Call for media to fact check the PM’s claims


At the same briefing, the prime minister said: “Our testing has scaled up and we have now tested over 85,000 New Zealanders, one of the highest testing rates per capita in the world.” Wrong. At that time we were 31st in the world for testing rates per capita. I don’t think 31st can be considered “one of the highest” in the world, unless, of course, we have turned into a society where we believe everyone is a winner.

And did any journalists at the briefing query the prime minister about her claim? Not one. They just took what she said and regurgitated it to the masses – to us. Whatever happened to fact checking?

The following should have been asked at the time or at least put in writing to the prime minister’s press secretary: “Can you provide us with the source that says New Zealand has one of the highest testing rates per capita in the world?”

Yep rather than repeat the claims, media should ask for proof of them.

When the prime minister announces New Zealand has “one of the highest testing rates per capita in the world” and it goes through the media unchallenged, we’re inclined to believe it.

The same goes with the initial claims we were going hard and going fast when at the time it was in fact going slushy and slow.

For the health and wellbeing of my TV, I hope the news media will start holding power to account. If journalists can’t find the motivation within themselves to ask critical questions of the prime minister, perhaps they should imagine she is Simon Bridges.

I’m sure that would do the trick!

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