Should the media mind if the government’s media management is mediocre?
Trans-Tasman doesn’t think so. In today’s issue (subscribe here) it says:
There’s been a lot of head shaking and tut tutting from the political commentariat about the Govt’s media management of late. . . What is striking is how much of the commentary is basically saying the Govt – and John Key’s office in particular – is bad at spin.
It seems odd, to say the least, for journalists to write articles and broadcast lengthy pieces to camera saying the Govt is making a lousy job of manipulating journalists.
. . . we’re telling them how to even better use this machine to “spin” journalists and the wider public. Why?
More importantly, this growing trend of commentary serves the public very badly. Firstly, because an analysis of Govt spin is pretty much irrelevant to most people. But most importantly, the concern is the underlying attitude it betrays. Inherent in this kind of critique is a worship of power. It basically says journalists will only write good things about you if you are good at “spin”, manipulation, and the general dark arts of power.
Which seems in itself a fairly major betrayal of what political journalism, is supposed to do, which is to expose such dark arts and hold politicians to account.
I don’t think the government’s media management is bad. It’s just a change of style from that of the previous administration which micro-managed everything. This one tends to leave people to think for themselves.
But even if the media management wasn’t up to scratch, I agree with Trans-Tasman that that shouldn’t be the issue.
The media shouldn’t be complaining about the quality or otherwise of government, or any other, spin. It should be looking behind the spin for the facts and reporting on them.