Monday, 2 October 2017

Not Worth a Dime

Con Artists Facilitated by Lazy, Credulous Reporters

Media credibility is sinking like a stone.  When national media operated as the Fourth Estate (of government) reporters and editors prided themselves in acidic scepticism.  This involved never believing what you first hear; the expectation was that everyone was talking up their own books.  Therefore, everything had to be verified by more than one independent corroborative source.  

Those days are long gone.  Now, given the demise of media businesses, the folk who are reporting stories and those editing them for publication are lower down on the totem pole when it comes to experience, training, smarts, and competence.  Nowadays the overwhelming focus is upon sensation--breathless, uncorroborated "stories" that garner superficial attention--otherwise known as click-bait.  Couple this with an overweening sense of crusading self-importance and behold you have the standard profile of the modern media muckraker.

If we were to believe the present media the entire world is about to break into smithereens.  There are injustices on every side.  Government is evil, cruel.  People are suffering, suffering.  One would think that we are all back in the Middle Ages, with absolute monarchies, the Black Death, and starving subjects.  Every social service, it seems, is in crisis.  All are short of funds.  The poor are being forced to live in wretched conditions.

Most of it is fatuous cant.
 We have had "the homeless" being pimped constantly in the run-up to the recent general election.  Yet, when someone set out to do some personal research, they found that there is plenty of living accommodation for homeless people in Manurewa--one of the worst suburbs for street people--but there are rules.  And the rules are?  No drugs and no alcohol.  So, folk prefer to live proud on the street along with their alcohol and drugs. Such realities are never reported by erstwhile "reporters"--now known as "repeaters".  No cynicism.  No investigation.  No cross checking.  Just repeating stories, the more scandalous the better.

The latest example is a story run by Fairfax Media.  It's about POVERTY.  The story was sensationally trumpeting the condition of one Lynlie Beazley.  The panting, febrile author was one Mahvash Ali. Apparently, according to Ali,  Beazley has to survive on $22 per week after all her basic expenses are paid.  She self-represents the "face" of the poor in New Zealand.
The last time there was fresh produce on the table was more than two years ago.  After covering her basic expenses, Lynlie Beazley survives on just $22 per week and sometimes she sleeps on an empty stomach.  The west Auckland resident described herself as the "face of poverty" in the country.
If there is credence to this sensational claim that Beasley is the "face of the poor", we would be more than justified in dismissing all the allegedly poor in New Zealand as charlatans and con artists.

Lynlie Beazley with a food parcel from The Salvation Army.

Why might we be so hard and heartless in the face of such poverty?  Because the "journalist"  has failed to tell the whole story.  If he or she had, the story would have come out quite differently.  In fact it would not have been the story the paper was trying to "craft" and probably would never seen the light of day.

Kiwiblog writes:
It is frustrating that media continue to do pimping poverty stories yet fail to provide information that allows readers to form any independent conclusions.

Ms Beazley appears to be on a Jobseeker benefit. We are not given any information on how long she has been on it, and has she tried to gain work. It is possible she has a disability or sickness and can’t work but again we don’t know. And a Supported Living benefit would be higher than that.

Here’s what we do know:
  • Benefit $236
  • Rent $59
  • Food $22
  • Other expenses $155
She does not have a car and walks so the other expenses are not transport. There is reference to hire purchase and a $1,000 loan but repayments on that would be just $20 a week or so to pay back over a year.

Again we don’t have enough information to reach any independent conclusions. To me it seems out of whack to spend $155 on other expenses and $22 on food. Electricity would not be that high. Now there could well be a very good reason why her non food expenses are so high but again the reporter has not told us enough.

UPDATE: It turns out Ms Beazley has 42 criminal convictions – information the original story failed to include. Even more of a fail for the media.
But the truth was even more coruscating as further details came to light:
 But it gets even worse than that for Fairfax. They failed to spend even 60 seconds searching her name with the Tenancy Tribunal. If they had they would have found:
  • 3 Oct 2016 – tenancy terminated for non-payment of rent
  • 22 Feb 2017 – tenancy terminated for non-payment of rent and cleaning costs of over $1,000
Now both tenancies were with Vision West Community Trust. It exists to end homelessness, and so would only be evicting someone if no other resort.

Now note how generous the Government is. Despite her trashing her house with Vision West Community Trust, she was put into a Housing NZ home. She gets a huge subsidy from the taxpayer so her rent is only 25% of her benefit or $59 a week. Yes only $59 a week yet she claims this is so high she can’t afford more than $22 a week on food.

Decisions have consequences. If you trash your home, you get evicted, If you commit aggravated robbery you find it hard to get a job.  Despite all this we’re providing a house for her to live in for just $59 a week.
The "Face of Poverty" indeed.  Here is the Number One rule of news media today: never, Never, NEVER let the facts get in the way of a good "victim" pimping story.

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