No Minister

Die Cathedral, Die

I don’t see anyway out of this aside from these organisations burning to the ground.

Having given up on the New Zealand MSM about two decades ago I must rely on others who still pay attention to them to give me the skinny on what they’re up to.

Like former MSM journalist and editor Karl du Fresne.

The good news is that they are, as they were twenty years ago, Lefty (modern Left), shallow, ignorant and stupid, which means I don’t regret my decision.

The bad news is that they’re even worse than before as a result of their revenue being crushed by the Interwebby.

Karl has a new take on this as a result of observing them over the last eighteen months of the Chinese Xi Snot pandemic, The cabal that controls the national conversation:

Okay, cabal implies a small, secretive group, which is not what I’m talking about here. The cabal I’m talking about is neither small nor secretive. On the contrary, it’s big and far-reaching, with an agenda that’s very much out in the open. It’s a cabal so supremely confident about its power that it feels no need to be furtive.

In fact as I’m writing this I realise I’m effectively proposing a new definition of cabal. Mine would read something like “a group wielding power and influence disproportionate to its numbers, characterised by a common ideology and constantly reinforcing itself through mutual support”.

Heh. My thoughts about this for some time. There’s no need for a conspiracy theory when everybody – or at least everybody that matters, darling – thinks the same.

The cabal I’m talking about reaches across politics, the bureaucracy, academia, arts, the media, the churches and even sport and business. It dominates the public conversation to the extent that dissenting voices are largely excluded, at least from traditional mainstream platforms.

He reckons that the basic uniting feature of this group-think is Identity Politics – which is why Old Lefties like Trotter, Bradbury, and a few people at The Standard, are constantly saying the media and these groups are “Right-wing”, since they still love wealth and the good life it delivers and refuse to go back to Old Socialist ideas like a Ministry of Works and real state housing, etc.

But what sets the 2021-style cabal apart is the sheer scale of its influence. A homogeneity of thinking extends across virtually all the public institutions that influence New Zealand life. 

Two obvious examples are academia and the media. In liberal democracies, both institutions typically subject governments to close, and often harsh, critical scrutiny. But in New Zealand in 2021, academics and the media sing from the same song sheet as the people in power. Media outlets publish just enough dissenting opinion to avoid the accusation that they function as compliant government mouthpieces. Academics, apart from a tiny minority of courageous dissenters, serve as cheerleaders.

Although he doesn’t use the term, what Karl is talking about here in its local context was defined some years ago by a guy called Curtis Yarvin, who called it The Cathedral, which he looks at here in 2021 in his substack, Gray Mirror (increasingly substack is where one finds interesting journalists of all ideological shades):

The mystery of the cathedral is that all the modern world’s legitimate and prestigious intellectual institutions, even though they have no central organizational connection, behave in many ways as if they were a single organizational structure.

Most notably, this pseudo-structure is synoptic: it has one clear doctrine or perspective. It always agrees with itself. Still more puzzlingly, its doctrine is not static; it evolves; this doctrine has a predictable direction of evolution, and the whole structure moves together.

For instance: in 2021, Harvard, Yale, the Times and the Post are on the same page. If there exists any doctrinal difference between any two of these prestigious American institutions, it is too ineffable for anyone but a Yale man to discern.

In 1951, Harvard, Yale, the Times and the Post were on the same page. But Yale in 1951 was on nowhere near the same page as Yale in 2021. If you could teleport either Yale into the other’s time zone, they would see each other as a den of intellectual criminals.

So it’s not just that everyone—at least, everyone cool—is on the same page. It’s more like: everyone is reading the same book—at the same speed.

Over at the Victory Girls blog in the USA she takes a look at how this is playing out with the loss of old-fashioned journalism in American Press Goes Full Soviet, where she starts with Los Angeles Times writer, Jackie Calmes:

I started to chafe at false equivalence a quarter-century ago, as a congressional reporter amid Newt Gingrich’s Republican revolution. One party — his — was demonstrably more responsible for the nasty divisiveness, government gridlock and norm-busting, yet journalistic pressure to produce seemingly “balanced” stories — pressure both ingrained and imposed by editors — prevented reporters from sufficiently reflecting the new truth.

It should be noted that her feelings were shared by many journalists in the USA in 1994, who were outraged that the Democrats had been pushed aside in the House – after controlling it for forty fucking years. The One Party State must always rule, otherwise it’s “divisive”; update to 2021, now with dullard “right-wingers” who join the song sheet.

The result is that journalists are now openly arguing against “balance” in stories and the perils of “both-siderism”  in reporting: “fairness is overrated” and “providing an open platform for misinformation, for anyone to come say whatever they want … can be quite dangerous”.

There’s also The Narrative that must be preserved, whatever it might be at any given moment.

This is why nobody blinked an eye when former news anchor, Katie Couric, recently revealed that in interviewing Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2020 she edited out Ginsberg’s response to a question about the National Anthem-kneelers in which Ginsberg made it clear that she thought they were rude and disrespectful little ingrates. Couric claimed she did that in order to “protect” Ginsberg.

No, she did it to protect the US Left from having a public blow-up over a Culture War issue. The GOP and the US Right were the bad guys in that fight (as always) and there were to be No Enemies To The Left.

COURIC: Well, I think what people don’t realize is we make editorial decisions like that all the time.

Well yes. That’s long been the case, but the sleazy underside to that accepted argument is that such editorial decisions about what to leave on the cutting room floor mostly swing one way in the USA nowadays, and that’s to the Democrat Party and whatever they and/or their Administrative State “experts” are pushing.

It shows up in the most unexpected places, like the news stories on the death of Colin Powell.

The inside joke is that Colin Powell would have fully agreed with that MSM take because even with all the infighting and cries of “war criminal” from the True Believers, he was an inside man himself.

Same here in NZ. A few weeks ago I posted about the Covid Televangelist Siouxsie Wiles being caught breaking her own Covid-19 rules, to catch some lovely, unmasked, close-breathing, beach time with a friend – who is a journalist.

That story was sourced from Cameron Slater. Now I suppose I have to say up front that I really don’t like the guy. Every time I see him I’m reminded of that great movie line, ‘It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again’.

But it was an entirely legitimate news story – and the MSM hated him for it, as du Fresne notes:

A delighted Newshub crowed that in an exchange of text messages released to Slater, Bloomfield (or as I prefer to call him, Dr Spin) told Wiles that “I don’t think that Cameron Slater has much cred these days”. The focus of the story was thus obligingly shifted from Wiles’ flouting of the lockdown rules – a matter of clear public interest – to the denigration of the right-wing blogger who potted her. It was the perfect illustration of how the cabal works to protect its members and turn its wrath on anyone who challenges it.

In this case the self-supporting mechanisms kicked in big-time. First, there was Bloomfield reassuring Wiles in a chummy, we’re-all-in-this-together spirit that she shouldn’t be too concerned about Slater, followed by the insipid bromide “Take care” and adding: “Keep up the great work and plenty of good people … will stand by you”. Then there was the sneering tone of the Newshub report, which implied that the only person tarnished by the affair was Slater himself. (After all, if the sainted Bloomfield pronounced that Slater had no cred, who could possibly argue otherwise?)

Okay, so we have a private sector news group fully snuggled up with the academics, but that’s why we have serious news outfits like Radio New Zealand who are not reliant on profits and the need to appeal to the baying mobs, right? Nope:

Others soon piled on. “Kiwis on social media thought the whole affair was hilarious”, Newshub reported – citing, as evidence, a sniggering, sub-literate tweet by Hayden Donnell from RNZ’s Mediawatch: “Imagine OIA’ing a government official’s comms all their texts are just about how much you suck.”

Let’s just consider that for a moment. Donnell is paid by the taxpayer to provide fair, measured, non-partisan analysis of the news media, and here he is (a) revealing himself as unable to string a few coherent words together, and (b) joining in a social media gang-up on a figure the cabal loathes because they can’t abide anyone holding political views different from their own.

I supposed we should be grateful to Donnell for confirming just how puerile and bigoted he is. We now know not to rely on anything he says about the media we pay him to comment on. In an ideal world he would be sacked because he has forfeited his credibility, but we know he won’t be. He can make comments like this with impunity because the cabal protects its own – in fact, applauds people for displaying bias, just as long as it’s the right type of bias.

RNZ are One News are Newshub etc, and a guy like Donnell and the Newshub “journalists” can easily slide between all of them.

I don’t see anyway out of this aside from these organisations burning to the ground.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 21, 2021 at 8:35 am

Posted in MSM, New Zealand, USA

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4 Responses

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  1. Hi Tom,

    Having read your commentary and posts over the years, I can completely empathise with wanting to burn large news organisations in NZ to the ground. But I know you know that another large one will just pop up in its place, as is natural whenever a void is created.

    Prior to getting back to commenting and now blogging (oh, what am I getting myself into, but we are in extraordinary times), I have been increasing my MSM diet. I’ve been at times lulled, in that what they’ve been saying and what I know is possible is separated by a wide gulf (happy to not fill that gulf in for them). But, without keeping an eye and an ear on them, it is impossible to really understand what is happening here, because what the MSM reports shapes the thinking of the decision makers.

    You may remember that the precursor to this blog, the old Sir Humphrey’s, was set up to fact check the MSM, given the sad state of affairs of NZ media. And now, more than ever, that is necessary.

    I’m still getting my blogger brain into shape (spent many years on maths and then data analysis and coding), is somewhat incompatible with effective communication. But before coming here, alluded to this MSM problem in my most recent post: Large Protests in Europe and Australia | NZ Conservative. My post does not do the linked video justice, recommend watching it.

    Lucia Maria

    October 21, 2021 at 10:42 am

    • I haven’t listened to the MSM since last year with the hysteria over this pandemic, it was notable that the ‘horror’ storys fell apart under scrutiny everytime. Since then, I simply go by what I see directly, or international sources and blogs

      Thanks for the link, BTW, that video was interesting.


      October 21, 2021 at 6:54 pm

  2. Haha. What are you letting yourself in for Lucia? You’re still working.

    The fact-checking is actually part of why I think they need to just burn, because after all the fact checking and the number of times that blogs and specialist sites have humiliated them to the point of people being fired, has made no difference in the long run.

    In fact they’re worse than ever, as one of Obama’s aides bluntly said several years ago while boasting of how he’d manipulated the dumb fucks.

    So no. Burning is all that’s left, and I reckon when this Labour government and their $110 million prop is gone, more than a few of the NZ MSM will also.

    The extra kick that’s needed is for National to burn down RNZ and TV One by selling them. If we’re lucky Labour will make it easier by combining the two before they leave office.

    Tom Hunter

    October 21, 2021 at 12:18 pm

  3. Instead of “the Cathedral” cabal, Moldbug might just as easily have called the MSM, corporate, banking, communist collective “the synagogue” in the spirit of Matthew 23.

    The media aren’t interested in informing, they are purely propaganda spreaders. Half their staff were probably already state paid spooks. The Mockingbird Media don’t need profit, they are salaried functionaries.


    October 22, 2021 at 11:10 pm

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