Investigative Journalism & Winston

November 10th, 2010 at 2:17 pm by David Farrar

NBR carry an NZPA story on Winston’s latest claim:

Overseas ownership of New Zealand news outlets is in the political spotlight, with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters saying it has eroded journalism standards.

A traditional opponent of overseas ownership, Mr Peters told NZPA he was concerned about the profits of domestic media, banking and forestry companies going off shore.

“It has also led to serious erosion of media standards and journalism reporting because people are given no time to do any work properly, instant sound bites have become the name of the game, and that is sliding its way into tabloid journalism,” Mr Peters said.

International companies that owned New Zealand media outlets had failed to support investigative journalism and had “squeezed the professional capacity” out of the industry, he said.

“I’m the last one in the world that should be making a sympathetic argument for the journalists of this country, but I’m telling you that’s exactly what happened.”

Proper investigative journalism was essential for the democracy of a nation, Mr Peters said.

Now normally I ignore what Winston says, but the irony here is too great. I actually agree we need more investigative journalism, but we do have some sterling examples of good investigative journalism by Fairfax and APN journalists. Namely the superb work done by reports , David Fisher, Audrey Young and others in exposing the tissue of lies Winston told about the funding of NZ First and himself by various wealthy businesspeople. It was investigative journalism at its finest and exposed Peters as a charlatan whose reality was the direct opposite of what he railed again.

The comments thread on the story has some superb contributions, such as Phil Kitchin:

I’d love to get answers to questions Winston has never answered Monaco Consul. But the two answers Winston gave me when I got to speak to him during my investigation into NZ First funding and all the lies about the Spencer Trust were…1) Phil, I’m not speaking to a lying wanker (then the phone went dead), and 2) Phil, I’ve told you I’m not speaking to a lying gripper. Do you know what that is, it is a lying wanker who won’t let go (then the phone went dead).

Yes Winston is an unusual champion of investigative journalism. It is like Al Capone criticising the IRS for not cracking down hard enough on tax fraud.

chimes in:

Congratulations NBR! That is the funniest story I’ve read in years. Hopefully Winston’s return to the political scene will encourage investigative journalists and grippers to reopen their old files and start digging again and he may get his wish!

And Fran O’Sullivan:

Give us break – Audrey Young (NZ Herald owned by APN News & Media) blew the Owen Glenn fiasco open. Phil Kitchin completed the double in the (Dom-Post owned by Fairfax). Great investigative reporting by two first-class journalists working for Aust owned media but under good Kiwi editors.

Exactly. And remember Labour is working hard to get Winston back into Parliament, as they don’t stand a chance without him.

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26 Responses to “Investigative Journalism & Winston”

  1. Offshore_Kiwi (557 comments) says:

    Queston 1. “Hey Winston, where’s my $158,000?”

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  2. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    David Lange recalled an issue where what Winston Peters said one week was completely the opposite of what he had said the previous week. When David challenged him, Winston replied (with a straight face) “I’ve changed my mind. At least I’m consistent! “

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  3. Michaels (1,317 comments) says:

    Is Winston offering the journo’s a challenge?

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  4. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Is Winston Redbaiter? :-o

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  5. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    The problem is DPF, Winston will blather on about corrupt self serving politicians flying around in wealthy business backers helicopters at election time and how they use secret trusts to hide policy influencing secret donations. But all his supporters will have forgotten who Winston is actually talking about.

    I can hardly wait for part 2 of the story where Winston goes into full attack about political parties who haven’t paid back their stolen money from 2005. He will probably talk about some rogue Tauranga MP who stole $158,000 and hasn’t paid it back yet and his supporters will be calling “Name and shame him Winny…” but Winston the true professional won’t sink that low….

    James: I think Winston use to troll around under the name “cadmus”.

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  6. Michaels (1,317 comments) says:

    I shudder every time hear Winston get mentioned in the media….. or here!!!!
    As most business will tell you, any advertising is good advertising, SO STOP REPORTING ON HIM FFS!!!!!
    Just let him move on to a rest home in peace.

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  7. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    Difficult to believe that Winston would use a computer – it can leave an audit trail. The contents of phone conversations, on the other hand are more difficult to verify.

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  8. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    Rodders

    Being above the law (like the Labour-led govt he was part of) makes him pretty arrogant. Last time he was audited he had months of warning and probaly just got a new compter installed whe he was warned in advance when there would be a “swoop” on his office.

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  9. emmess (1,368 comments) says:

    Winston: If your not company isn’t Kiwi owned I’ll refuse to shout at you

    Best argument for the liberalization of investment laws I’ve heard yet

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  10. Jack5 (4,571 comments) says:

    Peters sadly is the best ally the centre-left of NZ politics could have.

    Peters has hogged limelight and older disenchanted voters, and prevented a more substantial, Right wing party emerging to balance the huge left tilt in NZ politics, with the NatLab centre-left sitting slightly to the left side of the political see-saw.

    However, I am cynical about Bull Ralston, who has led from front and behind a campaign on behalf of Nat Dairy and Wang that smeared as racist those who questioned it. It looks as though the IRD will sink that bid. IMHO, Ralston looks to be now sucking up to the MSM, which largely danced to his tune on this issue. Bull may find a pink mark is left by his paid work for a bid which may or may not have connections to high-up Chinese party apparatchiki.

    Also, the readable and intelligent Fran O’Sullivan in describing the Hooer-ald owner, APN News & Media, as Australian, is stretching things. It may be based there. But it’s controlled from Ireland.

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  11. Rex Widerstrom (5,257 comments) says:

    Rodders suggests:

    Difficult to believe that Winston would use a computer

    Unless he’s been filling in time down at the Seniors’ Centre taking lessons, Winston doesn’t know how to turn the power to a computer on. I’ve seen him struggle to do so, and then engage in a battle of wills with the recalcitrant device, staring at it in the hope it’d either start emitting smoke or suddenly come to life.

    Unsurprisingly, the computer won.

    As for the post, that’s the sad thing about Winston. The points he makes are valid… it’s just that they come from a source whose credibility isn’t so much in tatters as reduced to microscopic particles.

    There’s some excellent investigative journalism in this country, sure. But holding it up and saying nothing’s wrong is ignoring the fact that the gap between it and everyday news reporting is huge, and growing.

    “Journalists” take press releases and soundbites and run them verbatim and without question. Many have neither the skills nor the desire to question the veracity of what they’re being told and instead rely on an opponent of the first speaker to emerge to rebut claims with information that is potentially equally erroneous, or even moreso.

    Then some – with very little on which to base an opinion and in some cases even less ability to form an intelligent one – bundle the whole mess up, repeat it, and tell us what to think based on what their “gut” tells them.

    Nothing wrong with bringing experience and intuition to bear… provided you’ve first done the groundwork needed to form an opinion. Otherwise you know only as much as your viewers or readers and are no more qualified to use your medium as a bully pulpit.

    The standards of everday journalism in this country are a cause for concern. Just watch the ABC and read The Australian for a while (you can do both online), then turn on TVNZ and open the Sunday Star Times and tell me I’m wrong.

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  12. Auberon (869 comments) says:

    “And remember Labour is working hard to get Winston back into Parliament, as they don’t stand a chance without him.”

    Ah, thank you for noting that David – that explains a lot about the deep and meaningful conversation Phil Goff and Winston Peters were having in the Koru lounge at the Christchurch Airport yesterday evening.

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  13. david (2,535 comments) says:

    So as an ex-MP, we get to fly Winston up and down the country on NZ1 party business. Isn’t that in conflict with the idea that the benefit is not for use in private ventures. Campaigning is a private venture from where I sit.

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  14. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    Labour is working hard to get Winston back into Parliament, as they don’t stand a chance without him.

    thats a big call…got any investigative proof to back it up ?

    maybe your mate whale has got a facebook quote from a dementia suffering NZ first supporter he could pull out of his arse as fact to support you ?

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  15. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    Winnie and Rex are correct, the startard of journalism in NZ is pathetic. Yes there are a few examples of some good work. However on the whole they are a bunch of tits. Even the sports reporters get basic facts wrong frequently.

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  16. thedavincimode (6,530 comments) says:

    “Labour is working hard to get Winston back into Parliament”

    Fatal attraction. Slime and slime.

    Imagine if you will, the collision of two dungballs. Notice how instead of repelling each other, they combine to form a single dungball larger than the sum of the two individual dungballs.

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  17. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    I’d hardly describe Audrey as an investigative journalist. Kitchin certainly has credentials. Ralston doesn’t, he couldn’t investigate his own navel.

    Rex, journalists are renowned for being lazy. Like most generalisations it has a grain of truth. But often stories are simply not followed up because there is neither the staff nor the time.

    But there can be other reasons. Many years ago when I worked for a major NZ daily, the editor (not a Kiwi by the way) saw fit to pull two of our most senior journalists off their beats to do an investigation which lasted one whole year and proved fruitless. The secrecy surrounding this project was extraordinary, none of the rest of us knew exactly what it was all about. And in the end nothing was published.

    In the meantime a major newspaper struggled on without two of its most experienced, senior reporters. Sometimes, the media is its own worst enemy.

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  18. wat dabney (3,662 comments) says:

    Even this long after the election I’m still enjoying the sheer pleasure of not having this self-serving lying little shit on the nightly news spouting his ugly nationalistic crap.

    I don’t want to risk demerits by saying I’d be glad if he met with a horrific accident involving a straw baler; so I’ll just say that I’m not glad that he hasn’t.

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  19. Rex Widerstrom (5,257 comments) says:

    Maggie:

    I’d hardly describe Audrey as an investigative journalist.

    Perhaps not, but that’s more due to the demands placed on her to produce volume by the “never mind the quality, feel the width” publishers for whom she works. If she were given the time and resources she could be… look what she’s done in the past with bugger-all.

    often stories are simply not followed up because there is neither the staff nor the time.

    Precisely what Winston and (my gawd… I can’t believe I’m about to say this) I are saying.

    …And in the end nothing was published.

    I’m glad to hear it. That’s the price of investigative journalism – sometimes you’ll come up empty. If a media outlet invests in investigative work then I’m impressed (and I have to admit, surprised) that it’d simply write off the expense rather than use what it had to write a beat-up in order to get something back.

    Now if we could just convince the NZ Police to adopt the same philosophy, rather than honing in one someone and then, when they come up empty handed, fitting them up because “they must have done something, why else would they be getting all that police attention” :-/

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  20. happy-jacko (64 comments) says:

    Winston who?

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

    Was he campaigning from a helicopter at the time?

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  22. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    I always heard politics is hard work, Shit if Winnie is the shinning light then I’m doing something wrong.

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  23. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    Put it away

    What Winston says about the helicopter ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIDuuhYU4iQ

    Anyone hear a “NO” in there ?

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  24. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Oh shit.

    While reading thru the blog I was saying to myself “Jeez – leave Winston alone – he brings some character to the place. Good lord at the moment we’ve got Mallard and Hodgson trying to be the front men and how embarrassing are they (or as my kids would say -”theyre gay” – meaning not homosexual but just so bad).
    Winston would be a breath of fresh – well I was going to say – air, but at least something worth watching.

    But the last line has me concerned – Labour need him !!!!!!!!! Now thats something to take seriously. Maybe he shouldnt come back.

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  25. KevinH (1,131 comments) says:

    Certainly there is a role for investigative journalism in any democracy however wether the public is interested is a moot point.
    Winstone is king of the tabloids, his manifesto’s tend to feed off tabloid issue’s that are superficial, ie xenphobia, mistrust in govt etc. Winstone is a man who is not shy of the camera, in the very first MMP parliament Winstone kept the nation hanging by a thread for weeks thoroughly enjoying the media spotlight.
    So Winstone’s grizzle is really a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

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  26. hj (6,348 comments) says:

    The controversial ruling, by a Moscow court on Wednesday, underlined the dangers that Russian journalists face when delving into the often murky intersection of politics and business.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8123629/Russian-journalist-who-had-leg-amputated-after-beating-found-guilty-of-slander.html

    MPs’ rich friend arrested at airport

    The restaurant hosted election fundraising dinners last year for Labour candidate Raymond Huo, National’s Ms Wong and Act’s Kenneth Wang.

    Yan also made donations of $5000 each to Labour and National in 2005.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10582518

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