Wednesday, 10 May 2017
And now a message from our sponsor!
Question: Whats worse than a member of the mainstream media moaning about the current situation its in?
Answer: A member of the mainstream media writing a half baked article moaning about the current media situation while railing against the blog-sphere and tinging everything with just a hint (just a pinch) of dickishness in everything they say.
Liam Hehir's article on Stuff got my attention with its title for sure but it was bitter tone of the piece and the fabulous lack of irony that he wrote with that kept me reading because here is a paid professional journalist turning out work that looks and reads like something like a cracked up rant I would post.
Of course its setup as "opinion" but in the wake of the failed merger of NZME and Fairfax there has been more than a few hints of sour grapes in the media with the odd editorial and now this to make you wonder what exactly is the difference between a paid journalist like him and an unpaid loon like really me is.
Of course there are some very good people out there in the Fourth Estate with the trio of Stacey Kirk, Tracy Watkins and Jo Moir over at Stuff being consistently good at tabulating the things that lurk in the political cess pool without just phoning it in with rote reportage or Clare Trevit and Audrey Young over at the NZ Herald doing similarly good things.
Or the consistently good political blogs like Bowally Road (Chris Trotter), Brian Edwards Media (natch!), Kiwiblog (David Farrar), Werewolf (Gordon Campbell), Kiwipolitico (Pablo), No Right Turn (Idiot Savant), Pundit (the Pundit crew), The Standard (the Standard crew), The Daily Blog (Martyn Bradbury) and deliciously analytical Croaking Cassandra (Michael Reddell).
All of these people are the kind of people doing great work in commenting on politics in NZ and are the kind of journalists and bloggers that I aspire to write like but will never reach (so I settle for playing the ranting nutter card instead).
So when I read Mr Hehirs unfocused rant on Stuffs Business Day I think less about the declining revenues for News outlets and more about sending my CV in for a job because if he can get away with getting paid for barfing up a string of conscious diatribe (and I should know what one looks like because they are my stock in trade on this blog) then so can I.
And the theme of his piece is that today the lower barrier to enter the media stream means less advertising revenue for the older more established media forms like news papers and their attendant online outlets and as such they are now in decline.
So far sensible analysis but two paragraphs in the crazy starts with a sudden swerve into random ranting with his mind blowing observation that "everything is political now".
Really Skippy? Are you sure about that?
But no, no time to stop there as the very next sentence is "Sports can't simply be about sports any more." and we are off and away Hehir fires of a string of unlinked and unsupported assertions which boil down to defense of what he perceives as those unfairly attacking the media for a range of left wing and right wing biases (set to suit those making the accusations).
And if he had eased back a bit here and expanded on what he was going on about we would have had an interesting but rather pedestrian piece of journalism looking at the woes of the media in an age of shifting technology and FukYoo politics.
So where do you think Hehir taking us on this ride hmmmmmm?
If you said "blame the new media and specially the blogsphere" then hey presto you win the prize. If you said anything else then Waaa Waaaa, no deluxe set of steak knives for you.
And so it goes, even down to making accusations of "misguided analysis" from "armchair analysts" in a rapid decent into so many named dropped political and social buzz words that one gets the creeping suspicion that Liam may not actually know what all of these words mean but has been cribbing his notes form somewhere else and like any first year uni student desperately trying to complete a paper the night before its due has used as many terms as possible in a Mountain Dew and Skittles fueled textual carpet bombing.
First its "partisan", then "neo-liberalisem", "social justice", then "hyper-partisan" followed by "hidden agenda" before upping the stakes by having "disgruntled partisans" in the end to round things out. All of which is linked into a series of micro rants towards these perceived criticisms only to tie it all off with series of smug sentences and the conclusion that editorial bias has nothing to do with it.
Best of the lot was this nugget filled gem:
But the armchair analysts of the internet are full of advice. According to one Twitter user, the real problem is that "NZ media so biased towards neo-liberalism & degrading victims of it, they've lost trust & respect of most of NZ." At the same time, a blog comment maker suggested that newspapers "dump their [social justice warrior] advocates and get some staff who will report the news with facts vs pushing some personal agenda".
"According to one Twitter user" or "a blog comment maker"?* And its not even "so and so says" with a helpful link to whatever gibberish stream he has been sourcing this stuff from but its "according to...", way to protect your sources there Liam.
Now none of these terms are bad by themselves or even used in conjunction but unless you are writing a article about guerrilla warfare its best to reach for the thesaurus rather than keep on using the word "partisan" with assorted descriptive modifiers so many times.
Thus about this point the dickishness rears its ugly head and the word "opinion" gets sideswiped by "angry rant" as the last third of this rather low grade word-smithing gets reduced to the level of something even I would give pause before writing, and I rarely pause when writing posts and am thoroughly low grade.
So who does this guy think he is? Does he not get the delicious irony of him blaming the new media as a bunch of useless misinformed political miscreants firing off whatever comes into their heads to align with their highly dangerous "partisan" bias in a article written like a frothing at the mouth blog post by someone clearly in the thrall of their own political or economic bias firing off the first thing that came into his head?
At least he did not write it in all caps but as I progressed though this I was sounding it out in my mind as angrier and angrier prose as I imagined Liam sitting at his desk, typing this out through clenched teeth, seething with rage and barely able to contain his righteous fury at those "gosh darned political bloggers, how dare they voice comment on things they know nothing about!" before having a screaming aneurysm and collapsing over the keyboard, breathing heavily and sweating like he had run a marathon.
Now fair call if he was attacking someone like me as I am a political miscreant with demented and dangerous opinions, and proud of it, but Hehir is not attacking me he is attacking anyone not writing for one of the big two news outlets in NZ and saying loud and clear that they don't know what they are talking about and his evidence for this is not to take a look at what is actually being said on any political blog in NZ but from Twitter and random comments sections.
Hell with that level of research why not start adding comments from IAB or 4Chan**
Unfortunately there is a grain of truth in what Hehir is saying but its gets killed by the dumpster fire of rage fueled flaming invective he unleashes which derails his arguments and upends his position and ignores the fact that media is not simply dying because its an out of date economic model but also because people don't trust the mainstream media any more.
Why? Because they are liars!
Sites like Stuff and The NZ Herald have News but they also swarm with vapid articles about celebrities and mindless TV shows, infotainment and paid for editorials, "sponsored content" and the kind of sensationalist tabloid content that stokes fear, prejudice and paranoia.
And lets not even start on the crisis the Media in the US and UK are in over their highly partisan coverage in recent elections and referendums which saw them all shouting one way while the opposite to what they wanted happened when reality dared to intrude on their self affirming media narrative.
Yet go to one of the many excellent blogs I have listed and find solid content and (shock horror) through analysis coupled with a far greater level of insight and research than what he is getting paid for.
Also those political biases in media which Hehir thinks are not an issue to a struggling in MSM, are actually important and do exist in the MSM and had the monster monopoly media merger gone ahead NZ would have been faced with one big sludge factory with near total control of the media, and what could possibly go wrong with a level of media consolidation like that of say China or the old Soviet Union.
Monopolies never go wrong, right?
And then there is a seamy and turgid fact that the Media in places like the US and NZ are so despised and untrusted that they rate as low as politicians and pedophiles in the "people who I want to baby sit my kids" stakes.
I suspect that Liam has never read The Spin: A novel of New Zealand Politics by Anonymous*** be cause if he had he might have seen the writing on the wall nearly 20 years ago for media in general given how wretched they were becoming because while I do list some fine examples of writers in the mainstream media they are the exceptions that prove the rule rather than affirm all that could be good about a free press and investigative journalism.
But I am going to end this post with this little thought turd from Liam because this sums him and this terrible piece of work up in a nutshell. Thus when commenting on the potential outcomes of the NZME-Fairfax merger he has this to say.
Both companies said merging was necessary to safeguard journalism in this country. Without it, they say, it's not clear that newspapers can remain viable. I don't really have an opinion on whether that's true or not, because I haven't given it a lot of thought.
This sounds so wrong on so many levels, a journalist working for one of these media outlets has "nothing to say" on the matter as "hasn't given it a lot of though".
Pull the other one Liam me old mate, your supposedly writing for one of these organizations, commenting in the business section of one of these media organs, have written an article dealing with issues related to it and you have not give it a lot of thought?
And you criticize those armchair analysts for giving their opinion when you cant be bothered? Are you for real or did your editor put you up to this?
That kind of statement in that kind of article sums up so well why media is dying (that little nugget of truth I noted before that you had buried in your work) and you think you and the business you work for should be or are viable?
If that's "viable" I will take the armchair analysis from the armchair analysts on the blogs any day over the drivel spouted by you and your crap churning wanna-be media monopoly.
The fact that the new media is no longer in the established, older format does not make it any less relevant or important or factual or good or even just plain ol journalistic and just because they have exposed the dinosaurs you work for as soon to be extinct does not legitimize the dogs dinner you get to publish under your name and byline.
Besides I suspect that if the merger had gone ahead you would have been out of a job given the standard you write like but that's no problem because given how you write there is always room for another blogger, and I even have a name for your new blog, you can call it...............wait for it............... The Armchair Analyst!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
*-What the hella is a "blog comment maker"? Is that some sort of bot or an elaborate way of saying "commenters" or something entirely else. Feel free to speculate in the blog comment maker section.
**-Both of which are perfectly fine sites by the way but where some sections can get a little bit toxic at times.
***-The individual not the group.