This morning we had a perfect example of what so deeply frustrates those of us who keep harping on about pro-government bias in how the mainstream media report political events. After an appalling display of obfuscation and a blatant disregard for public concern from PM John Key over his ex-spy boss confirming mass surveillance of Pacific Island countries (and by default, many NZers) on Morning Report at 10 past 7 this morning, by the 7.30am headlines it had been reduced to something along the lines of “PM assures NZers there is no mass surveillance” and a dig about stolen emails. This ‘Bluewashing’ continued for the rest of the morning.
As if this wasn’t disingenuous enough, they programmed Kim Dotcom to be interviewed straight afterwards, thereby dog whistling to all those who have a negative response to Dotcom that the current concerns about mass surveillance are all part of his Dr Evil-like plan to misinform the public and take over the world (cue little finger in mouth and demonic laugh.) I fail to see how this is merely unfortunate programming – it’s provocative at best and highly manipulative at worst.
I desperately try to hold on to the hope that this kind of reporting won’t happen on National Radio, and time and time again find myself yelling at it when another such example blurs the issues and gives our Machiavellian Prime Minister yet another opportunity to shrug off concerns about his government’s erosion of privacy and democracy. It’s so depressing.