PM’s Political Puff Piece

I enjoy reading between the lines and thinking about why things are said and why certain photos are used in a puff piece.

Here is my “Whaleoil translation” of parts of a political puff piece about Jacinda Ardern.

[…] Jacinda Ardern hosts Spinoff editor Toby Manhire at her Auckland home.

Mid-morning, Anniversary Monday, and Auckland is melting. “Yesterday, I was trying to write a speech, and it was 31 degrees in the house, and in the roof cavity it was 50. It was 50 degrees,” says Jacinda Ardern. She is standing in her kitchen, barefoot, dipping a tea bag into a mug.

Barefoot and pregnant, (are we meant to make this unconscious association?)

“So I was instructed to climb into the roof in my underpants at midnight,” chips in Clarke Gayford – also in the kitchen, also barefoot – “to find …“

Ardern: “The fan.”

“The old fan hidden in the back corner. Dusted it off. But worth it.” […]

Translation: They are just an ordinary young couple with a bun in the oven who don’t have enough money to pay for an air conditioning unit despite the PM’s six-figure salary. LOOK they have an ordinary cheap slightly broken fan and are making do while sweltering like everyone else in Auckland right now.

[…] “I did think about her quite a bit when we announced that I was pregnant.” Ardern is referring to her grandmother, who died in the final days of the campaign. “I called my grandfather, and I think it’s fair to say he was quite speechless. He just said: ‘Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness.’ Over and over. And then he said: ‘Poor you!’

[…] Ardern’s grandmother has been brought up a number of times in the couple of weeks since the pregnancy was revealed, implicitly sending an olive branch to those who have misgivings about the announcement. “I did think about how my grandma would have reacted. She probably would have questioned me juggling both things, a little bit. My grandma was a very traditional woman. But at the same time would want me to have kids. So a bit torn, probably.”

Translation: Her grandmother would have told her to put her baby first and she knows it.

The first ever press conference to discuss a New Zealand prime minister’s pregnancy, held 10 days earlier outside the same modest two-bedroom house we’re sitting in now, had come after a lot of planning. […]  Gayford would be stay-at-home dad. […]

Translation: Yes the house, because it is in Auckland, is worth heaps but it is a MODEST house because the underlying message here is that we have a humble Prime Minister. She has a sensitive new age partner willing to put his TV Fishing career on hold to bring up their baby so she can stay in the job she said repeatedly in interviews that she never wanted.

[…] “I’d say it was always in me – it’s just what’s required of you is very different in the moment that you become leader. When you’re part of a team you defer and you’re there to support your leader.”

And there was no time to overthink it. “That was probably a good thing. I just came straight out of caucus and went down there, and I thought: the one thing people just need to get a sense of from me in this moment is that I can do this. And I’m not going to leave any room for doubt that I can do this […]

Translation: Jacinda needed to convince herself as well as those around her that she could “do this.” because she did have doubts, lots of them.




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