Let political animals run free

Written By: - Date published: 11:43 am, May 21st, 2008 - 10 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: , , , ,

Good on Breakfast for following our lead by playing the full clip of Goff’s AltTv interview this morning and saying ‘make up your own mind’.

Bit of a change that, asking people to judge for themselves. Most political reporting treats politics as if it’s some mystical art or complicated science that must be analysed by an expert and presented dumbed down because it is beyond the ordinary person.

Of course, it’s not. Politics is essential to humanity: we all understand power and relationships, goals and trade-offs, loyalty and opposition, altruism and selfishness, immediate gratification vs long-term gain. Sure, there’s a place for political analysts to provide us with the nitty-gritty details of policies and legislation in an accessible way, and to give us background on the relationships between political actors but ordinary people are quite capable of working out for themselves the politics of an event.

In the case of the Goff interview, for example, people can work out themselves what Goff meant without some guru in a suit telling them what to think. People will see it as some weird power play or (like the interviewer) conclude that Goff is just acknowledging reality (and when did that become such a bad thing in a politician?). People are perfectly capable of making this political judgement for themselves without being force-fed an opinion.

As Aristotle said, man is a political animal. We don’t need to be treated like sheep.

10 comments on “Let political animals run free”

  1. Scribe 1


    Bit of a change that, asking people to judge for themselves.

    Good idea from The Standard and TVNZ, Steve. Should that “let the people decide” mindset extend to — oh, I don’t know — the electoral system we use?

    [Tane: We’ve discussed that elsewhere Scribe.]

  2. Goff’s “…at the moment” in the Herald today tends to remove any doubt on this matter. He really is positioning himself for post-election and he would only be doing that if he was pessimistic. Otherwise, why risk the fall-out?

    Assuming the quote is an accurate one, I can’t give him the benefit of the doubt any more. He is putting himself ahead of the party heading into the election. If I were a Labour party member, I’d be unhappy about what he is doing.

    Candor on AltTV became something else with his reported reponse to the Herald’s question.

  3. Tane 3

    Steve, if Goff were positioning himself I seriously doubt he’d do so via Alt TV. The only reason the comments even reached the light of day was because Ben Thomas (hardly a friend of Labour) decided to make a big issue of it in the NBR.

    You’ve got to understand that this ‘secret code’ the media are talking about is of their own creation. Of course Goff couldn’t reply to the Herald that he had no leadership intentions at any point in the future – that would be patently absurd and he’d be accused of lying. Instead he’s stated the obvious, albeit with many caveats – if the leadership becomes open at some stage the caucus might consider him.

    Russell Brown sums it up quite well today: http://publicaddress.net/default,5034.sm

  4. gobsmacked 4

    Leadership loyalty?

    John Key: “If there’s a vacancy come back and have a chat.” Followed by 3 lies within two sentences.


  5. Tane: That was what I thought yesterday. Goff’s “at the moment” changed that for me. As the Herald said, that wasn’t the right response to kill this story off.

  6. Tane 6

    I’m not sure. As I say, I think Goff took the right option in continuing to be upfront. No point backpedalling and lying when there’s frankly nothing to apologise for. Wouldn’t going back on his statements have turned a media beatup into a real story about Phil Goff being evasive on the leadership question?

  7. mondograss 7

    I see that Oliver Driver, the presenter on that interview has just come out and said that it’s a beat up too. Good on him, that’s the sort of honesty we need from journalists.

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    Alt TV will be bloody stoked, mind you, I bet a whole lot more people watched that interview than expected. I quite enjoyed it.

  9. Tane: Goff should have said the leadership of Labour isn’t an issue. That would have been both true and entirely consistent with what he said on AltTV. The addition of “at the moment” raises doubt that needn’t be there….and wasn’t there in Goff’s comments in the interview. It changed my view of this. OK, so what….but I won’t be alone. That’s the problem.

  10. AncientGeek 10

    It was interesting today talking to my rather centre-right workmates and one of my more right-wing friends on the phone.

    Despite whatever they think about Labour, they have what can only be described as contempt for the newsmakers spin on that interview. They’d all seen it either off Breakfast or off the web and had only a vast surprise at the disparity between what was said in the headlines and what they saw Phil say.

    What was surprising was that I didn’t raise it at anytime. They did. It triggered their fairness reflexes.

    SW: If he’d said that “it wasn’t an issue”, then exactly the same stories would have come out. But the spin would have been that he was being evasive, and there was a back room coup underway. I’ve seen it before, so probably have you. Phil was upfront with exactly where he stands. That went across well when people got to see the origional footage.

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