Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Do Not Feed the Animals

There's a veritable media frenzy in the MSM and blogosphere about the new rules to cover how the press cover the Parliamentary zoo. The MSM have declared war with the DomPost showing Tariana Turia with a headache next to Heather Roy. The Herald has a photo gallery dedicated to politician self-ridicule.

Although the new rules loosen the press gallery's leash in some respects, the contempt of parliament charge for depicting MPs in "satire, ridicule or denigration" was a step way over the line. It is a well known constitutional convention that we reserve the right to take the piss. I thought the Speaker had nodded to this ideal by pushing for MPs to be more accountable to the Official Information Act. It was fun while it lasted. Jeremy Wells could be jailed for doing what he does under the new rules.

Colin Espiner's new blog had a go at the story last night. I posted a comment about the Jeremy Wells factor, then refreshed the page to check whether comments were posted automatically or held for approval a la Cactus. It was there. Now it's not. In fact, it disappeared within an hour of posting it last night. And there you have it. Truth is a three-edged sword.

Long before Parliament upped the heavies and installed X-Ray machines, Press House in Boulcott St has been locked up like a nunnery. Unlike Question Time at Parliament, you couldn't just walk in off the street into the typing pool. TVNZ is likewise securitised. Try to satirise, ridicule or denigrate an MSM and they will sic lawyers on you. Don't mistake this for a David and Goliath story. This is fight between Goliaths for the monopoly on truth.