When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?



I was watching The Nation in the weekend, and watched the defenders of NZ media up against Minto telling him he was wrong in his claims of media bias and that the media covered Dirty Politics.

I laughed.

When the defenders of the mainstream media say they covered ‪Dirty Politics‬ – what exactly did they cover? That Hager was a hypercritical thief for using stolen emails or that it’s a left wing conspiracy theory to smear John Key? The media will claim that the election news was dominated by the Dirty Politics scandal, and that’s true, academically you could point to a large percentage increase in news that focused on Dirty Politics, but what exactly was it that was covered? The overwhelming narrative was Kim Dotcom was the hacker, that Hager was corrupted because he used hacked emails and Key’s response that the entire thing was a left wing conspiracy was interwoven into most stories.

The mainstream media covered Dirty Politics the way they cover global warming. Here’s the truth that human pollution is warming the planet at rates never seen from a scientist, and here’s some crack pot quack claiming that the science says no such thing –  now sure in this example the media have ‘covered’ global warming, but behind their pretence of balance, they haven’t actually spoken truth to power or promoted what is real.

Name one actual allegation out of Dirty Politics that  has been fully investigated by the media. And when I say investigated, I actually mean investigated.

-Allegation of Rodney Hide being blackmailed by Jordon Williams with sex texts – barely investigated.

-Hacking Labour’s computer and downloading the entire database – barely investigated.

-The role of John Key’s office in dealing with Slater – despite being able to find old KDC staff in the Philippines, no NZ news media have managed to find Jason Ede.

-Rigging candidate selections – barely investigated.

-Corporate hate merchants paying Slater for hate campaigns against public good organisations – barely investigated.

– Key agreeing to brief Slater with SIS info – barely investigated despite there being a bloody formal investigation into the entire event that includes subpoenas.

-The relationship between Slater and most mainstream media outlets – NEVER investigated as this makes the mainstream media look terrible.


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When you consider the full blown media focus on the ins and outs of Helen Clark and the painting she signed that she didn’t paint (remember it was called ‘PainterGate’ ffs), when you consider the grilling the media gave her over the speeding ticket she got or the furore caused by energy saving light bulbs and water saving shower heads, the blatant double standards on what the mainstream media will judge the Left on compared to what they will let the Right get away with is breath taking, almost as breath taking as the fact that a vast number of NZers decided these Dirty Politics allegations and mass surveillance dishonesties  were reasons to rally around Key and vote him absolute full spectrum dominance with a bewildering political majority.

This election the mainstream media didn’t hold the powerful to account, they let them off the hook and ended up empowering the very power structures they are supposed to challenge. As a fourth estate, they have failed our democracy miserably.

NZ needs a new media.


  1. Thank you Martyn. I too have been sickened by the mainstream media’s so-called coverage of Dirty Politics and all of the Opposition parties.
    Pam Corkery and John Minto have had the integrity to speak out against our biased and manipulated media. Although Pam’s speech was impromptu, it was certainly effective, as so many people applauded and understood her outburst. David Cunliffe’s treatment by the media, has been shameful. He and the Labour Party, would have a lot to gain if they were to take the media to task. The Herald’s orchestrated attack on Cunliffe, ( the mythical bottle of wine and the 11 year old letter), as masterfully exposed by Frank Mackskasy, deserves to have a wider audience. Cunnliffe (and the Labour Party), would gain a lot more respect if they took legal action against The Herald, instead of allowing Armstrong, et al, to walk all over them.

  2. It took two years to nail Nixon’s arse to the wall. Given Key’s distinct winding back of post electoral triumphalism he likely knows his dirty tricks dept is a long way off getting out of jail free.

    New media is required of the type TDB has pioneered. Incorporate Sue Bradford’s “think tank” idea as set out in her recent thesis http://aut.researchgateway.ac.nz/handle/10292/7435 along with say a digital printery to generate some cashflow and a radio station and daily online newspaper and you would have the basis.

    Non sectarianism should rule in such a setting. Working together tends to create actual rather than theoretical unity in action.

  3. I don’t know how anyone can look at that face and say that is an honest man and then vote for him. And the recent Stuff article regarding Reserve Bank manipulating the currency had the worst photo of Key ever published . The smiling assassin rises again. Is anyone doing any investigative journalism into what is actually going on with the selling off of the $NZ.

    • Ahhh so that’s their secret. Trained rats only in this case it’s The two legged variety. So Key has trained Bill English to press the Red button. Or is that the other way round.

  4. Too much praise behind calling Shonkey the smiling assassin, I mean you kind of respect that term, a little – whereas said cheap crook emanates blatant lying and BS and dopey exposed manipulation and crookedness – and the dipping head Kiwis (well half of them) think his defecation smells of roses. Half this country is illogical, delusional or just plain bonkers.

  5. Barely investigated. Barely investigated. Barely investigated. We had better all get used to it folks! that’s the way its going to be now. We have a media who instead of doing any investigative reporting, now do non-investigative reporting – don’t just ignore the rorts that are going on around you, actually make them worse by deliberately covering them up or assisting the perpetrators to actually do it. It amazes me that this country used to pride itself on its free press, how the media had the right and freedom to question everything, to bring the governing powers to account. They still have the right but they are now so caught up in it that they have become part of it. There are many other countries where the media/press would give their right arms to have the opportunities that ours do. Our MSM has become lazy, compliant, egotistic and Hollywood styled.

  6. Spot on Martyn. It was particularly galling to hear Mark Boyd claim that the coverage was unbiased without any analysis of what was actually covered. This topic deserves a lot more than a ten minute show

  7. Right on! If Nicky Hager was out of order using hacked emails, then every criminal case involving evidence from an undercover cop should be thrown out of court…….. holding your breath is not advised.

    • I wish that were true, mainly because 90% of the evidence given by undercover cops is fabricated. However, they do have a defined legal framework in which they are supposed to work. Hacker’s don’t, so your argument, while appealing, is irrelevant.

  8. I can only hope that an intelligent approach has been nutted out as to how these allegations can be probed further in question time.

  9. I too was flabbergasted by the lack of in-depth coverage of these issues. There was a fairly reasonable amount of time spent, but very little probing questioning. When a response was given it was often accepted outright, occasionally a follow-up question would dig a little deeper, and then the subject dropped if John Key waffled or mumbled a vague platitude.

    It often felt like the reporters (journalist is too strong a word and many are merely presenters) were fearful of offending Mr Key.

    We should take it as our mission in the upcoming weeks and months to keep these topics at the forefront of people’s minds. If we have been lied to, if our government is collaborating in the surveillance of every New Zealander’s digital communications, we need to know. If our government is hiding the underhanded tactics they use to attack their political opponents and denying it had anything to do with them, we need to know.

    The people of New Zealand have a right to know.

  10. Brilliant analysis, Bomber!!

    Documented,on record,as we move forward.

    Own radio? or at least a 2-3hr segment somewhere?


  11. Well.. it seems like our self appointed ‘champion of democracy and exposer of corruption ‘ Winston Peters has jumped shipped to side with Key to obliterate Internet Mana…

    Internet Mana…the only group with enough honesty , integrity and courage to tell it how it is. And that includes their financial benefactor , KDC.

    Now…..who will take this mantle? ….or does it take another member of the public to have to dig deep into their pockets to spark enough public interest in order to bring these political scum before the courts again? .

    Slowly loosing patience with these shitheads…..slowly loosing patience.

  12. What little probing questioning occurred only gave Key the opportunity to repeat ad nauseam the lie about left wing consipiracy and that was all the public heard. The same thing was documented in the Hollow Men doco, where Brash was repeatedly asked quite hard questions and all he did was repeat the same mantra of spin that was the message he wanted to get across. It is a pre-rehearsed technique that National have mastered. It doesn’t matter if you lie, if you say it often enough the people will believe it, straight out of the propaganda manual.

  13. Martyn I agree with everything you say here, except for “hypercritical.” If the media were indeed a bit more hypercritical, they would be able to point out how hypocritical Key and his cronies are!

  14. Shows how easily the public can be fooled. Let’s hope that the election result has handed Key a piece of rope that’s not too long and that he knows what to do with it. That will be the day many of us will feel vindicated, and I hope that those who voted for him do not have family who will be hurt by their policies, especially working people.

  15. Fairfax and APN are now just right-wing funded paparazzi, hired for personal assassination campaigns against any individual that dares to tell the truth about National and their dirty tricks. So much for the free press.

    • Marcus you are so right about freedom of our Press . I’ve had trouble trying to get a reporter to do a story on a Major concerns regarding the newly rebuilt Stadium Southland which has a Huge 40M plus wide Trusses over the Public Netball Courts with only one single 40mm or it could be 50mm pin per Truss holding it up onto the Centre of the Building ( these pins have a 12mm hold drilled & taped in both ends so they are already weakened ) Where as the Trusses on the other side of this Centre Beam are held up with 10 x 30mm Grade 8.8 Bolts a huge difference in load bearing stress loading from Expansion, Weight of Trusses, & unknown Snow and Earth Quake Loadings. The designing company same as CTV building in ChCh ? So when will it also fail let first building on 18th Sept 2010 did Luckily there wasn’t anyone inside when it Collapsed , but can they be that Lucky twice ?

  16. This is the “Halo Effect”. If someone is inherently in love with an organisation or person, they just refuse to believe anything bad about it/them.
    That and the sheer volume of bad stuff about National coming through since “Dirty Politics” caused the media (ignorant ill-educated little twerps that most are) to be be stunned mullets.
    Next day another load would come through and again an ad hominem attack by National’s spinners which successfully defused the issue until another came through.
    The opposition parties also were stunned and failed to capitalise on the gifts they received.
    Next election, lads and lasses. Take a leaf out of National’s books and reign in the senior MPs and stop giving the media easy copy. They are only in the entertainment industry after all and seek to paralyse the viewers’ intellects until tht next raft of adverts.

  17. So …all this hoo-ha..and it still isn’t clear what those Israelis backpackers were doing here during the EQ. Isn’t that what the content of the Sis report was about?

  18. ” Combine government bad behaviour and an employee with a conscience and you get a whistleblower. Add a journalist into the mix and you have a recipe for government accountability. ”


    Except in New Zealand . Where Governmental bad behaviour is rewarded by yet another term in office , the whistle blowers get savaged by attack bloggers and the journalists are paid employees of a corrupt system supported by a population of sycophantic , obsequious and servile crooks AKA the ‘ people ‘ .

    It’s no longer just a jonky thing . It’s 48 % of the voting population . What ever the fuck’s going on is spreading like Ebola .

  19. Questions to ask Kim Dot Com on his Dirty Politics.
    1. Was the email you gave the Herald a fake.
    2. If it was fake, who forged it.

    As for Global Warming, why has the sea ice in the Antarctic increased if the planet is getting warmer & why is the hole in the ozone layer a lot smaller than it has ever been.

    • As I understand it, the KDC email is before the Speaker and that will play out in time.

      Nice focus on the two apparent contra indicators for global warming.

      The world is not warming uniformly, more warming in the northern hemisphere. A report from the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment that was compiled from 2000 to 2004 revealed that the average temperature in Russia, Western Canada and Alaska have all increased by twice the global average.

      I’m not sure about the ozone hole, that’s a slightly different matter and perhaps the reduction in CFCs has had that effect.

      Global warming denial is now an indicator of a world view. The science is substantially settled (although that is the latest denial mantra “no science is settled”). A denier is most likely someone who holds authoritarian and individualist views of how society should be organised. Check out “cultural cognition”, it’ll tell you how your world view allows you to contradict the science.

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