Media errors

Written By: - Date published: 11:49 am, September 15th, 2013 - 19 comments
Categories: labour, Media - Tags:

One from each side of the politician-journalist relationship, both from one article

Firstly Tracy Watkins on a Grant Robertson win:

That could see more ill-feeling spill over in public at the November conference, and reopen the wounds from last year when rank-and-file members revolted against the caucus over their appointment of David Shearer as leader against the wishes of party members. That resulted in the wider party effectively stripping MPs of the power to control the appointment process.

No, that’s plain wrong.  The membership did not “revolt” over Shearer’s appointment* and strip MPs of the power to control leadership appointment.  The 40:40:20 rule came from a constitutional review set-up in the wake of the 2011 loss, a review that was co-sponsored by Moria Coatsworth and … David Shearer.

Journos like everything to be about the latest Beltway manoeuvrings, but sometimes things are part of something bigger.  I was very frustrated at last November’s conference when journos were focussing on whether Cunliffe was plotting or not and missed the bigger picture of a major party in New Zealand instituting a much greater level of democracy.  Something that was going to change the game of politics for the next decades, not next days.

We are now seeing the first results of those changes (along with a member-driven policy platform with which manifestos must be consistent) and still the journos can’t see the big picture.

The other mistake is the main source of the article.  A bitching MP.

One can guess that it must be one of a couple of members of the Old Guard likely to be relegated as caucus re-calibrates to bring all its groupings together.  But seriously: briefing that there is going to be a front-bench bloodbath if Cunliffe wins (denied by Cunliffe & his team) is going to massively play into National’s hands.

National are desperate to portray this as a divisive not unifying process, and the media would love that story too.

Don’t hand it to them on a plate with comments on a Cunliffe win like:

 “I reckon we will know in the first week or so how it’s going to go. If he can’t bring the group together then he’s shot.”


“He has spent the last five years either undermining or pissing off his colleagues . . . he may surprise us, he may come out of this knowing he doesn’t have the confidence of caucus and say ‘OK, what do I do to get their confidence’.  There might be some personalities on his side of the fence who say there’s going to be some utu here.”

I’m looking forward to the result at 2pm (leaks no doubt starting soon after voting closes at 12….), and all MPs showing unity and discipline and not briefing against the new leader…

* Actually I think many members of the media (as well as Standardistas) would be surprised how many members supported Shearer’s appointment even if most activists wouldn’t have chosen him, if informal polling of members of my Auckland electorate at the time is anything to go by.  We had a small majority of those who replied amongst the wider group of members supporting Shearer, however most of the core group who actually do the work would have voted for Cunliffe if the current rules had been in place.  Results may well have varied in other electorates of course.

19 comments on “Media errors”

  1. Tigger 1

    ‘But any attempt at brokering unity could come unstuck if Cunliffe attempts to appoint a whip over the incumbent Chris Hipkins, who publicly tore strips off Cunliffe after Labour’s divisive annual conference last year. The whip’s position is usually only held by someone who has the full trust and confidence of the leader and there are rumours Cunliffe has promised the position to Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway.’

    This is an interesting remark and makes me wonder if Hipkins is a source.

    Hipkins should step aside in any event. He’s part of that bitter brigade that’s been infecting Labour for a few years.

    • bad12 1.1

      The source, unless Tracey Watkins is prepared to name him/her is just as likely to be the media’s propensity for making up utter bullshit,

      As soon as we begin to speculate on who this supposed MP, ‘the source’ is, we simply add legitimacy to anyone in the media’s propensity, faced with the lack of facts, to make s**t up…

      • weka 1.1.1


        What purpose would the blood bath leak have at this stage if it came from within caucus? Last ditch attempt to influence voting?

        Good post btw Bunji. Perhaps when things settle there could be more conversation about Labour policy, how it gets developped, and where it is going?

        • quartz

          What purpose would the blood bath leak have at this stage if it came from within caucus?


      • Jilly Bee 1.1.2

        I heard Tracey Watkins being ‘interviewed’ by Jim Mora a couple of weeks ago re the leadership contest. I was driving at the time and pulled over to the side of the road to a) settle any road rage that may have erupted and b) to shout at the radio. She was talking an absolute load of bullshit – her theme hasn’t changed one iota.

        • Greywarbler

          Jilly Bee
          I have heard that drivers should pull over before using cellphones. Similarly if you felt you needed to call on God as well as other lesser beings in a stern manner. You are wise to keep yourself safe in these damn stressful times.

    • newsense 1.2

      Think Hipkins is some good young talent who we need to mark the likes of Bridges. Labour hasn’t got enough young talent that it can afford to sack everyone who stopped a leadership challenge.

      It will be a big challenge for Cunliffe if he wins how he will get the caucus talent on side and on task. If he can do that winning an election and running the country should be a sitch…

    • Murray Olsen 1.3

      I think Hipkins, Gower, and Hooton should get together and start a consulting company. They could help Mallard find a new job. They fit together pretty well as useless bullshitters with ideas above their station. When Cunliffe becomes leader, Hipkins should resign from parliament and clear the way for someone who doesn’t publicly attack his own team, based on Gower’s lies.

  2. Sosoo 2

    MP = Anas platyrhynchos?

  3. Lanthanide 3

    On iPredict, Robertson to be deputy has risen from 36c to 64c so far today, after bobbing around 25c for the last 2 weeks or so.

    • Saarbo 3.1

      That’s interesting, Jones on Marae Investigates this morning was suggesting a women as deputy, but I-Predict is normally on the money (so to speak)

  4. Greywarbler 4

    Thinking about the media – this a.m. on Radionz.
    Comments by journalist watcher of USA using a term I think ahistorical. He says that the sound bytes are so short that nobody knows any context about anything, and aren’t informed about even recent events.
    11:40 Wayne Brittenden’s Counterpoint
    Wayne discusses the implications of the Russian initiative to get Syria to agree to surrender its chemical weapon stockpile. He also takes a critical look at mainstream media coverage of the Syrian crisis. Chris follows up with American media critic Jeff Cohen.

  5. xtasy 5

    Reestablish a strong, solid, publicly funded broadcasting media (also with online services complementing it), so we get more balanced, fact based, relevant and actually informative reporting. Having these MSM lackeys and mercenaries write all this crap I see, read and hear every day is a waste of money. They get paid by advertising their employers earn, and we all pay for that in the end, as the consumers of the products and services the advertisers praise and inundate us with.

    For my money I want at least balanced information and a reasonable quality in media, not biased reporting, not misinformation, not trivial crap dished up as what I am as an end consumer “supposedly” asking for. Who bloody asked me about what programs should be shown on TVNZ? Who asks me what I want to read in print media? Nobody has asked me or most others, and that is the problem with the media.

    NZ has the worst public broadcasting in the developed world, and it is time to establish something that is at least as good as Australia’s ABC.

    I would not object to spend tax on it, or even pay a reasonable fee for it. In turn the products and services sold should prove themselves rather by word and mouth advertising, by offering true value and quality, and they should be priced cheaper, without excessive advertising spend in it.

    We need a balance to the trash we get, and then we may also be spared dumb politicians and great manipulators that dominate the present government, to get away with so much, and hold us at ransom, while selling the country bit by bit.

    Only a well informed, independently and objectively informed public ensures a true, good quality and functioning democracy. Let us claim back democracy, please!

  6. Mike S 6

    Appears that Tracy Watkins might need to up her game. I noticed a couple of silly mistakes in an article of hers on Stuff the other day. It was titled “Hard-fought tussle on a ‘knife edge'”. I’m guessing she doesn’t bother proof reading before her articles are published.

    Midway through the article she wrote – “Cunliffe’s first test as leader if elected would be appointing a deputy…” which makes you think she hasn’t done her research and doesn’t know that the deputy is appointed by caucus. But then in the same sentence she continued.. ” which, under Labour’s rules, is decided by a caucus vote.” Wonder where her head was at when she was writing this.

    Then, in the very next paragraph she wrote – “To win the vote he may need to extend an olive branch to the Robertson camp, possibly by selecting a deputy…”

    How these people call themselves journalists is beyond me.

  7. tracey 7

    and of course lockwood left cos he was tired not because national needed a patsy speaker while they jack booted over democacy.

  8. tracey 8

    and simon power…

    yup no disagreements in national, no siree

  9. tracey 9

    this quote from gillard might fit in this thread too

    ” As Tony Abbott has proved, being relentlessly negative can pay huge political dividends. But at some point in the political cycle, the public will want to know the genuinely new way in which you describe your purpose, not just your critique of the other side. For social democratic parties, the historic deliverers of the big reforms, this moment comes earlier and with more force than for conservatives. Indeed, for Tony Abbott and his team this moment never came at all.”

  10. tracey 10

    after the first round of caucus votes a little over 50% didnt support robertson as leader…. that doesnt equate to overwhelming support for grant in caucus.

  11. Sable 11

    Errors? More likely a negative “smear” campaign to put bolster little Johnny’s flagging reputation.

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