[NZ Politics Daily is appearing only occassionally as Bryce Edwards is on study leave in Berlin. He returns at the end of February - Editor]
How well do political journalists serve New Zealand democracy?
Does the blogosphere do any better?
The Leveson report in Britain has media accountability being discussed internationally.
Recent events in the Labour Party, where the blogosphere has suddenly received greater attention due to its role in creating rumours of a possible leadership coup, have sharpened the debate here as well.
The mainstream media is under scrutiny for its role in reporting on Labour’s recent annual conference. Chris Trotter deals with these issues in a recent blogpost that severely criticises the parliamentary press gallery journalists – see: Islands In The Mainstream.
Trotter reflects on the conference coverage: ‘The political journalists covering the conference were either collaborators with, or the dupes of, a faction of the Labour Party Caucus which, fearing the consequences of radical changes to the party’s constitution, manufactured a leadership challenge to Opposition Leader, David Shearer, by his front-bench colleague, David Cunliffe’. He ponders whether ‘the Fourth Estate, far from speaking truth to power, has become its willing stenographer’.
Incidentally, Trotter also suggests that the ‘real’ leadership coup brewing in the background was from ‘supporters of Grant Robertson’.
Trotter has allies in his critique of the media, with various blogposts on The Standard offering some further analysis – most significantly, Media Medicine
and “Name” journalism & voter dis-engagement
. Both make some interesting critiques of changes in the media. The first says that ‘The relationship between media and politicians in this country has become incestuous and toxic’ and it outlines some radical proposals to reform the press gallery, including the idea that ‘No political journalist should be allowed to serve more than six years sequentially AND 33% of their total career in the Parliamentary Press Gallery’.
Both of The Standard posts are, typically, by anonymous authors. This is the beef of Brian Edwards, who has launched a critique of the blogosphere in his own blogpost, The Anonymity Pandemic
. As the title suggests, he’s particularly unhappy about the amount of nameless commentary that goes on – particularly because of the vitriol that he says flows from authors not owning their own statements. As some sort of reply, one anonymous Standard author details The privilege of real-name blogging
There is no doubt that the nature and configuration of the mainstream media is changing fast. The Listener magazine has finally decided to install a paywall for its content, which is explained by editor Pamela Sterling in Read it here first
. Meanwhile, another fledgling media project appears to be going on hold – see Bernard Hickey’s An update on Journalism.org.nz
. At the other end of the media power spectrum, Sky TV is arguably made even more powerful by the appointment of ‘Sky TV lobbyist Tony O'Brien to the board of Antarctic New Zealand’ – see John Drinnan’s Antarctic job for Sky man
Other items of interest or importance from the last week include:
The reviews of the year in politics are starting to come out. The annual Trans-Tasman ratings give the prize of the ‘politician of the year’ to Chris Finlayson – see: Finlayson judged top politicia
n. David Farrar has analysed the ratings to show, for example, that the average MP rating is 4.4 out of 10, with National MPs averaging 4.9 and Labour and Green MPs 4.0 – see: The 2012 Trans-Tasman Ratings
. United Future blogger Pete George has also got in on the act, giving National 5 out of 10, Labour 3 out of 10, and the Greens 8 – see: Rating the parties for 2012
Critiques of the media
Critiques of blogosphere
John Tamihere and Labour
Labour and the Greens
Reviews of the year in politics
Trans Pacific Partnership
100% pure debate
Integrity of politics and society
‘Zip it, sweetie’
Local government reforms
Anzac Day crash