Vox pops give public opinion a bad name

The first commentary of the year could be devoted to predicting the media’s fortunes over the coming 12 months but that will have to wait. Instead I want to start a campaign to ban vox pops from television, radio, and their print equivalents.

When Jacinda Ardern announced last Thursday she would stand down from her prime ministerial role, reporters ran into the streets, microphone in hand, intent on waylaying hapless pedestrians.

I have no idea how reporters choose their targets in the great vox pop hunt. There is no discernible demographic pattern or attempt to collect representative views. Continue reading “Vox pops give public opinion a bad name”

A little spin goes too far in a pandemic

Pandemics require two things: The efficient administering of effective vaccines, and truth.

I need reassurance that the country is receiving both.

The first is the only way we achieve herd immunity without the need for large funeral pyres. The second is vital to maintain public confidence and faith that the Government will get the job done.

Weeks before New Zealand Herald columnist Matthew Hooton wrote his column last Thursday suggesting the supply of vaccine was running out, I had that niggly journalistic sensation in my scalp that there were things we (the public) were not being told. Continue reading “A little spin goes too far in a pandemic”

Finally…someone gets tough on Facebook

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is rightly being praised for her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic but she needs to get over her Millennial attitude to social media and join Australia in making them pay their way.

Canberra has announced a tough mandatory code to make Facebook, Google and others pay for the news content that have been pillaging from news media’s digital platforms. New Zealand should do the same, preferably adopting the same code for a trans-Tasman approach to regulating companies that thought they were beyond the reach of mere governments. So far, our government has gone no further that saying ‘we’re looking at it’ but characterising it as ‘a longer-term measure’.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg wants a code developed by July and, if the tech giants do not negotiate payment rates in good faith, rates will be imposed. There will be heavy financial penalties for non-compliance. Expect the code to be in place before the end of the year. Continue reading “Finally…someone gets tough on Facebook”