Aunty Helen copped it so why not Borrows? | The Jackal

25 Jul 2014

Aunty Helen copped it so why not Borrows?

We've all heard the claims before, that the media in New Zealand is biased in favour of the right wing. There are numerous arguments for and against this assertion and to be fair, it's not OK to tar every journalist with the same brush.

However there's no question that issues that make the current government look bad are given far less precedence in the media as stories that besmirch the Labour party. Let's take one recent example that had such a small amount of media coverage that you might not even be aware of it...

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Courts Minister admits red face over speeding ticket and $80 fine

Courts Minister Chester Borrows admits he is embarrassed after being fined $80 for speeding.

But the former police officer says he paid the fine promptly and has sworn to keep a better eye on the speedo in future.

Mr Borrows confirmed he was stopped by police doing 11km/h over the speed limit in a 100km/h area outside Patea while he was on his way to Wanganui for a meeting. He was running late and had not kept an eye on his speedo while going down a hill.

Of course the right wing propagandists have completely ignored this story because Chester Borrows is in with the old boys club. Unfortunately the mainstream media have all but ignored the story as well. That wasn't the case when Helen Clark's motorcade was reportedly speeding through South Canterbury and she wasn't even driving.

So on one hand we have a Labour leader who was probably not even aware that the motorcade was speeding and on the other we have a National Minister who was actually driving the car that was speeding. The media response to Helen Clark was to insinuate that she had instructed her motorcade drivers to speed. They critically and extensively reported on the incident for at least three months, exploring every nuance and development. In contrast the media’s response to Chester Borrows being caught personally speeding is pretty much non-existent, with the biased Herald article clearly taking the National Minister's side. It’s more of an apology piece for Chester Borrows, without any real criticism or balance.

We can see numerous similar examples of media bias such as the reporting on the Donghua liu letter and the leader's taking a holiday. David Cunliffe was pilloried extensively in the media for taking a three day holiday and not recalling that he signed a ten-year-old letter, one of thousands of form letters he signs on a regular basis. Some right wing media hacks even requested that he resign over such an obviously trivial matter, an issue that was blown out of all proportion by journalists who clearly have an ulterior motive. Compare that with Key actually being caught out lying about signing off on the new ministerial BMW deal, and you can clearly see where the majority of the fourth estate’s loyalties lie.

I could go on and on providing examples of just how skewed the mainstream media is with their biased reporting, but the moral of the story is that without balanced journalism in New Zealand we cannot hope to have a fair fight in the run-up to the September election...we cannot therefore keep pretending to have an fair and functioning democracy.