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Armstrong’s gotchas

Written By: - Date published: 10:48 am, July 28th, 2014 - 19 comments
Categories: making shit up, Media, newspapers, spin - Tags: , ,

John Armstrong 28 July:

The ‘gotcha politics’ disease is afflicting all

It sure ain’t pretty. It sure ain’t enlightening. It is most definitely insidious. It is a creeping cancer of the New Zealand body politic. […]

“Gotcha politics” is all about focusing voters’ attention on the gaffes and mistakes of opponents rather than trying to win the election by winning the battle of ideas.

It is personality-based politics, not issue-driven politics. It is all about wrecking your opponents’ campaign by landing major hits on their credibility.

At its worst, gotcha politics can be an old-fashioned witch-hunt dressed up in modern-day notions of accountability.

John Armstrong 18 June:

Cunliffe’s resignation may be in order

At a minimum, the revelation that Cunliffe wrote a letter to immigration officials seeking information on progress regarding the residency application is a massive blow to the Labour leader’s personal credibility. How can anyone have any confidence in what he says from here on?

Cunliffe may argue that the letter was about immigration processes and written on a constituent’s behalf – something MPs frequently do – and therefore was not an endorsement of the application.

But that does not wash. Either deliberately or through a lapse of memory, Cunliffe has been economical with the truth.

It’s only “gotcha” politics when the left wing does it.

19 comments on “Armstrong’s gotchas ”

  1. swordfish 1

    Jesus, that’s extraordinary. The Witchfinder-General suddenly goes all coy about witch-hunts !

    • OWTim 1.1

      Exactery.
      I wonder what the holier-than-thou John Armstrong thinks journalism is.

      Funny as a fart that his ilk worry about the viability of newspapers – often putting it down to the emergence of the electronic. They could slow their demise if they acquainted themselves with the notion of the 4th Estate.
      Just as well they don’t = the sooner they pop their clogs, the better we’ll all be

    • Once Was Tim 1.2

      Exactery.
      I wonder what the holier-than-thou John Armstrong thinks journalism is.

      Funny as a fart that his ilk worry about the viability of newspapers – often putting it down to the emergence of the electronic. They could slow their demise if they acquainted themselves with the notion of the 4th Estate.
      Just as well they don’t = the sooner they pop their clogs, the better we’ll all be

      • Sacha 1.2.1

        Out-to-pasture time for toothless old codger Armstrong. What an embarrassing hack.

  2. Nix 2

    Cough, cough:

    “It is unfair to single out the Greens. Both National and Labour are just as guilty, if not more so. National’s being in Government makes it more likely to be a target of such attacks, however.”

  3. dv 3

    Makes you sort of wonder what gotchas are in the pipeline!!!!

  4. disturbed 4

    Yet another National dirty political diversion made by Armstrong.
    We wish he would do something constructive and attack the totally controlled right wing MSM.
    This wasn’t otherwise worth commenting on.

    Yes we want to dearly hear the opposition show us their policies of fixing this bankrupt Government mess we now have.
    * Food prices hit record highs
    By Shawn McAvinue
    1:52 PM Saturday Jul 12, 2014
    The Otago Daily Times

    *“net government debt as a % of GDP has risen from 5.5% in 2008 to 26.3% in 2013” (- figures from NZ Treasury Dept)

    Armstrong come clean and attack the MSM who are not investigating real political issues in N.Z.

  5. AB 5

    This is about Brownlee and airport security, Key not aplogising to Tania Billingsley, and this morning on NatRad the blatantly dishonest Nick Smith being outed for bullying and threatening Fish and Game to lay off the dairy industry or else he will ‘tweak’ them. And we all know which direction that tweaking will be in – stop advocating for rivers and lakes clean enough to support trout and salmon, just be happy if they are wadeable without getting sick. Just be happy that National-voting farmers have got rich (mostly through untaxed capital gain on their land) and that some crumbs may drop to small-medium businesses that supply equipment and services to farms.
    For a Nat fan-boy, Guyon gave the evasive Smith a moderately hard time.

    And Armstrong is preparing the ground to minimise and gloss over future gotchas. Especially if KDC has anything to show on Sep 15. This is why KDC is absolutely right to delay anything he has. The media will be all out to minimise, distract, smear the messenger, praise Key, mention his poll lead multiple times, and get it out of the news asap. Or in the case of the Herald never have it in the news, or if that is too blatantly partisan, have it several pages in with a headline twisted to make it look like Labours fault anyway.
    Cast your mind back several years to Bill English’s housing allowance rort – never made page 1 of Herald but if it had been a Labour deputy PM it would have been slathered everywhere. What a poisonous piece of Tory Sh*te the NZH is.

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    Hes another headline for Armstrongs ‘gotchas’

    Court jester Joyce impales Cunliffe with rapier wit
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/john-armstrong/news/article.cfm?a_id=3&objectid=11299270

    When national does it – its rapier wit, laughable really when Joyce has no wit at all.

    Not a word about the ‘Gotcha in Chief’ either

    same goes for the Hoskings issue , they wave their arms about’ labour complaining’, but no such problem when Key raised the issue himself about Linda Clarks impartiality. Of course its part of their hidden deal with Key is not to give him a serve.

  7. mickysavage 7

    Some of the comments on the Herald website are good:

    “”The other major factor is conflict-driven news media. The seemingly insatiable 24-hours-a-day appetite of internet news sites means quality has to be sacrificed for quantity when it comes to investigations and analysis.
    In these circumstances, it is temptingly easier to manufacture the news through the media playing their own version of gotcha politics by trying to catch politicians out.”

    You’re kidding, right? The irony is so glaring my eyes hurt.”

    And this …

    “You can’t have a battle of ideas when one side has completely vacated the debate. The National Party has released barely any policy. Voters have no idea what a vote for a third term of a National Government will mean and a significant proportion of them are prepared to go to the ballot box and tick away blind. Where are National’s policies and why aren’t they telling anyone what they have planned?”

    And this …

    “Personality based attacks? Lets try illegal acts performed by National MPs that the media does not cover or only makes minimising comments about. If I used my employers credit card for personal gain, I would be facing Theft as a Servant charges. If I ignored security protocols at an airport, I would of been arrested. If the media reported fairly and impartially perhaps people would see the bigger picture.

    However all these little side issues suit your agenda. Instead of covering the issues YOU spend hours writing biased drivel to forward the cause of the Key Machine. It is about time you started demanding the same accountability from the government as you do from the opposition.

    John Key can afford to look as if he is ignoring personal attacks, because he has you as a pit bull doing it for him.”

    Not to mention this …

    “The hypocrisy is astounding.

    Here is a report on “Gotcha Politics” being published by one of the biggest supporters of one of the biggest perpetrators. Where is your integrity?
    I’d ask of you to focus on reporting in an unbiased and factual manner but that would be far too much, wouldn’t it?”

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      I’m impressed the Herald let those comments through and kept them up for longer than 5 minutes.

      • McFlock 7.1.1

        it’s those little glimmers of a conflict between corporate policies and revenue self-interest that give a glimmer of hope, every now and then 🙂

  8. ianmac 8

    Cameron Slater reckons he is sitting on an explosive expose which will sink Kim Dotcom just before the polling day. He might have too, but hard to imagine it would trump Key lying.

  9. TautokoViper 9

    Dear John Armstrong,

    You describe Gotcha politics as a cancer.
    “It is personality-based politics, not issue-driven politics. It is all about wrecking your opponents’ campaign by landing major hits on their credibility.”

    I am in total agreement with you on this.

    However, this does not mean that MP’s should not be held to account for genuine misdemeanours (as in the cases of Maurice Williamson, Judith Collins, John Key, Gerry Brownlee, Nick Smith, etc).
    I put it to you that as a political journalist YOU can resolve not to indulge in future reporting of personality attacks. Instead you can lead by example to raise the standard of political journalism by comparing and contrasting the Policies of the parties so that the public can be served by a impartial fourth estate.

  10. Once Was Tim 10

    What amuses me about the ‘cult of personality’ in politics, AND in journalism is that each sector want it both ways – they want it all on their own terms. I hope they understand they’re living on a really wafer-thin foundation (but then I’m sure most think they float, since most have egos the size of a bus)
    Jonolists are taking pot shots at politicians they think they have the dirt on (in a bid to gain stardom and one-up-manship) whilst politicians with power try to maintain it by bullshitting us all as much as they can.
    There’s also all that ‘what plays in Vegas, stays in Vegas mentality’ going on in the background (a la John Key’s ‘top drawer’). There are things that (the likes of) the Press Gallery don’t talk about – similarly what masquerades as a 4th Estate have their own hushhush ‘down lows’.
    To my mind …. IF they want personality over news; person over public, they’re not actually entitled to that indulgence unless they earn it – it only survives because of what they purport to represent. Trouble is they no longer have the monopoly on the corrupted platform of information dissemination they think they have. They’ve come to represent sweat fuck all – a ‘Mainstream Media’ and a political environment that most look on with a huge degree of cynicism – which is why all these polls and their analysts, and the analytics that go with it are sweat fuck all too.
    BUT …. as to the above …….
    Care to comment Guyon? Peddy Gear [with your Garner mentoring and arm movement-training], the mediator Hosking with the charming daughters?, the neo-lib Fran hero-worshipping pok-faced ‘State TV – pillorying’ Ralstan even (some of us have long memories); the raspy-voiced Skoi TV/ZB political ‘expert’. J’accuse! Pots Kettles Blacks Closet Homos Mysogenists Alcoholics Wife-Bashers – actually you couldn’t FIND a more dysfunctional group amid the so-called press gallery journalists AND their targets – and the funny thing is that many amid them have the cheek to moralise about the dirty filthy bene class. Christ! I’m even beginning to understand Muldoon’s motivation. Jesus! I forgot the ladder puller upper. She’s fucking lucky no member of the 4th Estate has chosen to vestgate going forwid.

    It’s all rather pathetic really – a bit like the way the British Empire survived as long as it did: based firmly on a foundation of solid bullshit and bluff – till someone not familiar with ‘what’s in, and what’s not’ breaks ranks (a bit like Andrea Vance as a new arrival). Entirely UNjournalistic but very political.
    IF they want to continue to push the cult of personality further, they shouldn’t really be surprised when Whaleoils pop their ugly pus heads up amid the sloth; RNZ shouldn’t be surprised when recent appointments get outed as bog crawlers pondering their sexual preferences around the Southern Wellington Coast; TVNZ and talkbak radio hosts shouldn’t protest loudly when their children get photographed …… the list is becoming endless really.
    I feel pretty bloody sure there’ll be a day of reckoning when they realise their holier-than-thou attitudes are as much down to bluff and bluster as was the longevity of the Britis Empire.
    Nothing to hide …. nothing to fear and all that kaka. Works two ways.

    Christ! you could make a documentary about it all – but I’m picking it’ll be another 6 or 7 years before there’s enough ‘wake-up’ amongst the chardonnay-sipping NZoA funding class to see that it’s be a winner.

  11. Jrobin 11

    The comments were witty though. Wonder if John reads them, he will feel impaled by a couple of rapiers himself I suspect.

  12. Kat 12

    Lets be real here, they are in it for the pay check. Small time sycophantic commentators, such as Armstrong, masquerading as journalists, are featherweights by international standards and mainly want to secure their ‘position’ so to speak.

    Well he and the other MSM journos that write blatant rubbish better be wary. The new wave is coming, and its a dumper.

  13. newsense 13

    wow! the comments were something like 80-5 anti-Armstrong and calling him out on his double standard. That seems amazing. And not something old school print journos are used to having to deal with.

    Loved this bit about Hosking in the piece on Joyce:

    “Hosking is a professional. He hardly needs reminding that his performance will be scrutinised intently. Any bias will be blatantly obvious. Which is why there will not be any bias. ”

    So that would be something like a comments section with a split something like 80-5 calling what you are doing an exercise in hypocrisy then?

    • disturbed 13.1

      Who is already spinning it for National??

      Allison Pugh and Rawdon Christie “GOTCHAS” right wing politics promoting a scrupulous impartial campaign?

      This morning Allison & Rawdon on Breakfast we are “scrupulously” watching you as Government are also watching all of us now!!!
      Evidence here.

      Subject: RE: So TV1 where is the “impartial fairness” TV1 has scrupulously promised David Cunliffe this morning 29th July 2014?
      Importance: High

      At 8 54am 29th July on TVNZ one Rawdon Christie & Allison Pugh were TVNZ breakfast TV hosts on “Breakast” this morning.

      Both commented on Labour leader David Cunliffe’s response to TVNZ assurances given after concerns were sent from Labour that TVNZ will not act in an “Impartial & a fair manner” during the leaders debate using Mike Hoskings.

      Allison Pugh said, –

      “TV3 has John Campbell as mediator and is considered left leaning so TV1 has an equalling factor and this will even the process out wont it?”

      Rawdon Christie said: –

      “David Cunliffe did not actually say he believed that Mike Hoskings will be impartial and fair during the leaders debates did he?”
      “I am confident they will be scrupulously impartial”

      So TV1 where is the “impartial fairness” TV1 has scrupulously promised David Cunliffe this morning 29th July 2014 and on second breath says if Campbell is hosting the left and we are hosting Hoskings? with what Allison & Rawdon? – the right? Does this explain how TVNZ is impartial???
      “GOTCHAS.”

      TVNZ said they will be “fair & impartial” and this was promised on TV1 at 8am 29th July 2014, and also that their interviewer will be unscrupulously careful in this regard.

      Ha Ha. With Mike Hosking? Read this. http://thestandard.org.nz/everything-in-moderation/
      Everything in moderation …
      Written By: Stephanie Rodgers – Date published: 2:00 pm, July 24th, 2014 – 43 comments
      Categories: election 2014, Media, tv – Tags: leaders debate, mike hosking, rachel smalley
      I’m not sure it really warranted being front-page news (Gaza? MH17? Anyone?) but the announcement of Mike Hosking as the anointed moderator for TVNZ’s political leaders’ debates was always going to lead to a bit of head-scratching.
      Hosking’s political leanings are pretty clear, and very public. Last year he MCed Key’s state of the nation speech, saying “We have bright prospects for the future, so long as you keep them in Government.” When the Listener questioned him about that “ringing endorsement”, he said, “Yeah, absolutely. Why not? I’m allowed to.”
      This isn’t the same as other political pundits (who I’m sure you can name in the comments) who get regularly accused of bias by one side, or the other, or both at the same time. Mike Hosking is on the record saying our “bright” future depends on having a National-led government. He simply can’t look unbiased and moderate in that context – and that’s kind of the point of moderating.
      (And this isn’t just a leftwing concern: what if the producers are so anxious to prove Hosking’s impartiality that it makes him unduly harsh on Key?)
      We’ve had a lot of fun on Twitter this morning coming up with #BetterDebateModerators, but I have a serious suggestion: Rachel Smalley.
      I’m no fan of her thoughts about the size of Kiwi women’s butts, but she’s an obvious choice for TVNZ: a talented, respected interviewer who’s already on your payroll, who makes for engaging, intelligent television, who doesn’t have all the biased baggage of Hosking …
      And yep, I’ll say it as a feminist: by having a head-to-head leader’s debate, we’re already guaranteed a TV screen full of white dudeliness. It wouldn’t kill us to break that old-boys’-network vibe, would it?
      (I’d also accept Mihi Forbes but unfortunately she’s signed to another team.)

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