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Nats to journos: say what we want or shut up

Written By: - Date published: 12:59 pm, May 28th, 2008 - 12 comments
Categories: Media, national - Tags: , ,

Here’s Barry Soper on ZB on the ‘Kate-gate‘ Kiwisaver debacle:

What I found interesting was the way it was handled. I was the only person this time yesterday at this particular breakfast and it was a question from the floor. Kate Wilkinson quite clearly said that employer contributions to KiwiSaver was not going to be compulsory. 
Now, I had a call from the chief spin doctor from the National Party [Kevin Taylor] saying ‘I understand you are going to run the story, you are wrong’.  And I thought, hang on, I was there, I heard it, and so did everybody else in the audience.  And he repeated, ‘you are wrong, you will not run this, you are wrong’.  Well we ran it and by two o’clock yesterday afternoon John Key was saying ‘it was Kate Wilkinson that was wrong’. 
But it was the handling of it that I found not just offensive but bullying, and saying don’t run this.

This is not the first time that National has come down hard on a journalist that hasn’t followed their line. You will remember that Bay Report journalist Greg Robertson was bullied and threatened with dismissal after he quoted John Key saying ‘we would love to see wages drop’. Soper also felt National’s wrath when Bill English tried to stop him running an interview in which English said National would borrow for tax cuts.

National sees the media as a tool to hammer the Government, not an independent observer and critic. They can’t handle it when the media starts asking them the hard questions and their reaction is to threaten and bully. Hardly promising stuff from a possible government.

12 comments on “Nats to journos: say what we want or shut up”

  1. IrishBill 1

    Hey Steve. You forgot the time Bill English tried to stop Barry Soper from running an interview in which English said he would borrow for tax cuts.

  2. illuminatedtiger 2

    I’m rather critical of the media in New Zealand. One report on the Kate-gate saga then their political commentator trying to mitigate the damage, in my opinion almost excusing it. That report followed by a National Party policy announcement and another National Party hatchet job on the government.

    I don’t think they’re necessarily being told by National on what to report (I could of course be wrong) – but they do seem to be becoming lazy dropping investigative journalism in favour of political press releases.

  3. Patrick 3

    It seems to me like the media have just realised that they have been taken for a ride (or just some expensive lunches?) by the National Party and their spin doctors.

    Gordon Campbell has a very good article about National’s secret policy, well worth a read.

    http://election08.scoop.co.nz/national%E2%80%99s-secrecy-about-its-policies/

    His summary of the situation:

    … the National Party under John Key are replicating the most secretive and un-democratic qualities of the Lange/Douglas team of the mid 1980s. Policy will not be exposed to daylight until it is about to be enacted. Caucus colleagues cannot be trusted, and need to be kept out of the loop. The outcome of this secrecy ? The party figureheads screw up.

  4. chur Irish.

    Also, looking at my post “National sees the media as a tool to hammer the Government”, so that tool would be a hammer? Back to rhetoric school for me.

  5. Bethany Mark 5

    Barry has had another go at it today! See http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/newsdetail1.asp?storyID=138121

  6. Felix 6

    I have nothing in particular to add but the captcha warrants a mention:
    “Bradford in”

  7. mike 7

    Isn’t Soper getting old and bitter these days..

    Radio Live is getting stuck into the Tongariro-gate saga.
    They are offering 2 free nights at Tongariro Lodge (at the MP rate) to the 2 best callers this hour.

    Apparently there are a few more of these stories yet to be broken.

  8. randal 8

    worst of al is jim hickey on tv1 encouraging fat old men to roam round new zeland on their hardleys when the weather is fine stamping their carbon footprint and their decibels on the populace. now that is bullying!

  9. mike. There’s a thread about the NZ Housing, go there unless you want to talk substantively about National’s relationship with journos.

  10. Rex Widerstrom 10

    Illuminated Tiger sugests:

    “…they do seem to be becoming lazy dropping investigative journalism in favour of political press releases.

    Where there’s a choice between cock-up and conspiracy you’ll usually find the former is the cause (unless you’re Winston Peters). And indeed much of NZ journalism – particularly TV and commercial radio – has been a cock-up for most of the past decade.

    I could write an essay but I won’t (unless invited, in which case I can spiel off a few thousand words at the drop of a vowel 😉

    Suffice it to say that, having worked both sides of the fence, the present state of NZ journalism fills me with despair. And that’s not the fault of the people working in the profession, but of proprietors who fail to invest in sufficient journos of sufficient quality to permit any investigative work to be undertaken.

    captcha: Mrs Violent (wasn’t that a Monty Python character?)

  11. Lew 11

    No way to make this sound nice, so National need to just ignore it and move on, wait for the public to forget about it. They’ll have to eat a bit of humble pie to have the press not turn feral on them, I think.

    L

  12. Rex Widerstrom 12

    In a serendipitous sequence of events, NBR proves my point

    Even a flimsy facade of outright lies aimed at nothing more complex than free publicity for a TV series managed to fool enough of the MSM enough of the time.

    Only NBR, it seems, gave its journo the luxury of the time and resources needed to investigate… the rest were happy to regurgitate a press release.

    (Hat tip: Kiwiblog)

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