Kohanga Reo (cont)

My experience is that politicians really do believe that the role of media is to help publicise how good they are.

Politicians get frustrated and angry when their comments don’t make it into print, when policies don’t get enough coverage, or when attitudes and questions from media are skeptical.

It’s personal really: every one of these journalistic decisions is effectively a decision against the professionalism, relevance, capability, and honesty of the politicians.

It’s rare though that a politician speaks publically about this attitude.

But it came out in the comments of Maori Party leader Tariana Turia, when she criticised Maori Television for pursuing the Kohanga Reo Trust for misspending of public money. Instead, she said Maori TV was expressly set up to;

promote[d] mauriora, the things that were important for us as a people, to paint the side of a picture so you wouldn’t get the impression 90 percent of our people were mad, bad or sad,

You can understand her frustration. Even when politicians use public money to create a media outlet for the purpose of promotion, journalists won’t do what they’re told.

And that’s why politicians are not, and should not, be the judge of what makes good or bad journalism.

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