Paula Penfold missed the opportunity to answer what was perhaps the most important question posed during the documentary Fire and Fury. She pondered how NZ had arrived at this place while speaking with Anne, one of the people who had been at the freedom protest.
Paula: “So, how have we, as a country, got to the place where it’s OK to respond to other people like this?
Anne: “It is sad where we have got to as a country, but what else can we do?”
Paula: “We could not be violent towards each other.”
Anne: “I was not violent.”
The many New Zealanders who gathered at parliament in February were there as a last resort. They did not know where else to turn or what else to do. All the usual channels to be heard or to have a conversation were closed.
Perhaps Paula could do another investigative documentary and find out what options people have when their government no longer listens or engages and rides roughshod over their rights. When Members of Parliament, the Governor General, the Ombudsman, the Human Rights Commissioner, the Ministry of Health, the Director General of Health, Medsafe, the Police, business leaders, workplaces, WorkSafe NZ, the media and the courts and Local Government cease to function as expected, where do the people turn and what should they do? If there is more blood spilled before our institutions have returned to the people, it will be dripping off the hands of Ms Penfold et al. If she was just sitting on them it would not be quite so bad, but she is madly stirring the pot of intolerance and bigotry herself.
Journalists, Know ‘Thyselves‘
This past article of hers perhaps illustrates why. She uses her sister’s stressful health journey to demonstrate her own fragile psyche. She appears frightened and bewildered at the start of Covid (understandable, we can all relate to that), then irrationally projects that onto those she worries might harm her family, then tries to rationalise those feelings. Nowhere in her story though does there seem to be an ounce of journalistic curiosity. So often what we see in questions they do ask, is a predetermined outcome seeking tenuous confirmation through selection bias and innuendo. Whilst noting her recent press award, we are reminded – as she will not want to be right now – of her dogged and quite brave work investigating vaccine injuries, of all things, at the hands of Merck’s Gardasil HPV vaccine. She successfully fended off a complaint by the pharma giant to the BSA, so good on her for that.
Like so many of the rest of us since 2020, she has been placed in a pressure cooker situation she never expected. She, and almost her entire coterie in the Media Party, as Cam Slater calls them, have been found especially wanting, taking the money and hiding from some terrible truths.
It was refreshing to hear recovering mainstream broadcaster Sean Plunkett dropping some truth bombs about Fire and Fury, though his inner shock-jock emerged and he bandied around a few derogatory diminishments himself. Unfounded we thought, but he rightly decried the filmmakers’ use of taxpayer money on propaganda, and their reluctance to come and argue their case with him. He can ask hard questions, but he listens to the answers. That’s his job, and Stuff’s too, surely.
It was notable that neither NZDSOS nor the Health Forum NZ was criticised or attacked in the doco, despite our ubiquitous presence at the camp, and our many supporters. Why were we left alone? Is it because we have significant science backing our objections to the government, especially round the loss of life? We suppose death is especially binary. Nor did the Stuff team profile any of the numerous vaccinated people there, who were either injured, or turned up to protest the apartheid society that so disgusted us all. It’s a shame they couldn’t talk to the protest mum who received news of her 19 year old son’s death from a post vaccine seizure. Not carefully enough investigated for signs of vaccine contribution, surely his story, and hundreds of others, could be of interest to genuine journalists?
Gutter Journalism in a Designer Dress
Many more positive and accurate words – and more truthful mini docos – have been written and filmed celebrating the spirit and promise of the camp, than this desperate attempt to fling around the N-word and brand us all racists, extremists and misogynist far-righters. Honestly, what a load of total crap. Did they not see how many Māori people were there, exercising their ancestral rights?
We’ve mentioned Der Sturmer before, but really all journalists should know the history of their profession, understand the power they have, and get out of reporting if they can’t handle it properly.
Many of us dissenters are where we are because we don’t need to sit in the middle of the herd – in fact some are frankly uncomfortable doing so – and so can end up choosing to live more on the outskirts of society; maybe as so-called alternative lifestylers, who look, sound and, frankly, think differently from the rest of us. But not all wear their studied independence as a badge of honour, and we still retain a huge amount in common with those lucky enough to exist comfortably sharing a more uniform experience of life.
We are among you, and you have never needed us more.