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Full Disclosure OR Do You Know Where That Journalist Has Been?

By   /  March 5, 2013  /  22 Comments

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“If I asked who the TV political journalist is whose father is a government M.P., would you know who that is? Would you find it strange someone who is covering politics may have a huge conflict of interest?”

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fairandbalancedsepia

(journalism) The disclosure of any connection between a reporter (or publisher) and the subject of an article that may bias the article.

The recent admission of NewstalkZB Breakfast host Mike Hoskings that he was a supporter of the National Party and recommending people vote for the National party is a rare disclosure from a NZ press celebrity of their political connections.

If I asked who the TV political journalist is whose father is a government M.P., would you know who that is? Would you find it strange someone who is covering politics may have a huge conflict of interest?

Would you be a little wary of his reporting?

I know NZ is a small country, but at least if journalists have full disclosure of their connections at least we know they are coming from, and can then decide if we want to accept information as totally above board.

When I was working on ‘Good Morning’ I was surprised to see Barry Soper over the moon after recieving a text from his ‘friend’ John Key. Whilst I am well aware politicians keep journalists as pets to use them to leak stories, I could see no gain for Barry in maintaining a ‘friendship’ with the Prime Minister. He believed I was being far too precious and stated that journalists are always going to be friends with politicians.

I believe this is wrong.

If a journalist gets info on a ‘friends’ political party or an event that will impact on them in parliament, are they going to give them a heads up on the info, or publish? Knowing the politician and journalist are friends totally makes me question the journalists motives in all their dealings with the politician. But I only know about this because I happened to question Barry on why he was getting friendly texts from the Prime Minister, there has been no disclosure of ‘friendship’ to the public.

And what happens when a political journalist is sleeping with an M.P? Is this their ‘private time’ so none of out business? If the journalist is writing about their partners work, and their is no full disclosure of the ‘relationship’, is it possible to accept the journalists work without endless eye rolling and seeing the work as compromised? If journalists are open about who they are ‘involved’ with, I am fine as they have disclosed the fact. But if they have never addressed it in public, and continue to write about their ‘partner’, I find their work easy to dismiss as they are not being honest with their audience with a fact that does change the context of the work.

Oh, and finally to return to Hosking being open about his support of the National Party and telling people to vote for them. I think it is safe to assume he has a bias favouring National and we should maybe take his ‘journalism’, like the Herald, as being pro the National Party. If this was not already quite obvious. And as ‘journalists’ in this country seem unacquainted with the notion of disclosure of connections, ALWAYS be aware of who owns the media.

FULL DISCLOSURE – I have worked with everyone in this article except Brook Sabin.

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22 Comments

  1. Jenk says:

    So – who IS the TV journalist who’s father is a govt MP ?

    • Northshoreguynz says:

      Google and Wikipedia are your friends. He is also mentioned in Steve’s disclosure statement.

  2. Andy says:

    If he got all excited when he got a TXT from the Prime Minister then I’d very much doubt they’re friends.

  3. jo says:

    of course you would want to know. just like if you were having an affair with Bomber or Steve Gray.. oh wait you are steve gray. i have my suspicions as to who you are talking about and i dont think its right. be transparent. why hide it? i think these journos blur the line bewteen professional and friendliness with some of these MPS, govt people you can almost see it in their reporting. what we think is soe big story is sometimes watered down.. Everyone knows old Hosking supports National of course he does. Anyway awesome first column Steve keep it coming and hoorah you used the F word!

  4. spindig says:

    OK, so what about journalists like Jane Clifton, who was in a long term relationship with Murray McCully, and is now with Trevor Mallard? One could argue she’s played both sides so is no longer biased, I guess.

  5. Anna Sutton says:

    An interesting read Steve and I agree. Disclosure should be made, so people know the connections.

  6. fenderviper says:

    Jane Clifton has very poor taste in ‘men’. Who will she date next…PG’s idol?

    I’m pretty sure Keys’ father is the Grim Reaper.

  7. Pete George says:

    I agree that disclosure is important for credibility for journalists. I admit to continually wondering about tip toeing and tittle tattling whenever I read Clifton.

    What about bloggers that want to influence political debate?

    I’m pleased to see that The Daily Blog authors identify themselves, I think that’s essential for credibility here.

    Bloggers with no disclosures – or with pseudonyms – could be anyone. They could be MPs, staff of MPs, journalists, from the CIA or whatever. Claiming “it’s the point/argument that matters, not the identity” is naive nonsense. It often does matter what connections you may have, whether you’re an MSM journalist or a citizen journalist/blogger.

    I’d better do a decent disclosure for myself.

    • *waves* Forget about me, did ya, Pete?

      • Pete George says:

        Haha, I guess you’re talking about lprent’s wee over-reaction. I didn’t forget you, I didn’t include you and others deliberately because I don’t know how you vote or if you have connections to any party, and least of all if you work in a leader’s or minister’s office.

        I know as well as anyone there’s quite a variety in the TS author list. lp seemed to think I meant to imply the whole lot of you were being paid by Shearer, and I’m fairly sure I can rule you (and others)out from that.

        I am confident lp jumped to a massive conclusion based on what he wanted to think and nothing to do with what i actually said.

        I thought it would have been clear it wasn’t a comprehensive list, it was just to show that there are some links between some TS authors and the Labour and Green parties and some of those known to be in MP offices. It’s stuff that’s fairly widely and well known.

    • Rob Kestrel says:

      Big difference between “reporting” and “opinion”. If I read an opinion on a blog, I don’t care who wrote it. I am interested in the argument they present. If they can’t back their opinion with a valid argument then that is what I judge them on. If I read or hear or see a “report” from a journalist I want to know who is choosing, shaping and presenting the “news”.

      • Pete George says:

        I’ve heard all that “judge ther argument”, and I agree I agree if you’re talking about independent individuals writing genuine opinion, but with secrecy about identities and connections it’s impossible to separate individuals from groups with secret agendas.

        If someone writes an “opinion” on a blog about a leder being unsuitedable for the job, and another “opinion” backs that up, and another, and it leads to a lot of leadership attention at a media heavy meeting, and that leads to the banishment to the back bench of what some say is the most capable MP in the caucus, do you thionk it is unimportant what the connections and possible motives of those opinion writers is?

        A non-identified opinion, when obviously trying to frame debates and influence wider opinion, and especially using lies or misinformation and personal attacks to try and discredit, is always under suspicion in my opinion.

  8. David says:

    Jane Clifton and Mallard, that Jesse guy on 7 sharp opened a Labour Party event, Vernon Small used to work for the Labour Party, the political Journo from RNZ is married to a union official for the teachers.

    • deepred says:

      Got to hand it to Hosking for being honest about his mast colours.

      I should also point out ex-Listener columnist/assistant editor Joanne Black is now press secretary for Bill English. Sean Plunket’s seeming light blueness has become more visible since leaving Radio NZ. And let’s not forget John Banks was on Radio Pacific for some years.

      • expatriot says:

        I believe Joanne Black’s husband is/was some kind of sernior advisor to John Key as well? The Listener shifted well to the right once Black took over.

  9. Myles Thomas says:

    Thanks David. I was starting to think it was only National with their fingers in the pie (so to speak)

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