Home > Media, The Body Politic > Unfortunate Outrage?

Unfortunate Outrage?

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It seems that practically any criticism of our Dear Leader, these days, elicits a critical response from certain quarters. Robyn Malcolm’s remarks at the opening of the Greens’ campaign have been described by the NZ Herald, as “vitriolic”,

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Full Story

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The NZ Herald article carries on with similar comments,

But fronting the campaign opening in Wellington, Malcolm savaged Mr Key’s performance.” – Ibid

Robyn Malcolm’s comments consisted of the following,

“”We have a leader who seems to be more interested in talking about his cats on the radio, being seen at the rugby and getting on the cover of the Woman’s Weekly. I thought that was my job…”

“We ended up voting in a Government who’ve revealed their total lack of interest in leading us into the 21st century with any innovation, courage, or social integrity, despite what a nice guy he [Mr Key] seems to be…”

“An unshakeable and abiding love of fossil fuels … and an inability to follow through on promises of any kind, but will make anything up for a Hollywood mogul should they happen to come down this way…” ” – Ibid

Ms Malcolm’s comments are critical, certainly. Hard-hitting, probably.

But “vitriolic“? And “savaging“?

These are subjective interpretations – opinion – not impartial reporting. To some people, Ms Malcolm’s remarks would be harsh. To others, they would be fair comment. The determination of how we,   the public, might feel about her statements should be left up to us to determine – not prompted by a media report.

Gordon McLauchlan, on Jim Mora’s Radio NZ afternoon panel, made precisely the same pertinent observations and criticised  the Herald’s slanted reporting of this event.

One wonders how it came to pass in this country, that an ordinary citizen can be vilified in such a manner by the press, for daring to criticise our elected representatives. This sort of thing was more common in my parents’ country-of-birth, prior to the collapse of the Soviet empire.

As an aside; I heard most of Ms Malcolm’s speech on the radio.  I was driving at the time, so wasn’t paying much attention. What I can recall is that she was certainly critical of John Key and his love-affair with photo-opportunities – but certainly did not sound anywhere near “vitiriolic”. Quite the opposite, I considered her words and tone to be quite measured and reasonable.

If anyone has been “savaged” – it is Robyn Malcolm by the unreasonable editorialising in the Herald’s article. The tone and wording of that article is truly, vitriolic.

What is just as bad, is the outrageous hypocrisy shown by Auckland City Councillor, Cameron Brewer, who joined in the hysterical condemnation of Ms Malcolm. Brewer was reported in the same newspaper (NZ Herald) as saying,

Given Robyn Malcolm is clearly so anti the Government and the Prime Minister, she is far too partisan to front this all-important public consultation and plan . Her personal politics will really colour this council and the plan itself. It is just not appropriate in local government to employ someone whose politics are so pointed to be fronting a public consultation campaign.” Source

Brewer has demanded that Ms Malcolm be replaced because of her perceived partisanship, saying,

The mayor now needs to urgently reconsider whether she is the best ambassador to launch the plan.” – Ibid

Is this the same Cameron Brewer who recently considered seeking the  candidacy for the National Party in the Tamaki electorate?

Why yes, I believe it is.

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Source

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So, let’s be quite clear about what Cameron Brewer is saying;

  • Voicing comments that are anti-government and  critical of John Key makes it  “inappropriate” for Robyn Malcolm to be connected with an Auckland City Council project because she could be seen as “partisan”,  is not acceptable.
  • Supporting the current government and intending to stand as one of their candidates, whilst being a member of the same Auckland City Council, is not partisan and  is acceptable.

My parents came from an Eastern European country that, prior to 1989, had been ruled by the local Communist Party. The power and influence of the Party reached into all areas of public life.

For example, if, as a teenager, you wanted to go to University then you had to be a member of the youth wing of the Party, the “Young Communists”. If you wanted a good job, you had to be a full member, in good standing, of the Communist Party.

I think we know where I’m coming from on this issue.

In essence, for Brewer to accept Robyn Malcolm as the representative of Auckland’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, she must be a card-carrying, Key-cuddling, member of the National Party.

Thank you, Comrade Brewer, for showing us how little you value political diversity of opinion.

Will you be following up with a One-Party state and Gulag prisons for dissidents such as Ms Malcolm?

And me next, I suppose?

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  1. Matthew
    9 November 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I thought she got it pretty much correct, and I thought the responses in the press were vitriolic bullshit. The NZ Herald one leading the pack in being bullshit.

    • 9 November 2011 at 10:55 pm

      Indeed, Mathew. When I first heard of the Herald’s article; at first I didn’t connect it with what I’d heard on the radio. The report seemed totally at variance with what I had heard and I thought they were reporting something else. It was the Herald’s reference to Ms Malcolm’s comment regarding the cover of “Woman’s Weekly”, that I realised they were reporting the very speech I had heard.

      I was totally gobsmacked that they could so utterly mis-represent someone’s speech.

  2. 10 November 2011 at 10:30 am

    However an overstrong Greens will damage Labour’s chances. But having said that, who would want to govern anyway now the international economic crap has hit the fan again.

  3. Gosman
    10 November 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Ummmmm… Cameron Brewer IS a politician. Being an elected representative on a local council is political. Now you can argue that Robyn Malcolm’s political views shouldn’t make a difference to employment relationship with the council, and I am sympathetic with this view, however you can’t state the Cameron Brewer is being hypocritical by raising this. He is a politician, Robyn Malcolm is not.

  4. Red
    10 November 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Gosman :Ummmmm… Cameron Brewer IS a politician. Being an elected representative on a local council is political. Now you can argue that Robyn Malcolm’s political views shouldn’t make a difference to employment relationship with the council, and I am sympathetic with this view, however you can’t state the Cameron Brewer is being hypocritical by raising this. He is a politician, Robyn Malcolm is not.

    WHAT? Your saying that Brewer can say what he likes because he is an elected politician but Robin Malcolm cant?? I agree with Frank that Brewer is being very hypocritical. He is a member of the National party and wanted to stand as a candidate for them. how is that not being a hypocryte?

    • Gosman
      11 November 2011 at 7:28 am

      Ummmm… no I’m not stating that at all . In fact I believe that I stated that I was sympathetic to the idea that Robyn Malcolm should be able to express her opinion while being a employee of the council.

      However I pointed out that it is not hypocritical for Cameron Brewer to make political statements while being a Auckland City Concillor at the same time he criticises Robynj Malcolm. This is an elected position, i.e. it is political job. Robyn Malcolm’s contract with the council is not a political position. There is a big difference between the two.

  5. Red
    10 November 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I forgot to add, Robin Malcom is cool!

  6. Tom Sawyer
    10 November 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Brewer needs to pull his head in. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and just because he doesn’t agree with Malcolm is no reason to dump her from that Auckland City Council thing.

    If he doesn’t like other opinions he should take a hike to China.

    I’m not a greenie or labour voter either.

    • Matthew
      10 November 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Nope, you’re a little boy from Missouri who likes painting fences.

  7. Tom Sawyer
    10 November 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Missouri? Nah. Masterton mate.

  1. 18 January 2012 at 12:09 pm
  2. 31 March 2012 at 3:04 am
  3. 9 April 2012 at 5:23 pm

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