The book Dirty Politics has thrown up all sorts of issues concerning journalism and morality. The selective leaking of information to attack blogs and the framing of issues have been seen to be powerful weapons in National’s attempts to retain political power.
In the Dominion Post this morning some Ipsos polling on issues has been released and reported on. The framing is interesting. Three individuals are interviewed to give their comments on what has occurred. One who is normally a Labour supporter is said to be thinking of voting Green, an elderly National voter thinks that Hager is a communist, a third person who also supports National thinks that dirty politics is “not ideal” but he will not be changing his vote. The underlying message is that the only party that is being hurt is Labour which cannot be correct.
It has to make you wonder about the selection of these individuals. I am certain they could have picked someone who had liked John Key but who were incensed by what they had read and were going to change their vote because as the data confirms there are a few of these people.
The selection has a feel of a created narrative rather than a genuine attempt to let ordinary people express their opinions. I say this with confidence because the data that the poll reports presents a totally different picture.
Thirty percent said all parties engage in dirty politics. The commonly expressed phrase “they all do it” suggests that no one in this particular group have even read the book and just assume the worst in everyone. But they clearly have little if any comprehension of the dramatic difference between attack tactics of the right and attack tactics of the left.
If you want proof compare posts in the Standard with those at Whaleoil. Judith Collins is wrong to claim that the Standard is a Labour website and is engaged in the same sort of behaviour as Slater’s site engages in. It clearly is not. The posts here are based on information sourced from the main stream media but often with alternative analysis. The site is not used to smear and attack the way that Cameron Slater’s site is used. The discussions get robust but this is because there is often aggressive comments made by right wingers and some of the left commenters respond in kind.
In other parts of the poll National convincingly wins the contest for being the most dirty party. 28% thought it to be the worst offender, followed by Internet Mana at 17.4% just ahead of Labour. And most National supporters thought that dirty politics was acceptable, an interesting statement of the party’s morality.
The two statistics that should be causing National fear are that nearly half of respondents thought the incident had hurt Key and 7.9 % of voters said that the revelations had caused them to reconsider who they are going to vote for. The article used the word “only” but the news must be all bad and if even half of these people actually change their vote then National is in big trouble.