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It’s official – Fairfax really DID “lose the plot” over Hughes

June 8, 2011
Don’t suppose we can now expect a front-page banner headline saying “Woops, Sorry Darren” in tomorrow’s Dom Post…

Remember the initial beatup by Fairfax? Sniffing the blood of a rising Opposition star, the Dom had this malicious and sorry saga spread across the front page before any facts even came to light. And, as I predicted at the time, the whole thing is in fact a non-story which leaves a promising centre-Left politician’s career in crisis.

Media commentator Denis Welch noted at the time that Fairfax had “seriously lost the plot” over their reporting of the story, as well as with the completely¬†ficticious rumours they pushed about threats to Phil Goff’s leadership.

The whole piece was great, but Welch’s scathingly honest assessment of the Dom’s beat up comes in at around the seven-minute mark.

Typically. Fairfax treated the whole Darren Hughes story like a rabid dog trying to turn an ambiguous piece of gristle into a big fat, dirty, meaty bone. Whether there was a story or not didn’t matter to the National Party’s propagandists at the Dom, even from the first day when a few small details became public, as per my updates on this page at the time.

Fairfax hauled the Labour Party across the front page with what Welch refers to as “lurid headlines over unsubstantiated stories”. According to Welch, many media outlets – including the NZ Herald – showed some restraint. But, we know how much Fairfax just love the National Party and hate the opposition, so it’s unsurprising that the Dom Post “lost it seriously”.

“I’m afraid The Dominion Post in Wellington ran with a very lurid Saturday headline,” says Welch. “The Dominion Post have seriously lost the plot and are responsible as much as anyone for beating up the speculation around Phil Goff’s leadership, and that was definitely a step too far.”

Also this week, The Dom managed to “cover” the appalling state of CYFS’ kids struggling in New Zealand on yesterday’s front page, under the headline ‘CYF report uncovers misery, neglect’ without once mentioning the Government, cuts to public services, social services, or quoting the Opposition. In fact, page two’s lead is actually about cuts to the public service, but Fairfax just refuse to make any connection between these two issues. It’s rediculous, and, as one reader of this page put it: “that is diabolical genius…let’s let rip with absolutely no context”.


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