Labour and the nasty biased media

After a torrid week for David Cunliffe and Labour that must have been seriously deflating for them at the very time they most needed to make a strong impression the fingers are starting to point.

And the index finger is pointing straight at the media (they never notice where their other fingers are pointing).

The Labour left usually think that the media is strongly and unfairly biased towards National and against them (just as the right wing think the media is strongly biased towards the left).

And they seem to be launching into a blame the media campaign. It may be spontaneous but there seems to be quite a few like mined bloggers.

A post at The Standard by mickysavage – Media bias:

Media bias has been a topic of conversation for lefties this week.  TV3 has shown, shall we say,questionable judgment, Karol has set out the divergence of treatment shown by the Herald to National’s and Labour’s state of the Nation speeches and the media in general have jumped on National’s framing of issues.  Sam Durbin at Recess Monkey documents recent events well in this post.

That points to Have the media called the 2014 election for Key already?

John Key started the political year with his flat, dull, State of the Nation speech delivered to a stuffy room of businessmen. Rather than sketching out an inspiring vision for the country, he most of his time slagging off his opponents, before launching his cynical new pet project.

On Monday, David Cunliffe captured the nation’s attention, and the narrative, with his State of the Nation, and offered a stark contrast to Key. He addressed a school hall packed with cheering supporters, with people literally queuing to get in.

Fairly normal National bad, Labour fantastic.

Now I’m not going to defend some of the poor communications from Labour, particularly around the Facebook stuff, and they certainly have provided the avenue for attack through some carelessness in crafting. Let me be frank – Labour absolutely must get its act together immediately.

But the fact remains that key members of the media have been shirking their responsibilities to report in an unbiased fashion.

When I took my frustrations to twitter yesterday, the response was prickly, to say the least.  But it certainly appears that the most charitable interpretation of the events of this week is that the media are failing in their duties.

If I was to take a leaf out of Gower’s book, however, I might say that this isn’t just a failure, its deliberate. I might say that they are calling the election for Key already.

If Labour take to talking like this and resort media bashing then they are as good as conceding the election already. They have already conceded they can’t compete with National on their own and need the Greens.

Mickysavage had already posted Gower plays a shocker earlier in the week, and another Labour activist Zetetic had posted Note to Media – check your facts.

And there’s now yet another (guest) post No details, please, we’re gallery hacks

Political journalists do not require any special qualifications. They go to journalism school to learn how to structure an article and avoid being sued. There is no test you must pass to become a Gallery hack proving that you understand policy, economics or statistics.

Gallery hacks don’t know any of this stuff because they don’t need to.

Contrast National’s media strategy on their recent education announcement. John Key rocks up, announces something out of the blue, gives a bare minimum of detail and saunters away. The media spend their time frantically ringing around getting opinions from people and typing furiously about how National’s policy will be received. Hardly anything is known about how this policy will actually work in practice, but no one cares. The media pronounces it a winner because the people they have rung for comment by and large support it.

At least ‘Blue’ realises that Labour have made a blue.

Labour, on the other hand, puts out a great deal of detail, leaves itself open to an easy attack by John Key, the journos smell blood and start ripping chunks off Cunliffe and he starts playing their game, apologising and promising to be more careful in future. Then he gets defensive and starts complaining about their bias.

Reactions like these get you nowhere with the media. Being meek marks you out as a victim for the slaughter and being defensive leaves you looking like a sore loser. The John Key playbook – acting like you’ve done nothing wrong even if you have committed a howling error – is a much better move here. Confidence marks a person as a winner, no matter what the facts are.

If Labour is going to win the election this year then they need to smarten up their game. No details, please, we’re New Zealanders.

There’s a bit of truth to this about how the media operate, albeit a bit harsh.

But the blue isn’t that Labour have done too much detail. It’s that they have stuffed up the detail, they have had different messages, they have got things wrong, they have gone off message (David Clark and Facebook), they have been too slow to react and repair, and quite frankly they have looked chaotically out of their depth.

Of course the media are going to notice that and report it.

And another Labour supporter and satirist has a go at the media too – Scott Yorke in By all means let’s blame the media:

Today sees a couple of blogposts published about the media and, more particularly, the media’s anti-Labour pro-Key bias.

It might even be true.

 Folks, this shit ain’t new. Despite that fact that establishment-owned media organs will more often than not take the side of capital over labour, competent Labour oppositions have managed to win power from time to time.

It’s often hard to be sure with Scott what is genuine satire and what is political activism, they often intermingle. This looks more like another Labour lamenter.

But the narrative that it’s “all the media’s fault” is a compelling one for some Labour supporters. It means that slacktivists like me can take it easy during election year, since the whole thing’s rigged, so what’s the point in trying?

And who knows if this is another sign of defeatism or an attempt to inspire a fight against the nasty biased media.

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