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MSM asking questions in a democracy

Written By: - Date published: 11:12 am, May 7th, 2020 - 13 comments
Categories: Media, news - Tags:

Economissive’s whole twitter thread is worth reading here. Lots of examples, and it’s depressing reading.

Obviously the MSM play a crucial role in a democracy, and having direct access to politicians is an important part of that. The problem with Tova O’Brien’s terrier approach to the daily Covid briefings wasn’t that she was asking the same questions over and over, it’s that they were often the wrong questions.

We’ve had a few weeks now of a bunch of people on the left objecting to the repetitive nature of the questions, and then a bunch of journalists and media commentators saying hang on, there are good reasons to ask the same question over and over (eg it can bring out things that politicians are reluctant to discuss).

Meanwhile, important questions go unasked and unanswered.

I don’t see O’Brien or other Press Gallery journos as the core problem here (and seriously, stop abusing journos on twitter, whoever is doing that). It’s their bosses, and the people that own the companies they work for. If gotcha and Ministerial scalps are the priority then giving a shit about the elderly, disabled and poor people is not going to rate. This is about values, and which ones are driving our media.

As an aside, one of the things that’s improved with the arrival of the daily briefings, is that the public can hear the questions being asked. Compared to press conferences in the past where the MSM seem to think that only the politicians need to hear them.

It’s long overdue that livestreamed press conferences are seen as for the public as much as the MSM. The public being able to hear everything that happens in the room matters. Not only does it make more sense of the content, but it shifts the balance to a trio of interests and breaks the dualistic power structure that existed before.

I’d also like to see all government and political party press releases and additional materials made easily accessible to the public in a central location. We still need the MSM to do the legwork on interpretation and analysis, but the days are gone where the public should be solely reliant on the MSM for access to information, especially when their priorities may differ.

13 comments on “MSM asking questions in a democracy ”

  1. R.P Mcmurphy 1

    yesterday the dompost gave over a whole front page to tin o'connor, headmaster of auckland grammar to dun the government. this is egregious and unconscionable and far from being objective and inquiring. if this is the level of journalism we can expect then this country is done for.

    • Tricledrown 1.1

      A National party fanboy through and through.Yet the post primary principals are very happy the way the govt is handling the crisis.

      • Gabby 1.1.1

        Timmy's got his league tables to think about though.

        • AB 1.1.1.1

          He's also got parents who spent a lot of money getting into that zone – and want to ensure they get a return on their investment. Their purpose is to buy an advantage for their children over the children of poorer parents. I believe this gets called “equality of opportunity". If Tim doesn't deliver that advantage – it's their money down the toilet and the anger will be considerable. He's a nervous man – a mere functionary in the architecture of power.

  2. Pat 2

    23 about when the gov will bail out the media says it all

  3. Wensleydale 3

    Watching Jacinda's pained expressions when repeatedly asked the same asinine questions is always entertaining. You can almost hear the voice in her head saying, "Oh, for fuck's sake. Seriously?!" And her "Is it?" to Tova's attempted defence of the bleach question was gold. She can be savage… in the nicest possible way.

  4. observer 4

    Not everybody likes the daily briefings. This is the considered opinion of a National MP.

    https://twitter.com/farmgeek/status/1258233161831477248

    Yes, a National MP. Who thinks insulting disabled people is a good idea. Who thinks agreeing with Hamish Price is a good idea. Who wants to be in government.

    What is wrong with these people?

    • Wensleydale 4.1

      He's probably ambitious and desperately hoping that being unpleasant and dense will see him rise within the National Party ranks. Depending on the level of unpleasantness and mental ineptitude displayed, and his ability (or lack thereof) to disguise it, he's either delusional or right on the money.

      • observer 4.1.1

        He has since deleted the tweet.

        Stuart Smith should consider himself lucky that on a very busy news day, his contribution was overlooked.

  5. Gabby 5

    I was sure that was going to be Todg McLazy or someone not Mitch different.

  6. aj 6

    Silly me. I thought journalism was meant to expose BS, not spread it.

    • tc 6.1

      What Tova, soper family, hosk, tawdrey, clairely biased etc do isn't journalism.
      They wouldn’t know what it is anymore, they’re paid to thump home messages.

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