SCOUT.co.nz is terrible, but the whole news industry is moving this way

Hosking CrosshairsSo I am in shock at the decision by newly launched gossip magazine SCOUT.co.nz to use rifle cross-hairs to target Mike Hosking in what they apparently call an ‘exclusive’ which was that he vacuumed his car in a public street…OMG Stop the presses!!! I’m shocked that this is a story, I’m shocked that this is the way the whole news industry is moving (more on that soon) but I’m mostly shocked that whoever made the ‘cross hairs’ decision seems to have no knowledge of what terrible occurrences that exact idea has lead to in the very recent past.

Anyone remember Sarah Palin targeting Gabby Giffords?

If not let me remind you. Sarah Palin has targeted 20 Democratic seats to encourage Republican voters to do all they can to win them back for the Good Old Party using rhetoric like ‘don’t retreat, reload!’  The map that was drawn up had cross-hairs on the seats and on one fateful day, a mentally unwell person took Sarah Palin’s advice a little too literally and stormed a Gabby Giffords event and shot her in the head.

Now I am not saying that NZ has the same culture that exists with guns in the US, but anyone with half an ounce of intelligence would know this is not the way to report ‘news’ even gossip but the post on SCOUT.co.nz mentioned the salary that Hosking was on, the price he just paid for his house and the street where he lived. The only outcome from the post was to engender a negative feeling, a feeling of jealously and hatred towards Hosking and if an imbalanced person felt like checking him out he or she now has a pretty good idea on how to find him after hours.

Hilary Barry posted a brilliant retort to the ‘story’ by posting an image of herself vacuuming her car with the hashtag #stalkingisnotok and the best item I’ve seen written on SCOUT today is from Russell Brown who goes into a lot of detail on the story, behind the story.

Many of her former Herald colleagues believed she had, at best, jumped before she’d been pushed, and that the final straw had been not her unethical treatment of waitress Amanda Bailey but her ludicrous “conifers” column. The belief was that she was due to be dispensed with in a reshuffle after the departure of editor-in-chief Tim Murphy.

I am also saddened that this is the path that all the media is taking. I am saddened to see when I visit TVNZ News that most of the video on that site is 40 seconds or shorter and focusing on things that rate heavily on Facebook, I think that content producers are missing the point and assuming what we, as consumers, are prepared to spend our time watching and reading and I think they are wrong. Yes there is a place for ‘bite sized’ content, but not at the expense of serious, interesting, challenging news that informs and entertains. We are focusing too heavily on the ‘entertains’ and it’s becoming very un-entertaining.

News radio shows doing 2 minute interviews on the international intricacies of the Syrian Refugee Crisis, television news spending 23 seconds of video on a tragedy where 4 people died…it’s not right and it sure as hell is not good broadcasting which is why most people I know, most people under 40 are turning to alternative sources of news online to get what we need and want, not what is dictated by 9 ad breaks an hour or a necessity to have a certain number of click throughs.

SCOUT.co.nz is terrible, it’s a product that doesn’t work in NZ as we don’t have celebrities, we have people with high profile. Peter Jackson and Lorde. they’re celebrities, daylight is second to the next highest profile person in NZ and they come in well below the thresh hold of what one needs to be classed a celebrity.

If anyone is interested in starting a Give a Little page with the object being to raise money to put a Private Eye on the people running SCOUT.co.nz to expose their lives and put all the excitement of them walking their dog, or washing their car online for all to see, then I’ll happily donate the first $100 and write the story.

Sarah Palin interviews Donald Trump – what the internet was designed for!!!

I saw online last week that Sarah Palin was going to be interviewing Donald Trump on her One America News Network show I initially was gravely concerned for the safety of the world. It was a deep concern with a warning in the recesses of my mind where all I could think was that if these two ever crossed paths then all life as we know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light but then I remembered that was a the warning from Dr Egon Spengler to the other Ghostbusters as to why they shouldn’t cross their streams. Mind you, allegorically sparking, the crossing of two such moronic individuals may lead to the same outcome.

When I realised what I was going to be able to view I couldn’t contain myself, I was so excited to see exactly what the internet has been designed for, right up there with kids on pain medication and cats falling off tables, that I went into convulsions of excitement

These two are the epitome of the American electoral system, they are featherweights when it comes to political nous, but among enough of the American voting population heavyweights in popularity. They went toe to toe for 10 minutes, only pausing long enough to remove their noses from each others backsides to take a breath, with conservative pablum and complaints about the lame stream media being biased and asking ‘gotcha’ questions like “what’s your favourite bible verse?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the American political system…mostly because I don’t live there and can look at it from the relatively safety of New Zealand. American politics is the best entertainment show in the world and with Mr Trump, who communicates like a seven year old, and Ms Palin coming together it was like the two best comedic characters in that show combined for a brief moment bringing joy to the world (outside America).

The content of the interview can be viewed below, I would encourage you to watch it to see what the world could look like if either of these people would be involved in the Whitehouse (which I don’t think they will) but for now, as I have used a couple of movie references in this post, it’s probably appropriate that I now use one that best identifies what the interview actually was.

From an outsider looking in, the only thing greater than having Donald Trump go deep into the Republican primaries, would be if he announced that Palin would be his running mate…OMG I am having palpatations at just the thought of the 24 hour news networks covering them. Seeing Palin in a situation again where she has to fend off other ‘gotcha’ questions like “what newspapers do you read?” is almost too much for me to take.

I think I need a lie down.

The full “interview”

Is it too late for Sarah Palin to be the saviour of the GOP?

The ‘War’ for South Carolina is happening as I write this post. The winner of the South Carolina Primary will be the GOP nomination to go up against President Obama in November’s election, how can I say this so confidently? Every single nominee for the GOP to run for President in the past, 100% of them, has won South Carolina.

In an earlier post I wrote why Obama will be reelected, I still believe that in fact the events of the last few days have done nothing but confirm my thoughts that America could never elect one of the two front-runners for the Republicans.

Sadly for supports of the Conservative right, your choice will either be Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney. Both who have demonstrated hypocrisy to an unbeliveable degree over the past week or so.

Mitt Romney is the GOP favourite at the moment, but more and more is being revealed about his financial past and how he has amassed his vast wealth and it doesn’t fit with the GOP narrative. Before we get into this let me state that I have no problems with a person becoming wealthy, I am not an ‘occupier’, I am not someone who thinks that ‘rich people are bad or evil’, but when your wealth becomes a problem to the message, then we need to figure out the disparity.

Mitt Romney is reportedly worth about a quarter of a billion dollars, which he amassed by forming a private equity firm called Bain Capital. What a private equity firm does is come into failing businesses, or purchase businesses with good potential for leverage and ‘streamlines’ them i.e. they make cuts, then borrow against them. The companies then tend to strip the companies, sell them on in parts and make a big fat profit. The issue that Romney has with all this is that GOP catch cry is “Save jobs and stop borrowing”, but his whole business credentials which he is using to say why he should be President, is one of laying people off and borrowing to make quick cash. That on top of the revelation this week that Romney pay’s ‘in the vicinity of 15%’ tax on the money he makes from investments makes this an embarrassing week for him.

P.A.Y.E in America starts at 10% and the most you pay is 35% depending on your income, but Romney’s income is made from his investments which classifies it as ‘capital gains’, hence Capital Gains Tax is applied which in America is around 15%. So Romney earns millions a year and pays the same percentage in tax as the guy driving his campaign bus. Romney said in the last debate the ‘top tax rate should be down around 25%’, yet he only pays 15%. Another catch cry of the GOP is we are taxed too much, well it would appear Romney is not.

Mitt Romney needs to stop trying to sell the idea that his is ‘working class’ and own that he is the richest politician in the run for President, and one of the richest politicians in America.

Now we move onto Speaker Gingrich.

With Rick Perry pulling out this week, and endorsing Gingrich as his candidate you might think Newt would have a jump in the poles, but the Romney camp is using the issue of ‘ethics’ to derail and momentum that Gingrich may be getting…and rightfully so. As I have already pointed out, Newt Gingrich seems to have a penchant to sleeping with women that are not his wife and you have to ask the obvious question that is we know about these ones…how many others are there?

Again you could argue that if it doesn’t impact his ability to govern then it shouldn’t matter…but it doesn’t fit with the GOP Christian, conservative, ‘family values’ narrative.

This week we find out that according to Gingrich’s second wife (of three) that he wanted an ‘open marriage’ where he could have a mistress AND keep his wife as well. All this while the Speaker is still standing up for the ideals of marriage “as the union of one man and one woman.”

For Gingrich, ‘the Gays’ are not to be married as it would be ‘an abomination’…but cheating, lying, and multiple hetero marriages is to be defended as ‘God ordained’ and ‘natural.’

All of this happening with many GOP supporters acknowledging that these two the ‘best of a bad bunch’ just confuses me when you have Rick Santorum with a great CV and actually world political experience on the sidelines along with Ron Paul who is really the only ‘real’ small government, less tax candidate. Ron Paul is what Republicans should be…if they weren’t hypocrites.

Finally, I have to admit to being a little intrigued about a very…very…VERY unlikely scenario. Even though she has said she would not run for President and it is contrary to my opening paragraph, I just wonder if we might hear from Sarah Palin as a late entry. The field is so weak, if she came out of the blue with her rock star persona, the ground swell might be there for a Sarah Palin nominee.

Now would it be a bad decision? Well it couldn’t be any worse than a choice between Romney and Gingrich.

They worst of American society


Gabrielle Giffords

12 months ago a horrific event happened in America when a man came into a public meeting being held by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and shot the place up. He killed 6 people and injured 12 one of which was Giffords whom he shot through the head.

At the time Sarah Palin caught some heat as she had a map on her homepage with rifle ‘crosshairs’ on Giffords electorate. Some accussed Palin of flaming the fire and influencing this event. If it was as simple to get rid of ‘crazy’ by simply removing an image here, or not have a pundit ‘blame the opposing political view’ there, then ‘crazy’ would be gone very quickly, however no matter how careful we are, crazy always find a way.

The reports of the last few days though have saddened me, demonstrating the ‘eye for an eye’ mentality coming out of America.

Jared Loughner is the man who fired the shots, Jared Loughner murdered 6 people in cold blood, Jared Loughner is a drop out from society and a loner. Jared Loughner is also a sick man, he is schizophrenic.

Loughner has been found by two medical experts to be ‘mentally incompetent to stand trial.’ He is schizophrenic now, and was in a schizophrenic episode at the time of the shooting.

There is debate  around Loughner about forcing him to take his meds. He is currently in a mental health facility and American law does not allow the doctors there to force meds onto him. Therefore he is still in a pretty bad way. As a general rule, if someone is impaired to a point where they cannot make healthy decisions for themselves, I think it’s usually okay for medical intervention, with family consultation, to help that person. So initially I thought these medical professionals should intervene to help this man get better. But that is not the reason that people wanted Jared Loughner to ‘get better’.

They wanted him to ‘get better’ so they could kill him.

They call ‘getting better’ from schizophrenia ‘being restored’ and some are waiting for him to be ‘restored’ to some level of acceptable mental state to then fry him.

Legal experts say it is quite common for defendants suffering from schizophrenia to be restored to competency and proceed to trial. That is just a matter of time.

“The level of competency is not very high,” said Lynda Frost, planning and programs director for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas-Austin. “It’s a minimal level of functioning and most people can be restored.”

This ‘eye-for-an-eye’ mentality is the worst of America. The society who helps the world when it’s in trouble, at the same time as invading a country that did them no harm. The country that won’t elect a president unless they ‘love Israel and God’, but happily put to death hundreds a year. America is a series of juxtapositions, saying one thing and doing another.

My one hope is the example in this sad story of the parents of 9 year old Christina-Talor, one of the people killed one year ago. John Green is a ‘believer in the death penalty’ and whose wife Roxanna has just written a book called ‘It’s not going to bring my girl back’, was asked if the death penalty here would bring him comfort. His response was “Not really.”

Just two little words that for me, bring some kind of hope to the reality that the tragic death of someone, is not fixed, solved, or closed…by killing another…even if they deserve it