Stuff: more right-wing bias than Radio Rhema

The latest Roy Morgan poll (Aug 20) shows National support down by 7%, and Labour/Greens up by 9%. Roy Morgan attribute this to the unpopular GCSB bill.

Even Christian Right radio have reported this.

So why are Stuff ignoring it?

They reported the last Roy Morgan poll which swung towards National. They also reported a Roy Morgan poll on consumer confidence a week ago. But still nothing on Tuesday’s political poll.

Instead they’ve only reported their own poll the next day. The results showed a more modest leftward shift (National down 1.1%, Labour down 0.3%, Greens up 1.1%, NZ First down 0.4%). But the reporting emphasises Labour’s failure to increase its support, and National’s resilience to maintain its support! They also speculate about future woes for Labour, heap praise on the Conservative party and don’t mention the Greens’ rise.

Why does poll reporting matter? In 2011 we had the lowest election turn-out since the 1880s after the media told us constantly for 3 years that John Key was wildly popular and the election was a no-contest.

It’s been obvious for a while that Stuff loves John Key as much as Cut Your Hair hates fundamentally disagrees with him. But you could have attributed that to an uncritical, stupid, lowest-common-denominator corporate ‘political’ media caring more for cults of personality than politics.

It’s not possible to claim that anymore. Congrats NZ, we have our very own Daily Mail.  And they own most of our newspapers.

(PS: Even with their bias, Stuff seem quite critical of the GCSB bill, and their poll shows three-quarters of us are worried about it.
PPS: With one-seat majorities for such important legislation, the election definitely wasn’t a no-contest.)


  1. Shawn

    Hating people is never Christian.

    I’ve been on enough Left and Right forums and blogs to know that both groups cry foul about polls and the media, and often the same ones. Spend any time at all on Kiwiblog and you will see Stuff being accused of bias towards Labour.

    I ignore the mainstream news media in any form like the plague. It will melt your brain if you watch it long enough, not to mention that all that negativity is just plain bad for the heart and soul. 🙂


    • calebmorgan

      True true. There are many claims to bias but that doesn’t mean they’re all equally true, or that it’s impossible to analyse bias.

      I suppose corporate media has a stake in:
      – sensationalism and what gets sales/traffic (which can mean they can criticise anyone but also support ‘human interest’ stories)
      – neo-liberal policy (ie pro-corporate but also socially liberal – so that can get them accusations of both left and right bias)
      – What impacts badly on the media professions (hence why they somewhat turned against the Govt over the teapot tape fiasco and spying legislation etc)
      – And then there are the personal views of the writers and editors… so this will include a range of political views, and a range of views about how slanted or ‘balanced’ to be (and a range of views about what exactly ‘balanced’ is.

      So the whole situation is admittedly more complex than my blog indicates. Nonetheless I think Stuff/Fairfax are definitely pro-National currently.


  2. Shawn

    Possibly. Would you be as concerned if they were pro-Labour?

    I’m always slightly bemused at the term ‘Neo-liberal’ with regards to economics. It seems to me to be a very dubious label, not at all descriptive of the economic policies we actually have.


    • calebmorgan

      I think it makes more sense as a description of a trend than as a description of a current situation … generally a trend from welfare state capitalism towards libertarian capitalism – though the trend hasn’t taken us as far as what you’re call libertarian capitalism, it is taking us further away from welfare state capitalism or social democracy in an economic sense, and taking us further towards social liberalism. Or as a relative description – we’re neo-liberal because we’re more libertarian capitalist than we were pre-80s, and more libertarian capitalist than most other industrialised nations (US being the obvious exception – we’re social-democratic compared to them).

      So our last two governments have been neo-liberal in this relative sense (the Key one more so). In the ‘trend’ sense, the Clark government (generally speaking) maintained the economic liberalism of the previous governments rather than pushing it further or reversing it, but they pushed hard on social liberalism and identity politics. The Key government has been more like the other way around.

      So it was kind of vague of me to refer to ‘neo-liberalism’ with regards to what corporate media have a stake in. It would be probably better to say they have a stake in anything that increases their bottom line as profit-maximising companies, and that may mean they have a stake in individualism and consumerism (and increasing individualism and consumerism can be associated with the trends towards post-modernism and neo-liberalism).

      Another perspective might say that neo-liberalism is just statist capitalism returning to normal after the temporary welfare state blip. Meanwhile social liberalism marches on (for better and worse) irrespective of the rise and fall of the welfare state.

      I don’t necessarily have a problem with partisanship, but I have a problem with unacknowledged partisanship masquerading as neutral and, through owning most of NZ’s newspapers (along with APN who are hardly better), shaping what NZers consider as ‘centrist,’ ‘normal,’ ‘neutral,’ ‘commonsense,’ opinions. I find good blogs (which tend to have open biases) more honest and a better source of the ‘whole picture’ than any mainstream media in NZ. I didn’t write this blog to say it’s bad that Stuff are pro-National (though obviously since I don’t like National I disagree with them). I wrote it because if they’re going to be pro-National I’d like that to be well-known so that people know what kind of grain of salt to take them with.


      • Shawn

        All media is biased, because all human beings are, so I agree that more acknowledgement of that would be good. I’m not convinced that corporate ownership is the issue though. For example I’m not sure what the financial gain is in promoting a virulently anti-Israel bias. I agree with British libertarian Sean Gabb that most mainstream media, both state and corporate, has been captured by a particular cultural class, one that is heavily influenced by the Frankfurt School, even if unconsciously, and thus reflects that view.

        Personally I see zero difference between the Clark regime and the current government, but this is clearly a matter of subjective perception. A believer in Marxist economics (not assuming you are) and a believer in Austrian school economics (which I am) are going to have radically different perceptions of the current direction of economic policy. Personally I don’t think anyone in the current government has a clue what a real free market is, and none of their policies impress me, with the exception of charter schools, and that was ACT’s, and sadly is far too timid to last a change of government.

        Or in a nutshell, I would describe the current govt as Neo-status quo.

        I shouldn’t be too picky about some of your comments about Key. I had much the same feelings concerning Clark. Still do! 🙂


        • Shawn

          By the way, are you as stumped as I am about Shearer resigning? It’s not often anything in politics surprises me, but that did. Cannot fathom it. He was, imo, the only Labourite with any chance of besting Key. None of his possible replacements have a hope in Hell. Very strange.

          Blessings and congrats for Monday evening!


          • calebmorgan


            I’m not particularly surprised, but I’m glad it happened this way rather than him being rolled. While everyone on the left and right acknowledge Shearer as a nice guy with an impressive back-story, I didn’t think he had any hope of beating Key – compare Key’s political/debating genius exhibited in the Campbell interview with Shearer’s inability to shake “nice guy but isn’t sure what he believes, can’t articulate a clear agenda” image… he had no hope at out-debating Key, the only hope would be if the electorate turned against Key/National and a left coalition won by default. I’m not sure how well Cunliffe or Robertson (or Jones?) will do against Key, but I think all three of them have more hope than Shearer.

            Importantly, the next leader will be elected for the first time under the new, more democratic electoral rules so whoever it is, there will be the sense that the party is united behind him/her. Shearer was crippled from the start by the knowledge that he wasn’t the wider party’s preferred candidate, and he was put in by a faction in caucus who didn’t like Shearer so much as they disliked Cunliffe.


  3. calebmorgan

    Roy Morgan’s latest poll continues the tend, despite Labour being between leaders:
    see also their longterm trends for National/Maori/ACT/UF vs. Labour/Greens/NZ First/Mana:

    Stuff have reported this one: . But they only mention Labour’s 1% rise since the last poll (ie. the one they didn’t report, which showed much more dramatic rises for Labour and the Greens). They don’t mention how much the Greens have gone up.


  4. Pingback: On the left-right spectrum: A response | Cut Your Hair

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