A case in point

August 28th, 2010 at 8:18 pm by David Farrar

At the # conference earlier today, there was a good discussion about how social can help improve interactions with Government, and we focused specifically on getting a culture in the public service where staff can engage in social .

I made the point that the problem is the media can take a flippant comment online, and treat it as a press release, and demand the CEO comment on it or respond to it. My suggestion was that a good CEO should tell anyone who comes to them with a media inquiry about a flippant comment on or Twitter, that the person needs a life and the CEO is too busy with real issues.

In the few hours since the conference, we’ve had a perfect example of this play out – but with MPs not public servants.

In the House on Thursday, embellished her question to Judith Collins of “Can she explain the reasons behind the record low number of escapes” by adding on “except for the fact she is such a fantastic minister”.

promptly facebooked that Melissa’s effort should win her “brown nosing backbencher of the year”.

Now Nikki and Melissa are good mates. Melissa actually responds to “Blondie” in the facebook thread. It is very obviously two mates having a friendly hassle.

Then early this morning on Red Alert Trevor Mallard posted a screenshot of the Facebook thread. It is bloody obvious that it is a friendly exchange. They even have Melissa doing a lol on it.

So far so good. But then someone at NewstalkZB thinks this is somehow a newsworthy story. They actually dispatch a reporter to phone Nikki Kaye up and ask her why she called a colleague a brown noser, and does she think John Key would approve of it.

For fuck’s sake. This was the exact point I was making at the Labour conference. An idiot media outlet thinking that a piece of friendly banter is somehow a news story, let alone some sort of scandal that the Prime Minister might need to be informed about.

The Prime Minister, I am confident to predict, would find the exchange as funny as most people would.

What really annoys me is that the consequences of such media stupidity is to encourage our MPs to become automatons – never showing any personality or humour – playing everything safe, just to avoid a potentially bad media story.

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16 Responses to “A case in point”

  1. reid (15,947 comments) says:

    “For fuck’s sake. This was the exact point I was making at the Labour conference. An idiot media outlet thinking that a piece of friendly banter is somehow a news story, let alone some sort of scandal that the Prime Minister might need to be informed about.”

    They’re only ever as mental as the audience ever is, DPF. There’s your answer, I’m afraid.

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  2. Doug (405 comments) says:

    The News Media is so desperate for storeys they climb over themselves for any crumb of useless information and report it as fact.

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  3. RightNow (6,659 comments) says:

    Slow news day.

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  4. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    So for those who read it, has the standard covered this one yet?

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  5. Doug (405 comments) says:

    Scrubone- Bet they won’t DPF was there it would be Labour giving into the Devil.

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  6. Michael (896 comments) says:

    You have to admit, it was an obvious bit of humour on Lee’s part to begin with – any reporter who missed the joke must have had a complete humour bypass.

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  7. wat dabney (3,671 comments) says:

    Newspapers and TV news have made themselves completely irrelevant. Mostly they just retail dishonest press releases from special-interest groups (usually tax-payer funded.) Did you see the fabricated news story this week about some media studies types on the taxpayer meal-ticket who had concluded a “study” (sic) showing that some tobacco brands could be found on Youtube.

    That’s what passes for taxpayer-funded university research these days. And that’s what passes for news. All very cosy, except for those forced to fund such shit.

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  8. BeaB (2,058 comments) says:

    I bet Mallard would have made hay if he could have.
    Aren’t we all so tired of these beat-up stories and so-called ‘gaffes’. I’d love to hear some straight talking again – the kind we are almost getting from John Key.

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  9. ZenTiger (425 comments) says:

    Hey, it worked for the media over-hyping the Heather Roy story.

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  10. eszett (2,334 comments) says:

    ZenTiger (268) Says:
    August 28th, 2010 at 10:53 pm
    Hey, it worked for the media over-hyping the Heather Roy story.

    Yes, that was very obviously two mates having a friendly hassle as well.

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  11. RJL (145 comments) says:

    Don’t be stupid DPF, I thought that you were meant to be a media spin expert?

    It’s not just “two mates having a friendly hassle”.

    If it was only “two mates having a friendly hassle” the exchange would have taken place on a private mailing list, or at the caucus water-cooler, or similar. However, Nikki and Melissa are posting in a public space precisely because they want people to read their comments and think “gosh what fun, goofy, self-deprecating banter, I can really relate to Nikki and Melissa — I think I’ll vote for them.” They are not posting in a public space by accident.

    I doubt Nikki and Melissa are worried by the media coverage. The NewstalkZB story just helps to propagate the message that “Nikki and Melissa are fun people it would be good to vote for.” Nikki went on the TV3 “Seven Days” show for precisely the same reason.

    The whole point of their facebook postings is that it is picked up in exactly this way by the media. The NewstalkZB story is the desired outcome.

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  12. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    The Academic, no real life experience Media types are dyed in the wool communists. They will do anything to arrange trip wires for a progressive Government.

    Mallard is just below contempt. Big brave Sir Trevor, as featured in the ‘Holy Grail’

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  13. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    When their favourite party is 20 points behind in the polls, anything starts to look good for a beat-up. I just laugh at their desperation and move on.

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  14. Viking2 (11,129 comments) says:

    The Prime Minister, I am confident to predict, would find the exchange as funny as most people would.

    UMMM. It might turn out that way but excuse me because that’s not Key’ s public stance so far.
    Expect a private telling off about which we will never know unless of course Trev. gets the whisper.

    Personally I thought it was somewhat true and a typical conversation in any institution where power was in the hands of a few.

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  15. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    what was it like being in a room full of Labour MPs/supporters?

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  16. Brian Smaller (3,990 comments) says:

    I imagine you would have to take several showers to get clean again.

    I would rather muck out the chicken coop.

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