A manufactured consent

Here we sit just a week out from an election. It’s a week in which you face a stark choice. Three more years of smile and wave dirty politics or a new direction.

It’s important to remember that, despite how awesome you think John Key may be, he is a liar. He has spent the last six years creating and maintaining a network of bloggers and public relations people whose job was to manipulate the media and the general public to believing what he wants them to believe. All the time Key has managed this negative network he has maintained his smile & wave public persona.

I mean how could someone who’s such a larrikin possibly be so negative? I don’t believe it!

Believe it you must. I’ve said this before – you don’t get a $50 million by being a bit of a dick. No, you amass a fortune like that by being ruthless. Key is utterly ruthless. So ruthless that he knows exactly how to act, what to say, who to get to condemn the people wanting to spend money on children. It’s easy. Just flick a text to a mate who flicks a text to a mate who flicks a text to Cameron Slater who then says whatever it was that Key or his party wants him to say. That is then repeated by the welcoming media who appear ever so willing to parrot whatever lines they are given.

It’s disappointing. The Greens will be utterly pissed off with National’s current lackey – Corin Dann – for twisting their words. Apparently the Greens saying they would be willing to continue to work with National (as they have done on things like home insulation and cycle ways) meant it was now understood that they were ditching Labour in favour of the dirty party.

Utter, utter nonsense.

It’s like the media have totally given up on reporting the election campaign and have decided to develop a ridiculous standard of punditry.

In 1988 the great linguist Noam Chomsky wrote a book called Manufacturing Consent (I feel loathed to link to a Wikipedia article, but since there isn’t an actual website for this within easy reach, it will have to do). His main thesis was that the mass media in the United States acted in the role of chief propagandist to the government of the time by censoring itself through ‘editorial distortions’.

We are seeing this now in New Zealand. Our media, the media that is owned elsewhere, appears to have turned into this self censored, utterly controlled, repeating what we read on blogs or the twitter – particularly the political correspondent who now appears to be master of creative narrative.

The idea is that Key and National want us to consent to what they are doing so they manufacture the public relations image accordingly.

A freelance investigative journalist such as Nicky Hager who does not align himself with the dominant media hegemony is the most destructive thing to the manufactured narrative being thrust upon us by the mass media. That is why, instead of dealing with the issues raised in Dirty Politics, the National government have gone on the attack with withering claims of conspiracy and insanity and far out leftist extremism. Hager threatens the status quo. He threatens the establishment because he dares to question the back-door dealings and sub-ethical manipulations they use to retain their positions of dominance. It is imperative that he is destroyed.

Unfortunately, after three weeks of repeated questioning of John Key’s reason for being, the media have now gone back to talking about Cunliffe’s inability to multiply one number in the thousands by another number in the billions, or that the Greens might go with National or that Colin Craig is awesome and not insane.

In their efforts to construct a narrative to maintain or enhance their viewership, the political news media are no longer reporters of political happenings, but constructors of Home and Away with Hone.

The thing is politics is not a soap opera. The people currently minding our democracy for the next government need to be questioned. They must be questioned. Why are you doing that? How does that benefit the country? Why are you changing the labour laws in the country after spending half an hour with some executives from Warner Brothers?

If at first they don’t answer your question, THEN KEEP BLOODY ASKING IT. If they refuse to answer your question, THEN CALL THEM ON IT DURING THE INTERVIEW. It’s not that hard, is it? I’m sure they taught you that during your first week at journalism school.

The media are no longer talking about dirty politics. National have succeeded in manufacturing the public’s consent on this one. The media are complicit.

In reality National should be facing some kind of commission of inquiry for corrupting our democracy. But they won’t because the questions have stopped.

When you vote next week, please vote for people who believe in democracy.


Manufacturing Consent – It’s a long watch, but if you have time, please get stuck in.

4 thoughts on “A manufactured consent

  1. Brilliant article.
    Succinct and targeted at those who still believe in the cult of John Key, but may be wavering.
    This needs as wide a readership as possible.
    Have you considered offering this to either the Daily Blog or the Standards as a guest post.


  2. In reality National should be facing some kind of commission of inquiry for corrupting our democracy.

    And a lot of jail time.


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