Mainstream media gripped by Jacinda-mania

KeallHauled

Chris Keall

RELATED AUDIO: Matthew Hooton says National can't afford to write Labour off as being in a shambles (Aug 1)

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Who knows if it will last, or if she can lead a Labour comeback (NBR's Rob Hosking maintains Grant Robertson would have been a better pick).

But after Jacinda Ardern was announced as their new leader, mainstream media went ga-ga.

Many of the same outlets who had been tearing strips off Andrew Little and his party were suddenly gripped by Jacinda-mania.

Within half an hour, Labour had got more positive coverage than it had in the past year with photos of its new leader splashed across home pages, and articles mainly pulling bullet points from her first speech as leader.

There was a lot of competition, but RNZ lead the pack with its home page going full-Adern.

"It would be very easy to under-estimate Jacinda Ardern," says commentator Matthew Hooton. 

"She does have a network into the media, the popular media, that National cannot reach."

Hooton sees Labour capitalising on its new leader's higher profile with some big-bang policy releases (or bribes as he calls them), including an announcement around free tertiary education from next year, and possibly higher Kiwi Saver subsidies (which he says Labour's survey company, UMR, is polling on right now).

He adds, "While I personally don’t rate her, that could be because I’m a grumpy old white man as the Twitterati would put it. Maybe it will work."

On this honeymoon day it is, at least. Here's a selection of MSM home pages from around midday:

A final point: traditionally, a surge by one politician — say, Winston Peters, has been mitigated to a degree when media get bored with the prevailing narrative and start to give the opposing side more play to balance things up, or restore interest. But in an age where stories are measured by clicks, the NZ First leader always rates, so expect non-stop Peters-on-high-rotate. Little did not rate. Going by today's traffic, Jacinda does. That's going to be a problem for the relatively colourless Bill English.

RELATED VIDEO: NBR View - from the newsroom floor: Labour's leadership change (including a flashback quote to Ardern's February 2017 interview with Susan Wood when she was asked if she wanted to be PM and replied, "I have no desire at all for that job. And I'm looking at you straight in the eye as I say it, Susan." How times change.)


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Laughed so hard I split my stitches.

So at the weekend we heard that Little had thought about resigning and Ardern saying that she would support Little and that any questions about her being leader were swiftly side stepped.

However now bingo she is the leader not a good look, then again this is politics.

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The ghost of Clark returns. God help us all.

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It's true. They are positively dribbling with excitement for Saint Jacinda, the woman who is going to save us all! Why? Because she's a woman. She's Helen Clarke MkII. Did you see what she said at her press conference? The way she stood there on her own two feet was amazing. The election is going to be soo much more exciting now that Jacinda is in it. Who needs complicated things like policies to mull over in an election, when you have Jacinda! I'm in awe.

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Hasnt this last few elections been a popularity contest determined by who you'd rather take a selfie with? Why should policies matter now?

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Wow. Some blatantly sexist comments already. At least she isn't as corrupt as our current PM.
But who needs to worry about corruption when the party in power tells you not to.
And actually, no I'm not a labour supporter.

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Corrupt?? Here's two words - Art & fast cars. Ring a bell??

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If that's the best comeback you have, i'd suggest you don't bother.

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My God that was how long ago and several Prime Ministers ago. You really need to move on.

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I never forget anyone whom lives off the sweat of my brow and, who lies and cheats to me. Even more disgusting, is throwing her minders under the bus.

Integrity is obviously a foreign concept to yourself.

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She might not be corrupt, but you can't say she doesn't tell lies. I've lost count of how many times she's said that she has no interest in the top job. If she can easily lie about that, what else is she prepared to lie about, election promises maybe?

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People are saying that she is a breath of fresh air.
How can that be when she is spouting on about the same old policies.

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Because elections are almost never decided on policy.

See: If you don't understand spaghetti on pizza, you don't understand politics (and don't shoot the messenger).

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Might be a bit of hyperbole with "gripped", Chris. Yes, she did comport herself before the press with an air of confidence and she spoke fluently unlike 'Stuttering Shearer'. However, with the dismal failures of her four predecessors, the goodwill being garnered now -- accompanied by the collective sign of relief -- won't transcend the party, itself, in ensuring its revival (survival?).
Ardern has to articulate a fresh vision with her lieutenants, to show they are a credible alternative to National. And I'm not sure there's much talent in the reservoir, she has to draw on.
There's the usual honeymoon period with the press with any new leader; more so, when it comes to Labour. Because, up until now, the mainstream media have been like over-anxious spectators hoping to see blood on the canvas attending a UFC/MMA brawl, only to see their boy unable to deliver a slap yet alone a telling kick or punch, before being decked. And what does that tell you about the present clutch of males in Labour's caucus -- an admixture of eunuchs and docile Pasifika?

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I don't think it's hyperbole to say "gripped". She was plastered over all news sites' home pages yesterday and front pages of newspapers today.

Of course, it's a honeymoon period. It doesn't guarantee Labour will hold or increase its vote from its current dismal position -- but it's definitely been a circuit breaker in terms of media coverage and the party is now in with a chance of a revival, vs nearly no chance under Little.

And it's certainly helped financially, with the Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton saying nearly $100,000 was given to the party in a donation surge yesterday (of course, it'll get sucked up into new billboards and re-shooting TVCs, but it does display new momentum too).

On a sidenote, the maybe-baby Jacinda stories leading the Herald and Stuff home pages as I type are pretty dubious -- but they also mean Labour is dominating the news cycle for a second day in a row. Can remember the last time that happened.

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Please Chris! The 'goodwill' is media-generated. TV 3 last night was in a real lather about this woman. Get real: I would'nt let Jacinda near my business operations for instance. She is so short on experience and has no policy substance. Calm down media hounds! We have a stable Government and unemployment has just dropped to a record low, below 5%.

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I'm not claiming the wave of goodwill is anything other than media generated. I've just been surprised by the degree of Jacinda hype and Jacinda-everything in the media over the past couple of days.

I thought it was too late to change leader and the mainstream media might pile on with Labour-in-a-death-spiral stories. Colour me wrong.

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"an admixture of eunuchs and docile Pasifika" Wow how neanderthal of you. I think I will donate to Labour now. With opinions like that being articulated in Public it is now beyond the time that party of privilege, corruption, pollution, misogyny and homophobia needs to be ousted.

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Hey NBR, this is hate speech!

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Agree. Moderator on holiday, or do they only not post facts, and have no problems with the hate. Then again once upon a time the media were in love with that guy with the funny little mustache.

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National just follows Labour policy anyway, now the housing market is stuffed and no one can sell in Auckland.

Jacinder will be unable to stuff up the housing market any further because it is dead.

So let her take over so we can all go on the dole and live happily ever after.

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Was in job interview this morning. Am male. Was asked what my plans were around child care. Im a stay home dad possibly returning to work if the business goes unicorn. Thought it was a fair question so I answered it in detail. We had a frank chat - might be my last but it cut both ways.

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Someone here was in a real lather over Jacinda being asked about plans for children and said a man would never, ever be asked about such things! I think her plans are really her business at this stage but I get sick of all the SJWs expressing outrage over any perceived slight on anyone who is not an aging white, middle class male!

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You may consider it her own business, but don't forget she is seeking public votes. The voters do have a right to know her capacity to give 100% to the job, just as they have a right to vote for any other candidate.
I think given the importance of the role she is seeking, it is a perfectly reasonable question.

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Jacinda is certainly a better front than Little but Labour,s primary problem is policy, indeed National and pretty well all other parties have policy deficits on matters that Joe public considers important and some MP's and Ministers may start to realize the danger they face by their past failures to listen, understand and actually do something positive to resolve such issues. Whilst National has steered a pretty safe course, compared with most other countries I do fear that they may be faced with having to do a deal with NZ First, the alternative of a Labour led coalition is a nightmare scenario.

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Fair comment. The problem with Jacinda is that she is massively green round the gills and has never run an enterprise let alone the country, and Grant Robertson is in the same boat. National are not perfect but they have truckloads of solid experience and the country is performing reasonably well. The media, however, spend little time looking at policy substance and are content to go on about personality. Will sanity prevail in September?

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