It’s time for the tolerant, open and compassionate left to stand up to vilification and abuse when it is practised by sections of the left.

The left should not be defined by political aggression, intolerance and bullying; it should be defined by decency, inclusion, ideas and respect for people.

Exhibit A: Martyn Bradbury of the Daily Blog denounced ‘three broadcasters of the apocalypse’, after the announcement that Guyon Espiner will host Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report.  He called Guyon ‘a hard right neo-liberal white rich male acolyte’ - and me a ‘Fox News democrat’. 

I’ve had enough of this. This is abuse substituting for argument. Anyway it is absurd to conflate Guyon Espiner, a journalist respected on all sides, with Paul Henry’s history of raving racism.

Unless abuse is confronted it begins to define others on the left. 

When Helen Kelly welcomed Espiner’s appointment, commentator Fran O’Sullivan expressed surprise. She had assumed from Martyn Bradbury’s outburst that a broader swathe of the left have a problem with Guyon. Fortunately Helen Kelly stressed the broadcaster’s professionalism.

Martyn Bradbury’s unreasonable aggression has produced a truckload of ugly incidents lately, but the pattern of reprehensible abuse and aggression is not restricted to him.

Check out the tone of comments on The Standard nearly any given day. 

I have no problem with argument - it’s why we are here. The contest of ideas is vital to progress and the only way we can tell good sense from bad.  So therefore it is important to distinguish argument from bullying, from hatred and denunciation, and from the politics of exclusion.

There is something wrong with a version of the left that despises people. The fundamental principle of the left is our compassion, our belief that no matter where you come from, or who you are, you deserve the same opportunities as anyone else. Ours is the politics of redemption, forgiveness and humanity.

But what Martyn Bradbury and the demonisers are attempting is ex-communication. Their conduct is anti-ideas because, confronted with someone who has a different idea, they don’t engage. They vilify. Those who question their political statements are right wingers - and right wingers of the ‘apocalypse’ at that (as if there were no respectable or humane individuals among our opponents.)

I am often struck that pro-Labour commentators are outnumbered by pundits to our left and right at the moment. But it is no coincidence there are so few pro-Labour women with a profile. Bullies are so often men, whether abusers on the left, or the curmudgeonly old reactionaries on the right. 

It’s easier to keep your head down than to enter the contest of ideas. That might be better for some individual careers but it is worse for the left as a movement.

And therefore it is in the interests of the broad left that unnecessary aggression, bullying, abuse and vilification is called out when it occurs. Silence in the presence of abuse infects us all. 

Our politics need to be better than that.

Comments (131)

by Pete George on December 31, 2013
Pete George

I agree that "the left" should stand up to abuse. It's sad (and counter-productive to their causses) that the two major leftish blogs actively support cultures of abuse - with Martin Bradbury and Lynn Prentice leading it by example. Both have been even more abusive than usual over the past week.

Fortunately they don't represent the whole of the left, by design, by abuse, by censorship and banning (commonly practised by both The Daily Blog and The Standard) they narrow their demographic mostly to the bitter and nasty activist left of the left.

Unfortunately they are more widely seen as representing 'the left' (in a negative way) so they are shitting in their own nest. And it's unlikely to change - if you try suggesting that The Standard would far better serve the left by improving behaviour lprent's likely to ban you for trying to tell him how to run his blog. As as happened to me. And Bradbury bans and censors anyone deemed to be from the right, and anyone deemed to be a traitor of his left. That is, anyobe who disagrees with him on anything.

Josie, you'll just get more abuse for this post. As Bradbury strongly implied yesterday you're not seen as a proper leftie by those who think that political aggression, intolerance and bullying will win the left power.

It's not confined to the left, the same "political aggression, intolerance and bullying" are practiced often at Kiwiblog and yes, it's mainly a male thing, one frustrated muppet has labeled me a feminist and a man-hater (again yesterday) for standing up to it.

The same aggresive abusive bullying behaviours are also often highlighted in Parliament.The quest for power seems to often bring the nasty side of people out. People who can't win their debates any other way usually.

It's no wonder it's difficult to attract more talented people to stand for Parliament. And it's no wonder most of the voting public are disillusioned and angry with politics and politicians.

If David Cunliffe is serious about picking up the votes of the non-voters a lot of attitude and behaviour will have to demonstrably change. Starting from the top.

by Josie Pagani on December 31, 2013
Josie Pagani

I agree Pete, I've made myself a target for more abuse by writing this (you too probably!) But standing up to it (on the Left or the Right) matters, and thanks for doing that here. I hope more people will push back against the bullying now. I know people don't want to make themseves targets, but we can't let a loud and agressive minority define the Left. 

by Pete George on December 31, 2013
Pete George

Not surprisingly on a very slow news day The Standard has risen to the challenge.

Sanctuary started off in in comments: http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-31122013/#comment-751315

I am not sure how else the “broader left” can get through to her that her brand of “leftism” is no longer really welcome in that particular broad church.

Sanctuary represents the "broader left" as much as Martyn Bradbury speaks for "leading left-wing commentators and progressive opinion shapers". They fail to understand that the bubbles they encapsulate themselves in are self inflicted.

And now a post which will crank things up: 

Greg says "What Pagani does not appear to understand is that her views are at odds with those of most of the Labour Party’s activist base".

What the part of Labour Party’s activist base that tries to beat off any dissent at The Standard does not appear to understand is that they don't represent the Labour Party, and they reflect the views of potential Labour voters even less. And the 800,000 couldn't care less what they think.

by Pete George on December 31, 2013
Pete George

The 'broad left' that Sanctuary seems to think he's a part of:

Yeah, for all her mealy mouthed religiousity you can imagine the unanimity of outrage from Josie Pagani and David Farrar if an archbishop said that he “could think of no better use for church property” after a rioting mob ripped up his fence pailings to smash bank windows and attack police in Queen Street.

Sanc is about as 'broad left' as Redbaiter is 'broad right'. Revolution rages in their wee bubbles.

He rubbishes "the allure of comfortable middle class success" - I'm not sure what ambition he has for his poverty class if they would hate that.

by Frank Macskasy on December 31, 2013
Frank Macskasy

@ Pete -

lprent's likely to ban you for trying to tell him how to run his blog.

As is his right. As is your right to ban anyone from your blog. Or Slater banning people from his blog (which has happened). Or me banning someone from mine (which I've done).

Blogs are like someone elses' lounge - you're there as a guest.

As such you observe their rulers. Don't like it? No one is forcing you at gunpoint to participate.

Your option is to set up your own forum, with your own rules (whatever they may be).

Case in point; soon after the US "liberation" of Iraq and the failure to find any WMDs (or even supporting documentation), I posted a mildly critical comment on the rightwing blog, "Free Republic". It lasted, oh, maybe ten minutes? It was removed, quick-smart.

Did I spit the dummy? Chuck a spazz? Have a tanty?

Nah. I moved on; found another forum; and shared my views there. (Where my post was kept, and duly ignored by most folk, if I recall. *shrugs*)

And Bradbury bans and censors anyone deemed to be from the right, and anyone deemed to be a traitor of his left. That is, anyone who disagrees with him on anything.

And yet, Pete, there are those who post their dissenting on The Daily Blog such as AndyS, Matthew,  the ubiquitous Gosman, et al.

What the part of Labour Party’s activist base that tries to beat off any dissent at The Standard does not appear to understand is that they don't represent the Labour Party...

Um, I think you've contradicted yourself there., Earlier you said that dissenters are banned from TS. Now you're saying that dissenters are "beaten off"?

I get the distinct impression that you're confusing  "beat[ing] off any dissent" with robust debate.

After all, what do you get if there is no debate with dissenters? A very boring monologue with only one expressed view.

Sanc is about as 'broad left' as Redbaiter is 'broad right'. Revolution rages in their wee bubbles. He rubbishes "the allure of comfortable middle class success" - I'm not sure what ambition he has for his poverty class if they would hate that.

Well now, aren't you indulging in a bit of "dissent beating" yourself? You obviously don't agree with Sanctuary or Redbaiter and instead you've just categorised them as
'broad left,  'broad right', "raging revolutionists", etc.

You've not addressed any actual issues, you've vented on them, personally.

by Pete George on December 31, 2013
Pete George

Frank, I'm very well aware that any blogger has the right to ban or censor as much as they like. And I have a right to express my opinion that when done as per The Standard or The Daily Blog I think it's counterproductive to constructive debate, as is abuse and bullying. And in politics it's likely to put off rather than encourage potential voters. 

Dissenters or people with unwanted opinions are both beaten off by the mob and banned at TS.  At least it's done openly there. The Daily Blog just 'disappears' any comments it doesn't want.

Are you happy posting and commenting in an environment where some views are suppressed? Does it give you a sense of power that your arguments can go unchallenged? Are you more interested in trying to control the agenda message than debate and learn?

Do you support openness and transparency in politics?

by Frank Macskasy on December 31, 2013
Frank Macskasy

Does it give you a sense of power that your arguments can go unchallenged?

"Unchallenged"?! I doubt you could say that of Gosman's constant nit-picking...

And no. I don'rt get any sense of "power" from any aspect of blogging. I offer my 5 cents + 15% gst worth, and I expect nothing more.

If people are prevented from posting their views simply they are dissenting, it's not something I'm aware of. (Though I understand some trolls have been banned.)

If that's the case, perhaps you can offer a platform for said-views to be expressed?

That, after all, is your right.

Do you support openness and transparency in politics?

Nah, I support the entire internet closed down and all dissenting bloggers sent to Re-Education Camps to watch endless re-runs of "Melody Rules" until they confess their thought crimes!

FFS, what kind of question is that?!

Do you expect a "yes" response to prove your other assertions? As if they are intrinsically linked?

Are you more interested in trying to control the agenda message than debate and learn?

Getting a bit 'Zen' there, Pete?

I'm not interested in any one particular thing except looking at issues; putting my views out; and seeing what (if anything) comes back. If, in the process, I learn something new (and I usually do) - bonus!

My "control [of] the agenda message" is about as strong as my ability to leap buildings with a single bound. Sweet FA, really.

Blogs are not the sum total of politics, you should understand that, Pete. We are a small fraction of the entire media spectrum and if the media-"consumer" isn't getting the full picture from Blog A, they'll move to Blog B. Or blog C. Or... plenty of letters left in the alphabet.

You can't demand that other blogs run to your criteria or expectations - just as I have zero right to expect yours to conform to mine.

By the way, Josie's publication of her viewpoint here is a perfect example of what I'm referring to.

by Frank Macskasy on December 31, 2013
Frank Macskasy

If people are prevented from posting their views simply they are dissenting, it's not something I'm aware of.

Should read,

If [some] people are prevented from posting their views [on The Daily Blog or The Standard] simply [because] they are dissenting, it's not something I'm aware of.

by Pete George on December 31, 2013
Pete George

I've never demanded anything of any blog. I've commented on how some blogs are run and behaviour on them, but that's quite different.

If people are prevented from posting their views simply they are dissenting, it's not something I'm aware of. (Though I understand some trolls have been banned.)

That's surprising, it's common knowledge and I've heard a number of people claiming similar experiences to me - comments just don't get through moderation. It came up recently when Martyn criticised Giovanni, who then couldn't get a response through TDB moderation. 

'Troll' has become a term for "someone who's view I don't like or don't want".

Have you wondered why the comments are usually relatively light at TDB compared to other blogs? It's poor support of commenting and it's moderation practice make it more of a megaphone than a forum. Of course that's up to whover controls it. And if you're happy being closely associated with that it's up to you.

by Pete George on December 31, 2013
Pete George

I posted before seeing your edit. It works differently at TS and TDB.

At The Daily Blog comments simply never surface past moderation. From what I've heard it seems to be common. Because it's done out of sight it's not possible to know how much it happens but as far as I'm concerned it makes an discussions at TDB unreliable as you don't know how much discussions are manipulated.

At The Standard as far as I'm aware everything happens openly, so I'm surprised you're not aware of the banning and bullying that happens there. lprent makes a big show of his authoritarianism including how he tries to 'educate' people how to comment. And it's common for him to get especially brave and abusive after he has banned someone, so they can't respond. So of course others see it and either meekly tow the line, comment under continual risk of abuse or banning, or give up and leave. You really didn't know this happens?

by Stephen on December 31, 2013
Stephen

What a load of cobblers. They abuse your ideas, not you personally. If you can't stand the heat etc...

by Frank Macskasy on December 31, 2013
Frank Macskasy

At The Standard as far as I'm aware everything happens openly, so I'm surprised you're not aware of the banning and bullying that happens there

I don't spend as much time on TS as you might think - though I have seen some bannings.

A few I agree with.

Some I disagree with.

But like I said - not my call. It's not my site; I'm not admin; I don't pay the bills.

At The Daily Blog comments simply never surface past moderation.

I'm not part of admin, so I couldn't comment.

However, the rules are fairly simple; don't abuse other people; don't troll; and respect admin's directives. If someone disagrees with that - fair enough. You have a right to disagree with admin. So take it somewhere else.

I'm not sure why there's this apparent sense of "cyber entitlement" . In the final analysis, Pete no one owes you anything. Not a damn thing.

On a related matter, do you know that newspaper editors are not obliged to publish every single letter-to-the-editor they receive? And that the Editors can abridge/edit any letter they might publish?

After all, the newspaper is also private property. So we play by the editor's rules.

Same for blogsites.

by Frank Macskasy on December 31, 2013
Frank Macskasy

By the way, a much more recent example; Penny Bright was banned (for a time?) from Cameron Slater's blog.

As much as I could sympathise with her frustration, this is one area where Slater - despite my revulsion of his political style and behaviour -  had the right to ban/allow anyone he felt like. It's his property. His call.

On that point I support his (and other bloggers) rights to choose.

by Pete George on December 31, 2013
Pete George

I've stood up to the heat across the spectrum, still on Whale Oil and Kiwiblog, in the past on The Daily Blog and The Standard, and in a number of other forums. 

They abuse your ideas, not you personally. 

That's coblers, you can't possibly know of the amount of personal abuse directed at me. Yesterday in a post at The Standard lprent accused me of "perverted obsessions" - http://thestandard.org.nz/wet-dick-and-the-perverts-reprise/ - weak I know but it's the type of abuse he's well known for. Bradbury was confronted for abusing Russel Brown and Giovanni Tiso a few days ago, very personal and devoid of ideas.

And if you look through http://thestandard.org.nz/espinar-becomes-rnz-morning-report-host-and-pagani-criticises-the-standard/ you'll see many attempts to ostracise Josie from "the left" because she doesn't fit their narrow ideology. She is branded a "class traitor". That's not abusing ideas, it's personal attacks.

by Pete George on December 31, 2013
Pete George

Frank, I repeat, I've always said I support the right of blog managers to choose. I've never had any argument with that. I don't have any sense of entitlement, I don't expect anything, I simply do what I can where I can and comment how I like. 

You are making more of a bit of criticism than is justified. I'm simply criticising, I don't want any entitlement. 

by Stephen on December 31, 2013
Stephen

@ Pete George, being branded a class traitor is an attack on ideas, not the person.

by Morrissey Breen on December 31, 2013
Morrissey Breen

You claim, without providing any evidence at all, that "Martyn Bradbury’s unreasonable aggression has produced a truckload of ugly incidents lately".

Could you back up that claim with specific examples please?

by Fran O'Sullivan on December 31, 2013
Fran O'Sullivan

Josie I was quite shocked by Martyn's attack. I had not assumed Helen would have the same view. The "weird" comment really related to Martyn but was caught by the realities of 140 characters from spelling it out.

by Morrissey Breen on December 31, 2013
Morrissey Breen

What exactly was it that shocked you about Martyn's words, Fran? Was it the witty----or not, depending on your state of mind---allusion to Revelations? Was it the (quite reasonable if a little extravagantly phrased) placing of Espiner on the right end of the spectrum? Was it his comparison of Josie Pagani to the hapless party functionaries that get offered up as cannon-fodder for the likes of Hannity and O'Reilly?

Only the last of those three seems to me to be at all unfair. Your animus against Martyn Bradbury stems from far more than that column. Please come clean and tell us why you are so keen to denounce him.

by Pete George on January 01, 2014
Pete George

"Martyn Bradbury’s unreasonable aggression has produced a truckload of ugly incidents lately".

APOLOGY: Benefit of the doubt – Daily Gallery image - See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/12/22/benefit-of-the-doubt-daily-gallery-image/#sthash.IxVZazN9.dpuf

Example just before Christmas - APOLOGY: Benefit of the doubt – Daily Gallery image got a lot of attention:

Last night Giovanni Tiso and Russel Brown launched a twitter attack on myself insinuating I was an anti-Semite for an anti-capitalism Christmas image posted in the daily gallery section by the Daily Blog reposter.

I won’t be providing that benefit of doubt from now on, I relish the weekly opportunity to review Brown’s new show on Maori TV and question how and why Maori TV should be propping up a middle class white fog horn like Brown for his unique brand of pretentious wank, and Tiso’s sanctimonious whining has worn through any patience I once had with him.

Insinuating people are anti-Semites is a tactic trick of the IDF, despite Tiso and Browns assertions, I am not an anti-Semite and this blog isn’t anti-Semitic, the image selected by the TDB reposter was an anti-Capitalism piece of satire. It was removed to stop any offense being taken and to end any opportunity by Tiso and Brown to denigrate this blog any more than they usually do.

The right look for converts, the left look endlessly for traitors.

Bradbury was proven wrong, the post and comments got a strongly negative response, and after some time Bradbury retracted and apologised.

As well as being grossly over the top and wrong on many counts there was much irony, especially what I've bolded in the quote and "the left look endlessly for traitors". That's exactly what Bradbury seemed to be doing with Brown and Tiso, and it's what he appears to be doing with Josie trying to portray her as a traitor of the left, so he hasn't learn anything from being taken to task for his "unique brand of pretentious wank".

Tiso's comment that was trapped in TDB moderation: https://twitter.com/gtiso/status/414534387451961344/photo/1/large

And:

22 Dec

Now blocked by on Facebook for tagging him next to the comment he's too chicken to publish. It took him five seconds.

And Frank must have missed a comment by 'Hannah' immediately under one of his own on the above thread - "Maybe you should take this also as a salient lesson not to heavily censor this blog as well." No lessons learned.

Last night Giovanni Tiso and Russel Brown launched a twitter attack on myself insinuating I was an anti-Semite for an anti-capitalism Christmas image posted in the daily gallery section by the Daily Blog reposter. - See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/12/22/benefit-of-the-doubt-daily-gallery-image/#sthash.IxVZazN9.dpufLast night Giovanni Tiso and Russel Brown launched a twitter attack on myself insinuating I was an anti-Semite for an anti-capitalism Christmas image posted in the daily gallery section by the Daily Blog reposter. - See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/12/22/benefit-of-the-doubt-daily-gallery-image/#sthash.IxVZazN9.dpuf
by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 01, 2014
Danyl Mclauchlan

Josie: I can't speak for Bomber - who has such a tiny audience virtually none of whom take him seriously, so that 'standing up to' or repudiating him is a total waste of time and energy - but I can speak to why I'm critical of you.

One of the main reasons I no longer vote Labour is that the left-wing values of its MPs seem totally situational. The Sky City corporate box fiasco was a great example of this. I have no idea what most Labour MPs believe in, other than that they should be MPs. And you seem like the next generation of this phenomenon. Your 'left-wing values' don't seem very left-wing at all, but rather a clumsy attempt to redefine the National Party's values on, say, welfare as left-wing because you think they're more palatable to the electorate and you think it would be easier for you personally to achieve your political ambitions by aping popular National Party rhetoric than articulating an alternative left-wing vision.

Maybe I'm wrong and have misjudged you horribly! But that's the impression a number of people also seem to have arrived at independently about you. 

 

 

by Pete George on January 01, 2014
Pete George

Sorry about the poor editing above, there's a few bits that shouldn't have been included.

Morrisey Breen claims "Only the last of those three seems to me to be at all unfair." This is Bradbury's post that Josie and Fran are referring to:

And so it comes to pass…

Guyon Espiner to replace Geoff Robinson on Morning Report

…with Espiner’s appointment to Radio NZ alongside Hosking on Seven Sharp & Paul Henry replacing Nighline, all major mainstream media are now hosted by hard right neo-liberal white rich male acolytes, just in time for the election.

The inherent pro corporate bias of our media is now so glaringly apparent, it makes Fox News actually look fair and balanced.

Social media, the blogs, Native Affairs and Campbell Live are all progressives have left as news sources now.

I’m waiting for David Farrar to be appointed directly onto the Dominion Post editorial team, rather than just the guest editor role he seems to hold now.

The only person other than John Key who will be gleeful at this unholy right wing trinity will be Jose Pagani, who as NZ’s very own Fox News Democrat will find her limp left commentator services in high demand.

Apart from being bizarrely exaggerated and inaccurate Bradbury chose to include attacks on people who were totally unrelated to the appointment of Espiner. Farrar is moderate centre right and Josie probably tends centre left (covering the vast bulk of the voter demographic) but like a handful of vocal leftie activists at The Standard Bradbury labels anyone deemed different to Harawira and Minto as from the far right and a traitor to the cause. They claim to be for the 99% but do their best to alienate anyone outside their own 1% extreme.

by Pete George on January 01, 2014
Pete George

Your 'left-wing values' don't seem very left-wing at all, but rather a clumsy attempt to redefine the National Party's values on, say, welfare as left-wing because you think they're more palatable to the electorate and you think it would be easier for you personally to achieve your political ambitions by aping popular National Party rhetoric than articulating an alternative left-wing vision.

That looks like another example of "if you don't agree with my particular brand of being left then you must be one of the enemy". It's common from people on the political fringes of the left - the more left of Labour, Greens and Mana - and similarly of the right. They fail to understand that most politics, power and votes are closer to a far more pragmatic centre than their idealogies. So they are perpetually sidelined, and some (like Bradbury) take out their frustrations on people who are associated with politics and parties that have actually been successful.

by Ken Crawford on January 01, 2014
Ken Crawford

Agreed, Danyl. As for PG, looks mostly like thread-jacking to me.

by Pete George on January 01, 2014
Pete George

Ken, thread-jacking is another terrible tactic of trolling, non-Marty, smarty, Fox patsy, Nat aping hard right neo-liberal white rich male acolytes. Or a lazy debate-less diss.

 

[ED: This comment thread is starting to devolve into the very thing the original post lamented. So let's stop that, please.]

by Morrissey Breen on January 01, 2014
Morrissey Breen

Pete, 

A very Happy New Year to you, my friend. (I hope you're over the mugging you suffered in the Ukraine recently!) I remember fondly your kind support and brilliant journalistic summation of my contre-temps with the Standard editors exactly one year ago. I wish you all the best for the coming year---maybe a seat in Parliament?

Unlike John Howard's most ardent champion Fran O'Sullivan and Josie Pagani, you have actually attempted to address the question and argue your case. There are a couple of assertions you make that I wish to contest however....

1.) You write that Martyn Bradbury's "attack" was "bizarrely exaggerated and inaccurate". That is an unfortunate over-use of language, indulging in the same tactics O'Sullivan and Pagani have (wrongly) accused Bradbury of employing. If you had written that Bradbury's language was merely "exaggerated" or "over-ripe" or "extravagant", your criticism would carry far more authority; as it is, by damning him as "bizarre" and smearing him as "inaccurate", your words will be immediately discounted by any fair-minded reader. By all means criticise Bradbury---but you should for your own reputation avoid being drawn into the malicious strategies of the likes of Pagani and O'Sullivan and amplifying their crude and deliberate amping up of hysterical denunciation. 

2.) You claim that "Farrar is moderate centre right". I think you have conflated the man's legendary front of affability with his political opinions, which are anything but affable, moderate or centrist. He has been an outspoken supporter of almost everything the Key regime has done, and is one of the main pushers of the spurious National Party talking point that Key has a "mandate" for selling off our public assets. And his stance on international issues is utterly repugnant: he regularly accepts free trips to Israel; he even had the gall to go there in 2009, not long after Israel had perpetrated its infamous "twenty-two days of madness" on the citizens of Gaza, massacring more than 1400 people. He didn't go into Gaza on that trip, but he did venture into illegally occupied East Jerusalem and reported cheerfully that “things were generally very relaxed in this area”....

http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-15092013/#comment-696521

Someone who is "moderate" or "centre-right" doesn't accept free trips from rogue regimes and then dutifully close his eyes to the horror and tension all around him. Your assessment of Farrar could not be more inaccurate.

 

by Morrissey Breen on January 01, 2014
Morrissey Breen

Good to see you're back at work, Josie! Now, could you answer the points I made yesterday please. Here they are again:

You claim, without providing any evidence at all, that "Martyn Bradbury’s unreasonable aggression has produced a truckload of ugly incidents lately".

Could you back up that claim with specific examples please?

by Pete George on January 01, 2014
Pete George

1.) You write that Martyn Bradbury's "attack" was "bizarrely exaggerated and inaccurate".

all major mainstream media are now hosted by hard right neo-liberal white rich male acolytes, just in time for the election.

- two TV stations and one radio station is not "all major mainstream media".
- hard right is highly debatable,for Espioner it's bizarre.
- it is due to Robinson's retirement, trying to make something of Nightline and trying to rescue Seven Sharp, not "just in time for the election"

The inherent pro corporate bias of our media is now so glaringly apparent, it makes Fox News actually look fair and balanced.

Lefties complain about pro-corporate pro-right bias and righties complain just as much about pro-left bias, except when they get favourable coverage of course. Ironically Bradbury has created The Daily Blog to ensure his own bias gets an airing - "unites over 42 of the country’s leading left-wing commentators and progressive opinion shapers to provide the other side of the story on today’s news, media and political agendas" - making Fox News look fair and balanced in comparison.

Social media, the blogs, Native Affairs and Campbell Live are all progressives have left as news sources now.

That's another bizarre claim. Radio NZ for example is widely seen as left leaning, sometimes even called "Radio Moscow". Espiner is not obviously politically aligned and will be just one of many on air. Bradbury himself recently said:

"Radio Live doesn't have any great left wing champions any more (the last one, Wallace Chapman has been headhunter by Radio NZ)".

Now he condemns RNZ for another (more politically neutral) appointment.

I’m waiting for David Farrar to be appointed directly onto the Dominion Post editorial team, rather than just the guest editor role he seems to hold now.

That's a bizarre implication.

The only person other than John Key who will be gleeful at this unholy right wing trinity will be Jose Pagani, who as NZ’s very own Fox News Democrat will find her limp left commentator services in high demand.

"The only person other than John Key" is bizarre, "gleeful" is bizarre, "unholy right wing trinity" is bizarre, including targeting Josie with it is nuts, and the rest of the comment (and the whole of it) is bizarre and inaccurate.

by Gosman on January 01, 2014
Gosman

""Unchallenged"?! I doubt you could say that of Gosman's constant nit-picking."

Please don't use me as an example for the supposed openess to discussion of The Daily Blog Frank. I hardly ever post there and usually avoid any articles posted by Mr Bradbury as the majority of my comments never make it on even if they are responding to a person who has posted a question to me directly. This is why a lot of the time you have asked me something and there is no response. It is not because I didn't respond just that my response wasn't allowed even though it was on topic and was not abusive.

The recent posting of a potentially anti-semitic picture was a good example of this but you might not be aware that this wasn't the first time this had popped up. There was another potentially dodgy pic that had been put up earlier in December about the people who control the world under the title 'Know thy enemy'. Of the people in the picture around 90 percent of them were of Jewish descent. When I pointed out that this could be perceived as slightly dodgy by some my comment was denied. How can you be happy with that Frank?

by Morrissey Breen on January 01, 2014
Morrissey Breen

Most of your points are reasonable, Pete, but a few statements need addressing....


1.) "hard right is highly debatable, for Espiner it's bizarre."

On the contrary, Guyon Espiner has a history of making biased, right of centre comments. He's not as extremely anti-Labour as his brother Colin, but he is certainly right of centre. Again, you have no justification in labeling criticism of his political stance as "bizarre". When used inappropriately like that, "bizarre" is an incendiary word, designed to belittle and distort.

2.) - it is due to Robinson's retirement, trying to make something of Nightline and trying to rescue Seven Sharp, not "just in time for the election"

Good. That's a reasonable comment.  

3.) "Lefties complain about pro-corporate pro-right bias and righties complain just as much about pro-left biasexcept when they get favourable coverage of course."

That's a glib and thoughtless formulation of a very serious argument. Scholarly, deep analysis of media bias has been carried out in the United States, Britain, New Zealand and many other countries for generatons now, and the overwhelming consensus is that the media are indeed beholden to their corporate owners and advertisers. If you are a diligent person who really wants to understand these issues, you will have already read some of the work by Chomsky, Ed Herman, David Cromwell and David Edwards, and many other serious and respected scholars. If you do make the effort and do some serious reading about the media, then you will never again write such a glib and frivolous sentence as that.

4.) "Ironically Bradbury has created The Daily Blog to ensure his own bias gets an airing - 'unites over 42 of the country’s leading left-wing commentators and progressive opinion shapers to provide the other side of the story on today’s news, media and political agendas' - making Fox News look fair and balanced in comparison."

Again, you are indulging a fatal propensity for overstatement. That little quip about Fox News might work in a pub setting, but in a serious discussion forum like this, it looks foolish and thoughtless. It's a pity, because the preceding point you made was a good one.

5.) Social media, the blogs, Native Affairs and Campbell Live are all progressives have left as news sources now.

"That's another bizarre claim."

 

Again, you're using extreme language. You can fairly state that Bradbury exaggerated somewhat, but his claim was not "bizarre" at all. By continuing to misapply that word, you're merely reiterating Pagani's and O'Sullivan's agenda-driven abuse of Bradbury. 

6.) "Radio NZ for example is widely seen as left leaning, sometimes even called 'Radio Moscow'."

That's an extraordinary claim. Any rational, reasonable analysis of Radio NZ would show it is very much a right-leaning station. I recommend you listen to World Watch, or to Bryan Crump's show, or to any "News" bulletin. Nearly everything, from the choice of correspondents---often from the most brazenly right wing British and Israeli newspapers---to the off-the-cuff comments by the announcers, is conservative, tending right wing. People like Dr Michael Bassett, Garth George, Christine Rankin and Stephen Franks regularly are given the opportunity to indulge in the most extreme right wing rhetoric; when Martyn Bradbury had the temerity to criticise the misbehaviour of the prime minister in parliament, he was removed permanently from the station.

What do you mean by "widely seen as left leaning"? On what evidence do you base that? The "Radio Moscow" crack is ridiculous, and meaningless.

7.) I’m waiting for David Farrar to be appointed directly onto the Dominion Post editorial team, rather than just the guest editor role he seems to hold now.

"That's a bizarre implication."

See, there's that word again. That's the THIRD time you've used it in this post. I've always thought of you as a good writer; but here you seem to have no idea of the effect of lazily (and inappropriately) flogging a word to death. Once again, Bradbury has drawn a perfectly reasonable inference. You may reasonably disagree with that, but you don't show him any respect and simply fling that nasty accusation---"bizarre"---at him again. Leave the supercilious smearing and snide character assassination to Fran O'Sullivan; that's her forte.

8.) "The only person other than John Key" is bizarre, "gleeful" is bizarre, "unholy right wing trinity" is bizarre, including targeting Josie with it is nuts, and the rest of the comment (and the whole of it) is bizarre and inaccurate.

 

That's FOUR more times you've flung the word "bizarre" and then you've even gone one better (or worse) and used the completely substandard "nuts". That is a word that is heard, above all, on one media outlet: the infamous hard-right radio station NewstalkZB. It's always used, by such well-balanced and intelligent luminaries as Hatin' Leighton Smith and Larry "Lackwit" Williams in a tone of hectoring denunciation---and you are very unwise to imitate it.

So that's a total of SEVEN uses---or misuses---of "bizarre" and one "nuts". Shame on you, Pete: this is a very poor start to the year.

by Josie Pagani on January 01, 2014
Josie Pagani

Danyl, 

I’m not sure that a post about vilification having no place on the left is a good time to list all the reasons you don’t like me, but let me explain why you are ‘horribly’ wrong.

First, while you think that speaking out as strongly in support of my principles is a good way to get ahead in the Labour Party, I don’t agree. The way to get ahead is to keep your head down and play palace politics to marginalise potential rivals. That’s one more reason there are comparatively few Labour people willing to take public positions on controversial issues - but to then be accused of careerism for it sticks in the craw.

On values: I believe in using progressive taxation and a strong interventionist state to achieve an equal and just community in which anyone, from any background, has opportunity and security. For example, I support state funding of free health care and free education. I believe in incomes that allow everyone to participate and belong to their community at all ages, both through wages and through fair provision for those in need. I believe the state has an obligation to ensure everyone has a safe and secure place to live. I believe that the interests of labour must not be made subservient to the interests of capital. I am a social liberal. 

If you think that makes me not very left wing at all, and a re-definer of National’s values, then your list of us horrible right wing opportunists must also logically include: Ed Milliband, Julia Gillard, Neil Kinnock...and Helen Clark and Jim Anderton. Actually, looking at that list, most of them would position to the right of me on several of those issues.

You seem to be accusing me of saying Labour values are unpopular and need to be jettisoned. Actually I believe the exact opposite. I think Labour values are popular - and therefore when Labour is unpopular it must be because it’s is not being faithful to its own principles. 

This is a much more nuanced analysis than you give me credit for (and I concede I might not always make the point as well as I would like to. C’est la vie.) 

It is easy to distort what I am saying, but it is still wrong to accuse me of advocating a sellout of our principles. I am advocating for more clarity and honesty about the causes of weak popular support. I reject the analysis that says progressive ideas are necessarily unpopular; in fact I think that kind of defeatist thinking is a danger to progressive politics. It shows a lack of confidence in the historic justice of progressive ideas.

You have an alternative story - that’s Labour’s comparatively weak polling is the result of ambitious and unappealing careerists not knowing what they stand for. If only Labour MPs were better salespeople, the enlightened fingers will click and the voting dreamers will wake from their slumber.  

But many of the same people were capable of getting elected in the 2000s which suggests its not the people or the skills that are the problem, but rather what they’re standing for.


by Gosman on January 01, 2014
Gosman

"On the contrary, Guyon Espiner has a history of making biased, right of centre comments"

Evidence please.

Using Chomsky's views on supposed media bias is like using the Pope's views to support the idea of the divinity of Jesus. 

by Gosman on January 01, 2014
Gosman

The problem here as I see it is that the left is populated by people who are willing to work within the economic system to effect social change that they deem important and those that believe the only way to effect proper social change is to change the system first. Members of the second group tend to regard members of the first group as sell outs and sell outs are essentially traitors and nothing is worse than a traitor even someone on the opposite side of the idealogical divide. The Right doesn't really suffer this problem, at least not in NZ. There are hard core libertarians but they regard everyone else as left wing and don't think people are sell outs.

by Morrissey Breen on January 01, 2014
Morrissey Breen

1.) "On the contrary, Guyon Espiner has a history of making biased, right of centre comments"  Evidence please.

I've written down a number of them. I'll get back to you with them as soon as I can dig them up. 

2.) "Using Chomsky's views on supposed media bias is like using the Pope's views to support the idea of the divinity of Jesus. "

??? What the hell? Are you trying to be humorous? I suggest you actually READ some writing by Chomsky before you come on and make inane quips about him.

by Morrissey Breen on January 01, 2014
Morrissey Breen

"Ed Milliband, Julia Gillard, Neil Kinnock...and Helen Clark and Jim Anderton."

More than anything, the fact that you have lined yourself up with such a thoroughly dull collection of political careerists and such an underwhelming group of party hacks shows just how bereft of vision and seriousness you are.

by Pete George on January 01, 2014
Pete George

Morrisey, your last comment is a tad hypocritical. A few comments previously you said:

It's always used, by such well-balanced and intelligent luminaries as Hatin' Leighton Smith and Larry "Lackwit" Williams in a tone of hectoring denunciation---and you are very unwise to imitate it.

Maybe you could try following your own advice.

Josie, good response. Especially:

First, while you think that speaking out as strongly in support of my principles is a good way to get ahead in the Labour Party, I don’t agree. The way to get ahead is to keep your head down and play palace politics to marginalise potential rivals. That’s one more reason there are comparatively few Labour people willing to take public positions on controversial issues - but to then be accused of careerism for it sticks in the craw.

That's not just true of Labour. We don't see many Green MPs prepared to openly rock their boat. Ditto the blue boat. And the Winston boat keeps it's crew well below decks, or they get thrown overboard.

 

by Morrissey Breen on January 01, 2014
Morrissey Breen

Morrisey, your last comment is a tad hypocritical. A few comments previously you said:

It's always used, by such well-balanced and intelligent luminaries as Hatin' Leighton Smith and Larry "Lackwit" Williams in a tone of hectoring denunciation---and you are very unwise to imitate it.

Maybe you could try following your own advice.

 

Good one, Pete. You got me!

by Gosman on January 01, 2014
Gosman

Why don't you go and dig out that evidence of Espiner's supposed right wing bias ?

by Morrissey Breen on January 01, 2014
Morrissey Breen

Gosman, while I'm doing that, which won't take me long, why don't you go and start doing some serious reading? That will take a considerable time, so you should start immediately.

 

(I'm assuming you're serious of course.)

by Gosman on January 01, 2014
Gosman

If it won't take you that much time I'll think I'll wait until you provide it before I wade through the nonsense that is Chomsky views on media bias.

 

by Pete George on January 01, 2014
Pete George

A major problem in studies is experimenter's bias. Research into studies of media bias in the United States shows that liberal experimenters tend to get results that say the media has a conservative bias, while conservatives experimenters tend to get results that say the media has a liberal bias, and those who do not identify themselves as either liberal or conservative get results indicating little bias, or mixed bias.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_bias#Experimenter.27s_bias

That's not surprising becasue it's very difficult to judge political bias in media. You can analysis what is printed or broadcast, but you can't easily know what is rejected or ignored.

Commenter bias is more pronounced. From what I've seen The Standard and The daily Blog commenters are overwhelming of the opinion that media is strongly biased towards the right. Kiwiblog and Whale Oil are overwhelmingly of the opinion media is strongly biased towards the left.

It's not that simple. It's often observed that in print media editorial is right inclined and journalists tend to be left inclined although both try to be seen to be politically impartial.

One journalist from a major publisher told me last year he was outnumbered by Green inclined colleagues.

You can get an idea of the leanings of some journalists from their more unguarded disclosures on Twitter. Guyon has always seemed fairly politically neutral to me.

I'm sure Morrisey can find some right leaning Espiner 'bias' but I'd bet that was selective and could be balanced by what could be peerceived as more left favouring coverage.

I'd be very surprised if it can be proven he is anything close to a "hard right neo-liberal white rich male acolyte".

by Morrissey Breen on January 01, 2014
Morrissey Breen

"If it won't take you that much time I'll think I'll wait until you provide it before I wade through the nonsense that is Chomsky views on media bias."

You really are clueless. You know nothing about Chomsky, you obviously have not read anything by him, and yet you feel able to sound off like an ignorant talkback host. You don't work for NewstalkZB or Radio Vile, by any chance?

by Morrissey Breen on January 01, 2014
Morrissey Breen

"I'd be very surprised if it can be proven he is anything close to a "hard right neo-liberal white rich male acolyte".

You're correct in criticizing Bradbury's rather extravagant, over-cooked language, Pete.  But he is correct in identifying Espiner as sympathetic to National. When you show disrespect for someone like you did by mis-labeling his statements as "bizarre" instead of using more reasonable, temperate language, you are putting yourself in the same camp as folks like poor old Gosman, who really does deserve the description "bizarre", due to his practice of sounding off about things about which he knows absolutely nothing.

by Gosman on January 01, 2014
Gosman

I thought it wasn't going to take you long to get the evidence of Espiner's right wing bias?

by Pete George on January 01, 2014
Pete George

"But he is correct in identifying Espiner as sympathetic to National."

Do you mean exclusively or mostly sympathetic to National? If so that's a serious accusation to make about a journalist. A still unsubstantiated accusation.

by Gosman on January 01, 2014
Gosman

I believe we might be waiting for a while yet for that accusation to be substantiated.

by Morrissey Breen on January 01, 2014
Morrissey Breen

Here are a few examples for you to consider.....

1.) On May 19th, 2008, on TVNZ news, Espiner glibly repeated the National Party lie that the "average New Zealander" would be better off by fifty dollars under National as if it were a fact....

http://mundens.dreamwidth.org/388316.html

2.) Before the 2011 election, Espiner deliberately and dishonestly claimed that a Labour drop in the polls was due to its new Capital Gains Tax policy. Espiner knew perfectly well that the poll was done BEFORE the policy had been announced---but he made the incendiary, and damaging, allegation anyway....  

http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/media-bias-watch/

3.) On May 20th, 2010, this highly interesting little in-house interview occurred on Television One news....

SIMON DALLOW: So, has Bill English done enough in this budget to combat the perception that this could be seen as a budget for the rich?

GUYON ESPINER: [with maximum gravitas] I think he has. I mean, there will be some envious eyes…

http://www.fatallykilled.co.nz/2010/05/615545201/

4.) Perhaps the most craven---and pathetic---example of Espiner's political bias came during his interview with Hillary Clinton in 2010. Instead of being proud of the legacy of Kiwi political independence, Espiner was clearly ashamed. "Don’t she find our position rather odd?", he grovelled.....

http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/pr/42/pr42-008.htm

And now you have a rather important task to begin. If you're serious, you will enjoy it. If you're serious, that is.

by Brendon Mills on January 01, 2014
Brendon Mills

Pete, Your assertion that David Farrar is "moderate centre-right" is laughable given that over the years he has:

1) Supported huge cuts in the minimum wage

2) Supported selling the all power generation assets into private ownership

3) Supported user pays and privatisation

4) Supported the privatisation of schools and the slashing of working conditions and wages for teachers

5) Supported the abolishing of holiday pay, sick leave, and smoko breaks for workers

6) Wants strikes banned and all workers turned into independent contractors

7) Wants to privatise ACC and have all long term claimants kicked out onto the streets

8) Wants to rip up our rail network

9) Wants to close our libaries down

10) Wants to get rid of the DPB/Sole Parent Support benefit and slash the living standards of our most vulnerable

11) Supports the mass eviction of state housing tenants regardless of whether they can afford to rent in the private sctor

12) Wants wages slashed for people coming into a job off a benefit

Need I say more?

by Brendon Mills on January 01, 2014
Brendon Mills

Edit to 3) User pays and privatisation in Healthcare

 

Farrar also wants to open up all of our National Parks to mining, and turn the Southern Alps into a giant open cast mine.

by Gosman on January 01, 2014
Gosman

Most of the things you posted David Farrar does not support in the way you have spun it. You might think he does but I would suggest you are guil;ty of over simplifying the issues to suit your political bias.

Post new comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.