Sloppy Journalism 101
How to be a sloppy journalist…
NZ Herald journalist Derek Cheng writes about National’s planned “welfare reforms” on 14 August. Mr Cheng writes,
“The Government will limit how 16 and 17-year-old beneficiaries and 18-year-old teen parents can spend the state’s money to ensure they are not buying items such as alcohol or cigarettes…”
Mr Cheng continues in the same vein, a little later on,
“* money for basic living costs like food and groceries will be loaded onto a payment card that can only be used to buy certain goods and cannot be used to buy things like alcohol and cigarettes…”
That’s all very well and good… but it’s already illegal for 16 and 17 year olds to purchase alcohol and tobacco products.
Why has Mr Cheng not pointed this out in his article?
National’s policy release has been barely challenged by the mainstream media (MSS) and sounds as if 16 and 17 year olds are freely purchasing tobacco and liquor in this country. They may well be. But it is not dependent on whether or not under 18s are beneficiaries.
In fact, it could be argued that 16 and 17 year olds on a Living Alone Allowance are less likely to be able to afford expensive cigarettes and booze.
The Independent Youth Benefit rate (as at 1 April 2011) is $167.83 per week – NETT.
That’s right folks, that’s what this is all about: $167.83 a week. Out of that, a young person living independently has to pay board, food, clothing, transport, power, phone, and other outgoings.
That doesn’t leave much for boozing and fagging much, does it?
Yet, Mr Cheng ignores all this and simply parrots National Party policy, without any critical analysis whatsoever.
This is simply unacceptable. It brings to mind government-owned newspapers such as “Pravda” and “Izveztia” from the now-defunct Soviet Union. These newspapers were nothing more than mouthpieces for the Soviet Communist Party. they had as much to do with critical, investigative reporting – as Vegans have to raising cattle and lamb for supermarkets.
Perhaps the Herald should re-brand as “The New Zealand Government Herald“? Or simply, “The State Mouthpiece“?
Because that is what it seems to be evolving into.
As usual, the three Golden Rules to apply to the MSS are,
- Don’t believe everything you read, see, and hear.
- What am I not being told?
- Will it sell advertising?