Written By: - Date published: 9:29 am, May 15th, 2016 - 192 comments
Categories: broadcasting, john key, journalism, Media, national, radio - Tags: chris trotter, matthew hooton, nicky hagar, nicky hager, panama papers
This tweet caused me some surprise when I first saw it. I respect the quality of Radio New Zealand’s reporters and its commitment to the concept of quality journalism. But I scratched my head when I saw this tweet because the conclusion seemed completely overblown and so un Radio New Zealand like.
Key ends week deeply satisfied https://t.co/HEf8cOdLjx
— RNZ News (@rnz_news) May 14, 2016
What was really weird was that the post was written not by a staff member but by that well known commentator for the right Matthew Hooton.
I was astounded by this. Isn’t Radio New Zealand meant to provide “innovative, comprehensive, and independent broadcasting services of a high standard”? How could Hooton’s views be considered to be independent?
He does appear regularly on Monday’s nine to noon programme. But there is balance. Mike Williams or Stephen Mills appears to provide a left wing response.
This particular article looks like a cut and paste from the NBR. Are we at the stage where state broadcasters feel obliged to mimic right wing pro business media outlets?
Hooton’s article was ideologically driven and contained clear bias. And it was completely lacking in detail or analysis. Stand by as Kiwiblog and Whaleoil leap onto it as vindication that Panama Papers has had no effect whatsoever on John Key or National.
What did he say?
Of course this is nothing but spin. Inequality may have improved in China because of the emergence of a middle class but in the rest of the world it is increasing. New Zealand has significant influence over the Cook Islands. And of course Labour should be talking about the Panama Papers because there is so much of concern. To say that an issue should not be discussed because there is a political implication would suggest that nothing of concern would ever be discussed.
The post ignores some of the very troubling aspects that the release of the Panama Papers have highlighted. Such as:
The papers have caused the resignation of one Prime Minister and panicked the leaders of the world to meet urgently to discuss the issue of corruption. Of course the media should talk about it and the opposition should question the Government’s handling of all of the issues.
The usual suspects although surprisingly including Chris Trotter have deemed this to be irrelevant. That Key does not feature personally in the papers has led to all sorts of people saying “nothing to say here”. Disappointedly Chris Trotter interprets the left’s handling of the issue as evidence of failure. He seems relaxed about foreign trusts because there are plenty of local trusts. But he completely ignores the fact that our tax system is being used to hide assets and avoid tax otherwise payable to foreign jurisdictions for negligible gain and at considerable risk to our reputation. And the Government have known about it but refused to have done anything about it and have in fact facilitated and protected the growth of the industry involved.
But getting back to Hooton’s column why did Radio New Zealand agree to it being published? Did the arrangement to report on the issue with Nicky Hager upset the right that much that they demanded a patsy piece in the interests of “balance”?