The proposed settlement between OHA and the state over revenues from the so-called “ceded lands” points out the big failing of daily media in Hawaii: it's press release and press conference driven. As a result, it continually reinforces a certain viewpoint that is reflective of government and its agents, but not necessarily the people.
In reading the reports published by Hawaii Reporter, Star-Advertiser, AP and Civil Beat, I was struck by how they all contained essentially the same information, which was provided by the governor's office and OHA.
Not one of the articles included comments from any Hawaiians who are not in government, even though the settlement proposed in 2008 was highly contentious and heavily contested, as I reported in a Honolulu Weekly cover article at the time.
So I'm left wondering, do the reporters who wrote these articles not know any kanaka in the independence movement to call for comment? Or have they just decided that their voices and views don't count?
As a result of their coverage, which is pretty much all that's out there right now, folks are left with the impression that this proposed settlement is "landmark" and the greatest thing since sliced bread — though one email I received likened it to OHA getting one slice while the state keeps the bakery.
The same is true of the Associated Press and Star-Advertiser reports on the Army's successful test flight of a hypersonic weapon, which traveled from PMRF to Kwajalein Atoll in 30 minutes. It's part of the military's plan to develop technology that could deliver a warhead (supposedly nonnuclear) anywhere in the world within an hour.
Both stories are essentially a reprint of the Army's press release. Again, no one sought out an opposing view, even though Kyle Kajihiro of DMZ Hawaii had something interesting to say in a comment posted on the Moana Nui Facebook page:
I would imagine that it can also deliver a nuke warhead. We spoke out against this when the navy did its programmatic eis years ago. At the time there was little to no information abut the hypersonic weapons, so the environmental impact analysis was incomplete. I never saw a supplemental study prior to their actual testing of this weapon. They are using the entire north pacific as their playground.
It's sad, even tragic, that journalism has deteriorated to such a state. Still, there is some humor to be found in the firmly entrenched belief that mainstream media is providing fair and objective reporting.