Journalists’ reaction to the credit card fiasco today (especially Stuff’s ridiculously huge revolving headline) fell right into the National government’s lap. It was a classic set piece by the government that did not warrant the saturated coverage it received. My message to the media: Come on guys get spin wise!
Let me first state very clearly what I think about the credit card Ministerial spending. It was stupid, idiotic, and completely unacceptable from all concerned Ministers. Shane Jones, Chris Carter, and Tim Groser will and should hang their heads lower over the affair.
But this story did not warrant the build-up or coverage it’s received so far. Not by a long shot.
Sure, it’s worthy frontpage news today. I’ll concede that much.
It did not however deserve three days of drawn out headline coverage, especially when it was very clear from the beginning that this whole affair was a carefully managed media strategy run out of the 9th Floor of the Beehive. Yes, I hate to break to you, but this was (a quite clever) set piece delivered by the Nats and lapped up by media. The Government cleverly hyped it for months, leaked anticipation of its release, leaked tastly tidbits, and finally delivered a document that was going to take days to digest.
With all the effort and spin that went into the story, the media should’ve had the sense to step back with a critical eye for a moment and say “Wait… We’re really being used and taken out for a spin here” [yes.. pun intended]. Instead we received days of ongoing coverage, a rolling giant headline on stuff, and 10 minutes in the 6pm news bulletins (is that more than the election?).
And no, Shane Jones’ porn isn’t an excuse. You’re not all the Truth for goodness sake.
Come on guys, you can do better than this.