Two imaginary journalists explore a new newsroom model to displace the multi-trillion dollar PooTube news networks that currently dominate the world. Iggy Swind and Sophia Bigg-Storm have done ‘the math’ and find with a modest $4million from the ‘lefty woofter- ish’* news market segment, a modest newsroom with a new newsroom model they call NewsWhole, could do the job that the worldwide multi-trillion dollar PooTube news networks won’t do.
[Editor’s Note: Ninety percent radical-punch. Eight percent homework. Two percent satirical. * A woofter is a slang term that was commonly used in New Zealand in the polaroid seventies to insult a person for being ‘soft’, being ’emotional’ or simply being compassionate, by equating such behaviour with the homophobic ‘sin’ of being born gay. The term is evidently still in use in some communities].
By Iggy Swind and Sophia Bigg-Storm (Updated 31 May 2015)
Too Much of a Marvellous Thing
The fast-approaching end to the 10 year-old daily current affairs program, Campbell Live, on TV3 in the ‘free market’ economy of New Zealand, has prompted a ratings surge of 400,000 viewers a night since the April 9 announcement to review the show.
Passionate support for the broadcaster at the centre of it all, John Campbell, has been expressed on social media sites and at a demonstration outside TV3 in late April. Much discussion about the “over-commercialized” and “deregulated” mediascape in the New Zealand realm of Fourth British Empire, has also occurred.
Campbell Live’s ratings surge appears to have complicated Media Works’ (TV3’s owner) moves to dump Campbell Live (See “Sexing Up Current Affairs or Manufacturing Soap?“). Media Works offered, essentially, to remake the current affairs program into Campbell Live Lite when they suggested John Campbell take a co-hosting role in a reformatted program. Such a move is a standard ‘free market’ era job re-structuring move, akin to a schoolyard knee in the groin.
This metaphorical groin kick is particularly ironic when it is recalled that John Campbell frequently endorsed achievement at the end of positive stories with the phrase ‘bloody marvellous’. John Campbell’s resignation was announced on Thursday 21 May 2015, the same day the news media was focused on the governments’ new ‘budget’.
The reasons for Campbell Live’s demise have been framed as the “cold-commercial reality”. Much discussion has focused on whether or not the planned gutting or scuttling of Campbell Live was politically motivated. The Manuwatu Standard printed an opinion piece that claimed Campbell Live’s demise was due to John Campbell & Co. failing ‘to get with the program’, that is to say, the “silent majority” evidently like the government, apparently because their passive conformity is demonstrated via their remotes.[v]
Such passivity is evidently reason for complacency, since the Fairfax media cartel’s newspaper felt it safe to assume it was self-evident that there was no political connection to the demise of Campbell Live,and didn’t bother to investigate. This assumption is shown to be plainly false in Why ‘Systemic Political Apathy’ Infected NZ’s Mediascape and in the commentary such as in “Campbell’s style irreplaceable“. Indeed, we believe the Campbell Live cast and crew have done a commendable job within a highly commercialised and highly politicised media system.
Suggestions that ‘the New Zealand government’ ought to act responsibly in the public interest and “explore how it might establish a multi-platform, public service free-to-air channel to provide genuine diversity and quality in the digital era” is essentially asking the ruling class to expose itself to better scrutiny. Power never yields what it has accumulated to itself simply by being asked to play nice.
In response to the virtual firing of a real journalist, John Campbell, a boycott of TV3 has been suggested.
We believe it is crucial to do vision work. To this end, we – as two concerned imaginary journalists – know it is critical to design a blueprint for a new newsroom model that so-called “lefty woofter- ish” real people want, need and aspire to have. This conceptual blueprint will be discussed below in the section, “Not Enough Culture: The Case for ‘The Vision Thing’ (to Cure OOL Infection)”
We also believe New Zealand’s media, like everywhere else, can only get better if we identify the deeper power relations at work and the trajectory we are traveling upon, as set by hidden networks of power (that the Inane-Stream Media [ISM] habitually ignores). To this end, we identify a deeper historical trajectory in “Why ‘Systemic Political Apathy’ Infected NZ’s Mediascape” and trace what has been identified as ‘The Shock Doctrine’, or callous ‘free market’ economic ‘shock therapies’ that were globalized from the 1970s onwards to address three major crises that confronted a North Atlantic capitalist class. The blissful obliviousness off real people to the continued exploitation of the Shock Doctrine, which was covertly deployed as part of a ‘1980s Project’ blueprint to reassert the control of the North Atlantic capitalist class over the planet, is critical to their rule. (The North Atlantic capitalist class is now known as the transnational capitalist class).
Not Enough Culture: The Case for ‘The Vision Thing’ (to Cure OOL Infection)
Grown-up people need to lift their game if they are to counter the perception that they are ‘lefty-woofter –ish’ people. Grown-up people also need to up-skill, strategise, organise and mobilize if they are to counter the shock therapies that the neo-con-neo-liberal-neo-colonial project imposes upon everyone (grown-ups and thumb-suckers, and their offspring, alike), to conform to the financial discipline of profit made from every facet of life, including news and current affairs.
This Not Enough Culture has real people believe that they are ‘not enough’, that their communities lack ‘enough’ and that their societies don’t have ‘enough’.
The Same Ol’ TV newsroom model used by newsrooms universally is typically over-reactive; it tries to cover too many issues and stories, and it wastes money on marketing undeserved images of rigorous investigation. The result is known ‘in the business’ as Once-Over-Lightly coverage, but is actually a contagious disease called OOL Infection that is spread by the OOL virus.
It’s not very cool.
The full-blown version of this infection leads to ‘Free Market Zombie Outbreaks’. OOL Infection causes many newsroom personnel to suppress its primary symptom, an itchy-ness in the underwear regions, with addictions such as drinking, smoking, shopping, tweeting, bonking, and praying for accolades. News-workers that tend to be immune to OOL Infection are those that adhere to the Cult of Savviness. This cult is rife among the Savvy Political Press that comprise the Parliamentary Press Corps in numerous countries, who position their audience along with them, as detached ‘neutral’ insiders.
The Cult of Savviness is a political technique to undermine the news audiences’ solidarity with one another (and works even better if the reporters lack self-awareness, empathy, and don’t understand or care about the impact). The persistence of this Cult of Savviness has meant that journalists lack the drive to develop their investigative skills, to reign-in their egos and find the resolve to reveal manipulative public relations techniques to their audiences, as described in chapter 10 of journalist Nicky Hager’s book The Hollow Men (that the news media themselves use).[x]
But, even those who are immune to OOL Infection participate in various addictions. The OOL Infection immune cohort participate due to their submission to Not Enough Culture’s incessant voice that tells real people, whether they have a lefty woofter- ish character defect, or a righty-mighty superiority complex, that they are ‘not enough’. Not Enough Culture’s well-resourced nagging voice tells real people that they need to buy into Not Enough consumerist culture and construct their identities through the shit the PooTube has them believe they need to consume to be real authentic. In smarty-pants lefty woofter- ish real people circles, this phenomenon is known as Consumer Identity Projects.
So, it will be news to many indoctrinated real people who have developed their identities around sport, that sport is not news, but a distraction, as the documentary Manufacturing Consent makes clear. As such, sport would also have no place in news and current affairs, unless sports people are doing something useful like sacrificing their vanity-projects to fight for important causes such as confronting misunderstood imperialist projects commonly known as war.
Indeed, it is critical to the survival and bona fide freedom of the real people species that this new newsroom model prioritises the retraction of the propaganda spread about the major news events of the last century. These retractions need to include the reasons for World War I, World War II and the terrorism conducted by the North Atlantic Alliance since the formation of NATO. As such, we call this holistic newsroom model, NewsWhole.
Newsrooms utilizing the NewsWhole model would, therefore, prioritise major news stories, thereby shoving out events that lack national and international importance, such as personal tragedies like car crashes that change nothing at a societal level. (These events can be reported on in thematic ways periodically to reveal patterns, instead of clogging the daily news-hole).
As an effective new newsroom model, the NewsWhole model would utilize the physical interior wall space of news networks to track the trajectory of key power groupings across time and key events of history, and critically interrogate unfolding narratives. By focusing only on major news stories, ‘real news and current affairs personnel’ can work with ‘real people academics’, ‘real people communities’ and other ‘real people non-establishment experts’ to investigate issues, explore bona fide solutions and publicize radical grass-roots actions (mirroring the way that the Inane-Stream Media [ISM] currently gives copious pre-publicity and analysis to sport events).
NewsWhole would also utilize network analysis software, as used by scholars working in the field of transnational capitalist class studies, to map the orbits of wealth, influence and power among elites and oligarchs. NewsWhole newsrooms would bring in content from other alternative media providers, such as DemocracyNow!, GlobalResearch.ca, TruthOut, RT.com channels like RT America, AlterNet, ZNet, TheDailyBlog, Scoop News, and LiveNews.co.nz. It is also envisioned that in newsrooms using NewsWhole that there would be books, documentaries and journals on hand to make Cult of Savviness journos squeal, writhe and flail and to add to a critical, lively and penetrating news-culture.
Do the Math: 400,000 Viewers x $5 per eye annually equals …
Many people lamented the demise of TVNZ’s 7 channel in 2013, because it was a public sphere platform for airing serious issues (although it was treated “like a hated cousin beneath a trapdoor“, as journalist Toby Manhire hilariously put it. So, there’s obviously a ‘market’ for serious news and current affairs.
What if Campbell Live‘s 400,000 nightly viewers stumped up $10 each annually? Do the math, and we have a way to fund a new newsroom with a stonking new news model for just $4 million a year (in a ‘free market’ economy that presently lends legitimacy to the imperialist, resource-plundering and genocidal NATO Alliance, because of the country’s three-decade-long anti-nuclear stance).
With the whakaaro (or idea) of ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’, the funds can be found either through crowd-funding, equity from various sympathetic sponsors, or by an appeal at every bank branch (the way John Campbell has encouraged viewers to help communities stricken with crisis). A cooperative entity could be constructed where many people expend say 1-5% of their time to this project, to lighten the load and perhaps earn time-dollars in nationally-based community credit system.
We think it is vital to encourage Lefty-Woofter- ish People and Mighty-Righty Superiority Complex People (with uneasy feelings about the scuttling of the only nightly current affairs program in New Zealand*, to believe in themselves and one another to succeed against ‘impossible’ odds. [*Seven Sharp is shit, is for thumb-suckers and explains why sooo many at TVNZ despise Mike Hoskings, the man that makes ‘adult adults’ in rest-homes leave the living-room, thereby choosing loneliness over boredom – Ed].
This certitude is essentially what Nemo was trying to teach us in the ‘Swim Down’ scene of his epic debut bio-pic, Finding Nemo. New Zealanders need to “Swim Down” together to break ‘the net’, just as Nemo got all the fish that were caught in the trawler net to do.
As a group of mathematical and computer science students found in their study of zombie outbreaks, “When zombies attack! Mathematical modeling of an outbreak of zombie infection”, the best way to kill off zombies is to hit them hard and often. That is what news and current affairs is meant to do.
The revolution, or the need for mutiny to attack the ‘Free Market Zombie Apocalypse’, needs to happen in real peoples’ brain-things. It’s a choice between making the revolution ‘go-live’, or joining ‘the undead’.
We, the two imaginary people journalists, believe these to be self-evident truths based on our serial snooping in the make-real world where many real people can see that the universal Make-the-Masses-Believe-the-Shit-News approach is harmful, unsafe and deceitful – near-term, medium-term and long-term. Therefore, we encourage real people everywhere to find the resolve, see that dumbed-down news and current affairs shows encourage thumb-sucking and join the necessary mutiny to take back the planet.
Because waiting for a Telethon to fund a trail-blazing newsroom model is like expecting the world’s various rivalrous empires to be capable of brokering world peace. And, because the kind of dunny you have can ‘tells’ you whether or not you are in control of the politics of your life. If you don’t have a composting toilet, it’s a pretty good indicator you have little say in what happens to your business.
And, that box in your living room brain-washes you into thinking you’re free, no matter how slim and shiny its gotten as the dystopian sci-fi future collides with the make-real world.
Amazonian-American journalist Sophia Bigg-Storm’s investigated how an Anglo-American Brotherhood conspired to dominate the world by controlling oil and finance, enforced by military aggression, subversion and other intrigues. Her investigations were suppressed by her former employer, The National Enquirer, a newspaper that movie critics think is just make-believe because it was depicted in the film Citizen Kane. Iggy Swind has worked alongside reporter Clark Kent at the Daily Planet and photojournalist Peter Parker at the Daily Bugle. Swind investigations proved both super-heroes work undercover for the Hollywood media cartels, Time Warner and The Walt Disney Company, to distract their mass audiences with their mediocre ‘saving the world’ sagas, leaving the real psychopaths that run the world, at-large. Those investigations have also been suppressed.