• Unbiased Reporting?

    I wonder how many Herald readers realise how all-embracing, unremitting and determined is the Herald’s pushing of the National party barrow? Perhaps it is so much par for the course that it goes unremarked by many readers.

    Today’s issue provides an interesting case study, especially for those (of whatever political persuasion) who might be under the illusion that they are reading an unbiased account of current events.

    The lead story is about a request for help made by a “National” MP to Eion Musk in respect of restoring international communications to Tonga following the eruption – note the care taken in the headline to specify a “National” MP – not just any old MP then.

    That is followed up by a column from Claire Trevett, headlined that 2022 will be a “year of reckoning” for “Ardern”. The piece then, foreseeably enough, ignores the actual polling evidence by asserting that “Christopher Luxon’s” accession to the National leadership will make life difficult for “Ardern”, conveniently overlooking the actual evidence that the minor lift following Judith Collins’ dismissal has not been followed up by a curiously inactive Luxon; indeed, the recent Curia/Taxpayers Union poll showing Labour and the PM gaining ground is dismissed as irrelevant on grounds that are unspecified.

    There is then a standard-issue piece from former National grandee, Steven Joyce, warning about forthcoming “storms” to follow today’s economic “sunshine”, and Fran O’Sullivan then weighs in with “five things the government needs to do”. Siouxsie Wiles, one of our (and the government’s) most trusted expert advisers, is then reported as warning that the red light setting will not be enough to stop new transmissions.

    A different warning, from the Herald itself, is then reported and headlined to the effect that NZ is “on the brink” of a “major border failure” as the outbreak looms.

    These warnings are set alongside warm and approving interviews with a new National MP (Joseph Mooney) about his first days in parliament, and with a retired National MP (Nikki Kaye) about how happy she is – with (of course) frequent references to her links with Sir John Key.

    All of this, of course, is calculated to produce a warm glow of satisfaction and encouragement to National-supporting readers, and to create an impression that things are bound to get worse for a Labour government that is losing support. It must take a great deal of care and effort to produce an issue that paints such a distorted picture.

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