Last week, Campbell Live ran an article about the framing of Key as slippery. It could have been an excellent piece on the merits of such attacks, the wisdom of them, and their effectiveness. In parts it was, but then Campbell did this:
The shallow premise that politics is only identical brands competing for popularity, Pepsi vs Coke reporting, is the most common complaint you hear from people about political reporting. Not only does Campbell further this empty kind of analysis, he actually acts out the bloody metaphor used to deride it!
Let’s get this clear. Politics is not a game, it is not a popularity contest, it is not commodity branding. The parties fundamentally stand for very different views of society: Labour stands for a decent job with a fair wage for all those who want it, the Greens argue sustainability must come first, National stands for the protecting the wealth and power of those who have wealth and power, United Future stands for Peter Dunne’s ego. The election is most important decision that we as a society make: who has the best policies, the competence to carry them out as well as respond to emerging issues, and can be trusted to act in our interests? It’s such an important decision that all adults get to have their say.
Reporters do New Zealand a disservice when they portray this important process as a meaningless game.