My mother used to tell me a story about how the daughter of a prominent family who owned a large media outlet had applied for journalism school. At the interview they asked her if she had any relatives working in the business. She was young and told the truth. She said her uncle was the owner and CEO of that outlet. She was promptly rejected.
On another note, the reason I started this blog was because the MainStream Media (MSM) began rejecting my articles it saw as critiques of Labour & Greens, and accepting ones that were critiques of National, ACT & NZ First. The articles it did publish were edited without my permission, often distorting meaning, and then published under my name without me seeing the changes (much like Radio NZ was caught for “inappropriate editing” of Reuters articles about Ukraine). Regards media interviews, they were again heavily edited to distort meaning.
I now regard the NZ MainStream Media as running manipulative stories across a range of issues – as trying to push a “narrative”. If you don’t agree with that narrative, it will paint you as a morally awful person. Here are some examples:
When I argued on this blog Labour had ordered the Covid vaccine late, resulting in the lockdown at the end of 2021, which is responsible for many of our present economic problems, the MSM ran a campaign to discredit me. Their “evidence” became a Pfizer representative who said the government had done nothing wrong in this regard. Obviously Big Pharma was not going to pick a fight with the NZ government when it depends on our government for huge orders of its products. Meanwhile Hipkins refused to release any of the government’s Pfizer negotiations, citing “confidentiality”. NZ for a long time was bottom of about 40 OECD nations in terms of vaccine rollout. I was right about the late vaccine order, and Sir John Key cited this blog’s argument in his “hermit kingdom” speech. Meanwhile, the MSM was having none of it. It was in cahoots with Ardern & Hipkins throughout that period.
Recently Newshub ran the headline “Brooke van Velden unconcerned by lack of diversity in Government”. The article took down the ACT Deputy who was simply arguing the best person should get the job. But that is not how NZ is run any more. The MSM does not believe in meritocracy. The root of this country’s problems is that incompetent folks have been appointed to many influential positions, not because they were the best qualified, hardest working, or smartest, but because other agendas were at play. How dare our MainStream Media turn against the ideal of merit as being the main factor determining who succeeds – and undermine the foundation of the engine of prosperity in our nation.
The NZ Mainstream Media relentlessly paints inequality as a scourge on this country, and being at unacceptable levels. However it is not remotely at US or Chinese levels. What’s more, many countries, like the US, are built on the ideal of opportunity, of the American Dream, which surveys prove is real. In a nation where a poor, yet hard-working & smart kid, can become rich using their own ingenuity and product innovations, there will be inequality. Many cultures support this way of running things. Why doesn’t our MSM report this view?
On the environment, our MainStream Media relentlessly supports Green policies. But one cannot ban fossil fuels right now because it would throw a billion people into poverty in India & China who rely on these fuels for heating & cooking. Until an alternative green energy source is discovered that is cheaper than coal those folks must – and will – continue to use coal to survive. However this “narrative” is not supported by our MainStream media. Again, why doesn’t our MSM report this alternative not-so-green view?
Our MainStream Media is now waging war on NZ First, National and ACT, much in the way the media turned on Trump and is presently turning on Musk. Our MSM no longer respects democracy and holds the view our present government is illegitimate.
New Zealand’s MainStream Media should take a look at itself and realize a majority of the public don’t like it and don’t trust it. For many of the people who now work in the media industry, their main concern is to build a personal cult of celebrity around themselves for their own material and societal gain, at least in my experience. Their aim is not to inform the public. Their biased & manipulative opinions are dressed up as “analysis” & “fact checks”.
Robert MacCulloch holds the Matthew S. Abel Chair of Macroeconomics at Auckland University. Rob blogs at Down To Earth Kiwi. First published here.