Friday, July 30, 2010

On Journolism...

The Pink Rabbit has some contact with Kiwiland, has some mates here, and I must confess trots a worthwhile line of debate on occasions; well as far as everyone agrees with him that is. One of the latest asks the question whether NZ has a "Journolist". For those who have not yet come across the term, it relates to journalists with whom the uber-right-whingers "have issues". It is just another of those convenient buzz-words... I did try to paste the following as a comment but such is the Pink Rabbits obsession with free speech it has not shown on the page. Ahh well, I will fight for his free speech just as strenuously.

If the Edwards referred to in the comments is the same one as I am thinking of then I am hardly surprised at the lack of response. It seems that to "succeed" in the world of information distribution the first qualification is the ability to ignore any truth other than that of the "masters". That same truth can be applied to the many bloggers who hold themselves out as "disseminators of the truth".

The instant reaction to a truth which does not fit with the reporters line could best be simulated by taking a swig at the aftershave bottle. When a primary income source is dependent upon people making the news (see the associated Edwards web-page if it is the one I am thinking of) then the pursed lips get even tighter still.

News and reportage here in NZ is pretty homogenous and weak-kneed. The most independent used to be Scoop (www.scoop.co.nz). In recent times even they seem to have become less investigative and more "populist" (the news you want to hear rather than the news you should hear). The reputation they built with the exposure of the Diebold problem has gone somewhat mouldy. Otherwise, 99% of NZ news comes from NZAP, AP Reuters and the American sources.

True investigative reporting seems to have died (globally, not just NZ) with Watergate. There seems to have been little since that has not had political interest as a primary motive rather than the public's need to know. In other words, investigate to prove a particular point of view - usually political - rather than determining an objective truth. As a result the "investigations" are monocular and slanted, presenting only those facts that lead to the desired end. IMO there is little difference on that count - other than the colour of the politics - between Fox, NBC, and Pravda or Peoples Daily.

Hence you can take your list and apply to NZ with impunity.


Personally, I filter for my news; look for a story and then filter off all AP and Reuters links... Add a good dose of salt and cogitate. The sad fact is the most people tend to select one broadcaster as"the truth" and accept that truth without question. :cry: Even if it is Rush Limbaugh.

There is a larger question here; one I have touched upon in the past. It is the news media's (particularly television's) penchant for taking "press release" video and presenting it as news. Nothing wrong with that, provided that the viewer is aware of its provenance - for the thick that means who prepared it and why. In some years past (the last eight to be precise) probably 25% to 50% of the news on some very specific subjects came from such sources. Amongst the worst of the disseminators of this "hand-massaged news" in my exoerience were TVOne, Reuters and Fox. Understand, this was news reportage prepared not by the media but by those whom the "news" was about. Understand that it was presented without any disclosure that the "report" came from an interested source.

Here in NZ the progress toward "celebrity news" - the person presenting the news is more important than the news being presented - is very near complete. At least the likes of Paul Holmes, Paul Henry, and Michael Laws have been kept from the studios of the very little editorial and analytical commentary we get dished out.

So far.

Quick update as I strolled around my "news" sources -

The New Republic has a good little article of which I will quote just the last para -
It's fashionable to draw a parallel between MSNBC and Fox News. But MSNBC's liberal commentary occupies just a couple hours of its evening lineup. It is intended as a supplement to the news, not a substitute for it. The premise of Fox News, Limbaugh etc. is that the mainstream media is totally corrupt and should be completely ignored in favor of news sources controlled by the conservative movement. That premise has no parallel on the left.

(Emphasis is mine)

As I see the world, that makes Fox's marketing premise very clear.