What’s the difference between a Dom Post editorial and a Rightwing blog?
As the education funding row heats up, the predictable spin coming from supporters of John Key’s Government starts to flow from the usual quarters. Apparently, increasing class sizes isn’t a bad idea at all. Oh no, no, silly. It’s a great idea. It’s just that the Government didn’t promote it very well.
Rightwing blogger and National Party pollster David Farrar assures of this, and so does today’s Dominion Post. The difference of course, is that Farrar is upfront about his political stance, and his readers are able to process his writing with a degree of context and a large pinch of salt. The Dom Post on the other hand, poses day after day as an independent news provider, and fails to furnish its readers with the details of Fairfax Media’s heavy Rightwing political bias.
At Fairfax, where the Government’s backdown was finally acknowledged after this blog pointed out the glaring omission on Wednesday, today’s editorial defends the National Party’s wish to cut teacher numbers and increase class sizes. The editorial argues that the only problem with the policy is the way the Government have butchered its introduction, noting that:
“The impression left was of policy being made on the hoof. A rational readjustment of spending priorities has been made to look like an ideologically driven exercise.”
What they fail to point out is that this impression was left because this is exactly what is happening.
Meanwhile, David Farrar paints the exact same picture on his openly Rightwing blog, and suggests that:
“The Government has stumbled over the implementation of their policy to divert some funding from class sizes to improving teacher quality.”
Both pieces rely on the same out-of-context “research”, picking and choosing the information that is convenient, and ignoring the majority of data, which is completely contradictory to the Government’s case. Both pieces quote Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf, who has been widely criticised by academics and the education sector for his blinkered, bean-counting conclusions.
The Dom, who have done a thinly-veiled job of running the National Party’s spin on the whole shambles, today relegated the country’s biggest news story to the inside pages, and chose to distract readers by splashing some old fashioned anti-union scaremongering across the front page, drumming up a knuckle-dragging hate frenzy over concerns that unions might like employees to work in safe buildings in the event of an earthquake. Give me strength!
As I have said before, I value free speech greatly, and if Fairfax Media wish to use their publications and the stuff.co.nz website as a platform for Rightwing propaganda, that is their prerogative, but instead of pretending to be a balanced news medium, perhaps they could take a leaf out of Mr Farrar’s book, and be good enough to let their readers know.
My challenge to Fairfax is this; either start providing fair, balanced and accurate journalism, or declare your political bias clearly below the masthead, and let your readers make an informed decision about what is being written.
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