A Late Night Bouquet.

OK, politics fans. It’s late and I have radio and theatre to do tomorrow so I’ll make this one brief.

But it needs saying.

I know it looks as if I rag on our two newspapers rather hard. That’s probably because I do. It’s not like it’s DIFFI

CULT. By and large, both are wretched on a week to week basis. The days of towering figures such as Simon Johnson and Greg Treadwell are far behind us it seems and we are the worse for it. But if I seem to go on a bit it is because I bloody CARE! I grew up with both politics and newspapers as the background to my life. I love both in equal measure.
Actually, that’s not quite true. I love newspapers and love watching politicians get tormented by them would be closer to the mark. So if I set about our local media with cudgels various it’s done with a caring touch.

There. Aren’t I being nice?

So, never let it be said that I don’t give credit where it is very much DUE. And those of you who are still up might like to check into the Gulf News website and see the excellent story posted as a News UPDATE no less, (When did Granny Gulf News ever do THAT before eh?) on the Open-Gate mystery.

A tip of the hat to Martin Moore for managing to do some proper digging and lay out some fresh facts on the matter. And well done The Gulf News for doing the whole online news update thing. Keep it up. It suits you.

Can I also add, while we are here and chatting, that my considerable interest in this story lies not with the golf club or the riding club. I know many of you and you know I have no axe to grind there. But what I do want to focus on is the unusual degree of local political involvement in this seemingly innocuous case and the decidedly iffy media coverage that flowed from it.

So while I’m grateful to all of you who have dropped me fascinating facts about the horse, the putting greens and, one supposes, the odd horse jobby, I’m rather more interested in the growth of the exotic political house plant that has sprung, unexpected, from such humble manure and the horticulturalists that are watering it.

4 thoughts on “A Late Night Bouquet.”

  1. Alan, I wonder how much of the manure is real, and how much is bullshit, so to speak. Having seen you describe Jo Holmes’ letter as “over the top” and Frankie Hill call it “hysterical”, I had to go have a look at the Marketplace.

    Are we talking about the same letter here? The one I read began by describing how she learned about the damage, and the golfers’ reaction to it. She then called for an investigation and justice “if someone did this on purpose”. Apart from Claudia Lapp’s well-reasoned comments, Jo’s “if” was the only hint in either paper that the damage might not have been intentional. To my eye, that puts Jo second only to Claudia on a scale of reasonableness.

    Granted, her use of the “good men do nothing” quote (questionably attributed to Edmund Burke) was slappable bombast; we are, after all, dealing with holes in grass, not the Terreur. I prefer a different Burke quote: “It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare.”

    1. Also, may I add that as this week’s Marketplace has now emerged and is utterly devoid of ANY mention whatsoever on the subject save for a tiny disclaimer correcting something they didn’t write clearly enough last week, it seems they too must have looked at the story in a calmer mood and decided that maybe they really did, (as I pointed out) push the story way too hard. So hard in fact that the Credibility Fairy decided not to wave her magic wand over it.
      And so we move on to the more pressing matter of Wharetana Bay.
      Stay tuned.

  2. Hi Mark!

    Right now, I meant to address this straight away but have been laid low for the last three days by a stomach bug, the details of which I shall spare you.
    Having to address assertions of conspiracy theorising AND witch hunting in the same week is pretty damn good I feel. I think my Dad would have been proud.

    The thing is, clicking through the online PDF of the Marketplace while overseas probably doesn’t convey the nuances of this silly business properly. I’m certainly not suggesting that the golf club should have been anything less than livid about the damage caused to their lawns and if they decided to sit down over the weekend and all write letters to the papers to convey this then why not?

    My interest lies purely in politics and the media and the points at which both subjects intersect. And it is here that the interesting aspects of this story are to be observed.

    If, as a politician, you find yourself in the enviable situation of having a news outlet, no matter how humble, prepared, (presumably out of the goodness of their hearts) to uncritically endorse everything you do short of infanticide, then you’d be silly not to enjoy your good fortune. Just as both presidential candidates over there get to enjoy the use of FOX News and MSNBC respectively as their personal propaganda vehicles, so do we see the same thing here as the Marketplace sets aside such tedious concepts as dignity and independence to offer the current local Board as much space as it wishes for personal aggrandisement and no questions asked.

    And this is what I was attempting to illustrate on this site. The coverage in the Marketplace might have seemed like a great idea as the paper was being assembled, but through poor editorial oversight the whole thing came out looking terribly overdone.

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