Sinister strategy makes scapegoats of the vulnerable
Using the most vulnerable members of a society as scapegoats for its ills is nothing new. It’s a tactic that has been tried and tested by every fascistic tyrant in recorded history. And now, we can add it to the long list of shameful strategies employed by New Zealand’s current regime, and promoted by Rightwing media corporations like Fairfax.
Presented this week with a centre-Left Opposition promising to address New Zealand’s appalling child poverty shame by feeding children at school, the National Party and their allies in the corporate media needed a quick distraction. So, they went to the reliable default, and rolled out Paula Bennett with more reactionary initiatives and propagandist headlines designed to demonise the poor.
“Welfare reforms target kid’s education, health” Fairfax told readers on Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday it was “Cost of beneficiaries $78b”. Neither of these pieces made any attempt to provide questions, balance or Opposition comment. Both were effectively straight propaganda, with Fairfax taking it upon themself to inform us that “ data will be used to inform government policy and to target schemes to help people move back into work”. This is clearly not independent journalism. Interestingly, an online poll on stuff used almost the exact same wording, which sounds like it came straight from a National Party press release; “It will help them target policies to get people back to work”. The poll question was “What do you think about the Government getting measurements on how much beneficieries cost?”. The other option readers could choose was “It is just further stigmatising of beneficieries”. The latter option was leading by a significant margin mid-morning, but by early afternoon there had been a dramatic swing. Looks like Fairfax are fiddling their own polls again.
Along with making scapegoats of the vulnerable, media that simply acts as a voice for government is considered an early indicator of fascism. Let’s also remember that Fairfax Media have been guilty of silencing intellectuals, avoiding independent research, and basing their articles on “truthiness”, or populist, simplistic information that sounds right but is unsupported by peer-reviewed data. Anyone worried about our democratic freedom yet?
With Fairfax’s largest shareholder Gina Rinehart last week calling for an acceptance of slave wages, it’s hardly surprising that this corporation lean so heavily to the extreme Right. Rinehart is the world’s richest woman and a mining billionaire who bought into Fairfax after British climate-change denial tsar Lord Ashcroft advised industrial polluters to take control of the message by owning media corporations.
Never letting facts get in the way of a cynical piece of propaganda, Fairfax have avoided inconvenient truths once again, such as the benefit mythbusting facts published on Facebook by Huia Minogue yesterday.
Instead, Fairfax today published an editorial that could have been written by Paula Bennett, and illustrated once again that they have no intention of reporting on aspects of the debate that don’t suit the Rightwing idealism of their mates in the National Party. In fact, despite creating a comments forum attached to the editorial, they have actively censored comments that are too close to the bone, an act that ironically confirms the accusations against them.
Please join our movement on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/fearfacts/ - help us to demand a return to news and an end to Rightwing propaganda. Avoid stuff.co.nz, boycott Fairfax’s publications, and tell your friends.