November 28, 2022 from The BFD

No government in living memory has succeeded in getting away with the attacks on freedom and democracy that this Labour Government has managed. In just over two years, New Zealand has gone from being a peaceful multiracial country to one that is riddled with crime, ballooning debt and having record numbers of people falling into poverty, not to mention racial divisions caused quite deliberately by government policy. Everywhere you look, there is evidence of this Government’s catastrophic failure to look after its citizens. Government ministers should be ashamed.

They are not even remotely ashamed, of course, because they know that most voters only go to the mainstream media, where everything is just fine and dandy – because the mainstream media say that it is.

I always used to think that the media’s job was to hold the government of the day to account. That is not quite correct. It is the job of the Opposition to hold the government to account, but it is the job of the media to report in an unbiased way on the goings-on in Parliament.

But what happens when the Opposition gets little coverage – and the only coverage they get is negative?

We have seen lots of examples of the government getting a free ride because the media do not report on many ways in which they ride roughshod over people’s rights.

On the news last night, we saw footage of Jacinda apparently visiting the family of the murdered worker in Sandringham. This happened in her own electorate, about 800 metres from her own house, and it took her three days to actually make contact with them. Can you just imagine how the media would have reacted had it been John Key? They would have had a field day. But no mention was made of Jacinda’s tardiness, and the event was reported as if the prime minister had got there as fast as she could – which she most certainly did not. The media coverage also never mentioned the fact that she never actually visited the dairy where the murder took place, but focused mainly on the fact that she was ‘near to tears’ when holding the press conference – three days after the murder took place.

Clearly, she has been taking acting lessons from Meghan Markle.

Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon did actually visit the dairy and laid flowers at the scene. Did you see the mainstream media coverage of that? I could only find it on Indian Newslink, not on Stuff or Newshub.

I must have missed it.

You may argue that this is minor stuff, but it is indicative of the media’s attitude towards the government, and more importantly, towards the opposition. Most of us will agree that this is the worst government in New Zealand’s history, but most of their attacks on freedom and our democracy go unreported. Yet when Christopher Luxon became the National party leader, the mainstream media tried to paint him as a right-wing anti-abortionist, even going as far as to strongly imply that he would make abortion illegal, when he had never said any such thing.

Today, the wonderful Jenna Lynch of Newshub claimed that, if Christopher Luxon makes a promise, he must stick to it – even though he is not in government, and yet she has never asked the current prime minister to stick to any of her promises: you know, like fixing child poverty, not forcing people to take the vaccine, being the most open and transparent government ever – the list is simply too long to reproduce here.

Liar, liar pants on fire.

It never seems to occur to Lynch that, as Luxon is not in power, what he says is not an issue for voters yet. It won’t be for some time. Jacinda is a liar who spins everything. That is an issue for voters. Why does Lynch not focus on that?

So we have the worst government in history, and the media spend their time beating up on the opposition.

Of course, the Public Interest Journalism Fund has a lot to do with the mainstream media’s attitude towards this government.

Image credit The BFD.

The fund was set up to assist ‘at risk’ journalism, but it has turned into a slush fund for pro-government journalists. I heard a story last week about a freelance journalist who submitted an article for publication, only to have it returned for amendment because it didn’t have enough Maori words in it. In particular, ‘Aotearoa’ and ‘whanau’ were specifically requested. With all the things going on in this country at the moment, it is interesting to note the priorities of our mainstream journalists.

But in the end, all professions are expected to have a code of ethics, and supporting a corrupt government was never part of that code. No wonder journalists find themselves at the bottom of the list of trusted professionals, just below used car salesmen. They could easily fix that, of course, but at the moment, fewer and fewer people trust our mainstream media, and it is not difficult to understand why.

The real question is – once the PIJF is no longer available – can they redeem themselves? My feeling is no. They have blotted their copybook well and truly. Personally, I will never trust any of them again.

Thank God for the BFD.

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