Stop the Press

I’ve been meaning to add a link to a piece I wrote for Scoop about ‘The State of the Media’, so here it is: Stop The Press. It’s a bit of an epic that grew out of trying to write a “review” for Scoop Review of Books of Nicky Hager’s “Dirty Politics“, which I was going

This cartoon is from October 1912, "The Maoriland Worker"

This cartoon is from October 1912, “The Maoriland Worker”

to call “Dirty Journalism”. But while I was working on it, “Dirty Political” ‘news’ kept happening, the election was coming up, and it seemed like a standard review wasn’t going to do it all justice. Meanwhile, I started reading (in some cases re-reading) a whole bunch of books about journalism, some new, some classics, some fiction, some non, and I recommend them all (see below for the list). Which is how the review turned into a bit of an epic.

The bottom line from a personal perspective is that I’ve come to the conclusion that the mainstream/corporate (whatever one might like to call it) news media does more harm than it does good, despite its mavericks and truth-tellers. Which is not to say I have any great ideas about where else one can go to learn about the world. For me, it’s a combination of long-form journalism, the source itself (as in, why not just read the media release directly, rather than read the media release as reprinted in msm?), NGOs, a few blogs, some overseas outlets, and books. My main source for NZ news is the RNZ website and Scoop, plus a couple of blogs. (I’m no longer on Twitter or Facebook.)

I can’t imagine how you could read the following (and/or work in journalism) and not come to something like the same conclusion:

• Davies, Nick. Flat Earth News: An award-winning reporter exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media. (Random House, 2008.)

• Davies, Nick. Hack Attack: How the truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch. (Faber & Faber, 2014)

• Hager, Nicky. Other People’s Wars: New Zealand in Afghanistan, Iraq and the war on terror. (Craig Potton, 2011)

• Hager, Nicky. Dirty Politics: How attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment.(Craig Potton, 2014)

• Hager, Nicky. The Hollow Men: A study in the politics of deception. (Craig Potton, 2005)

• Herman, Edward and Noam Chomsky. Manufacturing Consent: The political economy of the mass media. (2008 edition. Random House)

• Leibovich, Mark. This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!—in America’s Gilded Capital. (Blue Rider Press, 2013)

• Leveson, Lord Justice. “Report into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press.” (2012) (OK, so I didn’t read all the volumes, word for word.)

• Lewis, Charles. 935 Lies: The future of truth and the decline of America’s moral integrity. (Public Affairs, 2014)

• McAfee, Annalena. The Spoiler. (Vintage, 2012)

• Moorehead, Caroline. The Letters of Martha Gellhorn. (Chatto & Windus, 2006)

• Sinclair, Upton. The Brass Check: A study of American journalism. 1919.

[Sinclair published the book himself and waived copyright, so it is available for free download at several sites including: ]

• Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. (1906)

• Waugh, Evelyn. Scoop: A novel about journalists. (1938)