Thursday, November 4, 2010

At least it's not a tabloid...

If you're not in New Zealand, chances are slim that you've heard anything about the Wellington Declaration.

But here in the middle of the sea, we're pathetically grateful when the Great and Good, in this case in the shape of Hillary Clinton, deign not merely to notice us, but to pretend for a few minutes that they give a damn' what we think about anything. (If that were true, the Fed wouldn't have announced yesterday that it was deliberately devaluing the US dollar - sorry, I mean "reinvigorating the economy" - by printing an extra $600 billion.)

The press release celebrating the Wellington Declaration is thin on detail, and the Herald's coverage does nothing to improve matters. We're treated to a description of Mrs Clinton's dress and a blow-by-blow account of her reception (which leaves me thinking someone must have mistaken her for the president); then we get to the political insights of Steven Beban - an 18 year old 'Wellington local' who has never been to the US, but he has an Obama poster.

Seriously. If you've read the above paragraph, you now know as much about 'Steven Beban' as I do. There's no suggestion of why anyone should believe a word he says.

It's nice of the Herald not to overburden our poor provincial little brains with any actual facts or analysis. Discussion of what 'co-operation' might mean, how it reconciles with our oft-reaffirmed 'nuclear free' policy, how the new relationship will differ from the existing one, what exactly New Zealand is likely to get out of so lopsided a deal - well, who knows? Not the Herald, that's for damn' sure. As far as I can tell, they haven't even tried to find anyone who might have so much as thought of these questions. They've reprinted the press release (and the text of the "declaration" itself), and called it a story.

Welcome to small-country journalism.


Cassio said...

Nice critique. I too was amazed at the lack of information in the article. Too much fashion run-down not enough substance. Found your site from trying to google who this Steven Beban guy is. It seems he doesn't really exist. Nom de Plume?

mumsie said...

After reading your posting I've been on the lookout for comments on the State Visit to NZ in our media. It's only today, Nov. 5, that I've found a large picture of la Clinton being given a traditional Maori greeting on arriving in Wellington. There is no story to go with the picture; the page devotes a fair bit of space to Mr Obama's asian tour. Embedded in that story I find: "Mr Obama's secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has been in the Pacific during the mid-term elections and was in New Zealand yesterday.".
This is all the weight one of our foremost broadsheets, the Daily Telegraph, puts to the state visit.

K.N.Gillus said...

Hey Vet, long time no see. Just saying hello.

vet said...

Cassio, I wouldn't expect a random Wellington teenager to have much of a web footprint. My guess is he's genuine, as the Herald's notion of the vox populi, in lieu of any actual research.

mumsie, I was baffled on Friday by footage of Ma Clinton laying a wreath at some kind of monument, to the voice-over promise of "Clinton flies to Christchurch [something indistinguishable] earthquake victims." I thought, "has someone been telling her that there was a big loss of life in the earthquake, and set up a fake memorial just for her benefit? 'Cuz that would be hilarious. But wrong, of course."

Kim, hello to you too. Nice to see you. Drop in anytime.