Written By: - Date published: 1:06 pm, January 1st, 2019 - 66 comments
Categories: jacinda ardern, Politics, sexism, Simon Bridges, The Standard - Tags: babies, family-washing, misogyny, pete george, public relations, veutoviper
lprent: I have grabbed a comment from veutoviper which was related to a comment by Pete George where PG said (amongst other things):
A stupid comment from you. I’ve commented quote a bit over the years about media treatment of different politicians, but that’s a diversion from what they are doing for Ardern.
Ardern knows how to manipulate and use media to promote her PR – as did key.
veutoviper responded in today’s OpenMike:
Some of you may have read the discussion that has been going on this morning with Pete George under yesterday’s posting of “The Standard’s ten most commented on posts in 2018”.
This comment by me started out as a response to PG’s reply to Psycho Milt here.
Originally I was going to add it to the now unnumbered/no reply facility ones in the thread. Then I decided to start a new thread under the same post, but then thought it really did not relate to the topic of the post. So fell back to Open Mike as the best option.
Back to PG’s response to Psycho Milt, Three things jumped out at me. Let’s deal with the shortest two first:
“Winston Peters has been given an easy ride by journalists for a long time.”
My immediate response? Hahahahahahahahaha A love-in between Winston Peters and the media??? You must be blind as well as tone deaf.
“And percent or two off the Pasifika vote (presumably from Labour) could give National a chance in a two party race.
There is that FPP two horse race mentality coming through again …
But the one that I (stupidly) decided to focus on was this one.
“Ardern knows how to manipulate and use media to promote her PR – as did key.”
Why did this get my goat?
Because there was no mention of Bridges and his use of media to promote himself etc. Yet, just an hour or so before making that comment here, PG posted this comment on his own blog:
The comment consists of a picture of Simon and Natalie Bridges together and smiling at an outdoor venue in Tauranga from Simon’s Twitter account with a comment – “Happy New Year! Natalie & I are at a family event in Tauranga with the kids. Hope you all have a good night!” 8:45 PM – Dec 31, 2018
PG has then added a comment that “I would put one up from Jacinda Ardern but she doesn’t seem to have been on Twitter or Facebook – her Twitter account hasn’t been used since 30 October.”
Do I detect a bit of snideness there? Over the last year, Ardern has not been a big poster on Twitter. But she has been a prolific Facebook poster with her last post with video of herself and two Ministers at the Auckland City Mission on Dec 21 attracting 614 comments. (No mention by PG of this or the hugh responses to her other regular FB videos and posts.)
But lets look at Bridges and his use of media etc.
He does post on Twitter regularly and his previous tweet immediately under the one PG posted above is one yesterday* with a full frontal/facial photo of himself holding their daughter with the comment “My little princess turns 1!” with a link to a NZ Women’s Weekly article on Jemima’s first birthday.
This NZ Women’s Weekly article is a sickly sweet article about Jemima’s birthday in early December with pictures of her and the whole family celebrating with cake etc. but also with some PR messaging going on.
For example (my bolds):
“The thing with Simon is that he’s very attentive,” adds Natalie (36), who has her own PR business. “He’s away a lot, but when he’s home he’s really there. He plays with the kids, he reads them stories, he gives them his full attention. He’s an amazing dad to all of them.”Simon is definitely smitten with his wee girl.” …
“Having Jemima was a beautiful finish to our family; we don’t have any plans to have any more children. It has changed all of us, having her. We all adore her and she is a real delight.” …
“A future politician, perhaps? Simon is thrilled at the thought.
“She’s got the skills,” he muses. “She knows how to play people – she knows the best way to get attention is smiles. She’s usually so happy and bubbly, but she’s not afraid.”
Natalie reckons at least one, if not all three, of the Bridges children could end up following in their dad’s footsteps, and if Jemima continues to enjoy interacting with people from all walks of life, she might be the one to go after a seat in Parliament! And her mum doesn’t have an issue with that.
“Despite what people may think, I think going into politics is a very noble thing,” says Natalie. “Most people go into it with a huge heart and very noble reasons. I would like it if one of our children decided to take that route. And they do have a great role model.”
But is this a one off for Bridges and the NZ Women’s Weekly? Not at all, and that article includes links back to three previous NZWW on the Bridges this year – which I stupidly decided to read … Anything to avoid housework, dishes etc.
What I found was that in 2018, NZWW has run at least five (5) articles on Bridges and his family, all blatantly using photos and discussions about the children. As well as yesterday’s one, there were articles dated:
This one included detail of Natalie Bridges’ media/PR career as editor of fashion magazine ‘Simply You’, before setting up her own public-relations company Blink PR.
Header = ‘I don’t want to get out of politics one day and feel like I won the battle but lost the war.’ This was the same week as the unauthorised leak of his expenses and the ensuing furore around parliamentary enquiries –and Bridges said in the article that while his new gig has definitely thrown him some curve balls, the biggest challenge of his new normal is still juggling his family and his career.
A more detailed follow-up to the one a week earlier which is worth a read for a little insight into how Bridges saw his first six months as Leader and his future in politics (at that time at least), for example:
“I’m not in this as a time server,” he admits. “I’ll be surprised if I’m still in politics in my mid fifties – I’m 41 now.
“Some people go into it for life and they’re there 30 years on − that won’t be me. It’s about making a contribution, significant service and hopefully before it’s too late, spending a lot of time with my family and maybe having another career again.”
And as for Simon, he reckons he’s transformed too – and he doesn’t think the job is as hard as some previous opposition leaders have made it out to be.
“It’s gone better than I thought it would, in a funny sort of way,” he muses.
“I just thought it would be… looking at past opposition leaders, they made it look hard. I’ve basically only been in government. Actually, it’s been more uplifting than I thought it would be.”
He continues, “I think I’ve grown as a person over the past six months. I’ve had to become a better listener and more inclusive, and in doing that better, I suppose a decision maker.”
And, of course, it’s been about developing his own style of leadership after following in the footsteps of the likes of Bill English and Sir John Key. For Simon, it’s a combination of taking advice and listening to his gut.
Now, I have not done the same exercise for Jacinda Ardern and the number of articles on her in the New Zealand Women’s Weekly this year – nor will I be doing one today. [This is NOT how I intended to start 2019 .. ]
I also note that there are two other recent articles on their website re two NZ women politicians – which I hasten to add I have not read:
How Chlöe Swarbrick is planning to have an eco-friendly Christmas – https://www.nowtolove.co.nz/lifestyle/homes/chloee-swarbrick-eco-friendly-christmas-40048
Julie Anne Genter’s sustainable approach to raising baby Joaquin –
So where to from here?
I really don’t know, nor am I sure that I care, but just a little bit of ammunition for the future to use when people claim that Ardern is the big PR manipulator of the media.
Bridges does it too – and IMHO is much more blatant at exposing his family and their life in this way.
lprent: It wasn’t hard to confirm this. It took me minutes to find similar Simon Bridges family articles in Womens Day, Noted, and a number of other such magazines. Personally I couldn’t give a damn. Family washing is part of politics. What does concern me is the continuing judgemental focus by the misogynist fools who seem to have different standards for female politicians compared to the male ones.