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.
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