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Once too often

Written By: - Date published: 2:03 pm, August 9th, 2008 - 17 comments
Categories: Media, national, slippery, spin - Tags:

Last week Colin James wrote that behind National’s one-page wonder policies there was actually a substantive body of work. The publicly-released work rights policy (“workplace policy”, as the Tories call it) was only half a dozen bullet points long but James assured us there was a 34 page document backing it. OK, he hadn’t been allowed to read or look at the document and John Key had just read him the headings… but, still substance, yes? Well no, turns out all the Nats have is a 14 page document recounting the history of employment policy. The bullet points is all the policy there is. But wait, Duncan Garner then reported that he had been told there is a ‘phone-book’ of detail behind the Nats’ one-pagers. Turned out they were lying to him too. Garner was rightly furious at being deceived. By the end of the week, there were some embarrassed and pissed off journos who had relied on National’s word.

Then came the tapes. The Nats tried all their old tactics again – they claimed it didn’t happen, they argued it was taken out of context, they attacked the source. As we’ve seen before, National tried to distract the media from the content of the tapes by getting hysterical about their source (was it Young Labour!?! OMG!). But this time the strategy hasn’t worked. The media have largely refused to follow National’s narrative.

Why? Because they’re sick of being lied to; sick of being treated as a vehicle for Crosby/Textor lines. As damaging as the revelation of the secret agenda has been for National the loss of a compliant media willing to run their lines may be even worse in the coming weeks. And, as with the the exposure of their secret agenda, the Nats have no-one to blame for that but themselves.

17 comments on “Once too often”

  1. Ari 1

    I assume we’re not counting muppets like NBR and the Herald as media for the purposes of this post, SP?

  2. Oh my God,

    We can but hope. Will the journos finally find their cogones back and start doing what they are paid to do. Keep tabs, real tabs on all our politicians.

  3. Ari 3

    Hah. Apparently I’m stuck in moderation. That’s what I get for using Jim Henson’s creations as an allegory for certain parts of the media 😛

  4. Anita 4

    Is part of the reason that journalists are struggling to handle National’s tactics their obsession with the perception of fairness?

    To deal with National’s current avoidance techniques a journo has to use tactics which will appear pushy and confrontational. They can’t use the same tactics with Labour, because it would look obviously unnecessary and rude. So a journo that deals properly with a National tactic will look like they’re being much tougher on National than Labour.

    So what’s a journalist to do?

  5. r0b 5

    So a journo that deals properly with a National tactic will look like they’re being much tougher on National than Labour.

    So what’s a journalist to do?

    I don’t understand the problem? If confrontation isn’t necessary with Labour, then good, a journo can say so. And it confrontation is necessary with National, then again a journo can say so.

    In short, an explanation for whatever tactics are required can be part of the story. It’s a close run think but I think the public trusts journalists more than politicians…

  6. Anita 6

    The media seems obsessed with the requirement to give the impression of balance. I think if they would be wary of being seen to constantly attack Key if they weren’t heavying Clark.

    But yes, if they would give themselves the time/space to explain why the tactics were necessary i think it’d be fine.

    I still want more metajournalism in the media!!!

  7. I’m disappointed. I saw the title come up on my blogroll, and thought that you guys must have had a “Road to Damascus” experience and decided you weren’t going to attack Key and National again. Just goes to show how wrong you can be!!

  8. randal 8

    gosh that was very clever…now I can say something like…ummmm ahhh…we dont need to attack John Keys because he keeps shooting himself and his party in the foot…doh

  9. Who’s John Keys?

  10. Proctor 10

    Or, more appropriately, who’s John Key?

    Captcha: hiding nurses

  11. randal 11

    john key with a slit personality= john keys

  12. George.com 12

    Bitter old Michael Bassett in one of the Saturday papers spewed forth a load of bile. Young Labour are behind the tapings he said. The ‘left wing’ media simply went along with Labours dirty tactics. Back in 2005, when the Exclusive Brethren put out some ‘pertinent’ statements about Labour & the Greens, the media concentrated on the sideshow of trying to find out who put out the pamphlets rather than the ‘serious’ issues raised by the EBs.

    What a bitter old bugger Bassett is. He swallows Keys diversion tactic “Labour did it” hook line and sinker. Likely believes Brashs emails were ‘stolen’ as well. ‘Left wing’ media? PMSL. The NZ Herald waged a massive campaign to kick the shit out of the Labour govt at the start of the year. Did we hear Bassett moan about that? Did we phuq.

    No comment from Bassett that a number of the smears the EBs made again st the Greens were a crock. Obviously slipped his mind eh. Obviously the major story about the EBs, how the Nats arranged a massive & secret campaign, also slipped his mind. Bassett must’ve been out of the country when the months of reporting about the Nats colusion with the EBs to spend shit loads on election funding, without it appearing on the Nats books, took place.

    Maybe Bassetts hatchet job of Lange & Pope isn’t selling so well. Would explain his bitterness.

  13. “By the end of the week, there were some embarrassed and pissed off journos who had relied on National’s word.”

    Meanwhile in the REAL WORLD…………..

  14. Kevyn 14

    Anita, The different media responses aren’t entirely due to media “impatiality” or rOb’s inference that Labour aren’t being subjected to confrontation because they have done anything deserving of confrontation. Part of the the problem is that the public and the MSM focus on issues that are simple or compact and can’t be bothered with issues that have been building slowly and where there is no obvious point of focus. Getting caught lying on tape or breaking into the watergate is the sought of faux pas that gets the attention of the media and the public. Various pork-barrel shenanigans and Hoovier’s dosier’s on high-profile citizens lacked that focus so the offending bureaucrats aor politicians have not gone the same way as Nixon.

    The size of the next two paragraphs proves prefer to read about big lies or events instead of slow lies or events.

    You might have noticed that granny Herald’s coverage of National’s high profile announcement of it’s plans to borrow $1.5 for land transport infrastructure included references to intergenerational debt and allegations of tax-cut funding as the real objective. You won’t have noticed any of those comments in Wednesday’s article on the latest step in the implementaion of Labour’s almost identical plan. In fact, I have been closely following Labour’s evolution of land transport funding for 8 years and if National hadn’t highlighted these concerns with it’s announcement only a few days ahead of the ARC’s announcement the penny would never have dropped. Labour’s market research of it’s voters market has obviously been much better than National’s. Tax cuts are seen as benefitting the rich more than the poor. Rates cuts are seen as benefitting everybody. Tax increases get blamed on government but rates increases get blamed on councils. Of course petrol tax increases only hurt rich people unless petrol prices have surged recently.

    Labour’s plan as implemented to date has been to increase fuel taxes to pump more money into the land transport fund while refusing to increase the funding assistance rates to allow local authorities to access this increased funding without increasing rates. As tax cuts became increasingly attractive to voters at the same time that public consultation soundly rejected widespread road tolling an alternative method of taking the pressure off rates was needed. In fact this pressure was growing even without considering tax cuts. The obvious solution was to introduce regional petrol taxes. Thus future petrol tax increases would be blamed on a different level of government. More importantly, as major public transport infrastructure planning became larger in scale the need for major up front capital investments was growing. This actually is beyond the revenue streams of all the petrol taxes combined thus borrowing becomes the only way forward. The regional petrol tax provides the repayment revenue stream. Of course the loans and liability for them become the responsibility of local petrol tax payers or, in the absence of petrol use, the ratepayers. Nevertheless the principle of intergenerational debt is still there. The use of half the revenue from Auckland’s petrol tax to repay the Government “grant” of half the project cost does mean that government can claim to be spending more on land transport than it is receiving in roading revenue when that’s not strictly true. In fact some regions are even being denied funding they are legally entitled to from existing taxation until they introduce regional petrol taxes.

    The legislation that authorises regional petrol taxes doesn’t force regional councils to borrow but it’s the only way they can use the petrol tax revenue stream to fund large scale rail investments within a reasonable timeframe – years instead of decades.

    Because this process has been dragged out across three terms it would take days to link to all of the proof. But a short cut is to read the new Act and it’s schedules, or the Bill since the Act itself is not yey online. It’s pretty self explanatory.

  15. Paul 15

    “Meanwhile in the REAL WORLD”

    one of the funniest things you’ll ever hear on a blog coming from that man.

    DIRTY filthy disingenuous bunch of indignant wankers. If they think they can just lie their way into office, they’ve got another thing coming.

  16. “DIRTY filthy disingenuous bunch of indignant wankers”

    No doubt you think that about yourself Paul, every morning you look into the cracked mirror. It’s a laughing matter for the mirror factory.

  17. randal 17

    careful with all that bile d4juice…when you carry that much around inside yourself it usually comes out as cancerous tumour.

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