Time for the media to get its act together

Time for the media to get its act together

From the old “my plea will fall on deaf ears” file for the week , comes my frustration at the media and the way they see and portray the world.

Example one this week, Jami-Lee Ross. He is trouble, he wants to be trouble, he likes being trouble and he uses the media to pedal his trouble. And at the moment, he’s doing it under the guise of illness.

The media have a duty of care in how they handle issues and people like Jami-Lee Ross, and this week they failed.

It is indeed a complex old business, this specific case. He’s an MP, he’s an MP who refuses to go despite being booted from his caucus, all of that is news, and should be covered and talked about.

But the hiring of a people mover to tiki-tour his electorate so he can cry, show remorse and stab his old party in the back again, while claiming to be only returning to do good, is a scam.

Just because you can find a doctor who suggests you aren’t a narcissist doesn’t mean you’re not a narcissist, or indeed have narcissistic tendencies.

He wants the limelight, craves the limelight, and uses the limelight. The five pages of social media dissertation he produced is all the evidence you need to know he isn’t the full deck.

Knowing that, as the operators of the limelight, the media have a duty to ration it, to ration it for genuine use and advancement of information, not as a soapbox for any old aggrieved campaigner driven by self-interest.

This is all fanciful of course, the modern media is a circus in their own right. The days of genuine diligence, care, respect, and any sort of depth or nuance in dealing with the flakier end of the spectrum is long gone.

It’s clicks and ratings. If you can make a noise loud enough, there’s a newsroom beating a path to your door.

And then example two, on NCEA day, the media displayed their other proclivity, and that is to dwell on the negative.

The story was on how to talk to your kids if they failed NCEA. The detail was provided by one of the many agencies and help groups that flood the current social landscape.

There isn’t an itch a government-funded do-gooder social agency can’t scratch these days. And the media can’t get enough of the endless fodder they produce, it’s easy news, it turns up in the inbox.

It’s all just surveys and data on who’s failing, who’s miserable, who’s poor, who lives in a box, who doesn’t eat right, walk right, or look right. And the NCEA story was for all the people who crashed out, and were miserable, how do you deal with that?

Of course, in the real world, most of the people did exactly the opposite, they passed. It was a day of success, celebration, and achievement. But we heard little, if any, of that, because the media doesn’t deal in the upbeat. Their mindset can’t conceive that good things are actually good news, because their mindset, their default, is news has to be bad.


I’ve been in this game 37 years, and have always seen this approach as wasteful, sad, and depleting. I’ve always asked, why am still asking why?

Why does bad news, troubled people and calamity top triumph and a good day?

When in reality, the vast majority of us are drawn to the latter, not the former.

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