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REPOST: Trotter proposes public broadcasters duty is to be propaganda mouthpiece of the state – Original post was July 2008

14/02/2021

Looking for something else, I came across this post from 2008. Given the money poured by the Ardern regime into media, I thought readers might find this post interesting.

Original Post is below

Now I have been meaning to post on this item for some time, but had not got around to it. The contrived outrage on some commentators’ parts over National’s ‘policy’ announcement on TVNZ caused me to remember this article. The article is by Chris Trotter and was published in the Independent on 26 June 2008. Unfortunately the article does not appear to be on-line, so please excuse the scan quality.

The main part of the article was about Michael Cullen and the economic situation. The last few paragraphs were about public sector broadcasting and very telling paragraphs they were as well.

The first of these sets the tone for those that follow:-

So according to Trotter a left wing government needs to control the media. Thus controlling what people see and hear. On that basis it is surprising that Labour Governments get elected in the UK and Australia for example. Over the years considerable segments of the press media, though owned by capitalists, have supported Labour, including the Murdoch papers.

Adam is surprised that Trotter does not go as far as advocating the licensing of journalists and of newspapers, an approach taken in other bastions of freedom such as Zimbabwe. Trotter does make his thoughts on the role of state media, very clear though with that comment. yet there is more to come.

So Trotter thinks that Cullen, and thus Labour are suffering through a failure to pour not just millions of dollars into RNZ and TVNZ, but hundreds of millions of dollars. Taxpayers money to fund what would be under the criteria defined at the outset a propaganda station for the government.

Some will argue that Trotter does not mean that, he is simply saying TVNZ required more funding to be a public service broadcaster.

Adam disagrees, note what Trotter says in the first extract quoted above, about the need to control the media.

What Trotter overlooks is that Labour has controlled the media in the form of RNZ and TVNZ for the last 9 years. Many would say that both entities have displayed on occasion a tendency to be rather forgiving of the regime.

Trotter then goes on to say:-

So the fact that Espiner challenged Cullen over tax cuts, which to Adam’s mind was a legitimate question, would not have happened if TVNZ was a non commercial station. Is Trotter really saying what he appears to be saying that a non-commercial station, funded by the taxpayer, would be a patsy for the government and would not need to do other than parrot the party line.

Adam read this several times and finally came to the conclusion that this was in fact an interpretation which could reasonably be placed upon the paragraph.

By implication Trotter appears to be saying that only nasty capitalists would dream of questioning the regime. What is even more interesting is that it is TVNZ which relatively has had more to spend on news and current affairs, but has squandered it’s advantages and has in many respects led the dumbing down of the broadcast media. Also it is TVNZ which has attempted to use ‘charter funding’ for non charter purposes.

We now come to the final part of Trotter’s article. It should be noted that in the earlier sections of the article, Trotter laid much if not all of the blame for low productivity in NZ on the Employment Contracts Act and the failure to promote, through state intervention, the strength of the trade unions. Apart from noting the repeal of the ECA and replacement by the union friendly ERA, Adam will not comment further on that aspect.

The final three paragraphs read:-

Well Adam has noted above that in his view TVNZ squandered it’s advantage. Preferring lightweight shows such as Sunday, and low brow documentaries.

Further, Cullen seemd quite happy to extract large dividends from TVNZ year in year out to be put into the Cullen cashbox and frittered away on low quality public spending.

In passing, Adam would suggest that the TVNZ which Paul Norris referred to the other day, must be a different TVNZ from the one which beams into Adam’s living room. As for TVNZ not screening broadcasts on ANZAC Day, who cares, most people seem to agree that on that occasion Maori TV does a far better job.

But just look at the penultimate paragraph above. Trotter’s vision of public service broadcasting is one of unions, and taxpayer funded media directed at Labour’s enemies. So in Trotter’s nirvana, publicly funded media are directed to serve the purposes of the regime. By definition anyone with a different view from that of the regime is an enemy, especially if they are business people. because business people are capitalists and as such are by implication evil.

Unions are supposed to be engaged in battle with employers and evil capitalists.

Now Adam knows that quite a lot of people take no notice of Trotter, but he is a columnist on several papers, is a regular on TV and radio shows. Therefore, he may well influence numbers of listeners and readers.

Yet he serves up this Stalinist claptrap and no one in the MSM ever rebuts it.

His vision if ever realised would be an Orwellian State. Perhaps the only saving grace is that Trotter would probably be one of the first sent to any New Zealand gulag.

Unbelievable. This is the 21st century, not the 1930s, not 1951.

Interestingly, some of Trotter’s thinking, at that time has to some extent come to pass. NZ media has to a considerable extent become a cheerleader for the government. Hard questioning of Labour politicians is to be avoided, and Ardern must only ever be shown in a positive way. At least one outlet has decided to adopt a policy of constant attacks on National. Wokeness and censure of other than the accepted government and woke viewpoints are the required stance. Woe betide those who show signs of non-compliance.

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