Posts by Lynn Williams
My Dad became a morphine addict after a tractor accident put him in hospital for a year and the gas gangrene that should have killed him left him with a ruined leg and an addiction that wasn't acknowledged by him or the system and which he fed with over the counter drugs like codeine. And when his ruined leg was finally removed 11 years later, they botched that - and he had numerous corrective surgeries on the stump - and muscle-skeletal pain from the imbalances created by years of walking crookedly. All reasons to keep taking the pills. I remember when he finally crashed and burned, had to confront his addiction and the withdrawal he went through. I was 16 and it terrified me. He later became addicted to benzodiazepines courtesy of a bent doctor prescribing far too many for a man with a history of severe long-term pain and addiction - and his withdrawal from them was even worse. He never really recovered and died aged 64. So I get it - albeit my perspective is from the sidelines. Controlling the supply; providing other forms of pain relief; helping remove stressors from people's lives; helping people regain a sense of control and purpose and self-respect - its not a desirable, would be nice if we could afford it - it's an essential.
Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe, in reply to
"Although the surprisingly favourable reception for what David Parker had to say at the Herald’s Mood of the Boardroom event was worth noting."
What would have been worthy of note is if the mood of the boardroom had been any different given what they want is a political 'opposition' that will provide a seamless service to them.
People who think that it's a good thing for corporate interests (home grown and international) to shape politics should opt for the party leader that the movers and shakers approve of - and work to maintain the voters' focus on the leaders of the parties as 'celebrities' to mask the fact that there's actually no real political difference between them.
Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe, in reply to
Did you ask them WHY they didn't like Cunliffe?
Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe,
Who wrote this on September 4th?
"Cunliffe spoke well on these matters, as he has done over the last 3 months of the campaign in the city. He knows that Labour’s policy is popular here, as he has been down here to announce it, and has talked with hundreds of residents who are in difficult situation. Instead of just making light of people’s real hardship like the Prime Minister, Cunliffe has showed an empathy that Key lacks. While the media in Auckland and Wellington might have called it one way, the people in Christchurch were only presented with one leader who understands the issues in this city, and it wasn’t the Prime Minister."
OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance, in reply to
The media in general was pretty selective in what it highlighted about Dirty Politics e.g. loads of attention on Collins and the SIS briefing but not much on the influence of Lusk and Slater on National Party candidate selection and the implications of that for the election, and not much about the smearing of critics of big business and what that means for NZ - especially in light of the secretive negotiations around the TPPA.
Large sections of the media - especially commercial radio - were openly dismissive and repeated key claims over and over like so many stir crazy parrots:
1. politics is a dirty business, everyone uses dirty tricks;
2. look at what Labour did (Mike Williams, Helen Clark etc etc), this is no different, in fact, when you think about it, it's not nearly as bad;
3.. the timing of the publication of the book is itself an example of dirty politics;
4. the author is a left wing activist/conspiracy theorist and therefore inherently biassed;
5. don't bother reading it because it's all lies and you're helping someone make money from crime;
6. the material it's based on was stolen which means the hacker and the author are no better/way worse than those they're pointing the finger at;
7. the left have attack blogs too;
8. Cameron Slater was acting on his own and what he did wasn't nice but given how awful the left is who can blame him for being a bit over-zealous;
9. even if Judith Collins, Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham, Jordan Williams, Jason Ede, Cathy Odgers et al did do all of this that doesn't mean John Key orchestrated it or condoned it or even knew about it;
10. Key is such a good bloke and Cunliffe is so tricky who do you believe folks, the one who gets a text from Ritchie McCaw saying 'yes you can' or the one who's got mates like Hager and Dotcom?
It was such a stunningly wrong-headed outcome that - IF the media did in fact do all it could to present the issues in a full, accurate, impartial and balanced manner, and IF it did all it could to identify and investigate further those issues that were of critical national importance - a high proportion of NZers must be verging on brain dead.
I don't think that is the case. Sections of the populace may have been bought off, dumbed down, turned off, diverted away but - without the constant drip feeding of misinformation and outright lies from the populist media - combined with the failure of the quality media to get its teeth into the critical issues - the outcome would have been very different.
Just as it would have been if the true state of the rock star economy's health had been known last week.
To suggest that the fault lies with a complacent / compliant / conservative majority who just didn't want to hear the truth is post hoc rationalisation of a what was a big fat fail. And that's why a lot of people are so very, very pissed off. Well, this person any way.
Katherine Rich on Nigel Latta’s doco about sugar was asked about the food industry’s culpability in actively promoting the consumption of sugar-rich foods and drinks. Her answer was that if she can use advertising as a ‘source of information’ in making consumer choices, so can anyone.
That’s as cynical and unsustainable a position as the claim that the mainstream media has no undue influence on the decisions people make.
The media clearly DOES influence public opinion – by which facts are included, which are left out, which are emphasised, what language is used, what images are attached to a story, where it appears in the news lineup, what the headline says….
The Press Editorial on Monday opined that one of the reasons Labour did so badly was an ‘over reliance on the party leader’. National’s reliance on its leader and his brand is one step away from a cult of personality but somehow in Labour that reliance is a failure. The only inference to be drawn is the editorial writer isn’t critical that Labour put its leader front and centre, but that it had the wrong leader.
That aside, the presidential style leadership battle is heavily promoted by the mainstream media and as a result, hard for one leader to opt out of it. The Herald’s front page victory photo of Key and his family was pure US presidential imagery.
The Labour Party at the moment isn’t engaging in a robust debate according to the media – it’s ‘tearing itself apart’.
David Cunliffe will have: ‘he apologised for being a man’ as his political epitaph – because of the way that what he said and its context was spun by the media, seemingly with the aim of inflicting most political damage.
Should the media have been more accurate, impartial and balanced in its ‘reporting’ of that comment? Yes.
Should Cunliffe have been more alert to the way the media would ‘report’ his comment? Yes – because he should have known that anything, however insignificant and trivial that could be used against him, would be.
But, that says a lot more about the ethics of the MSM (and Cunliffe’s rightwing caucus colleagues) than the man himself.
Key presided over a series of massive political blunders and was showered with evidence of unethical conduct by his party – and came up smelling of very expensive aftershave.
Nowt to do wit’ media though.
I’m not a Labour Party member but if I was I’d vote for Cunliffe because I don’t want to see NZ degenerate further into a small island version of the US with politics dominated by two powerful right wing parties providing a seamless service to global corporate interests and offering no real voter choice.
The political arena over the past 30 years has been dragged so far back to the right that the centre has been redefined and even moderate left policies and priorities are labelled as extremist.
The media has played a key role in that – pun intended.
Maybe part of the problem is that you can be a partisan and talentless hack but be judged to be a very ‘successful’ journalist / commentator. And you can be a talented and ethical journalist / commentator and not be especially ‘successful’.
Most journos – other than the utterly empty-headed – want to be respected by their peers and by other people whose opinion matters. They want to be regarded as clever, insightful and well informed people of substance – not mere repeaters of selected facts and popular opinion.
The problem is that, among the people whose opinion matters are editors, the people who stand behind editors, politicians and other movers and shakers who may not want journos to be scrupulous and ethical, or at least who require them to be selective in the exercise of their ethics and thoroughness.
To become and remain ‘successful’ may mean stooping to being a partisan hack at times – and worse. Maybe some of the aggression we see directed at people in the pursuit of a story is an expression of self-loathing. Maybe when Patrick Gower shouted at David Cunliffe to stop being ‘tricky’, he was expressing a deep disquiet with things he’s had to do in order to become and remain ‘successful’. When he tweeted to Laila Harre et al, that their ‘rorting’ of MMP made him ‘sick’, maybe he was actually angry at himself for his failure to say the same thing to John Key about Epsom.
In a pack, that state of emotional dissonance may become amplified and result in extreme displacement activity in the form of aggressive attacks on the focus of the story – the person being interviewed becomes prey. For some, any sign of weakness from the prey is a signal – not for compassion – but increased viciousness. It’s never a pretty sight.