Easily impressed

Written By: - Date published: 11:31 am, January 15th, 2009 - 24 comments
Categories: economy, john key, Media, national/act government - Tags:

John Key in person is extremely amiable; talking to him face to face, it’s hard not to like the bugger.

I guess that he hasn’t lost any of that magic on his holiday. How else could one explain John Armstrong’s piece in the Herald today? The guy sounds like he’s in love. All it takes is one press conference and a few of those legendary grins and Armstrong is enthralled. Gone any demands for actual action, Johnny’s words and smiles are enough.

It’s the little words that give you away, John. Key is ‘intutive’, ‘he knows’, ‘he knows’, he is ‘adriot’, he ‘pre-empts’ he uses ‘strategy’ to keep ‘momentum’. Critics are ‘rubbished’, they use ‘propaganda’ for a ‘minor’ victory.

I particularly love this passage as Armstrong contorts himself to insist that actual results don’t matter in the slightest:

“Having called the [ministerial] meeting, however, the Government has risked expectations of what might emerge from it being raised too high.

Key yesterday pre-empted that possibility by announcing that an employment summit will be held next month. Just what such a summit might achieve is a moot point. However, the announcement has taken some of the heat off today’s meeting.”

Phew, thank goodness Key has masterfully ‘pre-empted’ any expectations of his government doing anything about the recession by announcing a do-nothing talk-fest. I can feel the economy growing already.

This passage of pure Key-boosting nonsense comes a close second:

“Prime Ministers don’t really go on holiday, but the time away has allowed Key to reset his priorities, although circumstances are largely setting them for him”

Has Key reset his priorities? (He hasn’t said so). If he has four weeks in Hawaii the way to do that? (no other major leader has felt four weeks off was the best way to handle the crisis)…. Oh wait, he’s not setting his priorities after all.

I can’t wait for the next Armstrong article in which Key ‘brilliantly’ deflects criticism of his government not doing anything about the recession by reminding us that Labour was going to take away our lightbulbs.

If you had any hopes that our political commentators might be a little more focused on substance and a little less besotted with Key’s empty style this year than last, Armstrong has probably put them to rest.

24 comments on “Easily impressed”

  1. Noddy (used to be Dr.No) 1

    Yawn. If this is the level of analysis you choose to throw over the Government then it’s going to be a long three years… Seriously, you guys come up with some decent stuff occasionally but simply re-writing one of your smug ‘slippery’ John Key eats babies pieces is just a tad lazy don’t you think?

  2. Sarah 2

    Yawn as well. I see the new years celebrations haven’t rid Clint of his undeniable and bigoted bias against John Key.

    [lprent: Yawn again.. ‘Sarah’ still hasn’t lost its undeniable and bigoted bias against Clinton. It’d worth talking about if only ‘sarah’ would at least occasionally make a comment (or attempt to) that rises above the banal sewer level in which it lives. But that is too much to ask 2009 for. ]

  3. Dr. No. We constantly put up analysis pieces. In fact, the struggle is usually to write them concisely and accessibly.

    This peice is critiquing the level of analysis from Armstrong. Don’t see how it is having a go at Key.

  4. Quoth the Raven 4

    It seems that perception is all that matters to Armstrong. It doesn’t matter if they’re not actually doing anything as long as it looks like they’re doing something.

  5. DeeDub 5

    That article reads like large sections of it have be copied verbatim from a press release…. it’s either lazy journalism or he should apply for a job with CT.

  6. sweetd 6


    Perception is reality.

  7. @ work 7

    Perception is reality.

    Are you for real?! (If so, that explains a lot!)

  8. grumpy 8

    I always thought Armstrong was among the most pro Labour reporters. No-one complained when he wrote nice things about Helen.

    Maybe he’s had a religious experience?

  9. the sprout 9

    that was a particularly flabby and vacuous piece for Armstrong.

    the Saviour Summit has already flopped as evidenced by Key having to defend himself in opening lines against the perception that they’ve yet to do bugger-all and have been taking time off while so much needs to be done.

    another early step on the rod to One Hit Wonderdom.

  10. QoT 10

    How a “journalist” can write a pair of sentences like:

    Just what such a summit might achieve is a moot point. However, the announcement has taken some of the heat off today’s meeting.

    And not even think, “Gee, I wonder if I could look at that in a tiny bit more depth?” is totally beyond me.

  11. Rex Widerstrom 11

    John Armstrong usually produces much, much better stuff than this. Perhaps having nothing to report for the last month has meant his faculties have become weak and flabby… rather like the rest of me after a month spent mostly on a banana lounger.

    But sweetd’s right insofar perception is reality in terms of the way the majority of people will perceive the government and its reponse to this situation. Very few explore beyond the MSM, accepting the perceptions of its journalists as fact.

    I have to give points to Key for masterful expectation management though. I’ll have to see if I can use a similar technique on my clients this year… “Look, in case you’re expecting results from the fact I’ve spent most of your fee blabbering to people in wine bars, let me assure you that I already have plans to take decisive action. I plan to spend the rest of it blabbering to other people in wine bars… but in a much more focused way”.

  12. Whero 12

    Yet again – urgent action required: John Goober Key announces a meeting is to be held! Disgusting.

    You’re quite right – that piece by Armstrong is poor journalism – but, considering that the NZ Fox-News Herald’s coverage of John Goober Key amounts to virtual felatio what else can we expect?

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    Jeepers Sarah, this was about Armstrong, not Key.

    If you’re going to be a troll (and a particularly average one at that) I suppose it’s only fitting that you prove to us all you don’t actually read the posts before typing the same vapid spam as always.

    P.S. Armstrong – What in the name of the Great Magnet was that article? The man already has a press sec, give it up.

  14. agree with both these points:

    “John Armstrong usually produces much, much better stuff than this.” 

    ” perception is reality in terms of the way the majority of people will perceive the government and its reponse to this situation. Very few explore beyond the MSM, accepting the perceptions of its journalists as fact.”

    which is why i think it’s worth making the criticism

  15. spot 15

    Is a bit ‘licky’ isn’t it ?!

    On a more general note – any reason why Goff/Helen only had something to say once the Herald had had a go at the ‘inaction’, or is it simply a case of the Herald seeking comment to a story it fomented and therefore why not Labour make hay and give it some legs?


    It’s the best thing about being in opposition, you get to set the very highest of (theoretical) benchmarks and expectations, and do your level best to have all and sundry hold the govt to them.

    Not that it will see the light of day, but wouldn’t it be fanstastic to see what Cullen would have done in December with that mini budget.

    Public opnion wise, nats caught ‘napping’ I would have thought. But I might temper that criticism, and that which compares Nats actions with those of other countries, by saying that for the most part those other leaders/governments have been encumbent for quite some time, their ‘watch’ and all…

  16. sweeetdisorder 16

    Most other countries are northern hemisphere countries, hence, they are not in the middle of their summer holidays, and have not just faced an election which bought about a new executive not 12 weeks ago.

    Labour talks about no new ideas from the Nats, but has none of their own. Well, such the life of an opposition party. As already alluded, Labour had a plan in the December mini budget; will that ever see the light of day again?

    Yes, perception is reality. Clark knew that, and was a master of it. She only came out on topics in which she was strong and already had the upper hand. When she was bested, she never returned to the topic herself. She couldn’t and wouldn’t be seen to be the looser.

    Lastly, caught napping. Nats, no. Labour simply filled the dull news season with some news, “opposition MP says something”. Holiday over and the media has been filled with Nats, with the littlest opposition party response. Labour will do well to remember it was voted out, Key is very popular, and as such any gains Labour thinks it made over the dull news season will be quickly forgotten.

  17. sweeetdis. Labour had a series of policies. for one, there was the housing insulation programme that National has cancelled.

    Moreover, the election’s over – it’s now National’s job to govern. No use going ‘what would you do?’. You wnated power so much, now you’ve got it you’ve got to use it.

  18. George.com 18

    National are acting as though current economic events are as they were 6 months ago. That being, looking at recession but not serious financial melt down. There has been no indication from National of forward planning or of Plan B should things go horribly wrong. We have the ‘summit’ now, probably should have been some weeks ago. Its really as if the agenda from August was: campaign, close down any controversy, win the election, talk up 100 first days of action, get sworn in, rush some stuff through, have a long holiday…….think about next year, next year. That was the agenda and it will be played out despite whatever comes. Stick to the plan folks cause there ain’t a Plan B.

  19. Whero 19

    I work part time in a bar and tonight I was privvy to a conversation amonst a bunch of staffers from the New Zealand Fox News Herald.

    The men were all wearing grotty suits and the women were ordinary, but I didn’t see any voice recorders or notebooks so I don’t think they were journalists. One of the topics discussed by this group was an approach from the National Party to the Herald to stop being “so negative”. Apparently the Herald has been told that it needs to present a postive front to the current economic crisis and, if it doesn’t, it will be excluded from access to details and persons involved in the upcoming Goober Gab Fest.

    I wonder if this explains Armstrong’s piece.

  20. Anthony 20

    Well Mr Standard as ..

    the last cool, smart Kiwi still here, very cool Article.

    I am a Long time Right wing person, and these sick idiots who cannot see Johns Keys inability is as bad as the Left wing social ideologists.

    Thanks The standard. 2% hope for NZ

  21. DeeDub 21

    I wonder if NACT simply aren’t acting because that would be ‘big government’ and at their ideological core they don’t believe in it?

    After all, the holy market will ‘self-correct’ won’t it?

    They won’t say this publicly – but I bet it’s their real thinking on the crisis.

  22. Noddy (used to be Dr.No) 22

    Steve, okay… fair enough point on your coverage of the issue, although your particular slant with the comments “If you had any hopes that our political commentators might be a little more focused on substance and a little less besotted with Key?s empty style this year than last, Armstrong has probably put them to rest.” would beg the question when were these same commentators focused on substance, apart from the very rare occasion they rediscovered journalistic vigor during the last administration? Same people, different mob = same depth and breadth of coverage.

  23. Whero 23

    . . . snip . . . “After all, the holy market will ?self-correct? won?t it? ”

    Yeah. Right.

  24. Jum 24

    You wanna Armstrong to be another Colin James? He’s not that silly.

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