Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Reinvention Starts at The Top

Why does TVNZ need to be reinvented? Because it has become everything it once held in disdain. Think back to the sixties, that time I'll call the halcyon days, and reflect on what was the key element that made TVNZ such a vibrant group. It challenged the establishment. In a good humoured and enthusiastic and naive way, it took on the conservative forces that represented in those days the social hierarchy. Through pop music shows and political commentary and comedy it confronted the social orthodoxy and through its freshness and its openness and its enthusiasm, it won the support of New Zealanders, who watched it because they new they were watching something different, that something was going down, that something was happening, and by watching it and laughing and applauding and singing along they were a part of that gentle and witty revolution.

Fast forward to the new century. 2004 and TVNZ is sludgy moribund mess, the antithesis of what it was in the sixties. There are two basic reasons for this changed condition. One is that TVNZ is now the establishment it once challenged, and two is that the people running TVNZ don't know or realise they're now the establishment.

Media has to challenge the status quo. The most basic element of journalism to my mind has always been the newspaper editor of the those old American movies wearing the green eyeshade and working at his presses deep into the night to take on city hall and tell the public what is really happening. Stripping away the self serving veneer of politician’s speeches and government press releases and showing people the truth.

TVNZ today has never been further from this scenario. Its paid money by the government to present this thing called the "Charter", a device to promote the government’s policies. The people running TVNZ are by and large people who think like the government, and if they don't support every little thing the government does, they basically agree on political philosophies. This political philosophy is shared by the establishment, the same nebulous body that TVNZ challenged so vigorously and so successfully in the sixties. Where is the challenge today? Where is the freshness, the vibrancy of the sixties?

It’s not with TVNZ, but it is with FOX News, in the US the fastest growing cable television service. Why is that? Politics aside, it’s because FOX is doing today what TVNZ did in the sixties. It’s challenging the establishment. The wheel has turned the full circle. TVNZ journalists who once challenged the politicians of the day, now runs the organisation and reports to parliament when ordered to. Helen Clark, who in her youth challenged the political orthodoxy of the day, is now the Prime Minister. Here's the question that TVNZ needs to answer. Where is the challenge to today's social and political hierarchy?

If reinvention is really the idea, then the first thing TVNZ has to do is reject the Charter. It must tell the government to drop dead with its $30 million. Second thing it has to do is rid itself of staff that are happy with the Miloslevecian status quo. Third thing it has to do is stop producing programs that echo and support the status quo, and START PRODUCING PROGRAMS THAT CHALLENGE IT.

For one thing, let’s get rid of the surfeit of political commentators soaked in the attitudes of the sixties and seventies. TVNZ’s leading political commentator for example doesn't challenge any political hierarchy. She's part of the political hierarchy. Like so many other TVNZ personnel, she thinks and speaks and holds the same political views as Helen Clark, the government and the social hierarchy. These people are not the green eye shade wearing challengers. They're the panderers and the promoters of the government’s charter. Where are the Sean Hannitys, the E.D. Hills, and the Bill O'Reilly's of TVNZ? They don’t exist.

Now the management at TVNZ may not like Bill or Sean or ED, but that of course just proves my point concerning their confusion over who the TVNZ management really is. They're the establishment, and they're running a TV network that supports the establishment. NZers don't want this kind of Miloslevecian broadcasting, this sickening obeisance to the status quo. They want the vibrancy of the sixties. They won't get it from the tired old lefties running TVNZ today, who have unwittingly become the very establishment they railed against in the sixties. Reinvention must start at the top.

Fortune Cookie

55 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

TVNZ is no longer new and unchallenged. It is one option of many for people's time. There is skytv which has many many options for docos etc including IVs. And of course the internet. You are right TVNZ is honeycombed with people with the attitudes of the 60s and 70s but I say who cares there are many many other options now.

29 December 2004 9:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They won't get it from the tired old lefties running TVNZ today...so you're a rightie?

29 December 2004 12:47 pm  
Blogger Greg Stephens said...

Why did TVONe news run a story of the people with their power being cut? Can I do this the next time my power/telephone/water/gas is cut?
And why was it put on the news BEFORE the Ukraine election? Do the news team of no sense of international relations at all? It is one of the key elections of the year, and yet it is behind some stupid lady with no electricity. There are millions of people who do not use electricity in the world due to the poverty they live in, why not focus on them instead of that family?

29 December 2004 4:20 pm  
Blogger MelodyRules said...

It is somewhat transparent when you accuse TVNZ of pandering to a leftist government, and then use the most famous example of a blatantly conservative television station in operation today as an example of what they should be aiming for.

29 December 2004 5:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Greg: Because local news is more relevant than international news. Having your power cut off is more threatening and worrying than some political stuff happening half a world away.

One News is, like their promos say, "New Zealand's news". It covers world news but is not dedicated to extensive world news coverage (see CNN, BBC World for that).

29 December 2004 11:21 pm  
Blogger Fortune Cookie said...

To Unchained Melody.

If FOX is "conservative" why is Geraldo Riviera working there, a liberal so far to the left he makes the local liberal Paul Holmes look like Attila the Hun? If FOX is conservative, why is Alan Combes working there, a liberal who makes another local lefty Susan Wood look like Maggie Thatcher?

Objective university surveys have proved that FOX is balanced compared to other networks which like TVNZ all lean further to the left. Where is the balance on TVNZ? Can you name one recognised conservative presenter there? As FOX has Sean Hannity to balance Alan Combes, don't you think there should be one or two conservatives at TVNZ to balance out against the overwhelming left liberal mood of the station?

That said, it’s not really the issue. I am trying to draw attention to the need to challenge the establishment whether its left or right, and I say that the reason TVNZ cannot do that is because IT IS THE ESTABLISHMENT, and contrary to the old days, it supports the establishment much more than it challenges it. Consequently the vibrancy that is an essential part of any real media outlet, that comes with the old time green eye shade wearing newspaper man with his challenge to city hall, is missing.

Let’s take for example one issue. Say global warming. Now the real story there is the amount of self serving bureaucratic bullshit being spouted by governments and government authorities the world over on the issue. False unsubstantiated claims are being made left right and centre to support the view that the actions of mankind are to blame for global warming, and that as a consequence, money should change hands. Now if TVNZ was doing its job, politicians like Pete Hodgson would be called to account for their propaganda. Does TVNZ get Hodgson in the studio and give him a damn good grilling? Awaken the public to some of the hidden agendas at play in the GW issue?

No damn way! I have yet to see TVNZ come forward with any serious expose of the pro GW lobby. In fact, most of the stuff I have seen from TVNZ could double as a Hodgson press release. Never a challenge.

The reporters and journalists and management at TVNZ are not doing their job, and if they think their job is presenting unquestioned government press releases to the people of NZ, or promoting a pro government view on every damn issue, then they don't damn well know what their job is.

30 December 2004 7:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you are right about Global Warming. I heard Augie Whatsisname on RNZ last night and he says gobal warming is bullsfit. The world is actually cooling and has been cooling for the past 18 months. For 50 years before that it hase been warming. The real cause would seem to be increased or decreased sunspot activity. Nothing to do with so called emissions. GWB was right to tell the leftie liberal spongers of the world to "piss off." I have found the answer to the problem of TVNZ and its pathetic unbalanced, biased, low quality fare. I simply have not watched it for at least two years. Seems I haven't missed anything at all.

30 December 2004 10:45 am  
Blogger Jordan said...

The problem with this post is that it is a curiously post-modern approach to things. It assumes that the only role of media is to challenge the incumbent government, the "establishment".

Some people think the point of the media is actually to seek out the truth. It may be that centre-left values (which the author seems to hold in such disdain) are closer to how people think and act than centre-right values.

This is not to defend TVNZ news or programming. Some of it is great but it just does not compete with the BBC, unfortunately. It is however to say, there is no point in having a broadcaster whose mission in life is to simply attack what it perceives is the establisment or its values. Journalism should be about seeking out the truth. Sometimes that means challenging the Establisment; sometimes it means agreeing with them.

Disclaimer - I suppose I am in some small way part of the dread "establishment" itself, but what caught me in this post was not challenging (which is healthy) but rather the bizarre view that what the establisment believes must be wrong.

30 December 2004 3:34 pm  
Blogger Fortune Cookie said...

To Jordan

I'm sorry Jordan that you misread the post, which you must have done to assume that the writer claimed that media's only role is to challenge the status quo. It is not media's 'only' role, but it is perhaps its most important role.

The other point that seems to have gone completely over your head Jordan is that I have more than once said that it is the status quo that should be challenged, be it left right or centre. I do not see that your remark concerning what you perceive as the center right has any relevance to the main argument. I am talking about a zest and vitality that once existed at TVNZ that does not exist today, and the reasons why these qualities are missing, namely that TVNZ merely reflects the status quo rather than challenges it.

Your suggestion that the current political/social hierarchy should not be challenged if the broadcaster "agrees with it" is just the kind of insufferable moribund thinking that has lead TVNZ and journalism in NZ down the Miloslevecian Rd. It is the media's job to challenge whether they agree or not, otherwise Jordan, you'll get bias, which in case you haven't noticed that either, is what a lot of people complain of whenever TVNZ is mentioned. Slobodan's TV station agreed with him remember? Good thing was it?

30 December 2004 4:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post - although I was taken aback somewhat with the introduction of Fox; what I saw of their news while in the US was sensational to say the least.

I was only young but I remember Anita McNaught reporting and doing investigative pieces which seemed thoughtful, non-sensational and informative.

Interesting that there doesn't appear to be any right-wing presenters/reporters. I would consider myself a left-wing supporter however, it is through debating with my American right-wing friends that I have learnt a lot and in some cases changed my opinions (why does one have to be solely left-wing or solely right-wing?). If we don't have someone presenting "the other side" of the arguments (and no, I'm not talking about Brian Tamaki or his crazy lot) then we aren't encouraged to think about the various points of view and make a (hopefully) informed decision.

I'm finding myself drawn more and more to National radio (I once held it in disdain for the "boring pace" and long interviews) - I'm enjoying the lack of sensationalism, repetitiveness and the extended interviews which aren't dictated by the time between ad breaks.

I'd like to see TVNZ bring more balance to current issues. The recent TV debates weren't helpful - everyone spoke over each other and experts weren't given enough time to espound their thoughts in detail.

Challenging our status quo is important - even if the status quo is good. It helps us think, rather than merely consume.

30 December 2004 5:29 pm  
Blogger MelodyRules said...

re: Fox News

Other independent studies have shown that Fox features 5 times more conservative guests than liberals and 5 times more Republicans than Democrats. It doesn't "challenge the establishment", in fact it has been accused of being "the broadcast arm of the bush white house", and other studies have shown that viewers of Fox far more misinformed on important issues than viewers of other stations. I won’t go into detail here as there is a wealth of information a google search away.

It seems pretty obvious from your posts that what you are looking for is not in fact for a station that challenges the status quo, but a station that reflects your own highly dubious opinions.

30 December 2004 6:05 pm  
Blogger Fortune Cookie said...

To Broken Hearted Melody

I'm sorry I can't agree with your claims concerning FOX, which seem to me to be based on misinformation spread by leftists on order to make sure the unbalanced status quo is not upset. I notice you did not make the slightest attempt to answer my questions regarding the numerous left liberals working at FOX. You make the worthless claim that "it has been accused". So what? You say you don't want to go into detail. I will. Below you'll find the results of a University study which show FOX to be as they claim, balanced, whilst the other networks are biased leftwards.

That said, it’s not really the issue. I mentioned FOX because whenever I watch it, it seems to have the vigor and freshness that TVNZ once had but nowadays lacks. Given FOX's meteoric rise in popularity, it would also seem that TVNZ's left leaning management personnel are letting their ideology interfere with the potential profits of the station. It seems clear from FOX's lead in the viewing figures that balanced reporting is the public's preference.


A Measure of Media Bias

Tim Groseclose
Department of Political Science, UCLA, and
Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

Jeff Milyo
Harris School of Public Policy
University of Chicago
September 2003

Our results show a very significant liberal bias. All of the news outlets except Fox News’ Special Report received a score to the left of the average member of Congress. Moreover, by one of our measures all but three of these media outlets (Special Report, the Drudge Report, and ABC’s World News Tonight) were closer to the average Democrat in Congress than to the median member of the House of Representatives. One of our measures found that the Drudge Report is the most centrist of all media outlets in our sample. Our other measure found that Fox News’ Special Report is the most centrist.

Conclusion
Although we expected to find that most media lean left, we were astounded by the degree. A norm among journalists is to present “both sides of the issue.” Consequently, while we expected members of Congress to cite primarily think tanks that are on the same side of the ideological spectrum as they are, we expected journalists to practice a much more balanced citation practice, even if the journalist’s own ideology opposed the think tanks that he or she is sometimes citing. This was not always the case. Most of the mainstream media outlets that we examined (ie all those besides Drudge Report and Fox News’ Special Report) were closer to the average Democrat in Congress than they were to the median member of the House.

Our results contrast strongly with the prior expectations of many others. It is easy to find quotes from prominent journalists and academics who claim that there is no systematic bias among media outlets in the U.S. The main conclusion of our paper is that our results simply reject such claims.

30 December 2004 7:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm dumbfounded by this post.
TVNZ should not try to become more like FOX News, nor it be creating media commentators like Bill "SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP" O'Reilly, Sean Hannity or sensationalist Geraldo Rivera with our money. Should the herald get writers more like Anne Coulter or National Radio talkshow host like Rush Limbaugh?

I believe Melody was referring to this study that should 80% of Fox viewers have 1 or more misperceptions about the Iraq war.

The methodology of the study you cite is pretty poor, for example
To compute our measure, we count the times that a media outlet cites various think tanks. We compare this with the times that members of Congress cite the same think tanks in their speeches on the floor of the House and Senate. By comparing the citation patterns we can construct an ADA score for each media outlet.
...
A feature of our method is that it does not require us to make a subjective assessment of how liberal or conservative a think tank is. That is, for instance, we do we need to read policy reports of the think tank or analyze its position on various issues to determine its ideology. Instead, we simply observe the ADA scores of the members of Congress who cite the think tank. This feature is important, since an active controversy exists whether, e.g., the Brookings Institution or the RAND Corporation is moderate, left-wing, or right-wing.

30 December 2004 9:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outfoxed (the movie/dvd/download)
is definately worth a look...
especially if you are going to use Fox as a role model (?)

30 December 2004 10:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget Fox News. TVNZ should model itself after Naked News.

That'd really break ground, piss people off and change the way we look at news (no pun intended.)

I'm serious.

30 December 2004 11:39 pm  
Blogger Jordan said...

Fortune Cookie - I think the tone of your responses in the comments explains your position fairly well. For the record I didn't miss any of the points you so kindly "explained" in your comment - I just have a rather different analysis to yours.

Or perhaps not, as you do say this isn't the key debate. The key debates are, I should have thought:

* why TVNZ's leadership, management, culture etc is so broken (which as an outside observer they seem to be);

* what sort of public broadcaster we want - what its role is and where its resources come from;

Answering the latter may well help resolve the former. Hysterical finger pointing from a fringe right wing perspective probably don't help either debate.

31 December 2004 12:22 am  
Blogger Fortune Cookie said...

To Jordan and the FOX Haters

Thanks for your guidelines on what you think the debate should be about. What I'm trying to do here is substantiate the views I expressed in my initial post. That TVNZ has unfortunately become the establishment it once rightfully held up to scrutiny, and therefore does not do its job as well as it once did, and this failure to perform in respect of one of its basic functions, has caused it to lose some public regard.

I have seen clips from earlier times when Ian Fraser was effectively and aggressively interviewing politicians of the Muldoon era. Interviews of that nature are not seen today. Certainly not in respect of the PM anyway, who gets patsy questions and the opportunity to indulge in a free public relations exercise every Monday morning on the TV One Breakfast show. Where's the fear and trembling? Where's the sweat-lined upper lip?

As for the other contributors so focused on my reference to FOX, I'm trying not to make this a debate on anything other than TVNZ. The finger pointing Jordan mentions seems to be coming from the FOX haters who seem intent on discrediting FOX at the expense of the real issue. Their argument seems to be that anyone they do not like or do not approve of politically should not be seen in broadcasting. This of course is meaningless as an argument, as anybody from anywhere on the political spectrum could express the same view.

Where they disparage Sean Hannity, I could just as easily criticise Kim Hill. The undeniable fact is that TVNZ is not the same broadcaster it once was and I say this is because it represents and supports the current political social hierarchy rather than challenges it as it would have done in better days.

As for balance, TVNZ definitely lacks this element. You Jordan might like to write off requests for balance as a "fringe right wing perspective" however the fact remains that FOX is a successful broadcaster and this suggests that balance in broadcasting is not a “right wing fringe” thing, but rather something that is widely appreciated.

As for the many references above to leftist propaganda exercises designed to undermine FOX, I'll deal with those later. It’s not really the argument right now.

31 December 2004 8:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TVNZ is probably unbalanced and terribly self important but so what, we have lots of alternatives for news and entertainment. It still dominates, sure but less and less.

31 December 2004 8:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting comments on the so-called “halcyon days” of TV in New Zealand. The reality may be different.

Television news in New Zealand is fundamentally unchanged from what it was in the 1970s except the technology is so much more dazzling. The medium inherently distorts the selection and delivery. That’s why the mythical cat-up-a-tree story with good pictures will always beat out serious analysis of global warming or the frightening possibilities of the US deficit.

That’s why you’ll see wall-to-wall disaster stories where a zillion cameras are flown in. But no analysis of the fact that the United States this month will be spending about twice as much on George Bush’s inauguration as its promised to tsunami victims. (I read that in The New York Times today with my morning coffee).

So we are ill-informed and, by omission, often misinformed by TV news. But so what? Anyone with an intelligent interest in “real” news – news of genuine significance to the human community – can easily access information that will never darken the doors of the TVNZ or TV3 newsrooms. The truth is out there!

TV is fine for delivering lollypop news and disaster pics. Just try not to take it seriously because as long as people think they are being “informed” by watching predigested and prepackaged television news, the broadcasters will struggle on with a system that really ought to be a sunset industry.

31 December 2004 9:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in shock over the inauguration comment.

So where does one find the best source of news in New Zealand?

31 December 2004 9:50 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in shock to think that anyone could take seriously any of the nonsense printed in the New York Times.

31 December 2004 10:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well is it not true that the US have pledged $35 million in aid and the inauguration is costing $40 million?

31 December 2004 10:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To keep things in proportion, the US is spending $US9.5m PER HOUR on its occupation of Iraq. A quick Google search on aceh + exxon mobil is revealing: the US has been funding the brutal Indonesian regime for years, and the poor sods in Aceh have borne the brunt of the violence. And who is charged with distributing America's $50m of aid? The Indonesian military of course.

It's aid Jim... but not as we know it. God bless America.

31 December 2004 12:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christians in the US give more in monetary aid than most European nations, including France and Germany (who should have plenty of spare change from their "Oil-for-Food" profits.

The $35million figure is an initial pledge, and I can guarantee that by the end of this crisis the US will have donated more than any other nation on Earth. I can also guarantee that it will be seen as stingy, but only when idiots use a percentage-of-GDP figure.

Dozens of stories regarding Abu Grabby spanning several months, barely a dozen on Nick Berg for maybe a week and a half. Crackpot, unsubstantiated, flawed global warming scares. Ad Hominem attacks on GWB. Unfounded and ignorant Kyoto worship. Opinion from the "Arab Street" (Remeber that the Arab Street in question is usually filled with angry Muslims with AK-47's, hardly a forum for open discussion and disagreement). Kofi fondling and Clinton excusing. This is what you get from TVNZ.

To those Fox haters who cite "studies" that show Fox watchers have low IQs, you are arrogant jerks. Typical examples of liberals who consider themselves enlightened and all opposition morons.

TVNZ News shouldn't style itself on Fox, nor CNN or BBC or (heaven forbid) cBS. It should strive to be something more. Not simply reflecting society and existing prejudices, but informing society, presenting FACTS. "This is what happened, when and where." Pure jounalism, there is a need for it. Leave it to opinion shows, panel discussion shows and such to "colour the news", to rationalise it. I repeat, News should be what, where, when, how, who but not why.

For those, lacking a better description, strange people who think that TV News coverage in NZ is right leaning, I would like you to name 1 overtly conservative news-caster. I could name quite a few lefties, for gods sake, John Campbell is a self confessed Chomskyite.

There is one almost balanced show on TVNZ, Willie Jacksons Eye-to-Eye. Whilst Willie is biased on most issues, he doesnt lets this dictate the direction of discussion too much, and he will call up liberals for evading the questions. There are Conservatives on his show, and although numbers, 3 to 2, usually favour Willies side, the conservative view isnt suffocated under a barrage of Leftist tripe and actually gets through. I have only seens a couple of shows but was impressed and hope it doesnt descend into mediocrity.

31 December 2004 2:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets try and pull this somewhat back on topic, eh?
I don't think anyone is disagreeing with you that a function of the media is to hold truth in high esteem, and our politicians accountable to a standard that's independent of party affiliation - and yes TVNZ does need to up its game. However, you advocating TVNZ to follow the Fox News model which is anything but hard hitting objective journalism that challenges the current political social hierarchy, is a nice example of cognitive dissonance.

My argument is not that anyone "I do not like or do not approve of politically should not be seen in broadcasting", in fact I would openly encourge different political stripes to discuss issues using reason and for those in the discussion to listen to reason and yield to it in broadcasting. My argument is against creating commentators, such as the ones you cited that are currently "hurting America".

Nor would I say I disparaged Sean Hannity by linking to a site that listed Hannity's quotes and challenged them with fact. I would say it highlight's those you've cited as being the exact opposite of what you want commentators at TVNZ to become, representing and supporting the current political social hierarchy rather than challenge it.
BTW, I would love for someone to do the same to Kim Hill, Linda Clarke, John Campbell, Paul Holmes, etc, etc.

31 December 2004 2:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't necessarily believe anything I read in the New York Times any more than the rightwing Washington Times. The point is that anyone who depends on a single source of news from a single viewpoint is either extraordinarily naieve or extraordinarily stupid. In fact the first aid pledge from the US (denounced as "stingy" by the UN relief chief) was just $15 million. The published figure for the inauguration is $35-$40 million. Both figures have been widely reported in US media not just the NYT. The figure has been confirmed by the Republican organising committe. ou may enjoy a wry smilke at this quote: "There have been 55 inaugurations and very few have taken place during wartime, and this inaugural will reflect that," said Steve Schmidt, spokesman for the inaugural committee.

31 December 2004 3:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take it easy Fortune Cookie...take a chill pill or something

1 January 2005 1:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fortune Cookie is entitled to express his/her opinion and does not need to be metaphorically medicated into a state of stupor, man.

2 January 2005 12:42 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And topic really shows where TVNZ has lost its way.

People thinking of the great days of the 60's ??! Of serious people reading serious news.

"One is that TVNZ is now the establishment it once challenged, and two is that the people running TVNZ don't know or realise they're now the establishment"

Hawhaw, you people are always looking for an excuse, always having the need to put the blame onto someone. It's management, who make the decisions. It's programming who schedule crap programmes. It's producers who fill the product with pap.

It's the people who live in the past are perhaps TVNZ's greatest challenge. What other (news) organisations od this ? CNN ? Fox ? ABC ? Do any of these groups think - oh, I remember the good old days . . .

I wonder how other industries and businesses deal with people who have all of the answers, but are impotent to exercise the change because of who they are and what they do, by choice.

Myopic reasoning like "it won the support of New Zealanders, who watched it because they new they were watching something different, that something was going down" highlights the real problem at TVNZ.

Change is ongoing. It's a constant that without a business will not survive. "They want the vibrancy of the sixties" ??!

The past is always viewed with a fondness that never existed during the moment of its existence.

2 January 2005 4:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To those Fox haters who cite "studies" that show Fox watchers have low IQs, you are arrogant jerks. Typical examples of liberals who consider themselves enlightened and all opposition morons.Get the chip off your shoulder. If you're going to post, you should be prepared to discuss the facts.

The Pipa studies, conducted by the University of Maryland, are quite robust - based on seven interviews covering nearly 10,000 people, from memory. And they're not exactly rocket science. They demonstrated that people who said they relied on Fox for their news were considerably more likely to hold significant misconceptions (eg: believing that WMDs *had* been found, and that Saddam Hussein was closely involved in planning 9/11) regarding the war in Iraq than any other media consumers.

But that's not the point. The point is that Fox sucks. Its first-day coverage of the tsunami disaster was hideously, alarmingly bad (Mike Jerrick: "Are we pronouncing 'tsunami' properly?"). The multi-handed shouting pundit format just breaks down on any news story that doesn't fit the format it was designed for. Fox is not a news service, it's a talk format and it's idiotic to suggest that it is in any way a model for TVNZ News.

One News suffers from largely the same flaws as most other TV news. Its tsunami coverage has been sound in parts (Wendy Petrie, Charlotte Glennie), less so in others. Some viewers, however, will have been wondering why they were watching a crap Australian auction show and not a news programme at 7pm this week ...

Cheers,
Russell Brown

4 January 2005 9:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes very robust. One question in the Pipa "study" was, do you think there was a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda? And amazingly only 7% said there was no connection! Those 7% were wrong. 65% said that there was a connection, only differing in the degree. (Remember the 911 commission agreed that there was a link between the two, and only said that Iraq wasnt directly involved in 911.)

Another question asked how likely it was that Saddam was directly involved in 911. This isnt a question of fact. It is asking people to extrapolate from what they know about Saddam, and AQ and their shared hatred of the USA.

Questions about finding WMD and Iraq using of chemical weapons had about one in five saying yes. So? Ask a group of people who only watch CNN, CBS, and the BBC whether Bush used underhanded tricks to steal the 2000 election and you could very well get the same result.

Other questions asked the viewers what the rest of the world thought about the US invading Iraq. Half either thought world opinion was in favour or balanced. I cannot respond to this as comprehensive world opinion polls havent been invented yet. Needless to say however, simply because the rest of the liberal media says the "world" is against the US on this it doesnt make it true. "Oh. but there were those marches, and millions of people protested." So? Billions more didnt.

Later on another question asked whether people approved of Bush going to war unilaterally ( or as I prefer to call it "not multilatertally enough"), specifically without UN approval. Of course anyone who said he did the right thing is obviously wrong and stupid. Indeed, nothing should be done by the US or any other nation without getting UN approval first. In which case global relief efforts for Tsunami victims would still be in the committee stage.

The study also found that those with a "misconception" about the war were far more likely to support the war. No shit? No mention is made of the support for the war by those who made no "errors in thinking" at all.

Fox news watchers had at least one "misconception" 80% of the time. Why is it that in all reports on this study, no mention is made of CBS viewers being 71% and ABC 61%. Theses arent insignificant results, and Fox is only 9% higher than CBS.

In another coup for the enlightened, a further breakdown of the "data" shows that 45% of those with a misconception would vote for Bush. But nothing is said of the 55%!!! of people who would not vote for Bush. Lets participate in some statistical buggery for a minute and consider that Bush won 51% of the popular vote. This means that if the sample was representative of the population then 23% of the US population had a misconception and voted for Bush, but 27% of the population had a misconception and voted for Kerry.

This study asked loaded questions, had erroneous assumptions of the truth and cherry picked results. Only Fox is mentioned as the worst offender whilst other networks werent too far behind. Only one issue is addressed, the war in Iraq, and completely different results would almost certainly be achieved if the 2000 Election was the focus.

Any IQ study of Fox viewers is BS, just like the Republican IQ study and the Red State IQ study. They are a Daily Kos fantasy.

Kimble

5 January 2005 9:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is completely absurd. FOX is a total joke. The author of this article is one sad idiot.

5 January 2005 10:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other questions asked the viewers what the rest of the world thought about the US invading Iraq. Half either thought world opinion was in favour or balanced. I cannot respond to this as comprehensive world opinion polls havent been invented yet. Needless to say however, simply because the rest of the liberal media says the "world" is against the US on this it doesnt make it true. "Oh. but there were those marches, and millions of people protested." So? Billions more didnt.Sigh ... the Pipa study actually cited three international polls (two by Gallup, one by Pew) encompassing 56 nations. The largest was the January 2003 Gallup poll in 38 countries, which asked: “Are you in favor of military action against Iraq: under no circumstances; only if sanctioned by the United Nations; unilaterally by America and its allies?”

Of the 38 countries polled (including 20 in Europe), not a single one showed majority support for unilateral action and in nearly every case the percentage was very low. Any number of national polls showed similar results.

What you have been arguing for throughout is for your news organisation to ignore evidence in favour of your personal beliefs. You have every right to believe that Augie Auer is correct, and the 14-volume peer-reviewed report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a malign work of fantasy. Actual journalists do not have this luxury.

Cheers,
RB

5 January 2005 11:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow I doubt this post would have been written if NZ had a right wing government and a state broadcaster hta reflected it. It's obvious the author doesn't really want a broadcaster that challenges the political status quo, just a different political status quo. Naturally this will be denied and denied and denied...

5 January 2005 3:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“In April-May Gallup International asked “Now that the regime of Saddam Hussein has been destroyed, do think that military action by the US and its allies was justified or not justified?” Here responses were a bit more mixed. In 27 of the 43 (11 out of 21 in Europe) countries polled the majority said military action was not justified, while in seven countries (three in Europe) the majority said that it was. (Some respondents may have felt the war was justified, but still opposed the US taking such action without UN approval.)”

Given that the question in the PIPA “Fox is Dumb” study was about how foreign people feel about the US going to war in Iraq, it could be proposed that the Fox viewers may be nuanced in their thinking. This question could be interpreted as asking whether foreigners approve of military action to free the Iraqi people, or whether getting rid of Saddam was a good thing. Indeed, nothing is asked about America’s multilateral unilateralacy. The poll you cited, the one that showed no MAJORITY support for unilateral action, was asking a completely different question. The poll above is more applicable. To borrow an analysis technique from PIPA, over 80% of Fox viewers correctly stated that Europeans were either against the war or had mixed feelings against it. When the scope of the question is widened to include the rest of the world, not a few of those polled considered there would be more support for the war from those outside Europe. Indeed, the assistance from Pakistan and India (comprising a substantial chunk of the worlds population) in capturing Al Qaeda members, the Fox viewers could be very, extremely nuanced. (God I hate that word.)

(I will remind you that the poll was not about Fox alone, the Fox viewers were simply those most likely to “misconceptualise” at least one “known fact” by any significant margin. Which one exactly isn’t discussed in the study, so critiquing one point isn’t sufficient anyway.)

Besides, the language throughout the whole study just grates me. If you agree with everything the Pollsters describe as facts, then you are “evenly balanced” in your Global Attitudes. Evenly balanced? How can you be evenly balanced when you answer every question “correctly”? Surely an evenly balanced person would get 1.5 of the 3 questions wrong? But that’s semantics and not really important.

The thing is, Fox may very well be “Fair and Balanced” in its reporting. But this report says nothing about that. All it says is that Fox viewers got more of the questions “wrong” than any others.

And as for your comment that “Actual journalists do not have this luxury.”, what complete bollocks. For Gods sake, the NY Times has been editorialising on the front page for decades, personal beliefs have permeated mainstream media, wake up and look around at the disintegrating ruins of journalistic integrity.

What I have been arguing for all this time is that broad judgements about people, be they Republicans, Fox viewers or Bush voters, as moronic or stupid is itself moronic and stupid. In a large enough population you will tend to have a normal spread of smart people and stupid people. The IQ of Republicans will tend towards 100, as will the IQ of Democrats. I am sick and tired of Liberals claiming the moral high ground at the same time as disparaging those with moral values. I am sick and tired of Liberals claiming superior intelligence and not having themselves the intelligence to see the flaws in their own argument. I am sick and tired of liberal elitist mindset. But, hey, I’m a Conservative, so wtf do I know.

Kimble

PS, Russel, your comment about Fox’s coverage of the tsunami, is more a critique of style than substance. I don’t think anyone is advocating copying Fox’s style, but rather their appearance of greater balance. Predictions for the future: Fox #1, no CBS Memogate report before February ’05 (maybe ’06) and Condi Rice President in 2008/9.

5 January 2005 4:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This "debate" about Fox is extraordinarily tedious.Any posts that simply become tit-for-tat sniping are pissing in the wind. Fox is ratshit and so is TVNZ Nerws...just in different ways.

5 January 2005 11:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When we have a sexully disorientated feminist, left wing Prime Minister, a mainly sexually disorientated, feminist left wing cabinet, pushing their sexually disorientated left wing charter on the weak yes merchants that run TVNZ, then we have can only expect their bent view on life reflected in the news and programming. Thankfully there is radio and the the net. Now, before I become disorientated, where is the TV off button?

14 January 2005 8:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I hear anything about FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity et al, it makes me more forgiving about Katherine Rich, Murray McCully, anyone in ACT, and all the other demented feral abacus politicos that New Zealand has ben cursed with.

Was NZBC TV, with its plummy-accented newsreaders, in the 'halcyon days' of the 1960s, really a challenge to the estabishment, like the BBC's 'That Was the Week That Was' in the UK?

With a broadband connection, you can watch the ABC from across the ditch http://mplay.donga.com/abcap.asx
Who needs TVNZ when you've got that?

7 February 2005 9:47 pm  
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Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams- Posters.

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