Not everything that Governments do is controversial. While most of the focus and debate goes on the areas of disagreement, often a Government announces things that most would regard as near universally good news.
The announcement at the weekend that the Government had established three huge marine reserves around the Subantarctic Islands, would be one of those you expect. Announcing the protection of 435,000 hectares of marine territory is not one likely to generate negative coverage.
Most media reported it fairly straight, but as a wonderful example of how a determined media outlet can turn the best of stories negative, look at how it appeared on Tv3 with environmental reporter Sam Hayes. I suggest you view the item yourself – it is 3 minutes 15 secs long.
Here’s how the item goes:
- 15 second intro from anchor
- 40 seconds on not this announcement, but about a decision taken last year not to make Akaroa Harbour a marine reserve.
- Then a mere 25 seconds on this announcment, with the reporter introducing it by saying it was done to save face over the previous Akaroa decision
- They give 15 seconds for WWF to complain that the marine reserves should be larger
- Not content with that, then they tie into the story a 40 second piece on a change in air pollution standards. They have the Minister defending it, but no mention (for example) of the fact even the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment supports the new standards (as the old ones were unachievable and unfair). A far more balanced take on the new standards comes from Claire Browning at Pundit.
- They then give Russel Norman a free swipe to say the Blue Greens are just abut “greenwash”
- Then for good measure the reporter adds her views that with National the economy will win out over the environment
- And finally just so there is not doubt left with viewers that National are evil planet destorying heatherns, they spend 35 seconds talking about how a few weeks ago the Minister let a farmer continue, against official advice, grazing by a polluted lake – without any balance at all about why (which is the officials fucked up by inviting the farmer to apply when they should have told him he was ineligible)
So the actual announcement got 25 seconds of around 200 seconds, and almost all the rest of it was spent beating up on National. And this was all in relation to a pretty non controversial announcement.
It reminds me of the old saying that if John Key walked on water, then the headline would be “John Key can’t swim”.Tags: media bias, TV3