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Dog Whistles And Golriz Riding A High Horse It's not creepy to challenge politicians

CAPTION Green MP Golriz Grahraman.

 

I am ambivalent about the Green MP Golriz Grahraman and questions about her refugee background.

Simon Jeans – A high-profile Australian immigration lawyer – has questioned her take on freedom of speech, and her refugee status. It is not my intention to work out what is right or wrong. She should answer the claims.

Golriz and partner Guy claim high ground on moral issues.

But if you are going to ride a high horse, you have to be prepared to show you belong there. Some disagreed with Jeans’ claims. The co-editor of Newsroom – Tim Murphy – is one sceptic who is non-partisan.

“That thing by the Australian lawyer about MP Golriz Ghahraman: -tries to be all magisterial on a case built from a few news clippings makes assumptions about assumptions and argues with them to give a verdict no one sought. Odd.”

 

Auckland councillor Richard Hills.

In partisan country, Golriz’s colleagues on the Left see a spate of criticism as part of a Right Wing conspiracy. I can guess that in their mind the notorious “old white men” are responsible..

Yesterday, on twitter, the Auckland Councillor Richard Hills blasted Grahraman’s critics.

This unhealthy obsession of  Golriz Grahraman nfrom mostly men on the right is ugly. I don’t follow most of them so don’t see it much. Noticed a spike again at the moment. It’s creepy and quite disgusting. Grow up and stop the bizarre schoolyard bullying of an elected woman.

Hutu pop star and genocide accused Simon Bikindi

Hills is entitled to support Golriz. But surely people have the right to question an activist MP and immigration spokesman – especially one who rides a high horse morally. She is a list MP. so in my opinion, she is not directly elected. On paper she has an impressive CV, having studied at Oxford University and worked with the UN . Golriz has branded herself as the refugee MP. As a result. She has enjoyed fawning publicity from adoring journalists who believe that she is something  special.  As a result she may be the most promoted backbencher in New Zealand history. More activism and speeches from On High means she is going to be questioned more. Some humility might be useful. In November she was also criticised for her role at the UN when it transpired that she helped defend someone who had been accused of inciting genocide. Most people will acknowledge the role of lawyers in representing unpleasant people who have a right to a defence, But it takes the shine off her claims to be friend of the weak and defender of human rights. Comments by Cr Hills are worrying in the current zeitgeist. Criticism of Golriz was ”creepy” and “disgusting,” he said. Creepy is a dog whistle – like fascist and Nazi – that commenting about her is misogynist. Who is next in the elite group that is above questioning? Is it creepy or disgusting to question people with power and who lecture us on our obligations? Politicians are not above the hoi polloi.

 

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Update: Free Speech Coalition Withdraws Goff Complaint Claims victory

CAPTION: Coalition says Morning Report wanted Brash for a Punch and Judy show.

The Free Speech Coalition has studied Auckland Council’s defence to the application for judicial review of the Mayor’s claim to ban Molyneux/Southern from Council-owned venues. There is no attempt in the response papers to substantiate any politician’s right to decide who can and can’t be heard in Auckland’s ratepayer provided facilities.

“Free Speech has unequivocally won on the key issue,” says Dr David Cumin, a Free Speech Coalition member. “The arrogant claim of power to block what the Mayor calls ‘repugnant’ speech (speech that might offend a person’s religious prejudices) gets no defence from the Council lawyers.”

The Council Response concedes: Mayor Goff did not make the decision;

He had no right to intervene or make the decision;

Regional Facilities Auckland made the decision;

RFA would not have acted on the Mayor’s instructions if he had given them;

He did not influence the decision-makers;

RFA do not and will not discriminate among users on grounds of political preference or concern about causing offence;

The decision was instead based on security concerns;

Ultimately it was due to fear of what protesters could do;

RFA thought that safety was paramount so they did not believe they needed to do more to mitigate the threats or otherwise ensure the Thug’s Veto did not prevail.

“With the Council indicating so clearly that it can’t support the Mayor’s claims, the Free Speech Coalition has won,” says Dr Cumin. “New Zealanders have put together their $20s and $50s and $100s, and they’ve called the politician’s bluff. They’ve told him they get to decide who they can listen to – not a Mayor spouting slogans about people he’s never met.”

“The Free Speech Coalition’s main purpose for next Monday’s urgent application hearing has therefore gone. As such the request for urgent orders and a hearing, has been withdrawn. Focus will now be on the remaining question relating to the Council’s duty to stand up to the ‘Thugs’ Veto’.”

“The Coalition was never about supporting the particular speakers, it was about principle, which now the Council has conceded.”

“The second issue remains – will officials who want to gag unwelcome political speech now manufacture “safety concerns” to evade the NZ Bill of Rights Act, and the Human Rights Act?”

“All fair-minded New Zealanders will be upset by the apparent effectiveness of the Thugs’ Veto in this case. It may have been against a Council whose Mayor was happy to be threatened, but it has implications throughout New Zealand.”

“We think Free Speech Coalition supporters will want us to ensure that a court tells Councils to ensure the Thug’s Veto does not rule in their cities. But that is an issue for a later day, and will be the key issue in the substantive proceedings later in the year, if we decide to press on.”

“Auckland Council’s incompetence on this occasion would make it hard for the Court to order that the particular event go ahead, at least at the planned time and venue. We are advised that the compressed urgent timetable and rules about interim applications such as ours mean that it will not be possible to get sufficient evidence before the Court on security/safety issues, and test it.”

“Unless the Police volunteer that they can handle anything unlawful the protesters might threaten, a court would be wary of unmanageable interference with the event and its attendees.”

“The promoters are responsible people. They see the greater risk created by the Mayor’s incitement. Celebrities without any direct knowledge have been falling over each other to distance themselves from the manufactured bogeymen they were prompted to hate, by the Mayor.”

“While it may be fair to tar Auckland Councillors with cowardice in failing to reassert control of Mayor Goff, it is not fair to blame the RFA officers. They have stated their adherence to the non-partisan principles the Free Speech Coalition defends. We welcome this significant victory.”

“Both sides should now agree that the question is whether unexamined safety fears can trump fundamental values of free expression. We should agree that defining a duty to overcome the Thug’s Veto is vitally important. That should now be the main issue in the eventual substantive hearing.”

Melissa Derby, another spokesperson for the Free Speech Coalition, says “The Mayor was wrong in the decision he made and we’ve ensured no legal precedent was set that makes it okay for an elected official to decide what we can or can’t hear. That is precisely what we wanted to achieve.”

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Free Speech Coalition Challenges Morning Report Was Brash Choice RNZ Payback Time?

Don Brash – a politicised choice.

A Morning Report focus on Don Brash for the freedom of speech issue raises questions about its motivations. The public broadcaster went to extraordinary lengths to place Brash – a contentious but minor player at the Free Speech Coalition – front and centre of the debate. The Guyon Espiner interview ran on July 11.

According to the coalition, Brash told Morning Report he was not the best person to front. But Morning Report insisted and turned away six suggestions from the coalition, including academics and two official spokespeople. The coalition includes a dozen lawyers and academics and journalist Chris Trotter, Williams said. 

TVNZ’s Cori9n dean was objective on Goff issue

The coalition is legally challenging Auckland mayor Phil Goff, and his ban on Canadian right wing activists – Lauren Southern an Stefan Molyneux – from using Auckland Council venues Subsequently many agreed and disagreed with Goff’s stance. some of the anti criticism focused on Brash. The coalition has raised more than $100,000 for its legal challenge.

According to Williams, it was made apparent that if Brash did not front for the Coalition, no-one else could. Brash initially turned Morning Report down – but eventually demurred. On air Brash, maintained a reasoned stance, but Espiner focused on his personal background and conservatism, including his stance criticising Radio New Zealand for use of te reo in news.

Jordan Williams(right)

Jordan Williams said: “They insisted on having Don Brash to take an agenda-driven approach to an interview that did not serve the listener.

The approach deliberately chose to ignore a fundamental issue for the purpose of short-term gamesmanship. Williams said.Morning Report used to be authoritative and credible and yet more and more it plays these silly games,” he said.Morning Report wanted the actor to play the Punch and Judy role, and that does not suit the listener, Williams said. Then then they chose to mock him for being the spokesperson.

The upshot was that the public broadcaster portrays the freedom speech is issue as about a personality and politician.

To be fair, the coalition could have handled it better, calling Morning Report’s bluff.

The use of Brash created a political edge, and he should have stayed away, in my opinion.  Media must be free to take the angle and the people they like. That is freedom of the press. Media always likes fireworks. But we are taught RNZ is better than that.

But in my opinion this item looked like a stitch up – and a payback to politician who had publicly challenged RNZ, and Morning Report in particular. Radio New Zealand was invited on Tuesday to respond the the criticism.

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Freedom From Offendarati Rule

Image Pinterest.

Debates about freedom of speech often lead to academic and legalistic arguments. Important people try to define what mere mortals may listen to, who needs to be protected, and from whom.

It is important and abstract. So it is handed to right-minded activists, lawyers and journalists – and to politicians like Phil Goff. He imposed his view on what political view is acceptable – in public venues at least.  The thing is, freedom of speech is an antidote to authority. And so it is annoying for some.  At heart many of us don’t want to be bossed around by people who are sometimes-irrational, sometimes self- indulgent, virtue-signallers, and zealots. We are capable of making up our own minds without their censoring us.

Phil Goff on Q&A. He decided what you can hear.

I’m weary of being lectured that freedom of speech is not an absolute. We all know that. There are valid restrictions on incitements to violence and personal hatred. Defamation laws are a rich person’s tool, but they also constrain freedom. But in the current weird world, protection from abuse and the threat of violence has morphed into stopping views that offend – halting language that is deemed “unsafe.” We are being protected by people who hate being offended. The Offendarati. 

It’s a white hat- black hat mentality. The Goodies and Baddies, Some groups are involved in white hat groups have special status. Some are beyond the pale and are irrelevant or to be silenced. This is understandable given the viciousness of social media and the partisan wars on twitter.

Some folk on the Left – once advocates for free speech – now insist that “hurtful” opinions must be stopped in the future for the good of Society all and the protection of the vulnerable. White knight social justice warriors have assigned themselves to protect specified minorities from people who are defined – somewhat fanatically – as fascists, Nazis and racists. One new term of acceptable abuse, is to deride Terfs, people who will not accept official institutions proclamations on gender politics. The Goodies and the Baddies, 

It is bizarre that some journalists – who have complained about the restrictions of libel laws an authority – should now actively seek the extend restrictions into the discussion of ideas, religion and politics.

Goff says Southern and Molyneux are beyond the pale.’

We have seen examples of over-eager outrages recently like the attacks on Israel Folau – and Phil Goff’s “captain’s call” intervention into the Lauren Southern Stefan Molyneux event. I find Southern too much of a careerist and Molyneux tedious, but they are not so frightening they should be banned from Council venues. “Who is next,” Corin Dann asked Goff on Q&A,” Donald Trump”? 

We see the same intervention by authority in the gay community with attempts by media and politicians to shut down individuals – people who disagree with the new orthodoxy,  transexuals self identifying as women – many of them penises. They argue that biology is irrelevant to gender. It has become mainstream thought, but quite mad/ These are vexed issues. There is no doubt about that.

Minister. “Terfs” must treat transexuals with penises as women.

But in the current environment, activists and media followers believe discordant options are to be shut down. People who disagree with authority from so called “Terfs” can be shut down.

Last week on Q&A Woman Affairs Minister Julie Ann Genter chided feminists who did not accept transsexuals with penises were women.Should the state be policing these matters?

It is part of the continued breakdown into cultural niches under identity politics, where authorities will define what is and what is not acceptable.

The Human Rights Commission should be a haven of fairness and rationality in these debates. Alas, the publicly funded body has taken sides and become a home for state sponsored activism. 

The Commission has brushed off its’ scandal over an executive harassment of an intern and privately it is working to expand a push for more restrictions on free speech.

During nine years of a National governments there have been growing signs of ideological biases were ignored and promoted in media.

Radical feminist Renee Gerlijh has been attacked by trans-activists – but that is allowed by authorities

Now with a Labour government – and despite the Human Rights Commission dysfunction –  pressing ahead with controls on what it calls “disharmonious speech”  for likely new hate speech rules at the end of the current Labour term. 

 

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Activist Dumped From Oz Media Watchdog,

 

https://mumbrella.com.au/getups-carla-mcgrath-disputes-request-to-resign-from-press-council-517137

Activist Carla McGrath has vowed to resist her removal from the Australian Press Council. A year ago the appointment of McGrath to the Council set off a major row. She is deputy chairman of the Left wing activist organisation Get Up. The Murdoch media organisation had repeatedly complained about her bias, and said it wouldn’t abide by APC decisions she was involved with.

Who guards the guards of media standards? Should political campaigners have a role overseeing the Press that is greater than the general public.

Carla McGrath is deputy chair or the activist organisation Get Up

I’d argue that strongly held views must be considered by regulators considering complaints. But opinion must be free, and the opinions of a political activists do not reflect independence. Continue reading “Activist Dumped From Oz Media Watchdog,”

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The Top Cop Statement Was A Step Too Far

There has been a about the false Clarke Gayford rumours. But there has been limited debate about the decision that led the media to investigate and reject the rumours.In an unprecedented step last week, Police Commissioner Mike Bush stepped into the fray, telling the public that the rumours his staff were investigating Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s partner were not true.

“While in general we do not respond to enquiries which seek to confirm if individuals are under police investigation, on this occasion we can say that Mr Gayford is not and has not been the subject of any police inquiry, nor has he been charged in relation to any matter.”

Soon afterwards, Linda Clark, from the law firm engaged by Gayford, Kensington Swan, issued a statement saying that the allegations against him were “untrue and defamatory” and warning the media off publishing them. Clark is a former political editor of TVNZ and host of RNZ National’s Nine to Noon programme. She is also an occasional media commentator on politics. I can see that false rumours would have been very annoying and distracting for the government.

I am not sure whether the gossip at the water coolers and smoko rooms of the nation, as some in the media have suggestedsay?]]]

Commissioner Mike Bush

But media people love to gossip and it might have been sensible to address the rumours directly. Commissioner Bush’s statement indicated the rumours were false, but did not actually indicate what they were about. This in effect invited people to guess. In my opinion the statement from such a high placed public servant was risky.Has there been any transparency about how Bush came to take this extraordinary step? Maybe I have missed it.

If there had been a complaint, Would it have been impossible for police track down the gossipers. The police were obviously mentioned in the gossip so they might have deemed it appropriate for them to make a statement.

But by involving the commissioner – someone with a direct relationship with our political leaders – we seem to have taken a step too far.Maybe it was an extraordinary situation, but the statement from Bush makes it even more extraordinary.

Surely it would have been better to use one of the numerous assistant commissioners to make a statement.

Or maybe, to keep things even more simple, underlings from the public relations department/. Using the Police Commissioner to say “there is no story” looks like two bodies of state are acting in tandem.

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Branding Checkpoint

CAPTION. Mary Wilson would have conducted a more rigorous interview with Renae Maihi.

The Checkpoint interview: https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018633295/we-ve-had-enough-of-racism-in-nz

 

RNZ star presenter John Campbell has worked hard to diminish the worst excesses of celebrity journalism from his days at Campbell Live on TV3. The editorialising. The personal takes.

Sir Robert Jones.

This week he interviewed a Rotorua filmmaker and writer Renae Maihi who is organising a petition to remove Sir Bob Jones knighthood because of his comments in a scrapped NBR column, deemed racist by some.  In my opinion the interview was deficient. It was more about identifying the branding of Campbell and Checkpoint than it was about debating an issue. Maihi was articulate – a media person – and capable of dealing with challenges to her position. It was a debate on free speech not feelings and Campbell should have challenged her assumptions. That is what Checkpoint would have done before Campbell when “Scary Mary” Wilson was in charge.

Checkpoint has some serious wins under Campbell, but Campbell reverts to chat when he agrees with protagonists.  I understand a change in approach to the show had been recognised when senior executive Gael Woods was at RNZ. Woods was made redundant last year and has lodged personal grievance case was due to be heard by the Employment Relations Authority in Wellington in April. A different approach seems to have won approval from senior management at RNZ.

Two weeks after the brouhaha over Bob Jones’ offending column in NBR. Checkpoint revisited the issue with a Skype article on Maihi who had organised the petition with 58,000 signatures. Jones has a reputation as a stirrer and publicity seeker.

Renea Maihi – writer and film-maker.

His column that included a small segment suggesting Maori should use Waitangi Day to show their gratitude to their colonisers. Jones’ insists it was satire. It was only online for a day before the NBR responded to criricism and took it down.  Jones resigned his commission with NBR.

Jacinda Ardern has said the government was not going to remove Jones’s knighthood. In that context, the ongoing story is a debate on freedom of speech . The main problem with the column was that I was not very good. Screen grabs of the offending article were on the internet. But it’s still not clear how many people actually read it in full; Maihi  is entitled to her view. But for seven minutes on Checkpoint we had the state broadcaster examining the hurt she felt – that people were saying such things 250 years after colonisation that hurt Maori people’s mana. She felt media should not publish material that was disparaging toward Maori. She did not buy the satire argument.

“We have to be very responsible what we are putting out in the media, We want people feeling good about it. To which some would say. that’s the price of freedom of speech.

“You just get to a point where we are still having to defend out mana, and we need to sort this out because it has to stop.  Messaging is very important,” Maihi said.

So this will no doubt add to the campaign for those who believe some things cannot be said.

Campbell related to Maihi’s angst, and that seemed to colour his interview. We were treated to an insight into the morals of Campbell household which he said had a policy to “not be a dick”. But it was a soft interview on an important topic. Freedom-of-speech versus the right to not be offended. There was no debate on the premise of the campaign: That the state should punish people who say things that cause offense to others. Checkpoint did not question whether opinion should be regulated.

In my opinion, this interview was more about branding for RNZ. Signalling its priorities. It’s what you would expect from The Project. The Wireless, and The Spinoff,  not Checkpoint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Bloody Proud” Hayley May Interrogate Jacinda

CAPTION: Hayley Holt on the campaign trail with the Greens.

 

I know its easy to dismiss breakfast TV and the 7pm magazine shows as fluff. But they are still a part of the news eco-system, and I worry that – based the pr5e-Christmas Jacindamania – broadcasters are prone to giving the new Labour government an easy ride.

TVNZ looks to be joining RNZ Digital in a drift to the Left, and TV3’s “The Project”  is aimed at the young urban Leftie set.

Things have changed at TVNZ. On Seven Sharp, TVNZ allowed Mike Hosking to mouth off his pro-National opinions.

He is entitled to his views, and his bias would not have been an issue on a privately-owned TV channel.

But TVNZ allowed him to take over the editorialising for a TV news programme on a state channel.

Now Labour is in power, Hosking has been replaced with Hilary Barry and TVNZ has hired former Green candidate Hayley Holt to take over her job co-hosting Breakfast.

Its odd.  A few months after Holt was the Greens was beside herself, talking about Jacinda Ardern on twitter.. 

“Sometimes I get choked up thinking about how bloody proud I am to have @jacindaardern as our PM. NZ is on the right side of history today”

She “totally” agreed with another correspondent that she loved the Prime -Minister.

 

I guess that is just social media hyperbole, but its hard to see how you leave that idolatry behind. TVNZ confirms Holt may be interviewing the PM on nationwide breakfast TV. TVNZ says that Holt – unlike Hosking – is a journalist.

I’m sure that Holt will provide the fun an fizz that is required for breakfast TV.

She has left the Green Party. TVNZ believes Holt’s politics need not interfere with her journalists role and is aware of the requirements of the job,.  

I’ll be pilloried by her legion of young fans and journalists, 

I just think that TVNZ they should try hard for the political interviews to be conducted by Jack Tame. 

TVNZ tried to convince us that the bias to the Right was okay for Hosking. Not it is doing the same hiring a former Green candidate, TVNZ ending his gig was widely applauded by Lefties. Holt may well turn out to be a great breakfast TV host, but the public deserves more care with political interviewers. With all the challenges facing journalism a former Left Candidate interviewing Labour MP undermines the credibility of TVNZ’s politics coverage.RNZ tried the same trick with a Young Greens activist interviewing Chloe Swarbrick and a Labour Party consultant opining about what question could be asked of Ardern, We don’t need TVNZ to join in.

 

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Bauer’s Paperboy Falls Over

Bauer has ended Paperboy the Auckland city giveaway.  It was launched in November 2016 and the next issue was due out on 25 January.

But in a statement, Bauer said the cost of producing the free magazine in a “highly competitive market” exceeded the advertising revenue generated … and it will no longer be published.

Bauer said the magazine “championed a positive vision” for Auckland and the move to shut it down was a tough decision.

 

 

And so, thank you Bauer, for Paperboy, your ambitious attempt to provide a giveaway weekly paper-magazine for central Auckland and its suburbs. I was only a sporadic reader, picking one up from the empty bus seat next to me, or after passing one of the inner city distribution bins. I seldom actively sought out a copy. To be honest, it seemed aimed at people who were younger and cleverer than me.

There were always some interesting stories. New magazines take awhile to become  established in their market. Bauer said it had been doing okay for he last three months.  But it was not making a profit and had not provided the advertising revenue to sustain its future. The company decided to pull out.

To its credit, Bauer had taken a risk with Paperboy. It had invested a lot to develop the title for new audience of Auckland city and city fringe dwellers, with plans to expand to other centres. This at a time when all media – let alone print- have been going through upheavals.  It’s magazine-style layout was nice, as befits a magazine company, and the stories were well written.  In my opinion the newsprint quality seemed a bit low rent  considering the subject matter.  Bauer published 100,000 copies a week, so improving paper quality might have added a lot to its production budget. But the paper quality detracted from the product and would have made it harder to make a splash with advertising.

I am probably too old for the target demographic, but I sometimes found the font size for the body type a too small for easy reading.

The upmarket home décor, architecture and the arts focus would have made sense to Bauer. That was probably the speciaist where Bauer thought the advertising revenue would come from.

Paperboy received good feedback from media folk about town and many people have lamented the loss of the magazine later this month.

But I wonder if Bauer aimed it too upmarket. For ad revenue it would have been competing against mainstream newspapers and radio stations. Editorially it appeared to aim at the clever set consumers that reads The Spinoff. Staff  are being redeployed at Bauer, and the hope is that Bauer will be prepared to take other risks in the future.

 

 

 

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Weatherman Sam or Jack Tame Might Take Over From Hosking

CAPTION: Sam Wallace on The Hits. My sources believe he will replace Mike Hosking on Seven Sharp?

It is understood that Wallace – who works with Street on NZME”s The Hits radio station and who holds roles including Breakfast weatherman is well liked  and assured a place on Seven Sharp if he wanted it. He is regarded as a telleenic young face for the network. He will likely lead a shift back to even lighter content on the magazine show, sources say.

The other alternative is Jack Tame who has not really worked with Hillary Barry on Breakfast.

Continue reading “Weatherman Sam or Jack Tame Might Take Over From Hosking”

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