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RNZ Mediawatch: Re-Platformed: radio outcasts make their own outlet

17/06/2022

Following on from my earlier post of Sean Plunket’s on-air interview re The Platform, on The Platform, here is the item as aired on RNZ and links to the accompanying article

15 May 2022

Sean Plunket has launched a new news outlet for himself – and other broadcasters edged out of talk radio in recent years. The Platform proudly proclaims it’s editorially and financially free from any government influence and finance – and is urging listeners to ‘join the resistance.’ Mediawatch looks back on its first week of live output and asks the founder if it’s really any different to what’s already on the air. MORE AT LINK

The article commented:

When he left MediaWorks radio station Magic Talk suddenly in early 2021, some wondered whether it was the end of a long career in (and out) of radio which included substantial stints at RNZ, Newstalk ZB, Radio Live and Magic Talk. 

“When you’ve been de-platformed, what else is there to do but build your own?” he told Stuff last year, arguing mainstream media had become too constrained and politically compromised. 

Peacock commented as well on an apparent inconsistency

Open debate was the name of the game, he said – with limits. 

“There are some rules, folks. Let’s try and play the ball, not the person,” he said. 

(Though that didn’t stop him later that morning referring to “hippies and mungbean munchers” in favour of EVs).   

Peacock’s article looked as well at Plunket’s and The Platform’s focus of the use of public money as this extract form the article illustrates

But public money has been funneled into public and private media companies, both directly and via contestable means, for 30 years. 

So why are they so uptight about this now?

“What’s new is that you’re only going to get public money if you agree to literally run your news business in accordance with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi,” Sean Plunket told Mediawatch, in an interview also streamed live on The Platform this week.   

That Treaty requirement is only explicit for the Public Interest Journalism Fund, which feeds $55 million over three years to the media on a contestable basis. It’s a marginal component of the total annual public spending on media of about $300m and media bosses have insisted when questioned – by opposition politicians among others – that the fund doesn’t influence their journalism or editorial decision-making. 

But Plunket doesn’t buy it. 

Nor do a number of other commentators to a greater or lesser extent. Nor do I as a matter of fact. Furthermore I see much of NZ media as biased in favour of Ardern and the woke ideology she and her lackeys espouse

So what are the issues he believes mainstream news organizations do not or cannot explore? 

“It’s been called the co-governance issue and we have to have  . . . a mature debate in this country about where, constitutionally, the Treaty of Waitangi fits in relation to our governance. Are we a bicultural country? Are we a multicultural country? Do we give specific voting rights based on the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi to one group by ethnicity or not?” he said.  

Haven’t those things been made headlines in recent times  – and aren’t those questions are being aired in mainstream media, including talkback radio?  

Here I think Peacock is on shaky ground as coverage,especially by government owned media and the two major newspapers has, in my view, been limited. Plus the coverage, when it has occurred has tended to largelyfavour the government line. This, to some extent, makes Plunket’s point.

Plunket noted, according to Peacock’s article

“Not when the media take sides. Not when there is groupthink,” Plunket said, citing Simon Bridges valedictory speech in Parliament last week – and a recent Taxpayers Union survey by pollster Curia which found six out of 10 people agreed when asked if public funding of media influenced their output. 

On day one of Plunket Unchained, NZTU spokesperson Louis Holbrooke told Sean Plunket the lack of media coverage of the poll was in itself proof of the conflict of interest he claimed was a reason for the public disapproval in the first place

Peacock concludes with the following observations, which are to my mind quite balanced

Sean Plunket claims mainstream media excludes voices and viewpoints they disapprove of, but the preoccupations of the Platform’s own hosts were prominent in the first week on air.   

It’s early days, but can The Platform avoid becoming an echo chamber of its own, with a chorus of predictable comment on a narrow range of topics attracting a like-minded audience?  (My emphasis)

“If you want to change that, the woke and the people who don’t agree with me . . . people who are listening to this on (RNZ) National radio  . . they’ve got to ring and listen to The Platform as well. And then as our audience grows and we get more diversity, the quality of the debate improves,” Sean Plunket told Mediawatch. 

If not, the boast of being “the resistance” might look like a form of that virtue-signaling Sean Plunket disparages in other media. (Again my emphasis)

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