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This is exactly why the MSM should be scrutinised as much as the government

Written By: - Date published: 2:22 pm, May 20th, 2020 - 37 comments
Categories: clickbait, Media, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

Jason Wall, a political reporter with the NZ Herald based in the Press Gallery, tweeted this earlier today,

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,

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,

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.

 

UPDATED:

 

37 comments on “This is exactly why the MSM should be scrutinised as much as the government”

  1. weka 1

    btw, the NZ parliament now uses Vimeo for its video and livestreaming. I haven't been able to find a way to watch the stream from the beginning while it is still being streamed.

    The parliament website still isn't showing the completed video by 2.30pm. This needs to change so that the public can easily check what is happening. So I still can't see the context for Coffey's statement. Nor can I direct link to the video in the post.

  2. The Herald is a mixed bag; there are some real talents there like Simon Wilson. But then you have complete munters like Hosking and Hooton shitting in the pond and spoiling it for everyone.

    • weka 2.1

      true, but Hooton and Hosking are for commentary. Walls is an actual journalist.

      • Sacha 2.1.1

        Sure aint behaving like one. Most readers will not think "doing it hard" means being "tested mentally". They will interpret it as about a financial struggle – and outrage at comparison with anyone on the PM's pay is guaranteed. What a hack.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          yesp, that he is journalist makes it even worse. Am glad I couldn't watch the vid, I'm guessing there is another whole post in there.

      • woodart 2.1.2

        "actual journalist" does that mean he hasnt sold out yet, and got a job in p.r.?. or he is already in p.r. but hasnt been honest enough to admit it?I would think that "actual journalists" in NZ could be counted very quickly.

  3. Sacha 3

    Disgusting misrepresentation. Some history of the person Coffey is replying to:

     

  4. I Feel Love 4

    The reporter has deleted his tweet and apologised for making up the comments, the quotes. FFS. Funny, I actually started paying for Stuff today too, curious to see if they pick this up. 

  5. bill 5

    That reads like pretty standard fare for journalism these days – one person or outlet invents or receives an angle, and the angle gets picked up by everyone else and that becomes the story, while the actual story is left standing in some forgotten corner waiting for a journalist to happen by.

    If and when a journalist does happen by, the actual story has to struggle for oxygen from beneath the layered narrative that's already been set down.

    I'd agree with those who say the woeful state of mainstream/corporate/legacy journalism these days has a lot to do with why independent youtube commentary and podcasts are so popular – and why facebook, youtube and google find it necessary to rejig algorithms to boost the visibility of "traditional" media at the expense of independent media when they're not just straight-up censoring and de-platforming them. (Banning Alex Jones was just a convenient exercise to get the political censorship ball rolling)

  6. Ad 6

    Your point is fair enough, but there's just nothing that can regulate the speed of this kind of speech. 

    It's only going to get worse in these four months of election period. 

     

    • weka 6.1

      Pretty quick turn around for Walls to apologise and delete though. I don't know him, so have no idea if it's face saving or genuine this signals more care in the future. I agree it's going to be an issue over the next months.

      The more people jump on the MSM when they do this, the harder it will be for them to sustain it.

      The public having access to the livestream is gold. In the past we would have to trust what the media was saying, now we can fact check them. Fucking sad state of affairs though.

      The sticking point I saw today was that there was no easy way to watch the video directly (didn't check FB). Some people were able to and so pushed back, but I couldn't find a copy despite asking. That could be fixed easily by whoever runs the parliamentary livestream.

  7. Cinny 7

    Having met Tamati before, he is such a kind caring person and so genuine.  He's awesome.

  8. Herodotus 8

    "This is exactly why the MSM should be scrutinised as much as the government"

    Pity is that the current govt is ABOVE any real scrutiny. Bar the likes of Thedailyblog and the likes of Susan St John

    Supporting NGO's Foodbanks etc as they come under severe pressure over this time assisting those in real need  

    "..About $32 million will go towards responding to the increasing demand for food banks…"

    I wonder if there is an unaddressed issue that this govt is blind to and is happy to allow A Good Samaritan to fix what the govt should, same with food in schools 200,000 are in need.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12331724

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2020/05/18/budget-fallout-child-poverty-was-once-at-the-heart-of-this-government/

    • Herodotus 8.1

      To add to my previous post from an AMAZING person – I hope she goes far in the future, a real gem. But don't worry something is happening within National that is FAR MORE IMPORTANT !!

      South Auckland cry: 'NZ wants to rebuild, but it's on our backs'

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12333389

    • roblogic 8.2

      the current govt is ABOVE any real scrutiny

      Yeah, apart from the Opposition, pretty much every media outlet, talkback radio, the morass of RW blogs, and talking heads like Don Brash, Bob Jones, Michelle Boag that won't go away 

      Perhaps you mean that under Jacinda this govt is pretty much untouchable. Because of intelligent and empathic leadership that is recognised around the world.

  9. barry 9

    I watched it,

    I thought Coffee's approach was strange, but no excuse to misquote him. 

    Basic journalism – say what is said, not what you heard.

  10. Jum 10

    People need to complain about media confusing fact with opinion and sometimes fiction.  Journalists that do that should be disbarred.  I've seen Walls on The Nation.  Enough said.

    • xanthe 10.1

      its not just confusing facts with opinion its confusing (and promoting) propaganda as opinion.   much of the horseskins crap is NOT opinion it is propaganda ie words with intent to influence without regard to facts or even personal belief. 

      bullshit is actually worse than untruth , a liar knows the truth and chooses for whatever reason a different path, a bullshitter has no concern for what it true at all, only the effect their words will have on opinion. That is a bigger dishonesty

  11. Shanreagh 11

    Walls may have deleted and been terribly, terribly sorry but he won't have it follow him round like a bad smell as Tamati Coffey will.  

    I am getting a bit tired of hearing about 'tone deaf' people as described by the media! Are there any targets of the media who are not 'tone deaf' these days? Now used so often it is meaningless.

    As a wearer of bi-lateral hearing aids (making my hearing great)  I cannot help but think that it is showing a lack of respect for hearing impaired people who do suffer sometimes from the gist and emphasis not being as they thought. In other words ‘tone deaf’.  

    • Shanreagh 11.1

      Not doing the poor me,  or saying my disability 'trumps' yours or being precious.  This is not my intention.  

  12. McFlock 12

    I'm really not sure about the media these days, as in how it can be sustained.

    This is a prime example of the three constraints on modern media: time-sensitive "scoop" imperatives, desperation for clicks, and dwindling subscriptions decreasing staff numbers.

    Journo has social media to boost clicks, gets wrong take.

    Other outlets nab that take, and what subbies remain concentrate on clickbait headlines rather than asking for fact-checking. After all, they only "report" that the first guy reported it, so if it's wrong it's not their problem.

    Twenty years ago they'd have checked the source. Now they take the easy metric and file another three stories that day, because there's not that many of them in the newsroom anymore.

    And for every decent journo who puts the work in rather than tweaking just tweaking a few words in an otherwise unchanged press release like an undergraduate plagiarising a 1200 word essay, the clicks dictate that the same outlet needs the attention only an outraged tory white man can achieve with a rant.

    • weka 12.1

      Pretty much. It looks to me like it's going to need serious lateral thinking to create new models that will work in NZ. Media like Newsroom and Spinoff have shown that there are other ways to do this. It needs that kind of creativity for the bigger organisations but I'm feeling that confident. I suspect shareholder returns is a big part of the sticking point.

      • McFlock 12.1.1

        Stuff is pulling the Guardian/wikipedia model of just outright begging, which might work.

        The herald is the one that irks me. Hosking is often free, but decent reporting is behind the paywall. So the reporters subsidise Hosking.

        There's no reason for it. I'd actually pay $10/wk for some decent reporting without access to Old Rich White Guys with Opinions. I'm sure some folks would like sports without other news for a similar price.

        And an easy-to-do niche thing might be an ereader version. I opened up the odt website on an eink device, and it just felt clean and crisp. A daily one of those would be really interesting as a concept, and not much of a boggle to set up in their web content managers.

        But all we get are all-or-nothing subscriptions with the most obnoxious content as the teaser to draw people in. Troube with that model is that they need to keep increasing their obnoxiousness to get the same interest, and end up doing a paul henry. Sooner or later hosking will go too far and get his ass fired. Hopefully. But then he'll be replaced by some other white dude with an opinion.

        Fuck, I AM a white dude with many opinions, and even to me the tory clicksturbaiters all look the same.

         

        • weka 12.1.1.1

          I really like the idea of a daily edition. I'd buy it like I do a newspaper, on the weekends and when there's something important going on.

          The thing that gets me about Stuff and NZH that I will never pay for is the way they break up the article text with advertising and links. And their inability to use paragraphs. Sometimes I can't even tell if the article has ended, oops, there's more below all that crap I have to scroll through. I'm sure the Guardian can get people to pay for it in part because it's visually appealing not a dog's breakfast. No idea what their consumer research says, but I find it hard to believe that the formatting that Stuff/NZH use appeals to many people.

          Even NZH's reader version of an article still has links in the middle of it to other NZH articles. Are they trying to get me to click away and not finish what I am reading? Clickbait rulz.

      • peterlepaysan 12.1.2

        The internet rules.

        Advertising pays the bills.

        • peterlepaysan 12.1.2.1

          Boards of directors, shareholders, management slave drivers prosper.

          We live in interesting times.

          My hope is in the under forty age group.  ( I am in my late 70's).

          The internet rules (often extremely badly}. 

          The media are often very hypocritical and politically biased.

          The chattering class need to focus .  they keep telling us ignorants to pay attention.

          The editors decide content which generates shareholder wealth.

          us peasants do not matter.

           

        • McFlock 12.1.2.2

          except the bills aren't getting paid, which is why they're slowly going under.

          Bauer dragged a lot of titles down at the same time, but few of the survivors are genuinely thriving.

  13. Maurice 13

    There are two types of MSM News at present:

    1) Print Media – News you can wipe with

    2) Broadcast Media – News you cannot wipe with

    Both do not do the job

    • Philg 13.1

      I refer to the MSM news as non media. I don't switch it on to stay informed. The state has a crucial role to play. Unfortunately for the public, over the past 40 years it has failed to deliver …. still waiting 

  14. Observer Tokoroa 14

    Weka – you seem to have endless woes. They need to be listed and looked at on a daily basis so that we can make things better for you.

    I feel sure the Standard would assist You.

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