A Media Council ruling against a opinion column written by Bryce Edwards has allowed the Labour-aligned liberal left to launch yet another series of attacks against him.
POLITICAL SCIENTIST and commentator Bryce Edwards has earned the seemingly permanent dislike of the Labour-aligned liberal left because of his consistent - but legitimate - criticisms of the Labour Government and its policies. As far as the liberal left is concerned, Edwards has quickly discovered that 'you are either with us or against us'.
Many of the attacks on him have been nonsensical. Last week Clint Smith, a former advisor to Jacinda Ardern, accused Bryce Edwards and Geoffrey Miller of being 'misogynist losers' for commenting that Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Government had abandoned New Zealand's independent foreign policy in favour of stepping in behind the United States and its western allies.
Geoffrey Miller is the geopolitical analyst for the Democracy Project which is overseen by Bryce Edwards.
Clint Smith has consistently attacked Edwards. During the occupation of Parliament grounds in February Smith tweeted that 'whenever you're feeling self-doubt, remember that at least you're not Bryce Edwards - the country's worst political analyst and, now, useful idiot for would be murderers.' Edwards 'crime' this time was to deny that the occupation was neo-fascist inspired and for observing that the participants came from all walks of life.
Among the other vocal critics of Edwards at that time were University of Otago academic Morgan Godfery and Wellington blogger Giovanni Tiso.
So the political opponents of Bryce Edwards have been in a something of a frenzy over a Media Council ruling that it has been issued on a opinion column written by Edwards. It was first published by the Democracy Project and subsequently appeared on both the RNZ website and on The Daily Blog. At the time of writing, the original article was still sitting on The Daily Blog.
The complainant, Hector O'Brien, said that the column had falsely claimed that Labour 'went into the 2020 election promising to break up the supermarket duopoly and bring down the price of food.'
The Media Council upheld the complaint. While the Council noted that RNZ had acknowledged 'that comment in the article was wrong and corrected it' it also said that RNZ had not 'acted quickly enough to fix obvious and significant errors of fact. Its explanation that it was in the hands of Dr Edwards, and that it did not hear back from him until April 4, was less than convincing.... It took four weeks to correct the column, despite a serious and obvious error. That is far from prompt, beyond the time when the story had any real currency, and few of the people who read it would have seen the corrected introduction or the annotation explaining how the article was corrected. '
In response Bryce Edwards told this writer:
'The first I found out about the Media Council complaint was a few days ago, well after they had considered the issue - they never contacted me, asked my side of the story, or for evidence. So no natural justice at all. And as soon as they made me aware that the inaccuracies were on the Democracy Project website I got it changed within minutes and let them know, but they still put out a press release saying that I hadn't changed it. And ironically, the inaccuracies I used came from an RNZ news story. I still take responsibility for getting this wrong as well, but I wasn't the only one - but was the only one that was pinged.'
Bryce Edwards is one of New Zealand's more perceptive and authoritative commentators and his work is published by a wide range of media including not only the Democracy Project and RNZ but the NZ Herald and the Guardian in the UK. He is also a regular commentator on such media outlets as TVNZ, Newstalk ZB, RNZ, TV3 and The Platform.
Its perhaps his popularity with the mainstream media that has led to the sustained attacks on him by the Labour aligned liberal left who don't much like his commentaries on the Labour Government. The Media Council ruling has provided his critics with ammunition to fire at him.
On the Labour-aligned The Standard ' Mickey Savage' - who is Labour Party activist Greg Presland - has jumped on the ruling to suggest that there is a 'considerable amount of anti Government commentary at RNZ.' The implication, of course, is that Edwards is responsible for some of that 'anti-Government commentary' and therefore should be 'cancelled' by RNZ.
Inevitably Edwards has been roundly criticised by on Twitter by Labour Party supporters. Sally Patrick (@sallypatricknz), for example, has tweeted that she has had 'So many concerns about Bryce Edwards (last 2 years) and RNZ (last 6 months), massive relief to finally see some official pushback?? My head was being done in by this total BS - and by people who should know better.'
Meanwhile Graeme Hall (@GraemeNZ01) has suggested : 'Bryce Edwards is pretty much symptomatic of what is wrong in our Universities. A man who will swear he is politically neutral (he may even think it) but has been hatched out of a Socialist incubator.'
So, Bryce Edwards is either a right wing propagandist for the National Party or a representative of the 'worldwide communist conspiracy'. Take your pick. Or maybe he's just a commentator trying to do his job.
What is concerning but not surprising is that while the liberal left has plenty to say about Bryce Edwards, it has so little to say about far more important issues. Like New Zealand's growing levels of poverty and inequality. These are the kind of issues that Edwards addresses in his columns and is no doubt the real reason he is despised by the liberal left who would much prefer that such matters are kept out of the media as much as possible, especially since they might threaten Labour's re-election chances.
Former NZ Herald columnist Rachel Stewart, who has also been the target of a campaign of vilification, has tweeted:
'I see @bryce_edwards is getting the usual treatment from the woke left - who always save up their most acidic bile for those they consider to be treasonous.'
As far as Bryce Edwards is concerned it looks like the liberal left are up to their old trick of trying to employ societal and political pressure to cull commentary they don't like.
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