Karl du Fresne on the new media landscape

Karl du Fresne looks at the ongoing Brown sex scandal and makes note of the changing and changed media landscape.

In the digital era, the news cycle operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The tempo has increased exponentially and a far more aggressive media constantly hounds politicians, hungry for new developments. It seems John Key can’t go anywhere without having microphones thrust at him.

But an even more potent factor is the emergence of new digital media – text messages, blogs, Facebook and Twitter – which provide a virulent forum for rumour, gossip, lies, abuse, propaganda and character assassination. It feeds on itself, each inflammatory item ratcheting up the intensity of the political conversation.   

Anyone can become a player in this new game, and they can do it in the safety of anonymity. In other words, it’s not just the pace of political journalism that has changed, but also the tone. Nothing is off-limits; everyone is fair game.

Bloggers compete for attention, often making outrageous claims that the mainstream media don’t bother to follow up. But the most successful bloggers, such as Slater, break stories that the mainstream press can’t ignore. They have made themselves part of the political landscape.

Slater is well informed and politically astute. Mr Brown is his biggest scalp yet, but he won’t be the last.

Some argue that this new political environment is healthy. It promotes transparency and has opened up the debate to new participants. But we’re deluding ourselves if we think it doesn’t come at a cost, and that cost may be that potential new entrants to politics might look at the sleaze that has enveloped Mr Brown and decide it’s not just worth the anguish and stress.

 


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  • Orange

    The last sentence there confuses me. New entrants to politics put off by Brown’s sleaze or that people can find out about sleaze? If it’s the latter then it would be good if new politicians are put off from being sleazy or entering the game at all if they already are. Does that make sense?

    • Just an affair doesn’t get published.

      The people who think the Brown affair is “just an affair” are not being honest with themselves.

      • Whafe

        Exactly Petal, the affair is not the key topic with this whole scandal.

      • LesleyNZ

        A lot still have not yet read this blog so will not know the whole truth. MSM want the readers to believe that it was “just an affair”. Some elderly people don’t have the internet and rely on newspapers . When they do read this blog they are pretty shocked at Len Brown’s behaviour and say he must step down. Truck driver delivering some stuff to our place today said “Len Brown has let us down”. He had read the blog.

        • Dave

          True Lesley, but the more that do read this blog and others like it, and the more the MSM are forced to get closer and closer to the truth, then progress is being made. The public are getting closer to actual news, and not the tainted manufactured shit the MSM spin. The other good news, as the traditional MSM slides to obliteration, Blogs and online news such as WOBH, oh, and the Guardian will continue to rise and rise.

    • Whafe

      I to found that a little confusing. The sleaze that has enveloped NoShameLenBrown is all is own doing. No one else to blame except Lyin Len

    • Orange

      Loved this comment “Slater is well informed and politically astute. Mr Brown is his biggest scalp yet, but he won’t be the last.”

      • kehua

        Quite perceptive of him, hahaha Cam needs to show him the Trophy Wall [s].

    • dyannt

      My hope would be that quality new entrants into the political field would be more likely to take that step if the whole political arena was cleaned up.

      • philbest

        Hear, hear; see my comment further down, I would have made it a reply to your one if I had noticed quick enough.

  • stephen2d

    If those in du Fresne’s articles are worried, take Note aspiring politicians: don’t be a sleaze ball am a rooting ratbag and all will be fine.

    • pukakidon

      I agree, if you want to move into a leadership role in this country don’t be a liar, sleaze and complete bully as is the case with devient Len.

      That is exactly what the media is for, to show sunlight on those Liars who have come to political power. Unfortunately too many are not real media, just a bunch of self absorbed suckups.

  • thor42

    Blogs are definitely a great development. They cover the areas that MSM just won’t touch, and (IMO) the most valuable of those topic areas are the un-PC ones like Islam and immigration. Education too – that’s another big topic that can be covered very well in a blog.

    The real value is in the interactivity aspect – people can chip in with their own comments and knowledge about a given topic. That’s something that the MSM will never be able to match.

    • Bad__Cat

      I agree. Blogs not only provide information and opinions, they also provide a form of instant democracy in that anyone like me can immediately comment or vote on specifics or generalities, without all the bullshit and cost if Citizen Initiated Referenda.

      And while the Politicians are not bound by our views, they at least know what we want, and that we are a constituency that is aware and passionate in our beliefs and likely to vote accordingly.

  • cows4me

    Why should it not be worth the “anguish or the stress”. What’s happen to Brown has to be good for politics not bad. If Brown falls then it’s win for politics and sends a clear message that if you disrespect the voters you represent then you will be held to account. If anything this should say to the straight shooters out there that you have nothing to fear but if you are just entering for the perks you will be found out

  • chris73

    “and that cost may be that potential new entrants to politics might look at the sleaze that has enveloped Mr Brown and decide it’s not just worth the anguish and stress.”

    – Good so no more philandering by politicians I’m assuming he meant :)

  • peterwn

    He forgets that various bloggers effectively have different size bull horns. Whale has the largest so is significant in the news scene. ‘Home Paddock’ for example is almost insignificant and probably has a limited number of like minded followers, so is unlikely to make significant impact.

    Also I do not know what Whale’s business plan is, but what is happening here is some convergence of top end blogs and MSM. While you do not need pots of money to set up a blog, to be successful it obviously requires hard work, excellent understanding of you are blogging, relevance to the audience and attitude. Also knowing a thousand ways of taking a pot at someone without falling foul of defamation law.

    • philbest

      I hope for WhaleOil achieving the clout of Drudge and PJ Media and Breitbart.

  • Reid

    Bloggers compete for attention, often making outrageous claims that the mainstream media don’t bother to follow up. But the most successful bloggers, such as Slater, break stories that the mainstream press can’t ignore.

    Despite their best efforts. And perhaps it might just occur to said mainstream press in particular their editors that if just for once they published actual real “news” instead of press-release b.s. then maybe just maybe their readers wouldn’t be deserting them quite as quickly as in fact they indeed are.

    The key difference it seems to me is that the mainstream press doesn’t these days dare do anything which would offend their precious sources or advertisers and I’m afraid – newsflash – that’s not journalism, it’s sycophancy disguised as journalism. As one of the many readers with a 3-digit IQ, I can tell the difference and I personally, aren’t in the least interested in the former since it’s about as newsworthy as telling me the sky today is blue.

  • Josh Metcalfe

    I suspect Du Fresne is putting forward the notion that politics corrupts a person and that Lenny was a good lad until he entered politics. I guess politics is the reason he had an affair and abused his power?

    • Kopua Cowboy

      No, it’s all John Key’s fault.

      • Josh Metcalfe

        The plot thickens!

    • philbest

      I have an inherent doubt about the integrity of anyone whose motives to go into politics is to make the kind of “changes to society” that Len espouses.

  • LesleyNZ

    The last sentence is a bit silly. If a potential candidate is sleazy then good – hope the new political environment does put them off. I think what we will see is improved behaviour and standards coming from those who live in the political landscape. If you tell the truth and have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

  • philbest

    “….that cost may be that potential new entrants to politics might look at the sleaze that has enveloped Mr Brown and decide it’s not just worth the anguish and stress…..”

    One of the things that it is hardest of all for libbewwal media people to get their heads around, is that NOT ALL “conservatives” are Graeme Capill or Mark Foley or Jimmy Bakker. In fact they probably hate a morally consistent conservative more intensely than anyone else they hate.

    For example, I am actually prepared to believe – shock, horror – that MOST Catholic clergymen have not screwed or buggered or fiddled with anyone for their entire lives. Not that I agree with clerical celibacy or Papism at all.

    And it is not too much of a leap from that to say that most moral conservatives will not have cheated on their wives for their entire lives.

    Most of these people will be getting scared off public office because the media is inherently antagonistic to them. So you end up with Len Brown types; well, that is the logical consequence of scaring off upright people by promising them they will be labelled as troglodytes.

  • Statehousekid

    I like the way Du Fresne calls pants down Brown a respectfull Mr Brown but refers to Cam as just plain Slater. If it was me it would be the other way around. He also keeps talking about the sleaze as if Cam created it. We’ll Mr Du Fresne it was your respectfull Mr Brown who is the Sleazebag and not Slater. All Slater was doing was reporting the truth something you would not have had the guts to do.

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