Thursday, November 30, 2023

Karl du Fresne: The media's war on the new government

We are in an extraordinary situation where the mainstream media are openly at war with an elected government. This has never happened before in my lifetime, and to my knowledge never in New Zealand history.

Having adopted a nauseatingly sycophantic approach to the former government, consistently ignoring issues that showed it in a bad light and subjecting it to only the gentlest scrutiny while mercilessly savaging the opposition, the media are now in full-on attack mode.

The level of hostility toward the Luxon-led government is striking. All pretence of balance and neutrality has been abandoned.

The message is clear. The mainstream media are sulking because they think the voters elected the wrong government. They are angry and indignant that despite all their efforts, New Zealand swung right on October 14.

They are wilfully tone-deaf to the public mood because they think they know better. It means nothing to them that the voters had had enough of Labour’s ideological excesses. At best, the high priests of the media (or should I say high priestesses, since the worst offenders are female) are indifferent to democracy; at worst, they resent it because it gives power to the hoi-polloi – the deplorables, to use Hillary Clinton’s word.

In effect, the media are functioning as the opposition. A shattered and demoralised Labour Party has disappeared to lick its wounds, so the press gallery has loyally stepped into the vacuum.

War was declared on the day the coalition’s ministers were sworn in. The tone of the media coverage over the ensuing three days has been relentlessly carping, petty, quarrelsome and negative. We are seeing ministers baited and goaded in a way that never happened under Labour.

The sheer aggression is likely to rattle Luxon and his National ministers, none of whom have previously shown much spine in standing up for themselves against media hit-jobs. They will need to harden up fast.

David Seymour will cope far better and Winston Peters, of course, will revel in the combat. Peters is a graduate of the Robert Muldoon School of Media Relations and a lightning rod for the media's antagonism.

Government ministers and MPs must understand that they don’t need to ingratiate themselves with their press gallery tormentors. They should remind themselves that having been elected, they have a moral legitimacy the media can never enjoy. No one voted for the members of the press gallery and they are accountable to no one.

They are not even well-liked. I suspect that an opinion poll taken today would show that respect for the media has slumped to a new low, which would be quite some achievement. If their purpose is to hasten the mainstream media's descent into irrelevance and ultimate oblivion, they are going about it in exactly the right way.

Karl du Fresne, a freelance journalist, is the former editor of The Dominion newspaper. He blogs at - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

Karl, spot on. The far left wing media are a disgrace to this country. Shame on them. Their day of reckoning is approaching....

Anonymous said...

And their (MSM) demise can't come soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Immediate dismantlement for lack of professionalism.

Anonymous said...

The issue is that unfortunately the media is not particularly well educated or knowledgeable. A qualification in broadcasting or communications is not something the educated elite of society aspire to. The fact that the media are stupid enough to fall for the trap that Winston has set for them says it all.

Peter said...

Indeed, they are going about it the right to ensure their oblivion, Karl. It can't happen soon enough for mine, for they have lost the ability to report fairly without pushing the left's narrative and agenda to the detriment of our nationhood.

By way of another example, this evening there was a TV1 news item on us fostering a better business relationship with the US, but they couldn't help prefacing the report by prattling on (yet again) about "Aotearoa." We've spent the better part of nearly two centuries developing the New Zealand brand, yet these fools are only too happy to flush that away to signal their woke virtue, without so much as a by our leave nor, heaven forbid, a public mandate. They so deserve our derision and contempt.