The Dim-Post

November 16, 2011

Minor point

Filed under: media,Politics — danylmc @ 12:03 pm

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.

36 Comments »

  1. And you can add the PM’s response to pressure to that list.

    In a democracy, we expect our politicians to front the media and answer questions, not storm out. Its part of day-to-day accountability.

    Comment by Idiot/Savant — November 16, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  2. Didn’t you have a checklist for whether a news story or scandal really gets traction? (It had an item on it that was something like ‘The story contradicts the established public perception of the person’). Does this one fit your schema?

    Comment by Steve Hickey — November 16, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

  3. It’s a storm in a teacup.

    Comment by vibenna — November 16, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

  4. Someone is having a laff at the Herald – go to the link in comment#1 above, and click to expand the image.

    The gruesome shock is quite terrifying.

    And whose idea was it to feed ‘him’ any press coverage anyway? People might begin to take him seriously again…

    Comment by Sam — November 16, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  5. Is this how Key will behave in any second term to any sustained media questioning he doesn’t like? Storm off in a hissy fit (and then get Steven Joyce to ring their editors for a chat?)?

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 16, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  6. Actually, turns out Cicero said it first: “Excitabat enim fluctus in simpulo”

    Comment by vibenna — November 16, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

  7. I am of two minds here. The fact that the sort of equipment used was a microphone connected wirelessly to the camera suggests that TWO buttons had to be pushed to record. He could not simply leave the microphone sitting (in the bag, not out in the open) and record. He actually had to hit a button on the camera as well. So it is not as innocent as it sounds.

    On the other hand, a couple of politicians sitting around talking – one has to wonder because they are in public.

    But then, what are you and I Danyl? What if there were some serious issue of public health or safety, and we wanted to talk about it without being overheard, and someone secretly recorded us? The sort of recording could, in principle, cause some serious public concerns. A number of us down here in Chch have had exactly those sorts of discussions down here when we realised that some of our conversations could be overheard, and we decided we needed to be careful.

    One can argue that it is the thin edge of the wedge.

    Comment by David in Chch — November 16, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  8. sigh. I meant “What about you and I …”

    Comment by David in Chch — November 16, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  9. Has Key been taking advice from Rick Perry’s campaign?

    Comment by sammy — November 16, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  10. David in Chch wrote: ” The fact that the sort of equipment used was a microphone connected wirelessly to the camera suggests that TWO buttons had to be pushed to record. He could not simply leave the microphone sitting (in the bag, not out in the open) and record. He actually had to hit a button on the camera as well. So it is not as innocent as it sounds.”

    I understood he was legitimately recording beforehand, as part of the photo-op he had been invited there for. Therefore he didn’t have to switch those devices on, but merely to not get round to switching them off. Much easier to do innocently.

    “But then, what are you and I Danyl? What if there were some serious issue of public health or safety, and we wanted to talk about it without being overheard, and someone secretly recorded us?”

    Personally, I make a point of not inviting the media if I want to talk in private.

    Comment by Kahikatea — November 16, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

  11. One must realise the non-blog-posting great unwashed dont really give a shit about any of this, Key is right, they care more about the economy- and Winston Peters not getting re-elected..

    Comment by gn — November 16, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

  12. RNZ and TV3 are really working this story over. They have also been commenting previously on ministers not fronting for interviews and debates. Payback perhaps?

    Comment by insider — November 16, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  13. its contains information about the older generation whom were the making of this country and to oust do brash

    Comment by ken hughes [kilroyken] — November 16, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  14. But then, what about you and I Danyl? What if there were some serious issue of public health or safety, and we wanted to talk about it without being overheard, and someone secretly recorded us?

    In the professional services firms I have worked for all staff are warned that holding sensitive conversations in public places (in particular in the pub, at lunch or on the train/bus/plane) was dangerous and that they should be aware of their circumstances at all times. If you want a private conversation, book a meeting room or office.

    Comment by Paul Rowe — November 16, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  15. journalists love ‘scandals’ like this is because it lets them turn all of these important but not-very-newsworthy issues into lead stories.

    Except, they’re not doing that AT ALL.

    What we do have is Breakfast TV presenters tittering amongst themselves about what might have been said, and senoir political correspondents talking to Radio DJs about the fact that they’ve heard the tape, but aren’t going to tell anyone else what’s on it.

    This is the political equivalent of the ‘news story’ that some chick of Kath and Kim lost a shed-load of weight using Jenny Craig..

    Comment by Phil — November 16, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  16. David in Chch wrote: ” The fact that the sort of equipment used was a microphone connected wirelessly to the camera suggests that TWO buttons had to be pushed to record. He could not simply leave the microphone sitting (in the bag, not out in the open) and record. He actually had to hit a button on the camera as well. So it is not as innocent as it sounds.”

    Having actually used a wireless mic and a camera, it is extremely easy to make this mistake and I have done so on numerous occasions. Seeing as he was recording sound during the first part of the ‘show’, when it came time to leave he would simply switch off the mic and put it in the bag. It’s pretty easy to not switch it off properly, or forget to, especially when being rushed out of a place. In ideal circumstances, he would have then checked whether the camera was picking up audio – however, when you’re jostling for a spot in front of the window and your job depends on getting the best pictures, and you assume you turned off the mic, it’s really unlikely you’ll have the time. There would be no reason to change the audio settings on the camera if you assume you have no operational mic. The fact that he tried to retrieve his bag demonstrates that the recording was not intentional – at least not initially – as if this was the case, why would he risk retrieval? There is the possibility that he realised the mic was on, tried to retrieve the bag, and then decided to take advantage of the situation and not mention the mic to security – but I don’t think any of that could be proven in court.

    Comment by Lucy Bailey — November 16, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

  17. The link at 1 is a beaut. “Why the fuck did I want this job?” written all over JK’s face.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 16, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  18. And the PM is so wrong: what I really REALLY REALLY want to know all about is a minor All Black with drink problems. In detail. I watched the first 25 minutes of the One news last night, and wished I hadn’t. And isn’t CGW a bit lame now that we are in Rugby off season.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 16, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  19. Honestly, hasn’t anyone seen Zac and his shame? We NEED to be focusing on that, not trivial politicians stupidly making deals in a public space to which they invited the entire media scum. Arggggghhhhhhhhh

    Comment by nw — November 16, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

  20. “Has Key been taking advice from Rick Perry’s campaign?

    Comment by sammy — November 16, 2011 @ 12:33 pm”

    I was thinking Herman Cain

    Comment by swan — November 16, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

  21. It’s not really about substantive issues it’s about NZH & TV3 taking the opportunity to stick the boot itand pretend it’s about substantive issues.

    Comment by garfield@xtra.co.nz — November 16, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

  22. I was planning to ‘like’ this post, but the pop-up box appears off the left-hand side of the screen.

    Maybe you could fix this?

    Comment by Bill Bennett — November 16, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

  23. Given the propensity of everyone to shout LIAR every time a politician is ambiguous, mis-states a quote or statistic, or announces new policy, aren’t we all mighty credulous about the “accidental” aspect of the recording?

    In other words, hypocrite much?

    Comment by Rick Rowling — November 16, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

  24. “It’s not really about substantive issues it’s about NZH & TV3 taking the opportunity to stick the boot itand pretend it’s about substantive issues.”

    Nah, it’s about the PM being a weasel. That’s substantive.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — November 16, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

  25. Unless there’s nothing interesting on the tapes at all, the release is a massive anticlimax, Key can smugly say “well, even though there was nothing on them I took a principled stance” and cruises to a landslide victory…

    Comment by gazzaj — November 16, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

  26. gazzaj: Plausible, except I don’t think Key would have thrown his toys today if that was the case. Also, TV3 have apparently heard the tape and Garner is still in the hunt with the rest of them, which I don’t think he would be if it was a fizzer.

    Comment by Simon Poole — November 16, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

  27. Has anyone else noticed how John Key begins most of his statements with the word “Yes”, even if the question did not call for it or he doesn’t mean it? Paula Bennett does it too. I think it is an attempt to manipulate the watcher into thinking they are positive and agree with you on everything. They have obviously had slick coaching.

    Comment by Cristi J — November 17, 2011 @ 12:23 am

  28. No, it’s because they’re inarticulate.

    Comment by Orlando Figes' ghost-writer — November 17, 2011 @ 6:27 am

  29. I think it’s something of a modern New Zealand thing to say “yes” or “yeah” instinctively when someone’s explaining something to you, even if you’re about to disagree with them. Compare with expanded version: “I appreciate your thoughts and can see how you may have arrived at that position, however, nah bro.”

    Comment by Sam F — November 17, 2011 @ 8:20 am

  30. begins most of his statements with the word “Yes”, even if the question did not call for it or he doesn’t mean it? … They have obviously had slick coaching.

    Yes, this is actually quite common in marketing and sales – it helps build a rapport and a “common ground” to start negotiation/debate from.

    I spent quite a bit of time as a door-to-door salesman during university, and we used simple techniques like this to break down defensive barriers and open up customers to the products we were selling.

    Comment by Phil — November 17, 2011 @ 8:38 am

  31. Repeating back what someone just said, asking them if that is what they said and then agreeing they have a fine point before going on to disagree is an excellent technique I often use myself.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 17, 2011 @ 8:46 am

  32. Straight out of ‘how to win friends and influence people’ aka ‘how to lie convincingly’. Looking at the old footage of Key, he’s been doing it for a long time.

    Comment by Myles Thomas — November 17, 2011 @ 9:33 am

  33. A number of us down here in Chch have had exactly those sorts of discussions down here when we realised that some of our conversations could be overheard, and we decided we needed to be careful.

    Paranoia strikes at the heart of every mole in the the Tory underground.

    Comment by Galeandra — November 17, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  34. Yeah but nah

    Comment by garethw — November 17, 2011 @ 9:47 am

  35. Myles – yet I assume you blindly believe Mr Ambrose’s “I left it on in it’s bag, even though it makes no sense to leave battery powered devices running when they’re packed away” line?

    Comment by Rick Rowling — November 17, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  36. Yeah definately.

    Myles @ 32, can I come round to your place and watch old footage of Key with you? I’ll bring my own tissues.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 17, 2011 @ 1:09 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: