- Date published:
10:03 am, September 27th, 2015 - 103 comments
Categories: journalism, Media, newspapers, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: flag distraction, heather du plessis-allan, panda issues
The New Zealand Herald has always been essentially a cheerleader for the right. Its right wing dominated pages were however subject to the occasional burst of clearness and light provided by the likes of Brian Rudman and Dita di Boni. It also had writers capable of careful analysis such as John Drinnan and Fran O’Sullivan. But judging by political commentary in the paper this morning the clearness and light and careful analysis is a thing of the past.
The word “bloodbath” has been used repeatedly to describe what has happened following NZME’s announcement of redundancies at the Herald earlier this year. Apparently over 100 redundancies were expected from the restructuring NZME was putting the Herald through. The proposal was to create a “world class integrated media room” involving NZME’s different media but the clear impression is that NZME is shedding some talented writers in an effort to save money. Some of the major talent being lost includes Drinnan, Rudman, Michele Hewitson and Alan Perrott. Over recent months other writers deemed surplus to requirements included Paul Casserly, James Griffin, Dita De Boni, Jock Anderson and Peter Calder.
News of John Roughan’s redundancy were apparently unfortunately premature. Although the likes of Anderson will not be missed others made the Herald readable.
It is not a peculiarly Herald problem. Fairfax Media has also recently lost some senior respected reporters.
If you want to see the repercussions look no further than this morning’s Herald. The article initially purported to be written by Patrice Gaffaney who is a travel writer. What a travel writer was doing writing about politics I do not know. But then something amazing happened. The article changed to record the author as being Heather du Plessis-Allan (h/t Maria Sherwood).
I really thought that a part time travel writer had written the article such was the quality of its analysis and this was to be the essence of this blog post. If this is du Plessis-Allan’s writing we still have a problem because she is clearly amongst the large array of National cheerleaders we have in the midst of our media.
She starts off by accusing Labour of being sad sacks and that we should be all so proud because a right wing Australian leader thinks John Key is a great guy. The depth of this social analysis I have not witnessed since I was a young teenager at school. Being friends with the cool kid is clearly still important for some.
Then she blames Labour for the flag referendum fiasco.
Possibly [Andrew Little’s] biggest mistake though was playing politics with the flag referendum. Forget what Labour was saying publicly about wanting to get Red Peak on the ballot. They didn’t want that.
Sure, Red Peak being included was egg on Key’s face. The Prime Minister tried so hard to ignore it. But, it would have been much, much better for Labour if Red Peak was excluded. That way, more of us would have got angry, packed a tanty and voted instead to keep the current flag. It’d be a whole carton of eggs on Key’s face if his precious flag change failed.
That’s why Labour mucked around and that’s why the Greens and National outmanoeuvered it. Labour was more interested in embarrassing the Prime Minister than making sure we hand the right flag on to our grandkids.
So according to her Labour should have rolled over and agreed to what ever National demanded. Although even then National would have found a reason to not agree. If anyone was playing politics with the issue it was National.
Then she chips at Labour about pandas.
How do you turn a story about panda bears into something negative? Here’s how.
It sounds increasingly like our biggest trading partner might hook us up with a couple of cute – but admittedly expensive to keep – YouTube favourites.
If you’re Little, you don’t use this as a chance to show your sense of humour and crack a few panda puns or display your understanding of the tourism the bears generate.
Instead, you say there are better things to spend money on. There are always better things.
The reason lefties get grumpy about this sort of game playing is that being in charge of a country is an important task. And there are many important issues that we face, some of them like climate change threaten our future. And child poverty, the refugee crisis, the lack of a vision for our economic future, the housing crisis …
Our leader fluffing around trying to change the appearance of a particular flag and trying to get a couple of animals into one of our zoos for a photo opportunity should be treated by ridicule by a political writer in our major daily newspaper. It is a shame that it appears the Herald no longer has the calibre of writer who will say this.