Balance in the Newsroom?

Newsroom have been praised for their investigative journalism after a series of revelations and articles on the Todd Barclay issue.

Questions have also been raised over their possible collusion with a dirty politics campaign, seemingly not just designed on damaging Todd Barclay.

After he has lost his political career over it the attention turned to Bill English, who was placed a very difficult position by drip fed Newsroom revelations. English was strongly criticised for not being open about things, but there was a confidential employment agreement involved, and also a secret recording that it would have been illegal to reveal existed let alone the contents.

There was the potential to bring down English, bring down the Government, and swing the election (that could still be a consequence).

It is very important that media holds power to account, and holds elected people and Governments to account. But media have power of their own, and that also needs to be held to account.

Newsroom are an Auckland based media organisation. They must have put considerable resources into a story about as far from Auckland as you can get, in Clutha-Southland.

There is a big contrast between their handling of the southern story and the other big political story of the past couple of weeks where it was important to hold another bunch of politicians to account – the Labour Party Fellowship/intern story. This is very much an Auckland story.

Newsroom is new and relatively small, so can’t be expected to cover every story in depth, but some balance should be expected.

Integrity and truthfulness of leading politicians were involved in both the Barclay and intern stories.

How did their coverage of the two stories compare?

On the National/Barclay Story:

  • Politicians, police, and the payout
  • Todd Barclay’s file of denial 19 June
  • Barclay payout raises questions over leader’s fund 19 June
  • Setbacks derail National’s election plan 23 June
  • Todd Barclay responds: ‘I did nothing wrong’
  • Barclay sorry for ‘misleading’ comments
  • Police to review Todd Barclay case
  • Privacy Commissioner may probe Barclay claims
  • Allegations Barclay invented complaints
  • Fall from grace for Baby of the House
  • How Barclay’s career went up in smoke
  • PM accused of cover-up
  • Hughes stonewalls Dickson questions
  • Barclay affair: What the board knew
  • English: Barclay offered to play rec
  • Officials knew details of Barclay tapes

On the Labour/intern story

  • Labour under fire over volunteer ‘hypocrisy’

No investigations on their own turf, no investigation about funding of the scheme, no questions about Andrew Little’s  integrity and truthfulness. Little slammed English’s morals while claiming the high ground over the interns, but media has barely touched on his lack of openness and on his varying and vague explanations.

Perhaps Newsroom are doing an in depth investigation and will publish soon.

Perhaps the Auckland Labour Party and the New Zealand Labour Party will still be held to account.

46 Comments

  1. sorethumb

     /  June 30, 2017

    Yes and it looks like Labor have shut down Chris Trotter?

    • Pete Kane

       /  June 30, 2017

      He and family are on vacation in the UK at the moment.

  2. Pete. This analysis is quite extraordinary. Newsroom presenting as NZ’s CNN.

  3. Nothing to see here…… Pete….. Its all…. National ….smokescreen [hat tip for style to Blazer]…..

  4. Mefrostate

     /  June 30, 2017

    How do we measure balance in the media? Some of my personal thoughts.

    Article count is possibly a useful metric, but should account for: a) the organisation which breaks a story will naturally do the bulk of publishing on it, b) more significant stories will naturally generate more articles, c) clicks drive revenue so media will run with stories which garner the public interest and d) politicians’ handling of a scandal can put out a fire or can fan the flames.

    Physical proximity to the news organisation should be irrelevant.

    Drip-feeding of facts is a valid technique because it gives politicians the opportunity to lie and contradict themselves.

    • duperez

       /  June 30, 2017

      Drip-feeding of facts is a valid technique because it gives politicians more opportunities to tell the truth and vindicate what they have done.

  5. lurcher1948

     /  June 30, 2017

    Todd Barclay,he’s so yesterday…

  6. “Drip-feeding of facts is a valid technique because it gives politicians the opportunity to lie and contradict themselves.”

    Agree, but this hasn’t dented the PM’s integrity at all. It’s just a typical political hit. The question was how to get the PM. They built that on a year old story. PG is right when he implies a lack of balance, to say nothing of the relevance.

    Barclay is an asinine young man who got out of his depth across a range of personal and employment issues. I don’t think he has the maturity or, as it now appears, the ability to handle politics. That’s about it for him. He’s toast and it isi what it is. As an Aucklander and Nat Party member I am not interested. Glad to lance the boil in an area where a week old sandwich would win in a blue rosette.

    However, wheres the actual political story? Where’s the more substantive breach of Parliamentary, immigration and employment rules/laws. Where’s the more substantive hypocrisy?

    I see a whole bunch of Progressive agencies (looks like Newsroom is one by this count) doing a Dirty Politics run. I see these disparate, disenfranchised”, voters seeing themselves as Momentum clones. They’re cloak and dagger Corbynistas. They smell a win, if only they could garner an extra 15% to their block. Bring out the missing million that’ll be dollar a vote and we need it from somewhere. Unions, Leader’s office, anonymous donors.

    Headless chickens methinks.

  7. They’d be far better doing political hits in marginal areas.

    What about revisiting Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance?

    • Blazer

       /  June 30, 2017

      what would be the point?A diversion from the shambles and lies of this…..hopelessly compromised govt.

      • Brown

         /  June 30, 2017

        The point would be that picking on one side and not the other excuses the other of almost anything and that is not really the answer. I dislike politicians with a passion and wish that they were all constantly under the thumb of public scrutiny to keep them nervous.

      • You’re so dramatic blazer. There is nothing shambolic about this government. If you really want shambles try a Greens/NZFIrst/Labour coalition.

        How will you be voting electorate and party btw?

        • Blazer

           /  June 30, 2017

          voting is a private matter ,that is why they have privacy at the ballot box.This Govt is a shambles.They are not…’sound economic managers’…they have destroyed the Kiwi dream of home ownership.Their bungling is prolific…sheepgate,Barclay,black ops,Thiel,Sky City debacle,spying laws..etc,etc.They are in power solely because their campaigning is run by astute people who know how to present them to an apathetic public ,aided and abetted by sound bites and,careful ,controlled media placement.Smith,Bennett,Brownlee,Joyce all senior ministers with NFI.

          • A private matter. I wouldn’t have taken you for private going on your strident commentary on others.

            Me – ACT electorate (Seymour) and guess who party?

            • Blazer

               /  June 30, 2017

              the Guess Who Party….are they the phoenix rising…the Monster Raving Loony Party?Bol.

          • Gezza

             /  June 30, 2017

            I’m gonna vote for Greg O’Connoer as my candidate vote.

            I don’t think I’ll vote National for the Party vote, but, we’ll see. I quite like English, but a few of his Ministers I’d like to get rid of.

            The Party vote is a major challenge for me because the other parties seem to have so many dorks, dreamers, dunderheads & dunnos. Colin has ensured the Conservatives are entitled to considerable, ongoing, sympathy & I haven’t ruled out giving them a sympathy vote out of desperation.

            I can certainly understand why some commenters might want to not let on which shambles of a Party they might feel compelled to vote for in the absence of any clearly sound & sensible alternative to the one they detest.

            • Blazer

               /  June 30, 2017

              ‘I haven’t ruled out giving them a sympathy vote out of desperation.’…
              ‘in the absence of any clearly sound & sensible alternative to the one they detest.’…
              you seem to have all bases…covered Mr Vacillator extraordinaire.

            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2017

              Well, this matter is certainly not a simple one this time round, is it? How do we know you’re not actually a vacillator too?

            • Blazer

               /  June 30, 2017

              @Gezza,speculating about downtickers is a waste of time,I certainly don’t…and you do qualify as a ..vacillator….you could called ..far worse.

            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2017

              Thank you. I am deeply touched by your sentiments and reciprocate them a hundred fold.

            • Pete Kane

               /  June 30, 2017

              Well Boys, don’t bring up the topic and people won’t be tempted.

            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2017

              I’m very fond of Blazer, Mr Kane.

            • Pete Kane

               /  June 30, 2017

              Me too.

            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2017

              Why?

            • Pete Kane

               /  June 30, 2017

              Same side of the ‘great divide’ of course. Pleased to see you are voting for Greg. (Could be handy if you need any of your ‘stock’ assisted with ‘rest;.)

            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2017

              Same side of the Great Divide, Mr Kane? Permit me to caution you against tumbling into the same abyss from which his angry utterances emanate. Fear not for the waterbird stock, they are under the watchful gaze & tutelage of the Great Herdsman. 🆗 🔦🚣🏻 🕶 💪

            • Pete Kane

               /  June 30, 2017

              The L and the R, G.

            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2017

              Ah yes. Of course. The great Lada vs Roller debate. Must away now, yeoman. Have to prepare myself for the horrors of Question Time.
              Keep up the god wrok.
              Sir Gerald.

            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2017

              What am I thinking? 🙄 Friday. No Question Time today. One too many G&Ts before luncheon again. Possibly. Off to find some villagers to oppress. Toodle pip.

  8. duperez

     /  June 30, 2017

    The rationale behind this article could be seen as justification for the two media giants in NZ amalgamating. Since no one group could cover stories in depth, amalgamate with different arms covering different topic/stories.

    Newsroom doesn’t have the resources to do in-depth work in multiple areas so they limit to particular stories at particular times.

    Use a sports example. ‘Minor’ sports get little coverage especially when ‘major’ sports are on. ‘Minor’ sports are not determined by numbers engaged here or internationally but by profile, profile largely created by media for marketing purposes. e.g. field hockey, rugby league. A Warriors player sneezes it’s news because our media have people hanging on such events and deploy them. A NZ hockey team plays at at international tournament and Hockey NZ puts out a brief media release and that might appear in some media. Balance?

    The media companies would say they don’t have the staff and space so can’t give full coverage to some stuff.

    But really, the ‘perhaps, perhaps’ could have gone on to perhaps the putting the boot into Labour, sorry ‘accountability’ not happening on Newsroom is the irking thing. The bits about ‘relatively small, so can’t be expected to cover every story in depth’ are mere moderation of a real churlishness.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  June 30, 2017

      So are you saying Labour are a minor league outfit now and won’t get coverage?
      If so why were their new policy announcements so widely and prominently covered.

      It seems they are only minor when they have a disaster?

      • duperez

         /  June 30, 2017

        If their policy announcements are so widely and prominently covered why do I so often see comments in on-line forums from people saying they have no policies?

        Is it that the most prominent coverage their policies have is when (albeit in amended form) those policies come out as National policies?

        .

        • Gezza

           /  June 30, 2017

          Last sentence. No. I don’t think so.

  9. Chris

     /  June 30, 2017

    I hope you are not going to hold your breath too long,PG.

  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 30, 2017

    The Herald is the same as documented yesterday. 13 “Politics” articles on Barclay : 1 on Labour Interns.

    • Blazer

       /  June 30, 2017

      it reflects the gravity of the 2 situations…one is major,one is…minor…even you can probably work out…which is..which.

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  June 30, 2017

      Only if you scroll down to where the stories are days old. In the ‘new’ stories (from today and yesterday) there is just a Rudman column on the two issues combined.

      • A cunning socialist plan

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  June 30, 2017

        I ignored the Rudman article. The history shows exactly what the MSM have been up to.

        • Anonymous Coward

           /  June 30, 2017

          Just shows how unreliable figures from you are.

  11. Here’s some balance for us. Melania taking the bottom crown from Pippa

    • Gezza

       /  July 1, 2017

      Obviously doesn’t spend any time down at Foggy Bottom.