ensure a change happens inline with Governement policy. It was obvious from day one that the depth of anti Labour feeling had permeated deep into the structure of TVNZ and line managers in the company had bought into the Right WIng policy of how it should be run. No matter what policy was develped at Board and CEO level line managers in important areas just ignored the instructions and joked about the CEO would soon be gone. Which of course did happen. And so the show continued. This is why it would be pointless to expect TVNZ to run a TV company that would serve a Public purpose. Radio NZ still has a strong sense of Public Radio and can better serve as both Radio and TV Public outlet for New Zealand

    East Coast Bays • Since Jun 2014 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Squeezing or cutting funding, or the threat of this, is a powerful way for governments to punish, reward or otherwise influence publicly funded news.

    Which is why it was so disastrous for Clare Curran to even give the appearance of going around the system to influence the decisions of Radio NZ's board and CEO.

    Whether she was intending to do that or not, even giving the appearance of doing so at a time when the government has yet to announce what share of the $38 million it has put up for public broadcast funding will go to RNZ was very bad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Ron E Wilson,

    It was obvious from day one that the depth of anti Labour feeling had permeated deep into the structure of TVNZ and line managers in the company had bought into the Right WIng policy of how it should be run.

    Essentially you seem to be saying the organisation is incapable of reform. The solution should be to fire the lot, close the whole place down and hand over their frequency to RNZ TV1?

    We haven't had a Labour government with those sort of balls for fifty years.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Which is why it was so disastrous for Clare Curran to even give the appearance of going around the system to influence the decisions of Radio NZ’s board and CEO.

    Richard Griffin gives every impression of being an arrogant partisan appointment determined to go out with a bang designed to cause maximum damage to the government. If Curran had any brains she should work out she might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb and issue a press release citing an irreversible break down in her trust and relationship with the RNZ board and her loss of confidence in the RNZ board & chairman. If that doesn’t get the desired result then just peremptorily fire the lot.

    Whatever you think of how Curran plans to spend the money democracy demands the elected political leadership must stamp it’s authority on a rebellious bureaucracy.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The cutting of critical journalism at Māori Television (in particular the outstanding Native Affairs programme) appeared to be directly the outcome of government influence.

    It was a bit more complicated than that. National’s appointment of one of its own, Georgina Te Heuheu, as chair of the Māori Television board may have been motivated by a desire to see a less aggressive news operation, but what happened to Native Affairs was about a different kind of politics.

    The Native Affairs investigation into alleged fraud at the Kohanga Reo National Trust manifested a kind of background culture war in the Māori world. One side regarded the investigation as an affront to the mana of Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and her family – and the Māori Party was quite clearly on that side.

    At the same time, Jim Mather, who as CEO had been a good protector of his news and current affairs team, was departing. His replacement, Paora Maxwell, was appointed by the board in the face of the near-universal opposition of existing staff. They even refused a confidential briefing from Maxwell’s former employer, TVNZ. The very strong appearance is that he was hired at least in part to deal to senior members of the news and current affairs team.

    Julian Wilcox was forced out and many others, Mihi Forbes and Carol Hirschfeld among them, ran for the exits. It was absolutely a purge on news and current affairs, but it was basically conducted by Māori against Māori.

    Things have changed quite a lot since then, though. The culture of the board has shifted (and John Tamihere can take considerable credit there), Maxwell is gone and the background politics, as expressed in last year’s general election, have changed a lot. I think it is indeed a new dawn.

    Basically, there is more to politics than the party that controls Parliament.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    If Curran had any brains she should work out she might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb and issue a press release citing an irreversible break down in her trust and relationship with the RNZ board and her loss of confidence in the RNZ board & chairman. If that doesn’t get the desired result then just peremptorily fire the lot.

    Holy shit. I can only imagine your response if a National government did anything of the kind. Try reading Nicky's essay again and see if that gets through.

    Never mind that if, as reported, the board and CEO are unwilling to embrace the full-on TV channel Curran favours – that is, they don't to add an underfunded linear TV channel to their underfunded radio stations – they're quite probably right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    If we want to know what a media lapdog looks and sounds like, look no further than the TV stations controlled by NewsCorp wannabe Sinclair Broadcast Group.

    How America's Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump's War On The Media

    The common thread with what's happening in America, Australia and here in NZ is the creeping cartellisation of the media landscape, which is just as detrimental to free speech as old-fashioned state censorship. Maybe it's time to dust off and update the 1986 Royal Commission on Broadcasting and Related Telecommunications?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5399 posts Report Reply

  • SHG, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It was a bit more complicated than that

    my reaction was damn that's the most obliviously-racist whiteperson opinion I've read all day

    nup • Since Oct 2010 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    In-coming governments must get given by the Manderins some ancient dogeared tome of wisdom with the first three commandments being:

    1. Don’t sack hopeless ministers no matter how much damage they cause

    2. Equivocate over the meanings of “tax” and “new”

    3. Blame everything on the previous government.

    We never get to see 4, 5, 6 etc which could explain why on the surface this seems bad advice.

    Since Nov 2016 • 263 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Neil,

    After reading about the mess at Middlemore Hospital......I wonder who should take the blame?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 473 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to John Farrell,

    One can trace things back to the Bolger govt’s deregulating but that doesn’t explain why so many involved in the construction industry and in councils acted deceitfully and incompetently.

    We prided our selves on our ingenuity, number 8 wire etc, but that’s proved to be a thing of the past. I’m astonished that that has happened and can’t quite work out why.

    Maybe it’s just a myth we had about ourselves like the myth the Ozzie’s had about being good sports.

    But we have deal with now and I’m not convinced that’s going to happen.

    Since Nov 2016 • 263 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Holy shit. I can only imagine your response if a National government did anything of the kind. Try reading Nicky’s essay again and see if that gets through.

    Apparently the Herald posted up 28 stories – all attacking Labour – over the Curran story. It was a group think bullying pile on of the most disgusting kind. In the same time, they posted up two – yup, just two – stories on the health catastrophe unfolding at Middlemore in South Auckland. Tonight Heather du Plessis Allan declared the attacks will not cease until Labour is a lame duck and that Labour will be a one term government.

    The idea of an “independent media” is a chimera, a middle class luxury for people who still think Polly Toynbee has a constituency. The enemy has imprinted their ideology into the fabric of the “independent” media. Even moderate, liberal centre reform such as this piss water weak Labour led coalition wants will be opposed by a propaganda machine of walking and talking drones made more effective by never needing orders.

    If you don’t think the rules have changed and the fight has got to get dirty and partisan, then you are part of the problem.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    OK so I re-read the essay. Caution, rant to follow.

    IMHO, it is a piece of almost nauseating naivety. The foundation idea appears to be a breathless belief that if only the media told the public the truth, gave the public the important facts, if only SOMEONE could think of democracy, then truth, justice and the New Zealand way will be restored, and the self-evident truths of progressive politics will march on interrupted with all the joy of Volga Russian girls waving flowers at the presidium on a Soviet May day parade in red square.

    That is BULLSHIT. Let’s spell that out. B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. WTF is the “truth” anyway? Your truth and my truth can be completely different things. It is true that a coal mine will bring jobs. It is also true that stopping the coal mine saves a fishery and an endangered frog; even if most people would say fuck the frog if they could get a good job at the mine. Coal mine good, coal mine bad? One truth and another truth give completely different answers. And facts. Facts are sacred, right? BULLSHIT. B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. My facts are may be the same as your facts, but I order them in importance differently. Fuck that river; there is another one with plenty of fish in it. Screw that frog. Who gives a shit about frogs anyway?

    The left needs to accept it has no chance. It needs to understand that. An “independent media” is a nice meme for dumbasses like Hager and middle class twots who think everyone should just be reasonable.

    I need to explain this. Imagine this, imagine you are a journalist dedicated to “the truth”, and you are taking your big story to be published and that requires driving it into town in a big folder (that you got at Warehouse stationary on special) sitting on the passenger seat of your 2006 Mazda 323 with it’s slightly worn vinyl interior and fucking annoying obsolete CD player and you pull up to a red light and next to you is Mike Hoskings in a 2018 Ferrari all wheel drive racing sport edition with leather trim and the public – let’s imagine the public looks like Jennifer Lawrence – in the passenger seat, on their way to some flash as fuck soiree at Skycity with the captains of media ownership. So imagine that. Hoskings is in his Ferrari with Jennifer Lawrence in the passenger seat. Who is on your vinyl passenger seat? Oh yeah, the truth, whatever the fuck that looks like, that you are taking it to some shitty generic office with a broken seat to publish it to a choir of 2000 like-minded people who have no life beyond commenting on the internet. But the light is about to turn green and from the corner of your eye you notice Jennifer is glancing at you, giving you that twinkle in her eye, maybe-a-hint-of-a-smile look and for a second you convince yourself you are in with a chance, you are on the same road as Hoskings and you are in the same journalism game so maybe the public/Jennifer is interested and so hope flickers and you gather your courage and you gun your 1500cc motor – Vroom Vroom! VROOOOOM! – maybe it isn’t the car, maybe it isn’t the accessories, maybe it isn’t the money maybe the public/Jennifer is interested in YOUR story maybe she is interested in objective TRUTH and you believe that for a moment and if you just put on your best “hey baby, play your cards right and you’ll get to see the actual facts” smile you might get onto a level playing field and you look over and she’s gone! – VASSSSZOOOM! – 0-100km in 3.5 seconds in that Ferrari. You sit there stunned. And then your phone buzzes and you read the message and it hits you - You've just been made redundant again! And you sit there. You realise your sort of journalism didn’t have a fucking chance. You sit there at the lights in your pathetic Suzuki in silence and you look down on your story in it's folder and you realise – this is as good as it gets for your progressive journalism in the current media environment.

    This is how the modern MSM is.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    There is an article about electricity prices here it’s not easy to find online because it’s like a jungle in there. I read it in hard copy thru my reading glasses while drinking my espresso shake last night.

    What struck me, is how cleanly the journalist had explained what’s going on with solar panels and how they might affect higher power bills on people who continue to use the national grid.

    It’s good news. Not that the government might deside to use subsidies to keep the power company’s capital gains growing, in much the same way the accommodation supplement works for slum lords. It’s good news because it’s accessible to a wide audience. Well, the audience that reads the news paper that is.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4043 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Tom you should go for Hoskingers job with your simplistic, biased, ad hominem, straw-mannered drivel, you should be a shoe in. That is how the modern MSM is, not a rounded, fair, balanced approach to journalism that allows the readers to make up their own minds.

    Since Mar 2010 • 370 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    I understand the sensitivity of political interference in national broadcasting but I’m a little confused about why Carol Hirschfeld lost her job.

    I’ve read that there are various protocols in place but it’s difficult to see how this kind of transparency facilitates neutrality given that the RNZ CEO is a political appointee and ministerial influence over the portfolio is overt.

    If this was 1968 or if we were Cool Britannia this would have been handled differently and no-one would have been made to resign. It’s a storm in a teacup.

    Since Nov 2006 • 774 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to WH,

    If this was 1968 or if we were Cool Britannia this whole episode would have been handled differently and no-one would have been made to resign.

    Of possible interest.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4586 posts Report Reply

  • WH, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Thanks for the link - I hadn't known of Gordon Bick.

    I don’t mean to understate the importance of the nexus between Government and the media but wonder whether the relationships of real influence are being submerged and trivial matters overplayed in this particular instance.

    Since Nov 2006 • 774 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    "How do we stop politicians and other powerful interests interfering in news organisations?" Treating this as a non-rhetorical question, the obvious answer is via acts of parliament. A generic design would be ideal. I suspect the reason everyone considers this goal impossible to achieve is the binary nature of the status quo. Media ownership is either public or private.

    Just to focus on broadcasting (including websites), legislation that authorises all providers to operate only in the public interest would be resisted by private operators who want to broadcast for the benefit of sectional or sectarian interests only. I wouldn't be surprised if the judiciary were to support their antique right of favouritism.

    So the Supreme Court deciding in favour of traditional private property rights is likely to defeat a generic design. Even in regard to public property rights, the judiciary could determine that this notion is so novel as to be revolutionary (so obviously the left would never support it).

    Perhaps the best we could hope for is contract clauses that bind all media professionals to provide a public service by means of a broad definition of our common interests. Rather than our traditional binary left/right strait-jacket, it could spell out that contemporary society is multidimensional because it is multicultural, and that politics now includes all of us who are neither left nor right.

    Although our media tends to be inclusive nowadays, the pressure from the powerful to exclude participation they don't like remains. Organisational charters and contract clauses must incentivise equity of participation via our right of free speech. For instance, although climate change threatens human survival, those addicted to fossil fuels have a natural right to advocate their addiction in our media.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • SHG, in reply to WH,

    the RNZ CEO is a political appointee

    it's who the what now?

    nup • Since Oct 2010 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to WH,

    ...but I’m a little confused about why Carol Hirschfeld lost her job.

    She repeatedly misled her board superiors by stating to them that a requested in advance and diarised meeting, just happened as a chance event?

    Now why she felt the need to do this in the first place is a completely different issue?

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 885 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to FletcherB,

    Now why she felt the need to do this in the first place is a completely different issue?

    Richard Griffin?

    Since Mar 2010 • 370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Am I the only one who wishes Nicky would write another piece of incisive investigative journalism? For example, I'd be fascinated to read his perspective on the Middlemore hospital situation. And yes, Nicky, that is a hint!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 486 posts Report Reply

  • WH, in reply to FletcherB,

    She repeatedly misled her board superiors by stating to them that a requested in advance and diarised meeting, just happened as a chance event?

    I don't think we needed to lose Carol Hirschfeld's expertise.

    There's something that's happened I can't tell you about. It'll come out in due course and we'll talk honesty and integrity again then.

    Since Nov 2006 • 774 posts Report Reply

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