Monday, April 11, 2022

Break out those Tui billboards

Well, hello. The latest Edelman Trust Barometer contains possibly the least surprising research findings so far this century. It confirms that New Zealanders are losing, or have already lost, faith in the media.

The barometer, which surveyed 36,000 people in 28 countries, found that governments and the media internationally are fuelling a “cycle of distrust”. Both institutions are seen as divisive, a finding unlikely to come as a revelation to any vaguely sentient human being.

Perhaps most significant is the finding, reported here by Pattrick Smellie of BusinessDesk [paywalled], that 55 per cent of New Zealanders regard the media as a divisive force, against 23 per cent who see it as unifying. The corresponding split globally is 46/35, meaning New Zealanders are far more likely than citizens of other countries to view their media as agents of polarisation.

This underlines a striking trend in recent years for the mainstream media in New Zealand to align themselves consciously and deliberately with causes that they must know alienate a large proportion of their readers, viewers and listeners. Call it slow-motion suicide.

The bigger picture is that the media have abandoned their traditional role of trying to reflect the society they purport to serve in favour of advocating on behalf of divisive and often extremist minority causes. By doing so they create a perception of New Zealand not as a cohesive, stable society made up of diverse groups with vital interests in common, but as one characterised by aggrieved minorities whose interests are fundamentally incompatible with those of a callously indifferent (or worse, deliberately oppressive) majority.  

Media outlets that once tried conscientiously to provide a platform for a range of opinions and ideologies now unashamedly attack, or just as insidiously ignore, views and beliefs that run counter to the narrative favoured by the leftist cabal that controls the institutions of power. The most obvious example is the collective undertaking by major media organisations to ignore any opinion, including those of distinguished scientists, that runs counter to the “approved” narrative on climate change or the effectiveness of policies intended to ameliorate it.

Such flagrant suppression of news would have been unthinkable not long ago. Now it’s official editorial policy.

The Edelman Barometer confirms that overall trust in the New Zealand media remains low at 41 per cent (although it’s up slightly on recent years) compared with 50 per cent internationally. Again, this is hardly a surprise when media independence has been fatally compromised by the industry’s acceptance of tainted government money via the Public Interest Journalism Fund, aka the Pravda Project.

This rort hasn’t gone unnoticed by the public. The latest findings of the Auckland University of Technology annual Trust in Media report, which are also reported by Smellie, reveal a continuing decline in trust – down from 53 to 45 per cent – and quote some respondents as saying the reason for their distrust is that the media are funded by the government and politically influenced by it.

One finding of the Edelman report that should particularly alarm media leaders (but won’t, because they are in denial) is that 64 percent of respondents thought New Zealand journalists purposely tried to mislead people by saying things they know are false or grossly exaggerated. This is a predictable result when journalists are given licence to use the news columns as platforms for their ideological agendas.

As an occupational group, journalists have long tended to lean to the left. Earlier generations of reporters countered this by restraining their natural impulses, knowing that media credibility hinged on public confidence that events and issues would be covered fairly, accurately and impartially. That professional discipline is long gone, along with the moderating influence exercised by editors who insisted on the now highly unfashionable principle of objectivity.

We are bombarded daily with politically slanted content masquerading as trustworthy and authoritative reportage. A recent example was an episode of the New Zealand Herald’s newly launched podcast The Front Page (which claims to “go behind the headlines” and ask “hard-hitting questions”), in which Herald journalists Damien Venuto and Georgina Campbell purported to examine the Three Waters project (which they reported in very positive terms) without once mentioning its most contentious feature – namely, the proposal for 50/50 co-governance with iwi.

“High-quality, trusted” coverage as promised by Herald managing editor Shayne Currie? It's time to revive the Tui billboards, surely.


Phil said...

The media have not reported on the Roy Morgan poll last week showing ACT/National in the lead. Surely that is newsworthy and more so because NZ First are back in contention per the poll.

MarkJ said...

Its not so much that they're asleep at the wheel, but instead driving at breakneck speed toward the cliff alongside the other left wing lemmings. One can only imagine the howls of discontent if Murdoch invested in a right leaning media outlet in New Zealand.

hughvane said...

Even though I read almost none of - as distinct from glance at - the print news available in NZ, the revelation about mistrust, or is it distrust, of the Media still comes as no surprise.

Stuff, for example, continues to display its begging messages, informing people - disingenuously - that its free journalism needs income to stay independent and trustworthy. In the vernacular - who do they think they’re kidding?! Tui indeed!

david said...

Its gaslighting on a grand scale. I was wondering whether the world was going mad or was it me? When things you are pretty sure are not true are presented as the scientific consensus, views that you thought would be held by most new zealanders labeled as far right. you start to doubt your sanity. Thank you for the reassurance Karl. Now what do we do about it?

Owen said...

For an alternative view of the Edelman report and other media ranking reports see:
I must say I've been impressed by a lot of the reporting paid for by the Public Interest fund- but I can see why it's being used to attack the media.

Scott said...

Great summary of what's happening in the media Karl.
I would add that there appears to be only one opinion allowed on any issue now. We can't debate anything and certainly not give any space to views that are not politically correct.
Here are the approved views :
- Homosexuality is marvellous
- Jacinda is marvellous
- The Greens are marvellous
- Electric cars are marvellous
- Christians are not marvellous
- Brian Tamaki is the least marvellous person ever
- Anything Labour does is marvellous or if not marvellous should barely be commented on.
- Battling climate change is marvellous.
- Maori people are marvellous
- Transgender people are marvellous.

Any views different from the above are not worth publishing and the perpetrators of such views are probably Trump supporters who are the least marvellous people in the history of the world!

Graham Hill said...

Activist journalism goes by the name of "Public Journalism." It is the spawn of university media courses. Mark Levin's Unfreedom of The Press details its sad story. Of course it goes without saying it is imbued with Marxism.

Bryan Flanagan said...

Another very good post thanks Karl.

You contend that discipline is gone along with editorial moderation. How have we come to this pass would you say?

Hilary Taylor said...

Thanks for lols Scott! Bonzer...

Nothing to's all been said well here. Am with HughV...most of it gets glanced at. Obits are still good, (Saturday's Press ones a must=read..) as are most film reviews...some business stuff, actual news...quick read most days.

Odysseus said...

It's astonishing that there has been no media coverage of the Rotorua and Lakes Representation Arrangements Bill which would create a race-based gerrymander by over-riding current electoral law. The bill, which is likely to serve as a template for "co-governance" across the country, had its first reading in Parliament last week and has been sent to the Maori Affairs Committee, as if it is a matter of interest only to Maori, under the chair of its sponsor, List MP Tamati Coffey. The bill is of fundamental constitutional significance. It would put New Zealand democracy on a similar level to Fiji where members of the "indigenous" race have greater voting power than the rest of the community.

The proposed legislation violates the NZ Blll of Rights Act and the UN international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantee "equal suffrage" without racial discrimination. That not a single journalist or editor in the mainstream media seems willing to take a critical look at what is effectively a coup against democracy tells you all you need to know about the New Zealand media today.

Incidentally, public submissions on the bill close on 20 April. Everyone who is concerned about the continuing erosion of democracy in New Zealand should make a submission.

Karl du Fresne said...

Shameful and scandalous, yes. But astonishing? Sadly, no.

Unknown said...

The Trust Barometer reminds me of the old Irish saying:

"The peasants may not be able to read, but they can smell."

The MSM promotion of "Climate Change" is fast verging on brainwashing.

Particular culprits the NZ Herald and TV One News.


Brendan McNeill said...

Thanks Karl

I suspect once the 'pandemic' fear journalism has no more mileage left, we will be confronted again with the Climate Change apocalypse.

I happened upon an article by Clive James on that very subject this morning, and encourage your readers to engage with it, even if they have read it in the past.

Clive was very ill when he wrote the article, and concluded with the lines: "“I’m almost sorry that I won’t be here for the ceremonial unveiling of the next threat.”

Well, now we have seen the "next threat" and are quietly awaiting the resurrection of the old threat. In truth it never really died, but was rudely pushed aside for a season by a viral upstart.

David George said...

Yes unknown, shameful, coordinted and blatant fearmongering.
All of our legacy media are fully signed up partners with the Covering Climate Now outfit; the global resource centre for climate change panic. God knows who or what funds it but it's mission is clear. Here is a link to their partners, including "our" media in their hall of shame; NZ Herald, Stuff, Radio NZ, ODT, TVNZ etc.

Tom Hunter said...

Readers may also be interested in my collection of posts on No Minister that deal with the MSM, Die MSM, Die.

From the Covington kids to the stunts pulled on the Hunter Biden story.

Philip Lynch said...

Information: the perspective supported by the current administration (of whichever time). Disinformation: any perspective, regardless of merit, which does not support the "official" information.
Misinformation: see Disinformation, above, but branded by the administration as deliberate disinformation.

And who decides which category is which? The "sole (soul?) source of truth", naturally. It may be interesting to apply this formula to news reports from Moscow regarding the discovery of the many civilians slaughtered in Bucha and other towns in Ukraine.

Official information states that these citizens are the victims of other Ukrainians. Vendettas? Debt collecting? Any suggestion that retreating Russian troops might be responsible would be branded "misinformation/disinformation".

This is what happens when the media is state-funded. Moscow comes to Wellington.

Anonymous said...

It used to be that news was a business that sold its product to those that wanted to buy it. With no government in the middle. We should return to that model, news is a product that those interested should purchase, why does the bloody government have to stick its nose in everywhere?

Gary Peters said...

"why does the bloody government have to stick its nose in everywhere?"

Because that is what labour does.

They are basically non entities as people so they have a need to be seen as important. Poking their nose into your business is "de rigueur" for a lefty.

They also desperately need to be seen as relevant and if the reality is that they are not they will alter the reality. It's called propaganda and it's something that this government requires to sell their lack of achievement to the simple masses.

Andy Espersen said...

We talk about left and right politics – and we (I think you included, Karl) have the tendency to believe that our battle here is between left and right.

But the burning issues of the day, namely climate change, Covid 19 and freedom to speak your opinions in all institutions and in the media, are not Left versus Right issues at all – if you think carefully about it.

hughvane said...

Extraordinary! Two articles in Good Fri's Herald from contributors Steven Joyce and (Sir) Ian Taylor. No guessing which side of the political divide they stand, but to print their material? Wow!

Is an editor seeking brownie points, is the criticism and mistrust of the media beginning to hurt?

Anonymous said...

Karl du Fresne, May 2008
"Nick Davies’ recent book Flat Earth News, which I hope to review on this site shortly, takes a highly critical look at how the British media have been enlisted by the spin industry. His thesis is that the news agenda is no longer controlled by journalists, but is largely dictated by spin merchants pushing their own political, ideological or commercial interests."
The road goes on forever, the party never ends

Glennis said...

I think the problem is media and the overwhelming tendency to access sites in line with our opinions. This means people do not DISCUSS opposing ideas/opinions, as this is seen as arguing. And a person who argues is opposing the status quo. It is seen as rude and inconsiderate and frankly boring.It is a way of keeping the break on meaningfull discussion.