Brian Edwards Media

Is this journalism or a party political broadcast on behalf of the National Party?










The following report by TV3 political editor Paddy Gower appeared on the channel’s 6pm bulletin last night. Setting aside as best you can your political prejudices, please answer the following question: Is this journalism or a party political broadcast on behalf of the National Party?

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  1. I was appalled by this – it was so pro National party that there was no disguising its bias. It was a rehash of everything that Cunliffe was perceived to have done wrong and a glowing report on JK. I have no respect for this journalist anymore – he posts photos of himself drinking beer with National party members, he is clearly in their camp.

  2. Terrible. For example there was no mention of Key lying about his Oravida golf game donation going to “charity” when in fact it was going to the National Party

    • More to the point consider the comparison with Clark signing that sodding painting for a charity which had absolutely no personal benefit, nor political implications whatsoever.

      That simple act, intended purely to help others, was twisted and abused in the media for months. It was widely used to smear her as untrustworthy, a forger, a criminal and an unfit character.

      Ten years later John Key sells a golf game (and by implication political access and patronage)for a ‘charity’ which turns out to be the National party itself.

      And because it’s John Key – this is just fine. No problem here at all.

  3. Its spin pure spin , why do TV3 allow it to happen?

  4. The facts reported are correct. That is the corner stone of journalism, is’t it?

    The selection of what facts were reported? Well, as Cunliffe’s numbers are not rising as expected and hoped, it seems a reasonable exercise to inquire for possible reasons why. The poll supposedly provides some of that data.

    Or is that not news? And didn’t anyone notice the almost continuous coverage a few weeks ago, Gower included, of Judith Collins’ woes.

    Maybe the REAL story is the choice of questions the pollsters set.

    But then I ALWAYS defer to our resident expert markus when it comes to understanding what the polls say, mean, and so what?…

    • “Maybe the REAL story is the choice of questions the pollsters set.”

      Well, who do you think determined what the questions in this particular poll would be?

      And what precisely do you see as John Keys relationship to the “facts reported” in this particular piece of journalism.

      I have some respect for your intellectual capacity, KImbo, but only sheer perversity of mind could produce this interpretation of the item.

      • Thanks, Brian – I think!

        Um, even with my under-developed sense of self perspective I sense your questions were rhetorical. I don’t want to get drawn into being labelled the National shill/troll. If you want a one-way echo chamber – fine. That is maybe a bit harsh, but hey, I didn’t roll out the epithet, “sheer perversity”.

        I don’t know who determined the questions. Are you implying it was Gower himself and/or a push-poll. I got polled a few weeks ago (Herald) and some of those re Collins were similar from memory.

        You’ve asked for “John Keys relationship to the “facts reported””: –

        He is Cunliffe’s “opposition” as reported.

        In the pursuit of an “adversarial” angle (which was Gower’s true intent, not bias as such – IMHO – or have you not noticed that when Key and his government are under the pump they ask Cunliffe, Norman, Peters et. al. for comment?)

        …it is reported that Key “is still happy to push the issue” of trust. That is most certainly a fact!

        The basis for that question was the poll finding “But just 26 percent think Mr Cunliffe is more honest than most.
        That 26 percent is the lowest result ever for a Labour leader since the question started being asked regularly in 2005 during Helen Clark’s reign”

        Those are all facts.

        Also, in response to being questioned about his opponent’s comparatively low honesty poll numbers, Key most certainly opined and said, “We still don’t know who is behind that secret trust, and for a lot of New Zealanders we are saying that doesn’t cut the mustard when you want to be Prime Minister,”.

        It is now up to me as a voter to decide if he is right.

        Now, I’m retreating to my chamber with the Gimp where the rest of we perverts hang out…

        • And the relevance or justification of cutting together three clips of the Prime Minister calling Cunliffe “tricky”?

          • Confirms the fact that Key “is still happy to push the issue”. “Still” implies Key has done so in the past – and the clips verify the claim.

            By implication Gower is showing you that MAYBE Cunliffe isn’t tricky, but rather the “poor” poll (where is markus when I need him to tell us the REAL truth?!) is a result of National’s successful spin and framing.

            Which, in and of itself is also a story. Which, incidentally, all political parties do. Yes, even Labour under Cunliffe.

            Plus it could lay the foundation for a backlash/story angled against Key at some point. As per Brash plucking defeat out of the jaws of victory in 2005 with Exclusive Brethren, Kiwis sense all politicians are spinning and framing, but if and when the wires and papier-mâché are exposed they punish the obviously inept and dishonest

            Just as an aside, I DON’T think Cunliffe was “tricky” in the trust matter. Hypocritical? Maybe (Yes, I know, Labour’s leadership campaign was not directly covered by the legislation…). He certainly made a political mistake (as he has admitted). And Key is not worthy of the role of leader of the National Party if he doesn’t hammer the issue of the anonymous donors.

            What will be interesting is how Cunliffe handles it. He is a big boy playing a tough game. Let’s see if he has the skills to turn it around – and like I posted the other day, killer lines like “mum and dad investors don’t have stock brokers” was brilliant.

            • “Lets see if Cunliffe has the skills to turn it around.” He may be slightly handicapped in that in not having the opportunity to appear every night on 3News and say whatever he likes about Patrick Gower or TV3.


                But Gower isn’t running for PM.

                Doing a bleat and moan risks him looking like another Bill Rowling loser. He has to bunker down, keep up the “looking presidential” posture (he does it well, btw, although he has been sloppy on some details), and take the opportunities when they come. Just like any other Opposition leader. Knowing how to handle unsympathetic media is part of landing the big job.

                What is your advice as a media expert for him to do?

                • “Knowing how to handle unsympathetic media is part of landing the big job.” Correct. But we have laws in this country about reporting in news and current affairs programmes. In those programmes journalists are required to be balanced in their reporting and analysis. The rules for TVNZ and TV3 are quite different from the rules for Fox News for example. Comment must also be clearly distinguished from straight news. It’s fine for Paul Henry to show his political bias because his programme is personality driven and, though it has some straight news on it, is not primarily a news or current affairs programme. (Though it would be nice if we could have a similar show fronted by a left-winger.) And Paul Henry is not the Political Editor at TV3. Political editors can’t take sides. Gower is perfectly entitled to report that Cunliffe’s ratings are terrible and Key’s very good. But not to revel in these facts or introduce material into the report whose sole purpose seems to be to vilify the Labour Leader.



                  Leaving aside our disagreement (while acknowledging YOU are the expert in media matters), if that is your expert opinion I ask again: What is your advice as a media expert for him to do?

                  And bear in mind, as you have acknowledged previously , your political instincts are poor (or something to that effect). If Cunliffe doesn’t want the political risk of “running to the teacher having a whinge and a moan because he can’t stand up for himself”, what other media strategies can you suggest?

                • Don’t recall saying my political instincts were poor (“or something to that effect”) but we’ll let it go. And I don’t really see why, as a media consultant, I should give free advice to anyone, other perhaps than charities and the deserving poor.


            Gower says Cunliffe has been under attack for being tricky, and backs up his claim with evidence of such attacks. Why is that a problem?



              If Gower didn’t, he risks people of a certain political persuasion (not looking at anyone!) complaining, “WHO is saying that?!”.

              Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

              At least everyone gets to see who is saying it – and it is VERY apparent Key has an axe to grind. So they may well decide ‘this is a load of crap – I’ll investigate for myself.

              If you don’t trust the electorate to do that in its collective wisdom (individuals are not a reasonable measure), then you have little credibility posing to defend democratic choice. Instead, you have a contempt for all of the voters acting together as they are really a bunch of idiots, blown to and fro by anything.


                That’s such a charmingly naive view of how democracies work.


                  I guess I naively consider that one load of bullshit cancels out another.

                  Not wanting to pick a feud Lee, (because I value what you have to say when we are not both being snarky), but have you ever applied your theories to left-wing governments.

                  Like, for example, if there really are “people who pull the strings…(who have) decided that he will not win, so he won’t”, how come they allowed Clark, and Obama, and Rudd, and…?

                  Sorry, but I guess I just find the classic left-wing dialectic hegemony-exposing consciousness-raising analysis just another form of spin and framing. A useful tool, but not good for ones perspective if you swallow it hook, line, and sinker.


                  Clark, Obama and Rudd weren’t threatening to alter the functions of central banking or to depart in any meaningful way from neoliberal orthodoxies. Cunliffe dared say he was going to do that, as well as committing the heresy of the single buyer in the power market.

                  I don’t buy into hegemony or any of that other stuff. There are better and simpler explanations.

                  My objection was that “collective wisdom” usually only functions under certain conditions.

                  One is when decisions are made independently of knowing what others are going to do. The breathless reporting of polls as news compromises that and leads to people siding with the perceived winner. There’s other sorts of cognitive bias that skilled media operators can use to guide people to do what they want. I’m not an expert on that, but the information is easy to find and pretty obviously applicable in this case. This is essentially what Gower and company are doing.

                  Another is that no voter is really an independent critic. All of us rely heavily on trusting others to determine the way the world is (Shakespeare’s Othello is really about what happens when a person cannot do this – Othello can’t trust people precisely because he knows that people make racist comments behind his back). The institution of journalism in democratic societies is supposed to be one of these institutions you can trust. We employ them to do a large part of our thinking for us, just as we employ doctors and other experts to do our thinking about medical matters. The checks and balances for the latter work pretty well, but for journalism they are a bit less reliable.

                  Have you ever wondered why journalists spend so much time reporting public perceptions of what politicians say instead of actually talking about the content of what politicians say? There’s a reason for that.


                  Which is the point you made last thread (see! I do keep up :) ) Umm, why do they do it? If it was really so I shy away from the “plot theory” angle and apply Occam’s Razor – it is quick, easy, and a hell of a lot less work and more easily digestible in a 30 second sound bite…than the content.

                  But “polls” are “content”. They decide who governs both parties and countries. As Cunliffe knows. He is only there because he predecessor couldn’t get traction on the numbers.

                  And the reporting is only for a short cycle. The viewing public will soon punish a media outlet that reports nothing but polls. However, there is a legitimate story if a trend is emerging after 6 months, and after Cunliffe’s obvious intent to hit the ground running in the new year…


                  Not much time.

                  I would say that our natural human biases make poll reporting more than content. After all, everyone knows that if the polls massively favour one side, then a lot of people simply won’t turn up to vote. Many people also tend to think that if something is popular it must be right.

                  I personally think that nobody should report polls. This would mean that people could make up their own minds without the influence of “public opinion” (which can also be framed in various ways).

                  Imagine if journalists stopped reporting what we think about a topic and started reporting the topic itself. How different it would be.

                  Here’s a wildly speculative hypothesis: when people look back at our time, they will see it as a time when knowledge of human cognitive biases combined with the vast amount of available information about personal preferences due to IT enabled wealthy interests to manipulate democratic politics in a historically unprecedented way. It’s the same for commerce – they are very good at getting people to buy crap they don’t need. There’s no hegemony required: just psychology, information and resources.

              • My understanding, and I thought yours, was that Gower was presenting the results of a disinterested political poll. So I ask you again: What justification was there for having John Key call Cunliffe ‘tricky’ not once, but three times in the presentation of these results?


                  The report is of a poll – a head-to-head contest between two protagonists each seeking to influence public opinion at the other’s expense. As such, commentary from the two protagonists on the results and reasons is valid and pertinent. Good poll results reflect a capacity to do a PARTICULAR part of a politician’s job well.

                  The use of the 3-fold clip factually confirms what Key’s consistent strategy/message has been. It would appear, given the results re Cunliffe’s perceived honesty, Key has been successful.

                  You can argue, as you and others here have, that in doing so TV3 has merely given more ammunition to Key’s campaign.

                  Or you can argue it lifts the viewer out of the “I like him, and not the other” perspective of those polled, to the position of “what methods have these equally-tricky politicians used to influence this result?”

                  You can argue it makes the viewer better informed, as he/she now sees exactly

                  1. What Key has been up to
                  2. How he has been doing it

                  and they might just decide, “actually, just because John Key says it, it ain’t necessarily so. In fact he has a BIG reason to make me believe something that isn’t necessarily so…

                  And btw, he looks like a bit of a dick saying ‘tricky’, ‘tricky’, ‘tricky’. Why doesn’t one of those smart young hip hop artists who usually vote Labour, set it to music, and make him look like even more of a dick in the hope it will go viral?” (a suggestion in response to Lee Churchman’s lament, “I’m out of ideas”).


                  TV3 is allowing its political coverage to go this way.

                  The tricky comment removed credibility of the item.


              because a journalist would also ask why Key could claim his Oravida-funded $56,000 golf games were for ‘a charity’ when it later turns out that charity was for National party fundraising. Non-objective journalism is the problem, since you ask.


              Being “tricky” is a pejorative label and labels stick, but don’t actually described what’s happened. A true journalist would have reported on how the decision was reached to use a trust, whether it was against the rules and also how about a bit of focus on how DC dealt with it. Swiftly. He owned up that it was an error of judgement, took responsibility rather than blaming or implying the people who suggested he did this were at fault and then put it right. That’s real leadership. For any of us, we buy something in a shop and it breaks and we take it back, that is what we want, them to acknowledge the problem, take responsibility and then do all they can to repair. Key does the opposite. He minimizes what’s happened and then shifts the blame on to whoever , e.g. he didn’t set up the “charity” golf game, that was “the National Party”. Now there’s a story, lets c/p and contract Key and Cunliffe’s leadership style. KNow which one I prefer.


                Yes one could question who is really tricky but as NZ doesn’t have any journalists willing to ask the hard questions that is unlikely to happen.
                its all about vested interests and short term gains.

          • good tele

    • I find myself agreeing with Kimbo, to an extent.

      Cunliffe’s polling as preferred PM is abysmal and getting worse. His predecessor, whom he clearly thought he should replace, trended positive after his election; Cunliffe’s haven’t. Asking why – and using what I assume is a properly conducted poll to posit an answer – is legitimate reportage.

      Of concern ought to be the point RedLogix makes above – that this sort of withering scrutiny seems to be reserved for one side of politics only.

      For instance another poll yesterday had 39% of those asked saying Collins should not remain in Cabinet and 37% saying she should and this was played by the media I saw or read with an absolute straight bat. “Voters are undecided…” etc.

      No one, AFAIK, made the point that, if the same question were asked about most of the rest of the Cabinet (with the possible exception of Parata) it’s doubtful that almost 4 of every 10 asked would be calling for their sacking. Most people just aren’t that engaged, and a Minister has to have put in an especially bad performance to have come to their notice an engendered the feeling they should go.

      Of course it would have been helpful if the pollsters had asked the same question about a “control subject” (Steven Joyce, perhaps) to enable a direct comparison.

      But that shouldn’t stop informed commenters from drawing that particular bow, as Gower has proceeded to do with Cunliffe.

      • You have a sentence in here which reads in part, “this sort of withering scrutiny seems to be reserved for one side of politics only.” I agree. But if you’re right, then TV3 is in breach of its requirement under the Broadcasting act to provide balance in its reporting. That constitutes grounds for a serious complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.


          What would they actually do, BE?

          Are they not a paper tiger?

          • Not entirely, Lee. They can compel the broadcaster to apologise or issue a retraction. And they can impose some fairly severe penalties, either directly financial or requiring the broadcaster not to carry advertising for a nominated period.


              I didn’t know that. I must have been looking in the wrong place on their site.

              Perhaps it’s worth the Labour Party registering a complaint then. They wouldn’t lose anything by doing so. TV3 news could hardly be more hostile.

        • Am I wrong in thinking that the BSA has previously accepted the argument that balance can be achieved across several programs and no longer has to be expressed between the intro and outro of the one program?

          Not that I think this is a good thing, mind… I just seem to recall that particular bastion being breached some time ago.

          In fact about the only time I see that being a legitimate argument is in defending a news bulletin. To take an example at random, if a bulletin were to report both Parata’s handling of TKR and Collins’ handling of Oravida, they would need to ask Trevor Mallard to punch the entire front row of a Winston Peters rally in order to make the Opposition look anything like as bad.

          Having said that, if a broadcaster doesn’t achieve balance across a reasonable period (say, a month, given the ebb and flow of political snafus) then that, IMHO, is cause for complaint.

  5. Gower presents as a smug spiv with the faux self-confidence of a second hand car salesman.

    What NZ journalism lacks is a Pilger, Hitchens, or Paxman – intellectual clout with balance.

    • I agree in respect of Gower – all teeth, ribs and prick, like a ratcatcher’s dog, and with the bedside manner of a starving hyena.

      But you accuse Pilger of intellectual balance? Grossly unjust, in my view. That man can’t dribble from both sides of his mouth at once.

  6. Strip away the fluff and ask yourself this as well – exactly what has David Cunliffe done that is so bloody awful?

    As far as I can see he’s articulate, passionate and more than capable of being an excellent Prime Minister.

    In the last month he’s released solid, detailed policies, and he’s fronted numerous interviews where he’s been able to engage and convey his ideas and values. I find him authentic and interesting.

    On an even playing field Cunliffe would have Key for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Tories have known this for a very long time.

    Be clear. Regardless of what DC does his enemies are going to find something wrong, something to smear him with. And a deeply complicit media, especially Gower who has a particular grudge against Cunliffe, will ensure the playing field is never allowed to be level.

    • 6.1

      As you’ve said yourself before: the people who pull the strings in NZ society have decided that he will not win, so he won’t. Since the facts might help the opposition, the media environment must needs be transformed into an endless phantasmagoria of negative stories. This tactic works: it was used effectively against both John Kerry (flip flopper; liar about his war record) and Al Gore (exaggerator) in the US to flip low information voters into the Bush camp.

      Of course such broadcasts don’t make much sense to well informed voters, but they are unimportant, since they usually have firm political views and won’t be swayed, and they don’t decide elections.

      The real issue is what can be done about it, and the answer is: nothing. National is going to win the election at a canter, and Cunliffe will likely be gone by Christmas.

      • Well expressed Lee. I haven’t seen that ‘phantasmagoria’ word used so evocatively in a long time.

        Once we clearly grasp their strategy, once you understand that we have nothing much to lose – then with a little thought, a counter does suggest itself. Does it not?


          I do t own a tv station or a paper, so I’m out of ideas.

          • What about a radio station….RNZ, who owns that?


              RNZ has a hand picked board with Jim Bolger’s press secretary in the chair. Hand picked by National, the first thing they did was talk about cutting budgets and programmes, this brought the journalists into line pretty smartly. So I wouldn’t be relying on RNZ to go after Key and Co. Besides if they did the Nats would simply refuse to front up, as they have done with Campbell live.

      • Who are these string pullers, can’t be the same people that decided Helen Clark be elected three terms, surely.


          Helen Clark wasn’t promising to amend the Reserve Bank Act as I remember, and she and Cullen moderated their politics after the “Winter of Discontent”. Supports my view, I would say.

          • Ok, but who are these “string pullers”….they must have an identity.


              I think you are reading too much into the phrase. I’m just talking about the wealthy and influential, especially media owners. Look at the folks who fund ACT.


                Whose levels of support are almost terminal.

                Come on, Lee!


                I agree that a certain sector of the community wants to own the narrative and that they may achieve some headway through ‘owning’ the MSM.

                However, in the interests of not giving any head of steam to the notion that that’s just the left crying wolf amidst a right wing conspiracy, I am thinking perhaps the MSM is where all the greedy middle class floaters have holed up in. Lets face it they make up the bulk of right wing supporters.

                I support the sentiments of Sue Kedgley that reinstatement of full funding by the govt for an independent Radio New Zealand should be an election issue. Its a good place to start.


                  I think that is a fair comment, but I don’t think middle class people have that much ability beyond voting to get their own way.

                  Chris Trotter’s “No Left Turn” or “The Hollow Men” is more what I had in mind. Make of that what you will.

                  I think public broadcasting is dead. There’s too much media choice these days such that it won’t be able to influence public debate in the way that it used to. Publicly funded narrowcasting might interest a minority of citizens, but it won’t do the job that the old NZBC used to do.

                  Mass media now works increasingly on a viral model rather than a broadcast model, or so I am told. To be honest radio and TV are really for old people now.

        • Thats correct, but they were able to pull enough strings to have an unknown John Key walk into full support, the deputy leadership, then the leadership in record time. While long term National party Politicians took a large sideways step to let him in.

  7. Is this journalism or a party political broadcast on behalf of the National Party?
    paddy gowers attempting to be the Protector of the messiah (john key) this is totally disgusting for any person in his position to smack any of the “Opposition” = LABOUR in the face while we watch TELEVISION….he paddy gower is a personal affront to normal kiwis going about their lives in fine upstanding and Christian manners. Paddy gower should be “stood” down and sent to parliament where he doesn’t belong but away from Television where he is a deplorable sight….TV3 shame on you ■

  8. I don’t think Gower is biased left or right. He’s a loose cannon, not interested in political ideas, obsessed with ‘gotcha’ moments, his own role in ‘creating the narrative’ and political personalities.
    This is dangerously able to effect the outcome, and bad for democracy in NZ. But until it fails to rate, there’s no stopping it.

    • OK, find me a similar assault by Paddy on Key.

      • 8.1.1

        The Oravida office story was at least a side-swipe at Key, and completely negated the ‘good-news-reaching-agreements with China” angle Key would have loved to front on the day.
        But ‘Key is (insert bad word)’ isn’t currently a story. Whereas Labour’s leadership ‘issues’ are a long-running soap. I’d rather chew off my arm than vote for Key, but I’ve watched him enough to admit he’s a very adept politician, on a whole range of levels.
        The sad truth is Labour have a ‘troubled leadership’ story they need to shake. The only way to do that’s likely to happen is when they have stable, competent leadership for a few years (popularity will follow).
        In the meantime, competent leadership means staying on top of the issues, presenting a credible face, enforcing some message discipline, fronting good policy, and knocking the heck out of the govt.
        The narrative will follow that, in the long-run.

  9. Deleted. Tim, if you want to re-submit this in a less provocative way, I’ll publish it. The original is potentially defamatory. BE

    • And Tim you’ve forgotton that guy with the glasses that’s on later at night, Henry something. He has stated that he would never vote for Cunliffe.

      • Hardly surprising, Diane, since he is a former National Party candidate. However I don’t object to it, because his programme is intended to be a vehicle for his opinions and is entertainment rather than news or current affairs. He really isn’t required to be balanced or objective. Gower is.

        • I agree Brian. Its interesting how many mediaphiles are talking about Paddy as if he is the banner holder for some brave new dawn in televised tabloid journalism. Like that earns him some kind of inhernet crediblity as a result. As fun as he can sometimes be and as clever as he often is, I think it behoves a political editor to pursue the truth first. Gallery reporters have access to huge volumes of inforamtion and context that their audiences dont’. I think they owe it to their audience to use their privileged position to filter the noise and the spin and present their audience with insight and good quality information. Paddy is on a bit of a feeding frenzy now, but I still hold out hope, I don’t think he is lost to himself quite yet.


          I’m not quite so sanguine about Henry and Hoskings, who dominate the infotainment side of NZ TV news. Apart from finding them close to unwatchable, they way they both sneer and belittle anyone who doesn’t share their ideas is a form of political bullying from a position of power.
          And perhaps the most obnoxious thing is how completely sure they are of their own ideas. People with no curiosity or doubt are boring but their influence can be insidious.

        • But isn’t Paul Henry a friend of former Labour MP Darren Hughes? Indeed, Hughes stayed at Henry’s house after the furore of assault allegations levelled at Hughes.

  10. Its not a party political broadcast for the National Party. But it is disappointing.
    I don’t think this reflects an inherent bias at all. It reflects Paddy in pursuit of what he thinks is a good story. And that doesn’t necessarily equate to uncovering the truth. Patrick smells blood and he wants to be leading the pack to the kill.
    I doubt that partisan politics comes in to it. He’d do it to anyone.

    • I think the distinction you make may have merit, but the effect is still the same. Whether it’s Cunliffe or Labour that Gower wants to get, the effect of this sort of jaundiced reporting is to damage both.

  11. Those teeth no doubt come in useful for chewing through Shonkey’s trousers and undies so you can properly kiss his arse, eh Paddy ? That’s all Shonkey needs… another fawning kissarse…

  12. TV3 is worst when it comes to politics. Look at the news readers and broadcasters they have. They might away call them self “BLUE BROADCASTING”. Paddy is a disgrace when it becomes to political reporting. That is the only one he reports.

    Do you all remember how he reported the Dotcom & Hitler’s memorabilia. Only Prime reported there a copy of the same book in Parliament library and a Jewish leader said he also has one. Does having a copy of the book make you a NAZI.

  13. Somewhere in world, there is a chunk of land missing all the buttercups.

    John Key calling David Cunliffe tricky is like Americans fighting against stand-your-ground laws being called racist because it curbs angry old white guy’s right to shoot unarmed black men.

    JK has tolds so many lies I can’t be sure he has even a passing acqaintance with reality.

  14. The Herald reports on Monday that a recent poll suggests the gap between rich and poor has widened under the last six years of a National govt.

    The Herald reports on Monday that a recent poll suggests Key and his party’s popularity suddenly shooting up, Cunliffe and his party suddenly shooting down.

    How does one reconcile that.

  15. Okay… My credentials first…

    I am a Labour supporter to the hilt, and a Cunliffe supporter to boot. I would call David a friend, and I KNOW him to be a good, honourable, caring and damned fine human being and Leader.

    For myself, I am trying to become a Candidate for Labour. My loyalty is total. However, I am on the Autistic Spectrum, so tend to see things without rose (Labour) tinted specs. This is why I am Labour. Even seeing things more neutrally, I can see what a screw up Key is making of New Zealand. The only way of changing this I think is Labour and Cunliffe in Government.

    I did not like this report, but there are a few issues here that are germaine to the article Brian…

    If I were a Nat, I would have hated the Oravida stuff. I would have ranted about the media being biased. They are biased. TV3 is a corporate and so will naturally be right wing and pro-Key. I think that Paddy is not too bad in general, but he gave David a thumping in this article for sure!

    Anyway. They put as tough a spin on this as they could, but I could find nothing that was inappropriate in this. Other reports have been potentially outside the law, but this one, whilst biased, was not particularly bad.

    I want a Press Gallery who will lay into ANY MP or Party that crosses the line. Actually, I do not think David crossed the line here, and I think that something in good faith was spun to look bad, but that is the job of the Nats. They did their job well here, and we have been dealt a bit of a blow. Below the belt? Possibly. However, it will be old news by next week.

    If the Press Gallery are going to go all out for scandals and perceived wrongdoing, I am quite happy, as I believe that Labour are the cleanest and most honest Party in Parliament. We tell the truth, care for people over money, and are shoulder to shoulder with ALL people of New Zealand. Paddy’s attack is not really that big a deal.

    As such, unless I have missed something, whilst biased, I do not think that this is the end of the World as we know it. I am mildly peeved, and they have David wrong. I know Paddy knows David to be a good person, but I see him doing his job here. It is against us, but next time it will maybe be for us.

    What would be interesting is comparing this with a similar case. Amy Adams could be similar, but she is a relatively minor and insignificant Minister who no-one really knows outside of Parliament. If Key is found to be acting close to the line, let’s see what Paddy does then, and revisit the bias question maybe?

    However, you are the media Guru, and I am a new and inexperienced politician. I am a Lawyer, so rely on the truth (and spin of course). I am happy to be shown that I am wrong, but this is how the article struck me as a loyal Party member and as I said, Cunliffe supporter.

    Thanks mate and I love your articles. :-)

    • 15.1

      Do you think that the truth will win out? I don’t.

      • It will in the end. It always does Lee Churchman. But maybe not in time for this coming election. It saddens me because I agree with much of what Simon Buckingham has said. But we are up against a corporate media and some powerful local and international tycoons. What better example of the sway they hold than the election of a half-wit puppet PM in Australia.

  16. “It’s fine for Paul Henry to show his political bias because his programme is personality driven and, though it has some straight news on it, is not primarily a news or current affairs programme. (Though it would be nice if we could have a similar show fronted by a left-winger.)” BE

    Campbell Live ?

    • Yes, Campbell has been running a left-wing bias for years and as a current affairs show you would expect he had a duty to be objective.
      But we don’t see any outrage from the Left about him.

    • I doubt that you could cite Campbell Live stories to support this accusation. Campbell is an advocacy journalist, that is to say he crusades against injustice and on behalf of disadvantaged people. He has done the most extraordinary work for the people of Christchurch in their attempts to get fair treatment from the EQC; he has championed the cause of teachers who have suffered as a result of the chaos surrounding Novapay. There are many such examples. I note that neither Random Punter nor Greg cite any examples of his ‘left-wing bias’. If you can provide such example I’ll happily consider them. And perhaps you need to consider this as well. Governments act, Oppositions can only react. Those in power are more likely to attract criticism than those out of power. And that is true whichever party is in power and making the decisions that affect our lives.

      • I applaud Campbell’s work on behalf of those you mention, but in answer to your “I doubt that you could cite Campbell Live stories”, how about…the campaign against the GCSB amendment bill last year?

        I know some far-right libertarians were also agin it, but in the main it was a left/right issue.

        You could argue – and I don’t want to open the “Key told lies” can of worms that was played out on this site at the time – that it took the presence of Key on the program to restore some balance.

        • So you’re suggesting that John Campbell should not be permitted to criticise government policy, and if he does it means he’s displaying a left-wing bias? That’s plain weird. Not to mention wrong.

          • No, as per the thread, and in response to the invitation, “I doubt that you could cite Campbell Live stories to support this accusation…I note that neither Random Punter nor Greg cite any examples of his ‘left-wing bias’. If you can provide such example I’ll happily consider them”

            …it is not the content, but the WAY Campbell presented it – in a imbalanced way.

            Or at least I am putting it out there as a suggestion that the style and selective choice of facts and comments from a particular sample of “experts” was biased.

    • Touche! …to rhyme with O’Shea!


    TV review with Phil Wallington

    • Thanks for that. I’ve worked with Phil and hold him in considerable regard. I’m not surprised that he and I are of one mind on this.

  18. 18

    The MSM journalists are partisan hacks Labour one day National the next – the real problem is they’re so atrociously lady that they just copy and paste the releases from the parties PR people and then run with it for a few days.

    God forbid any of them should do real investigative journalism or penetrating interviews.

  19. 19

    Having spent many hot and miserable hours in an editing suite…I think you have to differentiate these days between tv, radio and print treatment of news.

    For TV – a medium under siege if ever there was one especially in such a small market – the race is on in that editing booth to cut and paste together an ‘item’ that will hold viewer’s short attention spans and provide maximum pictures. And politician’s talking does not make for great pictures. HC literally digging up dirt on the other hand when she got mentioned… someone was having fun!

    Splicing together clips is an old editing trick – just wait they’ll be adding music next. You do it to push the story along visually as much as anything else because you are woefully low on content. Or feeling lazy.

    So Brian on reflection I wonder if you would agree that there’s nothing particularly sinister in this reporter’s approach (we don’t have television anymore so I only get to see his lugubrious face and witness his rather simplified reports when things like this erupt)

    JK has learnt to master the TV soundbite and deliver it slowly and with a straight face. Then walk away. That’s gold when you are putting together an item under pressure. Cunliffe meanwhile wants to ‘inform’ us and you can see they were having to cut him up to make sense of what looked like a long grab. He just needs an internal editing machine.

    If mucking around with clips and spinning out a fairly lack lustre poll on a slow news day (where is that plane debris??? when is the royal baby arriving???) constitutes a BSA I think we have a different problem given it’s accepted now that news and entertainment and personality reporters all overlap somewhat.

    (Just wait – Mr Gower’s jowls will be peeking out of a women’s mag cover any day now I’m sure…..)

    • We’ll have to agree to differ, Josie. Political bias is unacceptable in a major television network. In this case it has the effect of consolidating the view that Cunliffe is untrustworthy, has no chance of being Prime Minister and compares unfavourably with Key. Have a listen to Phil Wallington’s TV review on Afternoons (Zeppo above) on TV3s relationship with WhaleOil and the PM. Lovely to hear from you. Cheers. Brian

      • The very fact that Key ‘confessed’ to having regular political conversations of ‘national significance’ with the type of ilk that Cameron Slater represents and attracts no scrutiny speaks volumes about the sorry state of the MSM.

    • 19.2

      Hmm I just wonder whether we should treat his light as air reports so seriously and give him credit for wielding that much power. That is what he (and the Network) want more than anything I suspect – Authority.

      Will the election be fought on the small screen? Hope not if that coverage is anything to go by. It’s our duty to make reporters who get away with that stuff irrelevant.

      But agree the PM does have dubious taste when it comes to some relationships. He spent half an hour with the late and not so great Terry Serepisos at the Races a few years ago (when Tels was filming that gawd awful reality show about being a Boss or something?) TS lobbied HC for similar treatment but she knew not to go there. Whale Oil is in a similar vein methinks. But unpleasant as all these connections are, they are also too complicated for most voters to worry about. The PM was cosy as with Mr Liu who bought himself citizenship and is now author of a failed Newmarket property development, that has destroyed some significant heritage buildings and gardens in Auckland, but I suspect most voters have forgotten that already and it was only news last week.

      Repeating the word ‘Trust’ is much more effective.

    • No you are wrong, I’m sure the sound bite bit is a con.
      As for John key if he ever had to talk in other than sound bites for more than a minute most people would switch off as he makes most real estate agents and second hand car salesmen look very trustworthy. He is a chameleon and that gets him through; god help the National party when he leaves NZ for the last time.

  20. Finely balanced by Corrin Dann and Michael parkins nightly broadcasts on behalf of the Labour Party which sometimes are really cringeworthy.
    I don’t think anyone takes Gower seriously but he does seem to be able to lead the press gallery who should know better. The apoplexy over Collins glass of milk was just ridiculous..Gower and Dann need to get out and about a bit more as 95% of the country couldn’t give a flying ….that a Nat cabinet minister is shilling our produce to the Chinese .

    • Wrong most of us know how to spell corruption and understand it
      Yes the National party is a charity according to Key.
      Right no Wrong

  21. Mr Edwards, this post does you no credit. You know as well as I that the Union influence in MSM ensures a left wing bias. When it turns to custard in terms of polls the job protection gene kicks in. You are lambasting the people who see the inevitable and want to keep their job. You would have more respect if you were honest.

    • I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about. What on earth is ‘the union influence in MSM’ and just how does it ‘ensure a left wing bias’? TV3 is part of the mainstream media in New Zealand, but is of course owned and operated by a commercial media organisation. Are you now telling me that TV3 is left wing? I’ll ignore the fatuous insult at the end of your comment, other than to say, ‘Give me an example or shut up.”

    • 21.2

      The percentage of journalists who are members of a union is well below 50 per cent and the journalist union is hardly active in most newsrooms

  22. Link to a mediawatch item about Polls
    and Phil Wallington may have something in the Key- Cameron Slater link

    • 22.1

      That’s actually the first relevant comment I’ve read in the whole response to Brian’s original blog. The real problem is the illegitimate use of political polling by the media to produce news pegs in pursuit of ratings rather than information. It’s got so bad that even the professional polling organisations/ companies have recently protested about the abuse of polling as an instrument for assessing opinion. The polls as reported almost never tell you the relevant things about themselves e.g. what the questions were, how the sample was drawn, what categories of response such as ‘don’t know’ were excluded, and so on and on. This has infuriated me for years, not least because I have tertiary qualifications in psephology

      • Tony, I defer to your obvious expertise and wisdom, but I do ask the question…doesn’t ALL research get “dumbed down” and “sexed-up” to make it more understandable and interesting for public consumption?

        • sorry – read “accessible/prominent”, rather than “understandable”


          No, not all, but far too much of it. As they say in the old rhyme: “You cannot hope to bribe or twist/ Thank God, the British journalist/ But seeing what the bloke will do/ Unbribed, there’s no occasion to”

      • I am afraid there is a lot of verbal diarrhea going about! Also,there are too many people who are trying to up themselves.
        Cunliffe, as a new Labour Party leader has not helped his cause, by not getting out of the starting blocks as expected. We are all familiar with his mistakes.
        National over the past months have faltered with a number of their members and supporters committing sackable offences. These indiscretions have not apparently damaged National. Why is this so??
        Strong media support is the answer. The “in your face” TV clips, like a pepsi or coke ad, helps retain the John Key brand before the voter. Media support for the John Key brand ranges from granny Herald, the Gower types on TV, also the morning show on RadioLive and 1ZB are blatantly pro-National.
        Tell a lie often enough and people will tend to believe it as a fact, history confirms this.

        • What also ‘helps’ retain the John Key brand is having the political editor of the Herald straight out of Nationals camp. Johnathan Young is a National MP and Vern Young his father who was also a National MP.

          Nah! that can’t be right, the Herald would disclose this, wouldn’t it.

  23. The problem isn’t Paddy Gower’s predilection towards National and John Key, as it is about Labour and David Cunliffe.

    Cunliffe is polling less than what Shearer ever did.
    The Labour Party is a basket case. They wouldn’t know if they’re coming or going; if they were Arthur or Martha.

    Their judgement is all shot to hell, along with their credibility as an effective opposition. You can’t feel sorry for a party which is proving itself to be irredeemably hopeless.

  24. In answer to BE’s original question – No; it’s a fair report, BUT ONLY IF Gower gives ALL the information available. It’s not what’s on the clip which matters – it’s the stuff that ISN’T which confirms whether this is fine reporting or merely crude bias.

  25. the truth is i would put the last governments results upagainst this national government any day of the week . the mainstream press can lie all they like the stats speak for themselves .9 years of surpluses against 6 years of deficits be warned they are going to cook a deficit just before the election to try to make themselves look good .the mainstream media have the masses well and truly brainwashed .i recall in 2008 the press and national did not want to talk about the economy keys own works the economy is in good shape only we and national will grow it at twice the rate . another lie and broken promise .i remember the 2008 so the press can not change my memory of history like some do .

  26. 26

    Nothing more, nothing less than what I generally expect from Patrick Gower. He is an odious little man who clearly slept through some of the more important lessons at journalism school.

  27. The vast majority of headlines prominent online has been a party political broadcast on behalf of the National Party. It’s really blatant.