While the New Zealand mainstream media goes ga ga over Hobbits and pregnancies,  RT's  Breaking The Set is an instant antidote to mind numbing tabloid 'journalism'.

I know I should be dispassionate but sometimes I despair at the state of the mainstream media in this country.

I thought the media, especially television, had reached a new low with its  over-the-top and infantile  coverage of The Hobbit premiere. But I was wrong.  Just when I foolishly  thought it was safe to return to the murky waters of the corporate media,  my intelligence was  insulted again  by a whole load of rancidly sycophantic  stories about Princess Muck of Muckly and the announcement she will soon be unloading another Windsor on the embattled people of Britain.

This tabloid  story has given the media another sideshow to cavort in - namely a couple of Australian DJs making a prank call to the hospital where Princess Muck of Muckly  is presently enjoying the services of a private nurse.  TVNZ's hopeless news service actually gave this story greater priority than events in Syria.

I have  to say that I only monitor  the mainstream  media out of some sense of duty - that  there must be witnesses to the  rubbish that passes for news in this country.   For serious journalism that doesn't treat me as if  I was brain dead I have to go elsewhere.

I find myself watching a lot of the stuff on RT (Sky 96), formerly known as Russia Today.

RT America  is producing several good shows and many can be seen  in New Zealand, including  The Keiser Report, The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann, Crosstalk with Peter Savelle  and Capital Account with Lauren Lyster.  None of them I'm glad to say, feature salacious crime stories, celebrity stories and political gossip.

A new addition to the schedule is Breaking The Set with Abby Martin. I wasn't sure if this show was to make it to the New Zealand schedules but, happily, it can now  be seen Tuesday to Saturday.

It's a snappy and provocative show that, frankly, leaves Campbell Live  gasping in its wake. I coludn't imagine Abby Martin going to Wellington for The Hobbit  premiere  and sweeping  Warner Bros'  anti-union activities under the carpet - as did John Campbell and his other TV3 colleagues.   (Like the silly Samantha Hayes for instance - whose main 'contribution' was to severely  interrogate the Prime Minister  about the green bow tie he was wearing. Hayes has now been 'promoted' to  TV3's new current affairs show for 2013, optimistically called 3rd Degree.)  

While TV1 and TV3  were devoting a chunk of their limited news coverage to Princess Muck of Muckly, Abby Martin was talking with Michael Ratner.

Michael Ratner is  President of the Centre of Constitutional Rights in the United States  and is an attorney acting on behalf of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

He is also acting on behalf of Jeremy Hammond, who you may or may not have heard of. He has received next to no coverage in New Zealand  - unlike the extensive news  coverage  devoted to Princess Muck of Muckly.

Jeremy Hammond is a 27-year-old Chicago activist accused of hacking into the private intelligence firm Stratfor and releasing information to Wikileaks.

He was denied bail last month by Judge Loretta Preska who  told Hammond that he could be sentenced to serve anywhere from 360 months-to-life, if convicted on all charges.  Hammond has  been languishing in jail for eight months.

Also last month it  was revealed  that Judge Preska  had  failed to disclose that her husband had been a victim of the hack  because he works for a company which is a  current Stratfor client.

Supporters of Hammond are demanding that Judge Preska remove  herself from the case.

Martin also talked with historian Webster Tarpley about  the  unfolding of events in Syria. Tarpley  is of the opinion that events in that country are being orchestrated by CIA front organisations.

So if you want to watch a show that isn't like wading through custard, trying Breaking the Set.  It's  half an hour of news analysis and discussion  that doesn't hold its punches.  You might not agree with everything but it will get you thinking - as opposed to snoozing with the six o'clock news bulletins.


  1. We have no TV so regularly download or watch programs from RT Online. ( Max Kieser is certainly amping up these days !) We encourage people to watch RT but as soon as you say russian tv" their eyes go blank and they drift off. Read something the other day along the lines of " forget about those people who don't want to know - just help those who already do know what's going on ". Too true .


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