On my! Winston Peters must have rued the day he distastefully Trump‑like, publicly gloated at the death rattles of TV3. For what a brilliant serve he copped from the talented Sunday Times, editor Tracey Watkins.
Acknowledging the collapse of traditional media under the free electronic assault in which Tracy wrote, “fake news flourishes, power is unchecked and creditable, trustworthy news sources no longer exist; a world in which those who wish to abuse their power and position can do so with impunity,” she used Winston as an example.
Specifically, she reminded readers of his infamous blatant lying to Parliament 2008 “No Sign” incident, in which he foolishly denied receiving $100,000 from Owen Glenn.
It was, she reminded us, the sterling investigative work by the Herald’s Audrey Young and the Dominion Post’s Phil Kitchin, both of impeccable journalistic integrity, which uncovered this affair. This was traditional, (albeit dying) media at its best and an example of what in the new world order, she rightly argues, is at risk of being lost.
The price paid for this by New Zealand First was a term out of office. To this day, Winston harbours resentment at those journos who exposed him.
That said, I would remind Tracey of the other side of the coin which Winston in particular would assert.
Talk to anyone who’s been prominently in the public eye for a period of time and without exception they’ll recount numerous horror stories of being victim of traditional media wilful dishonesty. I could write a set of encyclopaedias on my personal experiences. It’s why Winston made the wise decision way back in the mid 1990s, never to talk to the print media and to confine himself to radio and television, but, only when they’re live broadcasts and cannot be tampered with.
So unfortunately, Audrey Young’s and Phil Kitchin’s undoubted integrity is at least in my experience, sadly not characteristic of a sizeable minority of traditional media journalists.
That said, Tracey Watkin’s general assertion is 100% right, specifically that democracy is in big trouble should it become reliant on Facebook, etc with its largely fake news baggage. Ominously, that looks increasingly likely, television no longer being the license it once was, to print money.
One further comment. Using TV3’s imminent demise to argue about the role of the media as a defender of integrity, is a bit rich. Its target market has always been the tattooed classes and consequently its offerings, mostly trashy rubbish.
Viewers of crap are plainly dim and therefore poor and thus have no attraction for advertisers. In that sense TV3 and its radio stations fate makes perfect sense. If I was trying to flog it, there’s an obvious stand‑out buyer. Hit on the outfit that bought the Warriors. They’ll be a pushover, that is if you can fight your way through the mob trying to sell them Sydney Harbour and other well known bridges.