Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Robert MacCulluch: Winston is Right. Hipkins is Wrong. The Evidence Proves the Media are Bribed by Government Funding

Labour Leader Hipkins today said that Winston Peters' remarks about the government bribing the media "weren't acceptable" & "potentially in breach of legislation". The bribery claims relate to the $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund. However that fund has little to with the true extent of the bribery. The evidence shows it works primarily through the vast amount of advertising which the government pours into the media on a daily basis

So how does scientific research contradict Hipkins? In one of the world's top economics journals, Harvard Professor Rafael Di Tella shows there is a direct link between media outlets receiving government advertising revenues and the biasing of their stories in the government's favor.

His article is called, Government Advertising and Media Coverage of Corruption Scandals. Di Tella writes, "... We construct measures of the extent to which the four main newspapers in Argentina report government corruption on their front page during the period 1998-2007 and correlate them with government advertising. The correlation is negative. [That is, a greater dependence on advertising reduces the extent to which the media outlets focus on misdeeds by the government]. The size is considerable" ... "Overall, our findings are consistent with a model where newspapers bias reporting in favor of the government in exchange for transfers".

Take just one example of government advertising spending in NZ, namely related to Covid. An Official Information Act (OIA) request showed that "A total of $87,657,993 has been spent by DPMC on public information campaigns in support of New Zealand’s COVID-19 response between 1 March 2020 and 31 December 2021". Add that $90 million to the $55 million journalism fund and you're on your way to $145 million. That is the tip of the iceberg - huge numbers of government job advertisements are also placed in the media. By the way, the OIA above also stated, "I am therefore refusing your request to have this information broken down by medium", so "they" have made it impossible to get the data in NZ linking the ads to outlets that are government friendly.

Is Hipkins arguing that the truth is not acceptable?


Professor Robert MacCulloch holds the Matthew S. Abel Chair of Macroeconomics at Auckland University. He has previously worked at the Reserve Bank, Oxford University, and the London School of Economics. He runs the blog Down to Earth Kiwi from where this article was sourced.


DeeM said...

Hipkins knows exactly what the truth is...and it's that both he and Ardern funded the Left-wing compliant media, both openly and behind the scenes, to ensure favourable coverage and one-sided reporting which they hoped would cause voters to turn to them. It didn't work, just like everything else these incompetent socialists tried.

NZ isn't first at many, or even any things these days, but it needs to be the first country to deconstruct the Left-wing biased dominated state funded media if we want a hopeful future.

Kill advertising...that's easy. The public are hardly going to weep over less government funded ads but it will make a huge hole in the media's accounts.
Kill the PIJF...OR keep it but use it to force the state media to perform fairly.

Transformation of the MSM should be one of this government's top priorities. It's payback time...but not in the way the MSM have gotten used to over the last 3 years.

Peter said...

Thank you Robert, for exposing the corruption of our MSM by our former Labour Government. Former PM, Hipkins ,is good at distorting the truth, just look at how he's claiming the new Government is set on racially dividing us and we won't even start on his Covid antics.

Rob Beechey said...

Game set and match making Mike Hosking’s earlier denial that the MSM was bribed, look a chump.

Anonymous said...

"weren't acceptable" & "potentially in breach of legislation"

This has been what we the people have put up with for the last 3+ years under the 'democratic' Labour government, where nothing was 'acceptable' and every decision was in 'breach of legislation'.

I can't wait for the whistle blowers to start blowing.

EP said...

Of course - that's Hipkins for you. I can't see RNZ being cleaned up until the administration is fired. I thought I could safely listen to Jim or Kathryn again - and then the 'news' came on and I had to rush for the off.

Anonymous said...

What other business is funded by the Government Sorry THE TAXPAYERS. Shocking….Like any other business if they can’t make it Let them Fold.

Anonymous said...

Hipkins is one dumb dog, more a never-was than even a has-been. Don't forget the absolute boondoggle of 'Road to Zero' campaign with (I think) $192M budget overall, nor that 'non-compliant' media (i.e. those that did not sign-up to PIJF) never saw a penny of any such advertising.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't just the 55mil fund where they had to agree to certain conditions, but all the government propaganda advertising account given them as well.

Anonymous said...

It seems the msm will never - or cannot - understand that their paymasters
( the tax payers) have spoken and rejected them.

Get over it.

But now the new govt. must act to remove them - ASAP.

Every day that they remain, the coalition is harmed.

Anonymous said...

Basic principle in life. You pay, you get a say. Hundreds of millions in advertising, grants = the govt has a say.

Some media were refused funding because they did not employ enough Maori. Since when did public funding come with racist clauses? Since Labour bought it in.

The left always claims speech is "potentially in breach of legislation". Put up!

Empathic said...

It's incredible to see Hipkins and some media representatives deny Peters' allegations of bribery. The contracts media had to sign to get the money are clear and available.

Oxford Concise Dictionary: "Bribe: Money etc offered to procure (often illegal or dishonest) action or decision in favour of giver"

It seems clear that the definition of 'bribe' is met by a government's provision of money on the condition that the receiving media supports that government's ideological position. But regardless of semantic arguments, contracting news media to support government policy in exchange for money is political corruption of a high order. Democracy depends on independent media able and prepared to criticize government and all political forces.

Controlling news media is a typical tactic of totalitarian governments including socialists. Ardern's government tried to exercise such control in a way that might not be as obvious as that used by other socialist regimes, i.e. legally harassing, imprisoning or murdering those who dare to critique government. In light of Hipkins' current denials about Labour's medial bribery, it seems that even those directly involved had convinced themselves that what they were doing wasn't corrupt and wouldn't be noticed as such by the public.

Ironically, the guilty parties' indignant denials are bringing attention to the corruption. The Public Interest Journalism Fund may well go down in history as the most blatantly corrupt political ploy seen in New Zealand.

GERRY said...

It was obvious during the Covid era that the Government was taking full pages in ( for example ) The NZ Herald to , basically , say absolutely nothing. This went on week after week, month after month just like the PM's daily briefings which lasted an hour but could have been done in 5 minutes. The blatant tax payer funded propaganda everywhere was typical of that ' smoke and mirrors ' Government . R.I.P.

Gerry Sanders