The manufacturing of a narrative

Written By: - Date published: 1:27 pm, March 31st, 2018 - 606 comments
Categories: articles, health, human rights, journalism, labour, Media, national, newspapers, Propaganda, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

The past week has shown to Labour what the opposition tactics will be this term. And what it has to overcome this if it wants to retain power.

The play book is quite simple. There will be the occasional splash of right wing ideology to keep the base happy. But the primary attack will be on the Government’s competence. On issue after issue, and the details will not matter, the Government’s ability to actually run the country will be questioned and challenged.  And the greater the media response the more successful the challenge.

This is why the little things matter. Acting beyond reproach and being clear and principled in what you do are vital for Ministers. That is why Andrew Little and Phil Twyford are already standing out above the rest.

This week we have witnessed a great deal of attention placed on the actions of Clare Curran. My response was and still is a rather large dose of “Meh”. Sure her actions were ham fisted and rather stupid. But it was not a sackable offence. Even Simon Bridges agrees with this.

Of course she should have spoken to Radio New Zealand’s Chair of the Board or the Chief Executive before discussing matters with Hirshfeld. But some perspective is important. The numbers of centimetres of newspaper articles on this particular subject is way out of proportion.

Because it is not the only important news topic this week. Number one as far as I am concerned is the appalling news that the Health System requires up to $16 billion needed to fix ailing infrastructure. That is $3,200 for every man woman and child that we are going to have to find somehow. And there is an urgent need to pay our nurses properly.

National always does this. They claim to be smart with money. But through their penny pinching ways they grind public systems into the dust until the left gain power then bleat about tax rises needed to fund the repair required by their incompetence. But why did Curran’s problems occupy so much media space and the Health System issues so little?

The other major story this week was the Human Rights Review Tribunal’s finding that former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Chris Finlayson had egregiously breached Kim Dotcom’s rights. How could he have got it so wrong? And shouldn’t the media spend some time going into this most extraordinary of reversals?

I thought I would check on the number of articles in the Herald and on Radio New Zealand’s site concerning these three matters. The results of my quick google search are fascinating.

The Herald had 28 articles on Curren in the past seven days. Here they are:

Radio New Zealand had 17 articles on its website. I suspect they made it a virtue of publishing heavily on the story so that they could not be accused of bias. Here they are:

The Herald had as far as I can ascertain precisely one article on health budget problems in the past seven days.

Radio New Zealand had 13. It has performed sterling work on this issue and has led with story after story on the subject.  They were:

And the Herald had exactly one article on Dotcom’s privacy breach so far this week.

Radio New Zealand had 2. Again here are google links to the articles:

What can be taken from all of this?

For the Herald little else has been happening politically apart from Clare Curran’s Astoria problems.  Even the Health problems, affecting many people. have barely registered.

The Herald is clearly assisting National in creating a narrative that this Government is not fit to govern.  A properly functioning democracy deserves better.

606 comments on “The manufacturing of a narrative ”

  1. Keepcalmcarryon 1

    Indeed it does. This is the Labour led governments biggest problem,the media entirely arrayed against them ( I include RNZ with its National lackey board).
    What are they going to do about it?
    Standing there getting smashed in the face saying “it’s not fair” won’t work.
    Make some shit happen

    • Muttonbird 1.1

      +1. Make some changes to the board of RNZ. It is well within the government’s right to do this.

      Sent a goddam signal to the rest of the media that their shit will be critiqued also…

      • Kat 1.1.1

        I agree, get rid of that Griffin chap and the rest of National poodles from Radio New Zealand. Mind you thats most likely what was/is in Curran’s mind. Unfortunately Hirschfeld exposed herself in the Blue attack and took a hit.

        Warfare analogies especially inserted for the “Mapp” should he be reading this post.

        • John Drinnan

          Griffin’s term finishes at the end of this month. Do you want to sack the chief executive as well?

          • Ed


          • veutoviper

            I personally believe that CE Paul Thompson has done some good things at RNZ.

            Of course there have been some problems internally – eg in the News staffing area – but there always is when change is being implemented.

            Further I am prepared to give Thompson the benefit of the doubt vis a vis opposition to the RNZ+ proposals in that he has little option but to support the directions/opinions of the RNZ Board and Chairman, Griffin. So, my view is that Thompson needs to continue for the meantime to provide stability while a new Chairperson is introduced – and presumably a few other new members of the Board more aligned to the directions of the current government.

            • OncewasTim

              So do I @vv. Unlike his Griffin, his ethics prevent him from tending towards the extreme even given his politics.
              There’s a SSC who’s in the same waka.
              I just wish he’d get of his well-paid arse and reinforce such things as Codes of Conduct and hold a few to account. I appreciate tho’ that would cause him to be extremely busy.

          • patricia bremner

            Why would we want a National Party Advisor as Chief Executive? Where is the fairness of that?

            • veutoviper

              Where is your evidence that Paul Thompson is/was a National Party Advisor, patricia?

              Richard Griffin, the Chairman not the Chief Executive, worked for the National Party. I can find nothing to suggest that Thompson has ever been associated with the National Party.

          • Steve Withers

            I’d prefer a Royal Commission into the affect of foreign ownership on NZ media.

            We have been very poorly served for decades.

            I still remember Richard Long converting the The Dominion into an MMP opponent after that newspaper had solidly supported MMP for two years prior to National’s win in 1990. As soon as they could stop beating Labour over the head with electoral reform they switched sides and opposed it for Nationals sale.

            During 2008, the Herald avoided all mention of climate change unless it moaning about the costs of the ETS. Incredibly unbalanced.

            Long later did the honest thing and became the PM’s official media advisor after having acted in the role unofficially for several years.

            This is not an isolated example of how editorial content shifts in support of National. The Saturday sections in the Herald dedicated to John Key in 2008 were more of the same. Jacinda didn’t get this treatment as Labour’s new leader weeks out from the election.

            It’s typical media bias over and over.

            John Drinnan has his own blinders tightly fastened and can’t see any of this for what it is.


          • Keepcalmcarryon

            Fire Griffin before he gets to leave if he has in fact gone to the Nats behind the ministers back.
            Why not clean house at the same time.

      • John Drinnan 1.1.2

        Sums it up. Question the government and he media should be will be smashed,

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Critiqued ≠ smashed.

          If you’re having this much trouble with the meaning of words, is it unfair to consider that a metaphor for NZ journalism?

          • Muttonbird

            Yep. John works at the Herald so I can’t see how he can be seen as impartial on this.

            The Herald wants access to that funding (which kind of misses the point of public broadcasting), so they all have an interest in undermining RNZ.

            Also, as you point out, I called for a critique of the media – all media, not just RNZ. A kind of 5th estate if such a thing could exist, where the media is watched also. There are a very few honest people doing this I suppose but John Drinnan is not one of them!

            As one of this new breed off self-appointed guardians of the role of the media he is doing a terrible job, I’d say.

            • Ed

              John is a contractor for the Herald.
              Makes his position more precarious.
              Unlikely to be investigating the bigger questions around media and control then.

    • Unicus 1.2

      Of course the Government can and must act to protect our country from what is a rampant corporate propaganda machine . It is not enough to simply express disgust about this calculated and co ordinated attempt to bring down the legitimately elected government of our country Although Curren is not the individual to do the job RNZ and Television NZ must be re structured imediately .

      • John Drinnan 1.2.1

        So we need the Dovernment to use i’s power against the media when it I critical of the Government

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Unfortunately, the corporate media uses IT’S power against a Labour government, and left wing parties, far more strongly than it uses it’s power against National governments – hence the long honeymoon for John key’s government, and the endless attacks on Greens, Labour leaders, and anyone who threatens to end the neoliberal, pro-corporate consensus.

          • Ed

            Surely John knows that…..
            And surely he knows that the comments on this site are directed at Hosking, duplicity Allen and other Herald hacks. So why mention Gordon Campbell?

            The game is up for the puppets in the corporate media.
            They are close to their last throw of the dice.

        • tracey

          I agree that RNZ is not the problem.

        • patricia bremner

          Media constructs the news, ignoring what is unfavourable to their preferred party. This is what is annoying and partisan.

        • Steve Withers

          We need the government to use it’s power against a flagrantly corrupt media serving the political interests of it foreign masters. Where was the trenchant editorial outrage at John Key’s lies about the GCSB and a hundred other topics? The housing crisis? The rising level of inequality and homelessness?

          There wasn’t any. All we got was “good managers of the economy” when they were nothing of the sort. Vandals running down public assets and services for the benefit of private cronies.

          A one-eyed “critical” media serving a single political interest (foreign corporates) isn’t doing its job for anyone in a democratic connect.

        • ankerawshark

          Hi John,

          Did you read Mickeys article? Its about how the NZ Hearald put some much focus on the Claire Curran issue and only wrote one article about the catastrophe that is Middlemore Hospital. Plus the puff piece about departing J Coleman who must have known about the crisis with black rot………………

          Please address that issue of bias.

        • Keepcalmcarryon

          Did you ask questions of National misusing power to install Griffin and stack the board with national toadies, or once again does Herald writers concern only stretch to the left bloc?

        • Keepcalmcarryon

          No actually we need media to be critical of the government. Whoever it is. You seem to not comprehend that bit.

          • Ed

            Amazing he is unaware of that principle.
            The 4th estate.
            Speaking truth to power.

            We need a better media.

    • OncewasTim 1.3

      Agreed this government’s problem is our utterly dysfunctional MSM.
      Unfortunately it’s not only the MSM.
      There is a core of Sir Humphrey type seniior public servants it’ll have to deal with.

      • Ed 1.3.1

        Yes the neoliberal establishment will do everything it needs to preserve its power.

        • OncewasTim

          Bugger! @ed your endorsement of my comment is likely to cause disagrewment with it….purely based on who you are. (I.E the built up passion – fucking horrible descriptee – you have built)
          I mean….there are those who’ll judge you as a Paul, others as a scootie-riding Phil Ure and who, on that badis alone, won’t even consider your views

  2. Bill 2

    As far as I can tell, this all accords with two posts Bryan Gould wrote around the time of the election.

    Media will “go” a Labour government to “keep them in check” – and trash them out in the process.

    And the choice a Labour government has is always between trying to mollify those behind that onslaught, or to serve those who voted for them.

    If they opt for the first path, they get slaughtered (those who voted for them get pissed off and those giving them a hard time are ideologically driven and not ever going to be “sensible”)

    If they opt for the second path they can take a country with them.

    Sadly, NZ Labour has opted for the first path, and to be honest, I don’t think they’re politics are even close to being of a calibre that could much of anything anywhere – they’re managers, not visionaries.

    Edit – the two posts. (Worth reading)

    • Keepcalmcarryon 2.1

      Very true Bill.

    • tracey 2.2

      Agree 100%.

      There has been so much opportunity for a counter narrative this week but there was none.

      • Bearded Git 2.2.1

        so true tracey…even lots of Standardistas are buying into the Nats MSM “competence” attack. Judge this government on its actions after 3 years

      • wayne 2.2.2

        It doesn’t matter whether a government is left or right. When a Minister does something wrong, that dominates the news cycle. In this case spiced up by the fact that well known broadcaster Carol Hirschfeld had to resign.

        Plus all the other things that have happened within the government, all within a short space of time.

        If you don’t want a whole lot of negative stories about the government it will just have to start doing better.

        Helen Clark was able to manage it.

        • Pat

          Did she?..or did she capitulate?

          And Id suggest that battle was a lightweight bout….we’re even more interconnected now and this bout involves the heavyweights.

          • Keepcalmcarryon

            That article seems to show the business lobby getting all het up over whether they are the Judean people’s front or people’s front of Judea

            • Pat

              Pretty much….but end result was the same…they got what they wanted…and the methods havnt changed only the size of the opponents.

          • wayne

            Harsh call to say Helen Clark is lightweight (though perhaps that is not what you meant).

            All government politics involves placating, at least to some extent, the large sectors that don’t agree with you. After all a government governs for everyone not just some.

            In any event the problem for Jacinda and her team is not any particular policy, but rather competence.

            For instance I was amazed a PM would personally go and accept a Greenpeace petition, and then effectively have to backtrack (which just compounded the problem). PM’s don’t accept petitions. Her doing so gave every indication of enthusiasm overriding judgement.

            Once a PM gets that kind of reputation it becomes hard to shake. But she does have lots of goodwill, she just has to stop looking like she is learning on the job.

            • Pat

              perhaps more a harsh interpretation on your part….no one could seriously consider domestic NZ politics heavyweight ….not even its participants though they may wish to,

              Whether the PM should have personally received a petition is moot, the issue is the reaction….the sins and errors of ‘friends’ are conveniently overlooked or explained away….not so of those considered a threat, indeed their sins and errors are even seen where none exist or ,shock horror, fabricated.

              Even 3 years is too long for some.

            • Gabby

              Who says PMs don’t accept petitions wayney?

        • tracey

          Really? Re read early John Key leadership Wayne.

          If, as you seem to think, the appalling state of our hospital/s and Finlayson’s abuse of power are minor then the rose tinted glasses need to come off for all our sakes. Finlayson is at least on a par with Curean but nothing from Bridges about what he will do? Little would not have been pushed for a view is what you are saying, or Shearer, or Cunliffe?

        • OncewasTim

          Mickey has just provided you (by way of the links above) that your claims are complete kaka.
          Our MSM are letting your ilk off the hook.
          Agreed H1&2 were able to manage ‘it’.
          Jacinda and Co are still “gaining learnings going forward”

          • OncewasTim

            Ekshully IF they did come up with a plan that was somewhat more bold than an RNZ+ (one I’ve alluded to elswhere – based on the idea that public money should be directed to the public good) you’d be shitting yourself)

        • Anne

          Imo, wayne is right @2.2.2

          But I think he will have to agree that both John Key and Helen Clark before him did not always manage some of their ministers well in the earlier stages of their ministries either. Both of them prevaricated over errant ministers probably for the same reason as Jacinda Ardern… it’s not a good look for a new PM to start sacking ministers too soon. They hardened up fairly quickly, and I’m sure Jacinda will do the same.

          Helen Clark hummed and harred over Dover Samuals and John Tamihere before bringing down the axe. John Key over Richard Worth and the other fellow, Aaron somebody or another, and now Jacinda over Claire Curran.

          There was a fair and reasonable discussion about it on Q&A this morning. Nice to see, given the arrogant and ignorant histrionics from the self styled media police hounds on commercial radio and in the tabloid newspapers.

          • veutoviper

            Good to hear there was good discussion today on Q & A – will track it down on On Demand.

            Re your remarks about Clark and Key, Tracey Watkins also made the same points in her opinion piece on Stuff two days ago.

            Unfortunately some stupid Sub ran this under the heading “Is Jacindamania over?” which I found initially off-putting, but then found it to be a reasonably balanced opinion compared to the other rubbish floating around in the last week. Worth reading.


            • Anne

              Very good piece. Thanks veutoviper.

              From the link:

              But it probably wouldn’t hurt if Ardern’s rapid learning curve included acquiring a streak of mongrel.

              That has been my belief expressed here several times since the time she became the leader of the Labour Party. Being relentlessly positive is a good thing but – and it’s a big but – a spot of mongrel is also essential if she wants to continue to be PM after the next election.

        • Stuart Munro

          “When a Minister does something wrong, that dominates the news cycle.”


          Brownlee’s almost decade long gross mismanagement of the Christchurch rebuild never dominated the news cycle. We’re only getting the truth in the media now, in dribs and drabs, long after the asshole has been ousted.

          • Wayne

            Mostly because Gerry was seen to have done a pretty good job in difficult circumstances. In fact CHCh swung right in 2011, 2014 laregely because of his work. Sure he knocks a few heads together but he largely got the job done.

            • Stuart Munro

              Not by people of Christchurch he wasn’t Wayne.

              CERA was riddled with corruption – it’s fairly unusual in NZ for public servants to be convicted of that – or it had been until Brownlee got ministerial power.
              Southern Response – there are scandals enough there to damn a saint – and Gerry was certainly never mistaken for one of those.

              Nope – your lot managed the media to cover up your sleaze – same as happened with Operation Burnham. That matter should’ve been resolved within a year of it happening, but it was covered up, and at a ministerial level, allowed to be covered up. Nicky Hager suffered more over that than the culprits, because the truth endangered the sinecure’s of National’s useless government.

        • Ankerrawshark

          Why only one article in the NZ herald on the catastrophe that is Middlemore Wayne? This is the more important story.

    • Ed 2.3

      Excellent links Bill.
      Thank you.

      The solution is a revolution in the media.

      • patricia bremner 2.3.1

        We have had a generation change in the Government, and we need one in the journalists.

        • Ed

          I think some of the more rabid journalists are quite young.

          The issue here is not gender.
          The issue here is not generational.

          It is power.

          • OncewasTim

            And some of them are basically just fuckwits that easily passed their Media Studies 101 through things like plagiarism and getting others to write their essays for them.
            Such is the state of tertiary study these days. Boxes ticked, fees paid, next, next.
            You see them from time to time pop up on the big screen.
            I guess its better than seeing them on the dole, but its galling to see them being judgemental towards others who are
            I guess they have a Mt Eden or Wellington east mortgage to pay.

            • patricia bremner

              Yes on reflection perhaps that is the case. Who they admired and had as mentors might also be moot.

            • james

              “And some of them are basically just fuckwits that easily passed their Media Studies 101 through things like plagiarism and getting others to write their essays for them.”

              really? Name one?

    • patricia bremner 2.4

      Bill @2 do you think the new emphasis on wellbeing measures for GDP will make any difference?

  3. patricia bremner 3

    This is the “Effect of Big money” .That end of town likes to win.

    They, and National have recovered from the election loss and are rid of the “old timers” and “tarnished” members.
    So now they have developed a meme. “Jacinda doesn’t have control of her troops and the Government is in disarray.”

    Sadly, a number of small but damaging slips by the Left have occurred, and these have been magnified out of all proportion, as you demonstrate.

    Thanks for this post Micky. After posting similar sentiments, several comments appeared about “Conspiracy Theorists”. It is not a theory, it is a fact. DP is alive & well.

  4. Baba Yaga 4


    I agree with you on both the Burnham and Findlayson stories…both should have gained more traction in the media. However the media smell blood, and the government only have themselves to blame, because this goes well beyond Clare Curran. A narrative is building of incompetence and dishonesty around this government that will be very difficult to shake. The narrative draws from not just Curran, but also Marcroft, Hipkins, Davis and Jones. It is accentuated by events such as the sexual harassment claims at the Labour Youth camp, and the way the response to the Salisbury attack was managed. And it is so utterly damaging because at every turn it is drawing in Labours most valuable asset, Jacinda Ardern. Whether it is fair or not, Ardern is being increasingly seen as weak, and as unprepared for the role of PM, and the (perhaps unfair) unfavourable comparisons to Helen Clark are becoming more common and more damaging. Ardern hasn’t helped herself either. She is being openly mocked for her comments on Russian spies, she has been called out on her mixed messages around fossil fuel exploration, and has been far too lenient on party actors around a range of issues, from the party’s youth camp allegations to the Curran issue. Ardern enjoyed a stunning media honeymoon. That honeymoon is over.

    Finally, your comment that “…Andrew Little and Phil Twyford are already standing out above the rest.” is laughable in the case of Twyford. His responses to questions about the Tauranga Northern Link showed he really has no idea about his transport responsibilities, and frankly his lack of understanding of the serious problems around the Unitec development make him a likely candidate as one minister to be sacked in the first term of this government. His only advantage is that so much of what he is involved with will turn to custard, but only after the passage of considerable time.

    • Robert Guyton 4.1

      No, Baba: ” A narrative is building being built of incompetence and dishonesty around this government that will be very difficult to shake”.
      The perception is being created, purposefully, in order to destroy the Labour-led Government – who’s doing this? You know full well, ol’ mortar’n’pestle witch!

      • Babayaga 4.1.1

        The narrative is being self inflicted. It really is that simple.

        • Robert Guyton

          “Self -inflicted”?
          Inflicted by the Right Wing machine.
          Baba – you’re full of it!

          • Baba Yaga

            Clare Curran (I don’t need to elaborate).
            Jacinda Ardern’s comments on Russian spies (an international embarrassment).
            Phil Twyford’s announcing a housing project with a population density roughly equivalent to Manila.
            Kelvin Davis talking to Partnership Schools in his constituency.
            Jacinda Ardern’s failure to hold anyone accountable for her not being told about the allegations from the Labour Youth camp.
            Jenny Marcroft implementing a classic case of dirty politics against Mark Mitchell.

            It’s a long, long list.

            • Incognito

              It’s a long, long list.

              I’m sure you have a long, long list, but it is not a list of the narratives that we are talking about here, is it? These narratives are being constructed by … and spread by …

              • Babayaga

                It is a list of incompetence and dishonesty. The narrative around it is coming from left and right.

            • Ankerrawshark

              I have not read one piece in the international media that questions NZ stance. Articles are more of the ilk that NZ is this benign wee place that the Russians don’t bother with

          • Ed

            For someone whose job it is to write about the media, John Drinnan seems remarkably uninformed.
            Has he watched Chomsky’s ‘The Manufacturing of Consent?’
            Has he seen Jean-Philippe Tremblay’s ‘Shadows of Liberty’?

            It would appear not from the comments on this site this morning.

          • Chuck

            “Inflicted by the Right Wing machine.”

            Robert, you better take out Skynet before it becomes aware!

            Seriously though…have a word with your friendly progressive government and tell them to stop making it so easy for everyone to point out their continuous car wreak of late.

      • John Drinnan 4.1.2

        So are you saying that most journalists in the country are corrupt and promoting a story that they know is untrue – all to meet the demands of a cruel lying media That famous right wing Gordon Campbell? For goodness sake?

        • Ed

          John, have you heard of the great American comedian George Carlin?
          I recommend him to you.

          Here are his prescient words. The section on the media is the most relevant in this discussion.

          ““Forget the politicians. Politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you,” he said. “They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls, they have the judges in their back pocket, and they own all the big media companies, so they own and control just about all the news and information you get to hear. They’ve got you by the balls.”

        • weka

          How do you account for the numbers in micky’s post John?

          I appreciated the push back against some of the rhetoric in the comments, but the post is pretty damning of the coverage in the past week. I’m assuming the Editors are aware of the balance .

          • OncewasTim

            I suspect (@weka) he didn’t even read it to complwtion, until u challenged him.

          • John Drinnan

            I agree – they have underplayed the hospitals story. I’m not defending every editorial judgement, But I don’t think it is out of loyalty to National.

            • Ed

              Then what is it?
              28:1 seems a fairly conscious choice.

            • weka

              A lot of what I don’t like about the MSM seems founded in going after sensationalism. In this case going hard on Curran/CH story makes sense because it has more controversy and energy in it. That still doesn’t serve democracy and society. All sorts of issues in that including how newspapers make a profit (and thus we have the need for govt funded public media).

              None of that precludes RW or even centrist bias though. I don’t see it as a conspiracy, just a natural consequence of who owns newspapers and who gets hired into positions of power. I also think there has been collusion with Dirty Politics, again for a range of reasons but not excluding RW or neoliberal views.

              It would make a good project for someone to do some in depth analysis of major news outlets and where the balances sit over time (eg Nat vs Lab). I think it’s different now than even in Clark’s day.

              • I think that journalists may have had a special interest in the Curran story that had nothing to do with (alleged) political leanings – it sounds like Hirschfeld was a widely liked and respected journalist. It’s natural that her resigning after engaging with a Minister would be of particular interest to other journalists.

                It is also obviously of interest to journalists what happens with funding of and expansion of RNZ, as that will directly affect them.

                Hospital underfunding and building problems may well be serious issues, but have been ongoing for a long time – for example the clinical services block in Dunedin can’t even be maintained properly, cabling can’t be run, due to the presence asbestos, but that doesn’t figure in the news.

                Dotcom is also generally old news that many people have long had enough of, so a story relating to him of genuine interest may struggle to interest readers or viewers.

                What media covers is complex, and it is groups of observers who don’t like what they see who tend to try to build narratives, rather than the collective (and diverse) media.

                • Sacha

                  it is groups of observers who don’t like what they see who tend to try to build narratives, rather than the collective (and diverse) media

                  Yes it’s the complaining rabble at fault. The playing field is perfectly level m’lord. Diverse opinions coming at us from everywhere.

                • Ed

                  Explain the 28:1 ratio demonstrated by micky savage.

                  How does news that the Health System requires up to $16 billion get 28 times less coverage than the actions of Clare Curran?

                  • I can’t explain because i have no idea what editorial decisions were made. But I can guess on some possibilities.

                    It was a sitting week and a short week in Parliament, with political journalists in Wellington, with a political and media story based in Wellington, so it’s not surprising it got a lot of attention.

                    In contrast the Marcroft story got far less attention, but was potentially more serious in my opinion.

                    The Middlemore building problems may or may not be a new story – health underfunding certainly isn’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Herald is digging into this to see how serious the immediate problem is and could yet report on it, possibly in depth if it deserves that.

                    The Herald have done a lot of reporting over the years on Kim Dotcom related stories, especially by David Fisher. Generally I don’t think they can be faulted much for coverage on Dotcom.

                    Stories on major legal issues need to be done with care, and that can take time.

                    Another thing is that media tend to push stories that they break but if another paper/channel.station breaks a story they are less likely to cover it, especially if they are busy,

                    I think it should also be noted that like teachers and nurses and many other professions journalists have had their jobs change significantly over the past decade or two, and need to try and do more with fewer people and reduced resources. They will struggle to do justice to all possible stories.

                    And it’s also worth remembering that journalists are people, like the rest of us, and don’t deserve over the top conspiracy theory dumping on, unless there is clear evidence that it is justified.

                • Ankerrawshark

                  Are journalists writing for themselves then Pete?

                  How would you rate the middle more crisis c/p to curren

            • Ankerrawshark

              I think it is to trash Labour JOHN and that helps national.

              The Claire Curran issue is a non. Event c/p to middlemore

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Are you saying Gordon Campbell is a mainstream and/or corporate media journalist?

          • Pete George

            I presume he is referring to this: Gordon Campbell on Clare Curran’s dim future

            ow that the initial shock of Carol Hirschfeld’s resignation has worn off, we’re getting to the sharp end of the RNZ story. Why did Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran initiate – via an exchange of texts an hour long meeting with RNZ’s head of news at Astoria Café on December 5, and diary it merely as “ CH Astoria?” Under subsequent parliamentary questioning, why did Curran fudge the existence/rationale for the meeting for as long as she could?

            Finally – when faced with the fact that RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson and board chairman Richard Griffin had inadvertently mislead a parliamentary select committee on March 1 – Curran threw Hirschfeld under a bus by quietly contacting RNZ and contradicting Hirschfeld’s cover story for the meeting that Curran herself had improperly initiated. Talk about betraying your sources.


            Campbell did also write about Hit and Run –

            That is a long running story that still has legs, rather than a new issue.

            Nothing from Campbell on hospitals or Dotcom.

            • tracey

              Campbell is one person who managed to focus equally on 2 things. Stuff, tvnz, tv3 and herald have bigger staff

            • Carolyn_Nth

              I agree with Curran being stood down, and having been the wrong person for the job – said so a couple of times under this post yesterday, if you look.

              That doesn’t make Campbell an MSM journalist, or me a supporter of MSM’s political bias.

        • tracey

          What is your response to Mickey’s list of where the media put its focus? Can rhey not focus on several things at once? Finlaysons abuse of power or bullying or abject incompetence? Not a question to Bridges over whether he will keep Finlayson as shadow AG?

          • OncewasTim

            Now you really have challenged a Drinnan to have to consult an ideological ‘higher power’ (going forward)

        • patricia bremner

          John “cruel and lying” no no “biased and unbalanced ”

          Choosing to write the same anti left meme. Ignoring unflattering actions by the right, historical and current.

          Trying to act innocent when faced with the obvious pattern.

          Voices for the left have been steadily removed. We are fighting back.

        • Robert Guyton

          “So are you saying…”?
          Is your question to me, John?
          If so, no, that’s not what I’m saying.
          The strategy being used by the Opposition National Party MPs and their drones is to actively and cynically (my interpretation) erode public confidence in the Labour-led Government, by harping loudly and relentlessly about every possible weakness they can find. You might say, “that’s their job, holding the Government to account”, but I’m describing a particular, planned mode of attack this is more intense than the process we usually see. The various media are easily drawn into this, as are commenters on blogs and online newspapers, as so many here have noted.

          • John Drinnan

            That is what good oppositions do. Labour didn’t and it lost two elections. They need to be on the front foot. Media don’t have to go easy on them because they are still learning the ropes.

            • KJT

              Media can stop ignoring National’s incompetent vandalism, as they did for nine years, and give the current Government at least an equal shake of the whip.
              The sad fact is most media, these days are populated by incompetents, liers and right wing propaganda repeaters.
              Journalism, apart from a couple of honorable exceptions, is now an occupation for opinionated ignoramuses’.
              Who pander to their wealthy, and self interested, employers.

              • Ed

                ‘right wing propaganda repeaters.’

                Brilliant description.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                most media, these days are populated by incompetents, liers and right wing propaganda repeaters.
                Journalism, apart from a couple of honorable exceptions, is now an occupation for opinionated ignoramuses’.

                What makes you think they were ever any different? Journalism isn’t exactly brain surgery (ie: it doesn’t necessarily attract the brightest minds).

                There are a few honourable exceptions, most of whom work independently of the big end of town anyway.

                The media is not a cottage industry, and is not run by people with impeccable ethics, towering intellects and high standards.

                • Ed

                  The media has become much more concentrated recently.
                  Increasingly a very small number of corporate interests own the media.
                  And control the message the msm pumps out.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Your rote-learned lines have zero relevance to the remarks I made to KJT.

                • Incognito

                  The media is not a cottage industry, and is not run by people with impeccable ethics, towering intellects and high standards.

                  Does such ‘industry’ exist at all? I fear not …

                • Bill

                  Before the encroachment of advertisers began skewing what was reported, there were many left wing newspapers with very sizable circulations.

                  With advertising, those who “toed a line” could drop their cover price.

                  Which does suggest that state run media, committed to providing a level playing field, would be a damned sight better than anything we might expect these days.

                  Social media kind of undercut traditional media quite successfully, but now, instead of just not clicking on ad smash and keeping facebook profiles to a minimum, “everyone” wants to kill the damned thing.

                  The left will rue that if it comes to pass. It’s the best of the crap that’s available and was invaluable to some left wing organising.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    state run media, committed to providing a level playing field, would be a damned sight better than anything we might expect these days

                    Agreed. Eg: RNZ and its audience stats.

                    If Facebook falls, something else will take its place.

    • Kat 4.2

      Have you considered that the so called “media honeymoon” was in the most the cunning elevation of Jacinda Ardern onto a high ledge to later push her off. For the current govt to control the narrative such as the previous govt it would have to employ similar tactics and strategy as the National party. Jacinda Ardern is better than that. Dirty Politics is not her modus operandi. The electorate needs to be better informed that is the real issue. With the exception of a measley few the fourth estate is getting high on the “scent of blood”, just like trained attack dogs.

      Biased interpretation of how “questions” are answered are no indication of Phil Twyfords performance as a minister. I agree with Mickey’s comments on Twyford and Little.

    • mickysavage 4.3

      Baba Yaga your comment is a perfect example of what I am talking about in my post.

      You are trying to build on the narrative and provide as an example a cancelled road contract in Tauranga. That is so far down the list of Twyford’s priorities that I am not surprised it did not even register for him.

      And I am sure that in 3 years time RWNJs will still be talking about the Labour Youth issue.

      You did not mention Middlemore and its billions of infrastructure problems that were hidden from us until recently. Do you think that this is something National should be punished for?

      • Babayaga 4.3.1

        The narrative around Tauranga was not about a cancelled road, it was that Twyford confused the roads he was being asked about. And he made a stupid comment about median strips that can easily be refuted. (Question 5, from Thursday’s QT).

        Twyford is going to be made to look a fool over unitec, but that will be years away. In the meantime the narrative is being built, not by the media, not by the mats, but by Labour’s own incompetence. Even left wing commentators are catching on.

        • Bearded Git

          you are buying into the Nats obvious agenda…try looking at thr big picture which this government is addressing…this takes at least 2 terms in government not 5 minutes…maybe you are a troll

          • Baba Yaga

            Labour are discovering the enormous gulf between talk and action. I suspect they didn’t expect to be in government, and so were woefully prepared. The daily cluster f*c* our government is living is embarrassing. And they are yet deliver even one budget!

            • Robert Guyton

              “woefully prepared”
              Woefully un prepared, Baba – you’re letting your side down with your loose language – follow the directives, Baba, or you’ll be cut loose!

              • Baba Yaga

                You’re right…I promise to lift my game!

                • In Vino

                  Sorry Robert, but I think I detect an unintended double negative somewhere there. Woefully unprepared would have to mean fairly well-prepared to my mind – or am I wrong? Don’t ask Baba – no deep thought on display.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Hmmm… I can see that one’s preparation could be woeful but surely one’s (state of) unpreparedness could also be woeful (very bad).
                    In any case, have you seen “pre-prepared” around the treaps? That grinds my gears.

                  • Babayaga

                    Actually ‘woefully prepared’ and ‘woefully unprepared’ both work.

                    Woefully prepared means she was prepared but poorly.

                    Woefully unprepared means she was not only unprepared but poorly unprepared.

                    I’ll leave it to you to decide.

                • mickysavage

                  Baba Yaga do you know how many roading projects are on the go at any one time? How can you expect a Minister to know about all of them?

                  • Babayaga

                    Then why did Twyford try to give details? It should have just continued with ‘I know nothing’…it would have been more plausible.

                    And his silly comment about median strips?

                    • Ankerrawshark

                      I will be judging Twyford on what he gets done not one answer on a tv show. I don’t expect him to meet his own ambitious targets, but if he does that would be le

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “I will be judging Twyford on what he gets done not one answer on a tv show.”

                      Twyford has had 9 years to prepare for this, and he is making ludicrous claims he cannot substantiate (eg the median strip claim). He is either dishonest or wilfully ignorant.

                    • Incognito

                      @ Baba Yaga 2 April 2018 at 2:06 pm:

                      Twyford has had 9 years to prepare for this … [my bold]

                      What is “this”?

                      Are you saying that Mr Twyford must have known for 9 years the exact ministerial portfolios he was going to be responsible for right now and the exact details of all the issues in these portfolios?

                      Please provide Mr Twyford the address of your clairvoyant to help him out of his misery; the poor guy obviously is not prescient.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Are you saying that Mr Twyford must have known for 9 years the exact ministerial portfolios he was going to be responsible for right now and the exact details of all the issues in these portfolios?”

                      Twyford was elected in 2008 (on Labour’s list). He has long held an interest in housing and infrastructure issues, in fact he had a Private Members bill drawn in 2009 about the super-city. Twyford has for a long time been Labour’s housing spokesman. He should be far better prepared than he is demonstrating.

                    • Incognito

                      @ Baba Yaga 2 April 2018 at 9:11 pm:

                      Your demands are quite frankly ridiculous.

                      A long-held interest is hardly the same as being Minister in charge. You also ignore that all Ministers rely on advice from their officials; it is a team effort.

                      And what exactly is Mr Twyford demonstrating? Do you really think an interview here or there is representative of the massive workload of a Minister? Oh no, the Minister paused for 3 seconds (‘a long embarrassing silence’) in an interview! Incompetence! Fire him/her!!

                      Please tell the person who will be in charge in 9 years to be better prepared 😉

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Do you really think an interview here or there is representative of the massive workload of a Minister? ”

                      It wasn’t an interview. It was a question in the House about a roading project that under his watch has stalled. He should know the details. At the very least he should know about the relationship between state highway 2 and the eastern expressway.

                    • Incognito

                      @ Baba Yaga 3 April 2018 at 10:16 am:

                      The interview example is to show how ludicrous your comments are and how biased your thinking is. Come on, you had 9 years to prepare for this and yet you fail miserably at constructing a decent argument and at replying to decently-constructed arguments and you completely ignore salient points raised by others – there is a description/definition for this kind of behaviour …

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “The interview example is to show how ludicrous your comments are and how biased your thinking is. ”
                      Not at all. I’m expecting Twyford to have thought out his decisions and policies. He clearly hasn’t, otherwise he wouldn’t be making stupid claims about median strips and the unitec development.

        • mickysavage

          You say that Twyford had nine years to prepare for being Minister of Transport. But the Tauranga Northern Link has only had construction funding approved 2 years ago. How should Twyford have prepared himself for this?

          • Baba Yaga

            He should be across the details of his portfolio.
            He should not make stupid claims about median barriers.
            He should have policy numbers that are not directly contradicted by MBIE.
            He should not have a policy whose numbers are directly contradicted by Infometrics.

            There’s more if you want.

      • Venezia 4.3.2

        Exactly my thoughts.

    • tracey 4.4

      Narrative of dishonesty has been around National since the Exclusive Brethren… and yet… the voters… the media.

      Dishonesty cannot be the reason or National woukd have been crushed a while ago or even last week on the Finlayson thing.

      The media are actively choosing whose blood they prefer

      • Draco T Bastard 4.4.1

        The media are actively choosing whose blood they prefer


      • Babayaga 4.4.2

        Are you aware of a previous case involving David Benson Pope and Clare Curran?

        Are you aware of the scandal around the ‘Pledge Card’?

        Taito Phillip Field?

        The media are actively chasing the blood of incompetence. As they always do.

        • Stuart Munro

          Oh I don’t know – they never noticeably investigated SCF worth a damn, or CERA, or Southern Response.

          The current media a bunch of hebephrenic buffoons working their way up to gibbering idiocy.

          And there’s that fuel line thing – barely a peep about it – though Oravida’s pawprints were all over it.

          Even without pathetic far-right turds like Hosking there’s little to recommend NZ media.

          • Baba Yaga

            And so it goes on. Honestly there is some serious naievete about the nature of politics here.

            • Stuart Munro

              It’s a good rule of thumb to mistrust people who use the expression “Honestly”. Honest people consider it implicit, they don’t find the need to state it.

              • Baba Yaga

                Well that excuses you from actually engaging. Not.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I have engaged with you, moron.

                  But you have aired no evidence, only prejudice.

                  You can do better. If you try really hard.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    You’re only response has to been ‘but national did it too’. That doesn’t go anywhere near addressing the points I have made.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      No, I never said “National did it too” at all – that line of argument is so weak only a loser would bother with it.

                      You haven’t made any points only noise.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Lying through your crooked teeth as usual.

                      “National did it too” isn’t there. (Moderator si vous plait)

                      What’s there is that National were infinitely fucking worse: lazy, corrupt, treacherous, self-serving assholes of frankly legendary proportions.

                      Labour’s sins thus far of omission, National’s are of commission.

                      And none of your bullshit stands up to even the most cursory examination.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      ““National did it too” isn’t there.”

                      Yes it is. “…they never noticeably investigated SCF worth a damn, or CERA, or Southern Response. ” You are relying on matters under the nats to counter in answer to

                      If you weren’t so busy scattering hyperbole without even an attempt to engage the issues, you would have taken the time to read back.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      It’s really hard to have a discussion with a liar as barefaced as you, Baba Yaga – but I feel obliged to continue to point out your dishonesty lest some innocent reader mistake you for something other than a raving propagandist.

                      “Yes it is. “…they never noticeably investigated SCF worth a damn, or CERA, or Southern Response. ” You are relying on matters under the nats to counter”

                      Learn to read – the reference is to the lack of journalistic attention to these gross failures.

                      It is not offered as a justification for Labour failures, which isn’t under discussion – except as part of your efforts to derail the thread.

                      Don’t try to put your words in my mouth just because you have no argument.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Don’t try to put your words in my mouth just because you have no argument.”

                      They are your own words, Stuart.

                      “Oh I don’t know – they never noticeably investigated SCF worth a damn, or CERA, or Southern Response. The current media a bunch of hebephrenic buffoons working their way up to gibbering idiocy.
                      And there’s that fuel line thing – barely a peep about it – though Oravida’s pawprints were all over it.”

                      Are you trying to tell us these are not references to national? That they are not a response to my post

                      You rebutted my list with a list about national. That is the ‘national did it to’ argument.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      “You rebutted my list with a list about national. That is the ‘national did it to’ argument.”

                      No it isn’t Baba.

                      Stop misrepresenting my statements – if I wished to say “National did it too” I would have done so. I do not. The “Labour did it too” arguments that were the goto excuse for the innumerable failures of the Key kleptocracy were in fact a confession of failure.

                      Labour hasn’t failed yet, and if they had, I wouldn’t be stepping in to defend them.

                      What this thread is about is something different – the party being criticized is the media, who, en bloc, are graphically exhibiting bias. This is bad for democracy, as bad as Carter’s complicity in allowing ministers to evade questions was.

                      Now think – tax your single figure neuron processing capacity to its utmost – how does asserting ‘National did it too” serve a left aligned argument which impugns the media?

                      It would be an irrelevance. I did not state it, and neither did I imply it.

                      You are simply wrong, just too arrogant to give up.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “I do not. The “Labour did it too” arguments that were the goto excuse for the innumerable failures of the Key kleptocracy were in fact a confession of failure.”

                      Your post listed what you alleged as national shortcomings. Which part of that is not ‘national did it to’?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “There is no “National did it too”.”
                      Yes, there was. And I’ll take the time to demonstrate it.

                      I said:

                      “Are you aware of a previous case involving David Benson Pope and Clare Curran? Are you aware of the scandal around the ‘Pledge Card’? Taito Phillip Field? The media are actively chasing the blood of incompetence. As they always do.”
                      That was a list of Labour Party screw ups – note particularly my last sentence.

                      You replied:
                      “Oh I don’t know – they never noticeably investigated SCF worth a damn, or CERA, or Southern Response.” and “And there’s that fuel line thing – barely a peep about it – though Oravida’s pawprints were all over it.”
                      Your response was to list what you allege are national party screw ups.

                      But the kicker was your comment at, where you confirmed your argument with this:

                      “What’s there is that National were infinitely fucking worse: lazy, corrupt, treacherous, self-serving assholes of frankly legendary proportions. Labour’s sins thus far of omission, National’s are of commission.”

                      Keep squirming, Stuart, but you did use the ‘national did it too’ line.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Lying diversion troll.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Lying diversion troll.

                      I’m responsible for what I write – not for your lunatic delusions.

                      Stop lying and fuck off.

                      Or I will invent a few lies to stick to you.

                      Paedophilia is usually a pretty good fit for rightwing trolls – they struggle to form relationships with adults because they lie too much.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      I’m responsible for what I write – ”
                      Yes you are. And what you wrote is clear. But as you have now taken to threatening me…

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Lying diversion troll.

                      How’s the grooming going Baba?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “How’s the grooming going Baba?”

                      You’re sick, Stuart. But don’t worry, I won’t go running to the mods to run interference for me.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Lying diversion troll.

                      Don’t put words in my mouth.

                      If it’s ok for you to make shit up about me, you can’t complain if I make shit up about you.

                      So, do you do this in your own home, or do you have what they call a “Sabin Cabin” ?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “If it’s ok for you to make shit up about me,”
                      I didn’t. You were damned from your on keyboard. Don’t blame me when you don’t like being held to account.

                • Stuart Munro

                  “Your post listed what you alleged as national shortcomings. Which part of that is not ‘national did it to’?”

                  The part where it relates to the media.

                  Since we are discussing media bias, it is necessary to discuss different media treatment of National and Labour.

                  Thus I cited a few of the many instances where an unbiased media would have exerted itself to get to the bottom of innumerable National scandals that have plagued NZ.

                  There is no “National did it too”.

                  There never was a National did it too, there never will be a National did it too because that argument is fatally flawed – as I have already explained in words small enough for even a cretin like you to understand.

                  Different media treatment. Bias. Blatant, systematic bias. From the media – because this is what the post is about.

                  It’s not about Labour did or National did, however much you might prefer that it were.


          • John Drinnan

            Thanks very much. The current media?. Have you got a replacement crew lined up? People who don’t question the government?

            • Carolyn_Nth

              I’d like a significant number of mainstream corporate journalists who question Nats in and out of government as voraciously as they go after some Labour government policies, or after any party that strays too far from the neoliberal, pro-corporate consensus.

              Why haven’t corporate media journalists attacked the Nats on operation Burnham, or two-track Dirty Politics (as in the book) as voraciously as they attacked Cunliffe over an old electorate form letter, or Turei over an action before she became an MP.

              • You obviously haven’t been reading media for nine years. Is John Campbell part of the conspiracy? Is Jesse Mulligan. TBF
                The Cunliffe letter story was ridiculous,

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  Actually, I have been reading the media. The Cunliffe story was a beat up in contrast with the way Nats’ fumblings were treated..

                • Ed

                  No one has mentioned John Campbell in that way.
                  He lost his job at 3 because he was a thorn in a Johnny Key’s government’s side.

                  The focus has been mainly on your employer. – the Herald – and it’s clear bias in this matter.

              • Babayaga

                Turei committed fraud for heavens sake. And Labour have their own dirty politics, so cut the sanctimonious bs.

                • KJT

                  So did Bill English. Forgotten already.
                  And out of greed, not need.

                  But that is fine, because National!

                  Not to mention Colemans recent acceptance of his after politics reward, for fucking the public health system to the benefit of his new employers.
                  Or. Was that simply incompetence, rather than corruption?

                  • Baba Yaga

                    “So did Bill English. ”
                    Cite? And the record of his prosecution please.

                    • KJT

                      Thirty thousand in expense claims, for pretending to reside in Dipton. Or don’t you read anything critical of National. Anyone working for a private company would have been prosecuted, and sacked.
                      Hence the nickname, Double Dipton.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Thirty thousand in expense claims, for pretending to reside in Dipton. ”

                      You claimed English committed fraud. If that was fraud you would be able cite independent evidence of that. Go ahead.

                    • red-blooded

                      If it wasn’t fraud, why did he pay it back once it was revealed?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “If it wasn’t fraud, why did he pay it back once it was revealed?”

                      If it was fraud, when was he charged, and where are the public documents verifying it?

                    • Incognito

                      @ Baba Yaga 2 April 2018 at 2:07 pm:

                      When was Metiria Turei charged?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “When was Metiria Turei charged?”

                      She admitted it. Her negotiations with WINZ are ongoing.

                      Now, the record of English being prosecuted for fraud?

                    • Incognito

                      @ Baba Yaga 2 April 2018 at 8:54 pm:

                      So, Metiria Turei wasn’t charged!? Oh dear, this doesn’t suit your narrative, does it? Will you be ok?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “So, Metiria Turei wasn’t charged!?”

                      She admitted what she did, and her intent in doing so. She is currently is in discussions with WINZ. Whether she gets charged is a matter for the government, I would assume. Oh wait…

                    • Incognito

                      @ Baba Yaga 3 April 2018 at 10:20 am:

                      Well, thank you so much for confirming that Metiria Turei has not been charged.

                      Nevertheless, you still lost credibility because the government will not decide on laying charges in any case.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “…because the government will not decide on laying charges in any case.”
                      Of course they won’t. Which is utterly irrelevant to the English case.

                • Ankerrawshark

                  What are Labour s dirty politics?

                  • Baba Yaga

                    (Claims of DP by Labour by none other than Clare Curran).

                    Labour’s hit job on Metiria Turei.

                    Internal caucus undermining of David Shearer and (to a lesser extent) David Cunliffe.

                    And I’ll leave you with a little task. Google, Clare Curran/Madeleine Satchell. That little episode goes back to before Curan was a Minister.

            • Stuart Munro

              In any group it is often the outliers that contribute most to external impressions. Thus Muslims are tainted by the vanishingly rare occurrence of jihadists, and churches by the institutional history of concealing child abuse.

              Journalists suffer reputational damage from rubbish like Hosking or Henry, and the frequency of inane opinion pieces that once were the sole province of much more experienced and scrupulous editors.

              The current media is in contrast to older more journalistic media, for standards have declined. As for people who don’t question the government, that would be the journalists who had surprisingly little to say on the larger ongoing scandals of the previous government, many of which still have plenty of life in them.

              If, as MS details, reporting volume is skewed significantly towards reporting Curran, that will be enough for professional journalists to wish to balance or to move on, unless they feel they have something significant to add.

              • Ed

                Journalists learn that if you want promotion and if you want security, you don’t challenge certain establishment mantras.

                Anyone who has done a modicum of research into the corporate media ( or with any any experience working inside that model) would know that.

                Either John Drinnan is aware of this or he is not.
                Which seems more plausible?

                Some case history of media dissidents.

                Remember what happened to John Campbell?
                Remember what happened to Gary Webb?
                Remember what happened to Roberta Baskin?
                Remember what happened to Jane Akre?
                Remember what happened to Kristina Borjesson?
                Remember what happened to Steve Wilson?
                Remember what happened to Chris Hedges?

                The reality is that if you challenge the paradigm, the corporate media shuts you down.

                I remain pleasantly surprised Rachel Stewart still has a voice.

              • Hosking insisted he was not a journalist. But we got tarred with his brush.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  He insisted he wasn’t a journalist only after having insisted that he was a journalist.

                  Perhaps the time to point that out was during the tarring procedure, rather than after the fact.

                  Have you anything to say about the arguments MS presents in the OP, or do you prefer to bandy empty words with frothing loons like Ed?

                  • MS and OP? I’m new to your abbreviations 😉

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Mickey Savage and Original Post. Do you constantly wink at people in person? You might want to get that looked at.

                    • Keepcalmcarryon

                      Welcome to the internets John Drinnan.
                      Next lesson “ journalism” feel free to bring your herald colleagues.

            • patricia bremner

              John I read most of your articles/contributions. and you did not put any heat on many mistakes of the Key administration. Still living on Drinnan’s Island?

              • Ed

                John’s spray and run away comments this morning show where his political allegiances lie.
                And why the Herald employs him.

              • veutoviper

                patricia, Drinnan is a Media Reporter, not a Political reporter. And see my unnumbered comment at 10.30am currently one above this comment of yours.

                This post is about media balance. To have any credibility, comments here should also show balance and not just wide generalised criticism – hence my comments about Drinnan above.

                Also, remember your latest comments re Henry Cooke and the one Stuff article of his you read on the five day Parliamentary Mission to the Pacific ? Here -Daily Review 9 March 2018, this thread

                The one article you read and criticised, and used for general criticism of Cooke again for the third time in as many weeks, was the last of ten – yes 10 – articles by Cooke published on Stuff during that five day trip.

                How you missed the others, I don’t know but I was very angry with your comments and wrote a very long post which I then did not submit at the time due to my liking and respect for you. I also know that Cooke’s articles on that trip, along with those of other reporters who also went, were fact checked and analysed for their truth and balance as an exercise by several classes of a tertiary level media training course – and Cooke’s articles were found to be amongst the best for both facts and balance.

                • patricia bremner

                  Sorry, I did not Know of these articles…. where were they published?.. seriously did not see those.

                  • veutoviper

                    Will do a post to you with links on Open Mike rather than on here. Give me a minute or two.

              • Sometimes it feels like Drinnan’s Reef 🙂 Unlike most of the correspondents here, I don’t support any political party. Plenty of criticism of government in my own over the National years, and Labour before

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  I agree that you aren’t party partisan, John. And you do usually do fact based and researched journalist. But at times some underlying centrist and centre-right values and/or assumptions show through.

                  • I’m just on a different wavelength that Standard contributors. I’d argue I am much more centrist than most of the correspondents here.

                    • Ed

                      Centrist in 2018 is of course quite right wing.
                      The Overton Window was dragged right in the 1980s.
                      The Labour Party is further right than the National Party of the 1970s.

                • veutoviper

                  You have also stood up for what you think, John, as I tried to point out above here –

                  But with some here, a steam gets up and away they go, throwing facts and reason to the wind.

                  • Very kind of you to point it out. I just worry the way correspondents dislike journalists – and support the State. Media is far from perfect – especially now — but attacking journalists who disagree with them is not the answer,

                    • Ed

                      So how do you think the media can be reformed so it better represents the views of its citizens- as opposed to the interests of multinational corporations?

                    • Keepcalmcarryon

                      Restructuring the media is

                    • What sort of restructuring?

                      Enforced restructuring of the whole media by the current government (any government) would put democracy at terrible risk.

                      As much as people don’t like media reporting things they don’t like, a diverse and politically independent media is an essential part of a healthy democracy that holds the government of the day (and the Opposition) to account.

                    • Keepcalmcarryon

                      I would have Scandinavian style self regulation so not government controlled. To work though it needs breaking up mass media ownership in to smaller bits. That’s where government needs to act in the public interest.

              • patricia bremner

                John, I thought you came from near Kaukapakapa, Drinnan’s of Drinnan’s Island. It turns out you went to school in Hamilton?

            • OncewasTim

              Actually John, there is a replacement crew lining up.
              It’s just that they fucked off overseas when they saw what was happening to NZ’S Msm and many are now part of overseas PSB.
              I can understand how you might be worried

              • OncewasTim

                You should probably start building a natrative now….like how you and the likes of the alcoholic wife beater are the voices of experience ‘ on the ground ‘ wheras your replacements are merely Johnny, joseph and Lucy-cum-latelies

        • Bearded Git

          but their were numerous dirty scandals under John Key…why do you only list Labour’s ?

          • Baba Yaga

            Because this discussion is about Labour.

            • Stuart Munro

              Actually this discussion is about media balance.

              • Baba Yaga

                …about a ‘manufactured narrative’ around Labour’s performance.

                • Stuart Munro

                  About a statistically provable bias serving a manufactured narrative.

                  Which you deny – without any counterevidence whatsoever.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    “statistically provable bias”
                    So post your ‘proof’.

                    “Which you deny – without any counterevidence whatsoever.”
                    Then you can’t read. My evidence is the incompetent and dishonest way in which this government is operating, and the reality that that fact is being written about by people from left and right. If you kept up with the actual discussion instead of trolling my comments you would have seen the references I have posted.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Don’t need to mate.

                      Scroll up and look at Mickey’s numbers.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Scroll up and look at Mickey’s numbers.”

                      Mickey’s post covered a matter of weeks. That isn’t statistically significant. So yeah you do.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Ah. Not capable of recognizing a trend then. The argument goes over your head.

                    • Babayaga

                      “Not capable of recognizing a trend then. The argument goes over your head.“

                      A few weeks of the media rightly highlighting incompetence is not a trend.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      A trend – you lying little backward far-right troll, can be as few as several instances. In this case, 28 are mentioned, which is plenty.

                      If you want people to care about your comments, you need to lie less, and strive to understand your subject matter more.

                      I have no difficulty reading at all – between your lying, and misrepresenting my statements, and other people’s statements, you have gone to great pains not to address the issue of a manufactured media narrative.

                      You divert, deny, distort and deflect – and try to propagate ill-founded nonsense about unrelated matters like Phil Twyford – but refuse to address the simple thesis of the column – that a 28-1 ratio of critical stories is hard to square with professed media neutrality.

                      You’ve got nothing.

                      Come up with something real or sod off.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “A trend – you lying little backward far-right troll, can be as few as several instances. ”

                      Rubbish. You spoke of a ‘statistically provable bias’ ( A few instances isn’t any such thing, and even Mickey didn’t claim it was so.

                      A ‘statistically provable bias’? You’re a joke.

                      “that a 28-1 ratio of critical stories is hard to square with professed media neutrality.”
                      Actually it’s quite easy to square, given the incompetence of the government in the past week or so. And this

                    • Stuart Munro

                      No, Baba, you’re the joke – a lying fuckwit of epic proportions who just won’t shut up.

                      “Actually it’s quite easy to square, given the incompetence”

                      But you see, that’s not a given.

                      You’d have to establish that – not to the satisfaction of a gibbering far right loon like yourself, but to that of a relatively impartial observer. And, notwithstanding your histrionics, Clare Curran, who is by no means universally admired here, having a cuppa with someone from her ministry in a public place falls a bit short of 9/11. It doesn’t qualify to dominate the news by a factor of 28:1.

                      Calm down. Take a few deep breaths. Pretend to a degree of sanity and equanimity.

                      And try to build an argument out of something other than your hysterical prejudices.

                      If you must.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “It doesn’t qualify to dominate the news by a factor of 28:1.”

                      Well clearly it does, when even the left wing commentators are writing about it!

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Here we have entrenched bias and you’re all in favour of it.

                      Maybe you need to experience the boot on the other foot for a few decades before you’re able to appreciate what’s wrong with that.

                      We’ve been too soft, and raised a generation of vipers.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Here we have entrenched bias …”
                      Just because you keep asserting that doesn’t make it so.

                      1. The period you are whinging about is a very small window of time, following months of positive media coverage for Ardern personally, and the coalition generally.

                      2. You still haven’t addressed the possibility that the media are writing about Curran, Ardern etc because there is genuine public interest when our government screws up.

                      3. You also haven’t addressed the elephant in the room…there are left wing media voices also criticising the government.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      You’re not really in a position to talk about elephants in the room Baba.

                      Not when trivial stories like Curran’s cuppa are reported at 28:1 and Sabin’s prosecution was buried completely.

                      Nor was it alone – on another thread I gave you a short list of substantial Gnat scandals that were never properly reported – but you chose to lie your arse off instead of addressing the double standard that sees trivial left failures leading every news source while major right ones went begging.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Not when trivial stories like Curran’s cuppa are reported at 28:1 ”

                      But it’s not trivial. It goes to the incompetence and dishonesty of a Cabinet Minister and the competence and leadership of the PM. And you still haven’t addressed why left wing voices are also critical. Are they part of this ‘statistically provable bias’? Have they been taken over by RW aliens?

              • For five months there was unrelenting positive coverage with little scrutiny of Labour. The honeymoon has to end sometime. Should media have been hauled over the coals then. Or were they doing God’s work because that suits your politics?

                • Ed

                  Your lines do sound remarkably like Mike Hosking and Matthew Hooton.
                  Now to the point of the thread.

                  28 articles on the Curren story.
                  1 article on the Middlemore story.


                • tracey

                  Not all positive. Alot of air given to Nat MPs to comment negatively. Even suggesting there was a honeymoon is admitting a edficiency in our media to cover in a balanced way. You seem to be saying the media go easy for a while and then become dogs with a bone on selective issues. If I were a journalist that lack of professionalism would embarrass me. I wouldnt be on here using that low bar attitude as a defence.

                  John, see Ed’s comment below because that is tge point. No one is saying dont report the Curran RNZ thing but walk and chew gum

                  • Ed

                    Jacindamania was a media construct.
                    It was built so it could be ripped down.

                    The tabloid media use this tactic a lot.
                    Usually done with sports players and pop stars.

                    • Incognito

                      I agree, Ed.

                      There are many variations on the theme that goes back a very long time, which is why it resonates so easily and well with the general public.

                      For example, “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”.

                      Or the so-called tall poppy syndrome with an unhealthy dose of Schadenfreude.

                      Jacinda Ardern is also be portrayed as an anti-heroine or fallen heroine; she was always going to fall short, sooner or later, because she is the “accidental PM” and because she does not really have what it takes, at the end of the day.

                      This is the story, the narrative that has been constructed, carefully executed through subtle and not so subtle framing and well-aligned with age-old (mythical) stories. That said, I believe much of the framing, e.g. through the use of metaphors and archetypical symbols, happens at a sub-conscious level, which may sound like a contradiction.

                      Obviously, none of all this has got anything to do with the actions of the current Government.

                  • clearly I don’t speak for the whole media and every editorial priority. I’m just one opinion, mainly commenting on the tendency on this sit o attack journalists. Whale Oil and Trump do the same,

                    • Ed

                      I praise good journalists who speak truth to power like Rachel Stewart, John Pilger, Robert Fisk, George Monbiot, Nicky Hager, Jon Stephenson…..

                      However, I have little respect for people who work in the mainstream media and write what suits the mighty and powerful.

                      There is a reason many people have contempt for the media.
                      It creates false narratives and agenda.

                      As Micky Savage has demonstrated brilliantly trice in 24 hours.

                    • tracey

                      Well I have been known to criticise what appears to be under coverage of some issues and over of others.

                      It woukd have been good to have your view of what coukd account fof the apparent disparity this week but it is your perogative to choose what you wish to comment on.

                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      Ah, the old “we get criticised by the left and the right, so we must be getting it [balance] about right” – except it’s not actually answering the criticisms, and “balance” is a moveable feast. Evidence and analysis is more helpful.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Neither unrelentingly positive nor unrelentingly negative is good journalism. You’re a respected professional – you know that.

                • mickysavage

                  Thanks for your comments John.

                  “For five months there was unrelenting positive coverage with little scrutiny of Labour. The honeymoon has to end sometime. Should media have been hauled over the coals then. Or were they doing God’s work because that suits your politics?”

                  My actual preference is no puff pieces about anyone. Just serious reporting on the issues.

                  I can’t get over the disparity of treatment of Curran verses Health this week.

                  28 articles on Curran and only one on health. Surely a proper analysis of the serious issues would have that ratio changed.

    • tracey 4.5

      Bridges … lost bridges… energy confusion… contradicting Adams… prisoners should vote… no they cannot. Same picture exists of him as you paint of Twyford… Shearer, Cunliffe and Little to have fumbled one of these would have rained down media apoplexy

      • Babayaga 4.5.1

        Delightful naïveté. Twyford is a walking time bomb. Do you seriously think s competent minister would propose a housing development with the density of Manilla?

        • Stuart Munro

          Pfft – there’s more competence in Twyford than the whole useless opposition – and that’s only rating him average. I wouldn’t hire them to carry the potato peelings out to the bin.

          • Baba Yaga

            Twyford is a fool, completely out of his depth.

            • Stuart Munro

              No, that would be you.

              But let’s pretend you were an actual commenter for a moment – what leads you to this conclusion? And remember that we are contrasting you position with your silence on Nick’s Myth – NZ’s most epic failure in the housing portfolio, and a good part of the reason the rump of the Key government failed to slither back into power.

              • Baba Yaga

                Watch Q5 from Thursdays QT. Sit through it all. It is Twyford utterly out of his depth.

                Then read these:

                There are loads more. And I haven’t even mention Chinese sounding names>

                • Stuart Munro


                  The far-right trolls figure they can hit Curran for interfering and Twyford for not interfering. Lilley is well-funded and quite capable of taking legal action against Housing NZ were that necessary – he appears to be running the story for the publicity.

                  You really have to do better Baba Yaga – only people who both hate Twyford already and are stupid enough to swallow Nic’s Myth would entertain this crap for a moment.

                  This is part of the pattern that MS describes – critical articles against Labour who are struggling with the workload of nine years of corrupt, inept and frankly lazy governance.

                  I realize you’re only a troll but this is no way to forward your argument. Point out opportunities that Twyford has neglected, show us a contrast in finished construction rates, compare Housing NZ’s commitment to building before and after his involvement – but spare us this vacuous opinionated noise.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    “…who are struggling with the workload…”

                    …that they were fully aware of before making all those promises. And they have inherited a strong economy with low debt, low interest rates, low inflation and high employment.

                    • Stuart Munro


                      They inherited a staggering economy faked by high capital inflows and propped up by illegal migrant labour.

                      Debt has increased significantly, low interest rates have little or nothing to do with the former government, inflation is low reflecting technical as opposed to real growth, and the claims of low unemployment are debunked both by record numbers not in work or training and by the lack of upward wage pressure.

                      You wretched lying troll.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “They inherited a staggering economy…”

                      “…faked by high capital inflows and propped up by illegal migrant labour.”

                      “Debt has increased significantly…”
                      To levels Grant Robertson describes as low.

                      “low interest rates have little or nothing to do with the former government”

                      “inflation is low reflecting technical as opposed to real growth”
                      No, they reflect sound management of government spending and the wider economy.

                      “and the claims of low unemployment are debunked both by record numbers not in work or training and by the lack of upward wage pressure.”
                      I didn’t claim ‘low unemployment”. FFS learn to read!!

                    • Baba Yaga

                      And Stuart if you’re worried about rising debt, then take note that Robertson has admitted that he will oversee a rise of nominal debt from $59b in 2017 to $67b by 2022.

                    • Incognito

                      What a nice surprise it was to find out that $16 billion, give or take a few hundred mil, is needed to get hospital buildings fit for purpose, which is to look after sick people and improve people’s health, not make it worse (I won’t even mention the food). Thank you, Dr Coleman, for forgetting to mention this before the election. Oops …

                    • Stuart Munro

                      There’s little point in citing for trolls.

                      Ex real estate and earthquake spending the growth touted as approaching 3% is in fact approaching 1%.

                      If political hearsay is really your working standard I suppose that’s your choice. But the much touted ‘rockstar economy’ would not have needed to increase debt – growth would have increased returns to cover spending. Were it not substantially statistical fakery.

                      “sound management of government spending” by not funding critical items like hospitals for example. Only someone utterly biased could even entertain such nonsense.

                      “I didn’t claim ‘low unemployment”.”
                      Ah yes, you claimed “high employment”

                      To have one without the other requires the kind of prodigies of disingenuousness that characterize all your trolling.

                    • Babayaga

                      “There’s little point in citing for trolls.”

                      And yet I bother for you. Where are your references??

                    • Babayaga

                      “What a nice surprise it was to find out that $16 billion, give or take a few hundred mil, is needed to get hospital buildings fit for purpose, “


                    • Incognito

                      @ Babayaga 1 April 2018 at 2:14 pm:


                      This seems your mot du jour; all 6 times here are yours 😉

                      As for the answer to your question, it is in the OP 😉

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “This seems your mot du jour; all 6 times here are yours 😉”

                      It’s hardly unreasonable to ask people to support their claims. Particularly when they are specific, and when they are Stuart, who seems unable to differentiate between employment and unemployment.

                    • Incognito

                      @ Baba Yaga 1 April 2018 at 8:31 pm:

                      You’ve made 54 comments under this post (so far; not bad going) and yet you ask basic questions that are in the OP!?

                      BTW, I am not Stuart 😉

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “…and yet you ask basic questions that are in the OP!?”

                      I am asking people to provide evidence for their claims. Claims that are NOT in the OP. Stuart and yourself included. Do you seriously think you can just go around spraying claims and not be called on them?

                    • Incognito

                      @ Baba Yaga 2 April 2018 at 2:04 pm:

                      Actually, my claim was in the OP:

                      Number one as far as I am concerned is the appalling news that the Health System requires up to $16 billion needed to fix ailing infrastructure.

                      Micky provided links.

                      It is all there so what (else) do you want? A quote? A builder’s report? An invoice for repairs?

                      If you don’t (want to) believe the claim, which seems to be the problem here, then feel free to take it up with MoH and Hon Dr David Clark. I/we cannot help you further with your exercise in futility.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Micky provided links.”

                      Not for the $16b he didn’t.

                      Try again.

                    • Incognito

                      @ Baba Yaga 2 April 2018 at 8:52 pm:

                      Did you check them all?

                      I guess not because it was in the first of thirteen RNZ links on this subject in Micky’s OP.

                      I tell you what, I expect the total figure to increase further as more neglect, wilful or not, comes to the fore. Obviously, Mr Clark should have prepared for this over the last 9 years too 😉

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “I guess not because it was in the first of thirteen RNZ links on this subject in Micky’s OP.”

                      I thought so. You are happy to describe the opinion of the incoming Health Minister as ‘news’. Chuckle.

                    • Incognito

                      @ Baba Yaga 3 April 2018 at 10:18 am:

                      No, no! It is not just an opinion and this Minister had 9 years of preparation and he knew that National had left him a hidden hole of billions thanks to Mr Joyce given him the heads-up so you are correct in that it is not ‘news’ as such, it is ‘old news’. Obviously, all these figures are just pulled out from other holes with no basis in reality whatsoever. In fact, it cannot be true that hospital buildings are crumbling, where shit seeps through walls, and mold grows faster than a triffid roaming NICU. What a Minister says on record, be it in an interview or during QT in the House, has not relevance unless it is the Minister for Transport, obviously. I wish I could say “chuckle” but you are just not funny, at all!

                    • Baba Yaga

                      ” It is not just an opinion…”

                      Yes it is. And it’s the same sort of opinion we got from the nats when they claimed huge underfunding when they got elected in 2008.

            • Gabby

              Slick Britches is no towering genius, babby.

              • Baba Yaga

                But he’s not stumbling from crisis to crisis. He doesn’t have MP’s exercising their incompetence in public. And he faces a PM who is increasingly looking like a lightweight. In fact right now he has the easiest job in NZ.

                • tracey

                  He and Adams contradicted each other. His shadow AG has been found incompetent. His Former Health colleague and other colleagues have overseen an appalling degrading of health systems, he both wants some prisoners to vote and not vote. His party broke the Privacy laws to try and squeeze donations… and he still cant account for those bridges.

        • Bearded Git


        • red-blooded

          That “Manila” lines’s been exploded many times, mate. It only applies if we assume all the housing is going to be single story. Not a reasonable assumption!

          • Babayaga

            No, the manilla has not been exploded, or you would provide a cite.

            • red-blooded

              Truly? I don’t believe you haven’t read any commentary about this already. Still, here’s a pretty good dissection of that pathetic assertion.

              Part of the thread:
              If you build on only 1/3 of the unitech site & leave 2/3 for access & open space. You could fit 4000 85m2 dwelling in 4 storey buildings. That might look like this neighbourhood in suburban Stockholm (check the link for the image).
              4000 dwellings at 2.5 occupancy on the 29 ha unitech site = 40 800 people per km2.
              Barcelona’s L’Hospitalet de Llobegrat has 53 119/km2

              • Baba Yaga

                That’s a Twitter post. And largely an opinion piece, that includes an admission he miscalculated. I have read the commentary on it, and most find Hooten’s calculations accurate. For the manila comparison to have been ‘exploded’ there would have been errors found in the calculations. Post the analysis.

                • red-blooded

                  The error he drew attention to lessened the density of people, rather than increasing it. Can you rebut any of the comparisons? If not, bugger off.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    Then you don’t understand what McRae is saying.

                    I’ll quote”

                    “It also doesn’t make any sense to compare 437 km2 of Mumbai that includes industrial land, parks, schools & everything else with 0.29 km2 of Mt Albert that will be just housing”

                    He’s not refuting Hooten’s calculations, he’s trying to second guess the assumptions about what the Unitec development will contain. But the point is the project is as yet so immature that there is so much about the development that is unknown. McRae’s objections are thoughtful, but irrelevant. Twyford’s number of 4,000 provides a density roughly equivalent to Manila, based on some fairly reasonable assumptions, and McRae’s numbers don’t disprove that.

                    • red-blooded

                      Fairly reasonable assumptions? Cite? (I notice you ask everyone else to provide refs, but seem to have an aversion to doing so to support your own assertions.)

                      I understand McCrae just fine, thanks. He’s saying that medium and high density housing can be both efficient and pleasant, and that the scaremongering that Hooten and people like you have been doing is sloppy, ill-informed and ever-so-subtly racist.

                      Note his point about how the density levels of Mumbai are distorted by the tight borders chosen to focus mostly on the highest density areas. Of course, different parts of Manila also have very different levels of housing density, just as different parts of London, Paris, New York…etc. So, why choose Manila as the reference point?

                      I note, too, that you haven’t refuted any of the comparisons in my link, just repeated your dog-whistle line about Manila.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      For Hooten’s assumptions? Are you serious?

                      “He’s saying that medium and high density housing can be both efficient and pleasant…”
                      He’s saying a lot more than that. He’s making assumptions about the amount of space in the Unitec development that will be applied to nonhousing landscape.

                      ” and ever-so-subtly racist.”
                      Sniff. The race card eh, the last bastion of a fool.

                      “Note his point about how the density levels of Mumbai are distorted by the tight borders chosen to focus mostly on the highest density areas. Of course, different parts of Manila also have very different levels of ho”

                      ” why choose Manila as the reference point? ”
                      No-one did. If you actually took the time to look up Hooten’s analysis (which it is obvious you haven’t), you will see comparisons were made to several cities.

                      “I note, too, that you haven’t refuted any of the comparisons in my link, just repeated your dog-whistle line about Manila.”
                      There is nothing to refute. McCrae is simply using a different set of assumptions. He may be right, but I find Hooten’s analysis far more plausible.

        • tracey

          Do you think a competent AG wouldnt understand the OIA? Do you think a competent Health Minister would let Middlemore and Dunedin fall apart for years? Do you think a competent Minister woukd lose 9 bridges? Do you think a competent Minister woukdnt understand conflict of interest? Do you think a competent Minister would give 11m to a businessman with no need to? Do you think a competent leader woukd contradict his finance spokesman?

          • Babayaga

            And that helps explain this governments incompetence how?

            • adam

              That is the worst gosman I think I’ve ever seen.

              You making gosman look bad babyaga, and quite frankly that is taking the bar really low.

              • Baba Yaga

                So you think Tracey’s comment actually contributes to a discussion about THIS government?

                • adam

                  Another gosman, seriously.

                  Dude, you need to get a grip. That is a unhealthy way to construct an argument. I’ve just seen you comments below and you have a pattern using that style of argument, not pretty, I hope you learn to change your approach.

              • Baba Yaga

                Perhap’s I’ll rephrase:

                Do you think a competent Minister would meet with a senior Ministry staff member without advising the CEO or Chair, and then let the staff member lie about it, and let the CEO unwittingly deceive Parliament?
                Do you think a competent Minister would announce a housing project that involves a housing density roughly equivalent to Manilla?
                Do you think a competent Prime Minister would make a statement that has made the country an international laughing stock?
                Do you think a competent Minister would call for the sacking of a Board of an independent commercial entity in which the government has a stake holding?
                Do you think a competent Prime Minister would intervene in public sector pay talks?
                Do you think a competent Minister would launch a policy that Infometrics loosely describes as pulling figures out of his arse?

                • adam

                  Your not saying anything. Dude get a grip, why should I or anyone else answer a series of questions from you which are at best off topic, or worse, designed to garner a result you want.

                  Put up an argument on why you think somthing, then let people knock it down, or agree with it. At the moment all your doing is creating flame wars by asking questions no one wants to engage with or abuse. It’s quite dull, and more that a bit of a bore.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    Sigh. Another one who doesn’t read the thread.


                    • adam

                      You just went off on a tangent without an argument, and expect me to or anyone else to answer your stupid questions – seriously dude, get a grip. And take a chill pill.

                      You need to realise that the Tory tards that were in power we bloody awful, useless, and have wreaked parts of our society for ideological reasons. No other reason, just ideology, which makes them as bad as marxists.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “You just went off on a tangent…”

                      No, I was responding to a post from Tracey that was just a few posts above!

                      You need to learn to read.

                    • tracey

                      No you werent responding to my comment you were finding a way to not respond to its substance. It is ok cods the reason you avoided it is clear.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “No you werent responding to my comment…”

                      Yes I was, otherwise you wouldn’t have replied below!

            • tracey

              By comparing what you consider current incompetence with recent incompetence. It is called a yardstick

              • Baba Yaga

                This thread is about media bias covering events of recent weeks. It is not about your personal slant on what national did. Hence my question, which you seem to be avoiding!

    • Bearded Git 4.6

      you are buying into the Nats obvious agenda…yry lpoking at thr big picture which this government is addressing…this takes at least 2 terms in government not 5 minutes

      • Baba Yaga 4.6.1

        You’re repeating yourself, repeating yourself, repeating yourself…

        • Stuart Munro

          And still the message fails to penetrate your slumbering intellect.

          I don’t think you’re very good at this trolling lark – have you considered a career in animal husbandry?

          • Baba Yaga

            BG published the same post twice. Keep up.

            • Stuart Munro

              Why would anybody bother to keep up with you Baba Yaga?

              I could churn out tripe as fast or faster were I equally dishonest. It’s not as if you have any point to make beyond your juvenile uncritical admiration for all things not Labour.

              • Baba Yaga

                All you turn out is tripe. When you start actually providing credible evidence for your claims, they may be worth reading.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Your unremitting spleen has no foundation in fact – you can’t even maintain your integrity long enough to make a truthful comment on the lack of economic skills of the previous government.

                  If they were half as good as you claim we’d’ve been climbing OECD ranks and financial ratings, not falling.

                  No, you’re a sledger – called in to apologise for the failure of your team by smearing the opposition.

                  There’s no disguising it.

                  • Babayaga

                    Nz ranks very well in the OECD in economic performance. Your persistent hyperbole is funny, though.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Nonsense – if the rightwing economic tripe you proliferate had had any merit we would be climbing. We haven’t been. Remember wage parity with Oz? Key promised it – never happened of course.

                      External measures like these would have validated your spurious claims if they had had any substance. They don’t.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “if the rightwing economic tripe you proliferate had had any merit we would be climbing. We haven’t been. ”

                      Shifting the goalposts eh? Dishonest much.

                      And I want you to address your ‘statistically provable bias’ claim

                    • Stuart Munro

                      I’m getting really tired of your disingenuous bullshit Baba Yaga, but since your lack of mathematical ability goes some way to explaining your fatuous opinions of the Key government’s economic prowess I guess I have to spell it out for you in terms a fourth former can understand.

                      What’s MS’s sample?

                      29 instances.

                      what’s the ratio of pro vs anti media stories?

                      28 to 1

                      Assuming a normal distribution of pro and anti stories, how many standard deviations outside the mean would a result like this lie?


                      Which tends to indicate that the distribution of pro and anti stories is not normal within the group from which the sample is drawn.

                      Happy (I’m sure you’re not)? Now fuck off.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      The 28 to 1 relates to one, short period, and to a finite number of incidents. The imbalance could be the result of at least 2 alternatives:

                      1. Media bias.
                      2. The media reporting reality, i.e. Government incompetence.

                      What it cannot be is a ‘statistically provable bias’. You haven’t even proven bias, let alone show that this is ‘statistically provable’.

                      If you actually new what the big words you are using meant, you wouldn’t have made such a stupid claim.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      It was entirely predictable that you would raise sample size – but this is the sample we have. Some data trumps no data.

                      But since I have humoured your laziness and done homework for you, don’t you think it’s time you got off YOUR chuff and produced some counter evidence? People might think your were just a troll.

                      “If you actually new what the big words you were using meant”

                      If I actually knew what the words I was using meant, muppet, I’d probably be able to spell them! 😀

                      Three standard deviations is a pretty good effect size – or in terms your microcephaly can encompass:

                      Once is happenstance
                      Twice is coincidence
                      Three times is enemy action
                      Twenty eight times requires explanation

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “It was entirely predictable that you would raise sample size…”
                      Yet I didn’t! My point was about the time frame. The numbers are Mickey’s. You really are stupid.

                      “Once is happenstance
                      Twice is coincidence
                      Three times is enemy action
                      Twenty eight times requires explanation”
                      And so you will be able to explain the overwhelmingly positive media coverage of Ardern in the early months of her tenure as somehow statistically significant? I’ll bet you don’t.

  5. Heather Tanguay 5

    Dirty Politics is alive and well, these people have come out of their caves and from under rocks and will glory in creating news headlines about any Labour happening Large or small. The same story will be told, day after day, by the same people.
    Labour must be squeeky clean, all the time and not give any chance for the media blitz, more often than not completely over the top.

    • Heather Grimwood 5.1

      I have faith that enough of our population have retained the critical thinking skills obviously used in election 2017.
      They are paramount in being able to ‘read behind the the lines’. Nowadays of course that hugely applies metaphorically and often more insistently to much presented on T.V. or radio.
      There was a time when critical thinking was encouraged and developed in schools from infant level up. In any school I taught at provision for this was required to be shown in weekly planning. I truly hope this this still happens, for free thinking is necessary for true freedom.

      • patricia bremner 5.1.1

        Sadly Heather G, problem solving critical thinking and comprehension have been squeezed by rote tick box learning, which Chris is now addressing.

        • Heather Grimwood

          to Patricia at 5.1.1: Yes, I understood so on both your comments …thanks for reply.

        • red-blooded

          On what basis do you make that assertion, patricia? As it happens, rote learning is emphasised much less nowadays and critical thinking is embedded in the core curriculum.

          • KJT

            Until Nationals standards sidetracked the new curriculum ,to emphasise rote learned 3R’s in National’s “back to the 1880’s ” system

            • red-blooded

              National standards don’t apply to secondary schools. And while sometimes assessment can dominate too much, very little of it is based on rote learning. Even exams now often offer raw material and ask students to draw and justify conclusions.

      • tracey 5.1.2

        I do not share your optimism. Nats target specifically not randomly. They use the psychology of marketing etc… people think they are critically thinking but they arexhaving buttons pushing and thinking undermined.

        Nats have long had the fundingvto spend on these areas and the adjunct groups to do the work for them so they can look clean.

    • patricia bremner 5.2

      Heather Tanguay, You nailed it. It is exactly as you say.

    • Incognito 5.3

      Labour must be squeeky clean, all the time and not give any chance for the media blitz, more often than not completely over the top.

      That just ain’t gonna happen. Nobody is perfect, mistakes will be made, and many things are simply (largely) outside Government control. And this is 3-way coalition Government so all partners need to lift their game, not just Labour.

      This Government should not hide behind the OIA to save itself (from) embarrassment. Its Ministers should not agree to only give interviews with prior agreed questions and hang up if the line of questioning deviates from the pre-agreed script. Be accountable, transparent, and honest, as was promised to us.

      Admit mistakes and learn from them but stay on course with iron determination and resilience, but also an open mind (i.e. don’t be arrogant). If incompetent people need to be replaced pick the right time for that, not in the middle of a crisis because the Opposition and MSM would see that as a victory, a scalp, and they would want more – if it can be done once, it can be done another time, and another one, etc.

      Show that you’re willing to listen but also who’s in charge. Hint: it ain’t the Opposition and MSM or even public opinion, for that matter – nothing is as fickle and easily manufactured & manipulated as ‘public opinion’.

      Timid people (or Governments) will not reach great heights and accomplish major achievements; they merely fill in time as placeholders whilst maintaining status quo.

  6. Great article Mickysavage, I find it strange that Labour is not aggressively assaulting and taking the high moral high ground over the whole sorry story of Middlemore?

    As Corbyn has shown, it is very hard for the media/oppositionto gain ground on the Left when they choose for fight from this favourable (and I would say traditionally natural) position.

    Where is the moral outrage from Labour?

    Why is it that everyone I know seem more angry than anyone with any power in Labour…I wish they would come out swinging…and hard for a change.

    It’s time they unleash Angry Andy into the ring (he probably would be prime Minister now if he had hadn’t been stupidly talked out of wearing his outrage on his sleeve, and wearing those ridiculous contacts)

    • Sanctuary 6.1

      “…, I find it strange that Labour is not aggressively assaulting and taking the high moral high ground over the whole sorry story of Middlemore..?”

      Because the HErald isn’t interested in stories about third world hospital conditions in a place that is a foreign country (AKA South Auckland) to it’s white and aging readership.

      but they are interested in printing 15+ opinion pieces on the Curran/Hirschfeld meeting.

      • mickysavage 6.1.1

        I could not get over how the Herald had posted only one article on the Health sector’s problems.

        • Adrian Thornton

          Sadly I am not surprised, I think the health system in NZ is in some ways a exposure of the class divide in our country.

          Why would anyone in the media or most politicians for that matter get angry about the public health system, probably no one they know directly is affected by it, and as empathy is not a valuable tradable commodity in NZ, it seems that not too many people have bothered to store to much that anymore either.

          • tracey

            I agree. It only matters if you dont have medical insurance… and if you dont you are lazyand only have yourself to blame.

            Nice boon for a construction company though, fixing all these crumbling hospitals.

            • Bearded Git

              How about a special 39% top tax level dedicated to public health funding? and making any payments towards private health care allowable

              • RedBaronCV

                I’m all for that. Nact lowering the tax rates gave a huge lump to the already well off and under funded public services – Never waste a good crisis – too much needs to be spent on this stuff so use it. And while we are at it work out some way of preventing the next right wing government from privatising the newly upgraded buildings and passing the money out as high end tax cuts.

          • patricia bremner

            Adrian thank you for this is an insight regarding the divide.

            Some of us will wait and wait for wrongs to be righted, while the people with money and clout will pay to get their issues dealt with through lobbying or money. Says it all.

            So yes. They employ people who mainly echo the editorial line. No surprise, just so destructive of our society, and leading to the imbalances Micky showed.

      • Yeh I get that, we all know the Herald is National biased, what I am saying is when Labour do get to voice their opinion…then they need to come out fighting and fighting hard, fuck all this relentlessly positive bullshit.
        The Health sector is a National disgrace…where is the outrage?

        • In Vino

          On the other hand, I think I remember occasions when Labour eloquently voiced its opinion. only to have it under-reported, if reported at all. We are up against the forces of nastiness.

          • Anne

            We are up against the forces of nastiness.

            … and greed… and narcissism. Yes, lots of narcissism. It goes with the territory.

            Gone are the days when Journalists and media commentators were intelligent, well educated, informed, diligent in their research, accurate in their reporting and generally impartial. It might come as a surprise to young standardistas but they actually did exist a few decades (and further back) ago.

            Edit: there’s a few left but they don’t get the attention they deserve of course.

  7. weka 7

    Good post, this makes a lot of sense.

    Presumably Bridges didn’t think Curran should be sacked because National are running two tracks.

    I don’t think she should be a Minister, but this post is the best argument I’ve seen for her not stepping down or being sacked. She’s not so bad as to risk National being perceived as getting their first kill. It does raise the issue of what next though. If National’s strategy is to present Labour as incompetent so they only get one term then is the solution to be competent or appear competent or both? Curran isn’t going to help with either of those. Catch 22.

    Have been impressed by what I am seeing from Little though. Good to see him landing on his feet and showing how it’s done.

    • mickysavage 7.1

      Thanks Weka

      If National’s strategy is to present Labour as incompetent so they only get one term then is the solution to be competent or appear competent or both?

      Helen Clark gave the best example of how to respond. I think the best thing is to always be setting out to achieve things, and don’t do anything stupid that may attract media attention.

      • Kat 7.1.1

        Mickey, what was the coalitions “stupidity” that attracted all the media attention with regards expelling so called Russian spies” from NZ.

        • mickysavage

          My personal take? We should wait and require further proof.

          Clark’s principled stand in not joining the “Coalition of the Willing” springs to mind.

          Besides when MFAT can’t identify any spies who do you expel?

          • Kat

            Agree, however I was referring to the media attention, mostly negative and aimed at pillorying the PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs. In my view the govt did not do anything stupid but still attracted all the usual attack dogs with resultant negative media attention.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            Yep. Agree with that. I’m pretty sure Ardern and Peters will be getting strong pressure from the UK government to join their latest version of “the coalition of the willing”, claiming anyone who isn’t with them is against them. But, we should be waiting for strong proof, not a PR beat up based on speculation.

      • Anne 7.1.2

        … and don’t do anything stupid that may attract media attention.

        And therein lies the problem. There is always some Labour MP – or in this case a cabinet minister – who does something stupid and plays into the hands of an hostile media.

        Clare Curran was the shadow minister for Broadcasting for something like 5 years. And yet in all that time she didn’t know of the set of protocols around RNZ staff and their communications with politicians. That told me she is either lazy or incompetent or a bit of both. That is why so many of us were angry with her.

        Unfair though it is, Labour-led coalition govt. ministers have to operate strictly by the rules and be very careful what they do at all times. One tiny slip-up and the media hounds are off their leashes in a jiffy. As the Labour ‘expert’ on matters pertaining to the media, she should have known that better than anybody.

  8. Sanctuary 8

    Jacinda Ardern’s social media updates get about half the number of viewers as the Herald prints newspapers. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

    The Herald isn’t half as important as it thinks it is.

    The main weapon is having 8-9 opinion writers who all hate Labour. They create an echo chamber, quote each other and manufacture the narrative.

    You begin to understand why in some countries where left wing governments have taken over from hard right dictatorships that are still supported by the ruling class the first thing they do is abolish freedom of the press!

    • Bearded Git 8.1

      the 8 or 9 media opinion writers creating an echo chamber….so true…witness Garner and Watkins in the Press today

    • Ankerrawshark 8.2

      H D-A has joined in this morning.

      I agree about jacinda and social media. She then controls the narrative.

  9. Sanctuary 9

    oh and BTW MICKYSAVAGE – those numbers you’ve collated are astonishing, well done.

    • mickysavage 9.1

      Cheers the analysis is rough and ready but you have to ask why there was only one article in the Herald on Middlemore Hospital’s problems.

      • tracey 9.1.1

        Of course you are seeing conspuracies where there are none… picture the rolling of eyes

      • veutoviper 9.1.2

        I also find The Herald’s lack of articles on Middlemore’s problems extremely disturbing but not surprising mainly because of its National bias.

        However, IMHO their best investigative reporter in the health area is Kirsty Johnston who has done some excellent work in the health and related areas.

        Kirsty and her partner actually moved from Auckland to Dunedin in Nov 2017 have decided that there was no way they would ever be able to buy a house in Auckland etc. Kirsty wrote a good article on this decision here:

        Since her move south, she has done some good investigative work on the major issues relating to family health carers (including featuring Rosemary McDonald and her partner) – but is no longer on the spot vis a vis Middlemore.

        If I was on Twitter which I am not, I would be cheeky enough to tweet her and ask her who, if anyone, at the Herald has been assigned to cover this Middlemore fiasco. HINT, HINT,

        [On March 21 she tweeted ” Still not convinced that Coleman even really exists given that in ten years of reporting I never once got him on the phone.” ]

        Another possibility at the Herald may be Nicholas Jones although he is apparently based in Wellington –

        His latest is on Rest Homes -

  10. tracey 10

    Why didnt know Labour know it would be like this? It started in 2005 and has never stopped?

    • Ed 10.1

      It was obviously going to happen

      The coalition should have planned a multi pronged attack.
      They should have looked at Corbyn and Momentum.
      They should have passed a law taking back the commons for the people.
      They should have fired Griffin, renationalised TVNZ and pumped a lot of money into grassroots radio and community newspapers.

      They should have put one of their best ministers on the job.

      Winning the propaganda battle is winning the next election.

  11. I don’t disagree this represents a valid strategy for National.

    That said, I think the best way to fight this is to simply not have any incompetent Ministers. Fire those who can’t hack it. Bring in new talent from the back benches- promote Dyson or Wall if needed and hand off whip to a talented newcomer.

    It’s absolutely correct that the shambles in our hospitals perpetrated by Coleman, Joyce, and English should be the main story right now. It makes the real reason Joyce was confident proceeding with the hole story obvious: He had dug the hole himself and knew Labour wouldn’t be able to leave the health system in the shambles they were willing to.

    • mickysavage 11.1

      I agree the highest expectations should be set for Ministers. Which is why praise for Little and Twyford is justified.

      • Matthew Whitehead 11.1.1

        Yeah, they’re both doing very well. Clark and Genter also seem to be ahead of the pack. 🙂

        • Anne

          Don’t forget Parker and Shaw. I would put both of them ahead of the pack.

          Robertson has yet to earn his points – maybe in May. And of course having Peters around with all that knowledge and experience…

          That’s a formidable group of over-achievers and there’s a few more who might earn their over-achieving stripes in due course. They’re already doing a hell of a lot better than their Nat counterparts ever did. No wonder the Nats – plus their MSM shills – are getting so agitated.

          • McFlock

            Bear in mind that Budget is the prime opportunity for the herald etc to pour shit on the government. It’ll either be “business friendly, no real change” or “greeted with dismay by economists” regardless of its actual content.

    • Carolyn_Nth 11.2

      I agree Matthew.

      The revitalisation of public service media via the proposed RNZ+ was/is one Labour policy I very strongly support.

      But, there is a contradiction in Labour’s allocation of portfolio for this.

      Micky’s post shows clearly the problem. The corporate mainstream media will attack Labour’s weak points.

      Furthermore, the problem as shown by Micky, needs a strong media policy from Labour, lead by a strong Minister – and part of that should be to develop a strong public service media.

      Why didn’t anyone in Labour foresee that the corporate media, and the Nat stooge put into manage RNZ, would strongly oppose Labour’s policy? Corporate media WILL see a strong public service media as competition, and opposed to their values.

      And, with that in mind, why didn’t Labour appoint someone to the media/communications portfolio who would be very savvy about how to pre-empt, and respond to the bullies in the corporate media, and in Nats and among their supporters, who are opposed to public service media?

      This portfolio is a key one for the development of a democratic public sphere in NZ. It requires a heavy hitter, not someone who would fall at the first hurdle.

      We can moan about how unfair the current set up is, but, Labour now have the opportunity to develop a better system

      Curran needs to be replaced ASAP by someone very savvy, who can lead the relevant policies that will work to build a better media in NZ, and who is very capable of playing hard ball when necessary.

      • Anne 11.2.1

        Hear, hear to all of that!

      • Matthew Whitehead 11.2.2

        RNZ is being perfectly fair in their current coverage IMO, and should continue to do so even when a Labour appointee runs it once Griffin’s time is up. Their purpose is to be balanced- if Labour missteps they should criticise them, and if they succeed they should note it, too.

        Otherwise, totally agree. 🙂

        • Carolyn_Nth

          I do agree with the importance for the neutrality of RNZ. And their coverage was pretty good.

          However, I’m not sure what Griffin was doing behind the scenes. I recall Mihingarangi Forbes also announced recently that she is leaving RNZ, so I am wondering what happens there that we aren’t seeing.

          The system needs to be set up so the public service media has distance from the government.

          The political neutrality of public service media is an important and much needed contrast to the corporate media.

      • John Drinnan 11.2.3

        Paul Thompson is not a National stooge – he is senior public servant,

  12. mary_a 12

    If Labour doesn’t start punching hard with an iron fist and begin showing some strength particularly where Tory influenced media and the opposition are concerned, then National will continue to call the shots through the entirety of this whole term!

    Appointing competent, reliable and strong ministers who are not afraid to punch back, would be a good place for Labour to begin in challenging National and its corrupt, lackey media.

    • Kat 12.1

      And through which particular “influenced Tory media” should Labour start countering by “punching hard with an iron fist” mary_a.

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    The other major story this week was the Human Rights Review Tribunal’s finding that former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Chris Finlayson had egregiously breached Kim Dotcom’s rights. How could he have got it so wrong? And shouldn’t the media spend some time going into this most extraordinary of reversals?

    How could he have got it so wrong? Because he wanted to, because he intended to? There really isn’t any other answer – the law is quite clear in what refusals are valid for a Privacy Act request and vexation isn’t one of them.

    And why did 52 government departments all give those questions to the AG? Were they instructed to by their minister?

    If yes to the latter then we have prima facie evidence of a conspiracy by the National Party caucus to break the law.

    The Herald is clearly assisting National in creating a narrative that this Government is not fit to govern.

    And by not addressing these things is hiding the fact that it’s all National’s fault.

    • tracey 13.1

      Absolutely agree

    • wayne 13.2

      Most people are over Kim DotCom. He is no longer the counter culture hero.

      In my view he has grossly overused the legal system, spending literally tens of millions on every conceivable angle of his case. He is bound to have a few successes along the way. But the public no longer care.

      They just want the extradition proceedings to be completed, and out of that he will either stay or go.

      • Draco T Bastard 13.2.1

        Most people are over Kim DotCom. He is no longer the counter culture hero.

        And this isn’t about that no matter how much you want to distract from the fact that a National Party MP broke the law.

        In my view he has grossly overused the legal system, spending literally tens of millions on every conceivable angle of his case.

        That’s how our legal system works. In fact, you were one of the people who ensured that was how it works by cutting legal aid.

        And he is allowed to defend himself against charges brought by the government upon what looks to be false grounds.

        They just want the extradition proceedings to be completed, and out of that he will either stay or go.

        And I want our government to operate with honour and not bring false charges neither of which appears to have happened in this case.

        • tracey

          It seems the legal process is not intended for people and rich people the Nats do not think deserving.

          Maybe Wayne can write a list of who he thinks deserve to spend money on the legal process.

          Former AG just cost us 90k in damages, costs to come plus unrecovered costs of a 10 day hearing and all prep.

      • patricia bremner 13.2.2

        This isn’t right Wayne. To take away everything and scare his young family as if he were a terrorist. It is about fairness. It is about our very patchy application of law.

        So he has fought that, quite rightly. Many of us hope he wins.
        It is David and Goliath.

        Granted, I don’t personally like his politics, but I stand for his right to go to court.

        This follows the meme…USA says he’s a “Racketeer and stole peoples work”
        He did no more than Facebook U tube et al. Yet the Big Movie end of town Lobbied and leaned and won. Now if Dotcom wins, NZ will have to pay out to him.

        He has just won a Human Rights case against Findlayson..
        of course “they wish him gone”. He is a reminder of their perfidy.

      • tracey 13.2.3

        And yet he has been right twice. One illegal raid and wrongly denied access to his personal information. Both abuses of power. You ought to find abuses of power abhorrent Wayne?

        What do any of us know what the public thinks about him? But you have to also be saying it is ok for the AG to abuse his power cos you think the people are over Dotcom?

      • KJT 13.2.4

        You prefer to ignore the fact that National ignored the rights of a New Zealand resident. Breaking the law in the process. On they behast of foreign commercial interests.
        Of course, breaking the law is OK when National does it.
        Still waiting for those responsible to be charged. Joke.

        How many others have had their legal rights ignored, who could not afford a challenge?

  14. Ankerrawshark 14

    Agree about Labour needing to punch hard. Phil Twyford delivered a blinder in q and a “better to have figures coming out of your arse than be sitting on your arse”…..

    As well as this given msn will continue with their work on behalf of the national party, jacinda’s social media, connecting with people is their best option. Is like she is in campaign mode already.

    Thank you Mickey for collating the figures above. The situation at middlemore is a disgrace……. national swept it under the carpet and Coleman leaving and not facing up to his failure to address it

  15. Brian Tregaskin 15

    For people in the know “The Herald” is actually nick named by journalists “The National”
    About time to start heat mapping with the stats all the articles and by whom and publishing results to,twitter so we can get a long term trend

    • Kat 15.1

      “heat mapping”………….. good idea, an intelligent and effective way to push back at the hostile propaganda and expose them to some sunlight.

      • Keepcalmcarryon 15.1.1

        Most people don’t get statistics or care. To change the media you have to change the media.

      • Janet 15.1.2

        Heat- mapping , bring it on , to help those of us who do not have the time to sort the shit from the fact easily.

        And todays brief headline – and many of us are little more than headline readers..

        “Heather du Plessis-Allan: The buck stops with Jacinda Ardern ” is a summing up the week’ s little issues not the bigger issues that we desparately want to and need to hear more about.
        Yes ,
        “The Herald is clearly assisting National in creating a narrative that this Government is not fit to govern.”

    • patricia bremner 15.2

      Yes please those who are tech savvy. Please do this.

  16. Peter 16

    ….and, how much has been said about the positive America’s Cup outcome requiring coordination and compromise between local and central government ……

    • RedBaronCV 16.1

      and $200 million of taxpayer & ratepayer money for the rich boys. I’m not impressed

  17. Mad Plumber 17

    How about this, no comment about the state of Hospital Buildings.–doctor-health-minister-quiet-achiever

    What about the firms that built these?

  18. David Mac 18

    Now more than ever, we get the media we deserve.

    It’s become easy to measure what we click on and load editorial/reporting content accordingly. Advertisers can target like never before. Volvo used to spend their advertising dollars buying quarter pages in the Business Pages. Now they run their ads past those of us that have a history of searching for expensive baby safety stuff.

    The days are gone when we measured journalists by their ability to excavate a story. The advertisers and owners are of course primarily concerned about the $. Their revenue hinges on what we click on and what we ignore. If Kim’s plump bottom secrets is outclicking ‘Burnham Revealed’, Kim is going to lead.

    I think it’s a losing battle to try and fight that paradigm because if we welcome freedom of speech and freedom of choice, we’ll get the media we deserve, the stories we click on the most.

    Sooooo…..use the status quo. eg: Ministers’ press depts could add a clickbait version to their official press releases. The official line: Twyford announces changes to landlord letting fee legislation. The clickbait headline “Landlords Spewing”.

    Feed them the clickbait they long for. The money making stuff. Spin favourable stories in a manner that seduces a click.

    • Ed 18.1

      Totally agree.
      We get the media we deserve.

      The great comedian George Carlin said in his show ‘Back in Town.’

      “This is the best we can do, folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: garbage in, garbage out,
      If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders.”

  19. Delia 19

    All you can do is fight back by reminding readers of the Herald or anywhere else the miserable state the National govt left so many people in, high rents, high GST, waiting lists so long surgery was delayed until to late, HNZ homes sold, leaving our most vulnerable without long term shelter. Why bother talking about Curran, she will continue as Minister, stick to the knitting of reminding National and the public of the appalling service this so called last govt gave many New Zealanders.

    • David Mac 19.1

      Leaning on somebody else’s failings inspires nobody.

      There’s a suicidal path to take in sales. It often feels like a good idea, it never is. Never run down the competition.

      Be intimate with their shortcomings and make that knowledge the cornerstone of your presentation, the solution to those unspoken short-comings.

      Not ‘Yeah they’re really slack with their delivery dates’ but ‘We guarantee to have your order on your dock 42.5 hours after you click ‘Send’ Mr Smith. Every hour it’s late, 1% is coming off your bill.”

      “It’s their fault’ inspires nobody. I’m looking for solutions, not someone to blame.

  20. Graeme 20

    This “backlash” feels very similar to what happened after labour came to power in 1999. The difference now is that our culture has changed and it’s no longer acceptable to attack based on gender. So that part has gone this time to be replaced by sheer volume. The establishment ran the same lines regarding competence in 2000, but it had a very misogynist slant.

    And we had the Winter of Discontent, this time business seems pretty ambivalent to the Labour led administration, and farmers likewise Also heard a farming leader, head of the potato growers, saying climate change is real, and affecting us now, on National Radio on Thursday’s Midday Report.

    In 2000 it fizzled out when they began to look stupid and just plain wrong, result was 20 something %.

    PS. Where’s the 101st keyboard brigade, all gone to the airshow?

    • weka 20.1

      Good point. Another difference is social media and Dirty Politics. The landscape has changed.

  21. Pat 21

    “But why did Curran’s problems occupy so much media space and the Health System issues so little?”

    Follow the money….who controls the financial health of the MSM in todays world of rapidly reducing advertising revenue and falling hard copy circulation?…certainly not small medium businesses nor the wider public.

    • Carolyn_Nth 21.1

      And for the MSM, the policy of developing public service media is personal – it’s very close to home for them. It is seen by them as competition and in opposition to their values.

      I think this is something Micky misses in his post. It’s not so much a minor issue to distract from more significant ones – it IS a significant issue for the MSM, and one they mostly will strongly oppose.

      • patricia bremner 21.1.1

        Yes CarolynNorth, IMO that is why John Drinnan came here.
        What happened to Carole mattered to them. It is the old story, self interest.

    • David Mac 21.2

      The wider public do determine what gets served up to us. We get more of what we click on the most.

      We don’t get lots of Hosking for any other reason than, as a nation, we like to click on him, it’s a business decision. Campbell’s TV3 show’s audience size was quite good. His audience failed to support his primary sponsor. We weren’t buying new Mazdas…..still aren’t!

      In our modern fast changing media I think the $ influence outweighs any pull of political persuasions. If we stopped clicking Hosking and tuning into his radio show he’d be able to Deep Valet his own cars. He’d be shown the door if he cost more than he generates. ‘Nothing personal Mike, it’s business’.

      I think solutions lie around the creation of stuff people want to click on.

      • Pat 21.2.1

        “In our modern fast changing media I think the $ influence outweighs any pull of political persuasion”

        The same influence applies….the MSM answers to the same master as the politically conservative….once upon a time that influence would have been tempered by the independent means of the media…the financial viability of independence no longer exists.

        We click on Hosking (and Married at First Sight et al) by default….or we vote with our feet….the falling circulations and viewing numbers clearly demonstrate the fact.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Falling viewership/readers of the MSM means that they’re probably catering to the only people who partake of them now and that’s probably the older, conservative generation.

          We get Hosking because the conservatives like him and that’s because he reinforces their outdated beliefs.

      • Draco T Bastard 21.2.2

        And yet you still think that the profit motive works.

        • David Mac

          Food and shelter for all of us is currently heavily dependent on someone turning a profit somewhere.

          • Draco T Bastard

            And we have quite a few people who don’t have enough to eat while the country produces more than enough to feed all of us.

            Quite a few people are homeless while speculators drive the price of housing up for their own monetary gain while producing nothing.

            Yep, great examples of the failure of the profit motive.

            • David Mac

              Dismantling the profit motive won’t fill fridges and house people. It will make things worse.

              Builders don’t build houses because we need some, farmers don’t raise crops because we’re hungry.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Dismantling the profit motive won’t fill fridges and house people. It will make things worse.

                But having it isn’t working.

                Builders don’t build houses because we need some, farmers don’t raise crops because we’re hungry.

                Actually, I’m pretty sure you’ll find that they would and that we’d actually be able to get more done.

  22. OncewasTim 22

    Glad you’ve noticed @Mickey and invested in the time to do some invedtigstion.

    The under – resourced public service broadcaster does have to rely sometimes on its staff’s mates ( many of whom would rather it dudn’t exist ).

    I’m finding it hard to come to terms with the state of our 4th Estate…especially when you see the struggles elsewhere in the world where journalism is being actively auppressed.
    I’ve looked at various …. over the years from Peter Arnetts to whoevervthe latest thing that’s managed a xontract with the BBC.
    The trend from 4th Estate principles to ‘meh’ isn’t very pretty (depending on your POV)

  23. Ffloyd 23

    I have had a few anti Jacinda articles posted on my fb and in all cases there has been an overwhelming enthusiastic support for her along with huge back lash against the uneducated twats that come on just to be straight out abusive. They don’t hang around long. Jacindas supporters are in the hundreds. Might have to fight them through gb. Also just noticed a report that Aimless Adams is SLAMMING the Govt about new minimum wage
    yadayads. Hate the incendiary rhetoric. Very inflammatory . Happy Easter to you as well Amy. You are not a nice person.

  24. Tuppence Shrewsbury 24

    What else is this post, and the measures the government need to take to produce, but a counter narrative?

    Bemoaning the evils of the media won’t make them change or support, what’s needed is a narrative that fits and works for media to follow and assist. At the moment the governments stuff ups make it far to easy for them. They also aren’t going to chase down the narrative that health problems are all the last governments fault. No matter how muc some here desire it. So don’t get Anti-media when they dont

    • Baba Yaga 24.1

      Blaming the media is pointless. I doubt anyone here was complaining when the media were fawning over Jacinda, her 100 day talk fest and her baby news. I doubt anyone here complained about the media featuring Gayford, complete with barbecue tongs and baby book. Or about Jacinda’s frequent appearances in magazine print media. You reap what you so, and the hand that fed her smells blood.

      • Kat 24.1.1

        There you go finally proving my comments correct on your earlier nonsense today …..happy to see Jacinda Ardern pushed off the ledge aren’t you, you little National troll, are you Simon Bridges by the way.

        • Baba Yaga

          Are you denying that Jacinda received virtually overwhelmingly positive media coverage in the early months of her prime ministership?

          Are you denying that she has received enormous positive personal publicity across a range of media?

          • mickysavage

            The funny thing Baba Yaga is most lefties I know are a bit bemused at the positive coverage for Jacinda. But we are really keen on the media covering issues objectively and in depth.

            • JohnSelway

              I agree – I found a little ‘cult of personality’ like. A kin to the lavish gush that was heaped on Key. Almost no substance to it

            • Carolyn_Nth

              Yep. The personality politics of celebrity culture undermines left wing and democratic values.

              In the long run it supports the neoliberal MO and values of corporate media – for fluffy stories, against in-depth critical journalism, for spin and clicks, over facts and analysis, for profits over the needs of the whole population.

            • Babayaga

              Left wing elements of the media have been also strident in their criticism of Ardern in recent days. This isn’t some media agenda, the narrative has been established the the governments own incompetence.

          • tracey

            Are you denying that Key continued to receive overwhelmingly positive coverage until he resigned and beyond even though he was caught in lies, cover ups and an assault?

            • Babayaga

              no, because despite Key’s failings he was competent. He was respected internationally and at home. Ardern is an intellectual midget, who has made NZ a laughing stock.

              • KJT

                What was Key competent in exactly?

                The current State of public infrastructure and finances, give the lie to any statement about Keys “competence”.

                Joyce was right about the “fiscal hole”. But it was not billions, but hundreds of billions, and Nationals, not Labours.

                • Baba Yaga

                  “What was Key competent in exactly?’
                  Plenty. Leadership during the GFC and following the Chch earthquakes. Promoting NZ internationally. Providing political stability for almost a decade. But particularly not making NZ an ‘international laughing stock’, as Ardern has done.

                  “The current State of public infrastructure and finances…”
                  …is pretty damn good. NZ infrastructure investment under Key was at record levels, and the country’s economy is so strong Labour can promise to spend like ‘drunken sailors’.

                  “Joyce was right about the “fiscal hole”.
                  Yes he was. Labour were not elected, they were chosen by Mr 7%. And their mouths have written cheques they cannot cash.

                  • red-blooded

                    Talk to the people of ChCh about “leadership during the ChCh earthquakes”, Baba! As for the GFC, I don’t suppose you’ll acknowledge it, but Key inherited an economy that had been very well handled by Cullen and clark. Our debt levels were really low, allowing him to borrow (to use your phrase) “like a drunken sailor”.

                    And any fiscal hole is a deep pit of deception (not revealed in the PREFU, not shown by the supposed DHBs’ “surpluses”) and the usual miserly underinvestment in social infrastructure that is so typical of the Nats in government.

                    As for the “Labour were not elected” line – one has to ask whether you’d be saying this is “Mr 7%” had chosen National (who didn’t win a majority of votes, and so would also have been “not elected” according to your logic). Labour and the Greens offered a clear alternative, presenting themselves as a team. We had an election, there was no one clear winner, Peters and NZF chose the red-green team rather than the blue team. Get over it.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Talk to the people of ChCh about “leadership during the ChCh earthquakes”,”
                      I have, and most are overwhelmingly grateful for the leadership and investment displayed. National were returned to government in 2011 and 2014, a vote of confidence in there leadership.

                      “I don’t suppose you’ll acknowledge it, but Key inherited an economy that had been very well handled by Cullen and clark.”
                      Absolutely. Cullen made mistakes (sacrificing public debt for higher private debt, increasing government spending to unsustainable levels, failing to slow the GFC impact by adjusting for bracket creep), but the NZ economy has been strong for decades, thanks to the 1980’s economic changes.

      • tracey 24.1.2

        Actually a few of us do criticise the celebritising of our politicians, here and elsewhere

        • Babayaga

          Yes but against Ardern specifically? Ardern has invited but self promotion. When the wheels fall off and her total unpreparedness for the job is to exposed, that bites her. Hard.

      • patricia bremner 24.1.3

        Yes we did. Several of us pointed out it set impossible standards. But they are the selfie generation, but not selfish. Oh and the “Wheels haven’t fallen off”

        • Baba Yaga

          “Yes we did. Several of us pointed out it set impossible standards. ”

          Then you were in a minority, but well done.

          “Oh and the “Wheels haven’t fallen off””
          That’s debatable. Let’s say they are ‘falling off’. There is still time to do up the bolts, but I doubt Jacinda has the ability or the strength.

    • Draco T Bastard 24.2

      So, you think that it’s fine that the MSM don’t do thei job of fully investigating and informing the people? That they attack Labour governments but not National governments? That they always give National MPs a free-pass on their fuckups while they go relentlessly after Left-wing ones?

      Bias I could handle – it’s when they ignore and twist the facts to whitewash National’s actions that it becomes a problem.

  25. McFlock 25

    Every Labour MP needs to be a thousand times cleaner simply to look half as corrupt as a nat.

  26. Venezia 26

    Mickeysavag….Thanks for your collating this information. It puts into perspective what some of us have noticed over the last couple of weeks. Appreciated

  27. mikeyapples 27

    Glad to see a fuller more detailed report on this issue – I had noticed this week in the Herald the placement of Hoskings and Hooton opinions pieces above any news items and going on and on about this to the exclusion of Chris Finlayson acting illegally.

  28. RedLogix 28

    It will be an interesting year or so; the is govt is facing change and challenges at a rapid pace. Massive changes socially, economic inequality, resurgent confrontation between decrepit totalitarian empires, technological change ,,,, real and potential disruptions at every turn, many of which will have no good answers.

    So yes the conventional media will have plenty to feed on. In part if they’re dishonest and manipulative, all we can do is trust that eventually they will discredit themselves. A process that I believe is well under way. The media is struggling, there is no special need for the left to put the boot in.

    In other part the media is also adapting; new forms are spreading fast and new modes of dialog will fill the very real need people have for sources of information that do their job in good faith. We don’t expect perfect objective truth, but we do expect more than lip service to the ideals of fact checking, objective balance and truth-telling.

    The OP certainly informs us how far old forms of media have fallen, and will continue to fall without any further help from us. Leave them alone to fail. We have more important and useful tasks to get on with, and if this govt can demonstrate competence and deliver some actual results … it will have justified it’s existence.

  29. SPC 29

    There is the issue of the corporate media having an interest in a smaller public media – TVNZ downsizing and RNZ being under-funded – and certainly not providing a public television service.

    Fran O’Sullivan touches on this at times, calling for government to have a policy to support the “corporate” media, rather than invest in the TVNZ/RNZ public service media ownership model (BBC/ABC models).

    More generally, media commentators tend to operate as a herd and cover the same topics – each offering their own opinion on the matter. Being original takes more work on their part, thus other topics get neglected until someone else does the hard yards and makes it easier for them. Ironically the reason we need better (more public investment) funding for real journalism, and why Fran O’Sullivcan is wrong about what needs to happen.

    • Corporate media – TVNZ – RNZ- all corrupted because they re telling a story you don’t like/

      • Craig H 29.1.1

        I personally don’t think it’s corruption, but a senior public servant departing after meeting the minister without approval has to be the most beltway story ever, so we’re entitled to wonder why everyone is running it so hard.

        • Gabby

          I wonder if anyone has asked Hirschfeld why she lied so pointlessly.

          • McFlock

            She lied either because of what was discussed or because meeting the minister without her boss’s ok would be viewed as misconduct.

      • tracey 29.1.2

        No. They are telling a story that must be told and playing down others that need more light shone on them. Finlayson is still shadow AG. Why Mr Bridges? What is your take on havibg an AG who flagrantly breaches the law? We dont know John cos no one in the media has asked him.

      • SPC 29.1.3

        Strawman alert. Where was that in my post?

        You seem sensitive to the idea that there is an inherent bias against the expansion of a public role in areas where private sector corporates operate. Or you get this idea, but do not want to consider how this might include corporate media coverage when the expansion of public media is the story?

      • Ankerrawshark 29.1.4

        John D, ann example of a true journalist is Gordon Campbell. He can be critical of labour, but his critiques are in-depth and well thought through. As a labour supporter I respect him, even is doesn’t write what I want to hear.

    • Anne 29.2

      SPC @ 29
      More generally, media commentators tend to operate as a herd and cover the same topics – each offering their own opinion on the matter.

      They spend most of their time living in each other’s pockets and it’s particularly noticeable around the parliamentary precinct. My guess is, they feed off one another to the point where they are all singing from the same basic song sheet. The fact the song sheet might be a load of shit (and often is) is not important so long as they stick together – safety in numbers and all that.

      The joke is, they see themselves as being so important when the majority of people I know treat them with disdain and don’t believe anything much they say.

  30. patricia bremner 30

    Today Duplicity Allan is saying “Jacinda dropped the ball” as she retells all the memes once more. They are predictable if not orriginal.

  31. Ffloyd 31

    Duncan Garner yesterday.

  32. aom 32

    Easy money for Allan, Kirk and fellow travellers: Cut an paste the DP ‘hit and run’ lines that are supplied to the blue hasbara and pick up the pay-cheque.

  33. Ed 33

    The media are paid puppets for international finance.
    The government will control the narrative if it takes control of the airwaves from private corporate interests.
    The airwaves are the commons.
    They should be returned to the 99%.

    • solkta 33.1

      Yes, the government should immediately nationalise all broadcast media; along with all law firms, insurance companies and banks.

      • Ed 33.1.1

        We agree on most things there.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Solkta is lampooning you, but you actually think nationalising all law firms is a good idea. What could possibly go wrong 🙄

          • Ed

            I said we agree on most things.
            The one thing I don’t think should be nationalised are legal firms.
            Insurance, banks and significant sectors of the media – yes.
            As was the case in New Zealand before Douglas’s coup d’état.

            My suggestion was the norm for the country before neoliberal ideology took hold in the 1980s.

      • John Drinnan 33.1.2

        Sounds Stalinist.

        • Sanctuary

          Stalinism would include shooting all the lawyers, bankers, broadcasters and brokers.

          Sometimes Uncle Joe had some good ideas…

        • Ed

          You do realise that nationalised banks, rail and insurance was the norm in New Zealand before Roger Douglas destroyed this country for 99% of its citizens.

        • patricia bremner

          Showing your age there John.
          ” Reds under the bed” “Hanna-Babera’s political cartoon “Dancing Cossacks”

          Ulike Stalin, nobody said they wanted to line you up to shoot you journalists
          They want balanced reporting without the memes. Fairness in reporting.

          Do you know what that is?

          • tracey

            Yes, when wanting balance on all poltical coverage is labelled Stalinist we know how far to the Right our Centre has gone.

            • Ed

              And by labelling such thinking Stalinist, Drinnan outs his political colours.

              • Not really. There is a love affair on this site with brigin the media under control. Trump wants the same.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  There is a love affair on this site with brigin the media under control

                  On the subject of manufacturing a narrative, do you honestly think a frothing loon like Ed is representative of wider views here?

                  • mauī

                    Yes, and leave Ed alone please.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      While he advocates for a government-controlled media? Not likely.

                    • Ed

                      I am not advocating for a government run media.
                      I’d like one state TV news source, like Scandinavian countries operate and independent of political influence.
                      On top of this, I want to see the airwaves taken from powerful corporate interests and returned to grassroots and community organisations.
                      So yes I’d break up NZME and Stuff and provide NZ with other sources of news, subsidised by our taxes.

                • tracey

                  No their isnt. About 3 people talk about it out of many. That you consider that those few voices represent many speaks to your poor judgment

                  • Ed

                    I am happy to be counted as one who speaks out against the daily propaganda that is fed to New Zealanders.
                    I have warned regularly of the dangers of the media to any left wing government.
                    It would appear those warnings are now clear.

                    Time for Labour to stop tinkering.
                    And act.

                    It is naive to expect the corporate media to give it a fair deal.

                  • weka

                    or he chooses those ones to argue with because it suits his own narrative building 😉

                • SPC

                  Every country in the OECD has public service (non commerical) television – how is wanting the same here, exceptional, or left wing?

                  The same sort of thinking that sees a CGT as left wing, and yet this is commonplace amongst first world nations(even one which rejects “socialised” medicine).

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                I’d break up NZME and Stuff and provide NZ with other sources of news, subsidised by our taxes.

                What thresh-hold of listeners would be considered too many, and therefore grounds for “breaking up”?

                “Don’t be successful or we’ll destroy your business” is a pretty good way to a: control content and b: ensure that privately owned off-shore internet media become the primary sources of information.

                State-owned media, like the BBC, are one of the primary targets for your ill-informed bile, by the way. Just saying.

                • Ed

                  My sources include Chomsky and the film Shadows of Liberty.
                  I also read Fisk, Pilger, Greenwald, Monbiot, Klein and others on the subject.
                  I am quite informed.

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  It’s necessary to look at what happened to Freeview, which initially had channels run by community groups. they were priced out of using it when the Nats came into power.

                  However, in some ways it will be easier to use the Internet to host community audio and video channels with some state funding.

                  The BBC, and I see currently RNZ are going down the ppp track: e.g. deals with Spin-off. I’d rather they developed partnerships with community media.

                  • Ed

                    Remember TV6 and TV7

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      Yes, in that sense you are reminiscent of a Libertarian, always on about what “would” and “could” and “should” happen.

                      “Does” happen, not so much.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Indeed: whatever any pro-New Zealand government does, the National Party will destroy as soon as they get the chance. Ed’s “plans” for micro-funded micro-media will make an even easier target than the current arrangements.

                    Lambs to the slaughter.

                    • Ed

                      There are easy ways to ensure National does not get voted in again.
                      Silencing their propaganda arm, the corporate media, would reveal to NZ the true treachery of National to the citizens of this country.
                      It would also force Labour to return to their socialist roots.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Labour are going to pass the legislation that will force them to return to their Socialist roots. You really are completely delusional.

                    • Ed

                      We do agree the media needs reform.
                      Let’s start from shared political positions.

                    • Ed

                      I don’t say Labour will do that.
                      I say that’s what they should do.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            Yep. An occasion when Drinnan’s values/assumptions/bias show through.

          • John Drinnan

            Yes , I Have done for 38 years. And I have not needed True Believe political lackeys to decide what can and cannot be said.

            • Ed

              People are wuestthe 28:1 ratio John.
              It would appear your employer is a supporter of the National Party.

              • I’m a contractor. I’m not employed. The idea of the Herald as the National Party at prayer might have been relevant 30 years ago – but its not now. Its more Right than The Standard – but most New Zealanders are. Look at the election results.

                • Ed

                  You aren’t explaining the 28:1 ratio Mr Drinnan

                  And looking at Trevett, Hosking, Young, O’Sullivan, duplicity and many others of your colleagues, based on their output, it would be hard to see how they would not be keen supporters of the National or Act parties.

                    • Ed

                      Did you read the post?
                      28 Herald articles on Curran
                      1 on Middlemore

                    • tracey

                      You keep avoiding a considered response to the actual point of the post.

                      It was a simple point.

                      Overwhelming number of posts about Curran and Hirschfield and 1 about the appalling state of our Health infrastructure.

                  • Simon Wilson. Lizzie Marvelly, Brian Rudman? The junior reporters who fill the website. All dupes – says the Standard. The truth is most reporters are from the liberal persuasion. Media are businesses and that tempers the bias. Its not perfect., but we end up with something that avoids extremes, You are incredibly arrogant to accuse working journalists as being biased because they have a different take on the world to you.
                    Hosking is openly tory.

                    [John can you please have a read of the Policy? esp this bit “… or attributing a mind to a machine (ie talking about The Standard as if it had an opinion), or trying to imply that the computer that runs the site has some kind of mind control over authors and commentators is not allowed.”.

                    Lynn (the sysop) explains that further, but I find it also a problem because in your comment it is impossible to tell when you say “All dupes – says the Standard” if you are referring to the Author of the post, the commenters, or all the authors and commenters across the whole site. We are a very diverse group of authors and commenters and it causes problems to lump us all together like that. thanks. – weka]

                    • Ed

                      Does Marvelly or Roughan have more say on the editorial direction of the Herald?

                      When was the last time Marvelly or Wilson challenged the neoliberal economic agenda? When was the last time the establishment felt threatened by their writing.

                      Obama, Blair, Seymour and Clinton are ‘liberals’ They ar also neoliberal fanatics.

                      Rachel Stewart is the only regular Herald writer who questions the status quo.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      All dupes – says the Standard.

                      And there it is: Drinnan takes the words of a frothing loon and pretends they are representative of the wide range of views available here.

                      Not to mention pretending a machine can think for itself.

                      Would it be cruel to pretend that this is representative of the average IQ at The Herald?

                    • weka

                      Moderation note for you above.

                      Fwiw, I don’t like lumping all journos together either, I think it’s much more useful to look at what individual journos are doing and asses that. But there is editorial control of a paper like the Herald, so I’m assuming it is fair to say that decisions are being made about balance and content. Thus micky’s post points to a problem of balance and content.

                    • veutoviper

                      Add in Matt Nippert, David Fisher, and younger ones such as Kirsty Johnston and Nick Jones – all of whom write for the Herald but none of whom I would rate as being politically biased.

                      As many of us here know, Ed accuses anyone who does not blindly agree with him, of being biased – not just journalists.

                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      veuto, the NZ Herald does have a small number of very good investigative journalists. Unfortunately their critical reports often don’t get the top of page reporting that is given to infotainment – or at least, they don’t last very long at the top of the website.

                      When I mentioned it in person to one of the MSM leading journos, s/he was in agreement, and would prefer the top of page articles reflected the clicks of individual viewers/readers. But the organisation managers don’t see it that way, I was told.

                      And generally, their reports stand out from the daily grind on slanted political or non-political reporting – ditto stuff and the likes of Paula Penfold.

                      I find it very annoying that I can’t find any daily “politics” section on the stuff website, and I have to scroll down and hunt around to find a lot of the politics articles on NZ Herald. This is one of the ways editorial decisions can influence “popular” views.

                    • A common theme of correspondents is to call for mainstream media to be held to account – to be challenged and hanged And that media has a a large impact on public opinion I am sure that this is not the editorial policy. I think it the top of opinion that the site attracts in the same way as talkback radio does, or the comments to mainstream media opinion. Kill the response if you like.

                    • I responded and suggested you take down the pot you didn’t like. Can’t see response,

                    • tracey

                      What should temper the bias is the upholding of journalistic standards and codes of ethics. The “business” model ought to be tempered by those safeguards which form part of the freedom of press you hold dear.

                    • Peter

                      I don’t mind that Hosking is openly Tory. I do mind that he readily makes claims that have no substance.

                    • Muttonbird

                      That’s an interesting point about the junior reporters (and by inference senior reporters) particularly in light of your frank admission that journos write stories which interest them which is the reason you gave for there being so many stories on Curran.

                      Junior reporters are more likely to be suffering under the sharp end of the last government’s housing, infrastructure, and immigration policies or lack thereof, while senior reporters being home-owners will largely have benefitted from these same policies, or at least not be affected by them.

                      I think you might then be able to understand why an average The Standard commenter might consider senior reporters biased toward conservative governance (again particularly after your admission). I also note you don’t deny this but instead say it’s arrogant to call them that because they might have a different opinion.

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  Ah. But that’s ignoring how much a mainstream media can influence popular opinion – circular argument.

                  • It must b annoying to you that the public still tends to believe mainstream media rather than Party faithful on a website. Are they just fools like the journalists 😉

                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      as OAB said – 35%.

                      And TS is obviously a left-leaning blog. So?

                      TS author and commenter critiques are absolutely needed in the face of the right-wards editorial leanings of NZ’s dominant MSM organs.

                      Does that shift in dominant “popular opinion” explain why so many people are thoroughly disillusioned with mainstream politics, that they have given up voting?

                      To shift “popular opinion” it doesn’t required everyone being sucked into the MSM lines: it just requires influencing enough swing voters.

                      And a lot of people get sucked into the populist articles aiming for clicks and entertainment, rather than spending time on looking critically at the deeper issues. And many just by-pass the MSM altogether, as many young kiwis do.

                      That’s why a strong public service media is required. It’s no accident that Key’s government undermined and under funded public service media – on freeview, RNZ, etc, and spent more time supporting corporate media.

                      Why didn’t the MSM journalists spend as much time criticising (Nat supporter) Richard Griffin’s appointment to Chair of RNZ under Key’s watch, as they spend criticising Curran’s conflict of interest actions?

                      Why didn’t MSM journos constantly criticise Key’s failure for many years, to front up to hard interviews, or RNZ interviews?

                      Why haven’t more journalists been highly and frequently critical of Griffin for his direct communication with Melissa Lee, over the Curran-Hirschfeld issue?

                      Plus the lack of intensive critical coverage of many dodgy actions by the Nats, as many TS commenters have pointed out.

                      Labour needs someone more savvy and un-compromised to lead their policies for change than Claire Curran.

                      But that doesn’t mean the MSM haven’t tended to follow a slanted path on this issue.

                    • weka

                      Possibly it’s also annoying to some that social media has more influence than it used to.

                      Not sure which Party we are supposed to be faithful to 😉

                    • Janet

                      So tell me, whatever happened to the opportunity to “comment” on many articles in The NZ Herald? Was it too popular? Noticed that that opportunity diminished soon after the Flag referendum failed and when TPPA was a hot topic – clearly most were against signing.

                  • veutoviper

                    Carolyn, I cannot actually reply to your reply to me at 1.06pm so using this instead.

                    First, a little trick I use for both the Stuff website and the Herald (and lots of other websites). Both websites have a Politics section under their higher level New Zealand section.

                    – On Stuff’s Home page, immediately under “Stuff” is National. Click on this and it brings up a list which includes Politics. Click this for all Politics articles.

                    – Ditto on the Herald Home page at the top is a sign of three horizontal lines. Click and it will take you to a list with National which will then take you to another list with Politics as the second item. Again click for all Politics articles.

                    To avoid having to do this each time, I have bookmarked each of the Stuff and Herald ‘s main Politics home pages in my Media main bookmark folder on my Bookmarks bar – and access them directly from there. I also do this for other sections I visit frequently – eg their Opinion home pages. Saves a lot of time and angst. Hope the above helps.

                    Second, I agree that the Herald ( as does Stuff) still does have some good journalists, and some of them are young and new generation. And I will defend the good ones, especially the new generation coming through, as I see them as very important to the future of the media/ Fourth Estate, and its role as part of a democracy, and freedom of expression.

                    Weka actually makes an excellent point at her moderation note comment at 12.45pm that you really need to distinguish between the individual journalists and Editorial Control – and its the latter, not the individual journalists that determines content and balance. It is also Editorial Control and content/balance than is at the core of this post, but this has got lost along the way.

                    Third – I also cannot reply to your later comment below at 12.45pm

                    John Drinnan has actually done some good stuff over the years and more recently on some of the issues you raised in this comment – and I suspect that he has had to be more constrained than he would like to be because of Editorial Control. See my comment at

                    This provides some links to some recent examples of Drinnan’s work on things such as his views on RNZ, TVNZ, public service media, underfunding, and the role of NZ on Air.

                    I also admire the fact that John D has actually had the courage to come on here, and stand up for himself and other journalists – even if he is also playing Devil’s Advocate in some of his replies (but in some instances I don’t blame him!)

                    Perhaps if we did not collectively attack such people as much as has happened, we could actually have a real productive discussion with them as to what they are facing and what can be done to improve things.

                    • mickysavage


                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      Well there may be work arounds, veuto. However, that does not impact on most of the people accessing the MSM websites. Many people don’t read very far beyond the headlines, and if they do, don’t read much beyond the lead paragraph.

                      That is something editorial policies are devised around – and it conveys some strong neoliberal values.

                      If you look at my comments, i have focused a lot on editorial policies and actions.

                      I do know Drinnan has done some very good and informative pieces that I have found valuable.

                      However, having seen a lot of his pieces and comments on social media over recent years, I stand by my judgement that underneath his (often successful) aims for objectivity, he leans to the (current) centre, and sometimes centre right.

                      Drinnan has made the unusual move to come on here to defend the MSM against Micky’s and some commenters’ critiques of the MSM. I think that critique is more than justified for reasons I have stated throughout this discussion. And that kind of goes to where Drinnan stands on the issues under debate here.

                      I am also not a Curran defender, and am critical of how Labour has approached the much needed re-vitalisation of of public service media, along with a new direction for the digital age.

                      I haven’t spent a lot of time here attacking individual journalists, and I have often praised the work of investigative journalists like Nippert, David Fisher, Paula Penfold, and Kirsty Johnson.

                      In view of the current political context, with a very influential corporate media, I think it is absolutely necessary to point out the failings. And when individual journalists, with a higher public profile than most commenters and authors here, step up to defend the current state of the media, they deserve a strong counter argument.

                      I don’t see any value in resiling from that by constantly foreground the good journalists, who don’t influence the overall direction and MO of the corporate media.

                    • weka

                      I also admire the fact that John D has actually had the courage to come on here, and stand up for himself and other journalists – even if he is also playing Devil’s Advocate in some of his replies (but in some instances I don’t blame him!)

                      Perhaps if we did not collectively attack such people as much as has happened, we could actually have a real productive discussion with them as to what they are facing and what can be done to improve things.


                      Also +1 to Carolyn who has added to the post with lots of good analysis of the issues.

                    • veutoviper

                      To Carolyn – I’m sorry if you think I was criticising you in the above – absolutely not. I am sure you know who those remarks were in regard to, but they were definitely not aimed at you. I have valued your comments on this subject.

                      I also read his social media from time to time – and that of many other media figures. It always amazes me how some of them seem to think they are having in house discussions with one another – and not opening themselves to full public scrutiny; but that is a whole different subject.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The Standard publishes opinion from just about everywhere left of National. 35% of the electorate voted National.

                  You were saying?

  34. JustMe 34

    It is quite obvious to many NZers that such tabloid NZ media organisations like the NZ Herald are still stuck in the realm of being the ‘Mouthpiece of the NZ National Party’.
    I couldn’t be bothered reading all those 28 articles written by supposedly ‘knowledgeable’ people especially one in the form of the ‘I know everything’ Mike Hosking. For him to assume he knows everything is a sure sign of arrogance on his part. Either that or he is repeating word for word what his best mate John Key is telling him. Because deep down I get the impression Hosking isn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer(of the NZ National Party)when it comes to his articles. Whilst he was prime minister of NZ John Key would regularly appear on the early news i.e the AM Show and Breakfast. He had an answer for EVERYTHING and Mike Hosking seems to be toe-ing the John Key mantra of “I know everything’.
    Too often I have noticed that those who are attacking this government for one thing or another did not say anything negative about the previous National government. What I am trying to say here is there have been similar events in the previous National government and the NZ media eg the NZ Herald and its font of all knowledge below average journalists were conspicous by their absence of articles condemning the previous government. WHY? Is it because the NZ Herald and its journos are in the NZ National Party pocket? It certainly does look that way as time has gone by.
    Besides the rot and mould that is in the buildings of Greenlane Hospital and the feeble excuse of former Health Minister Coleman that ‘he didn’t know anything about that….” I think he(Coleman)has shown how rotten and mould-ridden the previous National government was.
    And so whilst the NZ Media condemn and write copious articles at the behest of the NZ National Party then it’s time for us readers to say “Before you condemn someone look at yourselves in the mirror and ask yourselves ‘Why did I say nothing when National did the same things whilst they were in government????””

  35. RedBaronCV 35

    Maybe time for NZME (NZ Herald owner) shareholders to put some pressure on.

    For the 2017 year despite crying poor and wanting to merge they have 170 employees paid between $150k and $500K.
    Another 12 employees are paid $500k – $1.18 m
    The directors & management group ( presumably most of those on the on the over $500k salaries) take home a cool $7.5 mill between them.
    Tax paid is only $8.4 m just a little more than the top group of earners.

    Now among the shareholders are bound to be some pension funds who invest widely. These pension funds have an interest in long form and investigative reporting as it can highlight problems with other companies and parts of the economy helping their investment decisions.
    Time for shareholders to suggest to NZME that they take a hatchet to the top salaries and put more boots on the ground in the shape of decent reporters. And get rid of the bias at the same time. This sycophantic biased rubbish is not serving any part of the economy well – it’s wider than the current government.

    So talk to our pension funds??

  36. Peter Wadham 36

    So what are we doing about it?? Any letters to the editor about this bias reporting and comment. Just bring up the issues not that they are politically bias. Simple letters along the lines of I searched your website in the hope of an article on the travesty of the infrastructure maintenance of buildings in the health sector. To date all I could find was two inadequate articles. Is this not an important issue you should be covering in depth.

  37. Carolyn_Nth 37

    Mediawatch on RNZ today about the RNZ+/Curran/Hirschfeld drama:

    Carol Hirschfeld was a key figure in the drive to make RNZ a digital multi-media operation.

    Carol Hirschfeld was set to move to a new role at RNZ tomorrow – head of multimedia programming and the project lead RNZ+. The day after, she would have been at the forefront of the team pitching a plan for RNZ+ to an advisory group appointed just last month by the broadcasting minister Clare Curran.

    The possibility of the Ardern government’s first ministerial casualty energised the media coverage of the story – as did the fact it was a media industry issue well understood by reporters.

    Pretty much how I saw it. Plus, Curran was aiming to set up a “Public Media Funding Commission”, so that RNZ could operate at arms length from the government, without government interference.

    By talking directly with Hirschfeld in December, she was contradicting the arms length operation she is aiming for. Curran is now tainted, and is a target for the voracious MSM. Curran is not up to dealing with such blow back and should go.

    • tracey 37.1

      Agree. It absolutely IS a story but that is not what I take from Mickeys opening post. It is that the media appear only able to follow one story a week… unless it is

      National Party breaches Privacy Act ( again) by sending donation letters to people signing a petition – follows Bennett breaching same Act. Her dept breaching it twice, Colkins breaching it, and so on. Serial abusers of private info. Mr Drinnan values a free press. So do I. I value the principle of personal info privacy too because from this flows so many more values

      National underspent on hospitals to give then the magical “surplus”
      Attorney General wrongly manipulated the OUA and wrongly deprived someone of evidence for their defence

      Defence Commander deliberately lied to public

      Deliberate burying of a rail report to avoid adverse election impact

      • Carolyn_Nth 37.1.1

        Micky made a very good point about the relative coverage of stories. But he also tended to treat the Curran-Hirschfeld story as being minor and a distraction from the really serious issues. However, the RNZ restructuring stories is about wanting a better mainstream media, free from political or commercial bias.

        And that primarily is underlying the struggle going on now over RNZ. Curran did not help with her clumsy managing of the policy and ill-judged attempts to implement it.

  38. Feijoa 38

    One minister I have been impressed with is Kris Fafoi. He has effectively front footed issues and nipped things in the bud before they have got out of control. Would make a good Minister of Broadcasting…

    • patricia bremner 38.1


    • He was formerly a reporter for TVNZ and the Holmes Show. So he was a part of the terrible Right wing conspiracy that
      The Standard folk find so objectionble. How did he rise in the Labour Party? 😉

      • Ed 38.2.1

        John, every time you comment, you display your political colours more clearly.

        • John Drinnan

          Not really – you wouldn’t; know them. I just disagree with party faithful on both sides 😉

          • Sacha

            One beige badger is too many, John.

            • John Drinnan

              What is a hedge badger – its a new one on me 😉

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                “Beige badger” is a common nickname for Peter George, of the “Yawnz” (sp?) website.

                • Sorry misread. Beige badger. I write about media. are blogs off limits? Its true – some have criticised me for giving blogs the credibility of comment. I see Whale Oil has a go at being gadgets too ;-0. This is Party faithful backing more oversight of media. I’m interested, 🙂

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Off limits to whom? Yawnz is especially good for insomnia.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    This is Party faithful backing more oversight of media.

                    Which party do you think the ridiculous Ed is “faithful” to? The post’s author has Labour affiliations, and says nothing whatsoever about “oversight”.

                    You’re not very competent at manufacturing this narrative if that’s the best you can do.

                  • Gabby

                    What do you write about media?

                    • veutoviper

                      Drinnan has been a journalist specialising in Media reporting for many years,including as a contractor to the Herald, Gabby. Despite many of the ill-informed comments here, he is not all bad. Here is a link to one of my earlier comments with some recent samples of his work. If some here actually had the decency to read his articles, they (hopefully) would not be reacting like rabid dogs.


                    • tracey

                      Of course he isnt bad. Or even all bad but he still hasnt addressed from a media critic perspective the point of the opening post… namely why such disparity of coverage between 2 important issues?

                    • Ed

                      The fact he diverts says a lot.

                  • veutoviper

                    Real name is YourNZ ! And no it is not good for insomnia, but it is good for a quick flick first thing in the morning to see what the issues of the day elsewhere in the MSM are. Peter George is an early riser (c 530am) and usually does a round of the main media before writing his day’s posts, So I visit his site early to see what I should/could look at on the Herald, Stuff etc first. LOL. Very different bias to here.

                    AND be very careful here. This is not a Labour Party site. It started as a Labour Movement site, but has evolved over the years. I got into trouble recently for suggesting that it had become a second blog for the Green Party … LOL.

                    • tracey

                      Theoretically there should be National Party people in favour of a labour movement

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      If some here actually had the decency to read his articles, they (hopefully) would not be reacting like rabid dogs.

                      That assumes that rabid dogs can absorb the things they read, when all the evidence is to the contrary.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            It’s interesting how some people see straddling the Overton window at any particular time as being “balanced”.

            But overall, the skewing of political perspectives is seen in the editorial leanings of a news organisation: this is significant in the dominant views portrayed by that organisation. It is seen in the journalists they hire (not usually anyone who strays too far from the given centre at any historical period).

            It’s seen in the way headlines can be skewed, in ways the article isn’t. It’s seen in the over all MO of aiming for clicks and infotainment, over a diverse range of critical columns and reports.

            It’s seen in the numbers of articles following a particular line or issue, while others languish, etc.

          • Stuart Munro

            You hit upon an interesting area – but your standard for neutrality is solipsistic.

            It’s not necessarily indicative of quality that the journalist likes their own work – wretched examples like Hosking apparently do too.

            Nor is neutrality the only issue, depth is as germane as balance. And freshness, newsworthiness, and public interest criteria.

            If we are to reverse the sustained decline in media quality, and many commenters here would like to see that, then public critiques will have to be swallowed – even by complacent fixtures of the profession.

            The trick will be to admit and respond to the public and intellectual critiques without capture by the political ones.

            • John Drinnan

              Have you looked at media 40 years ago.?It really was biased to National Now it is populists. Hence Jacindamania. Now things a re going wrong.

              • Carolyn_Nth

                The “populism” supports the neoliberal MO of the corporate media and favours the right leaning political establishment.

                I think “Jacinda-mania” and the MSM foregrounding of it, is not helpful for left wing values.

                BTW, I am not “faithful” to any party.

              • Stuart Munro

                You don’t see the consistent failure to pursue Key further than “I don’t recall” as being part of that weak ‘populism’ then.

                Steven Sackur seemed to get to the innards of that particular reptile without notable difficulty – the failure of local media to go as deep as necessary is not compensated for by he & she commentators, Hosking-level bad hair or faux panels like the Project.

              • tracey

                Which is odd cos in Muldoons time I found the Herald far more balanced than today… perspectives ey?

            • John Drinnan

              Have you looked at media 40 years ago.?It really was biased to National Now it is populists. Hence Jacindamania. Now things a re going wrong. the coverage is more mixed- though there was still a sycophantic piece in stuff on JA,

      • Gabby 38.2.2

        I wonder why he left.

      • tracey 38.2.3

        You object to all journoes being tarred with the same brush and then do the same. Some of us are seeking balance

  39. Because he was offered a safe seat?

    • veutoviper 39.1

      The question then is why? I have had a quick google but cannot find what my (often good but sometimes/increasingly faulty) memory keeps suggesting – that some time back, he worked with one or more of the “in ” crowd of Ardern, Robertson, Hipkins, eg in Clark’s office or elsewhere?

      None of the bios I have found give years for when he worked at TVNZ and BBC.

      • Carolyn_Nth 39.1.1

        Faafoi left TVNZ for the BBC in 2006. – after a drunken farewell party that saw some TVNZ journos on the mat.

        While TV3 political editor Stephen Parker, understood to have been one of the main protagonists, is off-air this week, TV3 spokesman Roger Beaumont said that was because he was on a school camp with one of his children.

        The fracas happened last Friday night at Wellington’s Dixon St Quarter Bar and Restaurant and is believed to have been sparked by an altercation between Parker and Wellington-based TVNZ journalist Mark Torley.

        At one point a number of journalists, including those in senior positions in the parliamentary press gallery, were involved in the drunken melee which spilled on to the footpath.

        The event was a farewell to TVNZ reporter Kris Faafoi, who has left to live in London. Two police cars attended the scene but it is understood no charges were laid.

      • Carolyn_Nth 39.1.2

        Faafoi worked for Goff, and his wife is an RNZ producer.

        Edit: was working for RNZ til 2013. Known as Gina Rogers and Gina Faafoi-Rogers:

        • veutoviper

          Thanks for those links, Carolyn. These are fascinating especially re timelines.

          I remember that party now – knew a few people who were there! LOL.

          But the really fascinating thing is that Faafoi would have been working here in Wellington for TVNZ at the same time that Richard Griffin was TVNZ Head of Government Relations, working out of their Wellington HQ close to the corner of Taranaki Street and Dixon Street (and that particular restaurant/bar).

          Griffin was in that role from 1 June 2000 to March 2007 – so he and Faafoi would have known one another, and Faafoi may have actually worked under Griffin. I wonder what their relationship was/is, if for example, Faafoi was to take over from Curran in the next few weeks before Griffin’s contract is due to expire on 30 April. LOL.

          I also recognise Gina from her IHC work. They have three sons and live in Porirua.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            Interesting info. I’m still not inclined to see Faafoi as the best person to lead the policy. And Faafoi’s previous jobs with some of the top media managers could compromise him in that role.

            However, the people I would choose are either in NZ First or the GP, and I don’t think Labour would go for that. I’d put Faafoi in an associate role.

            • veutoviper

              Agreed re Faafoi now I know a little more re his background – in terms of compromise rather than competency, experience etc.

              I don’t see GP getting any more Ministerial roles, sorry. IMHO Tracey Martin has a pretty heavy load already and I cannot see anyone else suitable in NZF (certainly not Marcroft for some time, LOL.)

    • Gabby 39.2

      I wonder why he took it.

  40. SPC 40

    It is pertinent to note the Herald’s role in the winter of discontent – war against changes to the ECA (and Labour’s changes were quite moderate).

    It was a matter of interest to all corporate employers, including the Herald, and this new governments plans for an expansion of public service media is one particularly impacting on them.

    They will have allies in TVNZ because the development of public service television could see the two commercial stations sold off. And also of interest to RNZ – under current leadership they have been used to operating on limited budgets and focusing on operational efficiency, the proposed expansion of role is beyond their comfort zone.

    Fran O’Sullivan of the Herald wonders aloud about government investment in media, not just public service media …

  41. Kat 41

    So quite a commentary on this topic. Seems to me the ONLY plausible justification/excuse for the massive daily current hostile biased anti govt propaganda is the notion of holding the govt to “account””.

    Question is why does that not apply to the same extent to National either in govt or opposition.

    Have a go at answering that John Drinnan.

    • Enough is Enough 41.1

      National are doing nothing at the moment.

      And I doubt they will while the government keeps making missteps and the media does the opposition’s job for them.



  42. CHCOff 42

    The media is essentially saying, if we can’t have our government, we won’t give you a civilised media.

    P!$$ POOR, because that means it’s gotten to the point where demand & supply in relation to market function essentially doesn’t matter – a sure indicator of a society going off the deep end.

  43. Ed 43

    The top 5 shareholders of NZME.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    Citicorp Nominees Pty Limited
    New Zealand Central Securities Depository Limited
    J P Morgan Nominees Australia Limited
    HSBC Custody Nominees (Australia) Limited

    • RedBaronCV 43.1

      These shareholdings can be holding on behalf of others.
      No 2 on the list is under the wing of the reserve bank and does stuff on behalf of others such as :

      “ACC via New Zealand Central Securities
      Depository Limited (NZCSD) ” –
      2017 notice to the NZ stock exchange – substantial security holding change

      and other government investors.

      Need to change more than the RNZ board

      • Ed 43.1.1

        A real clean out is needed.
        The New Zealand oligarchs who looted NZ in the 80d must come to trial.

  44. Ed 44

    Thank you micky for opening up such an important discussion.

  45. Ffloyd 45

    I often get the feeling that Key is not too far away from National at any time. Using his money and contacts to keep up the practices he put into place. It would seem to be that it would be very beneficial to himself and his old boys club for National to get back in and he would still be there controlling them. Bridges is besotted with him and Bennett is probably still there on Keys say so. At his beck and call. Nothing has changed. Dirty Politics is alive and well. Media seems very blatant about their concerted efforts to diminish and bring Jacinda down. Very concerning.

  46. Philg 46

    Well done John Drinnan in showing up and clarifying how it really (doesn’t) work(s) for the uncommon good. The response on TS speaks volumes about the dire straights our dimocruptcy is in. The media does create the message, and the messenger. For real change in the media I would prefer Tracy Martin or Gareth Hughes. Someone with some common sense and intelligence to sort out this mess.

  47. David Mac 47

    Avoiding the views of those I disagree with is wishing to be ignorant. Sticking my fingers in my ears, closing my eyes and humming “Naaaaaaaaah”. Wishing for commentators with views that align more with our own…it’s nepotisim by surrogacy.

    If I feel my position is threatened by contrary views I think I should be questioning my position, not the views of others.

    When you’re quite a way over on the left spectrum, most New Zealanders are right of you.

  48. Philg 48

    “When you’re quite a way over on the left spectrum, most New Zealanders are right of you.” Not very helpful.
    I want a media that is independent, informed and critical. When the MSM is on the right, (when was it different?) Radio New Zealand is see as being full of lefties. It’s not about right left right. It’s about diversity and quality impartial journalism, which is sorely lacking. Business/commercial interests pervades the NZ media, and unsurprisingly, corrupts it.

  49. Muttonbird 49

    This is also another thing I wanted to put down here.

    Some, let’s face it all, media including our new friend John Drinnan are unhappy that Curran was trying to set up the Public Broadcasting fund as a way to keep decisions at arms length from government while at the same time meeting with Hirschfeld for coffee in a scene they say contradicts that effort.

    Well Bomber touched on it and it reminded me that it was an important point.

    Ironically this media hyperventilation over Clare Curran’s coffee dates highlights why Clare was right to talk directly to Carol Hirshfeld in the first place!

    In short, in order to set up robust and permanent transparency Curran felt the need to harvest the few allies she knew to be available.

    • Carolyn_Nth 49.1

      II understand why Curran went down that route. But it was not the way to deal with the resistance, as the blowback shows. If you are aiming to keep the public service media organisation at arms length from government, than that is how it should be set up otherwise the Minister gets rightly accused of hypocrisy and government interference.

      It needed a smarter minister to work through the resistance.

      • Muttonbird 49.1.1

        There was this meeting about the pitch RNZ was going to do about the funding. Time was a factor here with the board dead set against the proposals Hirschfeld wanted and Curran wanted.

        What would you have done as minister in this situation? Spoken to Griffin first? Sounds like Griffin was never ever going to have an ear for Curran and the new government.

        I look forward to his speedy retirement so that people of this century can get on with the important things.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          That’s where it would take a very good negotiator to do that.

          It sounds like Hirschfeld was lined up to take over the operation the government was planning. So, by meeting Hirschfeld separate from her bosses, Curran has contributed to that being scuppered. So not a great way to go about it.

          • Muttonbird

            Ok, so you’d have not communicated at all with the person you hoped would lead the new vision of public broadcasting and let the National Party aligned board pitch for funding.

            Then you’d have tried to sack that board after agreeing to their pitch?

            That the less honest way to do things, imo.

            • Carolyn_Nth

              It’s obviously a tricky situation. it required a far more savvy politician than Curran to work through it.

              That’s something politicians sometimes have to do. Some are better at it than others. That Labour thought Curran was up to the job, or underestimated the resistance is on them. It is a very important policy. Labour seem to have not given it that full respect.

              You can moan all you like about the situation, but in the end, a more savvy politician wouldn’t have been so clumsy.

              It would take knowing the set up from thoroughly scoping it out, talking to the top level managers, and working out a strategy based on the knowledge gained.

              • Ed

                Ardern should have taken control of this portfolio.
                Or given it to Little.
                Such an important one to get right.

  50. AsleepWhileWalking 50

    I say if the Herald is stupid enough to run a barely there story on prime above the fold position, and repeat that same/similar mistake …was it 28 times?..then they should be left to get on with the business of pissing away $$$$’s in ad revenue.

  51. Jo 51

    Cheers for this article and in particular backing up your article with itemised lists of how often petty stuff is highlighted over the important stuff. I was in the Auckland region for a couple of weeks and picked up the herald on two occasions. I was disgusted at the level of journalism, in particular I was reading Hootton and Young; the focus on and sensationalising of petty issues to throw doubt on labour’s competence and undermine the government; those ‘beat up’ type headlines we have seen only too often from the right wing media, , in one instance that I saw last week for example, expressing insincere sympathy for our Prime Minister that she will only have one term in government. And so they start, a conserted campaign to undermine people’s faith in the government.

  52. Brian Tregaskin 52

    latest and greatest
    OPINION: A fuel tax of more than 9c a litre will be hard to swallow in the provinces. A backlash could be on its way.–bury-bad-news-in-more-bad-news

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