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How it works

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, December 24th, 2009 - 13 comments
Categories: Media, spin - Tags:

a) Paula Bennett gives a story to Colin Espiner about beneficiary and, apparently, scoundrel Darryl Harris. The release of the information is a clear breach of the Privacy Act. Espiner is clearly being used as a tool for softening the public for beneficiary bashing. Espiner runs the story, without challenging or even remarking upon the leak or the politics behind it (almost as if he’s unaware he is being played). He doesn’t think to tell his readers what is actually going on, how the game works, and what piece he is in it.

b) Paula Bennett comes out with a populist ‘tough on bludgers’ policy that doesn’t actually do anything. Colin Espiner faithfully reports this announcement. He even realises that it came a day after his ‘exclusive’. He fails to see the bigger game. He fails to see that the policy is actually meaningless. He fails to convey any of this to the public.

c) Following a post on The Standard, media ask Bennett if her policy will actually do anything and if it will mean leaving people who need to dole without it. Bennett is forced to concede that people on the dole already undergo work testing and this is essentially a superfluous doubling up of existing practices. She proves her ignorance by talking of 60,000 people a year needing to reapply for their unemployment benefit after a year on it when only 6,600 have been on it that long or longer and the vast majority go off it within months. Espiner fails to report this.

Where did a member of the fourth estate fail to inform you, the public? a, b, c or all of the above?

13 comments on “How it works ”

  1. outofbed 1

    Where did a member of the fourth estate to inform you, the public? a, b, c or all of the above?
    could do with an edit methinks

  2. mike 2

    I wonder which previous Govt they could have learned this trick from Ed?

  3. Red Rosa 3

    But will the taxpayer ever get to find out how much Bennett herself got from benefits, when she spent that much-publicised spell on the DPB?

  4. grumpy 4

    No point in wasting your ammunition over the Harris gang. Regardless of the means, exposing these scum is warranted.

    • Bright Red 4.1

      that’s why the Harris’ where chosen as the stalking horses for the subsequent announcement, grumpy. It was all planned in advance.

      I don’t see how the post is defending the Harris’. It’s about how the government manipulated the media and how the media went along like a dog on a leash.

      • grumpy 4.1.1

        As mike says earlier – nothing new in that. might not be manipulation – just a good story. The debate should be about whether the Harris’ represent other beneficiaries. clearly not many have 2007 Chryslers, get grants for new tyres and towing expenses etc.

        Bennett should be explaining how this has been going on for over 20 years and whose heads will roll.

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    Related journamalism stylz.

    Skinny: WaPo Newsroom recieves eye witness tip from one of their own ( off assignment) staff members about a cop pulling a gun in a snow ball fight. this is backed up by available images and video footage.

    WaPo runs uncritical story based on Police spokescritter’s account that gun was a cell phone.

  6. randal 6

    paula bennet is a fraud.
    if there were any jobs then she would not have to go through this charade.
    Just like the leaky buildings that happened when national decided to make building inspection a self regulating private affair in their last term of government they also emasculated the labour department and organising the work force.
    so I say it again.If there were jobs then this horrible nasty trick of demeaning people would be redundant and as a by product so called journalists would have to work for their money instead of being force fed like stuffed geese.

  7. Jenny 7

    The “Arbeit Macht Frei” – German for “Work Sets You Free” – sign has been recovered.

    What is particularly disgusting about this slogan is the fact, that those who coined it, were the political representatives of the well off in German society.

    What brought these people together was the shared opinion that the mass unemployment and hardship that arose from the Great Depression was the fault of the unemployed themselves, rather than a failure of the market system.

    All that the lesser “classes of people” needed in their opinion, was to be forced to work using methods of violence torture and murder.

    In a similar fashion Paula Bennet instead of confronting the failure of the market system, is again trying to push the lie – that the lesser classes are shiftless and stupid and greedy and the cause of their own misfortune. All they need is a swift kick up the bum.


    Bennet’s attack on the unemployed has been coupled up with a propaganda campaign in the conservative MSM. The campaign has begun by picking on isolated cases of beneficiary overpayment and malingering.
    In my opininingon the MSM campaign as well as Bennet’s idea to cut off the dole, are to soften the public up for a wider attack on those at the bottom of society affected by the recession.

    In the coming year, my guess is, none (excepting rich bankers and financiers) will be spared.

    After the unemployed, solo mothers and pensioners will be in the gun. Means testing and raising the ages of entitlements will be one way of targeting pensioners. Single mothers after a similar campaign of MSM scapegoating and shock horror stories, and claims of unafordability will also be in line for cuts.

    Those receiving ACC payments or on sickness benifits will probably be next.

    Teachers and schools are already in the gun.

    By 2011 this campaign will be ready to turn on the public health system.

    Anything accept an MSM campaign naming those who actually caused the recession, which could lead to calls for targetted taxes, on their tricky billion dollar financial manipulations.

    The degradation of the rest of society will however will allow these people to freely continue about their business as usual.

  8. Colin Espiner 8

    Hello Eddie, regards your latest post about me, your opinion is your own but you need to understand a little more about the basic tenets of journalism if you’re going to criticise me for doing my job. So to answer your points:

    A: Journalists never, ever reveal their sources. It’s Journalism 101, Eddie. If we did, we’d never get any stories. And information the public deserves to hear would never get heard. So it would be kind of difficult to report that story and them, duh, tell the public at the end of the article where it came from. It’s not about being “played”. I’m not stupid, Eddie. You might not like my writing, and that’s fine, but I’ve been in the trade for 20 years, and I do understand how these things work. The story was one that deserved to be told, the person who gave me the information believed that it should be told, and I happen to agree. So do 99 percent of the people who have commented on the article (outside of the Standard, obviously!). If you believe that a gang family with a long history of violence and intimidation that has been taking the taxpayer for a ride for 25 years deserves the shelter of the Privacy Act well that’s your concern, but I think your choice of a family to defend is a poor one.

    B: Paula B’s announcement on time-limiting the unemployment benefit was surely worth reporting, Eddie, even you’d understand that. When you say I “faithfully” reported this as if it were a bad thing, how would you prefer I reported it? As to whether or not the policy is “meaningless” well I will leave that for others to judge, such as you have, and that’s fine. But would you have preferred I had editorialised in a news story, rather than reported it? Perhaps said it was a crap idea and wouldn’t work? I might say that in a commentary piece or a blog, but not a news story. Incidentally Eddie I tried in vain to get one of your spokespeople in the Labour Party to comment, but strangely they wouldn’t go anywhere near it. Perhaps because they realised that the policy would be hugely popular with the public, and Labour, unlike you, has to get elected. And obviously there was political timing in Bennett’s announcement. It’s politics. But nothing different to anything the Labour Party did in government, Eddie, let me assure you on that one.

    C: It’s great the Herald followed the story up the next day. Espiner didn’t “fail” to report Bennett’s remarks, however. Espiner was on holiday and didn’t even know about them. Sorry, Eddie, but even journalists get days off.

    Merry Christmas.



  9. The Chairman 9

    Architects, surveyors, vets and solicitors are among those to have seen the biggest percentage increases in unemployment rates since the economic downturn began.


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