Speaking on NewstalkZB this morning he singled out television news, the Sunday Star-Times and the NZ Herald for particular mentions.
He said the media are “in a more aggressive and hostile mood towards us”.
He did not worry about the media “despite what they think”.
“I am not that bent out of shape about that – I expected it,” he said. Former prime minister Helen Clark had warned him it would happen after the first term in office.
Pressure came on Governments more, because the media becomes more antagonistic.
He said he was not moaning about it – it was a matter of fact.
And the headline:
Key bemoans ‘hostile’ media
Really proves the point.
Key said over time the NZ Herald had become more tabloid under its new editor, with sometimes only one big sensational story on the front page.
“The Herald has turned more tabloid – that is an absolute statement of fact.” …
For instance, the Sunday Star-Times a few weeks ago had run a headline saying he had locked in former prime ministers’ entitlements.
“I am not locking anything in – it has been in the Civil List Act as long as I have been on this Earth.”
I differentiate between the Herald and the Sunday Star-Times.
The Herald is definitely more tabloid. It is a deliberate strategy, and to give them credit it is working. Their readership and circulation are both doing comparatively well from what I can recall. The impact of being more tabloid and sensationalist is that you tend to end up beating up on the Government more, because most issues are about the Government. If Labour was in Government, they would probably be bemoaning the Herald also (as Clark did – something Key specifically cited).
The Sunday Star-Times does take a very left-wing view on most issues, and is basically anti-National. The example of the MPs perks is a classic example. It was a total nonsense story. John Key has actually done more to reduce MPs perks and introduce transparency that the last ten Prime Ministers combined.
It is fine for a newspaper to be left-wing, so long as people understand that. Just as NBR tends to be centre-right on most issues. I think the few remaining SST readers are of the same persuasion as the paper.
It was trying to lift circulation, especially casual sales at dairies, and had brought over David Fisher (from the Herald on Sunday) as “an investigative journalist, so-called”.
He said former TVNZ political editor Guyon Espiner had left for TV3, and that was a loss.
Personally I think David Fisher does good work, even though on some issues such as the secret tapes, we agree to disagree. I prefer journalists who investigate things, to those who rehash press releases.
Bill Ralston just tweeted that having Key praise Guyon is probably the kiss of death for him. Heh. He is sort of right, but I don’t think it would be fair to conclude that Key thinks Espiner was in any way soft on him. I can recall many instances where he has pushed Key hard. I think it was more a comment that he thought Guyon tends to avoid sensationalism.