Saturday, 29 April 2017

Media Effluent

She Was Just a Concerned Random

Some years ago when we were foolish enough to take courses on media at Auckland University we were informed that journalists were generally lazy.  Rather than being both investigators and reporters they tended, as a group, to dress up press releases as if they were the produce of an independent investigation by the media.  Rather cynical, non?  Let's see.

It's school holiday season in New Zealand, so public libraries are full of school aged children.  Apparently one lady believes that's a terrible indictment upon our society.
Libraries are being inundated with unsupervised children during the school holidays.  Clendon woman Therese Luxton said her local library is teeming with unsupervised kids who have been dropped off by parents who can't afford childcare.  She said she met a "very frazzled" librarian who said they were being used as a free babysitting service. Children had come without food and the librarians had not budgeted for food.

"After returning to the library with bags of feijoas I was met at the library door, by an unattended little chap who was all of six," Luxton said.  "He asked for a bag with no hesitation at all and took it by himself with a bag on his back."  Luxton believed this was the consequence of expensive child-minding which resulted in the over-extension of a community facility having to double as a social agency.  [NZ Herald]
So far we have been led to believe that a random person, called Therese Luxton, is making a general complaint that libraries are full of unsupervised children.  This lady believes (apparently) that it is due to parents not being able to afford childcare for their kids during school holidays.  Implication: the gummint is ultimately at fault.

Who is Therese Luxton, we hear you ask?
 It turns out she is an activist.  She has form.  She has an axe to grind.  She is on the management committee of the Child Poverty Action Group [CPAG]--a lefty pressure group wanting the government effectively to socialise child raising.  The question is now begged: how did the Herald reporter (Sarah Harris) and Therese Luxton get together?  Well, you know immediately how it would have gone down: reporter Sarah Harris would have been dispatched by paper down to the Clendon library to have a look-see on how the community libraries were doing.  Lo and behold she bumps into a random woman, Therese Luxton who just happens to  think that libraries are under siege from unsupervised children, and its all due to the government not doshing out more money for child care.  What a serendipitous co-incidence that out of the blue reporter Harris would bump into a committee member of the Child Poverty Action Group!  Clearly Harris did not know that Luxton was an activist with the CPAG, otherwise she would have identified her as such.  Yeah, right--as the saying goes.  If you believe that you doubtless believe the moon is made of green cheese.

No, dear reader, we know what you are thinking, you cynical nasty.  You think, no doubt, that the CPAG approached the Herald with an "interesting story" and the Herald duly trotted out a reporter to serve as the mouthpiece of CPAG--without disclosing the conflict of interest--both on the part of the CPAG and the Herald.  We, the public, were being set up and conned, whilst the Herald was relishing the opportunity to be the mouthpiece of the CPAG, furthering its cause and propaganda.  Way to go, you lazy bums.

Having "exposed" the terrible neglect of the government towards children insofar as it has failed to provide inexpensive childcare, the piece finishes with (oh, you just knew this was coming) a quotation from a CPAG "spokesman".  Well, knock me down with a feather.  How did the CPAG get involved?  What led the Herald to interview a convenor of CPAG?
Child Poverty Action Group co-convenor Janfrie Wakim said abandoning children at libraries was the mark of desperate parents trying to survive.  Parents who have little flexibility at work are forced to rely on family support. Otherwise they need to find appropriate care, if they can't afford it libraries are a last resort, Wakim said.

"Libraries are full of sympathetic people, kids love them and they become a magnet.  Parents absolutely need to do that work in order to survive."  Wakim believed this was part of a larger issue where Government policy was work-focused rather than child-focused.  "There is this whole problem with how we care for children all of the time, not simply during working hours.  Women have moved into the workforce but the care of the child has not been thought through in the same way that's helpful for children."

An example of this was the Working for Families in-work tax credit of $72.50 where a solo parent must work 20 hours a week or a couple can work 30 hours a week between them.  Wakim is calling for that tax credit to be extended to all low-income families, regardless if they meet the minimum work requirement or not.  "If you're a young mum and you've got two school-aged children and you're working 20 hours a week during the holiday it's going to be tight.  Having this extra income to support families during school holidays is vital."  [NZ Herald]
Blah, blah, blah.  Now, dear reader, you have the truth.  This whole business of children being in libraries unsupervised was staged  public incident to make a political point.  It is Mr Wakim's verbiage that is the objective of the "story".  Everything else was just colour and set up.  In this matter, doubtless the Herald and the CPAG were co-conspirators.

Who, then, is Mr Wakim.  The CPAG website provides some interesting information:
Alan Johnson
Janfrie Wakim
Professor Innes Asher
Helen Bull
Therese Luxton  
Professor John O'Neill
Associate Professor Mike O'Brien
Associate Professor Susan St John
Associate Professor Nikki Turner
George Makapatama
Frank Hogan
Gerry Cotterell
Michael Timmins
Chloe Humphrey
Jennifer Braithwaite
Kimberly Cook

Wakim and Luxton are co-conspirators.  Luxton engaged in some public political theatre so that Wakim would have a platform to spout CPAG ideology.  And, doubtless, Herald reporter Sarah Harris was a willing participant and co-conspirator in the ruse.  "Desperate parents trying to survive" have been pimped by sleazebags.  

That's journalism and news media modus operandi in the twenty-first century, folks.  Freshly ground axes glittering everywhere along the trail of truth.  Propaganda pure, plain, and simple.  

H/T: Kiwiblog

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