Key snubs fallen soldiers for baseball game
Once again it has been left to bloggers and independent commentators to hold the Prime Minister to account, as New Zealand’s corporate news media simply repeat his spin without question.
Whatever reasons Key might give for shirking his obligations as Prime Minister of New Zealand, it should be the role of the journalist to question this, rather than just publishing his excuses and playing down the controversy. Really, what kind of editor assigns a reporter to take the sting out of a news story?
“Hey Claire, that thing about the Prime Minister missing the funerals of fallen soldiers to go to a baseball game in the United States; I want you to find out exactly what Key wants the public to know about it, and for god’s sake try not to make it controversial! A sensationalist story is the last thing we need here.”
Farcical, isn’t it? Our news media are acting as spin doctors for the Prime Minister, and actually going out of their way to avoid this shocking revelation becoming any kind of a real news story. If any journalism student handed the piece published on stuff or the NZ Herald to their tutor, that tutor would be struck by open-mouthed horror at their student’s gross inability to angle a news story. Anyone who knows the slightest thing about writing news knows that the story should resemble an inverted pyramid, with the biggest, most important, most controversial information at the top, and the minor details – like excuses – down at the bottom. The opposite of this is called PR, and, when our mainstream media are turning the inverted pyramid around for the benefit of the Government, we should be very very concerned.
Sure, when we find out that Key is missing the funerals because he’s attending his son’s baseball game in the United States, we may go some way to seeing the Prime Minister’s position, but this is not the role of a journalist. And, even if it was, surely a real reporter looking for a real story would be asking about Mr Key’s commitment to his job. Afterall, the role of Prime Minister comes with certain responsibilities; if Mr Key finds those obligations inconvenient to his personal schedule, perhaps it’s time for him to move on. Imagine how far Key’s press release on this would have got with quality British newspapers like The Independent, The Guardian, or even The Times.
If it wasn’t for bloggers like Martyn Bradbury at Tumeke and Frank Macskasy at Frankly Speaking, there would be absolutely no critical analysis or genuine reporting happening on this at all.
Shame on Key for shirking his duties and shame on the mainstream news media for failing to hold the Prime Minister of New Zealand to account, yet again.
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