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Desperate denial will return to haunt Fairfax

October 23, 2011

Cynical Rightwing media must surely reap the consequences of their self-serving devotion to the “one percent

First Fairfax ignored the Occupy protests.  For weeks they pretended it wasn’t happening.  Then, when it became clear that this was a genuine movement of the people against the corporate greed they defend daily on their pages, they began to paint the occupy movement as disorganised, lacking any real purpose, just a bunch of hippies with nothing better to do.

Now, as the worldwide movement that has captured the imagination of millions evolves into a serious, sustained, and global challenge to the immoral status quo, Fairfax – like so many of their Righwing media contemporaries – have begun to attack the movement rather than simply attempt to marginalise it.  They have taken sides with their political and corporate allies from the one percent, and in the end, this will cost them dearly. 

Today’s Sunday Star Times now has the local Occupy protests on the front page, with the leading headline “Local analysis produces revolution fizzer”, and the sub-head “An economist says protests aren’t justified here”.  It’s a simple piece of propaganda, aimed at discrediting the protest by disputing its core message; that the system is corrupt, that unethical corporations have destroyed democracy, freedom and fairness in our society. 

Like other mainstream media, Fairfax have for the past few weeks attempted to convince their readers that Occupy has no clear purpose.  Now, all of a sudden, the purpose is clear enough to attack with point-by-point “analysis” from some Rightwing fossil who happens to agree with their extremely biased position.  This inconsistent u-turn clearly points to the level of desperation media are feeling over their absolute lack of control over the growth of a powerful, popular new voice that threatens their stranglehold on information.  Suddenly, blogs and independent media matter more than global media corporations who have been in bed with the banks, the politicians of the Right, and the one percent of ultra-wealthy individuals and organisations who have tried to buy power and influence, and weaken the people for their own endless persuit of unsustainable profit and growth. 

The “analysis”, care of economist Shamubeel Eaqub, from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, bases it’s argument on the fact that New Zealand hasn’t yet suffered from the global recession as much as some other countries.  It’s a purely relative, subjective number-crunching exercise to highlight the incredibly weak positives of the New Zealand economy.  But, asking a contemporary Western economist what they think about a social movement is like asking a pacifist what they think about the Iraq war. 

Let’s also remember that just nine months ago, Fairfax’s choice of economic gurus at the NZIER told us that we had avoided a double dip recession.  They have also consistently opposed the Emissions Trading Scheme, burying their heads in the sand about the ultimate cost of unchecked, unsustainable economic growth.  So, while the NZIER may claim independence, they are clearly part of the establishment at the heart of the problem  that Occupy have begun to address.

It may well be that high ranking economists, like media moguls, bankers, and newspaper editors, have faired well throught the global recession and haven’t been affected by the high levels of unemployment, low wages, attacks on workers’ rights, and the massive social costs of a growing inequality gap.  But, what about the average Kiwi worker, or the former worker who is now unemployed, or the young person with no prospects of finding employment in New Zealand, who has been scapegoated by the National Government and the media, faced attacks on rights, benefits, standard of living and self-esteem.  How do they feel about Fairfax’s claims that all is rosy and there is no justifaction for protest?  Afterall, it wasn’t the workers or the middle classes who wiped billions off the world economy, it was the Wall Street bankers and the greedy, power-hungry politicians, corporations and media who promoted the whole flawed system.

By siding with their Wall Street banker buddy John Key, and his unscrupulous, rediculously wealthy corporate allies, Fairfax have not only sided with the one percent, they have also rejected the voice of the 99 percent.  How long before they are fully exposed as propandists for the corrupt establishment?  And, when this fact is widely exposed, what will become of Fairfax Media and their ilk? 

What they need to understand, and understand fast, is that the writing in their publications is no longer relevent, and doesn’t really matter to the growing army of new thinkers.  What does matter, is the big, bold writing on the wall.  And it says, “We are the 99 percent.  Expect us”.

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