from Bassett, Brash and Hide

Broadcaster Sean Plunket might have been taken aback to discover he was the subject of the second item on Newshub’s 6pm news bulletin a few nights ago. Then again maybe it was no surprise, given that few people are more keenly aware than Plunket of the mainstream media’s eagerness to marginalise – even demonise – anyone who challenges ideological orthodoxy. His key purpose in setting up his online site The Platform, after all, was to counter the ceaseless barrage of woke indoctrination from media outlets that have abandoned journalism for activism.

On this occasion Newshub not only decided that Plunket’s supposedly heretical opinion about the Christchurch mosque massacres was the second most important news item of the day, but that it was a matter of such gravity and national importance that it justified taking up nearly three and a half minutes of the bulletin.

It didn’t matter that a large number of Newshub’s viewers had probably never heard of Plunket and would have been scratching their heads wondering what the hell political editor Jenna Lynch’s garbled and overheated report was all about. Plunket is well-known in media and political circles but his public profile, especially beyond Wellington, is limited. Moreover, he doesn’t hold a position of public responsibility; he’s a private-sector media presenter and commentator with a relatively small audience. But the reason this obviously didn’t matter to Newshub was that conventional news judgment didn’t enter the equation. This was not a news story but a carefully orchestrated hit job, the clear purpose of which was to hector politicians into declaring they wouldn’t appear on The Platform again.

In other words the bigger objective was to torpedo one of New Zealand’s few outlets for legitimate voices of dissent. Plunket should take it as a great compliment that he’s considered such a threat that a far bigger, more powerful rival wants to shut him down. He must be getting traction.

And what was the egregious act that justified Plunket being presented as some sort of public enemy – a man whose views are supposedly so offensive that Lynch effectively insisted that politicians shun him?

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