This week I decided to stop watching TV3 News because the rightward spin is making me too dizzy. Among a Nat government skewed mainstream media, TV3 News stands out as producing the most blatant right wing slant. And amidst their coverage, Patrick Gower produces the most blatantly slanted and misrepresentative reports.
Martyn Bradbury has described the latest misrepresentation by Gower (I haven’t watched the actual footage, but Bradbury provides a pretty full description with a transcript): “Tricky Patrick Gower”. The most damning part of Bradbury’s post spells out just how dishonest and slanted Gower’s reporting was last night.
Well, let’s dig a little deeper shall we and play a game called ‘Paddy Says’.
* Paddy says: “yesterday Cunliffe admitted to two trusts”, yet the ICSL trust is not new. It was declared in the pecuniary interests register since July 2013 and Cunliffe declared it again in his 2014 pecuniary interests. There is no admission to make. His mention of it on Tuesday was in response to a question by 3 News about which trusts he had an interest in. The way Paddy has framed this is as if Cunliffe had rushed to confess a great sin, it’s been there on the record for 8 bloody months!
* Paddy says Cunliffe was “forced to correct the register” like he was under duress. Cunliffe declared it last year after seeking advice from the registrar on whether he should! That’s hardly forced! He sought clarification and got it, the way Gower is framing it however is as some type of wrong doing that David is being punished for.
* Paddy says: “ICSL is an investment company trust. David Cunliffe is one of 20,000 investors that manages $8 billion in investments. Evenly divided, that’s $400,000 each. Cunliffe refused to front.” This is then reinforced by a graphic with Cunliffe’s face next to a figure for $400 000, this despite 3 News being told by Cunliffe’s office that he had “much less than $100,000” invested. Something Gower admits at the end of the story, but the graphic has already done the damage.
What Paddy doesn’t say however is the number of National Party MPs who did the exact same thing as Cunliffe did and make supplementary declarations to the pecuniary interests register in 2013. So when will Paddy be doing the exact same story on Jackie Blue, Simon Bridges, Shane Ardern and Nathan Guy? When are investigations using the same ominous insinuations of corruption going to be meted out to those 4 National Party MPs by Patrick Gower? Paddy won’t be investigating those 4 National MPs though will he?
It is symbolically telling for TV3 to be piggybacking its branding on that of the House of Cards TV show, by foregrounding the image of a devious political manipulator. I tried doing my own clumsy bit of photo-copy-paste superimposing Patrick Gower’s head on that of Kevin Spacey. But that just looked all wrong.
Gower lacks the subtlety of the Underwood character, and is far more obvious and blatant in his manipulations and nasty, anti-Cunliffe persecution. On top of that, Gower is more a vehicle of right wing power, and not the one with most Power. He’s more like the careerist reporter in House of Cards who Underwood uses as the means to plant selected stories in the media. Not a good omen for Gower.
And who has that power? This guy certainly has way more power over Nat Spin than Gower.Or even this guy.…?
But such consistent media slants are not due to the workings of any one person or group. It is the result of a network of people and organisations with similar (crony capitalist) values. And part of the current approach of the corporate media is to self-promote, and chase sales by diverse means. This includes headlining a continual stream of dramas, conflicts, personality clashes, consumerist enticements, and celebrity culture dreams.
NZ is in desperate need of a public service media that will seek out the facts, and speak truth to Power. A media that is manipulated to twist truth for Power – the mainstream media we currently have – does not serve democracy or the majority of Kiwis. It certainly doesn’t serve the large amount of New Zealanders at the lower end of the inequality gap.