Pravda Project at work

Is the media biased?

I can understand reluctance to give any oxygen to conspiracy theories, but it is possible to write a story on this extraordinary response without doing that.


Could the reluctance to report this have anything to do with the Public Interest Journalism Fund which Karl du Fresne calls the Pravda Project.

. . . Judith Collins and David Seymour were putting the heat on Jacinda Ardern over Labour’s so-called Public Interest Journalism Fund. Collins wanted to know whether the fund – applicants for which must commit to Treaty principles and support for te reo, among other things – was influencing the editorial decisions of media outlets. Seymour more pointedly asked what would happen to a media outlet that had accepted money from the fund but wanted to report something deemed inconsistent with Treaty principles.

Ardern brushed off the questions as if they weren’t worthy of an answer, but that’s by the bye. What interests me is whether the exchange in the House was reported by any media outlet that has accepted, or has its hand out for, money from the fund.

This highlights another potentially disturbing and insidious aspect of the media slush fund. Can we expect mainstream media outlets to report criticism of the fund or possible revelations and concerns about its misuse, or will that be left to independent journalists such as Adams?  

You see what’s happening here? I’m already wondering whether the media are choosing to ignore stories about the fund that might not reflect favourably on it or them. The mere fact that it’s necessary to ask this question shows how media companies compromise their credibility by accepting money from a highly politicised government agency.  

Incidentally, “Public Interest Journalism Fund” strikes me as a bit of a mouthful, and time-consuming to type, besides. So I’m giving it a shorter, punchier name: the Pravda Project, after the old Soviet Union’s esteemed official press organ, on the assumption that the PIJF will exhibit the same fearless independence and unstinting commitment to the truth. 

Michael Basset has similar concerns:

. . . The availability of money, coupled with a completely absent sense of constitutional propriety, appear to offer the divine intervention Ardern and Robertson need going forward. Their gig is to bribe the media in the run-up to the next election in the hope that they will save Labour. This is happening in two ways. First, the direct distribution of cash from the Public Interest Journalism Fund aimed at keeping the media on side until the next election. All the big daily papers have dipped into it already, and applications are now open for a further swag of taxpayer money. The second way the government is trying to keep the media on side is by over-paying them for printing the masses of Covid announcements. I’m reliably informed that the government negotiated none of the regular discounts available to those who advertise on a grand scale in newspapers and TV. The expectation is that none of the media greedies will bite the government hand that feeds them. Or not very hard.

If my information is correct, it is corruption, pure and simple. In normal circumstances there would be rebellion. But in the topsy-turvy world of this pandemic, I’m not sure that anyone any longer cares much about constitutional propriety.

Privately owned media has a lot more leeway in what it chooses to report and how it reports it.

But publicly owned media has a much greater responsibility to be balanced and fair.

Regardless of whether its privately owned or publicly, the Pravda Project makes it look like the media is softer on the government and harder on the opposition which leads it wide open to accusations of bias.

3 Responses to Pravda Project at work

  1. Rob says:

    I was staggered by the politically biased presentation of TVNZ’s Aotearoa poll results on Tuesday 28th September.


  2. Andrei says:

    You view this through the lens of your tribal political affiliations and journalists, particularly political journalists also have political tribal allegiances

    My tribal allegiances are religious, rather than political I guess, so to me I see the media as representing the non religious Establishment and their interests

    What gets up my nose is that they (the media) represent themselves as the arbiters of “THE TRUTH!” when of course they are not

    When you see an article Headlined “Fact Check:” you know what you will receive is spin whitewashing over data points that are inconvenient to the prevailing establishment narrative

    Likewise the articles headlined “subject x What you need to Know” are pure propaganda written to reinforce an Establishment narrative and when I read such things they never articulate the things I actually want to know about subject x

    I really annoyed a member of the Act tribe the other day when I suggested to him the only major point of difference between David Seymore and Jacinda Ardern is the former comes equipped with a penis – in terms of life experience and philosophical underpinnings the two are like peas in a pod

    If you look at the major political journalists in this country they are all empty headed women with sawdust between the ears as is J. Ardern which is why she gets the glowing coverage

    If the major political journalists were “rugger buggers” the political figures who would prevail would be those who excelled in contact sports in their youth

    One of the most egregious things in recent times to appear in the media was the famous photo of Judith Collins praying in an Anglican Church – to me taking a photograph of someone at prayer in a Church is akin to taking a piss in the potted plants but perhaps that is just an indication of just how far the establishment in this country has moved away from me and my kind


  3. adamsmith1922 says:

    Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind.


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