12 Sep 2018

Mediawatch Midweek: 12 September 2018

From Mediawatch, 9:07 pm on 12 September 2018

Mediawatch Midweek is a weekly catch-up between Mediawatch and Lately's Karyn Hay. This week: controversial comments about the Pacific Islands; a deep dive into the fertiliser; the GFC ten years on; life on the minimum wage; cartoon crankiness; football back in black and white.

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives in Nauru early this morning on the RNZAF 757 for the Pacific Island Forum.

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives in Nauru early this morning on the RNZAF 757 for the Pacific Island Forum. Photo: New Zealand Herald / Jason Oxenham

On Mediawatch last weekeed we looked at the controversy over the PM taking a special flight to the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru  - and the huge cost of it.

Newstalk ZB's Heather Du Plessis Allan was one of the pundits who reckoned the PM shouldn't have bothered going  - because she said the Pacific Islands "don't matter" and "leech off" New Zealand.

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards hit back on Twitter:

Heather Du Plessis Allan invited Edwards on her show this week. He declined.

On Tuesday, Heather Du Plessis Allan rejected his criticisms and said he had failed to read the "nuance" in her comments.

Formal complaints have been made to Newstalk ZB by some listeners.

A deep dive into the fertiliser

Heather Du Plessis Allan also said Nauru is a "hellhole" but there's a reason for that - explored in an impressive series by Stuff.

Stuff's Charlie Mitchell (an environment specialist) and Tony Wall (an old school foot-in-the door reporter) have published a four-part series called 'Growing Pain: NZ's growing addiction to fertiliser.

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Photo: screenshot

Charlie Mitchell writes about Nauru's phosphate trade with New Zealand:

"For many decades, much of the phosphate from Banaba and Nauru was shipped to New Zealand and Australia, well below the market rate, and spread on farms by planes piloted by war veterans. New Zealand enjoyed decades of cheap phosphate, which became lucrative meat and wool. Few things are as responsible for the country's economic successes as the exploitation of its Pacific neighbours.
Although it made New Zealand wealthy, its imperialism in the Pacific, driven by a thirst for cheap phosphate, is an ugly chapter in the country's history."

GFC ten years on

Lots of impressive "look back" journalism lately on the 10th anniversay of the Global Financial Crisis.

For example Reuters commissioned specialist financial journalists to write multimedia pieces:

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Photo: screenshot

The Herald's business editor Liam Dann wrote a piece from a Kiwi and a personal perspective looking back on 2008: 

"The tremors have been coming regularly for a year. But this may be the jolt that goes down in history. The one that joins the Wall St canon of disasters: October 1929, October 1987, September 2008."
I was more or less right.
I was less than three years into a 30-year mortgage and living pay cheque to pay cheque. I had just had my second child.
The social legacy of Lehman Brothers and GFC has changed the world in ways we are only starting to understand 10 years on.
We didn't get a Great Depression and a world war. But we did get a great recession a nationalist backlash - an era of public anger and division.
That's the real price we've paid for the greed and excess of the banking system through the first decade of this century.

RNZ is running new video series Minimum - about life on the minimum wage for women:

Here's one example featuring cleaners Victoria and Charmaine who are deal with demoralising and dangerous work and tell of how they hardly get to spend time with their kids.

You'll find a new episode of Minimum on the RNZ website every weekday this week and next. The series' director Kathleen Winter talks about it here.

Cartoon criticism

Lots of backlash over Sydney Herald Sun's cartoon of Serena Williams -- the paper has hit back at critics who claim its charicature is racist. You can see the image in the bottom right of the paper's front page today, which rages against the critics.

The Herald's Australian cartoonist Rod Emmerson did a 9/11 Anniversary one which went viral online - and was also misunderstood by many.

On the left underneath the headline, "2001", Emmerson has drawn the hand of the Statue of Liberty holding the flame with the word "united" below it.

Underneath a "2018" headline on the right, there is a person's hand holding a tiki torch which is ignited with the word "divided" below it.

Sydney's Herald Sun backed its controversial cartoon against the critics.

Sydney's Herald Sun backed its controversial cartoon against the critics. Photo: screenshot

He made a video for the Herald website to explain how it was misunderstood by people who thought it showed support for the far right in the US.  

Rod Emmerson went on to say the Serena Williams cartoon was okay - not a 'Jim Crow' throwback as critics claim.

But in a piece for Newsroom, Dr Neal Curtis - head of media and communication at the University of Auckland - called it "the image of pathological, raging whiteness unable to deal with the legitimate demands of people of colour."

David Pope, cartoonist for Fairfax's Canberra Times adapted Mark Knight's Herald Sun cartoon to lampoon both the cartoon itself and the paper's proprietor Rupert Murdoch:

Meanwhile in the UK, football went back to black-and-white this morning to make a statement about diversity in sport. 

To mark 25 years of the Kick It Out anti-racism campaign - and draw attention to tiny numbers of ethnic minority people in coaching and management of UK football today - the first 25 seconds of England's soccer match vs Switzerland this morning (NZ time) were screened in black and white.

Finally  - another anniversary.

30 years after Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure became the sleeper hit of the year, they're doing another sequel.

More of this? No way.

Yes way, sadly.

"The new movie will reportedly catch up with the characters in middle-age, burdened by family responsibilities and still having failed to write the greatest song ever, until a visitor from the future arrives and tells them that fate of the world depends on them writing that song," says the Guardian.

Sounds terrible.