Hoisted by their own petard
The events of the past few days, and Fairfax Media’s response to them, illustrate precisely how ready Fairfax are to stoop to propaganda in order to protect a Government neck-deep in corruption.
But, the disingenuous reporting of political editor Tracy Watkins has tripped Fairfax up, with her own writing returning to haunt this shamelessly partisan Righwing media corporation . As reported here over the past three days, Watkins’ piece at the beginning of the weekend – in which she accused Opposition Leader David Shearer of having nothing to say – was little more than a distraction, to keep the National-led Government’s ever-increasing list of woes out of the headlines.
Her piece was speculative nonsense at best, and brazen propaganda at worst. And, when David Shearer did come out swinging the very next day over the John Banks donation scandal, Watkins showed clearly that it isn’t a case of Mr Shearer not offering comment, but her simply choosing to ignore it. Perhaps a strategy of questioning the Labour Party’s leadership every time the Government gets into trouble was discussed with John Key last year, while Watkins was escorting him on his tour of the United States.
Contrast Fairfax’s reporting of the John Banks scandal with other media. The New Zealand Herald and Radio New Zealand have David Shearer heavily quoted in calling on the Prime Minister to stand Banks down. But Watkins, who claimed only three days ago that Shearer had nothing to say, has gone out of her way to avoid his comments, including a statement in which he demanded Key stand Banks down.
When I pointed this out on the Dominion Post’s Facebook page yesterday, they were quick to remove my comments. Likewise, when I alluded to this on the comments forum of the initial piece on Shearer, my comments never appeared. In fact, it seems that, when it became apparent that a great number of correspondants were similarly questioning the motives of Watkins’ piece, the comments forum simply stopped publishing responses; there haven’t been any updates since Friday, despite this story leading stuff.co.nz’s political news all weekend, ahead of everything else that was happening.
As if all of this wasn’t enough to completely destroy Fairfax’s credibility as a news provider, let’s take a moment to contrast their reporting of the John Banks donation scandal – which has been understated to say the least, and almost exclusively angled from the Government’s defence – with the witchhunt they conducted when Winston Peters was similarly caught out five years ago. Peters, who had become embroiled in a donations scandal involving businessman Owen Glen, gave Fairfax an endless supply of frontpage headlines. But, I’m sure this had nothing to do with any agenda to bring down the Clark Government, and replace it with a Rightwing one, headed by their man John Key…
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