Paul Holmes has always been a battler for the rich and powerful - but that's not what the corporate media are telling you.

Veteran broadcaster Paul Holmes received  a knighthood this week and the critical  response from his political opponents  has been relatively  muted. While Holmes  has consistently attacked the liberal  and left wing end of town, he has  largely been  left alone by that very  same end of town.

That included a peculiar column on the Labour-leaning  The Standard, 'Doing The Honours', that managed to avoid mentioning Holmes at all.

Martyn Bradbury - a consistent critic of Holmes - made a cursory swipe at him  but otherwise  the good ship 'Sir Paul Holmes' has sailed serenely by with not even a warning shot fired across the bows.  The left in this country is so often pathetically polite and this is one of those occasions.

Of course the New Years Honours is a empty farce in which the political establishment rewards its members for their loyalty and devotion. It's a Punch and Judy Show without Punch so if the political establishment want to engage in a ugly public display of affection for each other, the rest of us will go and do something else more interesting - like clipping our toenails.

Holmes has also avoided critical flak because most of  the blogopshere is away on its summer holidays.

And the third reason why his political opponents have been reticent about criticising his  knighthood is because of his state of health.  Paul Holmes is battling cancer  and no-one wants to be seen as kicking the man when he is down - which, ironically, is  something that Holmes often  did during his broadcasting career.

But the political establishment have not been slow to cheer and acclaim their man.

That determined cheerleader for the rich and powerful,  the NZ Herald,  characterised Holmes this way:

'His phenomenal longevity owed much to a talent for recognising the major issues facing the country and articulating them effectively to all parts of society'.

So he recognised the major issues then? And he articulated them effectively  to all parts of society? Mm...

Does this include bashing beneficiaries?  With more New Zealanders being plunged into poverty by the Government's draconian welfare 'reforms' the response of Paul Holmes was to praise the Minister responsible for implementing those reforms. In his NZ Herald column he wrote:

The week, I have to say, belongs to Paula Bennett. She connects. She speaks normally. She talks the average person's language. We know where she comes from and she remembers where she comes from. She has the X factor.

Charisma, in its extreme form, can be elevating and inspiring. It can also simply be an aura, a quality, that makes us expect something interesting, something we will connect to or relate to, from the person who has it. So it is with Paula Bennett. She has a little of the darkness that stars have, too, and she is becoming, in her own way, a political star.

Paul Holmes wasn't much of a friend to working class Maori either- as opposed to the wealthy Maori elite which another new knight, Mark Solomon, represents.

In February last year  he wrote a deeply racist column for the NZ Herald. Among other things he wrote:

No, if Maori want Waitangi Day for themselves, let them have it. Let them go and raid a bit more kai moana than they need for the big, and feed themselves silly, speak of the injustices heaped upon them by the greedy Pakeha and work out new ways of bamboozling the Pakeha to come up with a few more millions.

Morgan Godfery wrote on his Maui Street blog:

In the vilest column I’ve ever seen, Holmes comes out swinging against Maori. The column is undeniably racist. At several points Holmes slurs the entire Maori race. For example, Holmes taints Maori as “loony” and “irrational”. The offensive and unfair language he deploys and the overall message of the piece encourages discrimination.

Apparently Holmes hopes to be remembered as a nuggety little battler. But who was he a 'battler' for exactly? 

 Holmes was never a battler for the poor, the dispossessed and the voiceless.  When the chips were down he was always in the penthouse suite jeering at the 'great unwashed' down on the street. He was, in the end, a cheerleader for the political establishment. It rewarded him with a knighthood for his long years of loyalty and service. He did his 'mates' proud.

The corporate media is busy rewriting history in order to protect Paul Holmes. We should not buy into it.


  1. I think not much has been said because Paul Holmes is, on reports I have heard, not long for this world. His cancer has returned and his heart condition is such that they cannot treat him any further. He is spending his end of days in Hawkes Bay. He deserves to be allowed to die in peace, after all he is a journalist not a Serbian war criminal. Once he is gone, let the gloves come off.

  2. I did mention his state of health.

    I was making the point that the mainstream media are, and are continuing to portray him, as something he wasn't - and sweeping under the carpet the aspects of his journalistic career that don't portray him in a good light.

  3. Thanks for writing this, I too couldn't understand the knight hood either and this goes a long way in explaining it. I've never been a fan but I thought he was pretty harmless. Seems not.

  4. Hear Hear ! Well said ! As for being left to die in peace... an uncle of mine died recently, he fought in WW2 , he was a member of the Communist Party in his 20's and 30's.He and his wife raised 4 children , all of whom went on to live good lives ( no P dealers in this family ) He worked hard all of his life in a 'lowly' job . He always spoke up for the dispossessed and struggling and did many good deeds through his life. At the wise old age of 86 he fell ill with bowel cancer , I went to visit him in chch public hospital and found him in an otherwise empty ward with shit stained blankets , unshaven and cold. I dare say paul holmes will have a better death than this.

  5. "Martyn Bradbury - a consistent critic of Holmes - made a cursory swipe at him but otherwise the good ship 'Sir Paul Holmes' has sailed serenely by with not even a warning shot fired across the bows. The left in this country is so often pathetically polite and this is one of those occasions. "

    Your taking the piss right ?

  6. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be taking the piss about.

    First, Bradbury did make a brief one-sentence swipe at Paul Holmes and he has consistently been critical of Holmes and his right wing views. I'm no fan of Bradbury's Labour-leaning politics but he hasn't been just another media toady for Paul Holmes.

    I'm assuming that you disagree that the left is so often pathetically polite. I concede that I probably didn't make myself clear.

    This wasn't meant as a criticism of the far left - for want of a better description - it has invariably been at the forefront of the struggles in NZ. But, of course, its resources are limited. It invariably is punching above its weight.

    I was thinking more of the 'liberal left' although I'm not sure what a 'liberal lefty' looks like these days. Can you really tell the difference between a left wing and right social democrat these days?

    The National Govt has launched attack after attack on ordinary folk in this country but you wouldn't know that from the liberal response. The Labour Party and the union hierarchy have allowed it all to happen. They claim 'concern' about what is happening but have done very little to stop it. Where are the strikes? The mass protests?

    The Labour Party and the Green party are the epitomes of liberal 'niceness'. Still beholden to neoliberalism instead of offering a clear case case for economic and social justice, they offer nothing but a discredited argument that they can make the free market work. They politely huff and puff but never blow anyone's house down.

    Instead of demanding an end to the madness they will actually continue it.

    Hamstrung by the lack of an alternative, too scared to embrace a society that isn't beholden to the demands of capital, they politely stand back and watch as New Zealand society is carved up. You will know who I'm talking about because I've been writing about them for years on this blog.

  7. I've been rendered speechless by the obsequious fawning poured upon Paul Holmes from all quarters. I haven't time to write a long tirade, but rest assured my opinion of Holmes, as a broadcaster and a human being, is rather low. We seem to be trapped in an "emperor's new clothes" scenario. We've been told to worship the rotter, so we are all falling over ourselves to do so in spite of the fact that there's nothing to like, let alone worship. The Herald has been particularly sickening in its reporting on Holmes. No journalistic standards of impartiality there.

  8. Obviously the Queen wasn't kept up to date on the Cheeky Darky thing.

  9. His former employer, Newstalk ZB, is resorting to censorship to protect Holmes. A caller to Tim Roxborough's midnight to dawn show brought up the 'cheeky darky' comment and was immediately cut off. Roxborough's comment was that 'we're not going to talk about that'.

    Roxborough has been full of praise for Holmes and obviously doesn't even want to consider that his hero has feet of clay.


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