Goodness me, how surprising that on the day the privileges committee report into Winston Peters and the donations debacle is announced there is a major announcement on progress towards free trade with the USA and a make-muck revelation about John Key’s family trust shareholding in Tranz Rail.
Colin Espiner exposes the not so subtle hand of Labour behind it all:
What an amazing coincidence that three big stories would all break on the same day. Wasn’t it?
Um well no, not really. Because it turns out that Labour fed the story about Key’s share trades to TVNZ late on Sunday night for use on Monday, knowing that the privileges committee report was about to blast Winston Peters to smithereens. And Trade Minister Phil Goff leaked details of the FTA announcement to selected media – TVNZ, TV3 and Radio New Zealand – five days ago, on the condition they kept it quiet until yesterday.
Espiner gives credit where it’s due:
Labour’s tactics are not dirty or underhand. They are smart, vicious, and calculated. It’s how you win election campaigns. But it’s still worth pointing out that there was nothing coincidental about yesterday’s yarns.
It wasn’t coincidental, but did the media have to swallow the lines they were fed?
All of the stories were newsworthy so there was nothing untoward about the media running them, nor about the timing, because they wouldn’t have wanted to delay and let their competitors beat them.
Poneke asks if there was anything untoward behind the Dom Post’s decision to put the FTA and share stories on the front page and relegate the Peters report to page three. I tend to go for incompetence rather than conspiracy when people raise questions of media bias here, especially given, as comments on Poneke’s blog pointed out, the Peters story might have been considered stale and the other two were fresh.
That said, had it not been for Espiner’s blog, we might have guessed but would almost certainly not had it confirmed, exactly how Labour manipulated the media.