I have blogged before about the state of New Zealand's news media but several recent examples of the depths to which they plunge have prompted me to blog on the subject again:
1) The Wellington daily The Dominion Post opened its coverage of the election campaign by asking the party leaders what they would do if they found themselves caught short without a clean pair of underpants. Another media outlet asked which of the candidates voters would rather sleep with. They consider this appropriate coverage of a parliamentary campaign at a time when New Zealand faces some its biggest challenges - a deteriorating world economic situation, a burgeoning government spending deficit and a country struggling to recover from its biggest natural disaster in decades.
2) The Auckland Sunday paper, The Herald on Sunday, has been caught illegally taping a private meeting between the Prime Minister and a leading candidate of one of the other political parties. The Prime Minister has referred the matter to the police.
3) The Dominion Post (again!) runs on its front page a banner headline (in the sort of typeface that used to announce war being declared or man landing on the moon) announcing the drunken antics in a foreign bar of a prominent New Zealand sportsperson. I was in the country concerned at the time and the incident occasioned no comment in the local press there, so obviously it wasn't particularly serious.
I was discussing these incidents with a business colleague of mine and he told me the story of his niece, a bright young woman who was studying journalism at one of this country's universities. This young woman has decided to drop out after nearly two years of the course. Was it because she wasn't getting good marks? Was it because she couldn't cope with the workload? Or perhaps it was because she decided she didn't want to be a journalist after all?
It was none of the above. The reason she dropped out was ethical - that is, the unethical behaviour being taught and encouraged by the journalism lecturers. She was taught that any means justified the ends of a scandalous story and the advancement of the (left wing) political agenda that the lecturers supported. She had expected to learn that journalism was a noble calling to uphold the truth and to act responsibly but she was disillusioned to discover that precisely the opposite was being taught.
This is why I no longer subscribe to a daily newspaper or watch television news or listen to radio news in this country. They are almost without exception a bunch of mendacious scumbags. If you agree with my assessment, I urge you to cancel your newspaper subscription and vote on the broadcast media with your remote control. You can get all the news that matters on the Internet - news that is more timely, accurate and balanced than anything that comes out of New Zealand's mainstream media propagandists.