Friday, August 29, 2008


I say again that the amount of media attention given to
Winston Peters and his party’s finances is out of all
proportion to the true significance of the matter, and I
can’t help wondering why such journalistic energy could
not be expended on issues of real concern to the people
of this country—like the soaring cost of living, for
starters, and the economic consequences of globalization.
Let it be said, in this month of August 2008, that for some
weeks now the media have given more time and space to
this Peters business than to what is probably the most
important piece of legislation in a generation (the
Emissions Trading Scheme bill). The issue has also
dominated headlines that belong by any sensible standard
of news value to stories like the Waikato river deal, the
shake-up of the meat industry, the competition for water
resources, the rise in mortgagee sales, the fact that 22
percent of our children are living in poverty. But the
prospect of actually bringing a minister down has got the
media pack in a fine old state. It’s a classic case of the chase
becoming the story. The National Party must be delighted
that, with the media so distracted, so little attention is
being paid to close analysis of their election policies, such
as they are. What’s going on in the nation’s classrooms, for
instance, should be the subject of serious scrutiny, but not
only do we not know what National’s policy is, I’ll bet 98
percent of the population don’t even know who National’s
education spokesperson is. Meaninglessly, in terms of
what actually matters, the name of Owen Glenn has had
far more currency this year. Try cashing that currency in
when you lose your job or your kid drops out of school.


Steve Withers said...

You write as though the whole Peters thing was an accidental distraction from what is important.

Having watched "media" for a long time, I've more or less given up on the substance of what they do and instead use them as an index of pointers to things that require looking into.

Add to this the apparent mis-directions that - broadly - constitute political journalism in our major daily newspaper chains.

One could be foregiven for thinking Winston Peters is dragged out of the box for another flogging whenever someone wants to distract from something that was hurting the National the secret agendas or the lack of substantive policy.

Steve Withers said...

I should have made it clear my comments relate mainly to the two foriegn-owned newspaper monopolies (in their respective markets) who own virtually our daily newspapers.

National Radio, TV3 and even TVNZ (Paul Henry excepted) do a better job of providing balanced coverage than any newspaper I can think of.

Now if only TV would actually include more news in the bulletins and cut down on product placements and reports on commercial play-time.