Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand
Edited by Emma Johnson, Giovanni Tiso, Sarah Illingworth and Barnaby Bennet (Freerange Press, $40)
Reviewed by Alison McCulloch
I finished reading Don’t Dream It’s Over not long after it came out last August. I even started writing a review, which took something of an ‘I’m sorry people, but it’s already over’ approach. I’ve been pretty negative about journalism as it’s practiced in the mainstream (or MSM, or corporate media or liberal media or whatever terminology you prefer) for quite some time (see for example Stop the Press), and I believe the current capitalist media model is destructive and can’t be reformed.
But then came the U.S. election campaign. If I’d been a media skeptic before that, by the time it was over, I was an absolute nonbeliever. Back in my more innocent trusting days, say eight months ago, I thought I could read between the lines of a news story, look past the ‘angle’ or ‘spin’ and, as if I had x-ray news vision, focus in on the raw facts, at least some of which were usually buried in there somewhere. Plus, I knew the codes and the rules about how the news sausage was made. Easy peasy.
At some point after Donald Trump won the Republican primary, I realised that was no longer the case. That I had no idea what the facts of the matter were, couldn’t read between the lines, and couldn’t find anyone in MSM asking and trying to answer the questions I wanted asked and answered.
At this point I ought to disabuse readers that mine was the standard liberal shock and outrage over the apparently Hitlerian Trump candidacy. It wasn’t. This crisis of confidence was not about Trump at all, but about what the mainstream media did — and continues to do — after apparently deciding that he could not, would not, must not be elected president. Read more »