Nothing like a survey to prove what we all know to be true: The media is biased.
A group called MediaBias has released the results of media monitoring for the period Oct 1 2019 to Aug 31 2021.
They say, "MediaBias is a service offered as a public good, that measures political bias in the New Zealand media, using a machine learning model that evaluates the sentiment of sentences from news articles and blog posts containing the names of Members of Parliament (MPs) and political parties."
Of the 15 media outlets they tracked, 13 were biased to the left. Only two showed bias to the right and both were blogs. All of the "mainstream" media was biased to the left.
And who was the most biased of them all? Of the mainstream media the most left-learning were:
1= TVNZ (-10.1) - the most favourable (pro) coverage was for Labour (8.9). The least favourable (anti) was for National (9.2).
1= Radio NZ (-10.1) - pro Labour (8.3), anti National (9.0).
3. Newshub (-9.9) - pro Labour (8.4) anti ACT (10.9).
4. Newstalk ZB (-8.9) - pro Labour (7.8), anti National (7.5).
5. Stuff (-7.3) - pro Labour (7.4), anti NZ First (9.1).
6. NZ Herald (-5.2) - pro Labour (5.0), anti NZ First (4.6).
So in summary:
- TVNZ, Radio NZ and Newshub are the most pro Labour.
- TVNZ and Radio NZ are the most anti National.
- Newshub is the most anti ACT.
- Stuff and the NZ Herald are the most anti NZ First.
So why is the mainstream media so biased?
Undoubtedly reporting will be influenced to some degree by the fortunes or misfortunes of the political parties themselves (failed leadership coups and the like). Or it may of course reflect the political bias of those controlling the content, or maybe the political views of those providing the funding. Is it a coincidence that the most pro-Labour media are those that could not survive without funding from the Labour government? Or is it just that journalism is an industry that attracts lefties? Or is it because journalists who don't toe a woke line get cancelled?
The left-wing also dominates the blog space. On the left were, in order of bias:
- The Daily Blog (-11.9), pro Green, anti National
- The Spinoff (-8.8), pro Labour and anti National and NZ First.
On the right:
- Kiwiblog (+12.1), pro National, anti NZ First
- The BDF (+6.8), pro ACT, anti Labour.
While the blogs are usually upfront about their advocacy stance, the mainstream media are much less candid and continue to swear allegiance to journalistic principles of accuracy, fairness and balance. Perhaps they should also have regard to the guidelines issued by the Media Council which includes the comment that "in articles of controversy or disagreement, a fair voice must be given to the opposition view".
The full survey results may be seen HERE >>>
Frank Newman, a political commentator and investment analyst, is a former local body councillor.