Calls for objective analysis 5 days out from an election too little, too late

Today’s Press editorial:

The much-promised announcement being staged by Kim Dotcom today must be one of the most ballyhooed in New Zealand political history. It is also one of the oddest.

It has been designed for maximum theatrics by a man who, ever since his arrival in this country, has shown he is well-versed in the dark arts of public relations and knows how to manipulate public opinion to his own advantage.

Coming just five days before most voting in the general election will take place, the timing is cynical. It is clear from Kim Dotcom’s signalling of the event more than six months ago that any information he has could have been released at any time since at least the beginning of this year, if not earlier. If today’s information does turn out to be anything of substance, and not just a damp squib, releasing it now leaves little time for effective rebuttal. Today’s exercise could be seen as a blatant attempt by two foreigners – a German millionaire and an American journalist – to influence the outcome of the election.

But although the exercise may be using all the slickest and darkest devices of political propaganda, distaste for them and for Dotcom and his place in New Zealand’s public affairs should not be allowed to overwhelm any message that may be delivered today. Glenn Greenwald has shown himself to be an able journalist, albeit one with a sharply defined and vigorously pursued agenda, and he is unlikely to be merely Dotcom’s “little henchman”, as Prime Minister John Key has suggested. Despite the unappealing circumstances, anything Greenwald and Dotcom reveal today must be coolly and objectively analysed.

A bit late for that.  After running a two year collective pro-Dotcom charm offensive, the media are only just now waking up to objective analysis?

Still, a bit of sanity and common sense from The Press but you can guarantee their pages tomorrow will be full of half baked stories and innuendo, talking the talk but not walking the walk.

What we will see is the press gallery journalists getting all excited about a topic that the public is sick to death of hearing about and are sensible enough to understand we have needed a spy agency for decades so don’t see the big deal in them doing a bit of spying.

There will be no policy discussion, no more info on the CGT, Kiwisaver, health, education, roads etc. the fourth estate will once again from their privileged inside position let down their profession and leave the public even less interested in our democracy.

How much most voters care about all this is another matter. When the GCSB was last in the news, public indifference, rightly or wrongly, was widespread. In the last week of the election campaign, voters may prefer to focus on issues of greater substance – inequality, productivity, economic growth. It would be a shame if analysis of Dotcom’s sideshow were allowed to overwhelm all those.

Too little, too late.

Waking up to the irreversible damage they have caused that is totally out of line with the audience and the voters’ expectations, the media are trying to pretend they should be non-partisan after all.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.