Can you spot the question that wasn’t asked of Key by Armstrong and Young in their six page interview with him in today’s Herald?
Yeah not much of a challenge, really, eh?
I love the answer to this question too:
Q. There’s a lot of debate among commentators as to whether your stimulus package will actually work. Will it?
Key: I think the only way you can judge that is the counter-factual – which would be if the Government took no action and I think, given the contraction in the private sector at the moment, that would have no counter-balancing increase in expenditure and the Government would certainly deepen and worsen the recession.
It’s a complete false dichotomy of course. The choice isn’t between doing nothing and doing what Key’s government has done – we could also being doing more and better things. Naturally, that is not raised by the interviewers.
What is missing, as so often, is the second question. Key gets his first, soft, question, and gives his spin response but there is nothing to follow up that cuts through the spin. It’s not a problem limited to just interviewing of Key, of course. It is endemic in our media and I put it down to poor preparation and subject knowledge. However, it seems that it is particularly bad when it comes to interviews with Key (perhaps, because he still has half the journos swooning).
Take this for example:
Q Why hasn’t Labour been invited to the Jobs Summit? Isn’t it time for a bipartisan approach to the crisis?
Key: Firstly, they are free to propose any idea that they like. And if they are good, obviously we would consider them. We are not particularly trying to exclude them on political grounds but simply we don’t think they bring anything to the table at this point…
Well, Labour does have jobs policy. As but one example, Labour has a private members’ bill before the House to ensure contractors get paid the minimum wage, which National/ACT is set to vote down next week. So, the follow-up question could have been:
“But that’s not correct, Labour and other parties do have ideas about protecting jobs and wages. Isn’t it true that you really didn’t invite them because the jobs summit is intended to vindicate National policies and their ideas don’t fit with your ideology?”
But does the second question get asked? No. Granny can’t have her favourite grandson put on the spot, can she?