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Media: call it as it is

Written By: - Date published: 11:56 am, September 14th, 2012 - 6 comments
Categories: accountability, john banks, john key, Media - Tags:

It’s a regular gripe of mine about our media that they don’t establish facts. I don’t find the “he said, she said” reporting style in the slightest bit helpful, and indeed encourages us, the public, to see all news as gossip and reduces our respect for our system.

Some things we don’t know the truth of, and reporting of separate opinions is valid.

But some things we do know the facts, and if what “he” or “she” said is wrong, the media shouldn’t be afraid to say so.  In fact, it’ll give us more respect for them.

So when John Key says that “John Banks hasn’t broken the law” – even putting aside the fact that “not having broken the law” is hardly an acceptable standard of cabinet ethics, or John Key’s promise to raise ethical standards – he’s lying.  We have the police report that says that John Banks did break the law: they just can’t prosecute on the false declaration charge due to a statute of limitations.

The media might be afraid to use such a powerful word as “lie”; I can’t see how John Key can’t know otherwise, but the media might figure – that like Banks – they cannot prove that Key didn’t know his declaration was false. But they can still make it clear that what he is saying is in fact wrong.

More establishment of fact would also lead to less outrageous “spin”, if politicians are going to be called on it.

Which would lead to more trust in politicians, more trust in society, and we all win.

Establishing fact is meant to be an important part of the fourth estate’s job.

Get on with it.

6 comments on “Media: call it as it is ”

  1. Tom Gould 1

    Bunji, reportage is about entertainment and selling and making money. Lovely old fashioned notion about ‘news’ and ‘informing the public’ though. I can remember it too.

  2. tc 2

    If they reported facts and demanded answers with a relentless focus on reporting the truth Key and Blinglish along with a few others wouldn’t have lasted the first term.

    Tranzrail, Blind trusts and a host of other lies would’ve seen key’s smile and wave facade shattered as he doesn’t like any pressure from the media, gets all snarky and the facade drops revealing the real JK.

    Blinglish would’ve gone over double dipton. A fact based report would have showed Helen demoted 2 ministers for indulging in a similar breach of cabinet rules giving Shonkey no choice or be hung out as the hollow man he is or demote the Rorter.

  3. BernyD 3

    I hear what you’re saying, the observational aspects of reporting don’t get the priority they deserve.
    It’s seems more opinion than fact these days.
    They want us to hear various interpretations of fact not the reality.
    “What does it mean ?” is something they will always try and answer vicariously.
    It’s at a point where the Journalist can’t say or interpret anything for themselves.
    If they are civilised then this is a bad thing.
    If they are not then it is still bad, because we cant see it clearly.

    “So reporters need to express their own opinions more ?”

    🙁

  4. mike 4

    “So when John Key says that “John Banks hasn’t broken the law” – even putting aside the fact that “not having broken the law” is hardly an acceptable standard of cabinet ethics, or John Key’s promise to raise ethical standards – he’s lying. We have the police report that says that John Banks did break the law: they just can’t prosecute on the false declaration charge due to a statute of limitations.”

    Ah but John Key has said he’s not going to read the report. So if anyone says to him, “But Banks did break the law according to the police report,” he can just shrug his shoulders and say I haven’t read that. So it’s difficult to call him a liar about this. But you can call him plain old wrong.

    Key is doing a hear no report, see no report, speak no report because the police report says that his standard of cabinet ethics is worse than “don’t break the law”, it’s “don’t get prosecuted.”

  5. Blue 5

    You seem to be under the impression that we still have a fourth estate.

    When is the last time a reporter broke a major political story? The most we ever get in this country is when someone on the inside leaks something to the media, handing them the story on a silver platter.

    When an OIA request turns up something of significance, it’s almost never a media organisation that put the OIA in, it’s a blogger or a citizen.

    The political reporters are a hand-fed lot who dine on press releases, press conferences and pre-arranged, scheduled appearances and announcements, as well as a healthy diet of gossip and giggles as the politicians use them to settle scores.

    I don’t think any of them would even know how to go about investigative journalism if they were allowed to do it.

    The closest we’ve gotten in recent times to what’s really going on is the recording at the National Party conference pre-2008 election and the teapot tapes.

  6. blue leopard 6

    I agree with your gripe Bunji,

    Perhaps our media reflects a certain anti-intellectualism* aspect we have to our culture, if this is so, our media’s non research based conveyance of subjects is compounding this weakness.

    I know I am a better person when I have discussed a given subject with someone who is more informed than I, where they have introduced me to the relevant information/complexities involved.

    * I define intellectualism here as an activity in which one’s mind is employed involving the researching of issues and facts involved in a given subject leading to perspective and thoughtfulness as opposed to (a) dry intellectualism or (b) knee-jerk attitudes arising from base prejudice and/or uninformed base instinctual responses devoid of any real engagement of the mind faculties.

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