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Cutting out the middle man

Written By: - Date published: 11:40 am, February 28th, 2008 - 39 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

The Herald reports that after questioning by the media,

‘Prime Minister Helen Clark says her criticisms of the New Zealand Herald bear no similarity to the ejection a newspaper publisher from Fiji by that country’s military regime.’

That the Herald believes this is in need of clarification, or is even worthy of publication in a respectable newspaper, shows just how much they’ve fallen for their own spin.

You have to wonder whether they’ve finally cut out the middle man and handed editorial control to the extremists at the Free Speech Coalition:


UPDATE: David Farrar has a cry over at his blog, taking literally our joke that perhaps the Herald is letting him decide their editorial line.

He also claims that because it was a story from the NZPA newswire the Herald isn’t to blame. Now let’s make this clear: the Herald has made an editorial decision to pick this story up when other media wisely ignored it. They have chosen to run it hard with front-page billing in a way that no other media outlet has. And they have chosen to file it in their ‘democracy under attack’ category and title it in a sensationalist manner to provoke a reaction. These are all deliberate editorial decisions that reveal the Herald’s bias.

39 comments on “Cutting out the middle man ”

  1. Steve Pierson 1

    It’s like I said the other day regrading Key’s attack on the journalist in the “we would love to see wages drop” saga: journalists and journalism are not above criticism, but that’s something else entirely from banning journalists or covering your own mistakes by saying the journalist can’t even take a quote correctly.

  2. gobsmacked 2

    “National leader John Key says his criticisms of the New Zealand Government bear no similarity to the ejection of a government in Fiji by that country’s military.’

    I’m glad the Herald has made that clear. You can’t be too careful, if it’s not denied, then (… insert brainless Godwin’s rant here).

  3. James Kearney 3

    I like this one from KBB:

    “In other news, the Herald reports that Bill English says his farming background bears no similarity to a North Canterbury man’s charge of attempting to have sex with a goat.”

  4. Billy 4

    Not so sure, Tane. Woolly old Jeff on moaning report asked the same question this morning.

  5. higherstandard 5

    I absolutely agree with a number of Helen’s comments quoted in the Herald here’s one you didn’t choose to reproduce from the Herald.

    “It’s inconceivable that you can hold open, free and fair elections if you have media intimidation,” Miss Clark said.

    Miss Clark this week said the New Zealand Herald had run a silly campaign against the Electoral Finance Act, and was a Tory paper which had shown no charity to Labour in the party’s 91 years of existence.

    Miss Clark said her husband did not consult her when he wrote letters to the editor and she did not want to restrict his freedom of speech.

    No, not his freedom of speech, but quite happy to restrict mine, and anyone else from having a say in whatever way they see fit.

    I don’t think anyone can be surprised that the Herald is getting particularly feral as from day one along with the majority of other media, human rights commentators etc they made their position on the electoral finance act very clear.

  6. Steve Pierson 6

    higherstandard. you, like Davis, are perfectly entitled to excerise your free speech by writing to the newspaper. And both you and Davis would need to reguster as a third party if you wanted to spend more than $12,000 on election advertising and both of you would have a total cap of $120,000.

  7. Dark Watcher 7

    Leftists can’t see the slide to dictatorship even though it’s right in front of your lickspittle faces. Klark will be the end of this once proud nation’s democracy.

  8. Paul 8

    Hey guys,

    the days are long gone where the Herald can claim to be the ‘paper of record’ for the nation. As pointed out over at Kiwiblog, the role of the media is indeed to keep the politicians to their word with rigorous and unbiased reporting.

    However as I have blogged, the following article by the Herald is nothing short of idol worship.


    National’s criticism of Helen’s question of the neutrality of the Herald (and it’s right to print what it wants when it wants to) are some what hypocritical when they continue to gag one of their own democratically elected members. D Watcher (how cool is that moniker, must have taken hours to be that clever and anonymous) seems to think that Labour is on the road to dictatorship, yet the right are actively engaged in gagging and silencing. Nice to see they are off on the foot that they intend to carry on down though.

  9. insider 9

    Can you experts point out the line/s between fair comment, media intimidation and shameful attacks on the integrity of journalists?

    I’m getting confused in the shifting sands.

  10. higherstandard 10

    The eyes are open, the fingers type, but Mr Brain has long since departed, hasn’t he, Steve?’

    See how far $12,000 will get you if you’re motivated enough to rale against the right or the left in mainstream media and have no wish to register as a third party.

    And for clarification the article in the Herald was from the NZPA are you suggesting the herald has editorial control over the NZPA if that is the case that would be news !

  11. Tane 11

    and have no wish to register as a third party.

    There’s where you argument falls down.

    And for clarification the article in the Herald was from the NZPA are you suggesting the herald has editorial control over the NZPA if that is the case that would be news !

    Read the update. The Herald has editorial control over a) whether they pick the story up when no other major media have chosen to, b) whether they run it hard on their front page, and c) whether they file it as ‘democracy under attack’.

    These are all editorial choices the outlet has to make, and in this case the Herald has shown its true colours.

  12. Tane 12

    Hey Paul, by the way, I’ve been following your recent series on the Herald’s love affair with National – good stuff, keep it up.

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    This line of attack by The Herald was thoroughly predictable – they had to do something to get back at Clark for her comments. That’s just how the MSM is, petty and childish. They consider themselves above criticism, and will therefore punish anyone who dares transgress.

    I just didn’t think they’d stoop to DPF’s level.

    Dark Watcher, the depth of your knowledge both frightens and amazes me.

  14. r0b 14

    Hello Dim Watcher, welcome to The Standard. We look forward to further intelligent and constructive posts from you in the future. Have a Nice day.

  15. Draco TB 15

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=john pilger invisible government&sitesearch=

    Speech by John Pilger about the press in general. It’s in 4 parts and is about 40 minutes in length total. Unfortunately, it also seems to have been cut a bit at the end.

  16. Draco TB 16

    John Pilger

    Lets try that link again

  17. Daveo 17

    The Herald’s bias in this story is appalling. It’s now been moved to the lead story under ‘national news’. Isn’t there anything more important happening in New Zealand than what Clark says she wouldn’t do to a Herald editor?

    That article exists for no other reason that to smear Clark.

  18. gee90 18

    I posted this comment on Kiwiblog:

    For those interested in the reality of media freedom, and seeing how New Zealand compares internationally, I recommend the widely respected, non-partisan survey by US-based Freedom House.

    Note that NZ is not only ranked a mile above Fiji, but also above Australia and other English-speaking countries.


    There is information for each individual country, so (if you care) you can read about Fiji, Zimbabwe, North Korea and all the usual billboard suspects. Find out what really happens when governments attack the media.


  19. insider 19


    The fact it is leading the National News section I suspect is more due to other stories rolling in and pushing it off the main top block of stories. It will likely drop further as new lead stories develop during the day. It’s just a timing issue not a comment on its importance.

  20. Archon 20

    The Herald’s bias in general is appalling. Has anyone else noticed that there is a “National news” section but no “Labour news” section at all!

    This finger puppet of a media outlet has also nailed its colours to the mast (almost literally) with their blue font, headers and layout.

    I even read on the cover of the Hearald that they believed China was a “Key trading partner” and that our airports in smaller towns were “Key regional services”. This dog-whistle writing is designed soley to cement National and John Key as the heir apparent.

    Connect the blue dots…

    Captcha: O’Nuts Congress. Apt for The Standard this week.

  21. Daveo 21

    Very funny Archon- what’s your point?

  22. Paul 22

    Seems this has got me all in a tither, well who wouldn’t be when Garth George is in the other corner, and the guise is so-called journalism and valid political attacks on Labour.


  23. Archon 23

    My point is that if you searched for, and printed out, every blog post or comment from the “Righties” about the the Socialist herald’s (or other media outlet) contributors and editors and put them in a pile THEN printed out and piled up every post or comment from the “Lefties” alleging VRWC connections in the Herald (or other media outlet), you would end up with two very large, very equal, piles of crap.

    Face it (with apologies to David Brent)- “Some weeks your guys are the pigeon, some weeks they’re the statue”.

  24. higherstandard 24

    Well done archlon

  25. Hahahahaha 25

    so you’re now deleting anything you don’t like? sanctimonious prigs.

    [No, I’m treating you as spam because you’re posting unintelligent abuse using an unintelligent pseudonym and an unintelligent fake email address.
    Contributors are welcome; trolls aren’t.]

  26. Dean 26


    “This line of attack by The Herald was thoroughly predictable – they had to do something to get back at Clark for her comments. That’s just how the MSM is, petty and childish. They consider themselves above criticism, and will therefore punish anyone who dares transgress.”

    Or this:

    “The Herald’s bias in this story is appalling. It’s now been moved to the lead story under ‘national news’. Isn’t there anything more important happening in New Zealand than what Clark says she wouldn’t do to a Herald editor?

    That article exists for no other reason that to smear Clark.”

    … both just go to demonstrate what conveniently short memories those of you with an axe to grind choose to have.

    I don’t think I’ve read such self serving, sanctimonious claptrap since I read the last John Key press release.

  27. milo 27

    Well, you might say it’s a “joke”. But some of your “jokes” make it into legislation. So I’m inclined to take them all seriously.

  28. Murray 28

    Along with a majority of New Zealanders, maybe the Herald has just had a gutsful of Helen Clark.
    Captcha “Freehold home”. The irony.

  29. r0b 29

    Along with a majority of New Zealanders, maybe the Herald has just had a gutsful of Helen Clark.

    A couple of things:

    (1) After three terms in government it is natural for people to feel like a change – the grass is always greener, the electoral pendulum swings, and so on.

    (2) That doesn’t change the facts, and the facts are that Labour has the best policies for NZ.

    (3) Professional journalists should recognise (1) for what it is and be less driven by it. They should pay some attention to factual issues, even make an attempt at balance – and then they might notice (2).

  30. the sprout 30

    “After three terms in government it is natural for people to feel like a change”

    yep, that’s what got Bush elected

  31. Billy 31

    Ignore this. I am trying to work out HTML

    (1) After three terms in government it is natural for people to feel like a change – the grass is always greener, the electoral pendulum swings, and so on.

  32. Billy 32

    And again .

  33. Billy 33

    And again

    yep, that’s what got Bush elected

  34. Billy 35

    Thanks, r0b. I was hoping no-one would notice me mucking around back here.

  35. Matthew Pilott 36

    We (the Royal variant) notice everything.

  36. AncientGeek 37

    Who is this royal pretender ?

  37. Matthew Pilott 38

    We are not amused, AG.

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