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DAVID FARRAR: Media Bias Exposed

The video/article below was first published at The Common Room


I want to talk about media bias in New Zealand. Now by media bias, I don’t mean that there is a cabal of journalists deliberately being biased, as you sometimes see in the United States. The bias I mean is unconscious bias, where many journalists have a worldview that makes it impossible for them to fairly report on values, beliefs and policies supported by people, not on the left of politics.

It has generally been accepted in many countries that more journalists lean left than right, but until recently, we have not had any hard data for New Zealand. Fortunately, the Worlds of Journalism Study in late 2022 has now provided some useful data through their survey of working journalists.

The study found a massive 81% of NZ journalists classified their political views as left of centre and only 15% as right of centre. So rather than have a 1:1 ratio of left-leaning journalists to right-leaning journalists, you have a 5:1 ratio.

This is in stark contrast to the New Zealand population. The 2020 election survey by Auckland University found 28% of respondents identified as left of centre and 43% as right of centre. So journalists are very unrepresentative of New Zealand in terms of political views.

New Zealand journalists were also far more likely to hold extreme left views. 20% of journalists said their political views are hard or extreme left, compared to 6% of adults. On the other side of the spectrum, only 1% said their political views are hard or extreme right compared to 10% of the adult population.

In the last few years we have also had the $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund. This fund in no way requires journalists to report favourably on the government, but it does require journalism recipients to subscribe to the government’s views on the Treaty of Waitangi, which means that debate on the hugely important issue of the role of the Treaty of Waitangi is almost entirely absent from most of the New Zealand media.

A poll by my company Curia in March 2022 found that 59% of New Zealanders believed government funding of private media companies undermines the independence of media. This view was shared by people across the political spectrum by a majority of National and Act voters and a plurality of Labour and Green voters. The same poll found only 24% of New Zealanders support the Public Interest Journalism Fund.

The third and final piece of data of interest also comes from a Curia poll, which was conducted in early April 2023. It asked New Zealanders to state whether they thought various media outlets leaned right or leaned left or were neutral. The net leans left (so left-leaning minus right-leaning) for each outlet were:

  1. Stuff +18%

  2. The Spinoff +15%

  3. One News +14%

  4. Newshub +13%

  5. Radio New Zealand +7%

  6. NZ Herald +0%

  7. NewstalkZB -37%

  8. The Platform -30%

So the only major media outlet seen as broadly neutral was the NZ Herald. The two talkback stations were seen as leaning right, while both main television networks, Radio New Zealand, Stuff and The Spinoff, were seen as leaning left.

It was fascinating that a greater proportion of New Zealanders regard Stuff as leaning further to the left than The Spinoff.

This partly explains why trust in the media is so low in New Zealand. A poll late last year by Dynata found only 30% trust the media. I suspect it will keep dropping unless the media industry recognises it has a problem.

To many New Zealanders the media are not seen as disinterested reporters. They are seen as employees of companies with ideological agendas who not only don’t understand New Zealanders who are not left-leaning but show active hostility towards them.

In countries like the UK and the US, newspapers and broadcasters quite openly lean left or lean right. I regard that as preferable to the situation where a newspaper or broadcaster proclaims they are neutral, yet they are not.

It has become very fashionable for media companies (and non-media companies) to have diversity statements, expressing their desire to have newsrooms that reflect the ethnic diversity of New Zealand. It would be nice if, one day, they also expressed a desire to have newsrooms that reflect the political diversity of New Zealand.

I’m David Farrar, media commentator, pollster and blogger for The Common Room.

5,982 views85 comments


There is lots of tal kabout the PIJF as if thouhg that is the only money this govt is funneling towards its corrupt media lapdogs. What about the rest of adevertising that falls outside the PIJF. We are bombarded daily with a constant barrage of adverts, not only form govt, but form all SOEs and quasi-govt organisations. I'd love to see ACT and National cut this feed tube and bankrupt the lot. It would be the easiest thing in the world ot do. Then we could build an independent media form scratch, with a code of conduct.


Robert Mann
Robert Mann
Jun 26, 2023

The ghastly NZ Horrid has always been neither L nor R, maintaining a grovelling servitude to the Govt of the day while from time to time posing as 'investigative' or 'revelatory'. I have always hated it. Can't slot it as L or R.


I thought the media bias during the Covid pandemic was conservative, because they refused to challenge the govt narrative, even when it looked wrong. Even when it became apparent the vaccine didnt work to stop infection or transmission, the MSM never questioned the pulpit of truth, or Jacinda Ardern. The defining feature here is they no longer value the truth, or even believe that objective truth exists. Even Chris Hipkins could not confirm that people are born as XX or XY gender, and pretended that we decide our gender as we grow up. So whether it is about vaccinations or sexuality, truth has been devalued and cancelled by the Woke Labour party, who have become tribal, and placed themsel…


This is very good example of how western authoritarian liberalism's MSN & ruling elite operate.

This German political party is not a Nazi party. It is a patriotic, grassroots, Germany first type party. But the ultra-liberal MSM & German (US/UN/EU puppet) government are crapping themselves over their democratic success.

This snippet from the article is a typical Zionist holocaust guilt generating reaction to the AfD's success;

"The International Auschwitz Committee also expressed horror.

"Today is a sad day for the Sonneberg district, for Germany and for democracy," Executive Vice President Christoph Heubner said.

"A majority of voters have obviously said goodbye to democracy and deliberately opted for an extreme right-wing party of destruction dominated by a Nazi."

How is…

Replying to

I am used to seeing Libertarians and fundamentalist Christians in opposite camps.

Is Germanys afd party liberal or conservative ? The biggest difference is between the woke people that endorse transgender bias, or liberals, and traditional people who believe we are born either XX or XY. Who best represents democracy ?

I say it is the people who can stick to the facts.


Steve Hall
Steve Hall
Jun 25, 2023

NZ On Air's "Goals of the Public Interest Journalism Fund" cites that the fund "must achieve these things.." - number 2 on that list is

"2. Provide accurate, accountable, and fair coverage that reflects and empowers all sectors of the community upholding the public’s right to know."

( )

It has categorically failed on that aspect alone.

For example, look at the Posie Parker coverage pre - Albert Park. The reporting from 1 and 3 news was so polarised and inflammatory prior to PP arriving in NZ, that the riot was inevitable. Newshub's 'secret salute' item was especially shameless.

Seeing as the media have demonstrably failed to deliver on this "must achieve" condition, what accountability is there? When will…

Replying to

Well said Steve

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