STUFF STUFFED

Every morning for half a century, receiving my natural human right of breakfast in bed, a morning ritual wherever we are, my partner lays everything out on the side table, and hands me the morning paper.

And as always in Wellington, I first glance at the front page to see what trifle (usually a local body matter) the Dominion-Post is beating up into a fictitious story, before going to page two to do the Telegraph crossword. When that’s finished, it’s on to the back pages to do the two word game challenges, followed by the quite good crossword. Finally, to the obituaries to check I’m not there.

Then, with low expectations, I revert to the front page and read the paper. Last Monday that morning ritual duly occurred.

I looked at the front page and to my astonishment found it was now written in Maori, a language known to very few New Zealanders and I’d venture, only a handful of Dom’readers.

A small print sidebar advised in English, “we’ve been racist, contributing to stigma, marginalisation and stereotypes against Maori”. This guff followed for the next four pages and for six consecutive days with, “We apologise”.

In the last couple of months, ever since the ownership and editor changes, the Dom’ has irritatingly, periodically lapsed into maori words in the middle of articles, for no explained reason.

“New Zealand” is now unmentionable, instead with no public say in the matter, (along with government Departments and Radio New Zealand), apparently our country’s name has been changed.

Anyway, I turned to page two only to find it and the next three pages full of unmitigated tosh about the Stuff newspapers’ historic presentation of news pertaining to maoris. It was so bad and so hyperbolic I won’t insult readers by repeating it.

And as said, for the next six days they kept it up.

Day two featured a banal congratulatory comment from the Prime Minister.

Give us a break. I’ll wager Jacinda never volunteered it, rather a reporter sought her view, as indeed he, or probably she, did with Judith Collins. To her credit Judith wryly poked fun at this tripe.

On Saturday they ran two pages of ignorance and outright lies about how bad their newspapers had treated maori sports stars.

In the process they touched on a subject of specialist knowledge to me, namely Herbert Slade, a maori who “fought” John L. Sullivan for the heavyweight championship in New York in 1883. Their ignorant gripe was the delay in reporting this back in 1883, plainly a slur against maoridom.

This brought back memories of being contacted by a maori sports organisation a few years ago who were planning on publishing a book on maori sports history. I begged them to keep Slade out of it as including him sullied the achievements of Ruia Morrison, Michael Campbell and numerous All Blacks and other distinguished maori sportspeople.

As always when maori organisations have sought my advice, usually financial, they ignored it and in this case treated Slade’s utterly bogus bout seriously. The fact was he wasn’t a boxer and couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag and the “bout”, for reasons I outlined to them, was essentially a Barnum type hoax on gullible New Yorkers.

Since this daily nonsense began, literally and I mean that word, everyone I’ve spoken to has declared they will not be renewing their subscription. I certainly won’t as it’s now insulting to confront this daily guff.

It was not only an insult to their readers who in their readership acceptance they tacitly implied were racist, but also prominent former editors such as Robin Bromby, Karl du Fresne and sports editor Bob Fox who all protested bitterly and with justification at being branded racist.

As Bromby accurately wrote, “You have besmirched the reputation of all of the thousands of journalists who have worked for the newspapers over many decades”.

du Fresne kicked their ignorant mushy heads over their pitiful mis-use of the word “racism” writing,

             “If the accusation of racism still meant something, it would be damning. But in 2020 the word racist simply means anyone who doesn’t conform to the authoritarian orthodoxies of identity politics”.

In one of their ongoing daily fictions they apologised for the absence in their past of maori editors.

Funny that; I received my first weekly newspaper column 55 years ago from one of theireditors, the late Jim Webber who was maori.

I knew Jim well, lived with him while my house was being built and have no doubt he’d have joined in with du Fresne, Bromby and Fox in anger at this fictitious slur.

The Stuff fleet of papers is now stuffed as they ran this guff across the country.

Obviously they don’t get what a newspaper is. Let me tell them.

A newspaper is an assembly of pages on which is printed news. The preposterous apologising nonsense of the past week was not news. It was fiction.

The BBC’s slogan is “We Don’t Just Report the Story, We Live It”.

Stuff could adopt one, namely, “We don’t just report the news, we make it up”.

The Stuff fleet of publications was bought by the current owner for the asking price of one dollar. Thanks to this madness she has now reduced that value to zero.

I’m aware the Herald management was elated at this turn of events as Stuff, now being stuffed, paves the way for them to fulfil their ambition and create a national quality newspaper with excellent journalism.

There will certainly be a place for the mostly senior, better Dominion journalists, of which there are many, now reduced to commentators.

This ludicrous occurrence, as I noted on Friday, was in the words of a prominent Wellingtonian, “The Greatest Commercial Suicide note in history”.

Newspapers, like so many other activities have been decimated by modern technology. Young people don’t read them for if interested, news is available to them instantly on their devices. But some newspapers still hang on with fast collapsing readership, read and subscribed to as a life-long habit by older folk. Probably the average age of their readership is about 60.

Writing this abominable insulting garbage for past purported racism implies their readership were equally culpable in accepting it.

Insulting your customers has never been a smart commercial move. I say it again; Stuff is now stuffed. In one inane move they’ve reduced their one dollar purchase price for the entire fleet of newspapers to zilch.

38 Comments

Awesome take on this comedy Sir Bob

frederickwilliscroft December 7, 2020 at 2:05 pm

Good on you Sir Robert for cancelling your subscription. I actually cancelled mine a couple of years ago. I think it was the combination of poorly written editorials, Dave Armstrong and Jane Bowron on a Monday morning and that desperately unfunny and hateful cartoonist Sharon Murdoch. Often on a Monday it would be a quadruple whammy and I used to find the combination so unpalatable that I decided I would be better off without it.
If I hadn’t though, last weeks “apologies” would have been the catalyst for me to terminate my subscription. I have briefly read some of the articles on Stuffed and I have never read such sanctimonious, pretentious, nonsensical drivel in my lifetime.
What next – I think Stuffed should run a campaign to have Ed Hillary and Kate Sheppard replaced by Hone Harawira and Tame Iti on NZ bank notes. Surely it’s the least that can be done to rectify decades of Colonial repression!!

markscreaminggoosearmstrong December 7, 2020 at 2:08 pm

It’s really simple Sir Robert – we can and should do better. Many of us own land (we) that was obtained illegally and the sooner we can admit that the better things will be. Maori don’t want all such land returned because they know that this can’t happen even though we and our forebears have profited hugely from this illegal and greedy land aquisition.

You are very quick to chastise media for inaccurate reporting but inaccurate reporting is all they are apologising for.

I suspect apologies don’t come at all easy for you but I am sure that no person would be happy to have military action or state condoned fraud took your property away from you.

It takes strength to admit you are wrong and even more to apologise publicly. So how bout you have a think about the facts of racism in this great country. And man up pal. My father couldn’t but you can do it. You know you want to but it just sticks in your throat right?

    Living up to your name splendidly. There would be few pieces of land on the planet that haven’t been fought over at various times in history. By your logic everyone should sit down and apologise to unknown victims of unknown aggressors, define themselves as therefore racist and then shoot themselves for being an idiot.

      markscreaminggoosearmstrong December 7, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      Nice and very typical denial of the historical and LEGAL truths. Congratulations on fitting the stereotype perfectly.
      Seems you’d be happy if an armed thief or cunning fraudster stole your property. All good then.

      No, since now we have laws and property rights that protect us regardless of race, tribe or nationality.

      Your ludicrous illogic continues.

    Remember that White colonisation was the greatest thing that ever happened to Maori. The value added by my heroic ancestors was incredible – they turned low-yield bush into high-yield farms, and the result was Maori people having difficulty putting less food their mouths – not more! And their gross brutality has mostly gone now, and their life expectancy has practically doubled.

    Bob Jones isn’t the only one deserving breakfast in bed, don’t you think?

    One rule applies to all forms of life on this planet: “You get to keep what you can defend”. Spare a humanitarian thought for all the 19th century Europeans living in misery and squalor in major cities who were able to thrive and prosper in woefully underutilised areas in Australia and New Zealand thanks to the British Crown.

    We’re long past the point where any of this adds any value, it’s become pathalogical and destructive.
    Both assuming guilt for something you had no part in or fostering that most vile emotion, resentment, for something that happened many generations ago are very bad ideas.
    Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. JC Sermon on the Mount

    Roys the name - truths the game December 7, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    Having spent some months with a Maori land court judge(Judge Savage) doing “financial education” in the rural communities in the 90s, he covered many aspects of maori land and the consequences of the treaty.

    Maori acquired land by:
    Occupation…ie go sit on some unoccupied land for a generation and it is yours.
    Gift.
    Conquest: Ie you go take the others fellas land.

    Judge Savage regaled his audience about his time on the Waitangi Tribunal deciding the boundaries of iwi land. Many of the boundaries were caused by marauding Iwi extending their boundaries. 🙂

    So it amuses me in a perverse way when modern Maori say, they(The Colonists?) took our land!!

    But surely that was in the maori tradition???
    Acquisition by force!!

    “Nice and very typical denial of the historical and LEGAL truths. Congratulations on fitting the stereotype perfectly.
    Seems you’d be happy if an armed thief or cunning fraudster stole your property. All good then.”

    And typical of you apologists. Ignore the truth that preceeded your truth!
    Maori can have stolen from them that that was never theirs. By your own logic the stole it.
    Some facts for you.
    1. It is now catagorically proven Maori where not the first here. In fact the adopted the model the Settlers in Tasmania used. Round up the unwanted and kill them. In Maoris case they liked to consume the opposition also. Are Maori apologizing? Hence not their land lose.

    2. An advanced civilization arrived and while Maori stood with sticks and stone weapons European fought with steel, muskets and cannon. There was only ever going to be one winner. European. Sadly they got distracted. Maori didn’t even have a written language /record. Had they invented the wheel?

    3. Fighting a war and settling a pimple at the Arse end of the world was expensive and hard work. A treaty was proposed which Maori grabbed boots and all because if the English left the Spanish were coming. Not a good prospect for Maori. The intent of the treaty was never intended how sympathetic misrepresenters have interpretend it today. That travesty has left us were we find ourselves today. Apologizing for nothing more than bring civilization to a country which had been invaded by hordes from the Islands. Waring tribes who killed more of each other than the European did.

    But, and most importantly, Maori were doomed to extinction (just like the people they exterminated, had they not pushed for peace via a treaty. Then off course there are the breaches by Maori of that peace agreement.

    Let’s not ignore all of history Mark.

    Maori (apart from a few elites) have gained absolutely nothing from “white guilt”, the stats prove it, so let’s call this what it is white people trying to make themselves feel better. Unfortunately their narcissistic indulgence reflects on all of us, tarring us all with the racist brush. The no. 1 way to INCREASE racism is to accuse someone of being racist who by their actions is blatantly not, they start to resent Maori because if it wasnt for their existence they wouldn’t have been falsely accused. Secondly it takes energy away from the real issues in Maoridom which are preventing them from thriving. So feel free to assuage your guilt, it’s a free country, but remember by doing so, you might be making yourself feel better but are harming all New Zealanders of every ethnicity in the process.

Bob, so very, very true.
Like you I have loyally subscribed to the Dominon Post for five decades and the Sunday Times since it first appeared.
Last Friday I received my annual account for $1,055.60 due 20th December for the 2021 year.
I promptly wrote back that like you I am sick of the utter crap they are now publishing as fact when it is nothing more than anti non part – Maori and blatant fiction.
To disagree is to labeled a racist.
I provided some terse advice including writing about the 10”s thousands of Maori killed, maimed, enslaved then eaten by Te Rauparaha , Hongi Hika among others in the early 1800”s during the inter – tribal wars.
Why, I asked would the truth about our savage, violent hell – hole that the first British settlers came upon would be published.
If British settlement had been delayed a decade the natives would have eaten themselves out of existence resulting in a true South Pacific paradise with a record low criminal element and one prison to service the total population.
Jose from Stuff duly responded the following Sunday advising that he would be forwarding on my comments to their editorial team.
Yeah right !
I know of six other subscribers who have , or will , cancel when their renewal invoice is received.

That is the best description of “Racist” I have heard in years. It is akin to be being branded a “counter-revolutionary” by the old Stalinist left. A meaningless word that may as well be a badge of honor for having an independent thought in one’s head.
So many media outlets today are struggling for exactly the reason above-they don’t report the news-they editorialize in a particularly loathsome way.
Adios “Stuff” you won’t be missed.

Thank you Sir Bob. It is my most fervent hope that you are correct and the demise of Stuff is imminent. Goodness knows they have been teetering on the brink long enough.

I fired Stuff approximately 2 years ago having tired of the increasing number of articles which are high on opinion and devoid of research and fact.

Qoute “Since this daily nonsense began, literally and I mean that word, everyone I’ve spoken to has declared they will not be renewing their subscription. I certainly won’t as it’s now insulting to confront this daily guff.”
This is great news except SB you will clearly miss the mental challenges of the crosswords.

Another contributor has already lamented the lost opportunity when Stuff was offered up for a $1. If only a true patriot/billionaire/philanthropist had taken up the challenge and given us a “real” newspaper.
With a strong journalistic department matched by a similarly strong marketing department I’m sure it actually would be a profitable venture. Advertisers seeing a medium which reported, instead of made up, the news would be well received and the businesses themselves would embrace a newspaper which held our politicians to account. Any business, be it a small or large employer, should be concerned about where Cindy is leading this country and inevitable management pain and waste of money associated with this. 10 days sick leave just increased every wage bill in this country by 2% without even considering the staff and skill shortages we already face.
Its imbecilic stuff compounding trying to recover from Covid. Only the luny left would consider it good right now

This action by Stuff brings to mind the reply from Max Reger to an aspiring writer. ” I am sitting in the smallest room of my house; I have your review before me….in a moment it shall be behind me” . Peter Glover

Any successful coup first takes over the media outlets. Stuff blatantly campaigned for the neo-socialists at the last election. Most of the media in NZ is now little more than State propaganda.

“Progressives” want to impose an agenda which has at its core value a complete and all-consuming victim mentality. This victim mentality will spread like a virus through the population, destroying all sense of accountability and personal responsibility, and creating pernicious entitlement expectations from aggrieved groups. This is the road to further State dependency, and therefore represents a socialist nirvana.

I’m seriously concerned for our democracy. These are scary times.

When the borders are finally opened, I suspect that there will be a rush to escape. The window will not remain open forever. Eventually, New Zealand will be to the Australians what Mexico is to America – a pesky failed State on their doorstep.

How did we come to this?

Well said sir , good to know I’m not the only one sick of this drivel , won’t miss the feminist articles either …

markscreaminggoosearmstrong December 7, 2020 at 3:50 pm

Interesting that recognising errors of the past based on facts prompts loud and vehement protest.

Who actually has the problem here? Maybe the truth hurts.

    But, as Rob pointed out above, it’s not the truth, screaming; “pages of ignorance and outright lies” and “In one of their ongoing daily fictions they apologised for the absence in their past of maori editors.
    Funny that; I received my first weekly newspaper column 55 years ago from one of their editors, the late Jim Webber who was maori.” I dare say he could have continued at length,
    The whole campaign is a construct, a miserable, whining tract of virtue signaling bullshit.

    The Waitangi tribunal was setup to address the issues of the past, in case you haven’t noticed.
    By the way, I’m not responsible for what may or may not have happened over 100 years ago.
    I should also point out that, as a person descended from various cultures, if you are looking for a strawperson to beat up on, I’m plainly not suitable for that task.

Sir Bob, I’m seriously surprised you have been reading the STUFF morning garbage, otherwise known as The Dominion Post, thus far in time. Like many, I gave up years ago when it turned from a ‘newspaper’ into an ‘opinionpaper’. Any real news was scant.

At the time I asked myself why I would pay money to be insulted by the likes of – for example – one Verity Johnson, that putrid female whom used every opportunity in her weekly ‘column’ to put down anyone that resembled a normal white male. That’s when I stopped buying The Dom Post, along with a few other mates who’d also had enough of her highly toxic scribbles.

This latest appalling “Commercial Suicide” by STUFF last week is on everyone’s lips; I’ve been at many functions over the past few days & cancelling STUFF subs was THE topic of conversation……

It’s a shame your article above couldn’t be picked up by the (slightly) less-woke NZ Herald & reprinted. All sensible people need to read it lest it remain hidden on this site with (relatively) bugger-all exposure.

Finally, I look forward to your reply to the aptly named “screaminggoose” above who called you ‘pal’. He blindly fails to see that racism IS most definitely all around us – but not in the way he obviously thinks.

Surely the editorial opportunity for the future of NZ is an examination of our an increasingly blatant pursuit of an apartheid system can be reconciled with the principles of our democracy? Maori now have control of the labor party, the greens and their own party. If they gain ascendancy over the money, the land and the water can us as non Maori expect the same largesse as we are showing (perhaps too slowly for some) but largesse all the same. Treaty settlements, Separate courts, reimbursed in corporations, tax exemptions to name but a few. We haven’t always got it right but compared with other colonial exemplars we have and continue to give it a good shot.

If you think about it. the (new?) commitment of Stuff to fair and balanced reporting from all perspectives is laudable in terms of first principles of good journalism. So from that perspective it certainly has merit. I for one quite like getting alternative perspectives, they often allow me to understand an issue better and recognise my own biases or blind spots. There is nothing lost, and I dont mind having my mind changed about something.

However why have Stuff concentrated on just one area of their reporting, and really gone to town on it, article after article, day after day? With such a huge editorial investment it would not surprise me if they ended up overcompensating, and making their journalists fearful to actually report fairly in future, in case it might offend against the prevailing orthodoxy, reflect negatively on someone or some group, or they may be accused of being “racist”, “conservative: or whatever the latest code-word for not a team player is. I just dont see how they can label themselves a bunch of racists then suddenly turn around and report “without fear or favour” as the NY Times used to strive to do.

Stuff dont seem to have considered that perhaps their journalistic standards have slipped in general, and a commitment to good journalism should apply universally. I think they have a worsening problem with the quality of their reporting which they have missed the opportunity to recognise. I have in fact noticed a number of articles carried by Stuff that did not quite ring true or seem complete, and when I researched them further they proved to be closer to polemic or propaganda than factual reporting. The recently popular coverage of American politics has been especially wobbly, more confirmational than anything (playing to the audience?). Quite why the people of this country are so willing to believe that almost half of the American voters are stupid, racist, violent, uncaring right-wingers is beyond me. And dont get me started on the uncritical reporting of the Black Lives Matter “movement”. Or should I say parroting of one particular slice of the American mainstream media. But I digress.

Back to Stuff, recently many articles seem to be a mix of some fact and some editorialising, but where one starts and the other ends is not always clear. This seems to be a trend with many so-called ‘mainstream’ news organisations. Also they seem to be taking it upon themselves to pre-decide for the reader or viewer what counts as a fact, for example a “claim” made by someone is not reported as “x claims y”, it is x “baselessly” claims y or x claims y without evidence, with no mention of why they are making the claim, what the evidence is, or assessment of the reasons for the claim. Which is sort of like censorship if you think about it. The reader is protected from the bother of deciding for themselves whether the claim or evidence has any merit, they are just told.

All-in-all, I think it is probably true Stuff have bottled this, and that they will just tell themselves that the flood of cancellations are from people that cannot face the truth, dont want to change, are reactionaries, are out-of-date with the flow of history etc. patting themselves on the back for having the hard conversation and being uncompromising with “their truth”! How losing screeds of readers helps their cause, well that is another questions entirely.

I cancelled too. I just felt preached to and unwilling to join a parade of self-flagellators. They may have carried me along with a slow series thoughtfully examining media biases, but shouty breast-beating has lost them a long-term supporter.

ps. I response to one of the earlier comments, I did not mind Verity Johnson, she was a bit flighty, but she admitted to it herself and on a number of occasions was willing to change her view. I found her quite amusing, actually

    The greatest fraud of the 20’s. Fake news? Or, should I say the reluctance to report the news factually. The opinionated negative spin on any news that differs from the mobs popularly accepted narrative. Examples abound with the use of emotive language. Examples labelling outlined, “Baseless, lunatic, sexist, racist, conspiracy theory, anonymous sources close”. These are all descriptions of opinion, when used without context. What is opinion on the internet, masquerading as truth? The sheer lack of investigation by our Journalist is staggering. I can get the same answers by simply searching Google. Oh, that was their investigation method. So, when so much opinion is controlled by Silicon Valley algorithms, Google, F’ed book, twit, and others, emotive use of language, biased preconceived views, is there any wonder our Aotearoa Journalist are brainwashed into believing this dribble is factual?

Magnificent article by Sir Robert. Thank you sir! I cancelled The NZ Herald 2 years ago for the same reasons – biased, Socialistically inclined, pro Labour and pro identity politics perspectives. However, Stuff’s latest effort in reverse racism takes the cake, and I won’t be giving them a crumb!

I have joined the trend and cancelled my subscription today, had enough of the Opinion and no news

There’s a bright side to all this , there must be a hell of an apology coming for white males , particularly older ones … what , with all the pale male and stale diatribe in the papers , being excluded from universities and boards because we don’t fit the gender or ethnic profile , the same with govt cabinets , being eviscerated by the media because we risk a lot doing highly skilled stressful jobs only to be told we are responsible for a so called gender pay gap , and somehow we stole land and abused Maori when we were born in the same country , went to school together , work along side each other and are friends to this day . My Maori mates are sick of this rubbish too , it makes them feel like everyone thinks they are victims when they are proud upstanding citizens standing on their own 2 feet . My ex Maori wife who is fully immersed in the Marae and from a staunch traditional family had no time for the fanatics and hot heads either …. it created division hammering the white man all the time and was counter productive . And now stuff hv taken up the mantle …. natural reaction is the white man turns away … and there is a few of us , but you’d forget that because we don’t make noise … we just get on with life . You’d think this country was full of nothing but transgendered, minority ethnic , feminists and outraged green lunatics . Squeaky hinge syndrome , and stuff fell for it . Can’t wait for our apology … yeah … right

With govt now providing a substantial portion of total income to news media in this country – $50 million announced by Faafoi pre-election if only Labour were to be happily re-elected, (to follow up on their $25million Covid handout) buying tremendous uncritical editorial support in the process, it is plain who now calls the tune. Forget the hoi polloi, the small network of govt wallahs of cultural propriety and identity politics are the true paymasters to be served by new Pravda.

For those of you who do not have NZH Premium – let me quote here for you an offering from Shane Te Pou this morning:

“…..meanwhile, an ever-shrinking cast of loud-mouth reactionaries was yawping into the wilderness about how a media company should not have apologised for its contribution to Aotearoa New Zealand’s racist past.

Who can even summon the energy to argue? These voices, still given outsized platforms, are nonetheless fast fading into a sad and overdue irrelevance…..”

If anyone at all is of sad irrelevance, with an outsized platform to announce his dribble down from, its Te Pou.

Maori society along with other minority groups, need to see the hypocrisy of virtuous white socialist feminists, (and those that identify as such).
Female are more capable than the average male,(you dare suggest otherwise?) why then has it taken them so long to do anything about oppression and unfairness; why ignore racial oppression for centuries?

White female presided, so shut up.

Cancelled subs 2 years ago Got sick of paying to be abused. Told the Ed. Got several emails asking to reconsider. Didn’t. Spend the $500 on books. Wise decision. Occasionally read DP in cafes. It’s got worse but I’m not paying.Yeah!

Cancelled our subscription for work last Thursday before this article was sent to me by a mate.

Not so much for the apologies to Maori, but rather because of some junior journo who obviously woke up to the fact she had made a bad career choice and couldn’t afford to buy a house, and as such wanted to nationalise primary products such as timber, and add more tax to anyone wanting to have investment property. It was starting to read like a communist manifesto.

Rather than get a second job, or think outside the box like I had to, her answer to her disappointment was to eat cake. I looked her up, and it appears she has had a lot of disappointments in life.

Yip and since their heartbreaking apology, I have not been back nor missed the daily online quiz at all.
Their advertisers would be looking at bang for buck I reckon, and will be finding a cost saving right there.

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Quotes of the month | HomepaddockDecember 31, 2020 at 8:01 am

[…] A newspaper is an assembly of pages on which is printed news. The preposterous apologising nonsense of the past week was not news. It was fiction.  Sir Bob Jones […]

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