Clark on Media

December 12th, 2007 at 7:20 am by David Farrar

I suggested a few days ago that if Clark suceeds in getting a 4th term despite the Electoral Finance Bill regulating lobby groups, then her logical next target will be regulation.  And keep that in mind when you look at her words on Monday:

She said there was little point complaining to the print media’s self-regulatory watchdog, the Press Council.

That just doesn’t get you anywhere.

Sounds like she would like a system where her complaints will get her somewhere and she doesn’t have to just “shrug and say, ‘Well, that’s life,’ and get on with it.” Her Foreign Minister has labelled journalists as traitors and rails against the media and their owners.  If he demanded media regulation as the price of support, do you think Helen would resist?

Anyway let’s look at her other views on the media:

“In the small political bubble that is Wellington, and particularly Parliament, people are far too close to each other, might establish habits of drinking far too much with each other, and getting too close.

” I don’t think that’s a good idea, and I make a habit of keeping professional boundaries myself.”

I don’t disagree with Clark here but no PM has ever been drinking buddies with the gallery – they’re far too busy generally. I actually don’t think there is any significant occurrence of MPs and journalists being drinking buddies – in fact I suspect Clark’s words were aimed at one particular journalist whom is out of favour with the 9th floor.

Helen Clark said “very few” journalists had a comprehensive knowledge of New Zealand’s international relations and few media outlets sent journalists to cover her international trips.

Here I very much agree. The gallery journalists themselves get pretty frustrated that their owners often won’t fork out for what should just be routine business – travelling with the PM.

Many journalists were young, and while this meant that they had “energy and a fresh perspective”, most of them had major gaps in their general knowledge.

Wow so the gallery are inexperienced and stupid! Colin Espiner counters this ageism rather grumpily for such a young fella :-)

Helen Clark said media also needed to consider blogging by senior political reporters on the websites of major news outlets.

“Of course, if you commit yourself to instant opinion, then when it comes time to putting in a considered piece, you might think, ‘Whoops, that was a rush of judgment,’ but it becomes hard to climb back from.”

Heh in my experience if you get something wrong on a blog, dozens of frenzied comments point this out to you in no small manner.

I love the fact some in the gallery are blogging.  Audrey Young’s blog helped bring down David Benson-Pope.  The gallery blogs all provide really useful commentary and perspective on how members of the gallery are seeing events.

I think Clark is wrong to link blogging to instant reaction.  Often a gallery blog touches on an event after it has been running for a few days.  The blog gives a more blunt appraisal often than a newspaper column, and allows for direct reader feedback.

Tags: ,

47 Responses to “Clark on Media”

  1. GerryandthePM (328 comments) says:

    Clark knows that the National Party is too comfortable to do something about this. Say something, yes, but to whom, and are they listening?
    Do something? Don’t think so.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Lindsay Addie (1,594 comments) says:

    Reading that article it seems that Helen doesn’t like the cartoonists making fun of her. Well madam develop a sense of humour.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    “Many journalists were young, and while this meant that they had “energy and a fresh perspective”, most of them had major gaps in their general knowledge.”

    I assumed this was a reference to the state education system.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. tim barclay (886 comments) says:

    Next she will be wanting regulate the blogs. She lives in the strange cocooned world where she thinks everybody adores her, but out THERE there are all these ungrateful savages who paint themselves with woad. What we are witnessing is the strange political death of Helen WElizabeth Clark.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Dave Mann (1,251 comments) says:

    Well said, Andrew W.

    And, on the subject of blogging generally, I think this is an absolute revolution in the spread of ideas which, up until recently, the MSM hadn’t really got a grip on at all. This is not surprising, and it would be uncharitable to criticise the MSM for this; its just that older, more established media organisations have been physically unable to keep up with a tchnology where one guy like DPF can create a whole virtual newspaper with a forum of readers who can also contribute in real time. I guess the advent of talkback radio was another one of those critical advances and that one created a similar revolution.

    The establishment of journalists’ blogs is an illustration of the fact that a news organisation is only as good as the editorial staff who run it, and people like Colin Espiner are very astute to have seen and acted on this. The media are, after all, only selling the products of their journalists’ minds.

    Coming up to the election, every reader of this blog and all its other like-minded as well as (of course) opposing blogs will be speaking to tens of people, who will be speaking to tens of people etc. Watch out Helen. Watch out Winston. Watch out whatsyername… (um who’s that National guy with the greasy smile?)…

    My concern is not for MSM regulation. My concern is that this arsehole woman and her Stasi stormtroopers will look for a way to close blogs down, because thats where the real media power is concentrated now.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Dave Mann (1,251 comments) says:

    Hahahah Tim…. we must have been writing the same thing at the same time! :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. george (388 comments) says:

    In fact, media regulation has already happened. The EFB could quite possibly be interpreted as banning editorials that support or oppose political parties. (Of course, seeing no one knows how the EFB will be interpreted, it may not.) But what you mean, DPF, is that there will be even more sinister regulation of the media if she gets a 4th term!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    “Many journalists were young, and while this meant that they had “energy and a fresh perspective”, most of them had major gaps in their general knowledge.”

    I would however agree with this statement of heres, especially with certain Herald reporters, particularily the Herald on Sunday.

    Though I do think that alternative media now does a good job of keeping MSM in check, adn this might be something that the PM takes issue with, as its hard for media to just run a parliamentary press release anymore without it being ripped to shreds online (then the media can conveniantly quote said online commentator).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. simo (151 comments) says:

    The NZ Herald is reporting this morning that Labour & NZ First MP’s are attempting to bullshit the NZ public that they don’t really care about the EFB. When this bill passes, the country is on a path of self destruction, just watch and weep, or join in the removal of the bilious bitch in 2008

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Helen Clark is sounding more and more like the sort of person who should not be in charge in a representative democracy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Helen Clark is sounding more and more like the sort of person who should not be in charge in a representative democracy

    Correct. That’s why she’s trying to put a stop to democracy

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    In China, blogs are regulated.

    Don’t think that she won’t try it here. Maybe not overtly. More likely by her usual method: denigration and contempt.

    To be followed by forcing bloggers to register with the government.

    Then ISPs will not be allowed to pass certain blacklisted URLs (like Parliament’s own Internet filters already do).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. berend (1,716 comments) says:

    You really missed the most disgusting part. H1: She had noticed the BBC’s usual objectivity had “slipped” during the invasion of Iraq. “You would sometimes find people talking about ‘our troops’. Well, that cannot be.”

    Our troops, that cannot be. There you go. Well, NZ doesn’t have any troops left, so issue solved.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. TC (31 comments) says:

    Tim Barclay is correct. Clark is living in her own bubble.
    The fact that just about every newspaper in the country has vehemently criticised the EFB and its implementation and she still pushes on reveals the extent of her isolation.
    George Bush is similarly isolated, but God is on his side.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Dave Mann (1,251 comments) says:

    MajorBloodnock, could you (or others) please elaborate on this? Is it actually possible, technologically and/or legislatively for a government to close down a New Zealand blog? DPF, perhaps you could throw some light on this too?

    I don’t think an open discussion of methods would give the bastards ideas, as I am confident that there must be a government working group quietly looking into the possibility anyway. I would just like to know what to look out for when they try it on.

    [DPF: Yes the Govt can close down a blog if it is either hosted in NZ, or the author is known to be in NZ. I could be closed down, but for example Kiwiblogblog could not be as their identities are not known, and one would have to get WordPress to hand over details which is unlikely]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. cubit9f (357 comments) says:

    The media world is changing very fast but at the end of the day the MSM are still only concerned with advertising revenue. As an example just check the first 5 pages of this mornings Dom Post. TV is even worse, apart from product advertising a good deal of TVNZ/TV3 news is what can almost be described as lifestyle news that has a relationship to marketing of products, e.g. sport, leisure etc. The level of TV political comment and documentary is abysmal

    Blogs are a threat because they concentrate on news and opinion, and are largely uncontrollable. That frightens the crap out of all politicians particularly those who are dependent on controlled news releases (spin) for the retention or achievement of power. After all at the end of the day politics for most of the individuals playing the game (seriously), is about either gaining or retaining power.

    Our current government is desparately trying to retain power while the opposition are desperately trying to gain it. The minor parties, realising that they can’t have complete control in their own right simply ally themselves like leeches to one of the big players. Leeches cause annoying itchy sores to their hosts.

    The MSM play along with this game. But Blogs are a new worrying phenomenon. They are not controlled. The good ones thrive the not so good just fall by the wayside. Just check some of the links to other blogs listed on this site. Some have little or no activity (meaning they don’t interest anyone), some are attractive to only small audiences and some are so obviously propagandist in nature that all they provide is an element of generally poor humour.

    The blogs that are a threat are those that have a basis of intellectual rigour, a good number of coherent balanced paricipants and have a good degree of tolerance for opposing opinions and viewpoints. This is very threatening to those who only want to present information with a spin.

    I think there are some very frightened politicans and their apparatchiks who are hit with the situation where they can’t control these media outlets.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. ghostwhowalks (377 comments) says:

    Audrey Young blogged on John keys lies but that didnt bring him down.
    Thats because NP cant lose another leader from hypocrisy and lies so they hung on to him. Same goes with Nick Smith , the convicted witness tamperer

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    The thought of state regulation of media is unfathomable – these are people with opinions, afterall – but nothing is beyond impossible now that the EFB appears as if it will go through, which itself seemed unbelievable 4 months ago.

    It has started already with the decree that media cannot present politicians in the House satirically. That rightly earned the derision of international media.

    I am ashamed to live in a country with such intolerant leadership who think they are worthy of special rules, and ashamed to be surrounded by so many people willing to vote for them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. casual watcher (289 comments) says:

    I think we can count on more outrage from Labour next year. They seem to have the EFB sorted now and they will not lie down in the face of bad polls next year. These people are a bunch of unprincipled and unscrupulous career politicians whose livelihood is on the line. This country will become the laughing stock, if it is not already, of the Western world. Key needs to promise a review of MMP followed by a binding referendum. We also need a Royal commission to establish binding constitutional laws around the Electoral process that require a 75-80% majority before they can be changed. I cannot see what the Nats have to lose by proposing this right now.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Lindsay Addie (1,594 comments) says:

    Rod Emmerson’s cartoon in the NZ Herald sums things up:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/500814/index.cfm?c_id=500814

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Buggerlugs (1,592 comments) says:

    ‘New Zealand First MP Doug Woolerton dismissed the notion of deep concern.

    “Average New Zealanders are not concerned about this bill. They do not want their elections bought. They do not want their elections corrupted by people who have a really, really strange view of the world.”

    What Doug, you want to leave it to Helen Clark? Someone who flogged $800K to corrupt and election and thinks the media is part of the great VRWC? A woman who thinks it’s OK for Cabinet Ministers to verbally punch someone? Go back to your gardening, you idiot.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Casual absolutely a Royal Commission into electoral reform which examines EVERY aspect of the electoral process including Big Business, Unions, Media and the relationship between the EFB and the Bill of Rights Act, after a full and wide-reaching enquiry.

    This would make a superb central plank in the National Party’s election campaign. It would keep a fire lit under the EFB/EFA, and expose the Labour and its allies policy for the sham it is, masquerading as a ‘level playing field’.

    I mean , unless the EFB is meant to regulate discussions about the EFB during an election years? And by implication, the media must explore all of its freedoms to discuss electoral reform during this time.

    This whole thing started with and expose of the National/EB connection which was promoted by National Party insiders and Nick Hager. It is only just that the left are made to experience the same scrutiny, if a truly level playing field is to be established. That is if there are 6 Labour insiders with the morals to whistle-blow.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    GWW – take too many of those red threadjack pills with your weet-bix this morning?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Well,

    Apparently, the new political consensus is that the people are not overly fussed about the EFB bill. According to our labour leaders in the Herald, the electorate does not find anything peculiar about it those who do are very strange, strange people.

    The 5,000 who marched were badgered and coerced and forcibly taken away from their televisions. They were the victims of untruths and libel from the march organisers.

    Of course, since these people were practically kidnapped from their homes and forced to portray serious emotional digress, the govt will of course pursue criminal actions and bring charges against the organisers.

    This is obviously a case of terroist conspiracy and the homes of all march organisers and leading protestors will be invaded and the occupants all arrested. Going by govt accusations, nothing less should be anticipated and we should see the ring leaders behind bars immediately!

    Shouldn’t we ??

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. cubit9f (357 comments) says:

    Woolerton says;

    “Average New Zealanders are not concerned about this bill. They do not want their elections bought. They do not want their elections corrupted by people who have a really, really strange view of the world.”

    Who are these people who have a really strange view of the world. Doug you need to know that most of the government and pro-government speakers I have heard speaking in parliament on this bill (including your good self) seem to meet your definition of having a really,really strange view of the world.

    The minister sponsoring the bill has such a strange view of the world that she can’t and won’t explain it. Your own leader won’t pay back what your lot owe from your last episode of till tickling and the chairwoman of the select committee handling the bill is also unable to clearly explain it.

    Yes there really are a lot people involved in pushing this bill with a really, really strange view of the world.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    David Mann wrote:

    “MajorBloodnock, could you (or others) please elaborate on this? Is it actually possible, technologically and/or legislatively for a government to close down a New Zealand blog? DPF, perhaps you could throw some light on this too?”

    Yes, technologically. Any decent router can already filter URLs. Most corporates and govt departments (including Parliament) already have filters to block access to porn, and other “distractions”.

    Yes, legislatively. If a blog, even if it hosted overseas, is deemed to break the laws of a country, the blog host can usually be threatened by officialdom to the point where they will pull the site.

    For an example of this (where in the opinion of most rational people it was warranted), see http://cyfswatchnz.blogspot.com/

    But just as the EFB (the Anti-EB Law) is bad law, I can imagine SiegHelen getting a similar law passed that is suitably Anti-Blog. And using it.

    Hopefully, there are sufficient rational people that can see through her ploy, that will choose civil disobedience instead.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Inventory2 (10,434 comments) says:

    Poor Helen – she’s a “victim of her own success as a popular and competent Prime Minister” – anyone esle see a Tui billboard there?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. WebWrat (516 comments) says:

    http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-nz-democracy/sign.html

    690 and climbing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. poneke (280 comments) says:

    The reporting of politics, and of almost everything else happening in New Zealand today, is shallow and facile. This helps nobody. Not the politicians whose doings deserve to be reported in context and in depth, not the public who are being fed pap, not the media owners who are destroying their product and losing audiences and advertisers in droves, and especially not the journalists who are prostituting their profession by serving up drivel.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Buggerlugs (1,592 comments) says:

    Many journalists were young, and while this meant that they had “energy and a fresh perspective”, most of them had major gaps in their general knowledge.

    oh yeah, like Labour’s fucking around with education is going to fix that in a hurry…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Its not only journalists, but every NZer who needs to wake up to the fact that support for totalitarianism is eventually going to be a downer for everybody. The problems that beset NZ are in the end all down to –

    -leftism
    -socialism
    -totalitarianism

    Journalists need to cease their lemming like love affair with socialism, but so does the rest of NZ. Its time to reject Klark but more importantly, its time to reject her sick destructive ideology.

    Most importantly though, its time to confront and repel the left and their constant strategy of limiting by attempted intimidation or denigration, discussion on any viewpoint that challenges their own.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “You really missed the most disgusting part.”

    Damn. You’re right Berend. That is just soooooo disgusting. What a horrible commie bitch she truly is.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    “George Bush is similarly isolated, but God is on his side.”

    Has anyone asked god whose side he’s on?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. david c (254 comments) says:

    “Sounds like she would like a system where her complaints will get her somewhere and she doesn’t have to just “shrug and say, ‘Well, that’s life,’ and get on with it.” ”

    No shit sherlock. That’s exactly what most people would like. If you lay a complaint, you would like to think it’s taken seriously.

    C’mon Dave, you can blow a better whistle than this…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    [going slightly OT…]

    “…God is on his side”

    No, he’s not. He’s normally described as sitting (or standing), but never “on his side”. :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Colonel Masters (409 comments) says:

    Poneke wrote:

    The reporting of politics, and of almost everything else happening in New Zealand today, is shallow and facile.

    Not so long ago Mark Sainsbury was challenged on the local body election reporting that Close Up had failed to deliver. His response: “Yes, but if we screened that, people would just switch off!”

    And this from a state-funded broadcaster. Well, it will be nice to have more David Beckham stories next year and that investigative journalist’s favourite: salsa dancing competitors…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. kehua (225 comments) says:

    Doug Woolerton has his head stuck so far up his own arse for so long he wouldn`t know night from day, for years now this Bob Tizard clone has sat at the trough and is obviously too thick to see the end is nigh. A sure sign that blogs are in the Govt sights is the number of times one David Farrar`s name is mentioned by Labour in the house.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “A sure sign that blogs are in the Govt sights is the number of times one David Farrar`s name is mentioned by Labour in the house.”

    I must say I would feel unnerved if my name was continually being brought up by my opposite numbers in the house. If DPF is being persecuted it is because of our opinions we spout off at his responsibility.

    In saying this I will find it interesting how National will respond to this site when occupying the treasury seats.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    poneke: Right on target.

    A corrupt Media being party to the corruption permeating this nation

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. David Farrar (1,902 comments) says:

    Yeah I’ve given up even trying to keep track of the number of references.

    It will be interesting when National is in. The Government always attracts more scrutiny, so I expect I’ll end up being critical more often than at present.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    What I find really amusing is this – did Clark say anything media commentators – and even evil ig’nant bloggers – haven’t been saying over and over for years?

    And if Clark’s really that worried about a lack of experience and institutional memory among political journalists, perhaps she should look no further than her own chief press secretary for a reason why. When Kathryn Street crossed over to the ‘dark side’, she was RNZ’s chief political reporter and (I think its fair to say) was highly regarded by her colleagues and politicians on all side as an astute and well-informed journalist. I bet she’s earning a lot more money – and working marginally more civilized hours – in the Beehive than she was in the Press Gallery; and the many other journos who’ve changed careers and become political/corporate spin doctors, PR flacks or lobbyists would say the same. And who would blame any of them?

    A far cry from the day when the handful of press secretaries around Parliament were career civil servants on secondment from the old Tourism and Publicity Department, isn’t it Helen?

    And as Espiner also rather tartly pointed out, the media sure isn’t full of dumb-arse younglings when the positive coverage and warm editorials are to her liking.

    I’d also add Clark didn’t have any problem with the Herald – or Audrey Young blogging – when Ms. Young totally lost her rag (and for the most part, rightly so IMO) at John Key over what she regarded as having her professional integrity attacked without basis.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    And wasn’t Tony Blair’s last major public speech as Prime Minister another attack on the superficial and viciously personal media – which raised an eyebrow or two, considering he’ll largely be remembered as a remarkably nimble Sultan of Spin whose inner circle turned ‘media management’ into a fine art.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Buggerlugs (1,592 comments) says:

    Craig –
    Kathryn Street might be getting paid more, but you can guarantee the hours aren’t better than working for Radio Free Labour. Working for the Emperor is 24/7…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Why do you think Ive been labelling her Crazy Clark for the past few months. Her behaviour over the past 12 months has been getting more and more bizzare

    Only her syncophants and incompetents wont have noticed the detachment from reality she has shown.

    She is exhibiting all the signs of someone who is convinced the world is against her. Look at the attack against the MSM a group that for the last 9 years has fawned and supplicated themselves at her feet.

    She is surrounded by people of another world like H2 who reminds me of the mad woman in the Austin Powers movies.

    Watch for increasing strange behaviour in 08 I predict that she will “pop” if not before the election then during the campaign.

    Old hands will remember the end of the Muldoon era and the same pattern we saw then.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    gd many of her arse lickers would probably agree she is a few cans short of a six pack but without her their lives hold no meaning and no pay packet.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Redbaiter is right. It is time for the journalists who have been Clark sycophants up to now, and sycophants to the whole PC neo-Marxist dogma that they were brainwashed with at journalism school, to wake up. Otherwise, it will be too late, for them just as much as us.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote