The revelations about NZ’s GCSB mass, ‘full take’, surveillance of communications in Pacific countries have resulted in far less criticism of the government than Key’s decision to send troops to Iraq. This is in spite of the muddled, inadequate, contradictory responses by John Key. And it is in spite of some mainstream and alternative media journalists/columnists criticisms of Key’s responses (see for instance, Andrea Vance, Gordon Campbell, David Fisher, Toby Manhire), and the fact that:
most of the targets are not security threats to New Zealand, as has been suggested by the Government.
Images of the likes of ‘Jihadi John’, ready made arch villain, for cowboys versus Indians style narratives, are likely to have a strong influence on many people’s political views – maybe more so than reasoned, evidence-based criticism.
Larger than life images of fictional (and fictionalised real) ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ provides the most direct means for large numbers to engage with political, social and economic issues. In the mainstream, images and related narratives of the likes of ‘Jihadi John’ may have more meaning for many Kiwis than references to faceless GCSB workers, or critics of mass surveillance.