A tumultuous pair-bonding
The general public remains baffled about the constant and unremitting castigating of the mainstream media by New Zealand First’s Winston Peters MP.
They assume it is a lovers’ tiff.
In a way it is.
The two parties involved possess the essential characteristics of a tumultuous pair bonding.
They cannot live tranquilly together.
Yet they cannot live apart.
Mr Peters understands also that he is both ward and prey.
He helps out by generating news. From time to time he will be fodder himself.
He understands something else too.
It is this.
Journalists would rather be scolded than ignored.
In the current post electoral outcome fractionalisation standoff this press drama which peaks every three years has assumed a stormier than usual proportion and therefore now deserves to be analysed.
Our starting point is the belief held by Mr Peters to the effect that simply because the mainstream media insists that it is impartial, so must it be impartial in its reporting.
Mr Peters contrasts this proclaimed New Zealand impartiality to that which exists in other parts of the Westminster sphere.
In which for example newspapers such as Britain’s Daily Mail, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror display a known diversity of political preferences.
This means that readers price in this bias when they study the respective newspapers.
What are Mr Peters’ specific gripes? Here are some of them:-
*Whenever Mr Peters advances a policy plank, the media simply goes to other and opposing political side to get comments about it.
*Commentators on reviewing any policy from Mr Peters simply conclude that he is a “populist” which is code for grabbing votes wherever you can.
*Any incursion by Mr Peters and/or his party into the issue of ethnicity in Parliamentary representation is greeted with veiled or direct comments centred on the media trigger-word racism.
*That Mr Peters is primarily a circus entertainer who shoots from the hip, and is an ageing one now to boot.
There are though some solid reasons behind Mr Peters’ reluctance to commit himself to background data on his planks.
For example, had he gone into the historic connection between the Maori Seats and the Ratana sect he could well have found himself accused of being anti-religion, among other things.
His sparseness of supporting background data has much to do with side-stepping angle-journalism, the dominant applied news- shaping technique here.
It devolves on a public figure unwittingly having pinned on them something which, taken out of context, makes them look silly or dastardly, or both.
This process can be lethal to the utterer/author if it is run through the politically correct filter.
This screening process does not so much apply to the visible news people, the ones on the pavement, or in the studio.
But it is a factor for those up the line who must consider things such as licence and public advertising allocations.
| From the MSCNewsWire reporters' desk || Friday 29 september 2017 |||