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  • rmacculloch

No-one has done more than NZ's Mainstream Journalists to pervert our Democracy and Betray the Public Trust these Past Five Years

Our bankrupting Big Media outlets are in overdrive distorting the truth as to the reasons for their failure. Their B-list "celebrities" are now writing misleading garbage giving their own twisted views about the cause of their demise - blaming social media, technological change & viewing habits. Why not go blame Putin, like Robertson & Orr did, for their problems? The truth is our Big Media colluded with the Ardern-Hipkins government to end our democracy by joining them at the hip to ensure no rival views about the decision to lock Auckland down in late 2021, race relations, the environment, nor economic management, were allowed to gain traction. The public has not forgiven its' betrayal. Big Media did its' utmost to shut down the contest of ideas that lies at the heart of our democracy, where opposing views are aired to keep the government honest, whatever its political colors. Not content with helping fix the election in 2020, Big Media also tried fixing our 2023 election. It failed.

I have proof. It's contained in a bunch of my articles rejected between 2021 and 2023 by Big Media which constituted some of my best work - like "The Unravelling of NZ's Economic Strategy", "Jacindanomics Does not Exist" and "How our Kingdom of Kindness Lost its Way". At the same time, a vast collection of writing & preaching by other academics across NZ - the Chosen Ones in cahoots with Ardern and Hipkins - was widely disseminated by that same Big Media. Not even my mild critiques of Ardern and Hipkins were permitted, whereas critiques by others describing politicians like Seymour and Luxon as "bull-shitting", "lying" pricks was splashed across the front pages. Whenever I used a word 1% as strong to describe Ardern or Hipkins, it was edited out by Big Media. The only outlet that would publish my articles became the fringe National Business Review. It is why I started this Blog.

Recent articles by folks like Jack Tame severely mischaracterize the media. He is incorrect to say the "news business .. contributes to the strength of our democracy". It does so only if it has not been captured by government and deployed to keep it in power. My old boss at London School of Economics, Sir Tim Besley, writes in the American Economic Review, "Media institutions play a vital role in informing citizens. However, they can do so effectively only if they operate independently from the state & face governments who are open & transparent in their dealings with their citizens & media .. There is evidence that state ownership & concentration enhance the prospect of media capture".

To assume the media supports democracy, as Tame does, without qualification is wrong. It can equally be used as a tool to suppress it. A free & independent media that challenges the powerful without fear or favor and exposes weaknesses in their arguments & leadership, is a necessary part of democracy. But a biased & manipulative media captured by a ruling political class is a mortal threat to it. Go ask dictators in power around the world. NZ's Big Media has reported a plethora of propaganda for much of these past five years of a quality that would make even the most repressive regime blush. One of our best ever Kiwi economists, John McMillan, who sadly died at a young age, wrote a famous paper when he was at Stanford called "How to Subvert Democracy". It says:

"Peru has in place the full set of democratic mechanisms: a constitution, opposition parties, regular elections .. safeguards for the independence of the judiciary & a free press. In the 1990s it was run in the name of President Fujimori by its secret-police chief, Vladimiro Montesinos Torres. In the course of exercising power, Montesinos methodically bribed judges, politicians & news media ... Montesinos & Fujimori maintained the façade of democracy - the citizens voted, judges decided, the media reported .. How did they go about undermining democracy? By covert authoritarianism: the negotiation & enforcement of secret deals. We use the bribe prices to quantify the checks & balances. The size of the bribes indicates how much Montesinos was willing to pay to buy off those who could have checked his power. The typical bribe paid to a television-channel owner was a hundred times larger than that paid to a judge, which was about the same as that paid to a politician .. The most forceful of all the checks and balances on the Peruvian government’s power, by Montesinos’s revealed preference, was television".

Yes, control of the media is the best winning ticket to power. These past five years in NZ there was a shocking betrayal of trust by our Big Media. The sooner the profession is disbanded and a new type of reporter is trained the better.



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