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Chris Trotter says MediaWorks’ decision to take Sean Plunket off the air raises some very disturbing questions about New Zealand’s political diversity

Chris Trotter says MediaWorks’ decision to take Sean Plunket off the air raises some very disturbing questions about New Zealand’s political diversity

By Chris Trotter*

Last week, Sean Plunket was awarded the DCM. Mere days after John Banks, standing-in for his fellow right-wing broadcaster, Peter Williams, was driven from Magic Talk Radio’s microphones, Plunket was abruptly advised that his services as the station’s “Magic Afternoons” host were no longer required. Magic Talk’s decision was made amidst the furore created by Banks’ failure to fight on-air racism with sufficient zeal, and the subsequent threats from its major advertisers to withdraw their support. Did the prospect of the right-wing contrarian’s imminent return prompt at least one of those major advertisers to issue Magic Talk’s proprietor, MediaWorks, with an ultimatum? Something along the lines of: “If Plunket stays, we go”?

Plunket’s position at Magic Talk was already somewhat precarious. In December of last year, the Broadcasting Standards Authority found against the veteran broadcaster for what it deemed to be his “offensive and harmful” comments to a spokesperson from Te Whānau ā Apanui – the Maori iwi manning Covid-19 check-points in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Magic Talk was reprimanded and fined $3,000 for Plunket’s breach of broadcasting standards. Already acutely sensitive to accusations of racism, their top shock-jock’s outspokenness was, almost certainly, top-of-mind among the station’s bosses – and advertisers.

MediaWorks’ decision to take Plunket off the air, if it stands, raises some very disturbing questions.

On the face of it, his fate appears to have been determined by the opinions he holds, which, if established, would constitute a clear case of discrimination on the grounds of political belief. If upheld by the Human Rights Commission, such a violation of a New Zealand citizen’s rights and freedoms, as set out in the Bill of Rights Act 1990, could end up costing his employer a great deal more than $3,000.

Presumably, a broadcaster in Plunket’s position, would argue that he was hired because of, not in spite of, his right-wing political beliefs. Having failed to enlarge its listenership by delivering a programme-mix tailored to the prejudices of centrist and left-leaning New Zealanders, MediaWorks (via Magic Talk) would be accused of re-orienting itself towards a much more conservative demographic. In this regard, Plunket’s right-wing contrarian style would have been exactly what they were looking for: a feature, not a bug. To take a person off-air for doing exactly what his employers’ business-plan required of him, seems just a tad unfair.

In its current form, however, it is difficult to imagine the Human Rights Commission wanting anything less than the responsibility for determining whether or not the rights and freedoms of a citizen in Plunket’s situation have been violated. Indeed, it is hard to avoid forming the impression that the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990 has become a source of considerable embarrassment to the Human Rights Commissioners responsible for its enforcement. In the current “woke” climate, the key sections of the Act are inconveniently uncompromising.

Section 13 of the Bill of Rights Act 1990, for example, guarantees to all New Zealanders freedom of thought: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief, including the right to adopt and to hold opinions without interference.” Even more inconveniently, Section 14 grants them the freedom to express those opinions: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.”

In the past, radio stations and television networks have guarded these rights and freedoms jealously. Indeed, there was a very strong tradition in both public and private broadcasting that “news and current-affairs” and “advertising” – like matter and anti-matter – should never be allowed to meet.

This tradition was about more than the broadcasters’ attachment to liberal-democratic principles. Radio and television, no less than newspapers and magazines, pitch their product at different socio-economic segments of the media market. Among the many factors contributing to the profile of these “demographics” is ideological predisposition. Newstalk-ZB, for example, makes its profits out of an older, whiter, less credentialled, and generally more conservative demographic of listeners. Advertisers buy air-time for products and services tailored to fit this demographic profile. They want Mike Hosking’s audience: and, until very recently, that required them to, at the very least, tolerate Mike Hosking’s listeners’ less-than-woke political views.

It is very hard to believe that MediaWorks’ advertisers were unaware that Magic Talk Radio had pivoted right, away from RNZ National’s demographic and towards Newstalk-ZB’s. It is equally hard to credit that Sean Plunket and Peter Williams were not presented to them as powerful magnets for the folk who were missing Newstalk’s arch-conservative host, Leighton Smith. Surely, they would have understood what sort of political discussions their ad-breaks would be interrupting?

What are we looking at, then, when we see corporations threatening to pull their ads from programmes whose listeners come from the very demographics they are targeting? Are we witnessing an intra-corporate triumph of woke PR mavens over hard-working marketing grunts?

The answer is, almost certainly, “Yes”. Overwhelmingly, the graduates pouring out of this country’s “communications studies” courses and into corporate PR are young women who, for years, have been schooled in the uncompromising dogma of social radicalism – especially feminism and anti-racism. When they learn (via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) the awful truth about the latest shock-jock’s racist outrage, their first instinct is the get their employers’ brand as far away from the perpetrators’ “toxicity” as possible. Failure to “get ahead of the problem”, their bosses are cautioned, will lead directly to consumer boycotts. The “Roastbusters” precedent will be cited. To date, their bosses have demonstrated little need for further persuasion.

This is politics – albeit of a particularly bizarre kind. Attempting to homogenise ideologically an irreducibly diverse market makes as little sense for capitalists as it does for political parties. Imagine what would happen to the National Party if it produced a policy programme that matched Labour’s in every respect. How would conservative voters respond? Either, they would pressure National MPs to force the abandonment of their party’s new centre-left orientation, or, if that proved impossible, they would begin casting about for a new party to champion their values and beliefs.

At some point in the near future, it will occur to senior corporate executives that what’s sauce for the woke goose might also be sauce for the aggressively right-wing gander. Take too many conservative voices off the air and eventually their fans will band together and announce a boycott of their own. At that point, corporate CEOs are going to have to do what politicians have always done: learn to count: “What is the volume of sales that we are likely to lose if the woke boycott us? Is it larger or smaller than the volume we will lose if conservative Kiwis stop buying our products?”

Similarly, how long will it be before one or more local (or overseas) capitalists grasp the possibilities of establishing a Fox News-type media entity right here in New Zealand, and using it to seize more-or-less the entire conservative demographic? How biddable will corporate leaders be if the size of its right-wing audience turns out to represent a clear plurality of the New Zealand population? Whose threats of boycott will count for more then: the Woke’s or the Right’s?

If the New Zealand news media persists in the folly of “cancelling” all those listeners, viewers and readers who fail to pass ideological muster, then we will see the emergence of our own version of Fox News – with all that entails for the health of our country and its democratic institutions. Who would lead it? Do we have a Hannity, or a Tucker Carlson, waiting out there in the wings? Where to start looking for a talented right-wing contrarian, boasting years of professional broadcasting experience, who is currently between jobs?


*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. He writes a weekly column for interest.co.nz. His work may also be found at http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com.

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96 Comments

12
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I do not know what the "Roastbusters precedent" is, but I think that referencing these people is not wise in this otherwise good article. NOBODY in their right mind would approve of these appalling roastbuster people.
Personally I do not need any media to reinforce my right leaning views. And for example, I click on less and less things on Stuff these days.

17
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With no MSM identity willing to portray and hold a view other than that of the left or hold politicians to account, the long suffering NZ public will continue to drink the abundance of leftist Koolaid and live in ignorance.

It's certainly apparent that companies who do otherwise get held out to suffer. Advertisers are petrified of the same fate.

It's a sad day for free speech and opinion when the vocal and nasty left behave like BDS toward anyone who is even remotely centrist. As such your average man in the street is too scared to speak for fear of job loss, ostracism or public retribution.

Socialist Peoples Republic of Aotearoa here we come.

Interesting and nice to see this from Chris Trotter normally an ardent left wing supporter. Journalists these days dont seem to be independent or balanced anymore.

17
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"You can tell who has the power by seeing who can't be criticised".
In New Zealand that is Maori. (and the maori wannabes)

See the attached link to comment by Sir Michael Bassett ex Labour MP on the new history curriculum.

https://thebfd.co.nz/2021/02/08/labours-history-curriculum/

The problem is as it's to be compulsory, the indoctrination if the entire population over time entrenches it as the truth.

Your last paragraph can equally be applied to much previous teaching, resulting in the current push back. Bassetts only statements that I'm inclined to agree with is the decline in the study of history, but I don't think the new curriculum will affect that either way. Just a fade.

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I dont really care what gets taught as long as its balanced and accurate. That's the way education should be.

I think Sir Michael's piece highlights the importance of context and balance. Teaching NZ history should be compulsory in Secondary Schools up to year8 (?) and be an available option past that. It must however teach all facets - warts and all and not be hijacked to become a sanitised version/indoctrination. Teaching it to 11 and 12yr olds might be a bit early, 13 and older perhaps less so. Learning the history of an area and the reasons or backgrounds to place names would be imo beneficial. Certainly wish it had been taught in my time at College.

Same downward trend as the science curriculum, cherry picking the last 30 year time span as being relevant to climate when it is a mere drop in the bucket of the aeons of time geologically speaking.

Worrying.

Not surprising.

We'll be eating vegan modified guinea pigs next.

I hope like hell the by Maori for Maori approach works in Oranga Tamariki. Not sure how that works for non Maori but hopefully it will be a success.

Yes, who will they blame if they can't fix it themselves? Colonialism I imagine. It will still be the white people's fault.

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What a crock of s***. Don't conflate 'right-wing views' with nastiness, racism, and bigotry, because those are all staple qualities of Plunket. Typically, you will see plenty of people who share the same hateful ideas complaining about the loss of 'free speech', continually failing to recognise that this does not absolve one from repercussions. SP is a scumbag mouthpiece for other scumbags. Good riddance.

Left, Right, Conservative, Liberal - labels are for cans.

Thanks Chris for a great article.
Free speech is a key part of our democracy.
Having a place for people to voice their views and have them challenged is important.
By removing a forum does not make the extreme views of the people both left and right go away.
I listen to Sean and Peter also radio NZ as the conversation challenges me.
Magic talk will hopefully find another person who is brave enough to let people talk clever enough to challenge their logic.

MSM were about informing the public now its about controlling the public. Freedom of speech in all its forms is important. The nasty stuff reveals and identifies far more about the messenger than the message itself. It allows you, at the most basic level, to identify friend from foe, builds personal resilience and often encourages people to seek a greater knowledge. The cancel culture invading our society makes people less reliant on their own personal strengths and more dependent on rules and regulations.

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But I am glad that we can still see reruns of Billy T James courtesy of the Maori Channel. With the incessant, banshee-like wailing of the cancel culture turned up to maximum volume in NZ I feared we had lost one of our most iconic TV entertainers for ever. Probably a good thing that it is not TV1 or TV3 screening the reruns or, no doubt, there would be a very different slant on the conversation. Catch it at 8pm on Tuesdays.

12
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Yeah Billy T was a classic. He'd never get away with a lot of his content now - in fact I remember him being vilified for it in his later years. Speaks volumes that it's only run on MTV

I really believe we have gone so far that no other station could get away with running it. Good on ya MTV.

The more the MSM & Media works go woke the less I will listen to them other than to identify their advertisers whose products I will avoid and a as more past listeners do this so the station and its advertisers will descend into irrelevance and insolvency.

Some boomers have got to realise the world's changing and the young that they continually bash are gaining more influence/control over the system. It's no longer acceptable to be openly racist & discriminatory in the name of free speech. John Banks & Peter Williams are prime examples - simply terrible, not only their out dated views but their shows have 0 entertainment value. Truely out of touch. Sean Plunket - whilst mostly controversial, at least he has entertainment value and captures a slightly wider audience.

I wonder when the ring leader Hosking will go?

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It's not just Boomers as you assert.

How do you explain the comments from Davidson toward Judith Collins if not racist and discriminatory? Surely culture doesnt trump gender equality.

Does it seem those terms can only be assigned to white western aging sections of the population?

Collins is not a great example, she gets what she gives.

12
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So that makes it ok? Why is she such a poor example?

So much for all the kindness for all diatribe we get.

Seems the labels typically get attached to one section of the population and not to others behavior in the same manner.

Collins "I am a woman of colour - the colour white..."

The article's about talk back radio hosts & advertising anyway, not sure why you've deviated from that...

13
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I think you introduced racism and discrimination.

Shes not wrong. White is a colour.
Everyone should be treated equally based on ethnicity sex religion age or whatever - even women and so called white people.

Just because views exist in the public domain that you may not agree with doesnt mean you're entitled to have them shut them down. Isnt that just the much proclaimed diversity in action? Diversity - of opinion.

Doomers seem to like imposing their views and values on other people

CT writes “ his opinion.” That really is the problem isn’t it. Should a broadcaster push his opinion onto people especially if at the same time, they ascribe themselves as being a journalist. This is what it has grown into, even TV news readers far too often use body language and voice intonations to portray their own thoughts on the matter. It has become all about the personality with the microphone as the first priority, their status and fame and progression of both and resultant pay package, rather than the news etc. So we are now required to receive all this under the influence of another. Gone are the days of Philip Sherry, Bill Toft, Dougal Stephenson regret to say, where the integrity of fulfilling their role professionally, took first place.

Surely people must be able to express an opinion even if it challenges the majority view of the day. We will not achieve progress unless we keep a free and balanced perspective. Both sides should be heard whether you agree or not. But the news should be the facts not tainted by bias.

Nifty... homophobic slurs like "ring leader" are also no longer acceptable. LOL

Haha what? Think we've got different definitions of what ring leader means...?

I unfortunately come across the odd Hosking's opinion in my daily news feed. How someone with such appalling world views gets any airtime is beyond me.

Thing is Solve it, as CT points out - what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. He has quite a following and to be fair, the odd times I listen to him I find him quite amusing - especially his totally "unwoke" and irreverent attitude to most things. It's quite refreshing given all the mundane, vanilla, "can't say that I might offend someone" commentary usually on offer. At least he has an opinion
There's an old saying - If the hat fits, wear it. You may not agree with him, and you have the opportunity to challenge his views but they shouldn't be banned due to an advertising contract. BTW, if you disagree with Hosking so vehemently why do read his missives on your news feed?

The young need to recognize that everything they enjoy is due to boomers and their parents/grandparents, so far the young generations claim to fame is Facebook & Twitter which are hardly of any real economic benefit to society at large.

11
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If advertisers like Vodaphone had any genuine sense of justice they would look at Stuff News bizarre heading "Our Truth" and cut all funds to them.

Can you expand on this comment KH - why would Vodafone cut funds for a article on our history based on fact?

Simple answer Frazz. "articles not based on fact".
eg. The many recent stories about the Ruapekapeka battle. Which mention only the British outside the pa. But neglect to mention the ratio of Ngapuhi fighting outside to inside was as much as 50/1.
Dramatic ratio.

I am talking about todays article Our Truth, Tā Mātou Pono: Migrants of colour seen as 'forever foreigners'

So you don't want to talk about the fraudulent articles. Ok. Just so you know "Our Truth" is a frequent Stuff section.

Can you back up your post or do we just take your word for it? A journalist usually does research and has to base their articles on fact..

Gave you the example Frazz. Refute it if you can.

Yes a lie by omission is far too often and lazily expressed for the writer’s purpose. Even the esteemed Michael King fails this test. For example in The Penguin History of New Zealand he makes great play on how the WW1 force sent to take the German territory of Samoa just missed encountering the German pacific squadron leaving readers to think, “how lucky, NZrs may have been sunk.” Whereas the force was well escorted, including battle cruiser HMAS Australia I think, and would have easily out gunned the German squadron.

Usually? More often than not they're offering a slanted perspective based on their own opinions and what they want you to believe. It's not only on this type of thing it's all issues

Yes, research and corroboration...

or as it is called now Wikipedia and a couple of Reddit/Twitter posts. Bonus points if they chuck in an opposing Reddit/Twitter post for “Balance”

10
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Frazz.... First let me say I am as disgusted as anyone about the rent and housing problem and how it is excluding a disproportionate number of Maori from an inclusive society. However, I do believe that right from the very first article a few months back Stuff has slanted and twisted everything to fit their narrative.
Their very first article about child-killings in NZ and how we all knew the names Nia Glassie, the Kahui brothers etc and how Stuff had published many articles on these cases but very little on Pakeha child killings to prove how racist Stuff had been is a good example. My first thought was, oh my God they are right, how racist and terrible and how could I not have realised. However, it did not take too much additional thought and a little research to understand that clearly racism was not the reason (for the disparity in publicity) and was perniciously used to fit their "I'm white but I'm woke" narrative.
The Maori killings received a lot of media attention for two very simple reasons. Firstly, the gruesome nature of the killings (put in a dyer, hung on the clothes line, FFS) made for macabre and fascinating (for many) ongoing coverage. Secondly, and more importantly, the cases where the Whanau closed ranks and refused to identify the murderers naturally remained in the media for some time (and were given additional media coverage) due to trial coverage etc. Most of the Pakeha murders Stuff used as examples, were, while horrible and unforgiveable, murder suicides that were only ever going to get limited media coverage regardless of the race of the people involved.
Stuff deliberately slanted this story (and have slanted others in similar ways) to fit their trendy lefty narrative. They nearly fooled me and I presume they fooled many others. The amount of media coverage each case got was not based on the race of the people but on the details of each case and to cast it as a race issue was a disgrace and an affront to all kiwis.
Let us strive for an equitable society and try to ensure Maori are not over represented in the wrong areas. But Stuff, please do not insult our intelligence with your (largely) twisted, agenda filling, self-image focused and frankly, biased and racist, reporting. It helps nobody so cut it out.

Karl, reporting the facts as they are available is not racist. The Glassie killing (and others) were of significant national interest due their nature and the subsequent "closing of ranks" by the close and extended family. Recently there have been others of a similar vein.
NZ society is well aware of the massive over representation by Maori in pretty much all measured negative statistics - examination and honest critique of this is not racist nor is the reporting of it.

Karl is expressing a pretty much undisputed fact that the media will embellish any story, any piece of news in fact, to any degree possible if it results in consumer attention regardless of whether the facts are actually true or even researched in the first place.Unfortunately racial bias will feed that quite readily.This is the media of Murdoch and Maxwell. In other words if you can put a story out there that sells X amount of advertising, then weigh that up against the consequences of being sued, and given profile and income out of that as the icing. Hard, callous, mercenary but News of The World made a lot of MONEY before it hit the rocks, didn’t they all.

which is pretty much what I said so it seems we agree. Stuff implied they had given cases involving Maori more coverage and cases involving Pakeha less coverage and the amount of coverage these child murders received was based (mainly) on race. To me that seems like a blatant twisting of the facts and a quick review of the cases they used as examples pretty clearly identify the real reasons behind the disparity in coverage.
For Stuff to claim that any NZ media outlet (including themselves) would determine the amount of coverage an issue received based on the race of the people involved is far-fetched and they should be ashamed of trying to frame it that way.
I am all for fairness and equality, which in a way, is exactly why I was so disgusted in the way they tried to frame that first article.

Politicians and CEOs counting?
Generally both have such narrowed views they miss the majority of numbers on the periphery.
I have tried listening to talk back the odd time but haven't heard anyone whom I thought was not trying to deliberately wind me up with ridiculous accusations and bs. I get the feeling there are many like me out there who just want the news or a well thought out opinion presented as such.
Fact is, we don't "count".

19
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I had a commented deleted by NZH for something like:
White privilege (which I was accused of) has as much accuracy and racial stereotyping as lazy Maori.
White privilege =Tongan=Indian=Maori privilege. A child having parents who love and encourage them. Instilling values and making a decision to have children when they can afford the essentials of upbringing.
When a reported 1/4 of Maori children are born into welfare, you know the country has a problem.

Walked past the local msd office the other day only to see a banged up car parked out front with a sticker across the windscreen saying "catch you up".

In the front seat in full sun was a newborns child seat with a brand new baby screaming in agitation and probably heat exhaustion and dehydration.

The car was parked in blazing hot sun. No adults to be found anywhere. The person placed in charge of the newborn was a young girl of about 3 years old.

I don't know what was more depressing... to note the young child's skin colour, or to consider briefly whether to call the police and alert the authorities before catching myself thinking... why bother.

It's a bit disappointing you didn't venture into the MSD office and have a word with someone - no doubt you'd feel a bit grim if the child had died.

Yes agreed. Tbh I didn't know what action to take and felt whatever I did could've been pointless and potentially resulted in retaliation if the parent had turned up. My lack of action was in self preservation.

Try MSD Manukau. Mum is smoking outside, kids barefoot and eating crap. I contrast this with my family where Dad lost his job a month after coming from England. Home made clothes, cottage pie, macaroni and cheese, and both parents working 1 day in the weekend. NZ is screwed, the welfare net has become a lifestyle. Disclaimer, I am a bald head racist who has white privilege.

Great article Chris! Question. Is there a course or a degree in 'Wokery" in our tertiary ed. system? Or is it the online learn as you go via Fb, Twitter and blogging process of qualification?
I'd like to see the framework for that curiculum.

Can anyone indicate who are the left-wing shock-jocks? It seems to me that there is not an equivalent stable of left wing talk back hosts and commentators to counter the effusions of Hosking, Duplessis Allan, Leighton Smith, Peter Williams, Duncan Garner, Mark Richardson, Sean Plunket, Chris Lynch, Andrew Dickens, Mike Yardley et al. The conservative end of the opinion spectrum seems well catered for in the MSM, but where is the equivalent left-wing echo chamber? It is understandable that many of the commentators on this site espouse conservative views, but a bit of honesty about the relative political settings of MSM talk back shows would be welcome.

Pretty much all of the "journalists" who do the on-site reports on One News seem to have a strong left leaning.

Really? Because of how they look and speak?
I hardly ever watch One News, but it always seems fairly balanced politically speaking.
I just find it generally cringeworthy.

12
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Fritz... as someone with absolutely no political leaning at all I have to say One News comes across (to me) as very left leaning. For example to listen to One News you would think that the only people who support Trump are racist, rednecks from the mid-west, when the truth is very obviously different. The Breakfast Show is even worse, often being almost sickening in its lefty bias.

I know plenty of centrist or centre right leaning people who have similar view of Trump and his supporters

A classic for me was on one of the TV news channels. A lady reporter with a weird way of speaking, forget her name, after a news item from Oz where Scott Morrison was talking, she said "Oooooh, (in a very quincy way) he has to go". A reporter said this. ie A personal opinion on the news.
I was disgusted. Thankfully just after making that conceited comment he was voted in (unexpectedly) by a healthy margin! Haha.

I agree. I don't watch TV1 as the commentators (won't call them journalists) enjoy passing on their personal, usually left leaning, opinions too much. I feel that TV3 does the same, but is too right leaning and don't watch them either. It's harrd finding well presented factual news.

I am disgusted by tv3 renaming all the main cities ... if I have to watch their weather report it's on mute. What's the point to rename the cities how will it help the country or the poor downtrodden underclass I ask. Oh yay it's called xxx I dont feel disrespected I will get off the dole ... yeah sure.

Womaru gets me every time...

I love them saying Otepoti....aka Dunedin. Lol, gotta find some things funny and Otepoti just tickles my fancy.

Exactly. We hear a lot that the MSM have a strong right wing bias.
That's rubbish, as you highlight.
The herald, our largest newspaper, has a leaning to the right as well.

The Herald right wing? I must have missed that. What page was it buried on? Maybe in letters to the editor.

I said a 'leaning' to the right.
Many of their writers are centrist, but several of them are clearly to the right - Hosking, Roughan, Orsman for example.
I can think of only one writer clearly to the left - Simon Wilson.
So that's why they are 'leaning' to the right.

I think there was quite a reputable international study on media done recently and 8 out of the top 10 NZ media outlets were found to be left leaning, and from memory the first 6 were found to be left of centre. As I recall ZB and NBR were the only exceptions.

Kim Hill? It's a great question, and any attempt to answer it results in comparisons that are painfully stark.

Cliopedant... if you choose to narrow it down to talk back hosts you probably have a point. I am guessing that right-wing hosts tend to create more robust debate and polarized discussion and are therefore better for ratings ie chosen for economic reasons rather than political ones. But, to me, there seems little doubt that the MSM is, on the whole, very left leaning, both in NZ and in most developed countries.

This MSM is 'very left leaning' rhetoric is a bit tiring.
Point to more than one or two journos at the Herald who are centre left?
TVNZ is centrist.
Stuff is left leaning, but that was after many years of being right leaning. And they have some right of centre writers still.
Radio NZ morning hosts centrist, sure Kim Hill is left leaning.
All commercial radio stations right leaning.
Tv3 left leaning.
I would say it's pretty even overall...

Who listens to the radio anymore ? The people in rest homes ? Its no longer the source of news for most people and if I do tune in its only for the music on a pretty much music only channel. Personally I have never even heard of this guy and have no interest in tuning in to someone like him spout off all day.

If you have never heard of him how do you know " someone like him " spouts off all day.

"Indeed, it is hard to avoid forming the impression that the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990 has become a source of considerable embarrassment to the Human Rights Commissioners responsible for its enforcement. In the current “woke” climate, the key sections of the Act are inconveniently uncompromising."

Probably a good enough reason not to develop a formal constutution, would be massive political football. Already there is an unwillingness to cross the cultural divide

Right-wing free marketeers absolutely outraged by employer's decision to sack employee who threatened their profits.

To quote an ad revitalized old, old song, "That's about the size, where you put your eyes. That's about the size of it"

There is hardly any real journalism these days, it's all about entertainment, The Tabloid ' three-word' headline, to bait us in, cause outrage in the article, multiple clicks, and comments to show the clients how great the readership is.

Even the internet tries to guess your bias and feed you down a rabbit hole.

Have you noticed that once their algorithms think they know you, it can be very hard to search about the alternative view, even when you are trying with some effort to find it.

Yep. It all makes a lot more sense when you accept that you are the product. The media are selling your attention and the potential to make you do something (buy, vote, share, share data etc) to the organisations paying for the adverts.

'their (the employees) first instinct is the get their employers’ brand as far away from the perpetrators’ “toxicity” as possible.'

Off course they do Chris, it's all about protecting their employer's brand, not how the employees 'feel.'

https://nypost.com/2020/11/25/publisher-left-staffers-in-tears-over-jord...

It must be ironic crying as they must be also tears of joy in the money such a successful book is bringing in to pay their wages.

But it will be a relief for many to know that if they want to get hold of Mein Kampf

https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/102/1028644/mein-kampf/9780712652544.html

the penguin staff are all 'Happy Feet.'

I've noticed that breaking down in tears is very common these days. It's like the new debating strategy. It seems to happen every time I have a conversation.

There might be a simple explanation for that

What I find most baffling about our media is the lack of attention they give to the obscene crimes of humanity our largest trading partner is committing:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55973215?fbclid=IwAR2V26oQdXc-PVs7ZOGLXOM1J6...

Careful where you shine a spotlight Fritz - you may not like it when it's shone back. Getting into a crusade about China's already well publicised failings does NZ no favours. Let he who is without fault cast the first stone - hardly a defendable position for NZ.

Yeah Fritz, we haven't forgotten:
https://spartacus-educational.com/FWWatrocities3.jpg

Seriously, though, we have to be very careful about atrocity propaganda.

So what are you guys saying? That we shouldn't worry about China committing crimes against humanity? That it's 'fake news' or 'propaganda'?
That we should put trade priorities above morality?
Fascinating.

Most atrocity propaganda is simply not true or highly exaggerated based entirely on the testimony of enemies of the accused.

I think I must have missed something here. An employee who picked up a fine from the regulators a month ago goes on to Twitter to criticise his employer. In what world is that not going to be a disciplinary? This isn't a freedom of the press conversation, it's a question of how big a Muppet someone can be without being fired.

What a joke this country is... when you cannot call out idiotic and illegal behaviour such as iwi roadblocks with some false accusations of racism and yet it is swallowed by the fearful beaurocrat.

The very different way Iwi roadblocks were treated recently to the Level 4 lockdown shows you there was a collective puckering moment at some point in the corridors of power when it was realised what they had inadvertently sanctioned - that and the appearance of official, actual roadblocks during the August outbreak.

Good article but, dating back to the times of the printing press, companies have had a free hand in choosing which opinions to print/air.

The broadcaster may have may have a case if he has been unfairly dismissed but no one has fundementally encroached onto his right to express his opinions as far as I can see.

Sky news Aussie seems to have taken up the Fox mantel. Not exactly sure of the name, it might be just Sky. It comes up on my you tube feed, I started watching a bit when Melbourne was shut down, but now it is definately akin to Fox. Scary opinionated stuff portrayed as news.

Your last sentence makes me think of Paddy and Tova , or anything on the stuff website.

I don't have any time for shock-jocks, but however distasteful their views are, I will defend their right to be offensive-to anyone. Of course, the right to free speech cannot be entirely unqualified-nobody should have the right to call for someone to be killed-but there can be very few exceptions to that right otherwise it will die the death of a thousand cuts.
Sadly, that is just what is happening now. Some universities, surely the very last bastion of free speech are among the worst offenders. Remember Massey and Brash? I don't like him, but stopping him speaking was disgraceful.

Does anyone think that those who pull the strings of the Govt, had a hand in his removal.The leader wouldn't appear on his show (can;t answer hard questions)
I enjoyed his while not agreeing with everthing he said.

Well said Chris. There is a small but increasingly strident section of our society (to whom our spineless corporate captains and politicians now cow-tow to) who very much believe in 'diversity' and 'inclusiveness' of opinion -except when it is an opinion they disagree with.

Everyone? Or just, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". George Orwell.

Section 13 of the Bill of Rights Act 1990, for example, guarantees to all New Zealanders freedom of thought: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought...”
Even more inconveniently, Section 14 grants them the freedom to express those opinions: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression...

There is a massive gap for right of center commentary that is not a low ball provocateur. I understand the bottom trawling of P.Williams re vaccines from a ratings view, and in order to provoke. Its hard to see good outcomes coming from such desperate methods.
What if it were possible to employ a much much more intelligent evidence based approach with a ROC leaning.