Jason Wall, a political reporter with the NZ Herald based in the Press Gallery, tweeted this earlier today,
Labour MP Tamati Coffey just told a business owner, who outlined how his business has been decimated by Covid-19 and the lockdown, that ‘we’re all doing it hard’ and that the ‘Prime Minister is also doing it hard’.
— Jason Walls (@Jasonwalls92) May 19, 2020
That’s meant to represent what Coffey said at the Epidemic Response Committee this morning.
NZH also ran the same ‘interpretation’ on their website, in an article livestreaming the committee. The first sentence reads,
Labour MP Tamati Coffey is being slammed for his “tone deaf” comment to a struggling bar owner when he claimed the Prime Minister was “doing it hard” during lockdown.
A few sentences later they use the same selected quotes as in the tweet above.
Coffey’s words were approximately 20 mins into the livestream, so around 10.20am. Walls’ tweet was made at 10.23am. The date on the NZH piece is 11am.
NewstalkZB then picked it up (article at 11.46am, tweet at 12.20pm), using the same ‘slammed for being tone deaf’ line,
— Newstalk ZB (@NewstalkZB) May 20, 2020
Where exactly is the slamming being done then NZH and Newstalk? Did you mean a couple of politicking sentences from David Seymour?
And the Spinoff, reporting what the Herald said. Closed loop.
Meanwhile, here’s what Coffey actually said,
Thank you, Reg. Thank you for that. You made the comment that obviously you’ve been tested mentally, and I just want to acknowledge that. We all have, not least our Prime Minister, who has had to make that decision, big bold decisions, based on the country’s best interests.
To get a human sense of tone and nuance here’s the snip of the video,
— Ryan (@strewnryan) May 20, 2020
Fucked off? I am. If a commenter did this shit on The Standard they’d get slammed (and moderated). For good reasons. How we represent reality directly creates the politics we all have to live with.
Before the vid and transcript went up there was a flutter of leftie condemnation of Coffey on twitter, and I’m guessing even more from all sides of the spectrum for people reading the NZH and Newstalk online. Nevermind the truth.
I haven’t watched the livestream, and don’t have a context for Coffey’s words. Maybe they are still tone deaf in context. There was commentary on twitter from people watching the committee as it progressed and pointing out the issues with Coffey’s approach generally, and possibly conflict of interest. Also commentary on the business owner who Coffey was responding to. Looks to me like there is something there of public interest to report. Pity we’re not going to get that.
Like most people, I’m not going to have time today to watch the vid for context. This is a core part of the job of the Press Gallery: to report and provide an accurate representation of what is happening in parliament, to the public, so that we all know.
The great thing here is that it’s not Tova O’Brien. So we can stop focusing on the personalities, or even the business, and point straight to the culture that enables this. I give zero fucks if there was a commercial imperative in the editorial decision to run this line today. If you can’t do political journalism without needing to use deceptive clickbait, then maybe it’s time to look at your organisation’s reason for being.
NZ losing the big MSM orgs because of covid is not going to serve us well, but saving those organisations by this kind of shit isn’t either. Find a different way.
The historical power structure that is the relationship between the media and government where the public have become secondary to the process is under the spotlight too. Tech and circumstance are now breaking down the old binary that kept the public at a distance. There’s an opportunity here for the MSM to get on our side.
I’ve deleted a tweet in which I’ve misquoted Labour MP Tamati Coffey in a select committee this morning – my apologies for that.
— Jason Walls (@Jasonwalls92) May 20, 2020
Let me just get out from under the pile on that happened after your original post, to say thanks. Bit late. But cheers for clearing that up. @TheSpinoffTV @NewstalkZB @rnz_news @NZStuff and anyone else that ran the story, check this out.
— Tāmati Coffey (@tamaticoffey) May 20, 2020