Yesterday, the New Zealand Herald published another piece by well known businessman (Sir) Bob Jones.
Jone’s contribution to the New Zealand Herald has not been without controversy in the past, writing pieces
that often centre around racial profiling, or gender, or both at once (see his article “Spare Us From Road Clogging Women” or rape apology, or anything that normal people abhor really.However, yesterday’s article further pulled back the guise that Bob Jones is just a right wing non-PC New Zealander like the thousands out there and is really, well, just kind of a dickhead.
The article in question has now been doctored by the New Zealand Herald, and has had a brief apology attached to the end of it,
but ran something along the lines of there being a man protesting in a park near Jones’ office. Upon a visit from Jones, the
protester professed his intention to hold a hunger strike. Jones instead suggested that he commit suicide, because ‘it would be faster’, and in the words of Jones himself ‘that is what he did.’
The sheer callousness of this story is made so much worse by the fact that Bob Jones appears to be bragging about his role in the death of a person who was obviously deeply unstable. I think that this goes a long way in revealing the true attitudes of New Zealand’s business elite towards the lower classes. However, for some reason Bob Jones isn’t regarded as a callous lunatic, in fact he is a knight, joining the illustrious ranks of Roger Douglas and Owen Glenn for doing a ‘service’ to the Commonwealth or something. There’s probably something deeply wrong with that, but matters of knighthoods and monarchies are not the focus of this piece.
What is the focus is the fact that the New Zealand Herald continue to give the time of day to a man who repeatedly causes outrage from the decent members of society with his writing. While the article in question was doctored yesterday and a qualified apology was added on the end, this doesn’t excuse the fact that the Herald keep getting Bob Jones to write things for them. I don’t believe for one second that they are not aware of the reputation of Bob Jones and the effect that his articles have on the general populace. Continuing to employ him seems like a cynical attempt to encourage controversy in order to make sure that people
keep reading the Herald. This seems fairly typical of average media in general, which is unable to produce any kind of good, fair or balanced journalism to sustain itself and so resorts to sensationalism and controversy. I recently wrote about a similar topic in ‘Media Savagery Around Labour Needs to End!’, but obviously this issue goes beyond just one party or whatever, and addresses the fact that New Zealand media is not up to standard.
The Herald continued to demonstrate its tendency to entertain the radicial, sensational and controversial today when it sided with a small right-wing group in demanding the resignation of Len Brown. The trouble with this, and the coninued publication of the opinions of people like Bob Jones is that the Herald is a mainstream news sourcein New Zealand. Because of this, the stories that they publish and the spin that is put on them are in danger of becoming accepted as the mainstream opinion, when it really isn’t.
Media that resorts to these tactics to maintain readers has failed fundamentally in its role as a source of information.
New Zealand Herald: stop entertaining the ravings of Bob Jones!