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MICHAEL BASSETT: BOGUS ELECTION MEDIA COVERAGE

This election campaign has degenerated into a media circus with endless trivial claims and counter claims, many of them driven by the media. As a result, we, the long-suffering voters find ourselves dependent more and more on the integrity of the journalists who are reporting the parties’ policies. Sadly, many aren’t doing the job. We know the Herald’s Simon Wilson of old. On Tuesday Professor Robert McCulloch in his Down to Earth Kiwi blog showed Wilson up once more, this time because of his attack on National’s tax figures. Wilson claimed Chris Luxon’s figures regarding the 15% levy on foreigners purchasing houses didn’t add up, when the real problem turned out to be Wilson’s own shaky sources. I hope Robert McCulloch doesn’t stop here: little of what Wilson thinks is journalism ever seems to pass muster. Several other Herald journalists also peddle their personal politics, although not as blatantly as Wilson. The others dress their stories up as reporting. Claire Trevett, Audrey Young, Michael Neilson and a couple of others slant their reporting towards the left. This isn’t surprising: a majority of reporters from time immemorial have been Labour supporters. Some, like Newsroom’s Jo Moir, just can’t help themselves. But they need to remember that in a tight campaign, slanted journalism can damage a perpetrator’s reputation for life.

The owners of the Herald, NZME, also need to exercise more care. They should have thought twice before letting the Council of Trade Unions, in the middle of a campaign, take over the front cover last Monday for a personal attack on a major political party’s leader. The Council of Trade Unions has a shady past, going back to the days of Fintan Patrick Walsh. Starting 83 years ago, the then FOL and its affiliates began playing games with the Labour Party, sending union bosses to its conferences armed with card votes and voting up or down on issues they’d never bothered to consult their membership about. The current Labour Government has over-empowered the unions once more, and until this is rectified the CTU are indulging in what resembles corrupt practices in defence of their newly-found privileges. The one thing we can be absolutely certain about is that the wider membership of trade unions, whom the CTU purports to represent, weren’t consulted before those front-page adverts. Shayne Currie and Murray Kirkness at the editorial level ought to have known that, and blown the whistle.

These days, of course, we get more of the news from television and radio than newspapers. Varying levels of professionalism are evident on the two main TV channels. Mike McRoberts and Simon Dallow are reliable performers, but TV3’s Amelia Wade shows her colours more than she should. Jack Tame does his job, but is more interested in avenues of attack than discovering the background to the issue. Despite its excessive, untranslated Maori verbiage, RNZ succeeds most of the time in straight reporting. Of course, blogs like this one, are a different matter. We don’t pretend to be unbiased, and nor do we charge for our stories. We don’t get money from the Public Interest Journalism Fund that Labour established in 2020, purportedly to assist media outlets adversely affected by Covid, but in reality, to exercise more control over the media. At the time the fund was created, many commentators smelled a rat and criticised newspapers for accepting what looked like a government bribe to journalists paid for by the taxpayer. The Herald’s editors haughtily dismissed those fears, but right now, in an election campaign, those assurances can be carefully scrutinised and, in several cases, have already been found wanting.

In a free country, journalists and the media in general need to be trusted to “speak truth to power” on their readers’ and viewers’ behalf. Prostrating themselves before Mammon, in the form of the Public Interest Journalism Fund, should be beneath them. Television and radio editors and communicators have considerable influence. They should use that power honestly. When interviewing, it isn’t necessary always to find fault with the interviewee. Teasing out a policy, its origin and its possible effect can be revealing. Constant negativity is the way our media succeed in blighting all politicians, giving the triennial election process in our lives a bad name. Why not leave trolling to social media?

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97 Comments


Len Lind
Len Lind
Sep 09, 2023

Most Journalists in this country are under the complete control of multi national companies and our present government also kiss aforesaid assholes.. The only way honest New Zealanders can change this sad status quo is by social media!! By election date NZ Loyal will have candidates standing in ALL electoral seats.

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The MSM is just another swamp that needs dredging!


Start with the editors who allow this stuff - scum always floats to the top!

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Bazza
Bazza
Sep 06, 2023

Mike Hoskins hit it on the head this morning. Chippie is so dysfunctional, he was singing praises about the 19,000 odd that came off jobseeker... but according to Mike he failed to state that 30,000 had entered. Last week I lost 3 kg, im real happy with my diligence, but my wife reminds me I put on 4 kg as well. These people are not honest, reliable or diligent enough to run our country, Will be interesting to see if any of the displaced Labour politicians will be able to get jobs as Chicken pluckers post October. They might struggle to pass the pre employment tests.

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Replying to

Being out of work Labour politicians their first port of call will be jobseeker benefit - and they'll spend a long time looking for that job!

In all honesty, these clowns couldn't get a job in a tented travelling circus!

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Hancock
Hancock
Sep 06, 2023

It's interesting to see once again that Winston Peters seems to be setting the political agenda for both National and Act. From "Let's take our country back" to other finer policy details we watch with great amusement as Luxon blatantly purloins popular policy ideas.

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basilwnz
basilwnz
Sep 11, 2023
Replying to

Update: I see Winnie has come out and stated bluntly that - deep breath - Maori are not descended from indigenous people!! No, their ancestors migrated here as did every other human being.

Brave fellow.

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The PIJF ($ 56 mil) is only the tip of the iceberg. The govt alone spends another $ 100 mil a year on (mostly pointless) advertising. Just stop that on 15 Oct, and bankrupt the lot (See Simoen Brown talking to Sean Plunket). Easy!

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