MUST READ: Piling-On The Pressure

By   /   April 5, 2018  /   49 Comments

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Can liberal democracy survive if the news media abandons evidence-based judgement and simply piles-on “as one” against a prime minister and her government? And what if it isn’t just the timing that’s consistent, but the message as well? What then? How is the public to avoid the impression that the news media is rooting for one side and not the other?

WERE YOU AWARE of the Easter “pile-on”? The media assault on Jacinda Ardern’s credibility when, according to Herald journalist, Fran O’Sullivan: “the commentariat … basically rose as one and questioned her prime ministerial abilities”.

Nothing remarkable in that, you might object, in a liberal democracy it is entirely right and proper for the news media to judge the performance of presidents and prime ministers. Yes, but shouldn’t such judgements be based on a sober and objective assessment of the leader’s actual performance? Isn’t that one of the critical (if unspoken) assumptions underpinning the whole notion of media freedom?

Can liberal democracy survive if the news media abandons evidence-based judgement and simply piles-on “as one” against a prime minister and her government? And what if it isn’t just the timing that’s consistent, but the message as well? What then? How is the public to avoid the impression that the news media is rooting for one side and not the other?

This is more than idle speculation. We have only to look at the United States to see what happens when a significant number of voters simply stop believing anything reported by media organisations which have not already identified themselves as co-partisans in the political struggle. Any negative story emerging from the other side’s “lying media” can be branded “fake news” and dismissed as further proof of the its uncompromising mendacity.

When President Trump tweets his outrage at “the lying New York Times”, liberal New Yorkers may puff out their chests with pride. The eyes of mid-western conservatives, however, will narrow with suspicion and their hatred of the “coastal elites” intensify.

In a political environment as polarised as this, the openness and tolerance which liberal democracy needs to function – withers and dies. It is impossible to engage in any kind of fruitful political discourse when every participant believes every other participant is lying.

The media picture in New Zealand is further complicated by the absence of newspapers and radio stations which loudly and proudly advertise their partisan allegiances. Kiwis do not have the option of subscribing to the equivalent of the UK’s Guardian or Daily Telegraph. There is no MSNBC for liberals to watch; no Fox News for Kiwi conservatives.

That being the case, the New Zealand news media has always strived to balance right-wing opinion with the perspectives of left-leaning commentators. This is not just a question of fairness, it is a vital to the maintenance of trust. Readers, listeners and viewers need to feel that somewhere in the mix of voices there is someone who speaks their language.

Even more important than ensuring a diversity of opinion, however, is the news media’s responsibility to separate fact from fiction and apply a critical eye to the news it reports.

With all these factors in mind, let us turn again to Ms O’Sullivan’s “Easter pile-on”.

The two news stories which generated so much common outrage in the “commentariat” were Jacinda Ardern’s and Winston Peters’ response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK city of Salisbury; and the Prime Minister’s handling of Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran’s coffee-date with RNZ’s head of news and content, Carol Hirschfeld.

In the Skripal case, the reportage and commentary (often filed by the same journalists and in the same story!) appeared to have been scripted by the UK Government. The only course of action which the commentariat was prepared to recognise as prime-ministerial is the one where Jacinda Ardern follows along behind the Russophobic UK Prime Minister, Teresa May, like a dutiful “Five Eyes” poodle.

The very notion that the NZ Government might withhold its judgement until it possessed hard evidence of the perpetrators’ culpability was laughed out of court. Laughter, indeed, featured heavily in just about all of these commentaries – as in “New Zealand has become an international laughing-stock”. As if an independently-minded New Zealand prime minister was simply too risible a notion to be taken seriously.

How quickly New Zealand’s political commentators have forgotten David Lange and the fourth Labour Government’s nuclear-free legislation. And how loath they are to recall the UK’s refusal to condemn the French perpetrators of state terrorism on NZ soil. That so many Kiwi journalists were willing to be guided by the same people who gave the world the “sexed-up dossier” on Saddam’s WMDs; the same country responsible for illegally invading Iraq; spoke very poorly of their ability to evaluate critically the news they were reporting.

The state of NZ journalism was the unspoken theme running through the breathless reportage and commentary of the Curran-Hirshfeld coffee-klatch. Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to call it the State and NZ journalism. Because, at the heart of so many of the piler-ons’ commentaries lies a deep and abiding disinclination to view public service journalism through anything other than an aggressively anti-state lens.

That Ms Curran may have enlisted the support of Ms Hirshfeld in her quest to reinvigorate public broadcasting was presented in the most sinister terms. That the RNZ Board may have been engaged in resisting the Government’s broadcasting policy was not presented as being in the least bit sinister – quite the reverse.

Prime Minister Ardern was castigated for not reining-in a minister who was clearly determined to extend the reach of “Red Radio”. As an accusation it played beautifully into the commentariat’s subtextual insinuation that this government isn’t just unacceptably socialist, but that its policies are being delivered with a Stalinist inflection. Why else would the PM refuse to condemn the actions of the obviously guilty Russian state and its ex-KGB president?

A commentariat prepared to rise “as one” in its delivery of these rebukes risks alienating all but the most unreconstructed cold warriors and knee-jerk National supporters. Those less disposed to follow the lead of our “Five Eyes Partners” in the Skripal case, along with those who regard the reinvigoration of public service journalism as a very good idea, will feel both affronted and aggrieved by the “Easter pile-in”.

Genuine media freedom, embodied in a diversity of political voices, can only strengthen the public’s trust in journalism. That’s because the truth is always a composite picture – never a single frame.

When the commentariat “piles-in” with a single voice, it is not to our left-wing government that we should look for evidence of Stalinism.

 

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49 Comments

  1. Afewknowthetruth says:

    The media are there to serve the ‘1%’ (now down to 0.1% in most western ‘democracies’) at the top of the financial pyramid, together with the banks and corporations that own most western nations (and decide what policies need to be pursued by the puppets and clowns that constitute governments). It has been that way for well over a century. To think otherwise is to be extraordinarily naïve.

  2. David Stone says:

    I have been watching for international coverage of Jacinda’s stance on the expulsion of Russian diplomats. Very little. I thought RT would love it but maybe they don’t want to precipitate more heat to be piled on NZ for the move. The western outlets don’t seem to mention it at all when discussing who and how many countries have co operated with Britain. I suspect that Jacinda’s courageous hold out for truth and reason, not to say world peace,is a disproportionate embarrassment to the rest of the west. We are small , but highly respected for our integrity on the world stage, it’s a serious hangnail to the Russiaphobic propaganda that’s going on at the moment.Especially as the “Russia did it” accusation is starting to unravel.

    Curran’s coffee date seems like something ministers should always do to communicate with people involved in their jurisdiction, but a misleading reply to a parliamentary question is always going to cause trouble. Especially if it can easily be exposed.
    D J S

  3. Observer Tokoroa says:

    Chris Trotter – Right on Target !

    The crippled Herald and the crippled RNZ and TV have taken to their bosom the sodden remains of what was once that national party.

    There are no media of balance – let alone fairness – in New Zealand.

    For the young Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, is the exact opposite of the Herald, the Nationals, the RNZ layabouts, the ZBs. The Corporates. The Boards. The Share Holders.

    Not a single person of power in this dump has written about or described the incredible carnage wrought by the deplorable John Key and Billy English and their meek followers.

    The felines of the Media – are exposing their very unattractive tongues, minds and bodies – in an attempt to destroy her who has integrity.

    Shut the neo liberal stuff up. For pete’s sake. Get out there and defend – for New Zealand’s sake – the person of Integrity.

    Jacinda, unlike the Herald or RNZ and its pettifoggers, has a mind and a soul.

    • Michelle says:

      agree 100% with Observer Tokoroa would like to add Jacinda also has conscience unlike the last lot

      • Observer Tokoroa says:

        Yes Michelle

        Jacinda has a Conscience.

        She is the exact opposite of the NZ Media.

  4. Steve King says:

    And while the “pile-on” is piling on, they ignore other serious stories, such as the recent exposure of the Defence Force being caught in a lie over the “Hit and Run” allegations, and the emerging story of the gross neglect, by the previous government, of the nations health infrastructure.

  5. R.P McMurphy says:

    the media in nz has regressed into a kiddie style gang with no impediments to their constant maunderings and oversight of lack of intergrity.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Our NGO has no trust in today’s NZ media now as even the Government has no power to control this run away spin doctoring of their deep agendas fuelled by corporate greed for total control of our minds and now we are being blocked by even our own RNZ public media from getting our regional stories covered by them any more so we are needing Government to forcefully take over total control of our public media from the corporate controlled stool pigeons who they have installed to push their agenda.

      So we are left to place our daily media releases on the social media now.

      This is todays NGO public health and safety release on our sad rail loss in HB/Gisborne in need of being restored to service now that the roads are to dangerous to use.

      Protecting our environment & health.
      In association with other Community Groups, NHTCF and all Government Agencies since 2001.
      Public COMMUNITY REQUEST ; letter of public safety; – Lower ‘road freight trucks’ still increasing at 6% a year. (NZTA)
      Re-open notably the Napier to Gisborne rail line.

      Press release – Save our NZ rail project. 2012 – 2018 from CEAC Est’ 2001.

      https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/one-dead-after-crash-in-waikato

      One person has died in the Waikato after a road crash.

      Source: 1 NEWS
      Police said the crash involved a truck and a ute on Tirau Rd, between Karapiro Rd and Gorton Rd.
      The driver of the ute was the victim of the crash.

      Freight truck use is still increasing at 6% a year. (NZTA)

      So “truck gridlocked roads” are now urgently needing to be countered by the moving of NZ road freight back to rail in line with the new labour lead transport policy announced this week to save lives and improve road safety.

      NZTA claims – each road death costs the NZ economy $3.2 million dollars.

      These ‘external costs’ must now be factored into the ‘value of rail use in NZ.’

    • Michelle says:

      just like the kiddie style government we had for 9 yrs the revenge mission signed of by key was tit for tat bullshert

  6. Sanctuary says:

    The pile-on is to serve the same purpose as Clark and Cullen’s “winter of discontent” – a warning from the rich of the consequences should the government seriously challenge the neoliberal grip on our economy.

    Come the one year anniversary of the Labour coalition deal Labour will either be battered into a Stockholm syndrome with it’s jailers on the right and only make the most timid of reforms or the media, whipped up by business, will be leading a full scale revolt against them.

    • Aaron says:

      yup – that’s it right there

    • Francesca says:

      And I get sick of the argument that Labour has to up its game media wise
      That its all its fault, and the media environment is dog eat dog …get used to it..
      Thats the same reasoning as men are men , don’t wear short skirts and lipstick if you dont want to get raped
      We totally , as a society, need to decide what our media is for…public good with delivery of honest and fair information and analysis,a good dose of scepticism, or a loyal servant of the capitalist status quo
      Its not just here, all over the western world, media is attacking left wing politicians who threaten a retreat from neoliberalism

      • Observer Tokoroa says:

        Yes Francesca

        Labour does not have to lower itself to the level of the existing Media.

        No human in New Zealand has to ape the nationals, and the low level garbage presented by the herald and ZB.

        Just look at the low life John Key and Billy English turned out to be. Supported by Media,

  7. Historian Pete says:

    The misreporting of the events in the Ukraine in 2014 in particular showed the N.Z. media to be utterly untrustworthy. Blatant lying in their coverage of events sums it up. Any event that cast the West in a bad light was simply omitted.When this was pointed out to them in written communications they expressed puzzlement that anyone could object to their misrepresentations.What this untrustworthyness indicates is a corruption of free speech that in the end is the achilles heel of the neo-liberal experiment.They know that they can lie in concert and get away with it. So of course they lie. No honour or integrity here. Just like the 1% cant help themselves forever enriching themselves at the expense of humanity , yet they at the same time create the seeds of their own destruction !!!

    • Francesca says:

      Same for me Pete
      Fort Russ turned out to be the most reliable, because they reported from the ground.
      All the other reports were mediated through Kiev, because western outlets didn’t want to be seen giving any recognition to the breakaway republics
      Kiev lied its arse off, they didn’t want to cede that they’d lost the airport and that Debaltsevo was a total wipeout
      Time after time , the Guardian had it totally wrong

    • Cemetery Jones says:

      Seen Craig Murray’s latest, Pete? He’d argue you’re on the money: http://21stcenturywire.com/2018/04/04/murray-johnson-and-may-are-hiding-as-their-novichok-lies-dissolve/

      • TootingPopularFront says:

        Novichok and weaponized anti-Semitism, these are the current propaganda narratives of choice against Labour in the UK, pile-on is clearly the new Crosby-Textor instruction both here and over there, watch out for the same in Australia too…

      • The Masked Moa says:

        Quite agree with you. The nerve agent theory never made any sense right from the beginning (just like 9/11 towers made of steel and concrete vaporising into dust and falling at freefall speed) as nerve agents are designed to kill straight away, but Craig Murray puts it best:

        “This narrative simply is not remotely credible. Nerve agents – above all “military grade nerve agents” – were designed as battlefield weapons. They do not leave opponents fighting fit for hours. There is no description in the scientific literature of a nerve agent having this extraordinary time bomb effect. Here another genuine Professor describes their fast action in Scientific American:

        Unlike traditional poisons, nerve agents don’t need to be added to food and drink to be effective. They are quite volatile, colourless liquids (except VX, said to resemble engine oil). The concentration in the vapour at room temperature is lethal. The symptoms of poisoning come on quickly, and include chest tightening, difficulty in breathing, and very likely asphyxiation. Associated symptoms include vomiting and massive incontinence. Victims of the Tokyo subway attack were reported to be bringing up blood. Kim Jong-nam died in less than 20 minutes. Eventually, you die either through asphyxiation or cardiac arrest.

        If the nerve agent was on the door handle and they touched it, the onset of these symptoms would have occurred before they reached the car. They would certainly have not felt like sitting down to a good lunch two hours later. And they would have been dead three weeks ago.”

        In other words another false flag attack by the usual suspects for more war and destruction and profit for the banksters.

  8. ababy says:

    Except this isn’t a true liberal democracy. It’s a pantomime inside a paradox

    without military sovereignty or financial independence.

  9. ababy says:

    Except this isn’t a liberal democracy. It’s a pantomime inside a paradox with no military sovereignty or financial independence

  10. ababy says:

    What liberal democracy, Traitor?

  11. let me be frank says:

    forget too big to fail…remember small enough to be bought

  12. Pete says:

    Yesterday on RNZ I heard the EQC is spending $160 million re-repairing botched repairs on quake-damaged Christchurch homes. That is almost $100m more than former EQC Minister Gerry Brownlee said in June 2016 would be the cost.

    The $160 million excludes cash settlements, so the number is bigger, likely by a considerable amount.

    Well done to RNZ for the story. This morning RNZ seemed more interested Green Party Minister Eugenie Sage’s dealings with the Environmental Protection Authority. No guesses which story has been picked up on the blogosphere.

    Genuine media freedom? Public trust in journalism? Those have reached the point of irrelevance for the masses. They are mere transitory fripperies, ebbing and flowing according to personal needs, political perspectives and passing moods.

    Winston Peters was overpaid superannuation. How much? Let’s say $20,000. The world was going to end, the scandal for the ages had arrived. The fervour and hysteria in our media was obvious.

    Christchurch? The situation for the victims of the Christchurch fiasco goes on, anonymous, unimportant. $100 million extra? Unimportant, unremarkable, who cares, oh dear, how sad, never mind.

  13. Thanks Chris for your timely article.

    It can be no coincidence that there is so much anti the coalition Government.
    It is a well orchestrated agenda being mainly driven by the Auckland based opinion writers and aided by the Auckland Herald.

    There is no doubt it must have an affect on this Governments Ministers when it is all they see in the Herald, and on TV and radio, day after day, more anti Government propaganda.

    It will be a bad day for democracy if we allow the media to determine who runs the country.

  14. adam says:

    The utter lack of skills by the media in NZ to think in any critical way, has been evident for sometime. The way it lapped up the collection of liars that were elected for 9 years, is why I point blankly stopped believing anything out of their collective mouths.

    The granny, just lies, the fact it was hip deep in dirty politics I wonder why anyone on the left clicks on, or buys that gutter trash.

    RNZ is just gotcha politics over and over, you could set your crop rotation to it.

    Media works, is an example of foreign ownership of the press and how dangerous it is to ordinary people.

    And when did any of the press in this country have a discussion on how economics and how we chose a economic system will impact on our lives? Never, just never. It’s all just slogans and Liberlisms lies.

    Our press can only do one thing, prop up the cult of cupidity. And in that they are doing a very fine job.

    Definition of cupidity
    plural cupidities
    1 : inordinate desire for wealth : avarice, greed the cupidity of the bankers
    2 : strong desire : lust

  15. David says:

    Hi Chris,
    Good piece but let’s simplify it.

    Firstly we need to put the ego aside, the only thing that separates us all. Without ego (our haphazardly learned self identification) then we are all the same. I might add here IMO that life’s long journey is to diminish our own egos……

    That aside then simply follow the money, most media, MSM are owned by corporate institutions that represent Capitalism. Capitalism at an increasing pace is failing but nobody wants to see or say that.

    As the cliff approaches the distractions get bigger, Iran, China, Russia, N Korea, Prostitutes it matters not as long as nobody notices the problem. Most people are like Goldfish looking for the water in this regard!

    Its failure due to sheer greed (back to ego again)

    Where might one find any news source available to a large audience the presents an adult debate on any serious current issue without idiotic name calling, fact based, pros and con etc.

    The left, right are just examples in a never ending list (often deliberately encouraged in article comments sections) of things designed to divide people and to distract!

    The reality being if we remain on this present course and I see no evidence of any radical change then the result will be War either external or civil in the USA and or economic collapse/correction.

    Journalists need to own their contribution to this Chris, take some responsibility because their own egos in promulgating shit will inevitably lead to their own and a great many people’s demise.

  16. G.A.P. says:

    Thank you Chris, the so called news in this country has been a very bad joke for a long time, direct feeds from cnn and obscure bloggers in bedrooms in the uk passing as fact?? The BS from may and boris the buffoon does seem to be starting to unravel, but don’t disturb the sheeple with to much information, they are waiting for the next episode of lust at first bite.

  17. Tomorrow says:

    The political right wing bias in the NZ MSM has been a fact for years, it is just maintaining the power where the power is i.e. in the corporate world, speaking to the haves against the have-nots, thus perpetuating and increasing the social divide of gross inequality.

    But that commentators like O’Sullivan et al who openly support a right wing philosophy, are eager to set aside any semblance of impartial reporting and instead create a false scenario of left-wing government incompetence is a crime against democracy.

    And it is tragic that the public does not comprehend the dangers in such manipulation.
    What we have is not professional journalism, it is blatant right wing lobbying on behalf of the National party by people like O”Sullivan masquerading as journalists.

  18. Francesca says:

    Same for me Pete
    Fort Russ turned out to be the most reliable, because they reported from the ground.
    All the other reports were mediated through Kiev, because western outlets didn’t want to be seen giving any recognition to the breakaway republics
    Kiev lied its arse off, they didn’t want to cede that they’d lost the airport and that Debaltsevo was a total wipeout
    Time after time , the Guardian had it totally wrong

  19. CLEANGREEN says:

    Stupid Clare curran has gotten all stuffed up by trying to fiddle with RNZ that has been made into a bastion of right wing trumpets since National messed it up for good.

    Curran could have simply re-instated the old channel 7 again inside a month and never have had any of this crap the silly woman.

    If she was smart she would now switch on the channel and begin broadcasting channel seven again to really tell the truth with no lies.

    • bert says:

      Speaking of telling lies, why doesn’t Griffen release the audiotape of the voice message left by Curran, something to hide ala Key and Banks?

  20. Marc says:

    The state of the media in NZ Inc is the result of the nine long years of shifting the narrative to the neoliberal right.

    We can thank one man for this state of affairs, one John Key, and of course his gang of collaborators and financiers, the former merchant bankster and Smiling Assassin.

    The infatuation with that manipulating expert, this has cost the media by those who bothered to do investigative journalism one by one being forced out of jobs, to make place for the infotainment clowns that are now largely employed, offering us lighthearted ‘news’ of little value and substance, rather diverting attention from anything serious that deserves to be scrutinised and reported on.

    The population itself has largely abandoned critical, fact based thinking, and follows the leaders of the type like John Key and his successors, voting for them with well over forty percent.

    This all makes it even more important that we get something like RNZ Plus, yes we should return TNVZ to a status of proper public broadcaster, also with better online presence.

    Never have there ever been more reasons to reestablish public broadcasting than now.

  21. Kim dandy says:

    What happened to winstons idea of an ad free channel with NZ content ( channel 7)?
    NZ MSM so obviously bias towards the right these days that it becomes a bore and just not believable anymore. ( was it ever?)
    Nothing that a really good shakeup in the public broadcasting field wouldn’t help.

  22. Andrea says:

    In all of this – how come we hear so little of Australian news?

    Our nearest trading partners – and we hear so little, apart from their declining standards of sportsmanship and their crime stories.

    People ‘pop across the Ditch for the weekend’. Go to visit family and friiends and vice versa – and we know so little until their bush fire smuts and smoke redden the sunsets.

    If you wanted to emigrate; or think about extending your business to be ‘international’ where’s the general info? The pulse stuff…

    European news? Potential trading partner/s. Popular OE destinations. What do we get? Society news and the occasional scandal. A feast of candy floss.

    Africa? Even our fellow Commonwealth countries? Silence. Asia? China yes – Japan, India, Pakistan and the many others – even the ASEAN set. Very little. The Pacific? ome news from abroad? Oh well, no.

    Back home? The ‘long read’ material must be for the goldfish with the exceptional attention span – under a minute with time to play in the bubbles. Even in the hard copy versions. Cut and paste.

    Why do people bother to go to journalism school? Most of what we get is syndicated.

  23. mosa says:

    Remember this government was not meant to happen.
    National had won its fourth term on election night and it was business as usual until Winston decided otherwise.

    Jacinda and her colleagues must be in no doubt about the forces they face that will stop at nothing to destroy their government.

    It has started earlier than what i expected and this will not be a rerun of the 2000 winter of discontent that Clark and Cullen stood up to and regained their authority to be re elected two years later.

    The same forces that nearly destroyed the Labour government in 2005 are still at work today.

    If this coalition is too survive then it must act decisively and take its enemies before it loses the initiative and the trust of the public.

    The right wing and its supporters have dominated this country long enough and if Jacinda is brave and smart enough she can and must change the narrative.

    Its not lets do this, its we will do this.

  24. Jack Ramaka says:

    NZ media especially Soper and HDP are like hysterical children ?

  25. Michelle says:

    agree 100% with Mr Ramaka

  26. R.P Mcmurphy says:

    just get on fb and give them a big serve. they hate that.

  27. Johnnybg says:

    Get over yourself, wishy washy liberal democracy is the problem. I’m all for free speech & taking it easy, but we’re past that. Nothing short of uncompromising intervention & resolute revolutionary action will save us & our nation from suicidal globalisation.

  28. Observer Tokoroa says:

    The Media mess

    News cobbled together and repeated day and night by very biased and devious news desks; aided and abetted by the light weight fakes of Q n A – degraded by stack after stack of twisted pathetic columnists such as the strange and bent Armstrong – New Zealanders are being abused constantly by the air waves of unbridled Capitalism.

    Just as the Capitalists have polluted and poxed our once pristine rivers and streams – so they continue to pollute and corrupt our Air Waves.

    Just as they have shat on our Teachers and underpaid them; just as they defecated on our our Nurses; just as they paid slave wages to the people who do the work in New Zealand; just as they do not build safe homes and commercial buildings; just as they wriggle out of paying their fair share of Taxes; The Capitalists think they are the Christ and God of the world.

    Air Waves must be protected. Like our Rivers. Like our Workers.

    Media of any variety will have the right to be Honest, Informative, and Fair. Otherwise it will do time in prison like any other criminal.

  29. web dev says:

    Two things:
    Firstly, we need a credible centre-left press. Not a blog or even a Newsroom.co.nz but a full-service news site with hourly breaking news, sports, technology, world. A left version of the NZHerald but call it ‘NZLeft’ or something. Basically what you want is a news site that ‘politically centre’ people could get into the habit of going to for all the news they need.

    You’d need:
    Strong sports reporters,
    Business writers with a left/progressive economic bent,
    Yes, a property section,
    World/AP,
    Entertainment,
    Motors,
    The lot.

    In every respect it would have to have the look and feel and content of a mainstream news provider, except the reporting on our interests would have to have a progressive/left slant. We’d be trying to pull people across from the ‘aspirational classes’ so there’d still have to be the reviews of the latest BMW, a real estate section, sports etc… and they would be reported on just like in other sites, but where it counts (our stuff) we’d be putting out our side of the story.

    Second.
    There needs to be a law change or a change to the news standards. During the Russian fiasco, it appeared to me that, among the headlines, the opinions of commentators and outrage merchants seemed to have had greater prominence than the story itself. Surely it would be simple to change the standards to make sure opinion is not given greater prominence than the facts of the actual story? Headline font size and positioning would be a good start.

  30. web dev says:

    Two things:
    Firstly, we need a credible centre-left press. Not a blog or even a Newsroom.co.nz but a full-service news site with hourly breaking news, sports, technology, world. A left version of the NZHerald but call it ‘NZLeft’ or something. Basically what you want is a news site that ‘politically centre’ people could get into the habit of going to for all the news they need.

    You’d need:
    Strong sports reporters,
    Business writers with a left/progressive economic bent,
    Yes, a property section,
    World/AP,
    Entertainment,
    Motors,
    The lot.

    In every respect it would have to have the look and feel and content of a mainstream news provider, except the reporting on our interests would have to have a progressive/left slant. We’d be trying to pull people across from the ‘aspirational classes’ so there’d still have to be the reviews of the latest BMW, a real estate section, sports etc… and they would be reported on just like in other sites, but where it counts (our stuff) we’d be putting out our side of the story.

    Second.
    There needs to be a law change or a change to the news standards. During the Russian fiasco, it appeared to me that, among the headlines, the opinions of commentators and outrage merchants seemed to have had greater prominence than the story itself. Surely it would be simple to change the standards to make sure opinion is not given greater prominence than the facts of the actual story? Headline font size and positioning would be a good start.