NEWSFLASH: Dom Post starts to do its job
With a week to go until the election, Fairfax’s flagship publication begins to look like a real newspaper.
With fairness, accuracy and balance all but abandoned by Fairfax Media in recent years, seeing the front page devoted to New Zealand’s growing wealth gap, under the headline “The great divide” might have had those familier with this newspaper scratching their heads. Have Fairfax turned over a new leaf? Have they decided to represent the people of New Zealand, rather than their wealthy political and corporate allies? Are we starting to get to them?
Page two of yesterday’s edition also looked relatively balanced, with even Tracy Watkins offering some criticism of our dear leader. However, one swallow does not a summer make, and I note that the cover story makes no mention of John Key’s grand promises to address poverty before the 2008 election, or his failure to deliver thereafter.
Today’s politics page again makes some attempts at providing contrasting voices, but it’s business as usual on the lead story, which uses a leading question from Fairfax’s latest brainfart poll to try to tell us what we think. Apparently, most of us believe that the conversation John Key and John Banks had, at a media event they themselves organised, was private. That’s certainly not what I’m hearing on the streets, and I’m sure the High Court will confirm what anyone with a shred of common sense knows; that a staged media event is not in the least bit private.
Fairfax’s attitude to the teapot tape has always been that it is an inconvenience, rather than actual news, and they appear to have found it increasingly difficult to defend John Key with any credibility, as he sets about initiating police raids on other major media outlets. So, perhaps the relative balance of yesterday was an attempt to re-establish some kind of credibility with the people, in the face of growing criticism and pressure from astute observers like you and I.
Fairfax’s unwillingness to really question this Government over the past three years is surely beginning to hurt their reputation and their profits. New Zealanders are very much a fair-minded people, and don’t respond favourably to the Fox News-style propaganda employed by Fairfax in support of the political Right. Their inert response to the teapot tapes has rendered them irrelevant to anyone seeking questions, analysis or independent information. They have been put on the outer by the majority of New Zealand’s mainstream media, who have finally stood up to this manipulative, propagandist Government, and challenged them to reveal their true substance, rather than the carefully media-managed message we have become used to.
So, let us today give Fairfax the benefit of the doubt, and see what happens in the coming days. If they really do mean to return to providing fair, accurate and balanced coverage, rather than simply spinning John Key’s message to readers each day, then my work here is done. Sadly, I believe that in the final week of campaigning, Fairfax will not be able to resist coming back in to bat for their old mate John Key, and this protest will be forced to continue. As always, thanks for reading and for caring. What you do and say and write is clearly making difference. Kia ora tatau.