Academic: Media Making Rather Than
Reporting Tax Issue
Last week TVNZ's political editor Guyon Espiner and Finance Minister Dr Michael Cullen indulged in a heated and angry exchange regarding the way the media had been reporting the budget.
"I am absolutely sure that a number of members of the press gallery cannot look at this issue in a very objective fashion at all," Cullen said in an interview with Mr Espiner.
Dr Cullen seemed to implying that certain members of the gallery not affected by the Working for Families tax break may be hungry for a spot of tax relief and were therefore beating up the lack of tax cuts for single people in his recent budget.
Senior lecturer in communications at Auckland's Unitec, Peter Thompson wrote an opinion piece on the bust-up between Dr Cullen and the media where he rejected Dr Cullen's implication that venal journalists hungry for a tax break were picking on Dr Cullen but nevertheless found the media to have been biased.
This morning RDU's breakfast show - hosted by the oddly named Wammo - chatted to Mr Thompson where he explained that in his opinion the media had gone beyond reporting the views of the opposition and had in fact become the mouthpiece of the opposition regarding the tax issue.
No doubt assisting Mr Thompson in his thesis would have been the kind of intros regarding tax that TVNZ news has recently been playing - such as Simon Dallow's lead-in to the TVNZ/Dr Cullen bust-up
"Some are calling today tax freedom day – the day you have paid your tax debt to the government and actually start working for yourself!" - Simon Dallow One News 1 June 2006
Listen to Peter Thompson discussing the handling of tax and the budget by the media: