Espiner, abuse and imperiling democracy

There’s been an interesting debate at The Pundit on a post by Josie Pagani which relates to Martyn Bradbury attacking the appointment of Guyon Espiner to Morning Report. Bradbury included Josie Pagani in his hissy fit Espiner, Hosking & Paul Henry – the 3 Broadcasters of the Apocalypse.

He has some support from Stuart Munro commenting at The Pundit:

Martyn’s concern about Espiner is not misplaced – unless he radically lifts his game it will erode what was customarily a fairly high standard at National Radio.

For some roles it wouldn’t matter, but for the routine grilling of the most disingenuous people in New Zealand, politicians, to send in the muppets is to imperil democracy.

At best Martyn’s concern is premature and excessive. And out of step with the majority reaction I’ve seen that applauds Guyon’s appointment. In contrast I’ve seen just a few who have reacted “he’s not one of us so he is enemy” – and referring to Guyon as a muppet who will “imperil democracy”.

This relates back to Josie’s main point, that The left must stand up to abuse.

There is something wrong with a version of the left that despises people.But what Martyn Bradbury and the demonisers are attempting is
ex-communication. Their conduct is anti-ideas because, confronted with
someone who has a different idea, they don’t engage. They vilify.

That’s true (and of some on the right as well, it hapens daily on Kiwiblog as it does at The Standard). It seems to be a symptom of political frustration, if they can’t get someone to agree, if they disagree – or don’t get appointments of people who seem agreeable – they attack and vilify, and try to shout down or shut down.

This friend/enemy approach must be counterproductive but if you point that out you get attacked as well, accused of being the vilifier.

I think abusive politics does far more to imperil our democracy than the appointment of one widely respected journalist to one job in one media outlet

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