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Brash, Hager slam media lack of election analysis

Nov 8th, 2008 | By | Category: Latest News, News

DON Brash and Nicky Hager may not see eye to eye on many issues – but they agree media coverage of the election campaign has been inadequate.

They say high profile MPs Winston Peters, Peter Dunne, Bill English and Clayton Cosgrove have all had accusations levelled at them late in the campaign, with little or no analysis provided.

Former National Party leader Dr Brash believes the media has a role in probing potential hypocrisy in a candidate’s statements, provided they give the candidate the opportunity to reply.

“I think it’s legitimate to bring out information relevant to the campaign,” he says. “If they [journalists] act cynically,  I object to that.”

Radio New Zealand’s Mediawatch commentator Colin Peacock echoes Dr Brash’s sentiments.

In the case of the Vela family donations to Mr Dunne, he thinks the media was perfectly within its rights to publish the story in the final week of the campaign, but he was worried about the release of the secret recordings of Mr English from the National Party conference.

“I was genuinely concerned it was unethical to drip feed and spin out the news value,” he says.

It was an issue of timing for Mr Peacock, and he believes that journalists need to assess the motivations of their sources.

Journalist Mr Hager thinks the release of the secret recordings was good activism – raising the spectre of National selling Kiwibank, and forcing leader John Key to rule out the sale entirely.

But he does say journalists need to be aware of who is manipulating them, and why, pointing to the concerted attempt to catch Mr Peters out over his electoral funding.

He believes this has been part of a wider campaign to remove Mr Peters from Parliament, and he is concerned that the motivations of the journalists’ sources were not investigated.

He fears journalists become bolder when they perceive a government to be on a downward spiral, and are more willing to follow the pack in condemning it.

“I find the news is not even-handed,” he says of his disappointment with the superficial coverage. “The campaign has not seen enough analysis.”

Dr Brash is disappointed with the media’s unwillingness to focus on issues-driven stories, citing coverage of then-Tauranga candidate Bob Clarkson’s ill-timed “left-testicle” comment when he (Brash) was leader of the National Party in the 2005 election campaign.

At the time, he was trying to discuss the number of New Zealanders migrating to Australia, and he is still surprised that he was unable to convey his message.

“My main concern about the media is its inability to focus on what’s important.”

 

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is a graduate of Whitireia NewsWire. He's a reporter for BusinessWire (yes - he does like the wire theme), where he writes daily stories updating currency movements. And he still spends far too much time reading blogs.
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  1. EXACTLY what I was looking for!

  2. “Brash, Hager slam media lack of election analysis
    – NewsWire.co.nz” truly makes myself think
    a small bit further. I personally cherished every single element of
    this blog post. Thanks a lot -Marvin

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