Desperation from the Herald

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, January 18th, 2008 - 31 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: , , , ,

17email.jpgYesterday’s supposed scandal over an email exhange between Michael Cullen and a National Party activist was an absurd piece of political activism from the Herald.

Recently the paper has been running almost daily attack articles on the government, but this was surely scraping the bottom of the barrel. Nat activist John Middleton was painted as a concerned citizen who just “wants to see the country go in the right direction”, while his email consisted of little more than childish abuse that was apparently on the topic of New Zealanders moving to Australia, but seemed to encompass a range of grievances including the Electoral Finance Act, families being split up and his desire to see Labour removed from Government.

Cullen, with remarkable wit and restraint, simply responded “Please join them” and left it at that. Clearly it wasn’t the wisest political move on his part to engage with people like Middleton, but it’s certainly not scandalous in any way and nor is it newsworthy. The article became even more ridiculous when it quoted Bill English breathlessly suggesting the exchange (which chances are he passed on to the Herald himself) was evidence Cullen had just “given up caring”.

That the Herald’s editors considered this desperate non-story worthy enough to lead the National News section of their website for most of yesterday says a lot about their warped news judgment. Is it any wonder no one takes the Herald’s political reporting seriously any more?

UPDATE: Via DPF, Hawkes Bay Today has come out backing Cullen.

Dr Cullen is unrepentant: “Rude writers can expect that kind of response,” he said. And who can blame him?

What did the writer expect? It’s bit rich sneering at someone then complaining when he replies in kind.

31 comments on “Desperation from the Herald”

  1. mike 1

    Attacking the media is good sign you are in trouble. Imagine Key had done a similar thing – you lefties would be all over the Rick Prick.
    But Cullen is under pressure and must be shitting himself about his conditional promises on tax cuts given the latest inflation figures..

  2. Aj 2

    Dr Cullen has more humor and wit than all his detrators combined.

  3. dancer 3

    i had heard that some of the herald journos are feeling quite uncomfortable with the degree of editorial activism. Will be interesting to see whether that combined with the demands of “balance” in an election year shift things around.

  4. i can’t see the issue.
    if the Listener can describe Richard Prebble as “Former Labour Cabinet Minister” (but nothing else) while attacking the Govt:

    http://www.listener.co.nz/issue/3532/columnists/10353/a_view_to_a_kill.html;jsessionid=CF6CE2D6421E8EB405AA212A226DA1FA

    and the Herald can describe National party staffers as apparently neutral academic experts:

    http://thesproutandthebean.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/disgraceful-bias-by-the-herald-again/

    then Middleton clearly meets APN’s “independence standards”. i’m surprised he’s not an “expert” too.

  5. mike 5

    Dancer – the media have always had a left bias due to journo’s tradionally being low paid and bitter about it but because the Herald are now reporting on a bad government you say they are out of ‘balance’
    When more media hopefully start following the Herald we will actually see some real balance.

  6. Tane 6

    To be fair they did point out he was a National Party member, it’s just they then used the article to shamelessly run a National Party hatchet job.

  7. Tane 7

    the media have always had a left bias due to journo’s tradionally being low paid

    Journalists have only been low paid in the last few decades. Back in the day their pay was tied to that of police officers because it was understood journalists were just as vital a part of our society.

    And while various studies claim to show working journalists tend to have a left-liberal bias, that’s largely irrelevant as it’s the editors who make the decisions in the newsroom – including assigning stories, deciding the editorial angle, picking columnists and choosing the prominence of stories in the publication – and it’s well established that editors tend to be overwhelmingly conservative and right-wing.

  8. outofbed 8

    To be fair the line from English “The trouble is that New Zealanders are leaving the country in planeloads, and Australians are coming here in kayaks.” was really funny

  9. Sam Dixon 9

    outofbed – yeah, it’s a good line. Short lifetime though, fortunately.

  10. Sam Dixon 10

    When I ‘ve worked for Government agencies the rule has always been that you are courtous to the public but if a person is rude or abusive (as middleton was) you have the right to be abrupt back.

    In fact, I remember hearing the story of a policy officer replying to a particularly rude letter. She made an effort to be very polite and carefully deal with the writer’s outragous statements and when the letter went off for ministerial approval (this was back under National) it came back with a note from the Minister instructing her that she need not bend over backwards to be polite to someone who is rude, and was told to rewrite it more robustly and tersely.

  11. Kimble 11

    Holy crap, have you seen this???

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/01/hawkes_bay_today_backing_dr_cullen.html

    DPF is agreeing with Cullen! He is supporting what he did in fact!

    Even though Bill English said,

    “… the exchange showed Dr Cullen did not have the interest or patience to find a solution to the growing number of people moving to Australia.”

    Not only that, DPF compliments Cullen!

    “I think it is great the Deputy PM and Finance Minister responds to public e-mails.”

    Wow! Is this the first and only time DPF hasn’t gone by script supplied by the National Party? What will this do to his future income. Will he still be paid to write a blog for the National Party?

    Is this the first time that he has even agreed with Labour or said anything good about them at all?

    No. He does it all the time.

  12. dad4justice 12

    Really Sam, so when Trevor Mallard asks another opposition member out from the chamber for a smack in the face he will be ever so “courtous”.
    Really Mr Dixon, I would have expected better spelling from a lawyer who worked in government and I am being rather courteous in saying that.

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    That’s why you have highlighted this one example, and didn’t respond last time I asked you to give a few more examples…

    Sure, Kimble.

  14. merl 14

    Yeah, DPF has said things that complimented the government before, several times.

    He’s usually made a reasonable effort to appear to be a centrist in his posts, but I think that the rabid dogs that inhabit his threads are too much for him to moderate (and his natural tendencies to be a libertarian make this an unpleasant task for him).

    I dunno what the shift to the right for him has been over the last year or so. Maybe he’s exploring a new business model (i.e. getting paid to be a michelle malkin type figure). Maybe he’s letting slip his mask of neutrality. Maybe the EFB campaign has got away from him slightly and made him look partisan.

    I just don’t know.

  15. dad4justice 15

    “rabid dogs that inhabit his threads’

    Nice anthrax line merl .

  16. Kimble 16

    Thats why I have highlighted this most recent example. It is easy and it destroys your whole “DPF just parrots Nationals talking points meme”.

  17. merl 17

    Sorry Dad, what’s that got to do with anthrax?

    I used to frequest the threads there, but they have become quite toxic recently, and to my mind, fairly extremist.

    I also don’t like how the reasoned debate when someone posts something you disagree with seems to be ‘fuck off and die’. Just attacking the poster or essentially trying to shut down their discussion is a real turnoff for me, regardless of the affiliation of the poster who’s doing it (I commented on some people appearing to be doing it to Michele in a thread on this site as well).

    I’ve stopped going to Kiwiblog, since toxic comments will quickly overwhelm any reasonable discussion, leaving on the the most obnoxious posters and the people who don’t mind them left. The only way to change that is to have fair-minded but active moderation to clearly set limits on acceptable posting, and that’s one of the things that I think this site does fairly well.

    I hope it continues to be a place where people can voice different opinions without attacking each other, outing their internet identities, drawing up the baseless straw men over and over etc.

    Or if you think an arguement by someone is wrong, exploring why you think it’s wrong. Finding where you agree on an issue and where you disagree.

  18. merl 18

    Actually Kimble, my personal take on it is that DPF has much closer spiritual links with Act than National. Both are essentially libertarian (although Act needs to appear socially conservative to appeal to it’s ‘base’).

    By that I mean that he’s a socially liberal (like most left parties) and economically liberal (like most right parties).

    It’s just that DPF prefers to hitch his horse to National as more of a player in politics.

  19. sounds like a fair analysis merl

  20. Matthew Pilott 20

    Kimble, I have a genuine challenge then, given it’s so easy it shouldn’t be much of a challenge.

    Where, recently, has DPF supported Labour on a substantiative issue (something like this isn’t exaclty a big tick in favour of Labour you know, a cynic might say he does this to appear to be somewhat neutral, when it’s a pretty small thing. It’s not exactly a vote of confidence for Cullen’s economic management, if you know what I mean?), or opposed National policy (you said in another thread he regularly opposes National policy). I’d be very interested in any where he has a more left-wing opinion than National.

    Merl – intersting musings. I’d have thought it would be for the opposide reason that you gave though – ACT being more socially liberal.

    Rodders (Hide) & co should have voted for a lot of Labour’s social reforms to be true to their agenda of ‘personal choice’. Do you think their conservative policies and voting is to appeal to the social sonservatives, as there are very few people who are very socially liberal and extremely economically right-wing in New Zealand?

  21. Matthew Pilott 21

    Merl – intersting musings. I’d have thought it would be for the opposide reason that you gave though – ACT being more socially liberal.

    “it” being DPF being closer to Act

  22. merl 22

    Sorry if I was confusing. Yes, I meant that both DPF and Act were both socially and economically liberal, while national is economically liberal but not socially.

    Yeah, I definitely think that Rodney is basically saying what he thinks his base wants to hear on social issues (that is, conservative talking points), not what he thinks.

    And yes. I think that there aren’t enough libertarians to make the act a significant party. Or if there are, some would vote for the greens instead of Act (a party which is socially liberal but economically conservative).

    Put another way, I think that Act has decided that ‘big business’ is their key demographic of support.

  23. Kimble 23

    So the only way to prove that DPF doesnt blindly follow National is to find an example of him supporting Labour? Labour is ying to National’s yang, you know.

    To avoid admitting you are wrong, according to what you have written, you could say it is too old, not left wing, the criticism of National doesnt mean support for the Labour idea…

    “a cynic might say he does this to appear to be somewhat neutral”

    This shows that you simply will not accept the alternative. Either he never said it, or if he did say it he was lying and didnt mean it. Why would I waste my time? Go look up the party pill issue and how the voting went on the civil union bill.

    I am sure if you address both these issues you will equivocate, quibble and sidestep them both.

    Follow Kiwiblog for a decent amount of time and you will see them come up.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2007/10/new_blogs-2.html

    As a counter challenge I propose that you try and find a post on the Standard that is complimentary of National, any National MP, the US Republican party, or any free market economist.

    If you manage to do that, try and find one that is critical of Labour.

  24. Tane 24

    If you manage to do that, try and find one that is critical of Labour.

    Try this one:

    Damned if you do…

    And this one:

    Relief?

    There are others, but I’m not your researcher.

  25. Draco TB 25

    …as it’s the editors who make the decisions in the newsroom…

    That’s becoming less true as well.
    http://news.independent.co.uk/media/article3191592.ece

    Rupert Murdoch has admitted to a parliamentary inquiry that he has “editorial control” over which party The Sun and News of the World back in a general election and what line the papers take on Europe.

    News media being independent is pretty much a myth. They do as their owners tell them.

    Rupert Murdock owns most of the news media in the world by the way. APN, the owner of the NZHerald, is part owned by News Ltd.

  26. Jum 26

    Draco TB

    Thanks for that information.

    Send it to Joanne Black at the Listener who seems to think he’s Mr Wonderful and doesn’t interfere in media at all. She obviously hasn’t read any biography of him and his agenda. Now we have Australian sub editors controlling our magazine content, home of the grasping world order seeker Rupert Murdock. He is the most dangerous man to threaten our freedom of speech, not Labour.

    That’s why informative and free-debate blog sites are now more important for disseminating facts on the people behind newspaper stories. On a blog site there is much dross, but out of the mass fiction/faction/fact there is eventuallly a clear truth to people who are not blind to it.

    We actually need to know all their affiliations, when people attack a government. Just as Investigate’s Ian Wishart was an excellent investigator for about six months before he showed his true religious agenda to get rid of a woman leader and his bending/shading of the facts to suit his beliefs. Breakfast’s bank economists are a perfect example of vested interest.

    The printed media is no longer to be trusted.

  27. Phil 27

    Tane,

    If you manage to do that, try and find one that is critical of Labour.
    Try this one:

    Damned if you do…


    And this one:

    Relief?

    So, let me get this straight… you guys rail DPF when his only criticism of National comes when he believes they arent ‘right’ enough, yet your only criticism of Labour is when it isn’t ‘left’ enough…

  28. Tane 28

    In my opinion DPF’s posts tend to rely heavily on the official National Party spin, differing only occasionally on trivial matters or (again occasionally) when the party’s not being right-wing enough.

    Some commenters on the right obviously beg to differ, but we don’t run the Labour Party line. Part of that’s because we’re independent, but it’s also because their spin is so god-awful. When you read something here it’s not just a regurgitated press release, it’s our personal analysis based on our obvious preference for a Labour-led government over one led by National.

    If our criticisms of Labour tend to be when it’s not being left-wing enough then that probably just says something about how far right NZ’s political spectrum has swung.

  29. Phil 29

    Or, maybe its just that you’re stuck in with an outdated view?

    I agree that Labour has swung toward centre ground, but don’t you think that is due to its successful reading of the political viewpoint of “middle” New Zealand?

  30. Phil 30

    Sorry… On reflection that was a low-blow.

    Second point still stands though; Would Labour have moved toward the right in recent times if they really thought the unwashed voting masses weren’t there already?

  31. Robert 31

    Dear web-master ! I looked your site and I want to say that yor very welln

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    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    1 week ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago

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