Garner on bias

Duncan Garner writes:

In election campaigns, many people accuse journalists of bias. I have been accused of bias for more than 15 years; I have been left wing and right wing, apparently. So, let me set the record straight.

For a start, I have never voted. I know that sounds wrong and I know voting is important; but, I worked at Parliament for 17 years, I got to know politicians so well. I didn’t want to vote for any one of them and at the same time cover all of them on a daily basis. It is my rule. I still stand by that today.

They are not my friends. Yes I have some of their cell phone numbers, but that’s for work purposes. I don’t ring them on their birthdays and they don’t call me. They don’t know where I live, they don’t know the names of my kids, they don’t know when my birthday is – they are not friends.

Duncan continues:

I have never been a member of a political party, I have never donated to any party.

I think National has some good policies, I think has some good policies, I think New Zealand First has some good policies, I like some of the Greens’ ideas at times.

I have had a few nights out with over the years: who hasn’t?

I have had dinner twice with Gerry Brownlee. I used to meet Annette King for coffee on occasion. I have had a few beers with over the years. I had a night out with when he was opposition leader. I have had lunch with Grant Robertson.

No politician was invited to my wedding, but a handful sent messages.

I like to see myself as an equal opportunity journalist. I like to give it to them all when they deserve it. I’ve piled into Party Ministers and National Party Ministers over the years. Ask any politician if I’m biased and I bet they say I treat them all the same.

I’ve always said Duncan is an equal opportunity scandal monger 🙂

I don’t think they are all bad people; Some are, some have rampant egos. Many of them are ok.

I regard around 90% of MPs as being basically decent people – probably the same level as in many occupations.

It’s the left and right bloggers who call us names; they like to pigeon-hole us. But the reality is they are the biased ones. They have the political views, and when our stories and interviews don’t fit their biased narrative they lash out and label us.

They are biased. I am not.

They pick sides. I do not.

I don’t think Duncan is referring to me, because I very rarely say a journalist is biased. I may critique their stories, and certainly some have worldviews that colour their stories, but that is not the same as bias.

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