Journalism reached another low yesterday with the breathless reporting on National leader Chris Luxon’s property portfolio.
Had he acquired them through crime or by luck, owning seven houses – four of which are his family home, a crib, an apartment in Wellington and his electorate office – it would indeed be a story.
But there is no question about how he was able to buy them. He got an education then used it, his ability and personality, to succeed in well paid jobs and invested wisely.
Media attention wasn’t just on the number of houses, it then focused on his family home and that he didn’t know its value.
How many people know their houses are worth unless they are planning to sell them?
In spite of at least one journalist trying to blame Luxon for the increased value of his home, it’s government policies and the Reserve Bank which have fueled the steep rise in house prices all over the country.
But why attack someone for their wealth anyway?
Journalists ought to be celebrating success, not sneering at it.
How much better we all would be if more people were successful and if that was shown as something to aspire to, not something to criticise.
If the media had even a passing interest in balance, they might have pointed out that Luxon took a massive pay cut when he entered parliament which shows he’s not in it for the money.
Apropos of which, wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many other MPs took a pay cut and how many got a pay rise?
Don’t hold your breath waiting to find out which other MPs earned more before they got to parliament than they do now and how many earn more in their current job than they did in previous ones.
That wouldn’t suit the media agenda and the modus operandi of journalists about which Karl du Fresne writes:
Trapping politicians, baiting them, trying to catch them out and make them look silly, hypocritical or indecisive … that’s what now passes for political journalism. And of course the journalists always come out on top, because they can set themselves up as judge and jury, are responsible to no one, pay no penalty when they get things wrong (as they frequently do) and always have the last word.
What’s more, they’re highly selective about whose feet they hold to the fire. Luxon wields no real power at this stage of his political career, yet he’s subjected to far tougher treatment than the sainted prime minister, who clearly enjoys immunity from difficult questions. But most New Zealanders still believe in giving people (even conservative politicians) a fair go, and the media are probably doing far more damage to themselves than to Luxon.
Journalists usually rank at or near the bottom of trusted occupations and the blatantly biased way the media has focused on Luxon’s faith and finances shows why.