Superb effort. Seeing Americans online just gobsmacked at how fast we have been able to change our gun laws.
And seeing Americans online trying to swamp Twitter threads by claiming “our gun rights”, forgetting to pretend they’re totes Kiwi dudes living in Hamilton or wherever.
Apparently the 2nd amendment is not only sacred in the USA, it must also apply to an independent country they couldn’t locate on the map just a week ago. It’s a useful reminder to our own media: when they talk about “the gun lobby” who do they really mean? People who can’t even vote here?
On a more positive note, here are some of the events planned for today and tomorrow.
See you in the Auckland Domain on Friday (and/or Ponsonby Mosque if I can make it).
I find that I'm getting increasingly angry at this sudden discovery of far-right bigotry on blogs, social media etc. Gosh, who knew?
Anybody who f***ing wanted to know, that's who.
Sack real estate agents if it makes you feel cleansed, but let's not pretend we are changing anything, if there is simply a 'decent interval' (a month? a fortnight?) before all the enablers are being quoted as "political commentators", "centre-right bloggers", your friendly panelists on the AM show, Newstalk ZB and the rest.
If the media want to hear from Farrar, Brash, Slater and their ilk, then invite them on to be interviewed and challenged for what they do, not as wise counsel to be respectfully consulted.
FG, I don't want to get into a slanging match on this thread, on this subject, at this time. So I would respectfully ask you to think about the comparison that you have made in that comment, reconsider its merit, and edit accordingly. Thanks.
I saw there was some discussion on Twitter (I don't have an account myself) on my criticism above re-Stuff comments. So a quick response/clarification:
As stated before, I have been very impressed by the reporting since Friday. So this is specifically about the comments policy, not about the journos' work, which I really do appreciate.
In fact, it's precisely because a lot of the journalism is worth reading, that the comments policy is so disheartening. It is as if the aim was to undermine their own work. There are guaranteed triggers (race, gender, and any mention of the PM) that produce predictably dismal responses. And also predictably, comments are quickly closed again.
Here is just one example, very much on topic, of how Stuff can provide an outlet for misinformation and prejudice. It is not good enough that most comments are acceptable/harmless - they usually are. But there is always a sizeable minority that are anything but. Nor does the "free speech" argument stack up: I'm not suggesting anything said below the line should be outlawed, merely that a mainstream media organisation should not be seeking to encourage them, and deliberately providing a platform (and it is deliberate, there is no doubt about that).
Specifically on the situation post-Friday: it raises two other concerns, the random opening/closing of comments, and the up/down voting. There is an opinion piece by a Southland imam which has been immediately undercut by allowing comments, and then closing them as soon as the "whataboutery" began. Either allow rebuttal or don't have comments at all.
Worse is the idiotic up/down voting. Shockingly, this option was included for the tributes to the victims now closed but well worth reading. Those are incredibly moving tributes, heartfelt and life-affirming, each person adding a distinct voice. But within the thread you can see concern expressed that comments are being voted DOWN. (The votes naturally change, and at time of writing are positive, though I have witnessed them fluctuating). Never mind the extraordinary question of what kind of person would get a kick out of giving minus votes to a condolence ... why the hell is it even an option? What possible service to public debate or free speech or anything of any value at all, is Stuff offering here?
OK, enough for now. To repeat: I have nothing but respect for the work that the Stuff reporters have been doing, under incredible stress. They deserve better than to be tarred by association with this.
As soon as news broke on Friday, Stuff.co.nz was providing good coverage of a rapidly changing tragedy. For 3 days their team, presumably working hours overtime, did a fine job.
They (editors?) also decided to switch off comments, on almost every piece published, for those 3 days. Now they are back, and guess what? The sewer, shut down for that interval of decency, is back and nothing has changed.
So here is what I wrote on a Stuff comments thread, before it was closed (and so this was not published):
I would like to know what action Stuff will be taking to clean up your own comments section. Will moderators follow the clearly stated rules? They are broken all the time, and so Stuff has become a magnet for bigotry. It is now the go-to site in the NZ media for those who want to spread nasty abuse in the comments. If that is NOT what you want, the remedy is in your own hands. Simply follow your own moderation rules, as set out for every article.
Since Friday afternoon nearly all of Stuff's coverage has been closed for comments. I totally agree with that decision, but you should ask yourselves why you even needed to do that?
Because you know who you attract. Now is the time to ask why, and whether that is who you want to be. Thank you.
I will e-mail them with similar sentiments. I don't think the usual advice of "never read the comments" will stack up any more. I never read 4chan or Kiwiblog either, but that doesn't make their poison go away.
On a more positive note, I do think the the NZ media have done a generally good job in the most challenging of circumstances, in the hours/days after the massacre. There were a few stumbles and premature assumptions, but overall I felt the two main TV networks (1 and 3) plus RNZ, along with Stuff and the Herald deserve credit for keeping us informed and making on-the-spot decisions under pressure. I know it feels ghoulish to offer praise against such a traumatic backdrop, but they had a professional job to do and did it well.
Thanks for this, Russell.
Human nature being what it is, many will not reflect or change. But some might. And at the very least, those in the media who provide a platform for misinformation will either cease doing so or will do their homework to challenge the peddlers of prejudice.
As for the woefully misguided FSC, let's not forget their role in waving through the bigotry, and feeding the hate. We have 'Sharia Law' in New Zealand, according to the Canadian visitors defended by the 'Free Speech Coalition'. Well, it doesn't look that way today - and it never did.
Of course, they have the right to spout nonsense, and Don Brash and his pals have the right to remain silent, or to insist they have not bothered to familiarise themselves with those they are defending (as he did, repeatedly), but wouldn't it have helped if Brash & co exercised their free speech - then or now - to repudiate such lies?
"Won't somebody think of the children?"
"Yes. The children."
"No, not them ..."
Politics/Media Guidebook, page one: Children should be invoked, not heard.
I watched that Garner/Swarbrick interview live. I strongly recommend it as Exhibit A every time somebody says that Chloe is too young to understand stuff and has no real life experience and we should only have MPs who have "lived", because obviously extra decades outside the womb automatically leads to wisdom. (However, I don't recommend watching it if you don't enjoy shouting at the screen. Trust me, there will be shouting).
Duncan Garner is 45.