Saturday, 31 October 2015

Just to get a little something off my chest

Now I know that this might sound a little controversial and may not win me any friends but I am going to say it anyway and this is just my own personal opinion... I am pleased to be a kiwi and proud of the All Blacks being in the final of the World Cup, it's a great achievement for the squad, but it is a game (I know a franchise and business are wrapped around it, but essentially we are talking about a game here.)

What concerns me is that this squad of committed and clearly gifted athletes, their coaches, management, trainers, health professionals etc are under tremendous scrutiny from our media. If the worst was to happen and they lose then our media will dissect the game, minute by minute, decision by decision, blame will be apportioned and, if past events are any indication, then heads will also roll. And this won't just happen the day after, it will happen for weeks and will be referred back to next time we meet Australia on the pitch, and every time after that until the next world cup. These players will enter that stadium knowing this and the weight of a nation's expectations sit on their shoulders... a hell of a burden of responsibility and also a source of immense pride if they walk away with the cup of course.

The big thing that irks me about this is that our politicians are held to a much lesser account than a rugby squad by our media. In fact while the World Cup has been running our media have feasted on our success which is great but where are the headline stories following the nations performance in, as an example, bridging the gap of educational achievement. There has been an experiment with charter schools running over the last year or so, we could think about this as an educational tournament perhaps, so why haven't the media taken to exploring this 'tournament' play by play, player by player, decision by decision, behind the scenes, success or lack of (remembering that this was supposed to raise achievement in our most vulnerable populations) and compared it to the success, or lack there of, of other countries participating in this 'tournament of educational experimentation' as well? What would happen if they showed the same rigorous investigation, reporting and enthusiasm for social and political issues in our country as they do for rugby?

The same exacting, microscopic analysis could be applied to health, poverty, Christchurch Earthquake recovery, spending on a flag change, the TPPA arrangements, Dunedin South flooding relief and so much more.

And yet, so much of our media misses the deep analysis, debate, discourse of politics in our country. If our politicians were held to the same account as many of our rugby players we might well end up with a more honest government and that would have to be a shift in the right direction. I know this sounds like a naive opinion but it just another voice in among many asking questions which I feel is important in any democracy.

So I sit here proud of the achievement of our lads on the sports field and the leadership I see, regardless of the outcome of the final, but frustrated at our media and the way that it feels that major issues in our country are largely ignored by them.