First the NZ Herald came for the bloggers, then they came for John Campbell. Who else is on their liberal hitlist?
With their relaunch as a tabloid butterfly, the neo-liberal opinion shapers at the NZ Herald which Gordon Campbell refers to in his brilliant and must read take down of John Armstrong's criticism of bloggers, have sharpened their attacks on those Society see as providing an alternative narrative to the Planet Key fantasy the NZ Herald subscribes to.
John Roughan's ludicrous latest column, Save us from one-sided TV actually coincides with me watching Campbell more and more of late.
Campbell has taken up the challenge of media watchdog as opposed to media lapdog and has confronted the reality of this recession head on and has failed to stop asking questions. Campbell Live's work on child poverty is some of the best journalism this country has produced this year and Campbell Live's work on the Christchurch earthquake from the moment of the quake to the latest attack on schools in Christchurch has been the type of holding the powerful to account journalism that keeps the profession credible and respected.
John Roughan in attacking John Campbell shows the very worst kind of ignorance, it's rich white guy ignorance. It's the ignorance that John Key on Planet Key exhibits when asked any question on poverty and it's the kind of ignorance that is utterly inexcusable because privilege comes with a responsibility to at least be informed. Uniformed privilege is ugly, and so is this column by Roughan.
John argues that there must be justifiable reasons that the Government have decided to shut down schools in Christchurch and that because Campbell Live hasn't managed to find that justification, then Campbell is somehow biased and by insinuation can't be trusted.
This claim of bias coming from one of the Editorial Nazgul of the NZ Herald is as jaw dropping as a Government Cheerleader like John Armstrong attacking Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards for being too left wing.
Being accused of having a left wing bias by the NZ Herald is pretty easy when the NZ Herald is to the right of Genghis Khan.
If John Roughan has information from the Ministry of Education that justify's this latest kick in the guts to the people of Christchurch, perhaps as a columnist in the only daily nationwide newspaper he could use his news print inches to explain the counter position and justify his criticism of Campbell.
He doesn't, he ridiculously claims that because TV News aren't attacking the rationale of the Government, that means the rationale is sound?
What planet does John Roughan live on? Oh, that's right. Planet Key.
Roughan goes from the ludicrous to the criminally insane by then wailing about the Good-old-days-of-broadcasting-when-Paul-Holmes-was-on-TV meme, a man whose column this year on Waitangi Day boarded on race hate? That's the bloke in the billowing white robes and burning cross that Roughan yearns for? [see Roughan's form here.]
Tells you all you need to know doesn't it?
The reason the Ministry of Education is not coming forward with their explanations is because what is happening in Christchurch isn't mere rationalization of schools, it is the shock tactics of disaster capitalism. Ram through reforms before a shocked and startled local community can even react is an old trick of neo-liberal policy and that's exactly what is happening in our second largest city.
What is occurring in Christchurch is nothing short of a political coup. The drum beat to sell city assets, the taking of democracy from Environment Canterbury, Charter Schools and the enforced rebuild with minimum community input combine with this latest slap in the face over school closures.
Note it wasn't the Government's inept manner of 'consultation' that's the problem. It's not the Government's inept Hekia Parata screwing up another education announcement. It's not a communication strategy that has ended up spreading public panic.
Oh no, it's none of those things. It's that bloody John Campbell and his one sided television.
When the newspaper of choice for conservative kneejerks and beige bigots starts publicly hunting the bloggers and the few journalists prepared to critique the Planet Key narrative, you know there is a PR struggle going on for the hearts and minds of NZers.
Four years in to National's right wing agenda and the promise of John Key's empty optimism isn't being met in a 6.8% unemployment rate with the highest levels of inequality on record. The gatekeepers to Planet Key have to start denigrating the messengers to distract from the message.
Roughan adds the icing to this shit cake by blaming Campbell Live for creating a new entitlement of food for hungry children at school. That Roughan sees feeding hungry children at school as an 'entitlement' says it all.
Ugly. Very ugly.