See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil
The only thing more farcical than the John Banks donation debacle is the way Fairfax Media have reported it:
1 – Red herrings – Distract readers by making wild speculations about the Opposition instead.
2 – Leading headlines – Report everything with a Key-friendly angle, most readers don’t go beyond the headline.
3 – Biased quotes – Give the Prime Minster several paragraphs, but completely avoid quoting the Opposition leader.
4 – Avoid the worst of it – Don’t mention the bizarre Radio Live interview, even though it’s a great story.
5 – Cautious disclosure – Only reveal information as “news” once it’s actually become public knowledge.
6 – Accentuate the positives – Focus on Key’s bold surplus statements. Even though none of his other forecasts have materialzed, it’s not necessary to point this out to readers, and besides, most of ’em only read the headlines anyway, remember.
7 – Keep really quiet about the latest polls – Which show the Opposition to be making significant gains very quickly.
As detailed with alarming consistency over the past three years, Fairfax Media have taken an unshakebly partisan approach to reporting on politics in New Zealand. John Key is the corporations’ homeboy; his inoffensive manner and dopey smile are the ideal front for smuggling unprecented Rightwing policies into legislation. Australian-owned media corporation Fairfax Media are very much part of the massive international corporate influence on New Zealand, and they have consistently acted as the mouthpiece for wealthy business interests over the rights and freedoms of ordinary New Zealanders.
The demise of John Banks will have a direct effect on the Key Government’s majority in Parliament. The difference between the numbers on the Government benches and those on the Opposition benches is incredibly tight. Losing another support partner, even with just one member, will dramatically hinder Key’s ability to ram through unpopular, controversial, hard-Right legislation, such as the sale of state assets to wealthy interests.
Essentially, if you’re opposed to state asset sales, now is a really good time to put pressure on this biased media corporation to start representing your interests, rather than those of the very wealthy, who will be the only ones to gain anything out of these trecherous asset sales. Fairfax are scared of the criticism – I’ve posted my arguments on the Dom Post’s Facebook page the last two days, and both times they’ve been quickly removed. If this was the rediculous conspiracy theory they’d have you believe, why are they so terrified of their readers hearing about it? It seems that, as well as holding our democracy in abject contempt, they are also opposed to free speech. Perhaps readers, you might visit the Dom’s facebook page yourself, and let them know they are on notice.
Which brings me back to the beginning of this farce, five days ago. Political editor Tracy Watkins wrote an incredibly speculative piece about David Shearer and the Labour Party leadership, suggesting strongly that things were unstable in that party, and that he was about to be rolled, because he hadn’t had much to say to the media. Her report headed stuff.co.nz’s political news all weekend, ahead of the highly newsworthy breaking story of the John Banks donation scandal. When Shearer came out the very next day with some strong condemnation of both Banks and Key’s handling of the mess, Fairfax reporters – particularly Watkins herself – went out of their way to avoid quoting Shearer in stories relating to Banks.
Now, the latest Herald Digi-poll has the Labour Party making a “big leap” in polling, rising almost seven points in a short space of time. The poll was conducted over ten days, with only the final two days overlapping with early revelations about the controversial donations John Banks has recieved. Of course, this sudden rise in fortunes for the Opposition makes an even greater mockery of Watkins’ orginal piece.
By contrast, media rival the New Zealand Herald have reported Banks’ fall from grace with integrity and balance, and today’s ediorial called for his immediate resignation. Quite the opposite of Fairfax, who have mirrored their mate John Key’s “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” attitude to the whole farce. Stuff.co.nz’s reporting has been to assume that, until proven otherwise, John Banks is still an honourable member of the Key Government. They have steered clear of the implications of Banks’ demise on this Government, as well as the hypocrisy of the Prime Minster in his handling of the whole matter.
Finally, if Fairfax Media’s reporting of this still seems reasonable, and all of these things can be put down to “co-incidence”, consider for a moment the way this news corporation went after Winston Peters over a strikingly similar donation scandal…
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