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Fearfacts EXPOSED!

“Of course, it is a newspaper’s prerogative to represent a country’s government rather than its people. But, as it is “the people” who buy and read the publication, they should at least be warned when they’re being manipulated.”

New Zealand’s capital city is poorly served by its only daily newspaper, The Dominion Post.

Fairfax’s honeymoon with John Key’s Government has developed into a cosy marriage, and our democracy is suffering at the hands of the overseas-based media moguls who own this publication.

Every day, an unbalanced agenda is served up to the lower North Island and presented as objective fact.  Opposition parties seem unable to gain any traction in this one-sided publication, but their reliance on the media means that they dare not confront this important issue.

Fortunately, we can! 

It’s high time Wellington and New Zealand demanded some balance in their newspapers, and until we have it, Fear facts EXPOSED! will analyse the Dominion Post and provde a much needed critique into the angling, positioning, insertion and omission of stories covered – or, not covered – by Fairfax Media.

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  1. Michael permalink

    haha love the fact you’re providing independant analysis on Fairfax. Would’ve thought your play on words suggested you had an axe to grind.
    Just an observation.

    Oh. And you’re on a crusade against “Fearfacts”, or the lack of substancy I guess, and yet you only ever seem to mention the Dominion Post.

    You do realise that Fairfax extends to papers up and down the country, not just the capital, don’t you? Surely you must.

    I shall take it that means the other 11 papers, not to mention the dozens of communities and magazines, are doing a spot-on job then. Good to know.

    It’s either that, or perhaps you just don’t think outside the box, or perhaps assume that everything reported in the Dominion is churned out in the other papers. Or is it simply because you can’t be bothered reading all the other papers, save even their websites.

    As I said before, merely an observation. I’m sure the people who disregard this site like a used tissue will have noticed the same.

    Perhaps it will be only the blind who follow it, for that reason. They see what you want them to see. Exactly what you are claiming to strike at the heart of in your postings about “Fearfax”.

    Have a lovely day.

    I am, &tc.

  2. Cheers Michael.

    Nice to have a bit of time on your hands in the holidays eh. How is level one English this year?

    Yes Michael, of course I realise I’m fighting fire with fire. Beautiful irony don’t you think; the people not only using Fairfax’s technology against them, but also their methods. Kinda poetic.

    And, of course I understand that Fairfax is a multinational corporation with a massive stable of publications and a whole lot of influence. My crusade is not against them alone, but against any media attempting to influence rather than inform their readers. I’m a Wellingtonian, I got sick of reading Rightwing propaganda in my beloved newspaper, so I acted. Simple. Thinking globally, acting locally. Sorry that I don’t have time to analyse every single Fairfax publication, but as The Dominion Post is their flagship title in New Zealand, is the capital’s only daily newspaper, and is my own local newspaper, I thought that’d be a good place to start.

    Perhaps you can take some more time out from your break to actually read some of the copy here, then you’ll see that my analysis also stretches to Fairfax’s, and to any other news media who push propaganda ahead of news.

    Taking on a major media corporation, one expects some criticism, but of the thousands of hits my page has had over the last couple of years, yours is the first negative comment. I guess that’s a pretty good average.

    So, thank you for your naive “observation” and entry-level simile.

    I’ll sure take it on board.

    Good luck with the end of years exams, and thanks again for taking the time to show how much I’m affecting the people who need to be affected.

    Kind Regards,

    Neil 😉

  3. Have to agree with you, Neil. The stuff (excuse the pun) you write is insightful criticism. The fact that Fairfax’s readership is declining indicates that your criticisms have merit.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Levi permalink

    Interesting but your only half way there. You seem to think that fair fax is right wing, when in fact I believe it is on a wing more of its own aka no wing (Just extremely bias). Your strong liberal beliefs have narrowed your vision of media as such that you are coming off contradicting and only offering a opinion based report (just like fairfax) You need to include hard facts with references!The best way to fight fire is not with fire, but with lack of oxygen, fuel or ignition.

    On the flip side it’s good to see some activists out there against fairfax, but remember there is always more than two sides to a dice.

    p.s Posting comments about someone’s disabilities or lack of ability in a skill does not make you seem smarter or superior, but rather childish. Cherish every bit of criticism as a gift and work on it, it will make you humble, smarter and more superior then your oppressors.

    I wish you the best in your endeavours!

    From another fairfax oposer!

  5. I appreciate your comments Levi.

    Let me clarify a few points.

    Firstly, my views of the media aren’t particularly liberal, though, in the current climate, it is often considered liberal to be asking questions of those in power. My view is that it should be the role of the fourth estate of democracy – aka the media – to ask questions of all governments, as opposed to simply defending the policies of the parties they like. If New Zealand had an extremely liberal, or Leftwing government, I would hope and expect that the role of the journalist would be to hold that government to account from a more conservative position. However, the overwhelming reality that western democracies have is that by their very nature, media corporations have a vested interest in the political Right, which many learned commentators agree has distorted the message, created a new Right normal, and in doing so actually shifted the political centre to the Right. Hence, the New Zealand Labour Party’s relative shift to the Right, in order to stay relevant in this new, media-manipulated paradigm.

    My arguments on this page are fact-based, and my analysis is that of a principled journalist who well understands the concepts of news values and propaganda. My arguments are generally backed up by examples within the piece, or within the wider context of this blog’s back-catalogue. I don’t have infinite resources or time on my hands, so I won’t be referencing every point directly. My page represents the crtique of slanted journalism from a journalistic point of view, and the strategies I have used to achieve this are journalistic strategies. I am not compiling data for a PHD, but making a protest.

    My protest began as a local call to action on a facebook page three years ago, which still exists and attracts new members regularly. I wanted to give voice to the common complaint around the capital that “the Dom is just a Rightwing rag”. The rationale was that Wellington is a small province and a relatively liberal city. It seemed to me that, I could easily channel these dynamics into challenging a Rightwing regional newspaper by highlighting its lack of fairness, accuracy and balance, and damaging it’s credibility with the largely progressive local population. In other words, I was targeting the Dominion Post’s market directly, and calling for thinking Wellingtonians to reject this publication. I believe we’ve had some success here, with The Dom’s circulation falling and Fairfax responding by slashing subscriber fees and offering frankly unsustainable deals to re-attract the subscribers they have lost. Much of this has been docomented on the page.

    If my tone comes across as hard edged and pissed off, it’s because that is the nature of the protest. Very few people are called to action by polite dissaproval. “Denying oxygen, fuel or ignition” sounds very much like simply putting up with an unacceptable status quo and hoping it goes away of its own accord. Anyone who knows me knows that I hold moderate and considered views, and I enjoy political discourse with friends from across the spectrum, but I don’t believe this would be an effective approach to this particular project.

    Finally, I genuninely do appreciate the feedback, as well as the opportunity to reflect on the goals, achievements and direction of Fearfacts Exposed. It’s especially satisfying to have the critique of someone who almost agrees. In terms of my responses to comments, they will always be offered in the spirit with which the original comment is made. Not everyone is as constructive and well intentioned as you are, Levi.

    Thanks again for taking the time and effort.

    Kindest regards,


  6. Very measured response Neil, something I’m not too good at, being a bit of a hot head…

    It’s easy to criticise, difficult to do, the original commenter came over as arrogant and ignorant, a particularly infuriating combination, and all too common among the right.

    I totally agree that the right has been positioned as the new centre by the concerted effects of a world full of lazy press release cut and paste journalism, and editorial manipulation by vested interest.

    How could it be any other way when the papers and media of the world are owned by international globalist corporations.

    None of the points made in the original criticism were valid, and the guy was asking for a slap due to the haughtiness of his tone, which was inversely square to the weakness of his arguments.

    I think the terms “left” and “right” are a disingenuous framing of the debate in the first place.

    It is more like the reasoned, realistic, educated (whether self or academic) and compassionate, versus the self interested propaganda of short term gain for the wealthiest over the long term well being of civilisation, and its deluded, arrogant, and ignorant willing dupes….

    But then that’s just my opinion…


  7. I’ve always thought that this blog’s terms of reference were clear enough and, more or less, I’m happy to subscribe. A couple of points that may fuel the discussion; I’ve cancelled my subscription to the Dominion and when I did that I provided the editor with numerous examples of biased, active coverage as well as the more insidious passsive anti-selection (Just omitting to cover a story harmful to government). In writing, I owned my socialist principles but made it clear that my stance would be the same, regarding desirable objectivity in the media, even if a left-wing government were in power. I do think it’s important to be very clear about that.
    I also made the point that the idea of freedom of the press can only be sustainable and credible where there is a transparently equitable editorial policy. If the free media is unable to regulate itself in a way that inspires confidence in the readership, then not only can it not complain about political pressure and interference, it can expect it.
    In closing, I have to say that the best response I’ve had from the Dom/Post is an offer to take up the subscription once more – but for 50% less than before. A fair reflection of the favoured political philosophy I think. Don’t improve the product – make it cheaper. Best wishes to you.

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