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Election 2014 Debrief

I know I know. We’ve all had enough of the election. It’s time to move on and think about nice stuff like holidays and family. vote batman.png

But it has to be acknowledged that while the result was not particularly great for public service broadcasting and media, the election campaign itself brought into the spotlight issues of importance to the CBB - journalistic standards, media bias, and the need for more public service newsmedia.

In terms of broadcasting policies, the National policy was more of the same. And whether you love or loathe this government, there is no denying that in six years they have taken NZ’s weak public service broadcasting and made it much worse. This is why the CBB campaigned in favour of opposition policies.

The furore over Dirty Politics clouded the issue further, especially around broadcasting and media policies. Our support, like the whole country, seemed to be divided into two very separate camps – those who believed John Key and those who believed Nicky Hager. And ne’er the twain shall meet!

dirty politics.pngOne of the main points from the book that is universally accepted is that commercial news organisations are weak in the face of PR operators like Carrick Graham and bloggers like Cameron Slater. Because commercial news is less and less profitable, newsrooms pay staff less and employ younger journalists who tend to (but not always) follow the herd, accept what they're told and put their ambitions first. Commercial newsrooms use more sensational headlines and simplistic angles to appeal to audiences, yet budgets mean they have less time to check facts or investigate in-depth.

New Zealand’s news business is dominated by commercial newsrooms and Dirty Politics gave startling examples of how that has affected our news cycle, our politics and even the 2011 election. Whether you think this is a problem generally depends on whether you like those who are benefiting – but the CBB takes the view that whether it’s the left or right wing who benefit, the public are the losers because of weakened democracy and less accountability from our leaders.

This is why the CBB took the Dirty Politics revelations very seriously, but at the end of the day, the majority of voters had other priorities.

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