Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The News (4 November, 2013)

I've been watching the news for the last couple of days. Admittedly, the day after airing. But still... I've been watching it...

The government is lowering the blood alcohol limit for driving. TV3 news were all too happy to crow about Campbell Live's investigative reporting being a catalyst to it. What they fail to mention is that the findings of that "investigative reporting" showed that the problem wasn't so much with the limit but rather, the way it is measured.

So a person with a bigger mass can drink more. We all knew this. The question is, why was the limit so high to begin with? How were those figures arrived at? Even now, the limits dropped to be in line with Australian and a few other country's laws. What would happen if you got those same 4 people in the Campbell story (though at least 4 of each gender to be fair....) to do it all again with the new limits? Does it go far enough? So "boo!" to arbitrary figures... Why not do a full study, using a decent sample size, on when alcohol causes serious issues with reaction time?

The Roast Busters thing is disgusting. It doesn't matter how you spin it. It's disgusting. One of the things we learnt really early on with the Netbooks within the Manaiakalani program was that we had proof of bullying. The police were using a Facebook page to monitor some horrendously disgusting behaviour. TV3 got the page taken down...

There's something to be said here about:
  • There has to be a limit on this sort of thing. The Facebook page was obviously being used to effectively re-victimise victims. If the page has been operating since 2011 and it's now 2013, then you have to wonder about it's effectiveness as a monitoring tool.
  • If the page had been taken down earlier, would the boys involved be quite so likely to go out and do these activities?
  • Does the media have the right to influence events this way? If the Facebook page was having a positive impact on the Police's investigation (being able to seek out victims for example), then how many of those victims are going unheard, if the activity is continuing? Have TV3 screwed the pooch on these guys ever getting charged?
What's more disgusting is milking this story for all it's worth...

And finally... if these guys  haven't broken any laws that the police can charge on and are entirely reliant on people coming forward... Do we need to review laws in this area? Statutory rape is a crime... Given that there's video of the guys admitting to having sex with underage girls... Should that not be enough to prosecute on and should the police be able to prosecute on "general principal" grounds? Given that most statutory rape charges are brought forward by parents, rather than the victims themselves, should a news story be effectively trying to bully victims into pressing charges?

Oh - and apologies? Now? Really? An anonymous founder of the group has issued an apology:
"...if I suffer any consequences from my past actions then I guess I deserve it but I just want people to know I am a good person at heart..."
Let's look at that for a second. He guesses... By doing it anonymously, he's effectively said "I don't want to face the consequences from my disgusting behaviour". He guesses... Holy crapballs on toast. A good person at heart would face up and take responsibility for their actions... no guessing... no anonymousness... no waiting for a story to break before being apologetic for their behaviour...

There was a really short story last night about a drowning off Wairoa. I mention this here for effect (this is about the sequence in which it appeared in the news).

The unfortunate man, Tarun Asthana, in Auckland who was taken down by, from most stories, a single punch has since died in hospital.

There's something to be said here. The story goes that he complimented some girl on her dress and she didn't take too kindly to it and some other guy stepped in and punched the guy... He fell down, hit his head, and ended up in critical condition.

There's a few questions in there:
  • The guy being charged (Grenville David McFarland) is likely to be facing much more severe charges now. If you'd seen the situation - some girl freaking out and the cause being right there - and you'd seen a guy come to the girl's aid, would you have considered McFarland to be an assaulter?
  • Given that it was a single punch, but has resulted in a death making it so much more serious. Shouldn't all violence be treated in the same vein? I have a problem with someone who gets off one punch being treated worse than someone who repeatedly punches a person doing damage (such as breaking a jaw) who gets a slap on the wrist. In which case, do these laws need to be reviewed?
Man found dead in Christchurch. The accused is a 24 year old who lived with the man (no comment on the situation in the story). No names... No context. Just a dead story really.

Politics - an election is likely to be held AFTER a visit from the Queen. So the precursor to the election is John Key looking the giddy school boy sucking up to the headmistress. I personally don't have that much of a problem with it. I'm not much of a royalist. I didn't watch the royal wedding... BUT, there are a fair few royalists around (did you watch the wedding?) in which case, I have a problem with the election's results likely being skewed by this visit.

TV3 is shocking! The New York Marathon was barely even a story. Increased security. No one's allowed to wear backpacks or camel packs for example... Score another one up for terrorists...

But what had me reaching for a sick bag is Mike McRoberts pure exploitation of the story. He ran with a blind man and showed off his medal for completing it and made sad eyes at the camera while effectively telling us how much more meaningful his medal was because he'd run with a blind man... How about this? Why not leave Mike McRoberts out of the story entirely and focus on the disabled people?

There was a story on API Consumer Brands cutting a few ingredients out of their products. The story focused on the fact that Green party MP asked them to do it and they did! There wasn't anything near a look into the chemicals, the studies that are causing the concerns or anything to suggest why, other than some vague fears, these chemicals may be cut out of products...

There was a rescue from Mt Cook! (Snore) and talk about the weather. There's something a little disturbing about the news making small talk. Oh and a puff piece about the Nelson Mandela movie premiere...

Oh - for national news, it seems very localised. A concrete truck rolled near Greenlane (A suburb in Auckland)...

And finally.... Remember that bit about people drowning? It seems they didn't see a connection between that and the story they had now - which was about school swimming pools. They're a great big cost and don't belong in the whole "Reading, Writing, Arithmetic" paradigm so schools are mostly getting rid of them. The cost of getting rid of them is that kids aren't learning to swim from an early age... resulting in more drownings...

Just to add a little colour to this post (and because I just can't resist), there was a story from a couple of days ago that annoyed the living crap out of me. The text version on the Internet shows the problem far more effectively:

They just kind of threw in a partial story. It's not a story... but it has absolutely NOTHING to do with a gender quota system... If you heard about this and wanted more information, would you know to look in this story for that little bomb?

I've got to say... from the few days I've been watching the news, there's been very little international content (unless you count the Nelson Mandela puff piece). Are we becoming more insular?

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