Karl du Fresne on TV3

Fresh from savaging Patrick Gower, Karl du Fresne looks at the parlous state of TV3 and wonders if there is a campaign being run.

Now I don’t normally subscribe to the theories fo the either the left wing or the right wing nut jobs who think that this paper or that paper is bias for or against them. I know enough people on both sides or the argument that assert that the NZ Herald is bias against them to know that the NZ Herald sits fair and square int he middle. Sure they have left wing columnists and also right wing columnists, but the fact that equal numbers of people say the NZ Herald is bias against their point of view tends to support my view that they are ok. Now I Must say the same cannot be said of the Herald on Sunday.

Anyway a professional journalist like Karl du Fresne is likewise loathe to point the finger so things must be really bad at TV3 for him to be prompted to write about it.

I should state here that I am not a supporter of Key or the National Party (I’m certainly right of centre, but I’ve voted for Labour far more often than for National), and I repeat that I’m not in the habit of alleging institutional editorial bias based on one or two examples. Now and again a report may lean one way or the other, but generally things balance out in the long run. What worries me about 3 News is that a persistent pattern seems to have emerged. And what finally convinced me that the channel has abandoned all semblance of political neutrality was its screening last night of a pseudo-documentary entitled Inside Child Poverty, written and presented by Bryan Bruce.

I say pseudo- documentary because it was an undisguised, overwrought piece of hand-wringing political polemic that made no pretence of objectivity or balance. To screen it at any time would have courted controversy, but to show it in prime time just three days before a general election couldn’t be construed as anything but a deliberate attempt to tilt the political playing field in Labour’s favour.

That couldn’t have been clearer than when the host – who clearly aspires to be New Zealand’s answer to the sanctimonious John Pilger – genuflected, metaphorically speaking, before the Michael Joseph Savage monument and reminded us of Labour’s proud historical commitment to feed, clothe and house the poor. Another overtly political moment occurred when Bruce asked rhetorically: “Who builds state houses? Labour. Who sells them? National.”

I waited at the end for the announcement that this had been a party political broadcast. It never came.

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