Dirty Politics in Mt Roskill – guess which Rightwing news outlet are still neck deep in enabling National’s dirty tricks
There is nothing new in the New Zealand Herald’s cheer-leading for the National Party. Herald political “reports” often read like National Party press releases. Angles spin consistently in John Key’s favour, with the Prime Minister’s soundbites becoming headlines far too frequently for any indignant claims of objectivity to carry credibility.
So, after a week of wall-to-wall US election coverage, broken only by a couple of vague attacks on the Labour Party, it was back to business as usual with this “breaking news”.
In a media environment where this is all many New Zealanders will see of this story, it certainly looks like a hatchet job on the Labour Party’s candidate.
For Mt Roskill residents heading to the polls, this may form their entire opinion, and the New Zealand Herald’s political editors know this as well as anyone. So at best, it is a case of picking sides based on the hearsay of National Party members, and at worst, it is a whole new level of abject bias aimed at directly influencing a democratic process with a politically partisan slur on the Labour candidate.
The Fairfax-hosted debate took place on Wednesday night, and was reported by Fairfax to be a “tense and fiery affair”, notable for the loud protests directed at National Party candidate Parmjeet Parmar.
The Herald weren’t much interested in any of this, until Friday, when they published this one-sided slur of Labour’s Michael Wood. Of course, in the Herald’s report, there was nothing on the protests, and it was all about Mr Wood’s “man handling” and “threats” towards Mrs Parmar’s husband, Ravinder Parmar.
The room was full of senior journalists, but none from the Herald have made any attempt to present the facts as they occurred on the night, preferring instead to run with what might be considered the willful defamation of the Labour candidate in a by-election.
Unfortunately for the Parmar’s, the National Party, and the New Zealand Herald, the whole incident was captured on film, and the footage emerging today clearly shows that this was a cynical indulgence in dirty politics, intended to harm the reputation of the Labour Party’s candidate.
Having viewed the footage – published by stuff.co.nz – here is what I see:
Mr Woods walks up to Mr Parmar, his body language is angry but calm, and he has a few direct words, then all the aggression comes from Parmar, and keeps coming from Parmar after others step between them. Parmar keeps mouthing off and sticking his chest out as Woods walks away.
Whatever subjectivity might be applied to the raw footage, it is clear that the accounts of National Party members forming the basis of the NZ Herald’s report were wildly and willfully inaccurate.
Interviewed on ZB by Larry Williams late yesterday, an evasive Mrs Parmar stuck to spin and raised speculation on social media that the events described by the Herald and NewsHub were completely untrue.
As I wrote this late on Saturday afternoon, the Herald had made no attempt to update the angle of the story, or publish a fact-based account. In fact, the message Mt Roskill voters were getting from the website of their regional newspaper for well over 24 hours was that the Labour Party candidate is a bad tempered thug. It was a message being shared across social media, and one that the Herald must have known was inaccurate and hugely damaging to the Labour candidate. By the time the story was finally, apparently reluctantly, updated yesterday evening the damage to Mr Wood had already been done, with the NZ Herald leading the charge.
“Granny” Herald have always reported politics from a Rightwing perspective, and have recently purged most of their Left-leaning columnists, but this level of partisanship during a by-election must be acknowledged and documented. Indeed, if Labour leader Andrew Little is serious about calling out the rising level of pro-National reporting in our news media, The New Zealand Herald is the obvious place to start.
Morning Report on Radio New Zealand, 27th November, 2012: Thankyou to Doctor Clare Robertson from Massey University of New Zealand, for making this official. But this is not new news – Many of us were keenly aware of the extent to which the media were influencing our elections, way back before Phil Goff’s loss to John Key.
Read Merrilyn’s post entitled “Phil Goff Undermined By Media” which I put up over a year ago. In this article, I pointed out the discrepancy of representation in ‘The NZ Herald’ between Phil Goff and John Key: That Phil got an unglamorous wee photo put somewhere well into the paper, whereas John Key usually got a large, smiling photo on the front-page, or second-page.
Why has it taken so long for a New Zealand university political marketing specialist to make this connection? It would have been a good thing if Massey University had…
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It’s going from bad to undeniably catastrophic for Prime Minister John Key, with a fresh poll indicating more and more National voters are leaning to Labour leader David Cunliffe.
Last night’s ONE News poll for John Key was labeled “soul destroying” for National – but the Roy Morgan ‘worm poll’ results have blown it out of the park with David Cunliffe resonating positively with voters.
Roy Morgan’s Worm poll results show John Key only resonated with Labour voters once throughout the entire debate, whereas David Cunliffe was preaching to the National-faithful constantly.
John Key’s poll lifted when he reinforced his support for gay marriage, although this could have been unwise as Mr. Key has been gunning heavily for the conservative Pacific vote recently based on National’s so-called family values foundations. The Pacifica vote is usually Labour-assured, but some found themselves disillusioned with the party over changes to the definition of…
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