Anonymous: yeah sure, the media makes up all this stuff about violent crime. it doesn't happen. all those court cases, all those police appeals - they just make all that shit up.Clearly a troll, possibly an employee of the Herald, and a perfect example of a straw man argument. Next!
Anonymous: Far too obtuse an argument, even for you. [!]You're right, it is an aggregate of various criteria. However, if you'd bothered to read the methodology section of the report and the section on New Zealand, or even just the part that I quoted, you would have seen that we got the lowest (i.e., best) possible grade for violence and crime. Now, of course, that doesn't make us a "crime-free nirvana full of selfless pacifists", but I don't know where I said that it did. Why are straw man arguments so popular this season - have they been in Viva?
This is an international comparison which assessed a number of factors - including war records, military spending, government stability and crime levels - to determine the 'most peaceful' nation.
It did say that, on balance, New Zealand topped the list. It did not say that New Zealand is a crime-free nirvana full of selfless pacifists.
New Zealand does have crime problems, as does any nation. It does have a serious issue with meth abuse, like many nations. It would be folly to suggest otherwise.
To beat up a newspaper for reporting the crime that does happen, and the problems the country faces, is myopic.
To state that the same newspaper claims New Zealand leads the world in crime is an absudity uttered in an attempt to further a flimsy argument.
And to conclude that because a newspaper runs a peace survey story while also running crime stories is proof positive that it overplays and is obsessed with crime, is just total stupidity.
My argument, as regular readers will know, is that the Herald (and other mass media) don't just report crime - they play it for ratings. Sure, they're just trying to sell papers, but they shouldn't be given a free ride for that. As for the Herald claiming that we lead the world in crime, it's not as absurd as you think - partly it's my rhetoric, of course, but have you ever seen Your Views? Or even the letters page? Or Garth George?
And, finally, as for my reason for concluding that the Herald overplays crime being the publishing of the crime survey... you're new here, aren't you?
JP_Rocks: Personally, I am quite happy with the level of reporting that our rare occrences of violent crime get in this country, and the disproportionate levels of outcry that they cause. The opposite is far, far worse. Rather than showing how lawless a society we are becoming, I think it shows how very isolated these cases of horrific violent crime really are. Where else in the world would a convinience store robberies that occurred without a shot being fired become national news? I'm not saying that everything is peachy keen and terriffic, but christ, things could be a whole lot worse. Just ask any of the thousands of South Africans that walk among us.This is a good argument, on one level. I can see it having some plausibility. The only problem is that both anecdotal and social scientific research show that that's not what people take from it. I've discussed on the blog before how people, when surveyed, massively overestimate both the level and increase (the speed and acceleration, if you will) of violent crime in this country - and media coverage of crime is at least partly to blame. Of course, in some sense any violent crime is too much, but it seems to me that there are a lot of of negative consequences of this: a siege mentality, a lack of trust in fellow citizens, and an increase in racism and popular support for draconian, expensive and ineffective policy. In that sense, it was nice to read about the peacefulness survey on the front page. I only wish that the reporter had been given the time and space to go into more detail about what JP_Rocks and I definitely agree on - that New Zealand is, despite the reporting, not such a rotten place after all.
Proper content, including Garth, after lunch.
EDIT: Front page headline today: "Father's back fractured as home invaders run him down".