Is our media going too far?


Love him (and plenty do, according to the breakfast radio show ratings) or loathe him (and he certainly is polarising), you have to give Mike Hosking the award for being the National Party’s best spin doctor.

And the current government’s worst media nightmare.

Nothing new in that.

Hosking has been raving about the current government’s inadequacies since it first entered office. He’s seemingly on a one-man anti-Labour government crusade.

Again, nothing necessarily wrong with that.

But, when his voice rings out every morning, bemoaning the government’s state of play, its latest failings and its continuous bumbling, it does have an impact. Especially when he hosts this country’s best-rating and most listened-to breakfast show.

You could argue listeners tune in because he’s just reflecting on what they already think about the government.

But you could also argue that over the years he’s managed to persuade more than a few voters to think seriously about changing the administration.

We all have political views and I’m sure we all spend some time arguing with friends and colleagues over the merits and failings of our various politicians, and trying to convince those same friends and colleagues to agree with us.

But whereas Putin and his cronies may have (allegedly) engineered Trump’s Presidential victory from behind the scenes, Hosking is pitching very strongly and openly for Labour’s demise using his very public media platform.

Which brings into question the role of our media.

And, yes, we have left-leaning media platforms, and no, you don’t have to listen, watch or read what any commentator, broadcaster or journalist says.

But at what point does our media cross a line and actively campaign for, or against, a political Party or movement?

At what point do these very influential media voices, and Hosking’s not the only one, actually start hurting – or enhancing – a Party’s chances of political success?

New Zealand’s media may well be tame when compared to that of other countries, but some of our more prominent media are becoming increasingly politically vocal.

Nothing has so far triggered the Broadcasting Standards Authority or the NZ Media Council, but when someone with such a powerful voice, on such a far-reaching media platform, is so obviously batting for one particular team it does raise questions about the media’s role and responsibility when it comes to pushing a particular political message.

Whether you agree with that message. Or not!