Negative politics and media do no good

Venkat Raman

Auckland, July 3, 2020

While the rest of the world looks at New Zealand and New Zealanders with admiration and respect, our politicians and media seem to have gone berserk over the past few weeks, ‘over-reacting to the border and testing lapses.’

As Professor Jack Vowles is in the Political Science programme at Victoria University of Wellington says in an article under Businesslink in this issue, there is no systematic evidence yet about what ‘the public’, in general, feel. Big attendances at recent sporting events suggest little sign of concern.

“However, what the public may end up feeling is being shaped by current negative journalistic coverage, because journalists are as much opinion leaders as opinion followers. Elimination has been carefully defined: it refers to no new cases of local transmission – “no new cases for a specified period, such as 28 days, and that a high-performing national surveillance system was testing a certain number of people per day, across the country, including exemptions for new cases among travellers arriving at the border, so long as they were quarantined until they recovered.”

Empathy and politeness

Writing in The Conversation,’ Nelly Martin-Anatias, a Lecturer at AUT, has analysed the linguistic contents of the statements made by the government and businesses under Lock Down Alert Levels 4, 3 and 2 in their social, cultural and political contexts.

“While demonstrating hierarchical power, the government is also showing empathy. The terms used to show compassion are visible and hearable, such as ‘kind’ in be kind and to ‘check in on’ the elderly and the vulnerable. The terms were frequently used by the Prime Minister in her speeches and also in the government brochures distributed in residential areas and public places, such as parks, shopping centres and bus stops,” she said.

It is important to hold the government account. We are all for that. But to condemn everything that government does, especially amidst a pandemic situation is misuse of the position.

Afterall, governments are also run by people who are not infallible.

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