Pimping Key’s Government – stuff.co.nz and the NZ National Party
After excessively overstating the importance of their own Key-friendly rogue poll last week, this week has seen a barrage of propaganda from Fairfax Media, led as ever by their in-house National Party spin doctor, Tracy Watkins.
Watkins’ official role is political editor for Fairfax Media NZ, but a quick scan through her work will quickly quash any pretense of political neutrality, as her ongoing editorial love-in with John Key prevents her from applying any of those long lost journalistic standards; fairness, accuracy and balance.
Perhaps accompanying John Key on all those international trips has brainwashed her into being a true Key-believer, or maybe she is employed by Fairfax Media precisely for her willingness to abandon journalistic ethics and instead churn out endless column inches of National Party spin. Whatever the reason, her output of propagandist puff-pieces on behalf of Key and co this week is simply a continuation of the work she’s done since long before this blog was established.
Two weeks ago, Watkins demonstrated her shameless National Party partisanship, by elevating beyond credibility the importance of their own questionable in-house polls, showing a rogue result in favour of her National Party buddies. She’s an absolute disgrace, and should declare her loyalty to John Key overtly, rather than posing as an independent journalist at New Zealand’s largest news corporation.
Meanwhile, her colleague Vernon Small took aim at the Labour Party conference, with a list of every marginally radical topic that might be discussed. Fair enough angle, I suppose, if you want to stir up a bit of fear-mongering among your uninformed reactionary readership, but not exactly fair, accurate or balanced. Imagine if stuff.co.nz opened their coverage of a National Party conference with a subjective list of every crazy, unelectable, hard right idea that might get chucked around there – never going to happen.
This week, Fairfax followed up by leading their political “news” day after day with glowing testaments to the strong relationships and dynamics within the National Party. “John Key – living the dream”, “Key credits team for National’s success”, “Chemistry bonds ex-political rivals” asserted the headlines, in blatantly spin-driven puff-pieces that could have been written by Crosby-Textor, and in many ways probably were.
As I have always maintained on this page, Fairfax Media have every right to act as a public relations service for the political Right in New Zealand. But, instead of attempting to manipulate their readers by posing as an independent news media corporation, it is essential for our democracy that they state, once and for all, exactly where their partisanship lies. This is obviously clear to informed New Zealanders, but readers of stuff.co.nz are generally – by design – lacking in balanced political understanding.
Come on Fairfax! Declare your hand, so that New Zealanders can make an informed choice about where they source their political information. If we wanted National Party spin, surely we would simply visit the National Party website instead.
There have been calls for a targeted blitz on Twitter, to out the most heavily-biased journalists in New Zealand’s news media. It’s a call that is gathering momentum, and, unless journalists and media outlets declare their bias in no uncertain terms very soon, I believe this will be the obvious next step in combating what is clearly an assault on our democracy by powerful Righwing organisations.
To find out more about any of this, or to simply register your dissatisfaction with the current situation, please join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/fearfacts/ , share with your friends, and boycott Fairfax publications such as The Dominion Post and Sunday Star Times.
Thanks for your interest.