As well as politicians, national and local, I often take the media to task. For someone that would like media coverage occasionally when I’m involved with protests and campaigns and hope the newspaper publicises them, it does me no favours. Last I heard the Waikato Times Chief of Staff affectionately refers to me as ‘Hamilton’s Biggest Cunt’. Well it takes dealing with a lot of dicks to try and speak some truth to power so perhaps there’s some beauty in that analogy. Someone has to do it, and all power to those of us that do. Consistently both APN (The Herald) and Fairfax (Stuff) set a tone, both with their editorials and choice of headlines, stories, photos of politicians etc which leaves a lot to be desired.
As a former employee of one of them for a short time it allowed me to see the pressures traditional media has come under. At the end of the day the upper management of these businesses want what John Key/National/Neo-liberal capitalism bring them, i.e. lax labour laws, low tax rates etc etc. But more so than this it brings them advertising dollars. National spends an order of magnitude more money with both companies than Labour and The Greens put together in print and other advertising, not just during the election campaign but throughout every day of every week of every year. Their allies The Conservatives and ACT spend consistently also, and as publicly traded companies answerable to their shareholders etc of course they are going to look after their bottom line, and unfortunately that comes at the expense of their editorial content and journalistic integrity.
Either that or they’re just mates with their monetary backers? But moving on to the topical and timely aspect of the piece.
John Roughan. One of the Heralds star columnists, who has been writing editorials as the Senior Editorial Writer since 1988, just after he “took a keen interest in the economic reform programme” of the 1980’s. Digging on Roughan has been interesting, I’d assumed it was Shayne Currie, the NZ Herald Editor and close friend of Judith Collins that was writing the editorials, or Chief Key Cheerleader, sorry Chief Political Commentator John Armstrong, as their views seem to be interchangeable. To be fair to Armstrong though, until Labour shot up in the polls during the leadership race, he had been being quite fair and even handed. This was thrown out the window as soon as Labour looked to be within striking distance of actually forming a government with the Greens and were enjoying their one big surge in public support since the 2011 election. You can see for yourself by looking through Armstrongs archive and seeing the change in the headlines alone from Sept ’13 and before to post Sept ’13. It’s pretty shocking.
Back to Roughan, he has written a book about John Key. His own personal hero as far as I can tell from his writings, “Nine months ago, I received an offer that gave me excitement and trepidation. Would I like to write a book on John Key? Would I!” The jury is still out if its Key or Roger Douglas which stiffens Roughan more as he whips out his pen and flicks it about penning another account of our country’s saviors.
The line between commercial writing and journalism now seems as blurred as the line between political donations and corrupt backhanders, and more’s the shame. Why this is so caustic to our 4th estate in my opinion is when you have this as the headline leading story of The Herald, right beside their editorial attacking Labour for, quelle surprise, intending to ‘tax the rich’, of course reading into Labours policy we see its actually just a reversal of National’s tax cuts to the rich.
Following this attack on Labours policy, right beside this extremely well timed release of John Key’s greatest election PR stunt to date, (all written by the same man?), surely it can’t be too ‘hard to see a conflict of interest’?
I’ll leave it there…
Nui te aroha, Max Dillon Coyle