Trans Tasman on complaints of media bias:
The tawdry cry of media bias, marinated in bitterness and misanthropy, has been held aloft by Labour activitists. They have a point, but not the one they think they are making. How journalists’ view political parties is affected by many factors, and individual political biases and prejudgements is only one of them – and seldom the most important. Almost every journalist in the press gallery has tales of slow or non-existent response from Labour to requests for information, or of interviews/appearances agreed to and then “pulled” at the last minute.
It isn’t a matter of incompetent staff: the almost total turnover in the past three years is only one indication something deeper is the problem. No one knows what is going on because people who should be told are not told, and the big reason for this is internal levels of mistrust are so toxic. It adds up to an organisation – and we use the word ‘organisation’ with some degree of over-stretch here – which cannot do the political equivalent of walk from Mum’s car to the kindergarten gate without having a trouser incident.
And of course this affects coverage. Journalists experience this level of cluster-fornication every day and it has a deep impact. And this is before we get to the public snafus, the destructive and bitter factionalism and the way many electorate candidates are distancing themselves from the current, official election strategy. Almost everything Labour does at the moment sends the message it is in no position to run anything.
If there is a tone of disrespect in how journalists cover Labour – and there very definitely is – it is because Labour is not behaving in a way which earns respect.
Daily displays of cluster-fornication don’t earn respect.
Nor do obvious internal divisions, a predilection for sideshows and failure to learn from mistakes.
Labour is in a mess and that’s reflected in media coverage.
It’s a mess of the party’s own making and the media can’t be blamed for showing it in a negative light when there’s so little positive to focus on.