What a rag

Written By: - Date published: 10:27 am, November 1st, 2008 - 56 comments
Categories: election 2008, Media - Tags:

A week out from the election, Granny Herald has still yet to do any proper coverage of the effects on individuals and the economy of National’s four flagship policies: privatising ACC, gutting Kiwisaver, reducing work rights, and weakening the RMA and ETS. 

Yet, they can find the space to tell us which politicians would make the best Halloween character or could mentor according to their online polls (always biased towards the type of people who are sitting in front of computers all day [clue: it ain’t the working class]).

Here we are, in the middle of the process of choosing the people who will have the most powerful jobs in the country, and the largest newspaper is engaging in inanities that tell us nothing more than the demographics of its online readers.

How my heart yearns for a decent media in this country.

56 comments on “What a rag”

  1. Many have suggested a trust to accumulate capital to launch a newspaper with a charter that would see it be non-partisan or at least not owned by the few who own everything already.

    Like the Guardian or the Toronto Star.

    I’d be a starter for donating to such a fund.

  2. Spider_Pig 2

    And here we are, in the middle of the process of choosing the people who will have the most powerful jobs in the country, the Labour Party President is crossing the Tasman to search through 20 year old court documents in an effort to smear the leader of the National Party.

  3. Chris G 3

    It annoys me that the majority of papers are under one conglomerate. Fairfax are terrible.

    Whats happened to media reporting of the election nowadays anyway? I swear its dropped off the radar in the last week or so. Now we’re reverting back to the usual news items eg. The trials and tribulations of Amy Winehouse, where Rachel Hunter is living now, the list goes on.

  4. Akldnut 4

    SW Great idea i’d throw in for that. They used to have fairly good policies and were almost bi-partisan once. I’m sick of the sensationalising crap and hidden political brain washing through mediocre right wing reporting and angling.

  5. We need some right slanted journos

  6. randal 6

    when I first came to this blog my thing was and still is the infantilising process of the media and nothing has changed
    we are being talked down to by a whole cohort of solipsistic twerps with no experience of the real world, no university degrees and their only qualifications being able to do funny writing and grease up to their rightwing tutors at j-school for a reccomendation for a good job
    until this syndrome is tackled a t the source then this is what we will get from now on in as all these jealous little creeps play their schoolyard bully fantasys out in real life
    understand now?

  7. Mary Hart 7

    I wholeheartedly support Steve Withers idea ” a trust to accumulate capital to launch a newspaper with a charter that would see it be non-partisan or at least not owned by the few who own everything already.”

    “Like the Guardian or the Toronto Star.”

    “I’d be a starter for donating to such a fund.”

    Hear hear. I would also support such a fund. Perhaps Steve we need to urgently research the setting up of a media trust and begin bankrolling it now in time for 2011. We also need to be super cautious legally so that such a trust, and the newspaper it supports cannot be infiltrated and taken over by the right.

  8. higherstandard 8

    And here’s me thinking I was pompous

  9. Mary Hart 9

    Yes utterly….and???

  10. Matthew Pilott 10

    No, HS, just bitter, cynical and frequently needlessly unpleasant. Which is a shame because when you decide to not be snarky you can be well worth listening too.

    SP – just read that article earlier. Definitely tops my list of awful and masturbatory electoral ‘journalism’. Jeremy Rees – please give up your day job, or find a way to get rid of the donkey who made you write that piece.

  11. Billy 11

    No-one’s stopping you, Mary. Go for your life.

  12. Chris White 12

    I do not agree with your assessment of National’s policies, but I do agree that the media should have spent more time on it.

    All we have had up until now is personality politics and Labour hasn’t helped by having a campaign theme of trust. Along with the attacks on John Key that have really gone no-where to helping the “left” increasing their votes, I have now had a pamphlet in my mailbox with the “Two Keys” print advert and the theme of “don’t risk it all” with National. All of this says: don’t look at the detail, vote for the people you like. Not exactly a great way to choose our leadership!

    I would definitely support the concept of a non-partisan resource such as a newspaper that looked at the policies of every party asking for power, but I am not sure how many people would read it!

    Cheers, Chris W.

  13. Tim Ellis 13

    Mary, should the same safeguards be put in place to ensure that this “non partisan” media outlet is not taken over by the Left, as well?

    [lprent: Too late. It was set up by the left as a partisan left media outlet – read the About 😈
    Perhaps we should look at writing an About for the Granny? ]

  14. randal 14

    I dont care what party they belong to
    thats another red herring
    what I care about is that they fulfill their own promise to be the guardians of the truth
    at the moment they are only guardians of their truth
    you know
    the solipsistic post modern relatavist bullshit that they define as their truth
    at the moment we are being talked down to by a whole claque of petulant greedy and last but not least jealous little creeps whose only qualification is funny writng at j-school and too much time as teenagers listening to another brick in the wall till they are stone deaf
    none of them have ever done anything except lokk in the friggin mirror

    and dont forget after this election that espinner must go. he’s been there far too long without contributing anything

  15. Tim Ellis 15

    LP, you missed my point, perhaps because I was imprecise, although it’s clear in the context of what Mary said that I’m referring to her proposed “non-partisan” newspaper entity to rival the so-called right-wing Herald. It wasn’t a reference to the Standard.

    [lprent: Sorry. I read backwards from the most recent to older so I wouldn’t have gotten the context. As you know, I’m a bit sensitive when people assert that this site should be ‘non-partisan’, and generally refer them to the About. It might be on the top left of the front page, but ….]

  16. Chris G 16

    I do like the idea of the fund towards a non-partisan paper.

    But: Is objectivity in journalism never possible, simply because journalists vote like the rest of us?

    Therefore, could it ever Truly be non-partisan.

  17. Akldnut 17

    Tim I understood what you meant and good question. IMO good for one good for all, same standard should apply for both sides!!! (Although more likely to happen from wealthy right leaning sympathisers).

    Chris White: “All we have had up until now …………All of this says: don’t look at the detail, vote for the people you like. Not exactly a great way to choose our leadership!”

    Haven’t you looked at any of the National pamphlets in your letterbox. I’ve received six in the past three weeks and your phrase above definately covers every one of them.

  18. RedLogix 18

    Chris G,

    You are correct, absolute objectivity is impossible. But probity and fairmindness is. The UK Guardian seems to have achieved something close to the ideal for many years.

    The critical ingredient appears to be an independent, trust-based ownership model.

  19. dave 19

    How my heart yearns for a decent media in this country.

    You mean a decent media – or a media that writes what you want it to write? I really wish you’d understand what journalism actually is.

    How would you define what a ” decent media” is?

    [you’re not honestly saying an article on the results of online polls is good journalism? SP]

  20. max@gmail.com 20

    Whats with the psycho satan emoticons? Someone been reading too much BOFH.

    I digress, what about those acerbic articles in the DomPost as well?!
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/vote08/4745875a28480.html

    Labour sure have burnt their media bridges days out from the polls.

    [lprent: …because they are there (read the FAQ under smilies). I happen to remember about 3 or four of them, and that is the one most appropiate from a BOFH ❗ ]

  21. Ianmac 21

    What a pity that Granny or any media for that matter fails to do the analysis of John Key’s wisdom such as that done by Ann Else on Scoop 31 October. Scary stuff. Thanks whoever it was who pointed me there.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0810/S00433.htm

  22. bill brown 22

    1) People who want news buy newspapers and watch the TV news

    2) People who want to be entertained have many ways to get that entertainment so don’t watch so much TV or buy newspapers.

    TV News and newspapers think – “our reader / viewer ship is falling”, people are obviously not interested in news – let’s entertain them.

    Go to 2)
    Alienate 1)

    End result, no more newspapers (but still lots of pissed off 1)s.

  23. Carol 23

    I agree we need another major circulation daily that is an alternative to the Herald, Dom Post, media monopoly run papers.

    i don’t think it needs to be non-partisan, as that’s really hard to do completely. We do need a better level of political and social reporting and analysis in a daily paper tho. The Guardian is actually a centre-left paper. But it works in the UK because their are various papers, each with it’s own political leanings (Times Right, Telegraph left I think, Mail right… or whatever). The Independent was set up to be non-partisan, but actually I think it’s fairly liberal centrist, probably on balance.

    The Scoop was set up as an alternative to the MSM. With the increasing fragmentation of the media, hopefully we will get more alternatives. Like there’s Alt TV, Media7, Native Affairs etc.

    I have been thinking there should be more done to draw most Kiwis’ attention to the biases and shoddy reporting of some of the main media outlets. Like some imaginative kinds of protests. I can remember times when I was in the UK, back in pre-Internet days, when some groups went into the offices of major news outlets to protest particular stories: eg there was a rowdy sit-in in The Guardian offices.

    Was it a Kiwi TV show where some protestor got into the news room and hung onto the leg of the anchor person while they were reading the news? Or was it in the UK? My memory is getting hazy.

    But basically, the MSM needs to be given a bit of a jolt IMO.

    But a new daily as an alternative to what we’ve got now would be great!!

  24. randal 24

    the MSM needs more than a jolt. It needs to be put out of its misery.
    since the introduction of JOurnalism schools thyere has been a procession of ‘product’ marching across the teevee screens and through the press
    none of it much good and seemingly all rightwing lickspittles
    and furthermore the other night I saw the editor of the Herald taking part in a debate in jeans a tweed jacket and no tie
    did he think he was at some sort of sports event
    tarting himself up with the debonair image
    all the rags have become pap
    i.e. breast milk past its use by date
    they are owned by a whole legion of coupon clippers thousands of miles away and meanwhile the junior journos are running rampant
    this is bloody sad
    none of them can write wortha damm and yet they have control
    the inmates have taken over the asylum and its very painful indeed

  25. Chris 25

    I really like this idea of a trust owned newspaper. Even a weekly magazine for indepth, non partisan investigative journalism. Kinda like investigate likes to think it is but not run by a bitter little man who believes that jesus rode into jerusalem on stegosaurus

  26. Jum 26

    Stop calling the Herald ‘Granny Herald’. Grannies are about chocolate biscuits and stopping mummy from telling you off.

    The Herald is more akin to the Aussie trapdoor spider as Australia writes the headings for the New Zealand Herald and is trying to influence our election and pull us down.

    The Herald must have had lessons from Rupert Murdoch.

  27. Chris G 27

    “Kinda like investigate likes to think it is but not run by a bitter little man who believes that jesus rode into jerusalem on stegosaurus”

    Haha awseome. He must be good mates with the Maxim institute also, the bitter little man that is… not jesus

  28. Any online poll is going to be a farce even before it has begun. The polls on Stuff are particularly bad as you can have an unlimited number of votes simply by turning cookies off – the right wingers have been exploiting this loophole for a while now.

    The polls run by TVNZ have also been pretty irresponsible, the one they did on MMP definitely highlights this, being a phone in poll that costs each voter a dollar each. Then TVNZ got it’s pundits to essentially validate the thing by discussing the result as if it were true!

    Wake the fuck up New Zealand!

  29. randal 29

    sorry they are too busy vibrating and fulfilling their dream and passion of buying a motorbike and going to timbuktu
    we have become the land of the noo noo heads

  30. max@gmail.com 30

    🙄

  31. Max 31

    While this article is actually discussing the decline of American democratic institutions, it actually sums up (in my opinion) the power and influence wrought by the corporate owned media in the current NZ elections.

    “For some years now we have lived with the Faustian bargain of the corporation. Large corporations are necessary to achieve those governmental and social necessities that small enterprises are incapable of providing. The checks on corporate power have always been fragile. Left unchecked, the huge economic power of corporations corrupts absolutely. Most of the checks are badly eroded. Is there still time to get the checks back in balance? Or will we be left with two unthinkable options?”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7260.htm

  32. kiwidada 32

    The above article tends to treat corporations and governments as somehow equal in a fascist state. This viewpoint obscures the serious power corporations wield over the state.

  33. maxg 33

    what are you talking about max? This thread is about bagging the NZH because they are not bigging up the labour party.

    The NZH was fairly favourable to labour until the 9th floor tried to manipulate them and fucked themselves.

  34. max@gamil.com 34

    Max says “While this article is actually discussing the decline of American democratic institutions, it actually sums up (in my opinion) the power and influence wrought by the corporate owned media in the current NZ elections.”

    As opposed to Labour’s EFA sponsored censure of opposition and abuse of incumbent status by using Govt dept ad campaigns, as well as trying to manipulate the media with bad stories dug up my Mike Williams and the 9th floor staff (paid for by tax payers)?

  35. gomango 35

    Given the right leaning blogs are all bitching and moaning about how the agenda is being set by left wing journalists, and how the left leaning blogs are all bitching and moaning about how the agenda is being set by right wing organisations…..maybe the reporting isn’t actually as bad as both sides are making out?

    Both sides seem perfectly capable of drawing up a list of clear and obvious incidences of bias. Both sides can present a compelling argument as to why their problem is the greater miscarriage (the argument boils down to cover up of corruption/lack of policy analysis/trust from the left versus cover up of corruption/lack of policy analysis/trust from the right).

    As someone not wedded ideologically to either extreme I have no problem accessing plenty of media that discusses both sides of both arguments. Arguments about meaningful media bias are a beat up that both sides use to push their ideological angle.

  36. Ari 36

    Given the right leaning blogs are all bitching and moaning about how the agenda is being set by left wing journalists, and how the left leaning blogs are all bitching and moaning about how the agenda is being set by right wing organisations ..maybe the reporting isn’t actually as bad as both sides are making out?

    That’s like walking in during a middle of a stabbing, demanding to know what’s going on, and then saying “I guess both sides have legitimate grievances” when the murderer tells you that the victim provoked him 😛

    Just because people on both sides of the aisle disagree doesn’t mean neither of them have a point. While I find that moaning about the media bias is pretty much a universal hobby, the only way to figure out if it’s substantiated is to see whether any of the very serious allegations stack up.

    For instance, reading a dom post makes me see evidence that they’re running the Right’s lines without thinking, (which is probably a relatively acceptable level of bias, but it’d be nice if they’d have criteria to be met before they repeat talking points) but comparing the Dom Post to the Herald makes it pretty clear that the Herald are actively trying to advance a political agenda and aren’t just being insufficiently rigorous screening out bias from their stories.

    I honestly find it hard to believe anyone left of Act finds the Herald impartial.

  37. Max 37

    Max:

    NZ Herald, Radio Network News and TVNZ have been so noticeably propagandist in this election that there is real cause for concern for our democratic freedoms.

    It is no accident that ordinary people are mindlessly calling for “change” without knowing a single thing about National policies. I hear working people discussing the big tax cuts they will get from National and I blame the media for carrying out a terrible deception on the people of NZ.

    The truth is no working person earning under $40, 000 will get a single cent in tax cuts from National.

    The time to address the issue of media suppression of facts is now, not when its too late.

  38. randal 38

    looks like there is room for a new newspaper
    I heard the answer the other day on the wireless
    free giveaways at the railway station in the morning
    there is still a first mover advantage
    and there always will be
    and I guess it wouldnt be all that hard to organise a web service that coulod compete if some good minds were put to it
    but thats another matter
    however the right wing daily press have really pressed the case this year in their open declaration of support and it will be a real test of our democracy to see which side prevails
    the imported right wing ideology admixed with kiwiboorishness and venality
    or
    those who wish to see a fair deal for everybody
    who you can trust

  39. Ms M 39

    I’d like to ask the editors of Stuff why they have seen fit to remove six words from a John Key 2007 H-Fee article. Six words that if appeared in the article today would severely jeopardise John Key’s defence that he had the year of 1987 wrong when going public in August last year on H-Fee and leaving Elders. Six words that give a specific 1987 event which if appearing in the article today would leave the reader in no doubt what year he was talking about, as it is reported that he couldn’t have been involved in H-Fee because he had left Elders three months before the H-Fee and three months this 1987 event took place.

  40. randal 40

    my personal opinion is this
    that the press
    and television
    and radio
    have let the nation down this election
    not because they supported a candidate or party
    that is their right and no one wishes to take that away from them
    but because they refused to discuss the issues
    and lapsed into mediocre practice
    imported style sections
    mindless drivel for filler
    and that is a cardinal sin in newspapers
    mediocrity
    and allying yourself with toxic forces
    and they will pay the penalty
    for refusing to intelligise their product
    there is a downside even to their tenure
    we demand better and we must have it to survive

  41. Billy 41

    Can we have your next post in Haiku form please randal?

  42. randal 42

    contact the cosmic forces send me $25 and you will receive the dvd
    old zen koan

  43. Glad to see someone else ( Ms M ) is still concerned about the H- Fee issue. I am concerned too.

    Have a good long look at the signatures on the Herald site – see below.

    See: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-election-2008/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501799&objectid=10540101

    Then ask yourself why the Herald repeatedly failed to name the person who they say signed the cheque.

    Because according to Stuff News “the signatures, extraordinarily similar to Mr Key’s, were of another Elders dealer, Maxwell Nichols.”

    Since when does JK read MN, and carefully look at John Key’s J and the J on the cheque. They are identical.

    In my opinion the NZ Herald is lying to the public and suppressing the facts.

  44. Ianmac 44

    Mrs M: Which words were they? I thought Eugene Bingham’s Column on Sat Herald that I read yesterday was curious in the way it ended. I went back to read it just now and it appears to have been removed from Election 08 pages. ???? Woner why? Still have the column though not via their normal on-line system:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-election-2008/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501799&objectid=10540463&pnum=0

  45. Ms M 45

    Ianmac the words I’m referring to refer to the NZ Steel sale in October 1987.

    Without their omission Key and the media pushing the befuddled banker spin could not do so as convincingly as they have tried too. I can just imagine the phone call between JK and Mark Textor.

    MT: Cosby Textor hello.

    JK: Mark! Eek Labour party researchers are investigating H-Fee, buggar befuddling batman but I told the Australian NCA in 1991 that I resigned in June 1988, but I told reporters last year I left in 1987 before the sale of NZ Steel. Help

    MT: No matter, we’ll just have that key (pun intended) piece of information removed from any article it appears in and push the line you were confused.

    JK: Mark? You sure it will work?

    MT: John, you’ve done the befuddled banker exceptionally well up until now, why change what’s not broke.

    JK: I love you Crosby Textor. You’re my hero.

  46. Ms M 46

    Kiwidada I would have preferred the papers to show the whole cheque, not just a small portion.

  47. Just another example of the ‘nanny media’ http://www.frasercarson.com/?p=19

    Shame on you MSM.

  48. Lew 48

    Mary Hart, Steve Withers: Have a look at http://flatearthnews.net, Nick Davies’ website, set up during the research for his (excellent) book of the same name on what’s wrong with the media (synopsis: the PR/propaganda industry, poor regulation and underresourcing, not ideological bias). He would dearly love to set up a genuinely independent media organisation, and looks to the Centre for Public Integrity – http://www.publicintegrity.org/ – as a model.

    I’m a defender of the NZ media, but I believe such a setup in NZ would be of enormous value. The trouble is that when partisans say `we need independent media’, they often mean `we need media which agrees with me’.

    L

  49. gomango 49

    kiwidada, i agree. The herald is in league with the Australian Federal Police and the NZ Serious Fraud Office to cover up Key’s involvement. I can’t believe though that the Aussie cops didn’t follow Greenspans instructions and shred the smoking gun document. That will be the opening thru which we can prise open the entire conspiracy. It all leads back to Jekyll Island. Trust me.

    Haven’t the blogs shown how to supplement mainstream media? The economics of print journalism mean NZ will not see a new mainstream paper. You need to harness the power of the internet – Ian Wishart has the right model (if a limited audience) for NZ, the Huffington Post model would work in NZ – two or three operations across the political spectrum is easily doable – email out an edition every week, pick up stories from the agencies, have guest columnists. Very easy but more importantly cheap. And you’re welcome to have a bias – circulation and advertising demand will dictate whether your bias is relevant.

  50. Good luck on trying to start another newspaper. gomango’s conspiracy theories aside, he is pretty close to the mark when he says the economics of print journalism would work against a new newspaper.

    NZ is a tiny market with shrinking demand for broadsheets. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest the natural state of affairs is for a single daily newspaper in most towns with only mega cities (think London, New York) able to support more than one. Moreover, newspapers do not survive on editorial content – they live by advertising. Around 80% of a newspaper’s revenue comes from ads. It’s something of a chicken and the egg argument – if you can’t get the ads, you won’t get the revenue – you won’t get the ads without circulation but you won’t have money to print and distribute enough with the ad revenue. If you an figure out how to break into this market with a printed daily, you may have just found the golden goose.

    If you think you can launch a broadsheet to even provide a pinprick of annoyance to the Herald, good luck to you. You are better off sticking to the interweb – less need to advertise, always the chance of going viral if you get the formula right, arguably lower overheads. Still, you will need to pay your journos somehow – I don’t think many will want to work only for the satisfaction of providing a counter to the Herald.

  51. Lew 51

    DS: Yeah. It takes about 1m people to support a full-scale daily broadsheet paper. We’ve got five, if you include the Waikato Times, and four otherwise. (Note that this isn’t the same as circulation, since only a fraction of that nominal million will buy one). Breaking into an entrenched market is incredibly hard, and it’s dminishingly unlikely anyone will try, given the economies of scale APN and Fairfax are extracting from their editorial, reporting and distribution systems.

    One way to circumvent this is for a new outlet to not be run on commercial lines. I’ve argued before for KiwiPaper – Radio NZ National in print. I’m not sure it’d work, but it sounds like a nice idea.

    L

  52. Tim 52

    IanMac, I read the article you linked to and in the middle of it there is this:

    “The TV sting was orchestrated by Labour’s research unit which had armed the reporter with the 100,000 figure, part of a strategy to exploit every opportunity to make Key look dishonest.”

    So we can rest assured that at the very least the left have TVNZ leaning their way.

  53. Tim. TVNZ couldn’t just have ignored solid proof that Key had been in voliation of Parliament’s rules. To do that really would be biased.

  54. lprent 54

    Tim: I found that article quite interesting.

    Firstly, amongst everything else, it didn’t cite a source for that – that the research unit was in involved in the Key’s prevarications over his transrail shares. So that has to be defined as bullshit. As far as I’m aware TVNZ has never said where they got that story from. If someone can find me a link….

    Secondly, that was dropped directly into the middle of a story about something else. I read it, and read it again, and finally decided that the paragraph was only there to get “Labour research unit” in the story. Probably because there has been no corroborating evidence to support Key’s persistent bullshit that the ‘Labour research unit’ was involved in the Key/Equitcorp association.

    There were a number of other things that made me suspicious of that article. It appeared to be factually distorted and make a awful lot of suppositions without backing them up. I was starting to think that Wishart was writing it by the end.

  55. gomango 55

    dismal – irony alert……..

    The herald is now up for sale – why don’t yall have a whip around and put a bid in. Live the dream, own your own editorial column.

  56. GP 56

    Hi there, first time comment writer here, but after reading some of the comments here written about the nation’s media I have to add my two cents worth. I am a journalist at a regional daily – owned by fairfax. I can you why many of the daily papers don’t have critical analysis of election issues: We don’t have time and we don’t have the resources. Working to daily deadlines mean often there is little time to do much critical analysis of an issue.
    We are overworked, underpayed and mostly under-resourced and in short, our industry is in real trouble. With circulations dropping worldwide for papers, another thing I am noticing is that papers are also more ruthless in getting advertising, which in turn seems to have led to more interference on editorial policies from advertising executives.
    You can just see this in the SST where it seems to have more dumbed down fluff pieces than hard hitting journalism. It’s either that or a change in policy by the editor because it wasn’t always like that.
    Also, Fairfax and APN (NZ Herald owners) in their ultimate wisdom have both decided to lay off editorial staff in a cost cutting exercise in news rooms across the country. In our paper, most of these people were the wise ‘old heads’ of the newsroom, who have been in the industry for decades and know the job backwards. They say it won’t impact on the quality of our product. Yeah right. I hear it’s the same in other papers too.
    This is just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t even get me started on newspaper ownership or the state of tv journalism…
    cheers.

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