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January 13, 2018
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August 6, 2018

TV News in New Zealand is a Lost Cause

The days of watching the news to see what's going on at home and abroad - that is... news that matters, is important, particularly interesting or thought provoking - appears to be over. In-depth, quality mainstream media news and fair reporting in New Zealand is a thing of the past, and hoping things will get better seems to be a lost cause.

I want news that educates and entertains... that is not lecturing me, pandering to the noisy minority and childishly berating baddies who don't share the media's stance on politics and opinions on how they think things should be. It's sad to watch the metamorphosis from objectivity, to bias, to open propaganda.

I've had enough of rubbish press releases - for example, advertising submitted in the form of scientific research or tech breakthroughs (obviously for funding purposes). I'm tired of watching interviews with representatives of advocacy groups (promoting their agendas).

"End of the world is nigh" style editorials sent in by politically motivated activists are tiresome, and in my opinion spreading gossip and rumours about unproven wrongdoings is just lazy reporting.

The NZ media these days deems politics to be either left/liberal/good or right/conservative/bad. Politicians are reduced to nothing more than personalities that are either good or bad, progressive or bigoted. What happened to reasonable debates, fair questioning and reporting both sides of the story?

In our house at 6pm the nightly TV news is on, just in case something has happened that matters. But these days I only half watch it, and I use the internet - where talented journalists, smart reporters, and important news can still be found.

I'm fed up of neurotic Trump bashing, Australia bashing, climate catastrophes (real and imagined), daily updates about locals who have died in odd ways (if not odd, car accident fatalities will do), and in-depth reports about what the latest sports and Hollywood celebs (today's heroes) have been up to.

To get an idea of what I'm taking about, here's a breakdown of tonight's evening news (NewsHub) in New Zealand.

Sunday 14th January 2018:

  • an "incoming missile threat" alert was wrongly sent out in Hawaii
  • man hit by a stock car seriously hurt
  • use sunscreen on kids - those who don't should be labelled "child abusers" - clip mentions the danger posed by the shrinking ozone layer
  • story about an app that couples can use to give consent prior to sex - if they're part way through the process either person can cancel the consent - this story was accompanied by a clip of Oprah celebrating women rising up against sexual abuse (#MeToo movement)
  • people are demanding that Trump apologise for his alleged "racist" (sh*thole countries) comment during a closed meeting - a few anti-Trump people were interviewed and all said things along the line of this woman who opined "The president is a shameless racist who has hijacked the oval office!" - there was no mention of what was accomplished during the meeting (of course)
  • a transgender ex-army private is running for office as a democrat - this was presented as a 'good news' story
  • a self driving car with no steering wheel or brake pedal will be on the road by 2019
  • men rowed across the Atlantic and arrived safely after 29 days at sea
  • a Wellington building demolition is nearing completion
  • South Africans looted, ransacked and wrecked a store to protest about a "racist" shirt that was being sold there
  • while in a local public swimming pool a man was hit on the head by a flounder dropped by a seagull
  • the french president wants the baguette to be given UNESCO world heritage status
  • Tom Cruise was spotted running over roofs in the UK while filming
  • a Christchurch entomologist's 140,000 bug collection is being listed and put online
  • a panda was born in a french zoo
I have to admit I found the false alarm story interesting, and I enjoyed the one about the fish landing on someone's head.

So, who are MediaWorks - the company behind NewsHub?

Media Works describe themselves as "New Zealand's largest independent broadcaster, reaching 93% of kiwis through our extensive portfolio of premium brands across radio, television, digital and live platforms. Our cross-platform capability offers our audiences integrated opportunities that are unique and designed to deliver".

The Wikepedia page includes this information:

MediaWorks New Zealand is a New Zealand-based television, radio and interactive media company entirely owned by Oaktree Capital Management. It operates playout services from Auckland and Wellington studios via Kordia's microwave network for Newshub, Three, and Bravo, ten national radio brands, eighteen websites and three locally operated radio stations.

In 2011, MediaWorks received a $43 million loan guarantee for the Government to renew its licenses until 2030. In June 2013, with over NZ$700 million in debt, MediaWorks NZ was put into receivership. In 2015, Oaktree Capital Management took a 77.8% controlling interest in the business. In 2016 Mediaworks linked a deal with NBCUniversal Television Distribution.

Oaktree Capital Management is an American global asset management firm specializing in alternative investment strategies. NBCUniversal Television Distribution (NUTD) is the television distribution arm of the NBCUniversal Television Group in the United States, and is a subsidiary of Comcast. Comcast Corporation is an American global telecommunications conglomerate that is the largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue.

2 Comments

  1. Norma Henderson says:

    I agree totally that TV news is a lost cause. This doesn’t just apply to NZ though. You should check out the ABC in Australia. The one item I liked too was the seagull dropping a flounder onto someone’s head. Norma

  2. Lisa Gilmer says:

    Good comments !! I am in agreement… I watched with dismay the ‘positive’ or ‘yay team prezzie is awesome’ for the 8 years of Obama – – I yelled at the TV waaaay too much in anger and despair… is Trump 100% wonderful? Naaah… but he’s a H&LL of a site better than the corrupt Clinton.

    Thank G#D for President Trump!

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