Hello New Zealand, you seem a touch angry. We at the Ruminator tried to cheer you up by reminding you that New Zealand is pretty amazing but it seems we’re not as influential as we’d hoped and you’re still angry.
There’s been a lot of criticism of everything over this political campaign. You’re biased, no you’re biased. You’re a shill. You’re an asshole. The world is going to end. John Key is a fuck. David Cunliffe is a flake. Metiria Turei is a … actually people have stopped being mean to Met since a certain Minister-who-shall-not-be-named stopped being mean to anyone.
But the media, oh the media. They’ve come in for some serious bashing. And it’s probably not fashionable for a “blogster” (h/t John Key) to defend them, but goddamn it they do a hard job and they by and large do it well.
Much like in your job, whatever it is, be it fixing sewage pipes, CEO-ing some kind of Fortune 500 Company or being a public servant, there are people who are better at their job than others. And this is also true of the media. So stop expecting all of them to be perfect. And especially stop expecting them to report things that favour your biases. Because that seems to be what you want.
When the media reports that David Cunliffe did something dumb, people leap to their keyboards and vomit up on to screens OH MY GOD THE MEDIA IS IN THE POCKET OF JOHN KEY AND THE ILLUMINATIIIIIIIIII, or if they report that Cameron Slater has awful connections with the National Party then it’s OH MY GOD WHY AREN’T YOU REPORTING THAT LABOUR ALSO DEAL WITH CAMERON SLATER (which is fascinating when there’s a consensus that dealing with Cameron Slater is a bad thing)(even DPF has done a post having a crack at Labour for dealing with Cam).
Simon Wilson wrote an absolutely fantastic editorial for Metro defending journalists’ rights to use awful people for sources, and preserving their anonymity. I’m not going to add to that debate, I just want to say that what the media does is try to get stories. Facts. Information. They want NEWS. And if that news doesn’t marry up with your world view well then maybe you should take the opportunity to reflect on your world view and see if it requires amending. Because we only learn from knowledge presented to us. Don’t suffer the backfire effect and further entrench your position. Read each piece with an open mind. That’s not to say the media are beyond reproach, because they sure as hell aren’t. They’re flawed human beings like each of us. And they’ll fuck up. But they don’t set out to fuck up. So don’t forget that. Critique the pieces for factual inaccuracy, and maybe slant.
But if I hear the argument once more that Patrick Gower is biased because he “engineered” the failed coup by David Cunliffe over David Shearer then I’m going to go out and buy a tamagotchi and do nothing but discipline it. Because Paddy also slobbered his way around the Oravida offices exposing the ties between John Key and Stone Shi. Paddy ain’t biased. He’s just an excitable wee jack russell of a journalist.
I have spoken to a few journalists who have said they’re considering getting off twitter because people are just fucking mean to them. And that would be really disappointing. Twitter is an awesome medium for journalists to use – though sometimes nuance can be lost due to that 140 character limit.
So come on New Zealand, don’t be dicks. Don’t be awful to the political media, because they’re trying the best they goddamn can in an environment that doesn’t naturally lend itself to transparency.
And if this defence of the dreaded MSM means I have to resign from the Evil Bloggers Club then I’ll happily burn my card.