There’s a meme running around that the ‘teapot tape’ story is a side-show, a distraction from real issues, ect, and that the media is chasing it instead of focusing on substantive stories about policy. But the tea-pot tape saga keys into a huge range of really substantive issues: the Prime Minister’s integrity; media ethics; surveillance (apparently it’s okay for the state to break the law when spying on people, but accidental surveillance of political leaders during public appearances is a ‘slippery slope’ to youth suicide, somehow). It’s about political management of the media, and the farce that is the ACT Party, and National’s endorsement of said farce.
The reason journalists love ‘scandals’ like this is because it lets them turn all of these important but not-very-newsworthy issues into lead stories. And that’s a by-product of the extensive stage-management of political campaigns: it’s boring for the reporters covering it, so whenever a crack appears, journalism floods in.