Wednesday, 16 July 2014

There is no (more thn usual) media bias in New Zealand

At least, no more so than anywhere else.  Yet in New Zealand it seems to present an insurmountable obstacle.  Whereas in other countries, the left just gets on with getting popular and - occasionlly at least - getting elected.

Hell, if Ed Miliband can lead the Tories in the polls, after just four years in opposition, it shouldn't be that difficult for NZ Labour to challenge John Key and his tired, corrupt bunch of cronies.

Yet it seems to be too much to ask.  And so the predictable wail goes up - the incessant refrain of media bias. A recent example fom the Standard being this complain from Karol (who is highly skilled at discerning media bias where normal people might tend to over look it because it ... er ... isn't there.

In this case, the offending article being an Op Ed piece by Tracey Watkins, examining the political career of Laila Harre and the jigsaw puzzle that make up the left of NZ politics.

The article that provokes Karol's wrath is actually a fairly complimentary piece about Harre’s achievements and experience, and an accurate historical commentary on the history of the Alliance. And I'm willing to bet that if Watkins hadn’t written this piece, people would be whining about how the left were being ‘shut out.’ If she had written a puff piece about how wonderful and ace Harre and everything left was, then she would have been lying and doing a disservice to her readers.

The more articles like this, the better. It makes IMP look more serious and interesting, and reduces the perception that the party is just a bad joke by Dotcom. Stop being such a bunch of sad, paranoid complainers, the left! This isn’t media bias. This is responsible reporting.

Real media bias is the Daily Mail smearing Ralph Miliband to hurt his son’s election chances; or the Telegraph’s grotesquely skewed coverage of the expenses scandal a few years back; or the attempts to hurt Harriet Harman or Jack Dromney by trying to connect them to the Paedophile Information Exchange.

If you think a judicious profile of Laile Harre is ‘bias’ you don’t even know the meaning of the word.

The left is fragmented. That’s a fact. It will probably become more fragmented and will finally evolve into several strands, of which Labour will be the largest, but nowhere near as dominant as it has been or even is now.

Anyone who pretends the left isn’t fragmented is deluded. It is one of the fundamental problems we have to address. Contrast with the right, which is able to command a solid 40%+ of the vote.

Floating voters and potential switchers are disinclined to vote Labour because they no longer look like a party of government. The sooner Labour acknowledges this and sets out a common agenda with the Greens, IMP and others, the better.

Unfortunately, it probably won’t happen for a couple of elections.

 Another issue that has provoke fury on the Standard is the return of the dreaded wyrm, sorry worm.

Apparently, political debate that guage the audience reaction are not a good thing because they cheapen the debate and turn politics into a win/lose game (er, isn't that the point? We win, they eat that, they win, we eat that?).

 I think this is a convoluted way of saying they think the left will fair less well at the hands of the worm (as it were) than the right wing parties. Cunliffe will struggle against Key, because he manifests the same unlikeable tendencies of the later Clarke. He doe snot come across well, and has yet to articulate a clear, gripping idea of what New Zealand should be like.

It shouldn't be difficult. The message of the left is a sure fire winner. We want children to grow up in dry, warm homes and attend well resourced schools where everyone gets a quality education which doesn't depend upon being born into the right family. Workers should have well remunerated jobs, and be able to do them in safety and with the security of knowing they have a solid union behind them looking out for their interests. And we all get to be free, equal citizens of a just nation that is based on the rule of law and openness, which cares for the environment and serves as a role model to other nations to aspire to.

Yet this simple message seems to have eluded Labour since some point early in the century; they've been running scared since 2005.

As a result, people have lost interest in them, and simply vote National because they seem like a better bunch of managers than the other lot. If they bother to vote at all.

So, I for one welcome the return of the worm. I’m mostly in favour of things that will attract public interest in the election, as both major parties seem intent on making into a stunningly dull affair.

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