MEDIA WATCH: One News buries the lead – the real problem for Simon Bridges social media war


The real problem for Simon Bridges in last weeks TVNZ Poll was this…

…Bridges has had to be a dick to get media oxygen and that’s helped National but has burnt him. Over 51% disapprove of the job he’s doing, and remember this poll was taken as false accusations that Jacinda Ardern not only knew about a sexual assault but that she covered it up as well.

If you can’t lift your approval ratings against someone accused of covering up sex crimes, you need to have a moment of reflection about life choices.

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This is why Simon’s social media war is so crucial to the 2020 election campaign.

Electioneering previous to Facebook amounted to identifying voters from a known voting pool and serving that voting pool up messages that made them vote. This was crude targeting, but if you lived in a wealthy neighbourhood, you would hear messages attuned to you, if you lived in a poorer neighbourhood, you would hear messages tailored for that environment.

Facebook however allowed you to hunt not just for known voters, but that vast swathe of people who also don’t bother voting.

On the Left we have told ourselves that vast swathe of people who don’t vote are poor and brown and disenfranchised, and while that is certainly true, it also includes a large number of angry white men who don’t bother voting because they feel culturally alienated by the current paradigms of micro-aggression policing and Millennial sensibilities. This group of males are economically paranoid by their perceived lack of cultural power and whose economic anxiety clashes with being told they are the ones with the privilege.

Rather than engaging, these male white voters simply shield themselves in apathy and cynicism and don’t vote.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica suddenly had hundreds of data points to know how to precisely push those angry white non voters into rage fuelled voting machines. This manipulation of white male anger become the driving force that saw Trump win, Brexit win and Scott Morrison win.

National will adopt the exact same tactics. Their social media campaign will target white male nonvoters with cleverly coded sexist memes like #PartTimePM and the sense that the last election was stolen somehow.

Simon Bridges now has more social media staff in his Office than actual political researchers. 

People may disapprove of the job Simon is doing, but he can lead National to victory by using social media to inject resentment into politics via micro-targeted Facebook adverts.

2020 is going to be the Facebook election and it will play to our worst angels.


  1. Simon (no bridges) is a goner as he represents “the hollow man” syndrome.

    Simon Bridges came to Napier with Billy English before the 2017 election.

    All who met him said he was like; quote; – a “blank canvas”.

    It was reported those who met him had no idea what he represented, so he obviously left “no impression”.

    Simon Bridges is an uninspiring individual, and this is why no-one will vote for him other than who think he is good for their own financial use.

  2. “Simon Bridges now has more social media staff in his Office than actual political researchers. ” I love it when someone gives me a good laugh to start the day. Does he really?

    What are they doing there ? Would he be sitting below freezing point without them ? Is this what politics is about then?

    Silly me, I thought it was about we the people who elect them on the off-chance that they’ll get the trains running on time, and I’ve been casting mental aspersions on Simon’s missus and the ghastly Bennett for
    Simon being such an anthropological oddity, but it looks like it’s been a team effort to get him that way.

    • “more social media staff …”

      Yes, sadly that is the new reality. Today is all about social media influencers – Who they can influence and how many. It’s reality. And Labour are too busy actually “doing stuff” to worry about that very much – They’re not into self-promoting but rather with getting on with the job. But when what they do it is not covered, or inadequately covered by the news or in social media, it’s almost invisible.

      Which is why the Nats are endlessly repeating a few sound-bites of memes, all of which attack Labour or “this government”. The Nats have NO strong policy of their own (that they will admit to), so it’s all about trying to trash the existing govt. And those attack memes may have no basis in reality whatsoever, – the only thing that matters is that the memes, the concepts enter the minds of voters, including subliminally.

      I went looking for the Nats’ policy on policing etc. All I found was the ever repeated phrase, “Labour is soft on crime”, and “soft on gangs”. Again and again and again. So that is one meme.

      Another meme is that Jacinda is weak and ineffective. Which is absolute BS! She has shown that she is remarkably strong and uniquely effective. She has impacted on people around the world including world leaders and social media giants. The Nats’ only achievement has been sabotage, their ability to disguise her successes and present them as the opposite.

      Another meme Nats are pushing, are repeating and repeating, is that the coalition govt has “done nothing”. Again, BS! It’s just that they have not been putting time or money into promoting themselves, nor, sadly, into defending themselves from these unwarranted attacks.

  3. The Nats are a few things, greedy, selfish, arrogant, divisive, entitled and often repulsive but one thing they are not is stupid. So why have a creep like Soymon Bwidges up against Jacinda? It’s the equivalent of bitter vomit v honey. Bwidges has three roles. None of those roles include being PM.

    1) Throw as much shit onto the wall as possible against Ardern all day every day and hope at least some of the shit sticks. That task is called “scoring hits”.

    2) Don’t lose too much ground for the Rodent Party in the process.

    3) Keep the seat warm for the new Blue Messiah waiting in the wings. His name is Christopher Luxon.

    Most of us accept Bwidges is dead man walking. My only hope is when he slides back into his sewer next year he takes that vile Pulla Benefit with him.

  4. “he can lead National to victory by using social media to inject resentment into politics via micro-targeted Facebook adverts.”

    He can try, but he won’t win. He may even win a few battles along the way, but he’s already lost the war. You can go only so far when you have no real policies to offer.

    Rob Oram addresses this in his article released today: National has its own climate crisis.

    “Ignoring the science and the broader public mood, National continues to take its ‘do-nothing, know-nothing’ lead from powerful party members desperately clinging to deeply vested interests in a high emissions economy”

    “One sign of National’s enthusiasm is its reluctance to distance itself from Collins’ [Facebook] comments. Via Bridges’ chief media handler Rachel Morton, I asked him to identify which of Collins’ points were National Party policy and which weren’t. She refused to reply.”

    The National Party “fail to acknowledge how rapidly climate science, action and public support are strengthening here and in many other countries.” They “continue to use highly misleading data…”

    “The Government has spent a lot of time trying to persuade National to engage in a constructive, science-based and ambitious way. But at every step, National has taken its do-nothing, know-nothing lead from powerful party members who are desperately clinging to their deeply vested interests in a high emissions economy.”

    In response to Collins’ Facebook post, “adults are having those constructive debates here and around the world. But National’s only contribution is ‘can’t’, ‘won’t’ and ‘no’ from the side lines.”

    Oram’s summation: “National might not even get the opportunity to try. If it persists in its know-nothing, do-nothing climate strategy epitomised by Collins and the party’s weak leadership on the issue, it will lose more votes at next year’s election than it will gain from supporting sceptics and vested interests.”

  5. these comments give me hope that more and many people are seeing through the false statements and promises that National makes, I just hope the same is true for the election. It begs belief that people would even think of saying Bridges could be a better leader than Jacinda I like to think that my countrymen know better than that. Let’s hope that brains and good sense prevail

  6. @ Jacindafan – you are on the money.
    It is obvious that the NATs are maneuvering themselves to get their ‘messiah’ Luxon ready, and soymon is the ‘patsy’.
    I imagine the election runup is all planned out, like strategic warfare already.
    To combat, the coalition govt needs to ‘shout from the rooftops’ about their first term achievements, as this would push the, ‘let’s do nothing for 9 years”, NATs to the background.

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