Archive for August 7th, 2008

Must-view TV: Sensing Murder on media7

August 7, 2008

Went to Tuesday’s media7 taping. It was a real cracker.

This week Sensing Murder came under the spotlight. The panel was the programme’s producer David Harry Baldock; journalist Caroll du Chateau; and Jeremy Wells, whose Sensing Bullshit on Eating Media Lunch lampooned the show.

I’d like to tell you my favourite moment. It came at the every end. But don’t want to spoil the fun for anybody who watches this gem.

As always, links to the on-demand version, and the other versions of the video on the media7 microsite and YouTube channel, can be found at Public Address and the media7 blog.

Hey, it’s “Ignored ‘Bin Laden determined to strike’ Day”!

August 7, 2008

Not as important as Hiroshima Day, granted, but we can’t let the 7th anniversary of Ignored “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US” PDB Day go by without a word or two (hat-tip DailyKos).

Yep, it’s seven years since Bush, vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, TX, was warned in his President’s Daily Briefing “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” that Al Qaeda was busy planning attacks from inside the USA. How did the good ol’ Commander in Chief respond? With another month of joggin’, golf, readin’, potterin’ ’round on the ranch … heck, what do you expect a President to do?

And what better way to celebrate than to find Osama bin Laden’s driver guilty of “supporting terrorism”.

Well, what else can you do when the man himself remains at liberty? Which is quite something when you consider that the resources spent trying to find him would keep a small country going for a year or two.

Though the US government probably sees the failure of the main conspiracy charges as a bit of a set-back.

Also, it’s not as though the rest of the civilised world is going to regard a trial that violates accepted prohibitions on the use of coerced evidence and  retroactive criminal laws as much more than a kangaroo court. Gives kangaroos a bad name you could say.

Trust you enjoyed “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US” PDB Day, Dubya!

Granny comes to Nats’ rescue, again

August 7, 2008

I’m starting to wonder whether the Herald shouldn’t carry an authorisation statement at the bottom of page 1. From the National Party.

Let’s look at how it’s spun reported Cocktail-gate. After a few days of defensive denials and retractions — does he really need Crosby-Textor to tell him his every move? — Key sought to divert attention from the revealing recordings by pointing the finger at Labour.

That was all Granny needed. Quick as a flash, Granny was running Key’s accusations:

“Mr Key blamed Labour activists for infiltrating the cocktail party, saying some were ejected later in the conference weekend.”

No need for any evidence — and it could have been a disillusioned Nat, anachist, Green, whatever. Even that old troglodyte Garth George froths about politics in NZ reaching a “new low” (would Colin Moyle agree with that, I wonder?) and the “scumbag” who perpetrated this heinous crime. Funny, I don’t remember George denouncing the person who taped Mike Williams at Labour’s conference.

Oh, and now we’re asked to believe that Key’s Electorate Office rubbish has been tampered with on the basis that a rubbish bag disappeared. Given that a botched burglary of the Democratic Party’s offices in the Watergate complex brought about the downfall of a US President, the idea that any politicians would engage in that sort of activity in the era of cell-phone cameras and the like is risable.

All too predictably there’s Granny’s editorial, pronouncing that “Dirty tricks benefit no one”:

“As revelations go, these are rather less remarkable than the method by which they were obtained. Discreet recording is done but not commonly published by ethical news organisations …”

It’s not fair, says Granny, unless there is a denial or the public interest outweighs partisan politics.

What Granny’s trying to sell here is the idea that we didn’t learn anything from the tapes. But we did. In the policy vacuum that we’ve been treated to by National, these candid conversations have revealed much more about National’s real intentions once it’s safely installed in power (having not frightened the horses).

So, what of the ethics of the whole affair? Gordon Campbell argues that:

“A defining aspect of 21st century politics is the pervasiveness of political spin, and the tactics of media manipulation by political parties. Frankly, if a lone activist with a $200 dictaphone can defeat the massed phalanxes of p.r. bullshit, and thereby give the public a clearer idea of what the next government may actually do when elected, then surely that’s all to the good – isn’t it?”

Campbell also points out that it is less ethical to hide your intentions until in power and then do, “what you REALLY had in mind all along, but didn’t dare risk saying out loud because people wouldn’t have voted for you in the first place.”

Well put, Gordon.

Ad industry: us, sexist?

August 7, 2008

Just to show that Granny hasn’t completely given itself over to National’s spin machine, there’s a fine article today about the continued sexist portrayal of women in NZ ads and how it’s perceived by women.

A survey found large majorities of NZ women believed that advertising:

  • portrayed women as “unequal in society”
  • did not use “real women”
  • harmed their ability to be taken seriously in the workplace.


You’d trust him again?

August 7, 2008

To understand the import of the comments of Lockwood Smith, caught out telling the truth, it pays to recall the background. Lockwood Smith in 1990:

The Standard also has an image of Lockwood Smith’s signed pledge to electors in 1990…

“I, Lockwood Smith, MP, hereby pledge to tender my resignation as Minister of Education if National having become the government in 1990, has not implemented most of the National Party Education Policy, as stated in 1990, by the beginning of the 1992 academic year.”

“In particular, I pledge to tender my resignation if the $1250 tertiary tuition fee has not been abolished by this time…”

It wasn’t. He didn’t. And now he says:

“Once we have gained the confidence of the people, we’ve got more chance of doing more things.”

“We may be able to do some things we believe we need to do, perhaps go through a discussion document process… you wouldn’t be able to do them straight off. … I’m hoping that we’ll do some useful things that way, that may not be policy right now.”

Sweepstake on Baubles

August 7, 2008

Now that final confidence motion is out of the way, we can have a sweepstake on how long Peters will keep his baubles. Any time between now and the time that the ministers would ordinarily hand in their warrants. (If I recall correctly, ministers may continue in office for up to 28 days after the election.)

Of course, the right-wing bloggers who have been predicting Peters’ imminent demise for some weeks now should be disqualified from entering, but they’re welcome to nonetheless.

I’m picking he will get dumped in the first week of September. Clark won’t want him strutting his baubles during the election campaign proper, especially as the Herald and DomPost will continue to dish the dirt in their carefully choreographed campaign to eliminate him.

Stockley on McNasty’s counter-narratives

August 7, 2008

Ex-pat political consultant Neil Stockley provides an excellent analysis of McCain’s nasty counter-narratives, and what they tell us about the American body politic.

Barack Obama: not “one of us”

During the primary season, Barack Obama gave us an object lesson in how political narratives work, engaging both the heart and the head. Now, after a slow start, the McCain campaign shows us how counter-stories really work; in the process, they might be proving something thoroughly unpleasant about American politics.