Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Confidence and Paranoia

Seven Sharp grows up with a mature look at Medical Cannabis. It's a strange world we live in where NZ doctors can prescribe opioids out the wazoo, but the doctors still can't prescribe cannabinoids (In the 1950's, the UN complained that NZ had the world's highest per capita use of prescribed heroin).

If only the MSM can transfer that maturity to other areas of news. Violent crime, for example. In the 1950's, NZ had an imprisonment rate of around 56 prisoners per 100,000 population, while Finland had a rate of 189 per 100K. By 2008, the countries had swapped places. NZ now has an imprisonment rate of around 200 per 100K, while Finland has quartered its prison population.

Ours is the second highest rate of imprisonment in the Western World (Never mind David Farrar muddying the waters. I will slap him with a wet bus ticket next time I spot him in the pub). Here's Roger Brooking explaining the details of imprisonment rates (starting at 15:40):

Roger Brooking on Prison Reform from Will de Cleene on Vimeo.

How did Finland drop its imprisonment rate? As Roger Brooking explains around the twenty minute mark, one thing was that politicians and media agreed not to sensationalise violent crime any more. Hope would get airtime, not hate. For instance, more space was given to stories of successful rehabilitation of prisoners on their own terms. One of the final Court Report programs that went out to air on TVNZ 7 was a good go at this angle.

I know this is a big ask, people. My old man was one of the original shit-stirrers who sensationalised crime for political gain back in the 1980's. It went full bloom at the beginning at MMP, when all the fresh messiahs were staking out their turf on the new political landscape. No party could be too tough on crime.

For the journos, crime is easy news that writes itself, comes with its own graphic appeal, and is the cheapest clickbait this side of the latest poll results. Pandering to the crowds' need for vicarious blood is a cheap trick. It takes writers of sterner stuff, investigative journalists for example, to challenge the status quo and improve the public good.

True discoveries are seldom glamorous.