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US Embassy: Political Objectivity of NZ Media Questioned

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, May 5th, 2011 - 9 comments
Categories: election 2008, helen clark, john key, labour, Media, national - Tags:

Here’s an interesting Wikileaks cable on the ‘objectivity’ of the New Zealand msm, particularly the Herald. The cable relates to the period leading up to the last election. Most of it seems like a pretty fair appraisal to me, despite it perhaps being a little optimistic about the influences ideology and profit motive have on our corporatized Fourth Estate.

Hattip: Rocky

9 comments on “US Embassy: Political Objectivity of NZ Media Questioned”

  1. Carol 1

    Well, it is pretty much a summary of the way things were in the final years of the Clark government, but there is a slight bias in the cables towards the right-leaning press.

    It’s not sure here whether the “jaundiced perspective” refers to right or left wing blogs, although, it does position such “jaundiced” views in opposition to the pro-Key mainstream news media of the time.

    where some of New Zealand’s main political pundits have their own blogs where they
    voice a more jaundiced perspective in contrast to their mainstream media reporting.

    And the selection of cables ends with absolving the media of any significant political influence in spite of the biases the cables notes earlier.

    The media’s true bias is often conflict and political drama, which is most compelling to the general public – and Labour has provided a series of bad news stories since late last year that make for good copy and sell papers. One of Key’s advisors also discounts that National is getting a free ride and has told us that the media can be just as vicious with National; he anticipates the press will be just as tough on a National Government, should it win, as they are with Labour. End Comment.

    Ha ha!

    Interesting in retrospect though, that Key’s slipperiness around talk of asset sales leading up to the last election got more warning advice than critical analysis:

    Key received media criticism for a succession of gaffes he made relating to his misinterpretations of his party’s policy and a lack of clarity on the issue of state asset sales. Some of this criticism from columnists, however, resembled advice rather than censure. Tracey Watkins of The Dominion Post, for example, appeared to warn Key that if he does not lift his game he would wear Labour’s “slippery John” label.

    And given that righties are continually attacking Goff/Labour on lack of policies, this is one of the few criticisms made of Key leading up to the last election:

    Journalists have told Post’s Media Specialist that they are becoming very frustrated with National’s lack of stated policy and its unwillingness to take positions on issues of public interest. They have noted that Key sometimes has reacted angrily to their desire to pin down his position on issues and they have wondered aloud how he will stand up to the rigour of an election campaign.

    And the NZ Herald’s claim that it’s campaign against the Electoral Finance Law

    is simply fulfilling its role in questioning authority and meeting its obligation to guard against the outright abuse of power and constrictions against the freedom of speak.

    is a bit lame. We haven’t seen anything like the same level of critique from the Herald of National’s abuse of urgency and removal of democratic rights – a far greater abuse of power than anything Labour did.

  2. ianmac 2

    “One of Key’s advisors also discounts that National is getting a free ride and has told us that the media can be just as vicious with National; he anticipates the press will be just as tough on a National Government, should it win, as they are with Labour. End Comment. ”

    That struck me too as rather strange and Ha Ha. This is an Election Year and so far there has been little scrutiny of Key or his Government. (Note Key calls it His Government.) Will watch Gower, Espiner, etc and the Herald with cynicism.

    • yeah i’m not holding my breath. i note Key’s chief cheerleader Duncan Garner doesn’t even warrant speculation.

      and then there’s the sweetheart loan by Key to Joyce’s former company Mediaworks, that should discourage TV3 from asking too many difficult questions.

  3. ZeeBop 3

    An article about the exploration of the geophysics of the North Island. for me shows up some of the bias in the press. A group of scientists are about to explode some small amount of explosives to get 2-d and 3d maps of the substrata. Now the article is great its good science, good social policy, well rounded and great reporting. But it is missing something. When was the policy given the go ahead, when did the money come from, when was the money signed off for the investigation. Was it before the recent earthquakes in ChCh, or as a result of them. Now my concern is if we don’t connect government to good policy decisions that have a concern for our wealth and lives, then we get government that has more leeway to pull a fast one, shove a law under urgency, that the MSM can ignore the social and fail to link who actively signed off on the breach of Human rights… so by framing good science in the way this article did, it manufactured consent for poorer government decision making. Who would have thought.

  4. Rich 4

    Even the Americans are starting to notice…

    …the press will be just as tough on a National Government, should it win, as they are with Labour

    has of course not been borne out by events.

    Labour mandated a name and address on election posters, and it was the end of democracy, daily full page spreads in the run up to the election, astroturf marches down Queen St.

    National introduce rule by decree, pass half their legislation through parliament under urgency, let the US draft our laws and acquire a coalition partner who wants to rip up the Treaty. The Herald leads on puff pieces for (negligible) government initiatives.

    • rosy 4.1

      negligible? that’s Plunket funding for new mothers! Very, very important if you had any idea of how many home visits they don’t get at the moment. However a half-decent report would have found out if it’s new funding, restated funding or transferred from elsewhere

  5. joe90 5

    Clark questioned the quality and judgment of New Zealand journalism. She asserted
    that Kiwi journalists lack general knowledge and are too young to remember seminal events in New Zealand’s history

    Heh….

    Harvey opined that any bias against Clark and Labour is largely based on the NZ media’s fondness for
    political novelty, with John Key representing a fresh face.

  6. Anne 6

    One of Key’s advisors also discounts that National is
    getting a free ride and has told us that the media can be just as
    vicious with National; he anticipates the press will be just as
    tough on a National Government, should it win, as they are with
    Labour. End Comment.

    Oh yeah? Been sadly missing up until now.

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