Graham Adams over at The Platform has made the argument that the failure of mainstream media to engage with the debates occurring online is a threat to democracy. With trust in NZ media at an all time low, I wondered what is the list of topics that you simply are NOT allowed to discuss on NZ mainstream media.
Here were my thoughts over 30 years in NZ media.
Palestine: You can not talk about the brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel in NZ media. It’s just not allowed, any discussion has to be framed as ‘Poor Israeli’s being terrorised by evil angry Muslims’, there is never focus on the brutal occupation and when it ever does emerge in the media it’s always insinuated that any criticism is anti-Semitism.
Child Poverty NEVER adult poverty: We only talk about child poverty because they deserve our pity. Adults in poverty can go fuck themselves. Despite numbering around 800 000, adults in poverty are there because they ‘choose’ to be there. The most important myth of neoliberalism is that your success is all your own, as is your failure. If an adult is in poverty, neoliberal cultural mythology states that is all on them and we have no obligation to help. That’s why we only ever talk endlessly about children in poverty because the vast majority of hard hearted NZers want to blame adults in poverty on them so we can pretend to be egalitarian without actually having to implement any policy.
The Neoliberal NZ experiment: You are never allowed to question the de-unionised work force that amputated wages, you can never question selling off our assets, you can never criticise the growth uber allas mentality, you are never allowed to attack the free market outcomes and you can’t step back and evaluate the 35 year neoliberal experiment in NZ because you remind the wage slaves of the horror of it all.
Class: You can not point out that the demarcation line in a capitalist democracy like NZ is the 1% richest plus their 9% enablers vs the 90% rest of us. Oh you can wank on and on about your identity and your feelings about your identity in a never ending intersectionist diversity pronoun word salad, but you can’t point out that it’s really the 90% us vs the 10% them class break down because that would be effective and we can’t have effective on mainstream media when feelings are the currency to audience solidarity in an ever diminishing pie of attention.
Immigration: It must always be framed as positive. It can never be argued that it is a cheap and lazy growth model that pushes down wages and places domestic poor in competition with International student language school scams and exploited migrant workers. Any criticism of Immigration makes you a Xenophobe and because the Middle Classes like travelling and have global skills for sale, they see any criticism of migrants as an attack on their economic privileges.
Hyper Tourism: We are never allowed to ask ‘how many is too many you greedy fucks’. The tourism industry that doesn’t give a shit about us locals, live for the 4million tourists who visit annually. We are not allowed to ask why that amount of air travel is sustainable, we are not allowed to ask why selling Red Bull and V at tourist stops is somehow an economic miracle and we are certainly not allowed to question why these tourists aren’t directly being taxed meaningfully for the infrastructure they clog.
Dairy as a Sunset Industry: We are never allowed to point out that the millisecond the manufactured food industry can make synthetic milk powder, they will dump us as a base ingredient and the entire Dairy Industry overnight will collapse. With synthetic milks and meats here within a decade, it is time to radically cull herds, focus on only organic and free range sustainable herds and move away from mass production dairy forever. No one is allowed to mention the iceberg that is looming up in front of the Fonteera Titanic.
B-E-L-I-E-V-E victims: It’s like ‘How to Kill a Mocking Bird’ was never written. People making serious allegations should be taken seriously, not B-E-L-I-E-V-E-D. That’s a tad fanatical Christian for me. It’s led to a change in our sexual assault laws where the Greens and Labour removed the only defence to rape so as to get more convictions, which when you think about it, is cult like and terrifying. Gerrymandering the law to ensure conviction isn’t justice, but in the current B-E-L-I-E-V-E victims culture it sure is and anyone saying otherwise is probably a rape apologist who should be put in prison immediately.
The Trans debate: This debate is so toxic and anyone asking any question gets immediately decried as transphobic. I’ve seen nuclear reactor meltdowns that are less radioactive than this debate. I’m so terrified I’m not going to say anything other than ‘please don’t hurt my family’ for even mentioning it.
It’s never climate change for this catastrophic weather event: Catastrophic weather event after catastrophic weather event but it’s never connected to global warming! It’s like the weather is changing cataclysmically around us but because it’s not 100% sure that cigarette you are smoking right now is the one that causes that lump inside you to become cancer, so we can’t connect this catastrophic weather event with a climate warming model that states clearly that we will see more and more catastrophic weather events.
Scoops: No NZ media will ever acknowledge another medias scoop despite a united front being able to generate more exposure and better journalism.
Te Reo fanaticism: You are not allowed to point out that barely 5% of the population speak Te Reo and that everyone who militantly fires up about it being an ‘official language’ never seem that antagonistic about the lack of sign language use. Look, my daughter goes to a Māori immersion class and when she speaks Te Reo it makes me cry joyfully and I feel more connected to NZ than any other single moment, but endlessly ramming it down people’s throats seems woke language policing rather than a shared cultural treasure.
Māori land confiscation: Māori suffer losing 95% of their land in less than a century, they were almost decimated by disease and technology brought via colonisation, they endured the 1863 Settlements Act, they survived blatant lies and falsehoods devised to create the pretext for confiscation and saw violence in the Waikato. Māori have lived throughout that entire experience and still get told to be grateful because Pakeha brought blankets, tobacco and ‘technology’.
The Disabled: Almost 25% of NZ is disabled, yet for such a staggeringly huge number of people, theire interests get sweet fuck all mention in the mainstream media.
Corporate Iwi: You can’t bring up that the corporate model used for Iwi to negotiate settlements is outrageous and has created a Maori capitalist elite who are as venal as pakeha capitalists.
House prices will increase FOREVER! Too many middle class folk are now property speculators and they must see their values climb to afford the extra credit cards the bank sends them. We can never talk about house prices coming down. They must never fall. Fuck the homeless, fuck the generations locked out of home ownership and fuck the working poor. Buying a house is only for the children of the middle classes now. Fuck everyone else. Boomer cradle to the grave subsidisations that didn’t extend to any other generation uber allas baby! Free Ben and Jerry Ice Cream for every Boomer forever!
You are also not allowed to criticise the Public Journalism Fund that all the mainstream media use.
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