NZ Herald on bias

June 28th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

It is common in election years for political parties under pressure to attempt to shoot the messenger. In 2005, the Herald was stridently criticised and accused of bias by National supporters for our reportage of Dr Don Brash and the Exclusive Brethren. In 2008 it was the turn of Winston Peters and his New Zealand First people to call for resignations of the editor and political editor for the inconvenient revelation of funding from millionaire Owen Glenn, despite his “No” sign. Last election it was National partisans again, livid at the Herald on Sunday and Herald for John Key and John Banks talking openly before a microphone accidentally left on their “cup of tea” table in a cafe.

This year it is the turn of Labour and its leader, David Cunliffe, incensed at reporting on the donations to the party and its MPs by the controversial Chinese migrant Donghua Liu — and that party’s connections to him.

When you upset everyone equally, you’re probably doing fine.

I would dispute however that the microphone was accidentally left there, but that is ancient history.

Investigations editor Jared Savage began his reports in March on Donghua Liu and the circumstances of his being granted citizenship. The focus then was on Liu’s donations to National after his citizenship was approved by a National minister against official advice. Savage then revealed Liu had been charged with domestic violence, followed by the revelation that National’s Maurice Williamson intervened in Liu’s case by contacting the police — which led to Williamson’s resignation as minister and criticism from some in National of the Herald’s story.

Savage then learned Liu had made donations to Labour as well in 2007, the party claiming no record of such funding. 

This is what is hilarious with the people suggesting the Herald is trying to smear Labour. The story was a story about National, and damaging to National. It just happens that Labour waded in and got all sanctimonious, and then it transpired that they had also been advocating for Liu, and accepting donations from him. It was luck, not planning, that the story ended up biting them.

The core issue remains, however: At a minimum, removing Mr Barker’s China trip and a donation to a rowing club the MP’s daughter belonged to, Labour faces Liu’s claim that he made $38,000 in donations to the party and anonymously through MPs.

Yep. And where did the money go. Hopefully we will find out in time.

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33 Responses to “NZ Herald on bias”

  1. hubbers (139 comments) says:

    If all my lefty mates are bitching that they have a right wing bias and all my righty mates are saying that they have a left wing bias then they must be doing something right.

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  2. Gulag1917 (916 comments) says:

    National and Labour need to change tack because with the revolutions sweeping the western world they may not exist in twenty years.

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  3. Redbaiter (8,822 comments) says:

    Well, why would their need to be bias when both Labour and now National (thanks to John Key) are “progressive” parties.

    The Herald should congratulate itself on the success of its efforts to convert NZ’s once pluralistic democracy into a sham and a virtual one party state.

    The National Party has now been whipped into shape. Gone so far left Labour doesn’t know where to go.

    It is the Conservative Party, representing the one faint hope for an alternative to Progressivism, that is the real victim of unrelenting media bias.

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  4. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    “Its the Conservative PArty that is teh real vicitim of unrelenting media bias.”

    The “poor me” syndrome rages across the politic spectrum. Redbaiter has something in common with lprent and mickysavage.

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  5. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    “Savage then learned Liu had made donations to Labour as well in 2007, the party claiming no record of such funding. ”

    That Savage ‘learned’ this from a statement signed by Liu, just days after the Williamson meltdown and given to Savage after Key is known to be aware of it. And that it was reported as fact despite now known to be false, is where this differs from normal bias. This was a fabricated smear from the outset and has nationals (mis)management all over it.

    Have a good unbiased look at it and a read of the comments section on any story. It’s not an election changer but most people clearly accept National are behind it or at the last the Herald fucked it up badly.

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  6. tom hunter (4,838 comments) says:

    Political bias is the easiest accusation in the world for a media source to disprove – although the disproof has to come via actions not words.

    Ideological bias that drives which stories are covered and which are ignored, which questions shall be asked and which shall not – that’s another problem altogether, and a far larger one.

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  7. bringbackdemocracy (427 comments) says:

    The concerted media campaign against Colin Craig is a disgrace. But because of New Zealanders underlying sense of fair-play this could well backfire.

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  8. OneTrack (3,092 comments) says:

    “If all my lefty mates are bitching that they have a right wing bias and all my righty mates are saying that they have a left wing bias then they must be doing something right.”

    Not really. The Herald is demonstrably left-biased.

    Why are they getting into Labour? Because Labour 2014 is an ongoing train wreck with serial cock-ups day after day. And with blogs, like KiwiBlog and Whale, continually pointing out the disaster, the LSM has been forced to cover it, or risk an even more massive loss in readership than they are already experiencing.

    Is the Herald saying how good National, Act and the Conservatives are? No, they not. Are they pointing out Labours problems? Some of them. I still see more issues on these blogs, than seem to come up in the Herald.

    How about the Herald getting stuck into the other parties of the left – Hone – not much, Internet Party – not much, Green Party – nothing at all. The Herald votes Green.

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  9. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    “The concerted media campaign against Colin Craig…”

    Where is proof of this? Seems to be nothing more than a victim mentality.

    Is there any evidence that the media is disproportionately negative towards the Conservative Party?

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  10. Redbaiter (8,822 comments) says:

    “The Herald votes Green.”

    Green left to be a little more precise.

    As you say, only token scrutiny of the watermelons.

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  11. Redbaiter (8,822 comments) says:

    “Is there any evidence that the media is disproportionately negative towards the Conservative Party?”

    What would you consider acceptable as “evidence”?

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  12. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    What would you consider acceptable as “evidence”?

    That’s a stupid question. Produce some evidence and I’ll tell you what I consider about it.

    A few people on a blog moaning that the media are mean to Colin Craig doesn’t count as sufficient evidence.

    There’s been much more moaning from Labour supporters lately about bias but you would have to look over a longer period of time, political targets in the media keep changing.

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  13. Redbaiter (8,822 comments) says:

    “That’s a stupid question.”

    Meaning you can’t answer it you waffling fool.

    While you yourself ask for the delivery of information you cannot even define.

    Like a child.

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  14. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    Meaning you don’t have any evidence.

    Everyone in politics could complain about the media being biased against them, unless they run their own newspaper.

    Complaining about media bias is as effective as having a twenty year plan for revolution with nothing to show for it after fourteen years apart from a grudge about media bias.

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  15. Redbaiter (8,822 comments) says:

    Daddy, why is the sea wet?

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  16. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    Maybe the subscription cancellations at the Herald are mounting up like they are at the Dom Post.

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  17. tom hunter (4,838 comments) says:

    In the lead up to the 2002 election John Campbell got stuck into Labour with the silly “Corngate” affair. In particular he got stuck into Helen Clark, to such an extent that she subsequently described him as a “little creep” and Campbell found himself under attack from the likes of left wingers such as Brian Edwards.

    John Campbell is therefore a right winger by the standards now being applied to the Herald.

    In actuality John Campbell is more left-wing than Labour and has implied as much on several occasions. He took the side of the Green Party during “Corngate” and expressed regret that there was no longer an Alliance Party to vote for.

    NZ media is filled with journalists who are merely bleached versions of John Campbell – and even more so his namesake, longtime Listener journalist Gordon Campbell.

    And all that is leaving aside the shallowness and vacuousness of the media editors and managers as they desperately appeal to the Kardishan viewers, combined with rapidly turned over journalists who have shallow knowledge spread across a huge range of subjects

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  18. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    So who is to blame for this situation?

    The media? The politicians?

    I suggest is it us, the electorate, because we feed into the shit fights and the poor behaviour – each side ready to find something to sling at the other.

    We are responsible for letting the state of politics in New Zealand fall to disgusting new lows. We buy into the media reports, accept the gossip without evidence, even contribute to the blogs. We listen to partial truths and never request the full picture. We let our MP’s behave like this, and they are all as bad as each other. We even applaud them when they score a shitty point against the other side.

    We are of course the people that pay for letting it continue – and then we complain like hell when we have to.

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  19. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    >Yep. And where did the money go. Hopefully we will find out in time.

    All the clues lead back to Presland. He set up Cunliffe’s secret trusts. And Steven Ching says that Presland’s business partner is Labour’s bag man for the Chinese community. I suspect we’ll find that an absolute shit load of donations have been funneled via Presland and Co. The only question is where did they end up? Was Presland taking a fundraising commission? Does Presland have secret slush funds that Cunliffe can draw on? There is precedent for this, since Peters was caught operating the slush fund that NZ First had no idea existed.

    If you want to find the money, you need to audit the people involved… Presland and Zhu would be a good start.

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  20. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    The Herald is bias but not so much politically as socially. They are liberal with a we know best mentality. They think that 15% of people with influence know more that 85% and oppose binding referenda on moral issues.

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  21. Inky_the_Red (759 comments) says:

    Let me get the evidence the NZ Herald give to prove they are unbiased. In 2008 they got stuck into Don Brash when he did get involved with the Exclusive Brethren so they get stuck into Labour when Liu did not give $100,000 to the Labour Party.

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  22. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    I’m still waiting for the Labour Party’s 40 ground soldiers that are operating in Wainui to pop down to my place so I can reassure them I’m voting for Trev this year! :)

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  23. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    Lmao @ pg. apparently he will know evidence when he sees it.

    If I could be fucked id do a count on negative Craig articles and positive Craig articles. See what the ratio was. Probably about 10 to 1.

    Then I’d check the amount if coverage on a Craig gaffe vs a greens gaffe

    Etc etc

    We all know the answer but pg HATES the conservatives so he wouldn’t see it anyway

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  24. Fentex (974 comments) says:

    Danyl at Dim-Post explains the difference between the stories – some things were true, and some were not. It seems obvious to me that untruths are not comparable to truths, and the reporting of them without the evidence which establishes truth should raise questions of motive.

    I suspect the Herald was enjoying having interesting salacious news so much it became too eager to run with more of it without being diligent in the joy of the attention it was garnering.

    Unlike the simple and comprehensible questions that damned Williamson I personally remain unclear on what Labour is accused of among a blizzard of claim and counter claim and ever changing sums and accusations.

    In the absence of a clear, supported, claim of impropriety that I can grasp the Heralds behaviour does seem to be somewhat scurrilous.

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  25. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    There were misinterpretations and exaggerations but some of what Liu claimed has been proven and it sounds like there could be more to come.

    @tmurphyNZH

    Donghua Liu – seems like some premature claims of the story ‘unravelling’ have been going on….

    And Whale Oil keeps strongly hinting there’s more to come out.

    On top of that it seems that there was some substance to some of the claims, Labour didn’t outright deny anything, they just seemed to be thrown off balance by the numbers being suggested.

    As the article quote in the post says:
    “Labour faces Liu’s claim that he made $38,000 in donations to the party and anonymously through MPs.”

    Expect the Herald to be searching hard for evidence to back up any more claims they might publicise. Labour have challenged them by accusing them of bias and of promoting lies, like Liu they will be intent on at least partly vindicating their stories.

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  26. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    @dime – I don’t hate the Conservatives. Supporters of the Conservatives seem to over-react to anything said abouit Craig or the Conservatives that they construe to be critical. No wonder they think there’s a media conspiracy against them.

    I don’t see Conservatives getting negative media attention that’s disproportionate.

    Craig seeks media attention. Because of his money he seems to get it. If he then comes across as a dick, as he sometimes does, it’s stupid to blame the media. He should start by not saying dopey things, and then he should stop having gormless photos taken and distributed.

    Just as Labour have lashed out at the distributors of bad publicity anything seen as not complimentary about Craig seems to be taken as an insult by his supporters.

    If he doesn’t want to look like a dick he should stop appearing like a dick. It’s PR 101.

    And if anyone wants to support Conservatives and not enhance the dickish perception they should harden the fuck up and accept that if you want to be in politics you have to learn to take some criticism and not cry every time something is said that you don’t like.

    It’s ironic that some of the more abusive people here are so sensitive to any Conservative criticism.

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  27. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter

    “Daddy, why is the sea wet?”

    ——————–

    Because the sea weed.

    (anybody with a five year old knows this)

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  28. bringbackdemocracy (427 comments) says:

    re. media bias against Colin Craig
    http://www.throng.co.nz/2013/12/seven-sharps-apology-colin-craig/

    Not only did TVNZ have to apologise, the commentators are no longer fronting the show.

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  29. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Ross12: It is not the subscription drop-offs that are concerning our two media giants, it is the advertisers running away. When one sees publications such as “Manawatu Standard”, it is no wonder advertisers do not want to be associated with Communist-based diatribe.

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  30. mister nui (1,027 comments) says:

    Oh come on… What has the media done for years in NZ? Set out to destroy the once right-leaning ACT. Their now chosen target is the the Conservatives.

    Why has the media never given the watermelons the same level of scrutiny and bile towards their totally wacky policies? The greens have never had any level of scrutiny whatsoever.

    Also note that every article, with even the remotest hint of politics, has an accompanying statement from the Greens spokesperson. Why would this be? Because the media has their greeny chums on speed dial…. And then there’s that knobhead John Campbell

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  31. goldnkiwi (1,304 comments) says:

    So, Liu engaging counsel the beginnings of a private prosecution?

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  32. itstricky (1,830 comments) says:

    Oh come on… What has the media done for years in NZ? Set out to destroy the once right-leaning ACT. Their now chosen target is the the Conservatives.

    Despite the fact that they offend “both sides” you still think they’re out to get the righties? Probably just means you’re further right of centre than you thought you were.

    Why has the media never given the watermelons the same level of scrutiny and bile towards their totally wacky policies?

    Quite right – The Convservative’s policies are wacky. Hear hear.

    Also note that every article, with even the remotest hint of politics, has an accompanying statement from the Greens spokesperson. Why would this be?

    Possibly because they’re in opposition. Wind back the clock, 2007 – every article with the remotest hint of politics, or well anything, would have had a statement from National. That’s pretty plain to understand.

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  33. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    bringbackdemocracy (380 comments) says:
    June 28th, 2014 at 4:23 pm
    re. media bias against Colin Craig
    http://www.throng.co.nz/2013/12/seven-sharps-apology-colin-craig/

    Not only did TVNZ have to apologise, the commentators are no longer fronting the show.

    lol, so because TVNZ had to apologise about a satirical piece is evidence of bias?

    I think you don’t quite understand the concept and meaning of the word “bias”.

    But you are not alone. Basically everyone screams “BIAS!!!” at the Herald or any other media as soon as there is something in there they disagree with. Usually anyone claiming bias just cannot deal with any opposing views to his or her own.

    As DPF said, When you upset everyone equally, you’re probably doing fine.

    The Herald is not biased because of the Liu story, it’s just a extremely sloppy and bad reporting. More embarrassing than biased.

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