The bitter fox who can’t reach the grapes

You may be familiar with the fable of the fox and the grapes. The fox couldn’t reach the delicious ripe grapes no matter how hard he tried so he coped with the trauma by convincing himself that he didn’t want the grapes in the first place and they were probably hard and sour anyway.

I thought of this fable when reading an article on the website Public Address, as the writer who wrote the article no longer has a regular column in the mainstream media.

He tried to disguise his bitterness as an opinion on what he called “Shit speech”, but all I saw was a fox making a case for sour grapes as he thrashed about trying to justify de-platforming and silencing individuals whose opinions he described as “Shit speech.”

He accused the following individuals of using ” Shit speech” :

  1. Heather du Plessis-Allan
  2. Mike Hosking
  3. Duncan Garner
  4. Sean Plunket
  5. Chris Trotter
  6. Bomber Bradbury
  7. Himself ( Joshua Drummond) when he had a regular column.

He defined “Shit speech” as: Quote.

[…] the stuff that might not necessarily be described as hate speech, but it occupies much of the same spectrum. It’s speech that presses the buttons of prejudice, bigotry and outrage, but isn’t necessarily hateful per se; that isn’t (always) lies, but is most often inaccurate, skewed, or otherwise misleading. It’s the floating turd in gutter journalism. end quote

This is a bloody terrifying concept. This tells me that if Drummond can’t shut people down for hate speech then he wants to be able to use a lesser charge of “Shit speech” to get the job done. He wants to silence mainly conservative voices but he includes left-wing voices that have dared to go off the plantation. Lefties who have stood up for freedom of speech or who have challenged “progressive” sacred cows like climate change and identity politics will be included under his “Shit speech” definition. quote.

[…] In New Zealand, common topics that shit speech explores include, but are not limited to, immigrants and refugees, the “entitlement” of Maori, LGBTQI issues, the “Treaty grievance industry,” and the full spectrum of climate change denial. (Anti-Islam rhetoric usually features prominently, but for some reason, it hasn’t much lately. I wonder why.) end quote.

Why? I can answer that one. It’s because people are bloody terrified at the moment to debate important issues because of people like Drummond who want to threaten their livelihoods. Why shouldn’t we be able to debate political ideologies in a free society? The fact that we are now scared to discuss political Islam and Sharia law shows how much our free speech is under threat in New Zealand.quote.

How we can get rid of shit speech

Many of the views espoused by the shit-talkers shouldn’t be on the air. They shouldn’t be in our nationally-syndicated newspaper columns. […]

The blame for shit speech sits entirely with the people who publish it.[…] shit speech needs to be de-platformed and ignored. Here’s how that can be done.

Lay complaints with regulators

Note your concerns with advertisers and sponsors

Hold the editors and publishers accountable

[…] complain to the relevant authorities. First, complain to the editor or producer of the shit-speech in question. If the response is insufficient, then take it to the Broadcasting Standards Authority (for radio and TV) or the New Zealand Media Council (for print and websites.) While a rebuke from either authority still holds some weight in the media, it doesn’t always count for much, which is why I recommend also doing step 2:

More effective still is to express your displeasure to the people who sponsor or advertise on the content in question. This is publishing’s Achilles heel. […] it’s always best to vote with your wallet. You know how many departing customers it would take to make BNZ’s sponsorship of the Mike Hosking Breakfast profoundly unprofitable? Not bloody many.

So if, like me, you are furious at NZME encouraging Mike Hosking and Leighton Smith’s endless prevarication on climate change, you might want to take it up with the sponsors, and make sure that people who feel the same way are ready to do the same thing. If their scant margins are threatened, publishers will drop shit-stirring broadcasters like hot turds. […] If Mike Hosking was drummed out of his media tomorrow, another shit-stirrer would pop up to take his place, because that’s how the incentives are set up. So, to me, step 3 is the most important:

Hold publishers and editors accountable. […] Go straight to the publishers. Complain to the editor. Tweet at the publishers. […] Inform them that you’re talking to their sponsors, that you’re calling advertisers. For some reason, a lot of people who set themselves up as free speech defenders for foreign fascists hate this sort of behaviour, but sadly for them, this is free speech and freedom of choice in action, and you should wield this powerful weapon as best you can. Oh, and if you absolutely must link to examples of shit speech to make a point, don’t reward the sites hosting it with a direct link. Take a screenshot, or use a service like Pastebin instead.

And here’s my final suggestion for defeating shit speech: pay for news. If you can afford it, sign up for the Herald’s new paywall. Donate to the Guardian. Click the Press Patron button on The Spinoff and Public Address. […] end quote.

Public Address

On the other hand, if you want to support a website where you can debate issues freely in a moderated, respectful environment subscribe to Whaleoil.