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How Mainstream Media Ignored An Important Book

The Sound Of Silence:

How mainstream media ignored the most important political book of the decade

By Jon Eisen

Heard of People Power yet? If not, there's a good reason.

The full title of the book is "People Power: How to make the government listen to you, for a change", a title not likely to endear its authors Jonathan Eisen and Steve Baron to the political establishment.

People Power (website: cuts straight to the bone of unresponsive and unaccountable governments, and has been totally ignored by mainstream media ? despite being supported by high profile New Zealanders such as David Lange, Winston Peters, Christine Fletcher Simon Upton, and Roger Kerr, all of whom have contributed essays or original interviews to the book..

The authors maintain that the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act of 1993 is inadequate (it makes referenda "indicative" or "advisory" only), and that referenda initiated by the people should be made "binding" on the government just like they have been in Switzerland for over 130 years. "Without the check and balance of Binding Citizens Initiated Referendums (BCIR), governments continually force their ideological, economic, political and moral beliefs on the public without a mandate or majority support of the people" says Steve Baron the book's co-author.

Thanks to a lot of emails and phone chains, the launch of People Power this August attracted more than 200 people and even had speakers from every referendum held so far. The firefighters even brought along a fire engine and parked it outside the venue to symbolise the firefighters' referendum of 1996. Representing the Norm Withers petition on tougher prison sentences was Garth McVicar from Sensible Sentence who also spoke at the meeting in support of BCIR.

Nevertheless, despite an avalanche of advance announcements, the launch was completely ignored by the national media, and was covered only by the Auckland Harbour News.

Co-author Jonathan Eisen said that despite his having three bestsellers in NZ, People Power hasn't even been reviewed by any national magazine or newspaper. "The silence has been deafening, he said. "We really must have something here to have stirred them to so much inaction."

Winston Peters, a contributor to the book, and a speaker at the launch, was philosophical about the media blackout.. "It happens all the time," he said.

"I've gotten used to it."

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