Thursday 8 December 2016

John Key Bound For The IMF. Real News Or Fake News?

Whaddya Reckon? With everything that's going on in politics at the moment, you might think that the NZ Herald's deputy-political editor would be extremely cautious about rushing into print with a year-old story, based on nothing more than speculation, posted on an obscure Napier website, that turned out to be completely wrong. No such luck.
IS JOHN KEY really in the running for Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)? Well, yes, according to the NZ Herald’s Deputy-Political Editor, Claire Trevett, he is. Upon closer examination, however, Trevett’s story looks a lot more like fake news than real news.
Let’s take a look at her source – a speculative opinion piece posted on the Manufacturers Success Connection (MSC) website under the dateline Monday, 21 December 2015 08:38. That’s right – 2015 – just short of one year ago.
A year ago the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, was embroiled in yet another of the financial-cum-political scandals that have wracked the French Republic over recent years.
The anonymous author of the MSC NewsWire story is clearly of the view that since Lagarde had just been told by the French courts that she must stand trial for her role in the so-called “Tapie Affair”, she will soon be standing down from her job at the IMF.
The writer further speculates that since there is a “move to place a non-European official at the helm of the IMF”, a “door of opportunity has unexpectedly opened to enable New Zealand prime minister, John Key, to maintain his upward trajectory in the form of becoming managing director of the International Monetary Fund.”
Except that the “door of opportunity” was closed, and has remained firmly shut.
Christine Lagarde is still the Managing Director of the IMF. Her Board of Directors were in no mood to lose the services of their high-flying employee. Citing the legal doctrine of the presumption of innocence, they were happy to keep Madame Lagarde exactly where she was.
The other problem with the MSC NewsWire story is that if there ever was a “move” to place a non-European in the Managing Director’s chair, then it did not get very far. Nor was such a “move” remotely likely to succeed. Ever since the appointment of the first IMF Managing Director, the Belgian Camille Gutt, in 1946, the position has been filled exclusively by Europeans. There has been one each from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain; two from Sweden; and five from France. The chances of John Key sashaying his way down the that particular catwalk are pretty close to nil.
The more important question, however, is how did Claire Trevett ever come into possession of a speculative news release issued by a very obscure website – Manufacturers Success Connection – just shy of one year ago? The MSC NewsWire was set up by Napier entrepreneur, Max Farndale, in 2012, and while it’s a lively and a perfectly respectable website, it is not really on a par with Reuters or Associated Press!
It would only be speculation, of course, but, in the current political environment, isn’t it highly likely that the dissemination of a story such as this, to a person occupying a critical media post (such as deputy-political editor of the country’s largest newspaper) is going to be the work of the out-going prime minister’s political opponents?
All the more reason, you would think, to be extremely cautious about rushing into print with a year-old story, based on nothing more than speculation, posted on an obscure Napier website, that turned out to be completely wrong.
The sort of fake news item that you might expect to find on Breitbart News? Certainly. But on the NZ Herald website?
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Wednesday, 7 December 2016.


Sharp Tack said...

I used to work for Australian Associated Press in their Auckland office when they took over as the 'national press agency' when NZPA failed.

My impression of NZ journalists was that they were lazy, uneducated (ie you don't need a degree to be a journalist in NZ) pointless idiots and many of them just repeated stuff from other 'news' sources or just did what they were told by a sub editor.

Accordingly, I havn't bought a NZ newspaper in about a decade or so and I don't 'consume' news etc

Journalists in NZ have all the credibility of a second hand car salesman.

Anonymous said...

he he

Polly said...

You have raised an issue which seems to be part and parcel of present day journalism. The recent elections in the USA which I followed closely, reeked of stories that proved to be either opinion or absolute lies but spouted as facts.
Donald Trump was fact checked after a lot of meetings and on some occasions was found to telling as high as 80% lies.
From what you have said it would seem that the fake news phenomenon is highly contagious and NZ may have the bug.

The public is often deceived especially by politicians and their parties but most of us had some solid regard for a respected newspaper headline, please let someone tell me that I should still retain that 'regard' and why?.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Well spotted, Mr Trotter.

Once upon a time, The NZ herald was a newspaper.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Again, the press has always been somewhat self-satisfied and smug about their so-called societal role. Public interest blah blah. But their real job is to sell papers and advertising. And they have for some years now edited and altered stories to suit advertisers – or to stop offending them. I think the journos do their best, but the editors must bear some responsibility. It's bullshit like this story that gets the clicks these days. (Well, usually wilder bullshit than John Key being in charge of the IMF, which even I can't get really excited about.) Even national radio is now guilty of quite a lot of sensationalism, though they are really our only hope that the moment for balanced and honest news. But it wasn't so long ago that the first seven items on the morning news were about crime. I'm tempted to say a pox on all their houses, but we will be sorry if decent newspapers fold up their tents and disappear into the night.

Jack Scrivano said...

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention, Chris.

I began this morning by reading three stories in the Herald. The headlines suggested that I should probably know more. But two of the stories had little or nothing to do with the headlines. Having read the stories, I was none the wiser. The third story was pure opinion. Not a single fact was offered.

The Herald is by no means the only culprit. They all do it - to a greater or lesser extent. But, even if it sells advertising, it does the public a major disservice .

llloyd said...

I agree with Sharp Tack. However N Z degrees at least in the "humanity subjects" are very low grade. There is always however the possibility of a brilliant student or teacher who transcends them. About six years ago, a Herald senior reporter published in Herald newspaper that Maori in the 1860s were required to wear a triangle coloured patch when they passed through Auckland. Later that fake history passed into the Maori section of the newspaper. Its origin was a "Maori academic". I imagine it was passed by the Waitangi Tribunal. I later found out the senior New Zealand journalist did have a history degree from a N Z University. Clearly he had not learnt the historical method. I won't name him because he is a good well respected journalist but not in anything requiring history book knowledge. Very New Zealand I am afraid.

Expat kiwi 2701 said...

In point of fact Granny Herald ceased to be a creditable newspaper abandoned any sense of balance and fairness very shortly after the demise of the Auckland Star.....the hollowing out of it and bias for the Nats has cotinued and increased. It is now an empty electronic cipher of scant integrity.

No chance of IMF bs having any factual basis.....the odds are 7 to 4 on that he will get a guernsey from the Nats as G-G in a couple of years so boring Bill can wheel him out to placate the masses as the polls head South. A quick look at their anaemic line up tells me they will need thatand all the good spruiking from Granny Herald that they can muster. Be it fiction or not.
Watching paint dry is positively inspiring compare with Bill E!!
x pat Manurewa

Guerilla Surgeon said...