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?