Herald has eight left columnists and one right one: Redux

by Lord Sutch

Over at KiwiBlog, David Farrar has done a seriously low-effort post. Usually I wouldn’t demean myself by responding but I’m involved in the post, and it was such a pile of wrong that I couldn’t help myself.

The post is titled: Herald has eight left columnists and one right one, and the subject matter is in the title.

It’s a clever piece designed to maximise outrage while having almost no basis in reality. Here’s the piece in full:

I’ve been looking through the list of columnists that the Herald has, and it is remarkable how skewed it is.

I am excluding those who are NZME staff such as Simon Wilson (left) and Mike Hosking (right). This is looking at people who don’t work for NZME but have been offered a regular column that discuss politics. The Editor makes a deliberate decision that we need them to have a regular column.

The sole right columnist is Matthew Hooton, a very recent addition.

On the left we have:

  1. Brian Rudman
  2. Rachel Stewart
  3. John Tamihere
  4. Jarrod Gilbert
  5. David Cormack
  6. Bryan Gould
  7. Lizzie Marvelly
  8. Bryce Edwards

So  is meant to be about holding the powerful to account, but actually the Herald is full of people who are ideologically very supportive of the Government. An 8:1 ratio is why trust in  is so low.

Now in no way am I saying any of those eight columnists shouldn’t be in the Herald. What I’m saying is the Herald is failing in having a diversity of views within its columnists. They have basically no one (bar Hooton) who is not a supporter of the Government. It’s like Fox and Friends!

Let’s take a look at what DPF says. First off he decides to exclude people that work for NZME and rather focus on columnists who have other stuff going on but write about politics. This is a clever move from DPF as it chucks out a bunch of people who don’t suit this narrative. So with Farrar’s reasoning we get no Hosking, no Kate Hawkesby, no Heather Du Plessis Allan, no Fran O’Sullivan, and no Simon Wilson. Of those mentioned above, three are definitely pro-National (Hosking, Hawkesby, and O’Sullivan), Heather is sort of contrarian to everything and Simon is without a doubt pro-Government.

Then DPF says that the sole right columnist is Matthew Hooton, a very recent addition. As though somehow Matthew’s newness means that he’s a token right wing columnist. Except Matthew was a columnist before I was, and yet I didn’t get the suffix “a very recent addition”. It’s almost as if DPF wants you to think that the Herald has been left it’s whole life and just chucked Matthew in recently.

He then goes on to rattle off the list of left-wing columnists and includes Bryce Edwards there. Bryce may be left wing, he may be right wing. I dunno. What I do know is that Bryce’s column is a round-up of other people’s writing. So I’m not sure there’s a slant there.

Then DPF really ratchets up the rubbish when he says “So media is meant to be about holding the powerful to account, but actually the Herald is full of people who are ideologically very supportive of the Government. An 8:1 ratio is why trust in media is so low” and suddenly it’s gone from being about non-workers of NZME who are columnists to the media as a whole, and the Herald as a whole being full of people who are ideologically supportive of the Government. Even though these people don’t work for the Herald. The Herald is still full of them. Wut?

And we’re all like Fox and Friends! I’m going to take this to mean that DPF admits that Fox and Friends is biased as fuck.

Anyway, if we take a sample week, of say…the most recent complete one: 25 June – 1 July let’s find out how many columns from each person was written on politics:

Mike Hosking: 5

Kate Hawkesby: 5

Heather du Plessis Allan: 1

Lizzie Marvelly: 1

David Cormack: 1

Fran O’Sullivan: 2

Brian Rudman: 0

Rachel Stewart: 1

John Tamihere: 1

Jarrod Gilbert: 1

Bryan Gould: 2

Bryce Edwards: 2

Matthew Hooton: 1

Simon Wilson: 5

Now if we tot those all up and even if we use DPF’s arbitrary bollocks of who is left and who is right we get:

Right wing columns: 16

Left wing columns: 14

So it’s almost as if the Herald *is* trying to be more balanced and is doing so by having *more* left wing columnists because the right wingers are calling from inside the building.

Sorry DPF, this is a big fat “not indeed”.


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