Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Deborah Does Callous

If this website sometimes threatens to degrade into "New Zealand Mainstream Mediawatch Blog", it's not my intention. But things keep appearing which can't be let pass without some finger wagging.

In the past, I've commented on the print media's flippant looseness with facts and figures, and more recently, its occasional malicious intent.

Could those two inclinations be combined to perfection in a single article? You bet. Deborah Coddington's latest rant on "Asian crime" in North and South effortlessly manages to be both dumb and mean.

Keith Ng's deconstruction of the piece is a must-read. Though, perhaps because he's wary of being seen to take personal offence at what is effectively a racial slur, he's surprisingly restrained in his concluding comments.

This in the same week as I have watched the development and publishing of a piece which whipped up a potent cocktail of woeful misunderstanding and wilful distortion. Unfortunately, I'm prevented for professional reasons from making specific comment on the article in question.

It's these kind of contributions to our public discourse, and the paucity of editorial standards maintained even by our so-called "serious" publications, that remind me why I never tried to get into this game when I was younger. Despite my current regrets about not being half way to becoming a columnist for the Guardian, it was probably the correct decision.

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