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The Herald’s idea of balance

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, September 2nd, 2020 - 43 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, covid-19, Media, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uncategorized - Tags: ,

It was an interesting day in the Herald yesterday.

It published the result of a poll which suggested that most Aucklanders were actually pretty chilled about the lockdown.  But the headline suggested that the situation was much more complex.

The first two sentences were:

Auckland is strongly divided over whether the city’s lockdown extension was an appropriate response to the resurgence of Covid-19, a new poll shows.

But the exclusive new poll shows the rest of the country was more accepting of the Super City being kept in alert level 3 for almost three weeks – with many wanting it extended even longer.

What were the actual figures?

81% thought the lockdown was appropriate or should have been longer. 91% thought that the original decision by the Government was appropriate.  The sense of doom and gloom seemed to be totally inappropriate.

In the interests of balance Simon Wilson chose to respond, in all places the Herald.

That was a remarkable survey in the Herald today. Around 90 per cent of New Zealanders said they supported the Government’s most recent lockdown, and around one in five thought it should have been even longer. The story is here.

Few policies in any field would be a popular as that.

Perhaps even more remarkable was what it revealed about Aucklanders. Right through the level 3 lockdown media carried stories about the hardships we faced. Businesses failing, jobs gone, school students’ progress undermined. The lonely and everyone at home doing it hard, all feeling that much worse.

These things were and still are real. For so many of us, the second lockdown, shorn of the novelty of the first, was not as severe but somehow it was worse. I’m pretty sure we’re over it.

But were Aucklanders in revolt? Were we even divided? Despite what you might have thought from some of the photos of people on the beach, that survey revealed 89 per cent of us supported the lockdown. That compares with 91 per cent of the whole country: it’s a statistically insignificant difference. That’s big news.

Turns out, though we didn’t like it, we don’t think it was wrong. The survey suggests the prevailing view in Auckland is the same as the prevailing view elsewhere: we should stay the course. We’ve come this far and given up so much, it would be crazy to stop now.

Wilson’s comments were, as usual, spot on.  And good on the Herald for printing it.
But it is not balance to print something totally ludicrous and then print something else which is totally on point.  Better to bypass the totally ludicrous article and just not print it.

Instead we have a negative spin on something which should be a good news story for the Government, and then positive spin.

The negative was totally unwarranted.  The positive should have been the story.

Dear Herald.  This is not balance.

43 comments on “The Herald’s idea of balance ”

  1. tc 1

    Dear Mickey, we spoke to our owners and they're relaxed about our balance.

    They're also happy to continue to contribute to nationals DP.

    Regards, granny.

  2. Adrian 2

    In the photo I saw last week In a print version of the Herald of a fore-shortened focus photo of people sitting on a beach barrier is not evidence of lack of distancing, the same photo taken at a 90 degree angle would show appropriate gaps. The Herald is being an arse and lying as usual.
    On another note about the panic and scaremongering of border worker testing which has proven so far to be a negative issue with no detected infection isn’t It about time that the police and other agencies started looking seriously at the possibility that the Americold infection was planted.

    • Andre 2.1

      It strikes me as awfully far-fetched that the Americold infection may have been a deliberate infection. There's just too many ways for the infection to have got in accidentally.

      Even though there hasn't been a genomic link established to the infected Melbourne Americold workers, it still doesn't rule out an asymptomatic Melbourne worker contaminating a shipment.

      Casual contact with an asymptomatic aircrew worker doing the Melbourne run is another possibility. Until recently, they weren't tested because Oz was considered low risk.

      It's also easy to see a path where someone returning got infected in transit, negative on day three because the infection was too early for detection, then got a false negative on day twelve, and then they're out and about while infectious.

      • Policy Parrot 2.1.1

        “On another note about the panic and scaremongering of border worker testing which has proven so far to be a negative issue with no detected infection isn’t It about time that the police and other agencies started looking seriously at the possibility that the Americold infection was planted.”

        An intended "August surprise" perhaps? I'd bet there some RWNJs crazy enough to risk their own health, and obviously, prosecution in order to bring down this government, not to mention the obvious damage to the physical and economic health of the country.

        • Andre

          It doesn't just require RWNJs crazy enough.

          It requires RWNJs crazy enough with the specialised knowledge and access to infectious materials and access to unwitting people to infect in an unnoticed manner. That's a much much smaller group. So small that it would require some substantial evidence of an actual attempt before it became worthwhile putting significant resources into chasing down the possibility.

          • Muttonbird

            That's a much much smaller group.

            Perhaps a group of one. Simon Thornley?


            • Patricia Bremner


              • McFlock

                Because it sucks to be proved wrong? lol

                To be clear, I think he's been a bit of a dick, but nothing suggests he's anything close to being that much of a dick. The Auckland cluster is just shit that happened, was predicted to happen, and will likely happen again.

  3. Adrian 3

    Agree on all that Andre, but it is also a possibility that should be investigated.
    There are certainly people in this country that are capable of this sort of desperation.

    • You_Fool 3.1

      Ok, we are getting into crazy tinfoil hat territory here… as bad as the plandemic lot, or that the lock-down was to avoid scrutiny of the deported Ardern pregnant nanny (apparently ????)

      [Vile rumours can stay where they came from: the sewer. This is the only warning and it is not up for discussion so please comply – Incognito]

  4. swordfish 4

    Here are some of the breakdowns I tweeted yesterday:

    And … Support for Extension
    (ie those who chose either (1) 4 day extension was appropriate response + (2) Should have been further extended past 4 days)

    • You_Fool 4.1

      So the great divide is rich Auckland men wanting to get their serfs back out to work…. figures

  5. Sabine 5

    so any bets on where Covid will show next?

    Queenstown, Coromandel, Rotorua, other?

    • Andre 5.1

      Orcland again. It's where the vast majority of vulnerabilities still are.

    • My bet Queenstown Lakes District.

    • Incognito 5.3


    • Patricia Bremner 5.4

      Perhaps that is why Rotorua has been chosen for a card trial…… so strange Sam Morgan did not support that. Thinks the Govt are Luddites, but they need to test something costing 100 million.
      We won’t be as complacent about covid now.
      Mickey, most of us don’t buy the Herald online, and get their news from other sources….usually a critical assessment

  6. Morepork 7

    Sounds like the Herald have been taking lessons from Auckland Council.


    (Note – to be fair they did add a clarification, but only after being called out for their misrepresentation).

  7. "But it is not balance to print something totally ludicrous and then print something else which is totally on point."

    Spot on Micky. The Herald knows that this is crap journalism. And in any event they don't always print the reply, or a good reply like Wilson's.

    So glad Granny is behind a paywall now.

    • Wensleydale 8.1

      Given how utterly shit they are as a reliable source of balanced journalism, why would anyone pay for that rag? I can't get my head around it. (Unless people are shameless masochists or just want their pre-existing biases confirmed.)

      • Jum 8.1.1

        Wensleydale, have you considered other reasons. To know exactly what they're peddling and gives the reader excellent enemy fodder to judge against H when they check out the more quality posts on The Standard. That will last until soon after the election which is when they would stop because there's only so many burning rods up the ass one can take for the team. So the reader is not shameless but a masochist in the cause of knowing the enemy in order to defeat them. However, it can't be as horrific as the dreaded hosk and hawk lying morons on the moronic radio m-talk, which I have suffered through in the cause of democratic survival of the New Zealand egalitarian species. devil

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2

        People who pay for it aren't looking for balanced journalism. They're looking for news that supports their beliefs.

        • Jum

          I can only assume DTB and Woodart, that you wouldn't have read Mein Kampf either. Most Germans. Guess where that led to.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I'm pretty sure most Germans didn't vote for Hitler. And you probably need to recall that most people really did hate the Jews at the time – it wasn't just Hitler.

            • Jum

              Good, DTB, I'll hope you're right and I'm wrong. But somewhere along the way, Hitler won.

              • In Vino

                Historically, from what I have studied/read, Draco is right. At that time, the Poles were just as bad at beating up on the Jews… Hitler only got a majority vote after he was given a share of power with a minority vote, quickly bullied the other power-sharers out, then bullied the whole country to the extent that I don't think he ever held another election. Certainly not a free one.

    • woodart 8.2

      would really like to know how many actually bother to pay for this rubbish. as a business plan its rubbish, and probably explains why heralds owners are desperate to combine with stuff, no doubt if they were allowed ,a paywall would go on stuff a.s.a.p… if heralds business editors had any guts, they would be rubbishing their owners lack of business sense.

  8. Jum 9

    Are the subheadings/headings provided by the Herald editor or by the owners?

  9. tc 10

    Editors who are paid by owners to lift traffic, thus the often provocative/misleading/bs clickbait links.

    Sorry but that’s a reply to jum @9.0

  10. mary_a 11

    Agree, Queenstown and environs could be next hit with CV-19. Can be almost guaranteed, given the fact Aucklanders are already arriving in Q'town for holidays, skiing and a conference!

  11. woodart 12

    would think most of heralds target audience either lives in gated communities or would like to.

  12. Byd0nz 13

    Yes, the news media spins their own bias turning positive to negative. Found the same with that tvnz compass vote thing, my main responses were big on labour, the party I've voted for ( I only vote to keep the nats out), anyway at the end of all these q's it turns out my main prefered party is Top, with Labour being about my 4th. Absolute crap, is that tvnz compass designed to divert people, probably non- political away from Labour.

  13. UncookedSelachimorpha 14

    I think Stuff has taken a turn for the better lately, with their management buy out. Good interview with new owner Sinead Boucher on RNZ the other day. They are turning away from clickbait, told Facebook to stick it and really trying harder to promote good journalism. A real contrast to the Herald in my opinion, while before there wasn't that much difference.

    • woodart 14.1

      yes, Ive thought stuff has improved. seemed to have moved on most of their one eyed political columns. leads to an interesting question. should msm lead public opinion(as herald and zb dorkback radio do) ,or be a reflection of the prevailing public mood?I guess it depends on what you are trying to achieve, generate income through clicks, or informing people.

  14. Draco T Bastard 15

    But it is not balance to print something totally ludicrous and then print something else which is totally on point. Better to bypass the totally ludicrous article and just not print it.

    The ludicrous article was totally misleading right from the headline and it would be better if publishing such tripe was illegal and carrying a multi-million dollar fine for the company and at least a million for each of the directors (ie, not paid for by the company).

    Make it so that such misinformation (which really does undermine our democracy) simply won't be published.

  15. georgecom 16

    The headline looks remarkably like clickbait doesn't it. Almost as if the Herald is really struggling to retain peoples interest and has to resort to sensationalism in order for people to pay attention.

    Another thought that struck me when I read the article. The headline is totally out of kilter with the story, the story was correct whilst the headline was misinformation. In the past few days I have seen/heard some journalists get quite animated and unbalanced over the COVID notice headline that everyone in South and West Auckland should get tested for corona virus. Some journalists went well over the top.

    The headline suggested everyone get tested, whereas the body of the notice clarified the details. Amongst those getting animated and unbalanced was, I believe, an NZ Herald journalist or 2. Said journalists might like to reflect on the Herald headline/story highlighted here. The similarities are clear, I would have to think their attitude toward both will be consistent.

  16. Jum 17

    Seriously, we're dealing with one of the worst nat leaders in our history and nobody is linking her behaviour to trump or hitler? The trash media do. They are scared of her co-conspirators outside the caucus. Remember 7sharp and the nonsense on there. trump won in 2016. Did any of you ever wonder why? Could it be because you avoided the poison voided daily on the zb m-show and did not realise that that same poison was invading NZers' subconscious? ZB used to have some morals – no longer.

    I would never vote for nat or act or nzf but others do. Treat this threat seriously, otherwise you're just living in a blog silo! This might be a quality silo, which I personally love, but how many in the population even know of its existence. I just hope you are also engaged in the daily accusations against what the nats are doing to the Labour party, never mind the disgusting behaviour towards the PM.

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