The two major media outlets behaviour indicates “conscious parallel business behaviour” or a “meeting of the minds”, as cartel and conspiracy law theory could predict. Such parallel behaviour reveals “conscious parallelism” which means commercial behaviour that displays the same pattern, wherein rivals are aware of their competitors’ activities, and that the content of this awareness is factored into their actions.
Both news outlets had the same treatment for both political party launches, even down to elaborate graphics to present National’s housing policy and no effort made to cover Internet-Mana’s policy platforms, such as committing to full employment, instead of the persistent job destruction, that has been a covert state policy for 30 years.
In other words, OneNews and TV3 had already made a decision to take corrective action to help the National Party, while it baited the Internet Party founder on his arrival, selected that part of the entire launch where Dotcom unwisely bragged about his hacking 19 years ago, and ignored the important candidate speeches by Laila Harre and Annette Sykes. By colluding, the OneNews and TV3 players serve their secret goals, to reinforce the power of big corporate advertisers that back the pro-corporate party National.
Thus, such “enjoinable conduct” can be expected to surface in the news again and again until the key perpetrators are rounded up, and jailed for deceiving their audiences, the New Zealand citizenry and subverting the country’s capacity to strive for a ‘free and open’ society.
As for the media abuse that TV3‘s Brook Sabin claimed, the media abuse really came from the news media, especially OneNews and 3News, for their agenda or enjoinable conduct, to derail the reportage of the Internet-Mana campaign launch. Whereas, Māori Television’s Te Kāea news reports of the two party launches were what viewers need from a news service, mature coverage that summarized the issues, policies and engaged with some of the candidates.
OneNews and 3News failed to do what the New Zealand Monarch’s top representative, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, said he expected of the news media at a Press Gallery dinner speech late year.
Mateparae, or ‘the GG’, as the media refer to him in their non-celebrity moments, made clear that the media’s role is to assist the communication of political issues, political party communications and how voters choices in a multi-party electoral environment can translate into seats in parliament. Being a militarist, the Governor-General framed his terms as “the rules of engagement”.
If OneNews and 3News had a genuine reason to think that Kim Dotcom was the source of the leaks for Hager’s Dirty Politics book, both networks had the resources to do two stories each, one that focused on Dotcom, the other on Internet-Mana’s launch policies. After all, their main focus at the National Party’s launch the same day was on their policy platform, in keeping with the Governor-General’s, “rules of engagement”.
The two main TV networks failed to give the Internet-Mana Party combo a fair go, when it is the prime minister and his insiders lying, deflecting and running that they should be worried about. Applying cartel theory to the multi-party political environment, OneNews and 3News were, in effect, acting as ‘glove puppets’ or agents in the interests of the National Party and its big corporate sponsors to undermine the new ‘market’ entrant on the political scene: Internet-Mana.
The refusal of OneNews and 3News to supply coverage of the Internet-Mana Party’s policy platforms is in keeping with how cartels practice asymmetric supply restrictions to market, wherein insiders get preference over non-complying rivals.
But it is also in keeping with the key finding of Hager’s book, which is that key insiders of the Key regime have been running a two-track public communications strategy. This two-track strategy, which cast John Key as “Mr Nice Guy”, relied on a covert operation that used right-wing bloggers, and a sympathetic news media to attack National’s opponents and influence the outcomes of elections.
The idea of the dirty politics stratagem, an import from Republican party politics in the United States, where minor scandals, embarrassing smears, and gaffs are inflated out of proportion to their importance, is designed to turn young people and ‘left’-leaning constituents off voting first. As Nicky Hager has compellingly argued, National’s and John Key’s strategy has been conducted with the Republican’s lesson that conservative ‘right’-wing voters still vote in a dirty political environment. It is a lesson that has been exported covertly around the world. The problem is global in scale.
In other words, dirty attack politics, with its modus operandi to cast the leader as friendly, wholesome and folksy or blokey (or whatever fits mainstream cultural norms and values), projects the idea to most people that politics is a mucky business, and cannot possibly be done ‘above-board’ in a clean, mature and fair way.
Through the Looking Glass
Key is operating on ‘speed politics’ confidence tricks, wherein if he makes contradictory claims he will simply test the resolve of the news media to keep track of the story. It is a strategy to confuse the public and get him through the weekly media cycle, a formula #TeamKey has been exploiting all along.
The ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ image that Key continues to operate with has an inherent smugness. A smugness not unlike Humpty Dumpty’s egotistical, unhinged confidence.
In Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking Glass, when the adventurous Alice met Humpty Dumpty, he revealed his sense of self-importance and smug belief that his risk-taking wall-perching exhibitionism would not result in a fall someday – an event he regarded as purely theoretical.
When Alice catches Humpty Dumpty trying to confuse her, he replies: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less,” said Humpty Dumpty.
Indeed, scholars have found that Humpty Dumpty was “a monster of private language”.
Similarly, Key’s plays are nothing more than ‘rabbit out of hats’ tricks. To see them requires the observer to grow out of the childish aspirational following that #TeamKey cultivated for John ‘Mr Nice Guy’ Key, the ‘rags to riches’ story, from state house-boy to rich-lister ex-banker, that everyone’s supposed to desire for themselves.
Why it’s crucial to G.A.S. (Give a Shit) about Hager’s book
The “Dirty Politics” book is an important one for New Zealanders to read, because attack politics hurts left-wing parties more because ‘left’-minded people tend to be more compassionate, sensitive and principled. ‘Left’-minded people are more likely to be turned-off voting because the dirty politics dominates news media coverage, while right-wing pro-corporate people, who are less principled or more naive, than their left-wing contemporaries, will still turn out to vote.
Therefore, dirty attack politics works in the favour of right-wing pro-corporate, pro-wealthy parties such as National.
Yet, John Key remains brazen as ever, projecting blame onto Nicky Hager, who the prime minister slanderously called a “left-wing conspiracy theorist” and his anonymous hacker source, who provided him with the damning information.
At a press conference on Thursday August 21, Key said to the media: “I think there’s a real risk that a hacker, and people with a leftwing agenda, are trying to take an election off New Zealanders.”
In other words, investigative journalist Nicky Hager, the hacker, citizens or legal residents with ‘left-wing views, and the mainstream media who are finally beginning to do their jobs properly, are not New Zealanders.
So, if you are investigative journalist Nicky Hager, the hacker, citizens with ‘left-wing views, and the mainstream media who are finally beginning to do their jobs properly and you were born in New Zealand, or have gained citizenship or residency, you need to ask your parents, the authorities, and especially the Electoral Commission if you are still a New Zealander.
Hearty knee-slapping joke humour aside, Key’s projection of blame is brazen when it is remembered that 1,000,000 people of voting age did not vote in the last election, in a country of 4.5 million people (at the time of the 2011 ‘general’ election).
Indeed, as New Zealand’s top official, Key has left himself wide-open because he has breached Article 12 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Article 12 includes the provision to protect people against arbitrary attacks against their honour and reputation.
In making this egregious accusation multiple times to multiple reporters from multiple news outlets, the prime minister created the intended propagandist effect, six and then five weeks out from the election. As a consummate propagandist, Key is trading on the gullibility of Middle New Zealand, who are not taught that the omission of key evidence is a propagandist’s crucial weapon.
The Key regime’s brazen reaction is most serious, unsafe for the ideal of a ‘free and open’ society and so deliberately manipulative in the circumstances, it can only be regarded as furtherance of conspiracy (to gain more political power), as defined in the thesis, “It’s the Financial Oligarchy, Stupid” (p.21-22).