Massey Research Shows Phil Goff Undermined By Media At Election

Morning Report on Radio New Zealand, 27th November, 2012:  Thankyou to Doctor Clare Robertson from Massey University of New Zealand, for making this official.  But this is not new news – Many of us were keenly aware of the extent to which the media were influencing our elections, way back before Phil Goff’s loss to John Key.

Read Merrilyn’s post entitled “Phil Goff Undermined By Media” which I put up over a year ago. In this article, I pointed out the discrepancy of representation in ‘The NZ Herald’ between Phil Goff and John Key:  That Phil got an unglamorous wee photo put somewhere well into the paper, whereas John Key usually got a large, smiling photo on the front-page, or second-page.

Why has it taken so long for a New Zealand university political marketing specialist to make this connection?  It would have been a good thing if Massey University had pointed out the media bias sometime before the last election, and the one beforehand.  That might have influenced the election results in Labour’s favour.

Clare Robertson’s study shows that four major New Zealand newspapers have unfairly advantaged John Key over Phil Goff.  These newspapers are the Auckland papers,  The New Zealand Herald, The Herald On Sunday, The Sunday Star Times, and the Wellington paper, The Dominion Post.

Her research results show that John Key’s photo was shown almost twice that of Phil Goff.  John Key’s photo appeared 138 times during the month preceding the election, whilst Phil Goff’s appeared only 80 times in the month preceding the election.

She also noted that Phil Goff was often portrayed in a negative light, whilst John Key was usually shown smiling.

Phil Goff himself was interviewed on Radio New Zealand News this morning, 27th November.  To the question of the media favouring National over Labour:  “Many of the public have been aware of this for some time now”, and that “the media predetermined the outcome of the election.”

I have written about this in many posts over the past year or two, complaining about the unfair advantage the media have consistently been giving to the National Party.  Their slant towards National meant that Phil Goff and his Labour Party lost at the last election, with the help of John Key’s conniving with John Banks over that notorious ‘cup of tea’.

The media also had the same tack of blatantly promoting John Key at the election before that,  which, I believe, was the main reason the Labour Prime Minister, Helen Clark, lost to  National’s John Key.

Read Merrilyn’s earlier posts on the subject:  New Zealand Politics/Phil Goff Undermined By NZ Media published 13th April, 2011, and others on the subject of NZ Politics and the Media, which point out the liberties our media have taken in favouring National’s John Key over Labour Party’s leader Phil Goff.

I have noted in several of these articles that the media has been favouring John Key in newspapers and on the telly.  I pointed out that the proportion of the photo size was weighted in the direction of John Key, stating that John Key was often given a large, smiling photo, and usually on the front page, or near the beginning of the paper,  whilst Phil Goff was given just a small one, with a grumpy or worried expression, which was lost in the middle or the back of the newspaper pages.

I have also noted how the media have often not allowed Phil Goff to express his arguments and policies, but meanwhile, have allowed John Key all the time in the world to pull the wool over our eyes with his charm and his bluff.  Until recently, and certainly before the last two elections, he has been allowed to rant on virtually unchallenged, about asset sales plans, deep-sea oil drilling, and many other policies on education and housing, which anyone with any sense can see will be damaging to our socio-economic-environmental systems.

Television polls were also damaging to the Labour Party, in my opinion!!!!!

Yes – these are just opinions, collected by the very media who have been shown to be biased towards the National Party.  You just cannot trust these polls.  But – just as the proliferation of John Key’s photo everywhere will subconciously, if not conciously, affect the persuasion of voters, these polls are just as influential in deciding voters.

A Party is often chosen not just because of its policies, but because of the image it presents to the public.  If this is a positive image, then the public are more likely to ‘buy it’.  Conversely, if a portrayal of a party leader is consistently shown in a negative light, then the public will not be persuaded, no matter how good the person is, or how caring their policies are.  The media are the ones with the power to change things for better or worse!

to be continued

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