Dirty Politics: Day 20

It has been just over three weeks since author Nicky Hager released his book Dirty Politics: How Attack Politics is Poisoning New Zealand's Political Environment.

In that time, political polls have struggled to keep up with the twists and turns of the Hager saga. You never know how each bombshell revelation or accusation will affect public opinion. At the weekend, members of the media were caught up in the affair, as the email that prompted Judith Collins' resignation included details of dealings with reporters. Immediately, the twitterati jumped on the email as proof the "mainstream media" or MSM had a right-wing agenda, though funnily enough right-wing blogs will tell you how terribly "leftist" the MSM is.

Both can't be right and, for the most part, neither is. We're lucky in this country that our main media organisations are not politically aligned.


I don't like the term MSM. It's a pejorative term that seems to suggest that only niche media - like partisan bloggers perhaps? - can give you the full picture. The "If you're not with us you're against us" brigade don't like impartial journalism because, by its definition, it does not seek to promote or support their point of view. These are interesting times for journalism and, in New Zealand, the public's perception of it. There is some fantastic work being done by journalists - not only on behalf of their employers, but on behalf of you, me and all of us - the public.

You may be sick of reading about dirty politics but the questions and issues that have arisen and suspect behaviour that has been uncovered need to be addressed. At the end of the day, after the election, after inquiries, after the inevitable movie, New Zealanders will ideally have greater confidence in our political systems and, of course, our nation's leaders.