Fran O’Sullivan has a revealing piece in the herald yesterday. We form a completely different conclusion - Fran O'Sullivan: should get back to basics .
Wishart had lined me up as a member of the MSM (mainstream media) sloths who failed to investigate documents relating to Doonegate which were posted on a right-wing blogsite days before the election.
The two blogs featured get are both responding in spades. TBR.cc: Herald lectures Wishart, then gets facts wrong....
AL at Sir humphreys pieced together what should have been a major media story in the days leading up to the election. Proof that a Prime Minister had set the country's senior policeman up for a fall. She lied to journalists getting a story and I think there is a reasonable case that she breached the Crimes Act. O Sullivans defence is simply self serving bullshit.
These are the kinds of questions any journalist will ask before going to print with strong allegations in the last week of an election campaign. The consequences of journalistic failure at this high-wire level are too high to get wrong.
Fine, check your facts and get the story straight. If you go back and look at what AL posted there are copies of 3 briefs of evidence. It would take 3 calls to verify the evidence. 1 to Oskar Alley, 1 to Chetwin the editor of the SST and 1 to clark herself. "Are these affidavits and the cabinet minute presented as evidence at the Doone SST defamation case genuine? ". Three calls. Less than an hour.
By any normal standard of objectivity the evidence available and the story itself was far more important than the Exclusive Brethren story. A Prime Minister lying to the media to get the country's top cop sacked or a bunch of god botherers spending some money to support their favoured party. But which one did the media go with.
I remember reading AL's post and the documentation linked Sir Humphrey's: Oskar Alley's brief of evidence relating to the original SST story and thinking that National had just won the election. How wrong we were. So was there a conspiracy among Mainstream Media. Are they all really in thrall to helen so much?
My concern was the presumption that MSM missed an opportunity to bring down Clark, which is not the media's democratic role.
The medias democratic role is to present items of public interest in a dispassionate unbiased manner and let the public decide. In this instance the vast bulk of the public was not told about some very relevant information. That was an egregious failure of the MSM acting in the public interest. They should have published and advised their readers of what facts stood up and what were doubtful. Instead a very high level of self censorship prevailed.
There is no vast media conspiracy to counter the vast right wing conspiracy. There are some factors at play which meant the New Zealand public were subject to what was misleading propaganda. Suppress the bad news and cast doubts about the opposition.
Helen Clark shows herself in the Doone affair and elsewhere to be absolutely ruthless. She freezes out any journalist who criticises her. Journalists reliant on their access for career success will cause them to be more cautious about criticising someone like clark than the opposition. For the state owned broadcast media it is obvious why they would be too timid to give a high level of coverage to such behaviour. Leading 3 days out from the election on TVone would have changed the election result.
The story was lead by the SST. The herald have very little investigative reporting. They recycle what they are fed. They have an excellent brand and they are in business to make money. The herald obviously felt that leading with a story about a competitors investigative reporting was not good business. Not invented here syndrome.
Investigative reporting costs money, but as demonstrated by the Sunday Times in the UK it also brings readers. It is for the editors & publishers of the herald to determine why they are so gutless in their pursuit of exposing corrupt behaviour at the heart of government. In my observation only the Independent and Ian Wishart show any serious initiation of genuine stories. Jock Anderson at the NBR is another genuine investigative reporter and they do some good pieces also.
Why did the National party and ACT not run with the story. Perhaps they felt the news was already out there and the media would do their job. Perhaps they felt it would blow back in their face. With 20/20 hindsight it was a tactical error. Imagine the impact that Dr Brash convening a press conference and accusing helen clark of conspiring to bring about the career downfall of our top cop would have had. But Dr Brash fights fair. You have to respect that even though it had the result of people not knowing.
This government is corrupt. It is lead by a woman who has suppressed everything in the pursuit of power. The New Zealand blogosphere have proven they have the ability to break news and that there is a place for them in shoring up.
For any mainstream journalists reading this post, we bloggers have as much respect for many of you as you for the blogosphere. You have shown time and again that you get your facts wrong and uncritically cover up for the flaws of this labour government. That is not unbiased reporting, it is gutless avoidance of your jobs. We will keep holding you to account. A blogger who posts something wrong will get hammered in comments or linked posts. I have been on both ends. The emperor is not allowed to be naked in the blogosphere.