Morning Report – echo chamber for the opposition?

August 14, 2008

I like Morning Report, it’s my daily fix of news and current affairs. Occasionally I get annoyed with the focus on local crime stories, traffic and weather, but that’s cool; it’s just a morning heart-starter.

But in the last few days I have become more than annoyed, I’m totally jacked-off with Sean Plunkett in particular. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that Morning Report is just an echo-chamber and amplifier for every piss-ant little claim made by the Nationals and now also the ACT Party.

It was double-barrel this morning and Sean really got on my goat.

First an uncritical acceptance of National claims that DOC is going to spend $2 million on a re-branding campaign; then ACT Party defence spokesbot, Heather Roy, (are they even big enough to have spokesbots?) banging on about some 40 year-old clapped out jets that the Government wants to sell.

Then the claims are rewritten and bundled up into the next news bulletin, making them ‘fact’.

Have the Morning Report presenters and producers left their critical faculties at the door? Read the rest of this entry »

National whistles up support for benefit bashing

August 12, 2008

So the National Party, under millionaire leader John Key, has discovered the underclass. No, they’ve discovered (or rediscovered) the art of the dog whistle.

The policy released this week that would ‘encourage’ single parents on benefits to work for up to 15 hours a week is, on the surface, about getting the country ‘back to work’.

But, as the NZ Herald editorial put it so nicely:

National’s efforts will be felt mainly by those with few skills and poor earning capacity and, frankly, Mr Key ought to have more important things to do. This policy does more to stroke the shibboleths of party supporters than meet any pressing social need. He should return to topics that count. [Inflicting pain for little gain]

The Nat’s ‘policy’  is classic dog whistling.

Think about it. Beneficiaries can earn up to $100 a week under this policy and will have to work around 15 hours. Do the math! It works out at $6.67 an hour. That’s not helping the disadvantaged or getting the economy working, it’s just about slave labour.

But it plays well in Orewa and that’s John Key’s real message.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tony Veitch back in the news – he’s a good guy, seriously

August 10, 2008

I mentioned a few weeks ago that the slow, whispering campaign to rehabilitate Tony Veitch appeared to be underway. Well this weekend he was back in the Sunday papers and some interesting comments from former girlfriends and flatmates in both the Sunday Star Times and the Herald on Sunday.

Ex-love stands by Tony Veitch (HoS) Veitch flatmate says there’s more to story (SST)

Both appear to downplay any violent tendencies that the former sports presenter might harbour and both seem to paint Kristin Dunne-Powell in a poor light.

FYI: I am not passing any judgment on Tony here, or suggesting that I agree or disagree with the assessment of the sources quoted in these stories.

Interesting too that on Saturday the NZ Herald seemed to clear up one little lingering mystery: what did Ms Dunne-Powell report to the ACC?     Veitch partner gave details to ACC

Meanwhile it seems the police are going to take an interest in the tape of an interview that Tony Veitch did with columnist Paul Holmes. In his column about the tape, Holmes implied that Veitch gave some details of the night of the alleged assault incident.

But Holmes and the HoS seem reluctant to hand the tape over because some of Tony’s comments were emotional and ‘off-the-record’.

Hang on, both of these men are adults and experienced journalists. They would know that you can’t go ‘off-the-record’ in a taped interview once it’s underway. You can turn the tape off, but if it’s left running then too bad for both of them.

HoS editor Shayne Currie says the paper will comply with legal requirements, but does that mean the police will get the tape, or not? I also don’t think it will give too much away. I personally think that Holmes was just talking himself up. He loves to be a big part of his own stories; a legend in his own lunchbox.

You can backtrack on my coverage here

Gordon Campbell – on the money

August 9, 2008

A big thanks to Jafapete for pointing me at Gordon’s recent post on Scoop about the ‘secret tapes’ affair that’s made the news this week.

Gordon points out that the media’s focus has been on the alleged ‘culprit’ – the lone Labour activist (if indeed it was such), rather than the substance of the candid comments made by Bill English and the other Tory knobs.

Gordon Campbell, Scoop political editor on the ethics and hypocrisy

As Gordon points out there is a public interest issue here: What is the Nationals’ real agenda if they should win the election later this year?

Bill English, Lockwood Smith and Nick Smith made candid comments about what they’d really get up to (or like to do) in an unguarded moment. No amount of bluster about the sanctity of the party conference can disguise the fact that it was a public event and that the Nats were more than happy to have hand-picked representatives of the official and unofficial media rat pack there to put on the record the spin.

Personally, I hope that there’s more of this stuff going to happen during the ‘real’ as opposed to the ‘phony’ election campaign. The truth is out there, but it’s not forthcoming from the public face of the Nationals.

Read the rest of this entry »

New media and the public sphere

July 31, 2008

OK, so this isn’t exactly a self-made blogcast. My colleague Gregory Treadwell asked the questions and did the edits, but we think it’s not bad.

It’s the next in a series of short vids we’re making (mainly Greg) for AUT’s New Media Journalism class.

In this clip Greg asked me about digital optimism and digital pessimism and the impact of online journalism and blogging on the public sphere – what he likes to call the “national conversation”.

Our first series of interviews, with NZ Herald Online editor Jeremy Rees, and Scoop managing editor, Selwyn Manning, covers the differences between a more mainstream news outfit and a web-only start-up.

Way behind, but we’re winning

July 26, 2008

It’s really 34-19 in fleshlife [final score, too], here in MartyWorld it’s not quite there yet.
This is the 3rd “live” update of the ABs v Wallabies rugby match.

You might want to look at this first, but then again you might just want to go here.

Aussie-Dean (X3) chant

ABs line break (yeah, it was the only one!)

You are hereby warned, this is a test match, not a real one.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Deans, Deans, Deans

July 26, 2008

Lat night Saturday, mucking around with a camera, I fluked a sports call.

It’s not much, but it’s raw enough to show the energy. Sorry about the light!

You can track to my related experiments”

ABs break the line

Final call

Keeping up with the digital Joneses

July 23, 2008

Sometimes it’s hard to get anything done. You think you’ve turned a corner and, like the Tour de France, the next incline is steeper and the pelleton has disappeared up the fuck&n mountain.

It’s like that in my neck of the digital woods too. For every step we take, there’s the awkward rhythm of an accompanying backward shuffle. Now it seems we’re all too far behind the convergence fusbal to even attempt a behind (AFL speak for non-Australians).

I’ve just (how remiss of me) come across yet another online journalism site that offers groovy apps and swingeing critiques of journalism education.

What’s a professor2du?

Read the rest of this entry »

Say no more

July 22, 2008

I always appreciate a bits on the side. Makes me tingle all over.


It”s worth reading from the top. “Mr ‘omes you are on notice ‘ere guv.”

“Please sir, can I ‘ave some more?”

It’s hard, hard rain, go’na fall

A fool and his money

July 20, 2008

About a week ago I whipped up a post about a friend who’s laptop was stolen and recovered later with some interesting happy snaps on the desktop. [this is real, or “what the”]

The story’s in the Sunday Star Times today, including a cropped version of one of the images I decided not to publish.

It seems some crims are really dumb. So too are some minor socialites around town – they make bad choices in virtual friends.

Exhibitionist theives leave evidence