Paul Holmes on the media

Paul Holmes writes:

I don’t join lynch mobs and I don’t intend to now. For that’s what it’s been this week, a sanctimonious, high and mighty news media lynch mob baying for John Key’s blood. …

And I’m not blind. This is not happy politics for John Key. He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. But it never ceases to amaze and disgust me how so few in the news media understand how much the public detests the newspapers and other media ganging up and demanding blood, in this case, because of a few words said in a tape recording of a private meeting, a tape recording that was in itself a dirty trick. People hate this.

I have been amazed at how thuggish the media reaction has been, where they have tried to turn the victim of an alleged crime into the wrong-doer.

Many in the media have argued that because this was a discussion between two politicians with media just outside, that there was no expectation of privacy and the law doesn’t apply. Those who argue that miss the point. If the media honestly thought there is no right to privacy in that conversation, they should have refused to leave the café. They should have said “No this is a public political discussion, and we are leaving our tape recorders behind”. That is an acceptable response. What is unacceptable, and I believe illegal, is to leave a recorder behind concealed and secretly recording.

And any person who argues that the reason it was turned on, yet inside in bag, wasn’t so that it wouldn’t be noticed is either incredibly gullible or dishonest.  Numerous other cameramen have said you never leave a recorder on while in a bag, as it drains the battery, and it interferes with the quality. Anyone who seriously argues this was not a deliberate bugging is naïve at best.

It saddens me greatly when our media makes the UK media look honourable by comparison. Some may resile at my strong language, and say the secret recording is not in the same league as the News of the World. I agree, it is not. But the difference is the rest of the media in the UK has condemned the News of the World, while in NZ the media are all but condoning the tactics involved in the secret recording, and instead expressing outrage that a complaint was laid with the Police. I’m sorry, but isn’t that what you are meant to do when you believe the law has been broken? The media are not above the law, and do not get to decide which laws apply to them, and which do not.

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