MMP Ignorance Update: still as strong as ever.
TVNZ Colmar Brunton poll shows government (would be) comfortably re-elected. But National WIN!!11!
Of course they do.
Unfortunately coverage like that from Todd Niall is in the media margins, while a visiting celeb who looks over at Rangitoto and says "Auckland is awesome!' will get the front page.
We (or at least, our media) are more interested in assessing Auckland superficially, through meaningless international surveys ("5th most livable, says press release we've copied and pasted!") than in facing up to our long-term problems. The people who make the decisions need our votes first, and they're not encouraged to get elected by telling hard truths.
It's a familiar and tiresome pattern, isn't it?
1. NZer gets international recognition for achievements. So they are Doing Us Proud, and we get the "not bad for a kid from Hicksville" stories, and possibly annoint them New Zealander of the year. Hooray!
2. The international recognition means they appear in overseas media, saying stuff (Catton, Castle-Hughes, Lawless, Lorde, countless others).
3. But in NZ the people in charge of Reckons are not appearing in overseas media. They are radio hosts and columnists and assorted People Who Say What They Think, but nobody outside NZ ever cares what they think. Mike Hosking's opinions are inexplicably overlooked by Time Magazine and CNN.
4. So the various mini-celebs who do get their Reckons reported by foreigners are especially culpable, not only for what they say ("Boo!") but for being reported at all. And what have they ever done? Compared with, say, churning out fact-free columns for clickbait?
The poison is posted (some of it vile), and then deleted (moderation seems to be random, and certainly late). And then suddenly – the piece is no longer open for comments at all (not just closed, the comments simply disappear, as if they were never there).
Stuff have done it again, with the Israel Folau story. Harvest the homophobes for a couple of hours, then suddenly - delete all.
As I said before, this is not just the usual online platform for nastiness, justified in the name of free speech. The speech simply disappears - but only after the damage has been done. It can't be rebutted, it was "never there". Except, it was.
Horrible, irresponsible, and Stuff should bloody well be explaining why they do it.
Neil, please don't crowbar irrelevant Simon Bridges' talking points into this thread. Cheers.
I'm sufficiently cynical to kick principles into touch if there's a prize worth winning (Andy Haden line-out dive? I saw nothing, only the final score).
But this won't work. In summary, a waka-jumper who stays in parliament is the bad guy, a figure of media mockery, who taints his new party by association. But an MP who gets expelled will be transformed into a victim, even if s/he is entirely without merit. So the narrative is turned on its head.
I don't want to create martyrs out of molehills.
Why do organisations like the NZDF deny, dissemble, distract? Why do they run down the clock?
Because they know it works. They know it won't be leading the news for long. Even though it is far more important than many "big" stories of today, it won't be leading the six o'clock news. But credit to those who still remind us ...
I'm not an idiot, I know why they want clicks. But as I said, it's a case of opening comments (sometimes for less than an hour) then deleting them all as if it had never happened. It's neither fish nor fowl. AFAIK nobody else does this.
The last few days have shown that Stuff.co.nz continues to have an identity crisis.
On the home page there are links to a number of in-depth stories, and they stay up for a long time. There is coverage of the sugar tax issue, of #MeToo, of the NZDF, etc. This is all a useful contribution to public information and debate. In all sincerity, good on 'em.
On the other hand ... there is the troll farm. The Labour camp story is (rightly) being extensively covered, the essential job of "holding to account" is being done (even if some of the pieces are taken from Newsroom - never mind, it's good to share, and Stuff's readership is presumably bigger).
But somebody at Stuff is confused. Many of the stories have been opened up for comments. And since the topic includes politics, sexual assault and minors, guess what happens? Yes, entirely predictable. The trolls and party hacks flood in. The poison is posted (some of it vile), and then deleted (moderation seems to be random, and certainly late). And then suddenly - the piece is no longer open for comments at all (not just closed, the comments simply disappear, as if they were never there). Because the kids in the playground couldn't be trusted to play nicely. Well gosh, who knew?
As soon as I see that one of these articles has been opened up for comments my heart sinks. Then later on it's a relief to see that it isn't any more. But what on earth is the point of this policy? (It's not even a policy, really: just blindfold darts).
Yes, yes, I know, "never read the comments" but hey - this a media outlet that wants to merge with another one and become the big gorilla. And if it's a monster with barely moderated comments, then our leading news source will be more WhaleOil than Washington Post. So let's hope Stuff can work out what on earth they want to be, and ... well, be it.
Follow-up: it's been corrected. Took 2 hours.