Six week present for Ardern – time out

A fairly ironic opinion from an unnamed person at Stuff that seems to lack self awareness: Labour’s baby present? Let Jacinda be a mum for six weeks

The champagne corks were popping at the Beehive when news broke that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had delivered a baby girl. The path to the Sandringham home of Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford will be worn thin with cards and presents from her MPs.

Ardern’s new baby already has enough booties and onesies from well wishers across the country to have a choice of outfits every day of the week.

So the best present Labour MPs can give Ardern is time out. Which means they’re going to have to step up.

Ardern’s Government certainly has plenty of problems to deal with, and a number of Ministers seem to be struggling to cope with their jobs.

Notably, Ardern’s and Labour’s deputy Kelvin Davis seems very uncomfortable and unsuitable for that position.

But probably the biggest threat to Ardern getting reasonable quality of time as a new Mum for the next six weeks is the media.

Can the media give Ardern time out? there’s less chance of that than Government Ministers having a trouble free time in Ardern’s absence.

Of course this will in part depend on whether Ardern wants time out from the media for siz weeks.

We can expect a big flurry of coverage when Ardern leaves the hospital with her baby. That’s unavoidable – it has already been anticipated by Ardern.’

But if Ardern chooses then to make the most of quiet family time for six weeks, will her home be out of bounds to media? It should be unless specifically invited by Ardern.

Can the media give Ardern time out if she wants it?

Media pat themselves on the back

I guess there’s no other way of heaping praise on the media other than via the media, but self praise seems more like self promotion rather than earned plaudits.

There have been two media ward shows this week, and Twitter has been buzzing with self congratulations. As usually the awards have been spread across the few major media players in New Zealand.

Last night:

Is the NZH website really the best? perhaps it’s the best of a mediocre lot, smattered with click bait trivia (much of it sourced intternationally) attempts at attention grabbing advertising that deter more than attract – often when I get annoyed too much I dump the site and look somewhere else.

NZH may be one of the less worse sites. I really don’t like 1 News much at all. Newshub is hardly better, and has a very annoying trait – if you click to a news item and don’t read it straight away (as I commonly don’t) it jumps to other news items, so by the time I get to it the story is something random and not what I want. So I close it and go somewhere else.

Back to NZH, who pat themselves on the back – Editorial: New Zealand media earns pat on the back

It has been a big two days for the New Zealand media industry. Last night winners of the Voyager Media Awards were announced, and on Thursday the NZ Radio Awards were presented. The award categories reflected the scope of modern media and showed how the industry has adapted to commercial pressures and cultural demands.

Many categories, many awards, many happy people in media. No doubt deserved, but of little interest to the general public.

There was recognition for the bedrock tasks of journalism — reporting, feature writing, photography, subbing, editing and publishing. But there were awards, too, for websites and apps, campaigns and projects, videography and digital storytelling. What the finalists all shared was a commitment to the essential role of providing credible and trustworthy news, analysis and imagery.

Obviously awards will highlight the best, but that ignores the mediocre and the bad, and there is a lot of both of those categories.

The past two decades have not been comfortable for the industry. Its fortunes have been hit by digital disruption and the collapse of traditional advertising.

The discomfort remains, and media have struggled to deal with it successfully.

The New Zealand media remains a reliable and dependable source of news.

To an extent, yes. They are more reliable and dependable than the alternative, nothing, but it is very debatable how much standards have deteriorated – because to an extent they have.

The awards bestowed this week confirm that the fourth estate in New Zealand is doing the job demanded of it.

They wish.

Shareholders are likely to demand quite a bit more, and in trying to achieve that it is highly questionable that the media are doing what the public demand.

Actually the public don’t demand, they expect (and often not much), and they browse to find what they want. That’s something our media have not learnt to deal with.

Hang on, I just notices this:

So both the Herald and stuff won slightly different website prizes. Something for everyone.

 

Media frenzy that feeds and feeds off Trump attention seeking

The US media in part made it possible for Donald Trump to win an unlikely nomination and then win the US presidency. They continue to feed, and feed off the frenzy of trump coverage, something the Trump keeps stoking – he is a supreme attention seeker. This works to his advantage sometimes, but it also works against him, distracting from important issues in the US.

Howard Kurtz at Fox News – Lack of substance: Media liberals say ‘Trump Porn’ is hurting them too

In the hyperpartisan media climate surrounding President Trump, I’ve detected a rare spot of agreement.

It’s certainly not in the way the president is being covered.

But if journalists are “obsessed” with the president, as Reince Priebus told me in a “Media Buzz” interview—”Trump is money for the media,” he said—there is a fallout that affects both the right and the left.

Kellyanne Conway and other White House officials have repeatedly told me in interviews that the media focus on Russia, Stormy, Twitter feuds and the like have drained attention from the serious issues facing the country.

Trump is responsible for stoking diversions that continue to dominate the headlines and mainstream news coverage – Fox News is as obsessed as anyone in their largely pro-Trump coverage.

In this view, the news business gives short shrift to taxes, immigration, health care and other matters important to everyday Americans because it’s easier to get clicks for scandal and sensationalism.

Leaving aside the question of whether Trump in part fuels these distractions—were we supposed to ignore Rudy Giuliani’s media blitz?—similar complaints are now being heard on the left. They make the parallel argument that their causes are being overshadowed by the “all Trump all the time” culture.

Liberal New York Times columnist Nick Kristof says…

…the media are “collectively addicted” to Trump and “locked in a symbiotic relationship” because “he is part of our business model in 2018,” with the result that “other issues don’t get adequate attention …

“The nonstop scandals and outrages suck us in; they amount to Trump porn,” he writes. And while the president is “enormously important … there’s so much else happening as well.

  • Some 65,000 Americans will die this year of drug overdoses,
  • American life expectancy has fallen for two years in a row,
  • guns claim a life every 15 minutes
  • and the number of uninsured is rising again even as a child in the U.S. is 70 percent more likely to die before adulthood than one in other advanced nations.

Those issues are rather more important than the question of whether Stormy Daniels slept with Trump.”

Trump has stoked the gun controversy – he spoke to an NRA convention last week – but the other issues mentioned don’t rate much of a mention.

Kristof, who also mentions suffering in Myanmar and Syria, makes this confession:

“Progressive snobs like me bemoan Trump’s inattention to these global issues, but the truth is that we don’t pay attention, either. At cocktail parties, on cable television, at the dinner table, at the water cooler, all we talk about these days is Trump. So we complain about Trump being insular and parochial — but we’ve become insular and parochial as well. We’ve caught the contagion that we mock.”

Phenomenons like Trump don’t happen on their own. It has become a self perpetuating circus train, with both Trump and the media stoking the boiler.

Obviously, this president—any president—plays an important role in every foreign and domestic issue. But so much of today’s coverage is driven by palace intrigue and soap-opera plots. So Kristof is agreeing with many conservatives and White House aides who say the level of reporting and commentary in the Trump era is pretty bad, and the fault lies not in our stars but in ourselves.

The media is certainly at fault, big time, but Trump’s behaviour can also be pretty bad, his attention seeking and his actions are a major contributor to the sideshows, as are the White House people that work with him (and against him).

Trump and the media feed and feed off each other.

It has become like surreality TV.

Michelle Wolf versus US media

A speech by comedian Michelle Wolf at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner has caused a stir.

It’s same old for the White House to complain about being the target of criticism and a lampooning, but what was different about Wolf’s speech was her targeting of the media being too cosy with the White House – media that criticised her for poor taste humour and being too personal.

CNN: Michelle Wolf was the big winner of the WHCD, not Trump

Despite what Donald Trump and some others on the right may think, the big winner from Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner was comedian Michelle Wolf. Her performance was not just funny — it’s still grabbing headlines and will make this comedian, who is on the verge of stardom, even better known.

True, not every joke she told got big laughs in the room. I was there and some of her material did make people uncomfortable. But political comedy, at its best, shouldn’t always be comfortable. It should make you laugh while also challenging your views. And Wolf did just that in strong moments like this quip: “I’m 32, which is a weird age — 10 years too young to host this event, and 20 years too old for Roy Moore.”

She did it again with this joke: “[Trump] loves white nationalists, which is a weird term for a Nazi. Calling a Nazi a white nationalist is like calling a pedophile a ‘kid friend.’ Or Harvey Weinstein a ‘ladies man.'”

Did you cringe a bit when you read those jokes? Good. That’s what political comedy needs to do, especially in the time of Trump.

…what’s most telling is what Trump left out of his tweet about the WHCD. Since Saturday night, there’s been a backlash against Wolf for her jokes about Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, who was sitting on the same dais where Wolf was performing. Here’s an example of one of Wolf’s barbs about Sanders: “I actually really like Sarah.

I think she’s very resourceful.” Wolf then joked: “She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.” (Keep in mind, Sanders was sent by Trump to represent his administration, which has been plagued by serving up lie after lie to the American people.)

That’s not a joke I would tell, nor do I think any male comedian could get away with it. But Wolf did.

Team Trump was outraged that Wolf dared to mock the person sent to represent the most powerful man in our nation. On Sunday morning, Mercedes Schlapp, a White House senior communications adviser who had stormed out of the WHCD with her husband in protest, commented on “Fox & Friends” that Wolf’s jokes were “so incredibly disrespectful.”

The way I see it, a person in the Trump administration saying something was “disrespectful” while defending a man who bragged on the “Access Hollywood” tape about grabbing women by the pu**y, has demonized Muslims and Mexicans and mocked a disabled reporter is truly hilarious.

Claiming that Wolf’s jokes were disrespectful is more than a little hypocritical when trump has made a political career out of being disrespectful.

Targeting Trump and his lying cronies shouldn’t be a big deal in the current climate.

So why the fuss from the White House media?

@Mikel_Jollett tweeted: Let’s be honest, this is what they’re REALLY mad about. Michelle Wolf called out THE PRESS.

No wonder the media squirmed.

Molly Roberts: Michelle Wolf got it just right

Wolf managed Saturday night to scandalize the majority of Washington’s tuxedo-clad intelligentsia with a barrage of bon mots that, in the eyes of much of the press and political establishment, weren’t really so bon at all. The speech, these pundits have argued, wasn’t amusing; it was lewd, and worse than that, it was mean.

That Wolf’s performance was not “normal” for the correspondents’ dinner is a testament to its timeliness and necessity — nothing is “normal” right now, and pretending otherwise out of a false sense of the fourth estate’s friendship with the executive would have been the real disgrace. Wolf called the Trump administration out for tearing down democracy. Then, the people who are supposed to care most about holding autocrats to account called her out in turn for, essentially, not being chummy enough.

That persistent chumminess is why Wolf’s performance, in the end, wasn’t really for the press. It was about us. “You guys love breaking news, and you did it,” Wolf said to CNN. “You broke it.” To everyone else, she said: “You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him.” Instead of listening — to that or to Wolf’s final line, “Flint still doesn’t have clean water” — we got grumpy on Twitter. Which means Wolf did a better job of defending the First Amendment than those who say that’s our business.

We have a real issue in New Zealand with how close our political media is with our politicians, not as disgraceful as in the US but still a threat to a properly functioning democracy.

“Nationalise all broadcast media”

There is a lot of angst being expressed over news coverage during the week at The Standard: The manufacturing of a narrative

They are complaining about the excess of coverage of stories they don’t think are important, and a lack of coverage of stories they think are important. The media are the immediate scapegoats, but National and big business and world conspiracies also feature in the list of culprits.

Ironically with a post and comments that try to play down Clare Curran’s indiscretions in trying to promote her policies for a publicly funded broadcast television alternative, these claims and suggestions propose that media is fully controlled by the state.

Unicus:

Of course the Government can and must act to protect our country from what is a rampant corporate propaganda machine . It is not enough to simply express disgust about this calculated and co ordinated attempt to bring down the legitimately elected government of our country Although Curren is not the individual to do the job RNZ and Television NZ must be re structured imediately .

Ed:

The media are paid puppets for international finance.
The government will control the narrative if it takes control of the airwaves from private corporate interests.
The airwaves are the commons.
They should be returned to the 99%.

solkta:

Yes, the government should immediately nationalise all broadcast media; along with all law firms, insurance companies and banks.

One of the primary and most important functions of media in a democracy is to hold the government to account. This would take an important check on power away.

I’m not sure that they will be so keen on the government controlling the narrative by taking control of the airwaves when National takes over the government again.

And on the right wing conspiracy – Robert Guyton:

No, Baba: ” A narrative is building being built of incompetence and dishonesty around this government that will be very difficult to shake”.
The perception is being created, purposefully, in order to destroy the Labour-led Government – who’s doing this? You know full well, ol’ mortar’n’pestle witch!

Babayaga:

The narrative is being self inflicted. It really is that simple.

Robert Guyton:

“Self -inflicted”?
Bullsh*t!
Inflicted by the Right Wing machine.
Baba – you’re full of it!

John Drinnan:

So are you saying that most journalists in the country are corrupt and promoting a story that they know is untrue – all to meet the demands of a cruel lying media That famous right wing Gordon Campbell? For goodness sake?

I’m not sure why that last sentence has a question mark.

US media bias resources

There is a lot of discussion about media bias in the US, especially since Donald Trump became the centre of attention. It’s well known that CNN leaves very leftward, and Fox News strongly favours the right. There are a lot of others, some more extreme, and many somewhere in between.

Political bias or leaning is not in itself a bad thing, as long as news is well reported and backed by facts. No one media outlet can be all things to everyone across the spectrum.

Check the Political Bias of Any Media Site in This Massive Database media site political bias chart

Image Credit: Imgur

Media Bias/Fact Check claims to be The Most Comprehensive Media Bias Resource and categorises many media:

  • Left Bias
    These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward liberal causes through story selection and/or political affiliation.  They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage liberal causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy.
  • Left-Center Bias
    These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward liberal causes through story selection and/or political affiliation.  They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage liberal causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy.
  • Least Biased
    These sources have minimal bias and use very few loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes).  The reporting is factual and usually sourced.  These are the most credible media sources.
  • Right-Center Bias
    These media sources are slightly to moderately conservative in bias. They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor conservative causes. These sources are generally trustworthy for information, but may require further investigation.
  • Right Bias
    These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy.
  • Pro-Science
    These sources consist of legitimate science or are evidence based through the use of credible scientific sourcing.  Legitimate science follows the scientific method, is unbiased and does not use emotional words.  These sources also respect the consensus of experts in the given scientific field and strive to publish peer reviewed science. Some sources in this category may have a slight political bias, but adhere to scientific principles.
  • Conspiracy-Pseudoscience
    Sources in the Conspiracy-Pseudoscience category may publish unverifiable information that is not always supported by evidence. These sources may be untrustworthy for credible/verifiable information, therefore fact checking and further investigation is recommended on a per article basis when obtaining information from these sources.
  • Questionable Sources
    A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, overt propaganda, poor or no sourcing to credible information and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake newsunless specifically written in the notes section for that source.
  • Satire
    These sources exclusively use humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. Primarily these sources are clear that they are satire and do not attempt to deceive.

The database is US-centric but includes many international media, including a number of Australian, but I can’t see any New Zealand sources. UPDATE: Stuff is included under ‘Left-Center bias’.

More on the media and murky lobbying in politics

Bryce Edwards has continued to question the relationships between paid lobbyists and politicians, but also points out that relationships between lobbyists and media mean it isn unlikely ton get much exposure.

Political Roundup:  Lifting the lid on lobbying in politics

Recent revelations that a lobbying firm owner and director was recruited to work over summer as Chief of Staff for the Prime Minister, with the expectation he would then immediately return to lobbying, barely raised a mention in our media.

What should have been a major political scandal, was the subject of a must-read investigative report last week on The Spinoff website – see Asher Emanuel’s Conflict of interest concerns over lobbyist turned chief of Jacinda Ardern’s staff. Emanuel’s article is important because it raises unanswered questions about ethics and procedures in the hiring of lobbyists to work for the government.

One explanation for this extraordinary situation going largely unreported, is that Wellington political insiders often operate as a “political class” who are careful not to step on each other’s toes. For the media, in particular, a symbiotic relationship can make it problematic to report on powerful individuals who they depend on for stories and access.

Danyl Mclauchlan earlier this week pointed to a second, very important, factor in why so little public scrutiny had been applied to this lobbyist. He writes, “a jaw-dropping conflict of interest” such as this could have been massive: “If such a thing happened during the Key government there would have been a huge outcry: protests, online petitions, Twitter hashtags, Radio New Zealand flooded with academics lamenting the death of our democracy. Instead there was an indifferent silence” – see: Simon Bridges and the opposition vacuum.

Partly, Mclauchlan attributes this to partisan bias. But, crucially, he suggests that another important component of New Zealand’s “political class” – Parliament’s Opposition – decided not to make the issue a scandal. He says “Most government scandals need opposition leaders asking questions in the house, crafting lines so that the voters can understand what’s happening, providing optics for the TV news, and having their research units breaking new angles to keep the story live. If none of these things happen then there’s no scandal.”

The Opposition is supposed to be a check on Executive power – it’s their job to expose the government’s ethical transgressions such as any misuse of power or willingness to allow conflicts of interest to occur at high levels. So why didn’t National push the issue? According to Mclauchlan: “National has no interest in progressing such a story because they in many ways spent the last nine years acting as a vertically integrated lobbying and fundraising operation, and their former chief of staff is now a consulting partner with the same lobbying firm as Labour’s former chief of staff.”

More here from Edwards:

But with the primary means of holding power to account – the media and the Opposition – both complicit it is unlikely this will be given much scrutiny.

Good on Edwards for having a crack at it. He could be putting his media access at risk.

Refreshing taking fight to Ardern’s celebrification

Jacinda Ardern has taken ‘celebrity politics’ to a whole new level since. This began before she became Labour leader and Prime Minister. Her media management had already included celebrity style magazine coverage. That has continued, with the latest example being Ardern featuring in a US magazine, Vogue.

In general the New Zealand media has both lapped it up and egged it on, and this looks to be increasing with the pregnancy of Ardern being given far more importance than governance of the country.

It’s bit of a big deal in New Zealand politics that Ardern became pregnant while taking on the most important role in the country. Pregnancy and giving birth is a big deal for any mother – but in the whole scheme of things having babies is very routine, it has been happening for a lot longer than the New Zealand has had Ardern and the world has had princesses.

For New Zealand how Ardern functions as a Prime Minister running the country should be of far greater importance than what she names her kid and other mundane trivia outside immediate family.

Fran O’Sullivan writes against the current: Time Jacinda Ardern eases back on celebrification?

Jacinda Ardern can thank Judith Collins’ incisive political attack for reminding her of her biggest job: get on her game as Prime Minister.

The media-endorsed “mother of the nation” celebrification — which has been wall-to-wall since Ardern announced her pregnancy — could (if she is not mindful) undermine her impact as NZ’s political leader.

Opposition politicians have since tip-toed around Ardern. They have not wanted to be seen to land blows on a young pregnant woman who happens to be enormously relatable and popular.

Most have played into the “generational change” meme without pointing out that the only reason we have a 37-year-old female Prime Minister is because a septuagenarian put her there.

But when Collins — some 20 years Ardern’s senior — launched her campaign for National’s leadership, she took a different approach by taking the fight directly to the Prime Minister.

It was refreshing.

After weeks of media coverage suggesting Ardern’s pregnancy meant she was now a shoo-in to lead the Labour-NZ First coalition to win another term at the 2020 election, an Opposition politician had finally broken cover from their self-imposed PC straitjacket.

Others might have a problem taking on Ardern out of concern that they would look heavy-handed or be seen to pick on the young, pregnant woman.

But Collins said: “I have been pregnant running a law firm and studying as well. As a young mum I understand exactly how tough it is to do that. But she understands that too.

“That is not the role she’s asked New Zealanders to support her for.”

“She has asked them to make her and keep her as Prime Minister of New Zealand.

I think that’s a fair call.

“And that is the role I would hold her to account for.”

Collins’ forthright attack has clearly resonated within the ninth floor of the Beehive.

It was notable that when Ardern addressed senior members of the Auckland business community at breakfast yesterday, she was completely on song in delivering a speech that set out the Government’s focus for the next three years.

She gave a polished and confident delivery.

Notably, there was no mention of her pregnancy. Nor were there any jokes about Clarke Gayford — the upcoming stay-at-home dad. Her Vogue cover was not mentioned (apart from a closing comment by Westpac chief executive David McLean that some of his staff were lining up for selfies with the PM who had been in Vogue).

This shift in key enabled the business community to focus on what the Prime Minister had to say.

It was an important speech that conveyed important messages. It did not warrant being buried by distraction — nor was it.

Ardern has been a quick learner and an astute reader of public sentiment. She has played the celebrity card with aplomb, with the help of a more than willing media.

Here she seems to have switched to serious Prime Minister. Are the media able to switch off the celebrity button as easily? I doubt it.

Ardern — still establishing her prime ministerial platform — must get runs on the board while maintaining her relentlessly positive approach.

It is a balance.

Vogue called Ardern the anti-Trump. She plays the media differently, but she still plays the media bigly like Trump.

What New Zealand needs is an anti-celebrity.

Ardern’s positioning as Prime Minister is at times also undermined by a media fascination which borders on being fatuous.

This was embarrassingly obvious last weekend, when Julie Bishop was questioned about the shoes that Ardern wore when she popped in on a dinner that Winston Peters hosted at his home for the visiting Australian Foreign Minister.

“Seriously?” asked Bishop.

Seriously, New Zealand’s media is at severe risk of collapsing into cringe.

We would benefit from an anti-gaga media.

Media mistakes and the fake president

While journalists would prefer not to make mistakes, like life in general, mistakes have always been made and always will be.

This is really only a problem if the media isn’t policed, isn’t held to account and media doesn’t acknowledge and correct their mistakes.

The best media monitor and hold each other to account, and in the main correct any mistakes they make as well as they can. Good journalists aspire to accuracy.

Inaccurate reporting has been (generally unfairly) been lumped under the generally bogus label of ‘fake news’.

President Donald Trump has used accusations of ‘fake news’ to divert from his own fakery and failings. To an extent this has been a successful strategy, so far. But it is likely to end up dragging him down, sooner or later.

Jack Shafer at Politico: Who’s Winning Trump’s War With the Press?

The guy who said, “Never quarrel with a man who buys his ink by the barrel,” didn’t anticipate Donald Trump. Since becoming president, Trump has argued the news media to a stalemate thanks to the power of his alliance with the Fox News Network and his 44 million-follower Twitter account, which functions as one of the world’s largest printing presses. And the ink is free.

Trump is not winning, but he has certainly had some success. But the Press, or at least most of the press, is going to outlast him and his self tainting legacy. he is at real risk of becoming remembered as the Fake President.

So far he has successfully exploited media mistakes – and the media always have and always will make them.

The making of mistakes cannot be divorced from the making of journalism. As historian David Greenberg notes in Republic of Spin, mistakes littered the coverage of the Watergate scandal. Greenberg writes:

Reporters, swept up in the chase, made mistakes that they failed to correct. In May 1973, Walter Cronkite opened the CBS Evening News with an item erroneously implicating a Bethesda bank run by Pat Buchanan’s brother in Watergate money-laundering. The AP falsely reported that [John] Ehrlichman was present at a key cover-up meeting among Nixon, Haldeman, and Dean. ABC’s Sam Donaldson wrongly asserted that James McCord had implicated departed aide Harry Dent in the White House sabotage efforts; Donaldson was forced to apologize. News outlets also overplayed trivial items, as the New York Times did by placing on the front page a three-column story about the possibility that Nixon’s campaign had received gambling money from the Bahamas. As [WashingtonPost editor Robert Maynard conceded, there was “a lot of fast and loose stuff being printed.”

Additional Watergate screw-ups: The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein “committed two critical mistakes” in their reporting on the scandal, as Craig Silverman showed in a 2011 Columbia Journalism Review piece.

I dredge up Watergate as a point of comparison not because it was especially flawed, but because it wasn’t. I dredge it up because, like the current Trump coverage, it was closely scrutinized and whenever the news is closely scrutinized, more errors will be discovered. That’s why the New York Times publishes more corrections than any other newspaper—because it’s the most heavily analyzed (and, of course, because the Timesbelieves in error correction).

Maybe somebody should explain to our presidential press critic that the news organizations he so disparages do the most aggressive policing of media miscues, especially if the miscues appear in a competing outlet.

So the media tend to correct each other. Trump’s attacks are going to improve media vigilance and accuracy, something that may well end up working against him.

Being the most mistake-prone president in history hasn’t prevented Trump from capitalizing on the press corps’ recent errors.

That also makes him an easy target – and when he makes big mistakes the media is likely to make a big story of it, more accurately than in the past due to Trump’s fakemongering.

Not only does Trump distract his critics with 280-character rampages, he dilutes whatever offense he has committed by committing new offenses. Writing in Axios, Jim VandeHei plotted out the standard Trump Twitter playbook: First he throws a Twitter bomb. Then “the outrage machine kicks in,” as the cable channels collect the outrage from both sides. As the prime-time broadcasts take the torch, VandeHei continues, the he said, she said wrangle dominates. In many cases, the precipitating news item—in this case, Trump’s accusers—sinks beneath under Trump’s histrionics.

In the short term Trump has been getting away with it. At some stage it is likely to trip him up.

Our current media standoff depends on Fox News Channel to transmit and amplify the Trump worldview. The network didn’t plump for Trump until he became his party’s likely nominee. But it was only after he became president that Fox enshrouded him in 24/7 protective cover, remaking itself indistinguishable from state-run media, as the New Republic’s Alex Shephard was early to observe.

Fox sycophancy dominates its prime-time hours, as Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity praise Dear Leader, and the morning shift, when the hosts of Fox & Friends supply him with ample supplication. Trump completes this unvirtuous circle by tweeting back his approval. The ensuing feedback loop serves both the man and the network, making both seem larger than they really are.

I follow Fox on Twitter, and at times there seems to be a constant stream of pro-Trump sycophancy, and anti-critic (and anti-Clinton) attacks in support of Trump’s tactics.

Trump certainly wins some battles with the media, or at least diverts attention from his losses.

But I think it is a war he cannot win, if he continues on the same track – and there is no sign of him changing his attack as defence approach.

Trump is unlikely to out-Fox the people indefinitely – many already see through his fake clothes.

Thanks to his own efforts Trump is establishing himself as a Fake President.

Whale shit

Bigger than bull at Whale Oil.

The campaign against Golriz Ghahraman is still rambling on at WO. Yesterday was quieter, with ‘just’ a lame cartoon plus another dirty Photoshop posted by Juana Atkins.

But they are back at it with two posts already today, with some Whale sized shit from Slater.

With all of the revelations we’ve seen about Golriz Ghahraman over the last week, I had expected the story to be picked up by the mainstream media.  That’s their job right? To report on facts and raise issues of concern about the current government, particularly when it comes to lies and deception peddled by our Members of Parliament.  Yet it’s been strangely quiet.

Media were all over it when the story broke, and for a day or two afterwards, and then it subsided, as is the norm for stories. What I think Slater means is that the media are quiet now while he is trying to beat a dead horse story.

So far, the mainstream media have stayed away from this story in droves.  They seem unwilling to publish anything that might make this Government look bad.  Stories the previous Government would have been castigated about for weeks seem to slip quietly under the rug.

From the 26th November (Tuesday) all the main media outlets covered the story. Therre is even a new opinion piece on Stuff today by Damien Grant: ‘Why I admire Golriz Ghahraman’:

We like to hold our elected representatives to an impossible moral standard. The few who can achieve such purity are so devoid of drive and ambition that they are ineffective in the blood-spattered arena that is modern politics.

Fudging your CV, embellishing the past and periodic acts of bastardy while appearing angelic – even as the viscera of your opponents taint the edges of your apparel –  are prerequisites for a successful life in politics.

John Key was called the smiling assassin. Jacinda Ardern’s first act as leader was to nudge Metiria Turei under a recycling truck while empathetically embracing the nation’s  impoverished children in a Kate Sylvester dress.

Ghahraman can have no complaint that Quin has brought these issues into the light. When you stand for office such scrutiny is expected but I do not care if Ghahraman fudged her CV or had photos taken with war criminals.

We vote for people because we want them to get things done. There isn’t any point in marrying a eunuch or voting for a saint.

Slater does not seem to favour the saintly style of blogging, but seems to expect unblemished politicians (except ones he is shilling for) and media.

He closes his post wanly:

We are long overdue some real balance by the mainstream media.

Unwittingly witty. He wants ‘real balance’ from other media. That’s kinda cute given his own degrees of imbalance.

Like this:

Photoshop of the day

by SB on December 2, 2017 at 1:00pm

Slater seems to have approved of this, he has commented in the thread.

This is whale sized shit.

And he wonders why media don’t continue his political attack campaigns any more.