Thoughts on the media coverage #4

by Lobby Lud

Decision 2014Media rant 9 days to go

Hey Tracey Watkins, can we have a word about the way you report politics?  This morning, in the Dominion Post and on Stuff.co.nz, you said this:

“If the measure of success in a leaders’ debate is delivering the line that sticks, then John Key probably won last night’s Campbell Live face off with David Cunliffe. Key’s put down of Labour’s capital gains tax as a dog will be what people will remember…”

This attitude is everything that’s wrong with political punditry in this country.

If the measure of success in a leaders’ debate is delivering the line that sticks, then our democracy is more broken than I thought.  Last night, we saw two party leaders outlining their vision for New Zealand and describing how each was going to get us there.  They debated whether raising the minimum wage would cost hairdressing jobs, they disagreed on whether child poverty was a problem, and they challenged the detail of their opposite’s tax plan.  We were being treated to an, admittedly shouty, exchange about competing policy prescriptions.  We were being asked to think…

And you decided that John Key won because he had a (debatable) better line.

I accept that we can’t expect everyone to love policy wonk as much as I do, but your pandering to the lowest common denominator is making us dumber as a country.  Now, instead of debating the issues, we debate who made the bigger gaffe, or who had the better line, or who gets asked for more selfies.

So much for the fourth estate.

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