Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Jones: The contender leaves

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  • bmk,

    The most depressing this about this whole episode was only tangentially related. My partner only follows politics very casually until close to the election when she decides (last couple of times for Labour). Anyway as we don't normally watch much tv we were for once watching tv and she saw Cunliffe on late-night tv being interviewed about the Jones departure; she was highly unimpressed.

    She asked me who this 'smarmy prick' was and why on earth they made him leader. She said he continually had a fake smile and sounded smug, fake and smarmy. She also commented on his dress (something I never really notice) - saying that he was probably trying for casual since it was late night tv but instead it came across as 70s sleaze. She says she still hates Key but couldn't vote for such a smarmy fake.

    While this is simply one person's opinion I have heard similar from others. Particularly the smarmy and fake thing. My concern is that he makes this impression on those who only have a passing interest in politics. At the time the Labour leadership was being contested I supported Cunliffe; I now wish I hadn't. But I really don't know who would have done a better job - certainly not Jones.

    I have heard Cunliffe talk intelligently before but I think he needs some good media training to drop the smarmy, fake look he projects. Possibly smile less and sounding less convinced of his own cleverness (even if he is that clever).

    Since Jun 2010 • 326 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    And neither do I . Just it was his words that I listened to not all the guesswork that has exploded.

    Sure, we’re not disagreeing there. I think you’re right: Sometimes, taking what people say at face value is the right call. As I’ve said up thread, instead of trying to spin out some complex ’McCully is the anti-Christ, Labour is doooooomed” conspiracy theory the obvious answer seems the right one. It’s not as if Jones is the only MP who’s decided his heart isn’t really in Parliament any more, his odds of advancement aren’t that great whether Labour wins or not, his health may be a factor (I don’t know, and don’t want to)… So, he’s moving on.

    And it’s not as if he’s also – by my count, about a third of the National caucus isn’t seeking relection, including Tony Ryall, who on paper shouldn't be going anywhere. He's a very senior minister (and Health has been politically fairly quiet and scandal-free on his watch) with one of the largest majorities in Parliament and no reason to believe he'd have been bumped down from his top tier list ranking. I don’t remember too much chatter about how his retirement was bad for National. Mostly because it isn’t. And in all honesty, I don't think Jones' resignation is as "bad for Labour" as the usual suspects would have us believe.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12352 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Those interviews sounded like a fuckfest of Fox News liberals.

    Disgustingly biased coverage. What producer worth their salt would give airtime only to tired right-wing fools like that bunch? Labour's ongoing inability to manage media and framing is really hurting them.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19382 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    scandal-free

    except the one down South that he appears to be implicated in, yes

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19382 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Labour’s ongoing inability to manage media and framing is really hurting them.

    Seriously, how is it their fault that Morning Report would choose that particular clique? That comment read almost like one of Imperator Fish's parodies. "6 Anti Labour commentators hated on Labour in Morning Report, giving further firm evidence of how poor Labour is".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • bmk, in reply to BenWilson,

    Seriously, how is it their fault that Morning Report would choose that particular clique?

    I imagine as part of a good communication strategy you'd ensure that people who do a good job of representing your party are on such shows as part of balance. Instead the voice from the left is often someone who bashes the Labour party nearly as much as the commentator from the right. Though I do think this isn't all the media's fault; I think a big part of the problem is simply the Labour party. It's hard to get people to speak positively about them because they aren't doing much to speak positively. I often find the Green Party's spokespeople do a much better job of articulating a clear opposition policy on the radio. They seem to have learnt how to do media much better than Labour.

    Since Jun 2010 • 326 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to bmk,

    ...those who only have a passing interest in politics.

    there's the trick converting them to
    'having a parsing interest'...
    ...though as you point out it seems
    many do so instinctively.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7426 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to bmk,

    She asked me who this ‘smarmy prick’ was and why on earth they made him leader. She said he continually had a fake smile and sounded smug, fake and smarmy. She also commented on his dress (something I never really notice) – saying that he was probably trying for casual since it was late night tv but instead it came across as 70s sleaze.

    So she doesn't know who the Labour Party (she voted for), Leader is but wouldn't vote for him cos he looks funny and dresses kinda funny.
    Tell her he, along with all the other Mp's are on a 2 week recess so he's allowed out of his suit occasionally even maybe to get a bit of a dryclean . Wouldn't want him to look dirty as well as smarmy eh
    FFS ! How 'bout a bit of research instead of just expecting them to win the latest fashion parade . Otherwise we can get the AB's to run the country eh. Throw in a couple of trophy wives, so it smells good too.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • bmk,

    Just to follow up. I don't think the media are biased like a lot of people do. I think Labour's press is poor because a. they are doing poorly b. they have poor media comms. Rather than bleating about the media being biased they should hire some new staff, come up with a better media strategy and then implement it. Remember how Labour controlled the media narrative from '98 - '99?

    Since Jun 2010 • 326 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Seriously, how is it their fault that Morning Report would choose that particular clique?

    Political media management includes maintaining ongoing relationships with media producers so they have a better balanced background view to bring to stories.

    A traditionally-fair channel like Morning Report selecting only one side of an argument doesn't happen in a vacuum. That's a bigger disaster than one mouthy MP taking his talents elsewhere.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19382 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    Morning Report would choose that particular clique

    Not helped by Espiner's near constant attempts at point scoring and putting His view forward, often over the top of those trying to answer his self serving questions - he's another one that needs to get out of his own way, and let things flow...
    people might respect his opinions more then.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7426 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Are you saying that Morning Report is biased against Labour because of Labour's comms strategy? What could they be doing that would influence the choice of talking heads of an independent news outlet? I'm not saying you're wrong here, just that I'm genuinely interested in how you think they could have done this better? Slipping inside tidbits to sympathetic "independent" left wing commentators, so they get the gigs? Or what?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Greg Presland writes at The Standard on the framing of this.

    In what feels like a finely choreographed dance the MSM has adopted the right’s framing of the issue and pronounced the decision as some sort of crisis for the Labour Party. The loss of 15 MPs including its sixth ranked MP Tony Ryall for National is evidence of renewal. The loss of fifth ranked Shane Jones is a sign of a crisis for Labour. Go figure.

    The right’s framing of issues is so powerful because supposed left wing commentators buy into them. When they go for comment on the Labour Party they use washed up right wingers such as Michael Bassett to pour poorly described bile on the party. Or they use people supposedly of the left who also accept the right’s framing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19382 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    It's a dance. Parties have to work to set the tone and feed the discourse or toes get trodden on.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19382 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    So what moves should Labour have busted on this dance floor?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Many moves, including the one you and bmk suggested above. It's a dance marathon, though. They've been outside having a smoke for way too long.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19382 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Furthermore, consider that it's likely that Labour was completely blindsided here, whereas National, as the instigators of talks with Jones about his future, may have actually had a strategy. Seriously, how does one prepare for a sucker punch?

    *ETA Mixing metaphors here, I think that they probably tried to get into the dance again, but just got kinghit by the bouncer.

    *ETA2 The bouncer probably already warned Cunliffe he needed to get rid of that shit shirt.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    how does one prepare for a sucker punch?

    Like any competent political party or movement does. By constantly working to shape the terrain.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19382 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Bryce Edwards provides a comprehensive list of the coverage (several dozen links).

    Comparing the headlines with the same list from yesterday is interesting.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19382 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    Are you saying that Morning Report is biased against Labour because of Labour’s comms strategy?

    I’ve got to say that Murray McCully is one sneaky bastard -- it's the only way sitting Labour MPs Damien O’Connor and Clayton Cosgrove became part of an anti-Labour clique on that tool of the National Party, Morning Report. (I don't know if Hekia Parata and Judith Collins would agree with that frame, but that's a whole other argument for another thread.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12352 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Those interviews sounded like a fuckfest of Fox News liberals.

    Disgustingly biased coverage. What producer worth their salt would give airtime only to tired right-wing fools like that bunch? Labour’s ongoing inability to manage media and framing is really hurting them.

    I don’t think it’s really possible to “manage media and framing” to that extent, but I would hope they’re working on ways to try and shift the narrative.

    Morning Report was just silly today. It was a string of men burbling received wisdom and not being challenged on any of it. The Herald’s editorial is full of the same truisms and concludes by declaring that the party has “lost one of the few who could reach into the male, blue-collar enclaves Labour used to command.” (During those nine years in government under the leadership of a feminist PolSci lecturer, presumably.)

    Yesterday, John Armstrong actually described Jones as “someone who talks political sense in a no-frills way”. I mean, seriously? Jones’ mode of speech is “no frills’? In what parallel reality?

    At no point have any of these hot-air machines presented any actual evidence that the much sought-after blue-collar male loves Shane Jones like they keep telling us. It’s not really anywhere to be found in anything as mundane as a poll.

    And meanwhile, Claire Trevett interviews Jones and writes a story that gives the lie to nearly all of this blithe, half-arsed punditry. By his own account, the key factor in Jones departure was that he wouldn’t be willing to serve in a Labour-Green coalition.

    In which case, he was right to go. Because there is no other kind of centre-left government in prospect now, or possibly ever again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    RNZ/TVNZ pretty much follow the agenda of the foreign multinationals (Fairfax/APN/Clear Channel/Mediaworks) in giving credence to people on the far right-wing / social conservative fringe of Labour.

    It can't but help their relations with the National shareholding ministers to do this (and if the left ever get back in, the managers know to expect a scrupulously hands-off approach, so it's win-win for them).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5523 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Greg Presland writes at The Standard on the framing of this.

    I thought that was pretty bloody silly too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to bmk,

    Unfortunately for Cunliffe and Labour I hear this impression of him quite a bit, and my wife's reaction to seeing a clip of him from the Henry show was similar, on his dress and his 'smarminess'.

    "One button undone is casual, two buttons relaxed, three Hasselhoff".

    I've heard he comes across well in private but his public impressions are often poor - especially with women.

    "Mps are on a 2 week recess" - from Parliament, not from the rest of their jobs. Leader of the Opposition is more than a full time job.

    Cunliffe has to look genuine in any media appearance (and avoid dressing inappropriately) if he wants the even more full time job of PM. 'Smarmy' and 'fake' are growing negatives that will be hard to shake off.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Jones’ mode of speech is “no frills’? In what parallel reality?

    Even Braunias got that one right.

    Oh man, Guyon's just about eaten me out of house and home! It's got so bad that here I am sneaking out to the nearest KFC for a feed. But that's alright. It means I can spend time with the people.

    I wind down the window, and say, "Hail to thee, blithe spirit! Greeting O surly bro, whose interests I wish to represent!"

    He says, "What?"

    I say, "I'll have a 12-pack of Fiery Wings and a Deluxe Quarter Pack."

    He says, "Anything else?"

    "Yes, there is something else, now you mention it," I tell him. "Something on my mind. Listen. It's like this. When I go round the regions of New Zealand, I struggle to find people at marae, workplaces, hotels, and RSAs, who say, 'Jonesy, the first vote of choice for us is Labour'. Yet their economic circumstances mean they should be Labour. Their dreams for their kids mean they should be Labour. So I ask, why are those people not naturally choosing the red waka?"

    The youth says, "What?"

    I say, "A BBQ Bacon Zinger, please."

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19382 posts Report Reply

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