Armstrong fires back

September 15th, 2012 at 7:53 am by David Farrar

writes in the NZ Herald:

Here is a blunt message for a couple of old-school Aro Valley-style socialists:

Get off our backs. Stop behaving like a pair of tut-tutting old dowagers gossiping in the salons. In short, stop making blinkered, cheap-shot accusations of the kind you made this week – that the who went with John Key to Vladivostok and Tokyo concentrated on trivia, interviewed their laptops and parroted Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet press releases. …

Do the likes of former Listener columnist and Greens propagandist and former Alliance staffer and now Otago University politics lecturer have the faintest idea of the difficulties, obstacles and logistics of reporting an overseas trip by a prime minister, especially one which incorporates a major international forum like Apec?

Does it occur to them to actually pick up the phone and try to talk to those journalists about what is happening and why things are being reported in a certain way?

Of course not. That would risk the facts getting in the way of, well … interviewing their laptops and having yet another ritual poke at the parliamentary press gallery.

To read their drivel while stuck in a Tokyo traffic jam with your deadline approaching faster than a Japanese bullet-train makes your heart sink. …

But never mind. The rules that apply to journalists in terms of accuracy do not apply to Campbell and his echo chamber Dr Edwards – who is not be confused with Dr Brian Edwards, another blogger, but a far more original one when it comes to ideas and analysis.

Bloggers can blog when they like at what length they wish. Admittedly, they are normally not being paid for the privilege. Journalists are. But on a trip like last week’s one, the hourly rate slumps drastically by virtue of the hours worked.

Few media representatives travelling with John Key would have got more than four or five hours’ sleep each night – probably less – because of the Prime Minister’s schedule, which ran from 6am (earlier if a flight was involved) until well into the evening.

Days were spent clambering on and off buses in 35C heat and 100 per cent humidity.

Time has to be found within that schedule to write news stories and other articles – but not just for the following day’s newspaper. News organisation’s websites have to fed – especially if there is “breaking” news.

Deadlines in Asia are punishing, as countries such as Japan are three hours behind New Zealand, meaning deadlines are effectively even tighter.

Then there is the no small matter of filing stories back home. Equipment breaks down, mobile phones that are supposed to be in harmony with Japan’s system turn out not to be.

To Campbell’s credit, he does do his own digging. He is also a regular attendee at the Prime Minister’s weekly press conference. His blog is one of the more valuable. But he does have a blind spot with regards to the press gallery.

The rapidly growing influence of Edwards’ blog was initially down to its being an exhaustive wrap-up of all of the day’s political news. It is now starting to develop a much more political dynamic that is unlikely to please National.

Edwards’ blog is the extreme example of the fact that most blogsites rely on the mainstream media for their information and then use that information to criticise the media for not stressing something enough or deliberately hiding it.

Unlike the mainstream media, the blogs are not subject to accuracy or taste – and sometimes even the law.

It is the ultimate parasitical relationship. And it will not change until the media start charging for use of their material.

Monday’s media summary by Bryce will be an interesting read.

For my 2c I think John makes a very fair point about the reality of being a working journalist on on overseas trip, and the coverage of issues.

To be fair to Edwards, what he does everyday is not so much about blogging. His summary was originally circualated by e-mail, and it was his collection of links that people most valued. I know, as I sponsored it.

Since then his narrative around the day’s stories has become more prominent, and that is what most now read. Few actually read it I suspect on Bryce’s blog. Most I’d say read it off the NZ Herald and NBR websites, who as I understand it pay Bryce for his work – so not quite an unpaid blogger!

Tags: , , , ,

33 Responses to “Armstrong fires back”

  1. Redbaiter (7,852 comments) says:

    I don’t read any of them.

    Political dinosaurs all three.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Unlike the mainstream media, the blogs are not subject to accuracy or taste

    The media are subject to accuracy? Who’d have thought it…Armstrong needs to get off his high horse.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Pete George (23,165 comments) says:

    This is what Armstrong was talking about: On Armstrong’s blast at Campbell and Edwards. Edwards wrote:

    There was a lot build-up and reporting from the APEC meeting in Vladivostok, but nothing much actually seemed to happen. There are only so many ways you can work ‘Pussy Riot’ into a story about trade negotiations. The alternatives seem to be writing about: your hotel, waiting three hours to glimpse Putin, the buffet, bridges or interviewing your laptop about why nothing is happening.

    One common theme seemed to be how trade deals are being used by both the US and China to gain dominance over each other.

    Gordon Campbell, who has described most of the New Zealand media reporting of APEC as ‘indistinguishable from a DPMC press handout’, had probably the best analysis of the summit’s real significance and how the Trans Pacific Partnership is where the real deals are being done – see: On APEC, and its significance for the TPP talks.

    And he listed Campbell’s story at the top of his APEC list. And this is how Armstrong responded:

    Edwards’ and Campbell’s claim that there was precious little analysis of key Apec issues, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is simply not borne out.

    There were copious amounts written about the TPP beforehand, including a major feature in the Herald a few months ago.

    Everybody knew and said the TPP would not be a big deal as Barak Obama, the figure crucial to building political momentum to achieve a final deal, was absent.

    TPP is sure important within the wider context of Apec. But it was not a major feature of this year’s meeting.

    So you can see why Armstrong was a bit annoyed that he was dissed, after sweating away in stuck lifts, for not pandering to Campbell and Edwards’ preferred agenda.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Redbaiter (7,852 comments) says:

    Oh, and as for BRIAN Edwards, that sad old commie tool makes his dinosauric colleagues look space age.

    Bryce and Armstrong and Campbell might be dated old commie throwbacks but by comparison, Brian Edwards is proterozoic.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    Looks to me like John Armstrong had one to many on the flight back from Russia and penned that story in a tired and emotional state. If he can’t keep his temper in check, he ought to retire.

    The substance of his attack is ridiculous. His definition of a “real” journalist seems to be include only conservative, establishment horse racing correspondent like him. Gordon Campbell? Well, yes, he does go to the PM’s press conference, and well, yes he does do original research, and well, I SUPPOSE he DOES run Jim Moras show occassionally and he DOES help run http://www.werewolf.co.nz BUT HE IS LEFT WING WITH A BLOG SO HAH! HE CAN’T BE A JOURNALIST LIKE ME!

    Of course, being an ambient neo-liberal totally besotted by John Key is no grounds for John Armstrong to not be considered a journalist. John Armstrong must be a real journalist – he gets to have off the record lunches with the other players.

    As for Bryce Edwards – I have never seen him claim to be anything other than a handy aggregator who includes convenient links and commentary on online content. If John Armstrong doesn’t want Bryce Edwards to prosper, he ought to be bitching about the lack of paywalls, not attempting to shoot the messenger.

    John Armstrong’s piece is simply an old-man whine at change.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Pete George (23,165 comments) says:

    John Armstrong’s piece is simply an old-man whine at change.

    He raises some valid points, like…

    Campbell and Edwards seemed to want the TPP given more prominence, Armstrong explains why it wasn’t very important at APEC.

    Edwards in particular relies on the work of the more traditional journalists who have to do the hard yards to come up with their stories.

    If the funding model for MSM keeps collapsing without finding a viable replacement then political reporting could be severely compromised.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ ross69
    Exactly.

    @ Redbaiter.
    Indeed.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    Dr. Bryce Edwards lectured someone I know very well in political studies at Otago. The person wrote about a conservative politician and was slaughtered in the grade the person received. Other students who wrote about socialist politicians, surprise, surprise, received great grades. This guy is a total commie sap.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Keeping Stock (10,161 comments) says:

    I didn’t see the comments that have so aggrieved John Armstrong. But as I have blogged this morning, it’s a stones-in-glasshouses type response from him. Has he bothered to consider that if journalists were actually doing their job, the blogosphere would not have thrived in the manner that it has? To some degree, the John Armstrongs of this world are the authors of their own demise.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. rakuraku (162 comments) says:

    Most of the press appear to be Cheerleaders for our Almighty Leader Hone Key, I don’t know what has got Armstrong’s tits in a tangle. Needs to have a Cup of Concrete and Harden Up.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. hj (6,608 comments) says:

    Bryce Edwards and his henchman John Moore

    “The internationalist left
    Both in New Zealand and globally, the best of the leftwing tradition has always rejected small-minded nationalism, xenophobia and racism. In fact, leftists of an internationalist tradition have always favoured globalization and getting rid of national borders and barriers to migration. Progressive advocates of globalization of course do not defend a handful of rich imperialist countries, including New Zealand, dominating the world’s economy, but instead advocate an integrated and radically egalitarian world economy where production is based on social need and not on private profit.

    Internationalism as a leftwing concept was first popularized with the formation of the International Workingmen’s Association, or First International, in 1864. Amongst its leaders was Karl Marx, …. blah, blah
    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2012/02/guest-blog-post-john-moore-leftwing-xenophobia-in-new-zealand.html

    meanwhile in the real world Mike Day(?) on the Panel talks about the high cost of hearing aids and glasses and comments “most New Zealanders don’t have 2 pennies to rub together…” . Edwards and Moore are the sort of blind fools who would open the borders of “rich” New Zealand and demand higher wages for workers. I can see Eric Honecker and his deputy there.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Pete George (23,165 comments) says:

    KS – I quoted his comments at 8.07 above.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. hj (6,608 comments) says:

    Where do the Greens stand on Chinese Chippies who work for Chinese bosses who don’t believe in having a Sunday* off or Chinese tour bus drivers (with guide) who displace and lower conditions for Kiwis?
    *Close up

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. cubit (356 comments) says:

    The frustrating aspect of journalists accompanying the likes of the PM on important overseas tours is the desire to simply talk about domestic NZ issues with a different and often more exotic backdrop.

    Perhaps a little more study of the issues associated with the actual visit and concentrationg on those would be more sgnifiicant. Unfotunately NZ journalsts appear to lack real knowledge on important and complex international issues.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. David Garrett (6,661 comments) says:

    Never thought I would see the day I agreed with Fish boy…and whoever said if the MSM was doing its bloody job, bloggers would not have achieved anything like the prominence they have.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Campbell, Armstrong and Edwards should all rent a room together.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. rg (197 comments) says:

    Bryce Edwards is too left wing for me. Why do universities always employ lefties to teach our young people?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. tom hunter (4,538 comments) says:

    If Campbell, Edwards and the rest of the NZ left-wing want to see “professional journalists” sucking up to a government they could not do better than to watch this from the daily White House Press Briefing, where Jake Tapper asks the President’s Press Secretary about reports of intelligence failures in Libya (there’s also a transcript).

    There’s the usual careful language one would expect from a Press Secretary but to me it was the following analysis that nails the whole scene:

    You have to watch the videos linked above again, especially the second, to understand my second point. Tapper did his best to grill Carney and pin him down, but he was on his own. Look at the other White House correspondents in that room. Not a single one has any energy and certainly no desire to get to the bottom of the only question that should matter today: Were the murders of these four Americans preventable?

    Other than Tapper, no one wants the answer and they’re not even willing to make news in pushing for an answer.

    Might hurt Obama.

    Now that’s how media bias is really pulled off – way more effective than simply lying or opinionating.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Paulus (2,544 comments) says:

    My granddaughter at Uni has been asked to allow her Political Science paper to be used somewhere.
    She rang me quite concerned that what she says in her papers does not reflect her views, only what the Lecturers want to hear.
    And she is quite worried by it, seriously.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Keeping Stock (10,161 comments) says:

    rg asks

    Why do universities always employ lefties to teach our young people?

    The lefties love academia rg; it saves them from having to work :P

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. tom hunter (4,538 comments) says:

    The whole MSM thing on numerous issues, is not just a case of simple bias but bias arising from beliefs that must be held in the face of any reality presented. To whit, here’s an editorial from the godforsaken NYT:

    “Libyan leaders have condemned the killings and promised to work to apprehend those responsible. Egyptian leaders, inexplicably, have not followed that lead.”

    “Inexplicably”? I suppose to the clueless morons of the NYT it is inexplicable. In that they’re being honest.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. kowtow (7,871 comments) says:

    The whole MSM thing…..over on GD ,V2 has posted about local direct action in Spain to prevent a mosque being built.
    All across the west there is great unease about mass immigration ,particularly Muslim immigration.
    Where people get to vote on the specific issue they vote against,witness Switzerland. This is always portrayed as racist or xenophobic by the MSM.
    Note Wilders gets a respectable turnout in ‘liberal” Holland but is always portrayed as an extremist.
    The MSM in Australia do a great service for the pro illegal immigrant camp,and that is well out of kilter from what mainstream Australians want.
    NZ media crucified Brash for his use of the term “mainstream” New Zealand.
    Back to mosques ,these things are more than just prayer centres,like all things Islamic they are cultural and political and people are right to oppose them.
    Not that the media would ever allow that view to be portrayed as anything other than “racist”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/31/cologne-mosque-german-far-right

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Oh he ‘fires back’ and guess what, it’s like getting blasted with an unset jelly.

    Give me a f**n break the cosy mutual back-scrtching that passes for political commentary and which emanates from the Beltway is often recently reheated press-release stuff.

    I mean this is hardly war-correspondence is it? So once in a blue moon they have to get out an about and do a bit of travel, and endure some logistical or scheduling difficulties. Really, It’s breaking my heart.

    Pilger, read this and weep – this is what modern journalism has come to.

    Fpr what it is worth, I find B Edwards entertaining and informative.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    I guess I’d be more inclined to agree with Armstrong if it weren’t the case that pretty much every single journalist in New Zealand is a useless retard.

    I could not care less about political slant. I don’t read Armstrong and his ilk because they are shiftless, mealy-mouthed, line towing morons. But that’s what sells because that’s what New Zealanders like to read, standards be damned.

    Those of us who actually have standards have been reduced to reading foreign publications. Thank God/Allah/Jehovah for the internet…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Viking2 (11,220 comments) says:

    I could not care less about political slant. I don’t read Armstrong and his ilk because they are shiftless, mealy-mouthed, line towing morons. But that’s what sells because that’s what New Zealanders like to read, standards be damned.

    Not necessarily. Rodney’s articles seem to be striking a cord with many. As is usual with Rodney he disects the issue and has clear principles by which it should be judged.

    We need much more of this type of thinking and writing but until the newspapaers stop paying the useless to pour out lefty rubbish the deserve to go bust. (which of course is exactly what’s happening.
    Known as pleasing the customers (not).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    “Not necessarily. Rodney’s articles seem to be striking a chord with many. As is usual with Rodney he dissects the issue and has clear principles by which it should be judged.”

    Let’s be blunt. Rodney Hide has been a very effective politician, and writes entertaining columns, but it’s just more middlebrow blah blah. Journalism of a high standard demands a certain amount of finesse. We need smart, genuinely educated people to be journalists. I realise that there is a dearth of such people in New Zealand, so we might have to import them.

    “We need much more of this type of thinking and writing but until the newspapers stop paying the useless to pour out lefty rubbish the deserve to go bust. (which of course is exactly what’s happening.”

    Apart from a few people like Chris Trotter, New Zealand media could hardly be described as “left wing”. From my point of view NZ media hews slavishly to the elite consensus, which is sometimes “left” (on cultural issues), but often “right” (on issues like free trade or inequality).

    But yes, New Zealand could do with some genuinely clever conservative columnists (and some clever moderates and liberals as well). As it is, we have had to make do in recent years with old whingers in the Garth George mood.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    @ Jimbob

    I’ve had Bryce for a couple of papers at Otago, and I have to say in my experience, he was one of the least biased lecturers. Sure everyone knew he was a raging lefty, but he unlike a number of other otago lecturers didn’t really care what opinion you put across (left or right), as long as you could argue it well, and back it up with facts. The marks were always the same.
    In fact Otago could do well to hire more staff in the pols dept like him, that don’t just research topics no one apart from other academics care about, and who can sensibly discuss topics across the political spectrum, without shooting you down just because they disagree with it for ideological reasons.

    But getting to his NZ Herald colum. It has gotten more and more politically blinkered as its gone one, in fact I’ve commented on this to a few of other people who I know from uni. Most have agreed.
    I call it the attention/publicity problem. Once someone starts getting press they tend to feel more free to say what they want, rather than keeping it fairly middle of the road, knowing that once they’re established the media won’t get rid of them, or at least won’t get rid of them readily, and also controversy sells. In Bryce’s case he using it to put his spin on the political news of the day, rather than as it used to be a plain old political news round up, with a bit of commentary thrown in.
    Whale, and to a lesser extent DPF sometimes are guilty of the same thing.

    Maybe with Armstrong digging into him/calling him on it, then he might tone down again, but he could go the oposite way, could be iteresting to see.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. The Peanut Monster (19 comments) says:

    We all have deadlines, we all have bad hourly rates. Cry me a river. You’re paid to produce thoughtful, provocative, and insightful opinion pieces, that respond quickly to events on the ground. Tragically, it seems only the AFP and Reuters can provide that, hence all the cutting and pasting we see on the Herald website. I’ll pay when I get quality.

    Hot? Have some water. Tired? Have a coffee. Hear me bitching about having to be a lawyer for 12 hours a day, and have no weekends? No, probably because I just shut up and get on with it. You should do the same John.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    No Peanut I’ve thought again and I think we should have a whip-round. Get him a nice gift basket with some essential oils, maybe some chocolate and one of those beany things you heat up in a microwave, for achy necks, perhaps a gift-voucher for a spa or facial or something, and a nice mug with something floral on it.

    And a card.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. pq (728 comments) says:

    I was very interested in this below because I could not believe that BRYCE EDWARDS could do the University a favour
    at the same time as being so active politically and socially.
    I have always liked to read him but I am not sure you can give 8 hours a day to your blog and
    at the same time the university

    but here above
    rolla_fxgt (272) Says:
    September 15th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
    @ Jimbob

    I’ve had Bryce for a couple of papers at Otago, and I have to say in my experience, he was one of the least biased lecturers. Sure everyone knew he was a raging lefty, but he unlike a number of other otago lecturers didn’t really care what opinion you put across (left or right), as long as you could argue it well, and back it up with facts. The marks were always the same.
    I’ve had Bryce for a couple of papers at Otago, and I have to say in my experience, he was one of the least biased lecturers. Sure everyone knew he was a raging

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. FlashinthePan (15 comments) says:

    Boohoo, poor Armstrong and his first world problems, during all expenses paid trips to Russia and Japan! What a tosser! I’m sure plenty of better journalists would happily line up for his job.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    Seems he took offense at being labelled a mouthpiece for politicians. Let’s face it, you don’t get the invite or the interviews unless you’re prepared to provide some decent PR.
    Being accused of this would sting, no matter how true it might be. Especially given the overseas jaunt you chased involves jet lag.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. rakuraku (162 comments) says:

    Most journalists are Cheerleaders for the incumbent Government if they don’t write the right articles they don’t get the interviews.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.