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Shock Horror media bias exists in New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, February 15th, 2016 - 85 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, brand key, david cunliffe, democracy under attack, Dirty Politics, election 2014, greens, john key, journalism, labour, Media, national, newspapers, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

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This is a topic that has been the subject of many, many Standard posts which have complained about the the bias that New Zealand’s media shows for the political right.  But it is always good to have verification.  Massey University academic Claire Robinson has analysed media coverage from the last election campaign and concluded that it was heavily biased towards National.

From Radio New Zealand:

Media were biased towards Prime Minister John Key during the last election according to new research on images in the media.

Prime Minister John Key getting some more news coverage.

Sixty percent of those were of the two major party leaders – John Key, the National Party leader, and Labour’s then leader David Cunliffe.

Images of the Prime Minister outnumbered those of Mr Cunliffe by three-to-one.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was the third most photographed leader, and Colin Craig of the Conservative Party the fourth.

The measurement is a simplistic one, counting the numbers of times each leader appears.  But the difference is significant and the bad news is that things are getting worse.

Robinson states that the papers showed “structural” rather than “political” bias.  I am not sure how she can claim this.

Robinson’s previous analysis of the 2011 election indicated a significant but less pronounced difference in treatment.  From the Massey University website:

New research to be released this evening concludes that four of the country’s top newspapers were biased in their coverage of the last election.

The research by Massey University Associate Professor Claire Robinson finds that the HeraldHerald on SundayDominion Post and Sunday Star-Times all exhibited substantial bias in their selection and use of images during the election campaign, most of it in favour of Prime Minister John Key.

“Labour and Phil Goff have real grounds to feel they were unfairly treated in print during the last election campaign,” Dr Robinson says.

Dr Robinson assessed every image of John Key and Phil Goff published during the election campaign in the four big papers. Mr Key featured 138 times while Mr Goff featured 80 times. Mr Key also dominated the column centimetres, at an almost two to one ratio.

Both Mr Key and Mr Goff received much more positive and neutral coverage than negative coverage from all four papers, but the Herald and Herald on Sunday were generally more positive in their treatment of Mr Key, whilst the Dominion Post and Sunday Star-Times were kinder to Mr Goff.

“My research suggests there could be grounds for a complaint to the New Zealand Press Council that the newspapers breached the principle of fairness and balance in their campaign coverage.

Things are getting worse in that the imbalance, as measured by photos, went from nearly two to one to three to one when the treatment of Key and the Labour leader are compared.

The test does not measure the quality of the photos used.  I recall posting about the calibre of the photos used after Labour’s best start announcement early in 2014.  It was hard to imagine a worse set of photos that could have been used.

As noted by Robinson’s earlier release there is an obligation for the print media to exhibit balance.  The New Zealand Press Council’s statement of principles states this:

An independent press plays a vital role in a democracy. The proper fulfilment of that role requires a fundamental responsibility to maintain high standards of accuracy, fairness and balance and public faith in those standards.

The elevation of Mike Hosking and Paul Henry to positions of authority the year before the 2014 election clearly helped the Government.  Add to this National’s huge financial resources and evidence of media bias and it is no wonder that Labour and the Greens struggled.

85 comments on “Shock Horror media bias exists in New Zealand ”

  1. Ant 1

    For decades the collective voices of Chomsky, Pilger, Giraux, Monbiot, Edwards, Greenwald and many others have exposed the persistent and blatant MSM bias orchestrated to the tune of corporate greed and insatiable political hunger. There’s no shortage of high grade journalism exposing the deception, only a shortage of people who read and consider this end of the spectrum of world news.

    Somewhere, somehow, someone has to find the formula to correct this.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      But big corp only hurt themselves less your wrong, well and kicking the ball down the pitch doesn’t end up off a cliff. See the way i see it is stiffling debate only exposes the stifflers to be undercut, or be coming irrelevent, i.e big oil. It like losersare the first you here. Take Trump he obviously is the establishment candidate, well not of the party but of inherited wealth, the aristocratwho are for revolution just not anything that effects him. The radical whose so radical he wealthy, corp tychoon radical.

      Take the hardworking stiff who supped off tory neo lib to buy a million dollar seashore mansion, only now to realise sea level rise will stormsurge make him look like a dick.

  2. Anne 2

    “My research suggests there could be grounds for a complaint to the New Zealand Press Council that the newspapers breached the principle of fairness and balance in their campaign coverage.

    Well, why didn’t Labour and the Greens complain to the Press Council? Was it because they couldn’t be bothered gathering all the evidence or were they too timid to make a noise because… Hosking, Henry and co. might get nasty?

    I can’t speak for the Greens but I do get annoyed with Labour for being unwilling to stand up for their rights. Is it because a few former traitors in caucus still have a ‘memo of understanding’ with certain senior members of the press gallery?

    • DH 2.1

      My thinking was that fear and ambition keeps them quiet Anne. The MSM haven’t even been subtle in their unspoken message that any politician who stands up to them will suffer the same fate as Peters, Cunliffe et al. Bucking the MSM is a pretty good career killer.

      Having said that I also think they’re stupid for burying their heads in the sand, it won’t make the problem go away and the utu factor isn’t insurmountable. IMO the Press Council is a waste of time, look at its members list;

      http://www.presscouncil.org.nz/about

      Hard to take it seriously when Key’s biographer is a party to it.

    • Chris 2.2

      Good to see someone acknowledging Labour’s hopelessness including its refusal to operate as an Opposition. Now extend that to what it means for vulnerable New Zealanders, which in fact translates to collusion with government thus direct responsibility for a hell of a lot of what is happening. That’s why I hate Labour.

      • Al66 2.2.1

        So, you hate Labour because they are being actively muzzled by Key and his supporters – yet blame them for this. That is why I have serious distain for anyone who support National or ACT or any right-wing political ideologue. How are Labour hopeless in opposition – whenever they oppose they are blamed for ‘whinging’ and the media support this crap. National doesn’t give a crap for vulnerable NZer or they would be helping to create them. Then you have the audacity to blame Labour for problems caused by National – pathetic!

    • Grant 2.3

      They and their supporters did just that. Over and over and over again! Made 20 submissions myself!
      BUT they weren’t considered newsworthy enough to be reported by media! Bias on bias!

  3. The lost sheep 3

    The measurement is a simplistic one, counting the numbers of times each leader appears.

    Without seeing the research it is very difficult to say how simplistic it is. Can you link to it please?

    Interestingly, Robinson also used this manner of analysis on the last Labour leader campaign, and found evidence of visual bias there also…

    “However, it also found significant imbalance in visual image coverage in favour of David Cunliffe and away from Grant Robertson. Like Phil Goff in 2011, both Shane Jones and Grant Robertson have a right to feel deprived of the same visual image coverage that David Cunliffe received in the press during the Labour leadership campaign.”

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      So the media doesn’t just meddle in general elections, and your contribution is “Labour didz it too!”

    • Anne 3.2

      Lovely distraction attempt Tls but with a bit of luck no-one will respond apart from your fellow tr**ls.

      Claire Robinson used to work for Jenny Shipley and is not known for having any left wing tendencies. Therefore her conclusions are all the more interesting.

  4. The lost sheep 4

    Robinson states that the papers showed “structural” rather than “political” bias. I am not sure how she can claim this.

    If you follow this link you will hear her explaining what she means very clearly.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201789181

    She is using the word ‘bias’ in the scientific sense, and she specifically states that it does not indicate any political bias at all.
    She outlines in some detail how scrupulously fair and balanced the media is when it comes to written material, and makes it clear that the visual imbalance is one that the media had been unaware of.

    By ‘structural’ she means that the press is inclined to choose pictures on ‘Newsworthiness’ and that it is in the nature of being a PM to have more news around you. (If it was a Labour PM the same thing would apply).
    She quotes the example of the ‘Teagate scandal’, as an example….where % of pictures of John Key increased by 70% (in a negative story context…), and points out that at the past election Dotcom/DP produced a similar syndrome.

    So. No evidence of a deliberate bias towards National or any other RW Party eh?

    BTW, I have never seen any media outlet so saturated with pictures of JK as The Standard. If you listen to Claire, you will find that this is in fact exactly the ‘bias’ she is talking about, and in fact increases the chances that people will vote for JK.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      I normally struggle with Robinson’s commentary as I do not think she is Labour friendly. She did work for Shipley not too long ago. It is difficult to understand why she effectively argued for a press complaint in 2011 but not in 2014 when the imbalance was much worse.

      • Chris 4.1.1

        I was going to say that if this is coming from Claire Robinson things must be ten times worse.

      • The lost sheep 4.1.2

        Did you listen to the interview Micky?
        Through close association with, and study of the media, she has observed a strong focus on fairness and balance, and detected no ‘politically motivated bias’ at all.

        The ‘bias’ she has found is exactly the same bias that TS displays. It is a bias towards whoever is in a position where more news stories center around them.
        Therefore there are no grounds for a Press complaint.

        What she does think needs to happen is for the press to put as much attention on balanced visuals as they currently do on written material.

        • DH 4.1.2.1

          I listened to it and came away underwhelmed. Her own argument makes her claim redundant. If being structural is dependent on the media being unaware of their bias then it can no longer be a structural bias. By her own account she told them about it in 2011, in 2014 it cannot be a structural bias because by then they were aware of it.

        • Grant 4.1.2.2

          Sorry, you need to get a clear picture of the difference between a blog and the ‘press’ or mainstream media. It’s the bloggers function to show bias in support of their cause. MSM isn’t supposed to have causes BUT remain neutral to preserve the ‘balance’ that is so often quoted by commentators and the Authority itself. This comments section actually allows a right of reply to an opinion, that my friend fulfils media obligations that blogs don’t have.

          • The lost sheep 4.1.2.2.1

            Grant, as others have done on this post, you are confusing ‘structural bias’ with ‘prejudice bias’. The researcher here has specifically indicated she is not making any claim of prejudice bias.

            ‘Structural bias’ in the media has been identified has having many causes… http://rhetorica.net/bias.htm

            The reason I have linked the bias to TS is that the particular bias the Researcher has identified is a ‘Visual/temporal’ bias. The ‘prejudice’ if you like, is towards what is immediately newsworthy, combined with the need to have pictures to accompany the story.

            The reason I linked TS to the bias is that doing so proves the ‘structural bias’ point because you can measure the same bias everywhere.
            If it was the result of deliberate manipulation because of political bias you would find it differed according to the specific political bias of the media source.
            In this case it does not. The NZ Herald and the The Standard both show a structural bias towards pictures of John Key, for the same reason. He is newsworthy and people find lots to write about him. Having done so, they like to put a picture of him beside it.
            Simple.

            And think about it. How would you counter this balance? Not write stories that involve JK? Or write stories about him but deliberately choose not to put a picture of him beside it? Or even show reverse discrimination ‘here’s a story about JK pulling ponytails, but we have put a picture of Andrew Little beside it as part of our visual balance initiative’?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.2.2.1.1

              …stories about him.

              A form of bias in themselves. Are the things a selfie Prime Minister does actually newsworthy? Or are there in fact far more pressing issues than planking or derping or dancing in the studio?

              Science attempts to remove bias with peer review. A news organisation employs editors for much the same reason.

              Please note that I make no distinction between conscious and unconscious bias. The conscious sort is easier to spot (cf: Cameron Slater).

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2

      Her research pertains to imagery. She made a statement about the news media’s sense of itself: ie: an opinion not a finding.

      Are you pretending otherwise from bias or incomprehension?

  5. Richard Christie 5

    I’d go as far as to say this bias determined the election result.

    It was the most dominant factor, without question.

    • BM 5.1

      Fuck off, it was because labour sucked, Cunnliffe was sorry for being a man and there was a rather obese German trying to buy the election.

      I can’t believe how deluded the left is,

      • Neil 5.1.1

        You are the only deluded one, I guess the truth hurts. You have lost all credibility with your choice of language.

        • BM 5.1.1.1

          Yeah, yeah.

          One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of left wing people is that they are convinced, they are by far the smartest people in the room, every one else is an utter thicky compared to them.

          They seem to grasp at any reason to justify why they keep losing, the right cheated, the voters were dumb, the media are against us, crosby textor was using a mind control ray, etc etc.

          The hard reality is, what you are selling is not what people want and it doesn’t matter if you think your’e right and every one else is wrong

          To win the left has to shelve the egos and come up ideas that appeal across the board, not just to your core voter demographic.

          That’s the reason why the left isn’t winning.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1

            The Parliamentary Left can’t even come up with policy which is that appealing to it’s “core demographic” let alone the rest of your sensible suggestions.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2

        …a rather obese German trying to buy the election.

        1. He’s not actually obese. Sure, he’s a big man but that’s all
        2. National did buy the election through Cabinet Clubs and other money laundering schemes.

        • Gosman 5.1.2.1

          He’s just big boned 😉

          I believe that IMP spent more on the election than National did. If money was so influential how come they didn’t get a single seat?

          • te reo putake 5.1.2.1.1

            C’mon, Gossie, everyone knows there was a conspiracy between National, NZ First, Labour and all the other candidates in Te Tai Tokerau to force voters to make a democratic choice. Time to end the disastrous experiment with voting and simply appoint MP’s on the basis of what Mana want.

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Labour’s strategic incompetence meant that it has strangled a possible MMP partner out of existence, and deprived the Left of a critical additional one seat in a finely balanced Parliament, when it could quite easily have had Kelvin Davis, Hone Harawira and Laila Harre all in there shoring up the true left wing of NZ politics.

              • Good point, CV. Who knew letting people have a vote would end in tears for all the candidates except the winner? That’s never happened before in any election ever, as far as I know.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Doesn’t matter any hows, its not like Labour needs MMP partners in Parliament.

                  • I think you’ll find Labour do need partners, CV. Just not partners who aren’t willing to engage positively with them, who repeatedly bag them in public, who can’t win an electorate seat, or lift the party vote.

                    But enough about you, lets talk about the mana party.

                    • Trey

                      Bazinga

                    • Grant

                      Spot on te reo! Form an alliance with people who go out of their way to slag off at you? Yeah Right!

                    • weka

                      Partners who are willing to engage positively? How do you explain Shane Jones then?

                      That whole line of argument obscures the fact that Labour would have hobbled Mana even if Mana were sweetness and light. Because as skinny points out, Labour doesn’t like to share. Or hasn’t done. Hopefully that’s changing now and after wasting at least one electoral cycle discovering what everyone else knew, that Labour are no longer a majority party, they’ll actually figure out how to do MMP.

              • Skinny

                Hone was in trouble even before he hooked up with Dotcom, that just added the final nail. I had spoken to many Maori in the TTT seat that had previously voted for Hone but had declared they were giving Kelvin Davis (the under dog) a go this time. What many people maybe unaware of is they are cousins and Davis had been very proactive, especially during the flood up North. Labour put Davis effectively out the backdoor which even Kelvin was spewing about.

                But as you say there was a great opportunity to get a couple of MP’s in, alas Labour has never been great at sharing, look no further than the Greens and the stink treatment they received under the Clark regime.

    • Anne 5.2

      I’d go as far as to say this bias determined the election result.

      Indeed it did. And nowhere was it more obvious than in the the coverage of Hager’s book “Dirty Politics”.

      RNZ political segment this morning had Stephen Mills and Matthew Hooton discussing the “trivialisation of NZ politics”. Both agreed the media is to blame and both made some very good contributions – especially Mills.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201789280

      second half.

    • DH 5.3

      People certainly seem to have short memories or selective vision. The MSM did sometimes play a bit subtle with their attempts to sabotage Labour’s election chances but there was no subletly about their efforts to prevent Winston Peters being re-elected, for example…..

      Editorial: Winston – Great pretender for long enough
      Saturday Sep 13, 2014

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11324026

      “Thinking of voting for NZ first? Please spare us another round of the phony post-election posturing.” etc etc

      That is a blatant political bias, nothing ‘structural’ about that.

      • Colonial Viper 5.3.1

        I hope the MSM keep using their editorial power to slam into Winston and NZ First.

        • DH 5.3.1.1

          Why? We’re a democracy, Winston Peters has as much right to run for election as anyone else.

          It’s not for the media to tell us who or who not to vote for. They’re not our peers or overlords, if people want to vote Peters it’s no-one’s business but their own.

        • Sabine 5.3.1.2

          good grief, is there anyone on the political spectrum that would actually suit you?

          • swordfish 5.3.1.2.1

            I think CV is suggesting that the more the MSM attacks Winnie, the higher NZ First’s support seems to climb.

  6. Bill 6

    Nothing wrong with bias as long as it’s honest. It’s the claims to ‘balance’ or ‘impartiality’ that are insidious.

    • shorts 6.1

      this

      Though I must say the lack of left leaning voices in the overly right saturated columnists and opinion makers msm world is something to be aware of too, if all voices say the same thing its perceived as being so even if only one body of opinion

      If as has happened in the past labour make a deal out of this they get labeled whingers (and this becomes the narrative), better to ignore it publicly

      • Sp OliviaRichard Christie 6.1.1

        Good honest bias, … $1000 bottles of wine and all that.

        • Grant 6.1.1.1

          Please keep up. The only wine was the Key labeled stuff. It was proved that high priced bottles of wine reported as a Labour Party rort were in fact fictitious and attributable to a charity that a LP member happened to be supporting.

  7. The lost sheep 7

    I’ll say it again. The researcher quoted in this post specifically states there was no political bias involved.
    She also specifically states that the NZ media do take very seriously their ‘fundamental responsibility to maintain high standards of accuracy, fairness and balance’.

    So I’m still waiting for someone to produce credible evidence that…
    a. There is a RW political bias in the NZ media.
    b. There is a casual link between such a bias and voting patterns?

    • Bill 7.1

      There is a ‘natural’ bias for whatever orthodox view is in the ascendancy at any given time. It’s never presented as such though – more a self evident truth. You might want to call that ‘right wing’ or whatever, though, as I’ve been pointing out in comments of late, there is no left, just views that favour state over market or visa versa…

      People can only vote on which ever choice is on offer and there is no substantial choice on offer…everyone is for free trade, everyone is for ‘hard working’ kiwis, everyone is for some future that’s a linear progression from ‘the good old days’.

      Or so we’re told.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      Her “specific” statement is an opinion. You failed to grasp that. Her research shows image bias. It is credible evidence. You’ll fail to acknowledge that.

      • The lost sheep 7.2.1

        Her research shows image bias. It is credible evidence. You’ll fail to acknowledge that.

        You have not read my posts then OAB? If you had, you will have noted that i not just acknowledged the bias, but went on to discuss it in detail.

        Noting that, and I’ll say this again because it doesn’t seem to be sinking in…
        It is a structural bias towards those who are most often in the center of a news story.
        The researcher is specifying that it is not a political bias.

        To demonstrate this bias, look no further than TS itself, which publishes far more pictures of JK than any other figure, if not a higher % of JK pictures than any media site I have seen.
        By your argument, this would prove that TS is heavily biased towards The National Party……

        Knowing how keen you are on ‘credible scientific evidence’ OAB, maybe you can be the one to produce same proving that…
        a. There is a RW political bias in the NZ media.
        b. There is a casual link between such a bias and voting patterns?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1.1

          Your demand for “scientific proof” is telling, since science doesn’t deal in proof it deals in probability. So from the get-go you’ve established a false goal.

          Let’s be charitable and assume that was an honest mistake.

          There is indeed plenty of evidence of media bias. However, every time you’ve been presented with any so far you’ve simply ignored it or dismissed it.

          As for evidence of the effect it has, I doubt you’ve looked for any, let alone wondered what exactly it is that Crosby Textor and Exceltium do.

          • The lost sheep 7.2.1.1.1

            There is indeed plenty of evidence of media bias. However, every time you’ve been presented with any so far you’ve simply ignored it or dismissed it.

            I didn’t know where to start with that to be honest. I’ll try and be brief.

            We were discussing the question of media influence in the Internet age, and the evidence you produced as a “great example of how media bias directly impacts on the available range of ‘choices’” …..
            was a piece of research that completely pre-dates the internet!
            It’s a bit like backing up an argument around modern communication with ‘evidence’ that pre-dates the mobile phone!!

            As a communist/socialist during the 60’s to early 90’s, I am the first person who would confirm the stifling effect of an extremely limited availability of a small number of mass outlets. But the internet has utterly revolutionized that situation.

            So the question I think most important for the post above is ‘How much influence could a bias in several newspapers potentially have in the modern world?’

            Clue. During the week The Independent announced it was ceasing hard copy publication altogether. In reaction The Guardian and Telegraph both confirmed print was dead.
            That’s how much influence traditional Press has now. It’s dead.
            The Independent reports it currently has 1.2 million hard copy readers per month, and 58 million online viewers….

            The 2013 AUT study gives further dramatic evidence on just how far out of date traditional ‘mass media control’ memes really are, and how rapidly things are further evolving. Keep in mind, the research OAB quotes above was published in 2006 and does not even mention the internet.
            So what is the situation just 10 years on?

            They found 80% of NZ’s spent an hour or more a day online. ( Based on a connection rate of 80%. I believe the current figure is 98%).
            81% of those people rated the Internet as an important or very important source of information, but only 47% said the same for TV, and only 37% for Radio and Newspapers.

            And what do they do online?
            ‘Look for News’ – from 98% of ‘Next generation Users, to 64% of low level users.
            ‘Find or check facts’ – from 98% of ‘Next generation Users, to 64% of low level users.
            ‘Use search engine’ – from 98% of ‘Next generation Users, to 80% of low level users.
            Use search engine to locate information, Checking facts, and Looking for News are the 3rd, 5th and 6th most common activities online.

            In short. Traditional memes around the ability of mass media to control information are dead. This is the modern world.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1.1.1.1

              As predicted, evidence that media bias can have a profound effect (I said nothing whatsoever about the ‘internet age’), dismissed.

              Do your own Google Scholar searches, you lazy prick. I suggest “media bias nz” as a rich source of facts for you to deny and whinge about.

              • The lost sheep

                As predicted, evidence that media bias can have a profound effect (I said nothing whatsoever about the ‘internet age’), dismissed.
                I did not ‘dismiss’ it. I put up a concrete ‘reason’ why I believed it was redundant in the contemporary situation.
                Feel free to put up a rational argument as to why my contention is not valid?

                Feel free to answer to any of my points rationally in fact. If not I will default to the position that your failure to answer proves you have no answer. If you did, you would certainly put it forward.

                Do your own Google Scholar searches,
                I’ve googled many times and failed to locate any credible evidence for the 2 questions I have asked you and others here repeatedly to produce.
                So far the best you have been able to produce was utterly obsolete.

                If you know where such evidence is, please stop hiding behind such ridiculous devices as ‘do it yourself’ and just link to it?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  If you can’t see how it pertains to your question 2, and repeatedly ignore references to Carr, why on Earth would anyone stoop to help you?

                  Join the fuckin’ dots.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Further, as has been widely reported,

                  western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction.

                  Obviously that’s a criminal attack on society, and don’t worry: Sheep says it can’t possibly work or anything, and propaganda doesn’t work either, and in any case there isn’t any.

                  I’m glad we got that sorted out.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1.1.1.2

              Carr, as I’ve also previously mentioned, you walking bag of sloth, presents evidence that internet media are entrenching existing biases.

              Ignore that too, there’s a bore.

              • The lost sheep

                Carr’s suggestion is one that actually reinforces the increasing inability of the media to influence people against their inclination?
                I’m not aware of anywhere he suggests that the Internet has strengthened the ability of The Traditional Mass media to control information and influence political belief.

                This quote from his latest blog certainly seems to suggest the opposite?
                “The internet, we’ve been told, is a force for “democratization,” and what we’ve seen so far with the coverage of the 2016 race seems to prove the point.”
                http://www.roughtype.com/?p=6606

                Had to laugh when I read this. Anyone here recognise this scenario?

                “there were signs that online media promoted a hyperactive mob mentality. People skimmed headlines and posts, seeking information that reinforced their biases and avoiding contrary perspectives. Information gathering was more tribalistic than pluralistic. As the authors of a 2009 study concluded, “blog authors tend to link to their ideological kindred and blog readers gravitate to blogs that reinforce their existing viewpoints.” The internet inspired “participation,” but the participants ended up in “cloistered cocoons of cognitive consonance.””

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  …and you think that isn’t either

                  a. Evidence of media (in this case the internet) bias or,
                  b. Evidence of a mechanism by which propaganda can be used to entrench false propositions?

                  Sheesh.

                  • The lost sheep

                    It’s the proof, linkage, and causation that is missing OAB.

                    It’s one thing to assert that a bias or mechanism might exist, and another to show that they exist in a form that actually produces a significant effect on something in the real world.

                    In the case of the 2 questions I have challenged anyone to produce credible evidence for, all that has been produced so far is one out dated pre-internet paper, and a general reference to a non academic book that doesn’t move past (highly intelligent but) generalised opinions that don’t offer any proof.

                    I would have thought that if these ‘control’ memes were correct and they had a significant and measurable effect – there would be ample substantive evidence available to prove them….

                    Think I’ll leave this topic alone until some such evidence emerges.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “Proof” – this again? What part of science doesn’t deal in proof it deals in probability are you having trouble with? Do you dispute it?

                      Of course you won’t find any evidence from neuroscience on the mechanisms of bias. Especially if you don’t bother looking for them. Stumbling around on feet of clay playing catch-up.

  8. Neil 8

    Wait for it, Key will trot out one of his usual lines of “They are all wrong & ill informed” or something like that

    • Gosman 8.1

      You mean like many leftists do here about the population at large?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1

        ~30% of eligible voters does not equal “the population at large”. Innumerate or dishonest, which is it?

    • Tc 8.2

      He will do nothing because his msm shills will not raise it.
      Even if they do it will be staged with shonky ready to rebutt it with the usual ‘I have another opnion’ line used often when inconvenient truths are raised.

  9. Macro 9

    I know that it was very difficult to get news items highlighting local Green Party events and announcements or any items regarding visiting Green Party MPs in the Local paper. Not quite so much on local radio, but every week there is an image of Scott at a sausage sizzle or holding a puppy for the local sheeple to fawn over.

    • The lost sheep 9.1

      That is what Robinson states as the biggest issue coming out of her findings.
      Given that the media favours stories that are ‘in the news’, it does mean that smaller parties often remain ‘invisible’.
      I find it a bit difficult to see how you would correct that without applying a reverse bias. You would have to deliberately exclude showing pictures of people at the center of major stories, while finding reasons to publish pictures of people involved in minor events.
      Robinson didn’t actually offer an answer to that in the interview. My feeling is that doing so would be a significant distorting bias?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1

        If a general election were a minor event you’d have a point. It isn’t. You don’t. As for the PM, what “major event” did he ever take part in? Letterman? Amusing japes about prison rape?

        • The lost sheep 9.1.1.1

          As for the PM, what “major event” did he ever take part in?

          Dirty Politics was pretty big wasn’t it? If ‘Tea pot gate’ resulted in a 70% increase in photographs of him, then DP must have had a similar effect?

          The point you will not answer – why does TS show exactly the same bias?
          Clearly it is because the editors of TS consider JK is consistently newsworthy, and so they feature him a lot.
          Do you suggest they should start showing more balance? I for one have long complained about the bias towards JK photos and stories and would welcome a correction towards more stories about other politicians.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.1.1

            Why don’t you complain to the press council about the editors at TS?

            Oh, yeah, that’s right 🙄

            Any chance of you actually thinking before blurting out your next avoidance mechanism?

  10. tom 10

    First time poster, long time reader, avoid posting due to my work, but cannot help but not to on this occasion
    If you for some crazy reason cannot see a RW (Corporate) bias in our media, i suggest you watch Democracy Now!, that is what a left wing media looks like, you will note we have never had anything resembling that, so hence obviously and without Question there is a massive Corporate bias in our media, as plain as the nose on my face.
    As others have stated all you need do is read one of the hundred Chomsky books (Manufacturing Consent, as one example) to find excellent analysis on this topic with an unequivacal answer that indeed we have a masive bias towards RW by Corporate media and media that runs on Advertising, as they need Corporate $’s to survive.
    Democracy Now takes no Corporate money and has no advertising, it runs off grassroots donors, like Bernie Sanders does, hence why both are able to speak openly and honestly about the world.
    I have purposely used Corporate bias rather than RW bias, as Corporate media on some issues can be left wing by nature, example gay rights, a CEO of a Corporate entity may well be gay so therefore pro civil rights, but all Corporations are for RW Economic policy, by their inherent nature, and that is where the bias is most obvious, Etc etc could give unending examples but best people read Chomsky as he can explain it in the detail it requires.
    Also would like to say that i am unsure why some posters even bother to reply to the troll PR hacks that try to spin their crap on here, just ignore them and talk to real people that actually want to debate an issue properly, label their post as trolling and move on, it serves their ends to distract a good discussion and shift the discussion back to their PR spin narrative. Also feeds them personally on their ego trips, which i think the trolls enjoy more than any idea of trying to illumuinate truth and have honest discourse.
    Anyway thats my thoughts, thanks to all the real posters who give me great enjoyment daily in discussing the important topics of the day, as the MSM Corporate media fail to do.
    Also finally i would like to say off topic:
    go Gareth Hughes, what a speech he made the other day, although MSM ignored it, obvious that they would, it will be remembered for a long time and go down as a great speech, its significance is determined by LWer’s of all stripes getting this through to those centrists who currently vote for National based largely on Crosby Textor PR, and the truth of it resoonates so well, i have RW (well centrists who vote Nats currently) friends that could not disagree with it, that is the beauty of it, and why it has been avoided by MSM, i believe.

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Thanks Tom.

    • Korero Pono 10.2

      +100 – Go Chomsky!

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 10.3

      Great post, and thoughtful!

      Any time you read something that assumes a high economic growth rate is always good and is the cure to all social ills, you are seeing an example of an entrenched RW ideology and bias. Likewise something that assumes tax increases are bad and decreases are good. You can find these particular ‘truths’ repeated several times a day, just here in little ole NZ.

  11. Seems more apologetic’s for the neo liberal right wing going on here…

    Its either political bias or it isnt.

    And no amount of trying to be some sort of articulate wordsmith or indulging in doublespeak will change that fact.

    ‘Structural’ goes out the window when we look at Robinson when she says :

    ‘“Labour and Phil Goff have real grounds to feel they were unfairly treated in print during the last election campaign,”

    AND :

    “My research suggests there could be grounds for a complaint to the New Zealand Press Council that the newspapers breached the principle of fairness and balance in their campaign coverage.

    Issuing a statement such as the above and then trying to soften or negate ones own findings to fit a particular narrative only serves to make the researcher look foolish.

    • Skinny 11.1

      I see the media’s biased view is still going strong for National today. TV One News posts a cheerleading article on changing the flag, a survey result. A big shift in support to change the current flag. Poll conducted by none other than Kiwi blog pollster David Farrar through the vehicle Career!

      • Macro 11.1.1

        So David Farrar conducts a poll that *surprise* * surprise* is in favour of a change of flag!
        Wonders will never cease. Nor will National stop using propagandists.

  12. savenz 12

    “My research suggests there could be grounds for a complaint to the New Zealand Press Council that the newspapers breached the principle of fairness and balance in their campaign coverage.”

    What are they waiting for?

    The opposition should all mount complaints about breaches of fairness and balance.

    Don’t forget prominent sports people also broke the electoral rules and tweeted on the say when they are funded by the government. What did they get, nothing not even a slap on the wrist.

    • Richard Christie 12.1

      What are they waiting for?

      To grow some.

      Labour didn’t even do anything over the Herald’s manufactured D Liu scandal/lies.

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    Sorry, Corporate Media: The More Americans Hear Bernie Sanders, The More They Like Him

    As huge corporations, it is obviously in your immediate economic interest to give the demagogues a lot of air time—they do grab our attention, whether positively or negatively. And sure enough, as media watchers like Andrew Tyndall and Eric Boehlert have documented, Trump coverage on network news has radically overwhelmed coverage of other candidates, most notably Bernie Sanders:

    The three major news networks gave Donald Trump 284 minutes of coverage from January 1, 2015 through November, as compared to 10 minutes for Bernie Sanders. The disparity on ABC World News Tonight was even more staggering: 81 minutes for Trump, less than 20 seconds for Sanders!

    The content of coverage of Bernie Sanders’ campaign has also been telling. Initially, of course, Senator Sanders was viewed as a nobody candidate on the very margins of American politics—until you media started to notice that huge crowds were turning out to hear his message. From that point on, the establishment has played up Sanders’ non-electability and/or lack of “realism.”

    Obviously the same bias is happening around the world. The MSM supports the RWNJs and ignores and downplays the Left-wing.

  14. Korero Pono 14

    Media bias is crucial to the Key regime, with so many gaffes, incidents of dishonesty, the regime still operates (albeit it appears that its veneer is starting to look a bit rough around the edges).

    Erica Chenoweth on “Why Civil Resistance Works” has this to say about such regimes: “Every regime has people it needs to rely on to maintain power. Whether economic elites, business elites, security forces, police, civilian bureaucrats, state media – it needs their active obedience and cooperation to maintain the ordinary running of things” (see 22:47 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHkzgDOMtYs&feature=youtu.be

    Noam Chomsky says that the media has a “crucial role” in protecting democracy. He states that the “media are particularly important in providing free access to information and opinion and therefore allowing a democratic process to function in a meaningful way….The media [provide] a counterbalance to Government power”. Chomsky takes this further with the assertion that the media also has a role in providing a counterbalance to “other concentrations of power, specifically…corporate power”; at least that is what they are supposed to do https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBhuoUzNQ8c . Except New Zealand media is dominated by pro Government puppets and those who dissent are culled – the media are complicit in ‘manufacturing consent’.

    Who could forget David Cunliffe’s amazing speech late last year? http://thestandard.org.nz/david-cunliffe-on-the-state-of-the-media-in-new-zealand/

    Media bias was also evident recently when it came to the recent TPP protests, in which numbers were misreported, media sound bites portrayed protesters as misinformed or ignorant and online comments were shut down when it appeared the anti-TPP message dominated discussions. The media are propping up the illusion that the Key regime has carefully propagated.

    Accordingly, “When media news coverage of issues is bias[ed] in favor [of] the status quo, these are the results:
    1. ownership of media is held by major corporations with interests and goals similar to power elite elements of society
    2. people with different views, “dissenting voices,” are not heard much
    3. the breadth of debate is limited
    4. the official stance and institutional memory prevail and become history
    5. people’s interest and attention are often diverted away from issues about which they could become concerned” http://hope.journ.wwu.edu/tpilgrim/j190/Chomsky.summary.html

    The link above provides a good outline of how alternatives to MSM are crucial in providing the counterbalance needed to keep Governments in check and people informed.

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