Mike's Minute: Media bias exposed in cannabis referendum coverage

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Jan 2021, 10:13AM

Mike's Minute: Media bias exposed in cannabis referendum coverage

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Jan 2021, 10:13AM

Well, it's all been laid a bit bare for large swathes of our local media. They are biased.

Extensive work has been done around coverage of the euthanasia and cannabis referenda. Euthanasia wasn't so bad, but as for the cannabis coverage, it was embarrassing.

A lot of us already knew this to be the case, of course.

If you read a lot like I do, it became fairly evident, fairly fast, that most of the people who frequent newsrooms in this country aren't up to much when it comes to balance.

You could, and I would, argue you see it every day in coverage of the current government. There is plenty of material from offshore observers who were gobsmacked in election year, at just how subservient too much of our media is to the Labour Party and the Prime Minister in particular.

But the beauty of the cannabis vote work is that it's easy to prove. We were simply voting, and the media were simply covering two things, yes or no.

36 percent of all headlines promoted yes, 18 percent were for no. In other words, twice as much of what you saw was for one camp.

When it came to quotes from advocates, the yes position was quoted twice as often as no. There were 67 articles with 100 percent bias towards yes, and only towards no. Of the articles that covered both sides 66 percent of them favoured yes, 34 percent no.

The worst offenders were The Spinoff, Stuff, Newshub, the Herald, TVNZ, and Radio New Zealand.  The Spinoff had 72% of their coverage for yes, as did Stuff.

Newshub has 69 percent, the Herald 68 percent, TVNZ 62 percent and RNZ 59 percent. The last two are particularly interesting as I thought they had a statutory obligation to be fair and balanced.

As we have said many, many times, if these people had been honest and run some editorials and told us they were biased, then we would have no problem.

If they'd said "we have decided as a paper, blog, or TV station that we support the yes vote and we want you to as well," then at least you knew where you are at.

But they didn't do that, did they? Which makes their bias dangerous.  It's brain washing. It's pretending to be fair, open, and honest and all the other strap line hot air they pedal. But the simple truth is they had an agenda, but they just didn't want to tell you about it.

We deserve better, we should have better, and we should demand better.

The work of Family First in exposing this proves it.