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April 6, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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Editorial – “Dear John”

Dear John,

What happened last Monday when Campbell Live ran that story about the Cleveland Motel? What the fuck happened, John?

The essence of what Clayton Anderson presented—in your lead story—was that students are an unstoppable force of nature: primed to vomit on any surface, destroy all your property and intimidate you.

Anderson says, “But students don’t accept the criticism.” Well of course they don’t, John, because the criticism is wrong. Yes, there was some tomfoolery by students. But VUWSA has won a court case where the Farquhar’s claims were shown to be a whole load of crap.

Not only that but The Cleveland Motel acted unreasonably by kicking out the VUW students—leaving them without accommodation and nearly $5000 out of pocket.

In a story here in Salient directly after the events, 2008 News Editor Seonah Choi points out there were claims that Mr. Farquhar had man-handled Team Vic’s Manager, called one student “a fucking bitch”, verbally abused other students, used racial slurs against others, and that the moteliers were unconcerned about a student who needed medical attention. The students were evicted in the pouring rain and then didn’t get their money back.

In a more recent story, Michael Oliver reports that VUWSA won the Disputes Tribunal hearing because the Cleveland motel could not prove under any circumstance that there had been cleaning costs or even damage costs to the extent they claimed.

All this information was missed by the story on Campbell Live. Heaven forbid that a small business owner—who says ridiculous things like: “Get the bikey gang in, or the Mongrel Mob in; but not the students,” and “You fucks, you scum of the earth. Look what you little pricks did down in fucking Dunedin! Scum of the earth, go save the world! Go save the fucking whales!”—be wrong? Anderson’s story gives false balance by including a few lame quotes from Freemantle and not explaining that even though VUWSA students have accommodation, it is over an hour’s drive away from New Plymouth, ironically located at an alcohol-free marae in Hawera.

In an interview with Salient in 2003 you said, “The issue is whether you can tell the truth as well as you are able.” This story was not even half truth. There is definitely an agenda behind this story, and it is not the truth, John.

Very few of the white, middle-class New Zealanders—for whom your show caters—will probably read this. But there is the hope that when some unsuspecting motelier Googles to find stories that will reinforce their irrational dislike of students, they may actually find this counterpoint.

If only Obama were the President of New Zealand. Shit like this wouldn’t happen.

Yours disappointedly,

Salient

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About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (2)

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  1. Superior Mind says:

    Actually John’s got to watch himself, he’s showing clear signs of resorting to tabloid sensationalist journalism. A while ago he was doing a story on the teacher who was stabbed by some crazy exchange student and looked at “weapons kids bring into schools”. There was a woman, obviously some advocate for this kind of stuff, who had a “collection of things confiscated from school students.” Among these were Glocks and Desert Eagles, (handguns.)

    Now I of course realised that these weren’t REAL guns, they were plastic airsoft replicas. Quite realistic looking with their orange plastic removed but they’re not going to kill anyone. Airsoft is just spring-fired plastic pellets, they’re not even as dangerous as my air pistol which fires metal BBs with compressed air but even THAT is far from lethal.

    Now I’m not saying that because they were Airsoft guns that it’s okay, what I am saying is that John and the woman he had on the show didn’t ONCE point out that these realistic looking firearms were in fact made of plastic and quite incapable of killing anyone. I don’t have any great respect for the intelligence of the general public so I fully expect that many people thought “Oh my God! Guns in our schools!? Something must be done!”

    That’s all well and good but personally I prefer a news show to be truthful and although he didn’t lie as such he certainly didn’t tel the whole truth in order to score points on the shock value. That just makes me loose a lot of respect for the man. Now it seems he’s not even bothering with both sides of a story any more.

    C’mon John, you used to be cool.

  2. This whole thing is smothered in “Well, duhs.” A sensationalist ratings-driven infotainment half-hour spent ten minutes holding up a sign that said “YOUNG PEOPLE GET DRUNK” while plastering a sticker that said “STUDENTS” across it, implicating every tertiary trundler from the history major in Auckland, to the 6th year med student in Otago as a drunkard doing things stone-age dogs morally outgrew around 50,000 BC. Meanwhile, an angry old white couple from Rotorua took time to relay their already dismantled accusations of destruction and dismay to the eager ears of Bitter New Zealand, who sat there thumping their fists and screaming, “SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT THESE STUDENTS!”

    Meanwhile, universities insist that they’re offering the same standard of education, despite suffering wholesale budget and personnel cuts; the Minister of Tertiary Education is AWOL and has made no active engagement with a population of learners who have expressed clear concern about the education they’re paying out the ass for; and the focus is on a couple of dipshits who couldn’t handle their piss up in Rotorua last year.

    Well, duh, Michael. Well, duh.

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