It wasn't so long ago that television breakfast host Duncan Garner was an enthusiastic participant in a vicious media campaign to bully former Green MP Metiria Turei out of Parliament. Now Garner is claiming that he's been "bullied' on Twitter.
ONE OF THE general characteristics of The Commentariat is that they are good at dishing out the criticism but are often incapable of taking it themselves. Whether they are hunched over a computer keyboard or are in front of a radio microphone or a television camera, they often assume that 'freedom of speech' is merely them having the freedom to say what they like while the rest of us, the great unwashed, must either applaud them in appreciation or at least remain diplomatically silent.
|Two of Duncan Garner's Twitter 'bullies' : Hamish Keith and Guy Williams.|
I have struck this journalistic phenomenon myself on several occasions and, sadly, it seems particularly prevalent in New Zealand. This might help to explain the fact that the level of intellectual and political scrutiny in this country is far below rigorous. 'The ruthless criticism of all that exists ' is not a maxim that applies to the New Zealand journalistic landscape.
It was Rosa Luxemburg who said that 'freedom of speech' would be rendered meaningless if it did not mean freedom for the person who thinks differently. So Duncan Garner Is quite entitled to say what he likes. But, equally, his critics are quite entitled to respond. It is this half of the 'freedom of speech' equation that Garner finds difficult to grasp.
|Labout MP Damien O'Connor : Tweeted his support for Garner's article.|
The opportunity is there for Garner to defend what he has written. Instead he has taken the easy way out and has tried to smear all his many critics as uninformed bullies. And, despite having been a resident of Twitter for several years, he now claims he hates the place and is leaving it for good. On Facebook he has complained:
"It's New Zealand's underbelly of militant hate. It's a foul and putrid place to hang out, I reckon. It's full of intolerant, self-appointed pseudo-intellectuals who will not put up with anybody who dare contests an idea in their echo chamber of elitists and anger. That's what they are."
But Duncan Garner can count on the support of least one person on Twitter. Labour MP Damien O'Connor tweeted Garner his congratulations for his article that has been roundly condemned as racist.