Thrashing a lame dog

by Karl du Fresne

As 2021 gradually ramps up politically, Newshub’s 6 pm news bulletin has pretty much picked up where it left off in 2020 – that is to say, functioning as the government’s unofficial propaganda arm.

An example was its 6 pm news bulletin on Monday, which opened with a folksy announcement of “a challenge for the team of five million” – as if this was some exciting new version of Top Town – and an invitation to viewers to help “save the planet”. What followed was essentially an exhortation to get behind the Climate Change Commission’s proposals for reducing carbon emissions. We came together to save the country from Covid-19, the message went; now we can do it again. Government spin doctors must have danced with delight.

The supposed news item was presented in the form of a rallying call. It was couched in “let’s all do our bit” tones, rather as the BBC might have urged Londoners to keep their windows blacked out during the Blitz.  We were told that while the heavy lifting in the fight against global warming would be done by government and business, “there are lots of changes we [i.e. ordinary people – the plebs] can make”. There was no mention of the potentially massive economic disruption and upheaval that’s likely to result from the commission’s proposals. That might have frightened the punters.

The item was interspersed with a familiar Newshub speciality: namely, video clips of experts (at least we must assume they were presented as experts) explaining the significance of the climate change proposals. This would have been all very well if the talking heads had been identified, so that we could assess the merit of what they were saying, but they weren’t. For all we know they could have been paper-hangers or herd testers.

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