Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Sunday Star Times'

On Punishment and why we Kiwis can’t get enough of it.

Paremoremo

In an article in yesterday’s Sunday Star Times on the role of imprisonment in the rehabilitation of offenders, Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar expresses the view that the first priority of sending people to prison is to keep the public safe. It’s a relatively moderate statement from McVicar, expressing perhaps the philosophy behind the excellent work done by the Trust on behalf of the victims of crime.

A more characteristic expression of McVicar’s understanding of the proper function of imprisonment appears elsewhere in the article: His “second priority” is punishment:

“We shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about that. Criminals need to be punished for their actions.”

Mr McVicar is, according to the article, worried that our country’s prison policy is more concerned about helping inmates than punishing them. And he’s not a believer in rehabilitation:

“If you can rehabilitate those people then you would have rehabilitated them long before they were imprisoned. The problem is when they get to prison they’re not long off becoming a career criminal… We need to focus on punishment and then rehabilitation once they’ve served time.” Read the rest of this entry »

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, just what are these three pictures trying to tell us?

 

Michael Bradley/Fairfax

Michael Bradley/Fairfax

Kevin Stent/Fairfax

Kevin Stent/Fairfax

Chris Skelton/Fairfax

Chris Skelton/Fairfax

The Sunday Star Times chose these three photographs to illustrate its story today about the impact being Leader of the Opposition might have on the candidates’ partners. Shane Jones is seen with his partner Dot Pumipi, Grant Robertson with his partner Alf Kaiwai, and David Cunliffe with his wife Karen Price. The paper labelled David Cunliffe ‘protective; Shane Jones ‘reinvigorated'; but offered no summary of Robertson’s mindset.

Why did the paper choose these particular photographs, what was it trying to convey by that choice, and what, if anything, do you think the photographs tell us about the candidates themselves?

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Michael Laws writes to Brian Edwards Media and I respond.

Earlier this evening (Friday), Michael Laws sent three comments to this site. Two were about what other people have said. The third was a direct reply to the two posts I have written about Michael’s column in last week’s Sunday Star Times, A Black Eye for Liberal Bleaters. What follows is Michael’s unedited comment and my response:

 

Dear Brian

I’m very pleased that you have been prodded out of your liberal senility to mount ceaseless ad hominem attacks upon my person … you join Russell Brown as another who can’t debate issues but must insult first, second and third.

I wrote a perfectly rational column as to why Asperger’s Syndrome is not an excuse for criminality. A point that Arie Smith’s family agree with: their issue was having him denied bail because of his special condition.

You may bleat on all you like AND I note the irony of having your correspondents demand violence against me. I’d say “bring it on” but you would only complain that I was inciting you …

As for the person ‘Dab’ from TV3 Nws … he did lie – my reply to the McLachlan lady was directed at saying she felt the perceived slight, not her son. The hyper sensitivity of such parents to Arie Smith being arrested … is ludicrous.

One other matter: the other central point of my column was that unsubstantiated allegations had been directed against the Police alleging brutality. They remain unsubstantiated. But that’s the liberal mantra, I guess. The Police are always wrong.

Cheers, sport.

Thank you, Michael. I appreciate your having responded to the two posts.

‘Ceaseless ad hominem attacks’ are not really my style. My first post was essentially a deconstruction of your column with a brief critique at the end. I agree that the comments from followers of this site were considerably less restrained and I would personally not have enjoyed being the object of such a barrage of, yes, often ad hominem criticism. But you are surely not so obtuse as to fail to recognise that both the content and the manner of expression of your column about this young man were a provocation and an invitation to precisely the response which it has received from the vast majority of readers of this blog and of many other blogs. If you insist on using terminology like ‘rats, rodents, ferals prepared to feed on the misery of others’ to describe a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome; if you feel the need to write: ‘In fact, the published photos accentuated such feral features – an unusual angularity offset by a blackened eye and the demeanour of one who spends much of his life in the darkness'; and if you recommend that the same (or worse) violence meted out to Smith should be meted out to all looters – then you can scarcely expect to receive a measured response. Your columns make people very angry. It surely cannot be a mystery to you why this is.

I don’t resile from anything I wrote in either post. There is a suggestion in your response to me and to others that we have misunderstood or misconstrued what you were trying to say. That, it seems to me, begs the question: is our understanding flawed or is what you write ambiguous or unclear?

Finally, Michael, accusing others of ad hominem attacks is rich when it is part of your own stock in trade. You have perhaps forgotten that when one woman wrote to you to draw your attention to my first post and to seek an explanation of what you had written in your column, you replied, ‘Brian edwards is a sad old man who teaches people to lie … and gets paid for it.’ That is of course not merely untrue, it is precisely the opposite of everything we believe in and teach. It is also of course highly defamatory.

In some ways I’m sorry that it has come to this. You have in the past written favourably about me; and I have on this site written approvingly about you. But so many of your recent columns have been so angry, so hate-filled and so cruel that it is just not possible to ignore them or to regard them as a temporary aberration.

Brian

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A Line-By-Line Commentary on Michael Laws’ Column on Asperger’s ‘Looter’ Arie Smith in today’s Sunday Star Times

Today Michael Laws’ Sunday Star Times Column was headed ‘A Black Eye for Liberal Bleaters’. What follows is a (lengthy) line-by-line commentary on that column. To be fair to Laws you should perhaps read the column in its entirety before reading my commentary.

***

“In all disasters, the rubble attracts rats. Whether it is physical and fatal, like the Christchurch earthquake, or metaphysical and mystical, like the Paul Henry affair, there are always ferals prepared to feed on the misery of others.

“When these rodents are eventually apprehended and exposed to the light, we are always amazed by how nondescript and petty they seem. As was the case with Arie Smith – Cornelis Arie Smith-Voorkamp to give him his full title – the 25-year-old arrested for looting a damaged house days after the Canterbury tragedy. “

Commentary:

I have no idea what the reference to Paul Henry means.

Laws includes Smith, a 25-year-old who has Asperger’s Syndrome, among the rats, rodents and  ‘ferals, prepared to feed on the misery of others’.

His reference to ‘Arie Smith  –  Cornelis Arie Smith-Voorkamp to give him his full title’ seems gratuitous, particularly the surely inappropriate use of the word ‘title’. What point is he making? That the name is pretentious or that it sounds South African?

 “In fact, the published photos accentuated such feral features – an unusual angularity offset by a blackened eye and the demeanour of one who spends much of his life in the darkness. Overnight, Arie Smith became the face of looting, and a figure of public contempt.”

Commentary:

According to Laws, Mr Smith has ‘feral’ features. These include ‘an unusual angularity… and the demeanour of one who spends much of his life in the darkness.’ The comment is worthy of Joseph Mengele. There is no evidence of any sort to support the suggestion that Mr Smith ‘spends much of his life in the darkness.’ ‘Feral’ is among Mr Laws’ favourite words to describe his fellow man. It means: ‘Of, pertaining to, or resembling a wild animal, savage, fierce, brutal; untamed, uncultivated; ultimately descended from individuals which escaped from captivity or domestication; born of such an animal in the wild.’  Read the rest of this entry »

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Lawyers for the Sunday Star Times threaten me with an action for defamation – but the threat is “not for publication”.

I have received a menacing email from a Ms Sarah Bacon, a partner in the law firm Izard Weston. The firm acts for Fairfax New Zealand Limited, publisher of the Sunday Star Times.

The email refers to my recent post The Hotchin Affidavits – Four witnesses swear that Amanda Hotchin did not speak the damaging words attributed to her by the Sunday Star Times.

Paragraph 9 of Ms Bacon’s email reads: “Your blog and the comments that follow defame our client, the Editor of the Sunday Star Times and Mr Marshall. Our client will not tolerate these false and defamatory publications. Our client expects you to immediately remove the defamatory material from your website (along with any cached material) and to ensure that no further defamatory postings are published.”

Paragraph 10 reads: “We also put you on notice that our client will be minded to take action against you if you draw any adverse inference from the fact that our client is unwilling and unable to engage with you on this issue in a public forum.”

I have read and re-read the Hotchin Affidavits post and there is absolutely nothing in it defamatory of the Sunday Star Times, its editor or Jonathan Marshall.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The Hotchin Affidavits – Four witnesses swear that Amanda Hotchin did not speak the damaging words attributed to her by the Sunday Star Times

On January 8 of this year I received an email from Amanda Hotchin. The email was in response to a post I had published on 16 May 2010, entitled Reflections on Not Caring in Hawaii. The post was highly critical of the Hotchins and in particular of a statement attributed to Mrs Hotchin in an article in the Sunday Star Times under the by-line of Jonathan Marshall. In the article Marshall reported having approached Mrs Hotchin at the property she and her husband were renting in Hawaii and having asked to speak to her husband, Mark.

According to Marshall, a conversation ensued in which Mrs Hotchin said, “We don’t have to justify where we get our money from or what it is spent on to anyone. I don’t care what anyone says.” These words appeared in quotation marks and not as reported speech in Marshall’s report, indicating that they were the actual words spoken by Mrs Hotchin.

It was primarily on the basis of this quotation that I and others accused the Hotchins of being indifferent to the plight of thousands of Hanover investors, many of them elderly, who had lost their life savings when the company went under.

In her email to me, Mrs Hotchin claimed that she cared greatly about what happened to the investors and denied that she had ever spoken these words, or anything like them, to Jonathan Marshall. She continued:

The “quote” is pure fabrication. I have four sworn affidavits from people who were present or nearby when I told the reporter to leave the property. Two of those affidavits are from two Americans working on site at the request of the rental management company (who I do not know personally) who overheard our exchange and confirm I said nothing like what I was “quoted” as saying.   Read the rest of this entry »

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I receive and respond to an email from Amanda Hotchin

Stuff.co.nz

I have written four posts on Mark Hotchin. The first Reflections on not caring in Hawaii was highly critical of Hotchin’s and his wife Amanda’s seeming inability to comprehend why New Zealanders were offended by the contrast between the Hotchins’ current lifestyles and the current lifestyles of the thousands of Hanover investors who had lost not merely huge sums of money but their happiness and peace of mind as a result of Hotchin’s and Eric Watson’s greed and, by the most generous interpretation, mismanagement of the their investments.  

My comments had been largely triggered by a front-page report in the Sunday Star Times headlined Inside Hotchin’s Hawaiian Hideaway, in which Amanda was quoted as having said, “We don’t have to justify where we get our money from or what it is spent on to anyone. I don’t care what anyone says.”  

I concluded:  

It really is quite an extraordinary statement, exemplifying as it does all the characteristics of Level 1 moral development – absolute selfishness, lack of conscience and indifference to the welfare of others. I don’t doubt for a moment that these people love their children and are kind to animals. But the misery which their actions have brought to thousands of ‘mum and dad’ investors seems for them to fall into the category of ‘long-distance impersonal harm’, all the more distant from a lounger by the pool in Hawaii.    

I have nothing but contempt for most of the finance company shysters, whether on Wall Street or Queen Street, who have wreaked such havoc in the lives of those who put their trust in them. But really my contempt is wasted. They don’t care. And it is their not caring that is the unforgivable crime.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Gutter Journalism from the Sunday Herald and the Sunday Star Times

If you’ve ever wondered why journalists are among our least respected trades, have a look at yesterday’s Sunday Herald and Sunday Star Times.

Both tabloids carry stories about inappropriate relationships between teachers and their pupils. Among what journos like to call ‘sexy stories’ this brand of story may well be the sexiest. Why? Because they appeal to the most prurient fantasies of readers. Because the real people in these stories have actually done the very thing that so many men (and seemingly women) have only thought about – had sex with a schoolgirl or schoolboy.

This is not only the stuff of pornography, it is written into popular culture, from the girls of St Trinians, to the lyrics of The Police’s Don’t Stand So Close To me:

I’ve taught at school, polytechnic and university. Do you think that teachers and pupils at those institutions don’t have those thoughts? Then you are out of touch with reality. They do.

What makes these relationships dangerously inappropriate is the imbalance in age, experience and power between student and teacher. But it is futile to deny that strong emotional and sexual attractions can occur between pupil and mentor, particularly when the age gap between them is relatively small. Two such cases feature in today’s Sunday Herald and Sunday Star Times.

Read the rest of this entry »

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