MP Willie Jackson belittled claims that there's a link between public funding and media bias a few days ago. Speaking to Q + A's Jack Tame, Jackson said there would always be a perception that additional public funding for the media would result in reduced editorial independence, "We've got that type of complaint - doesn’t matter what we say .. 'Oh, this is about Willie Jackson paying off Jack Tame. I get that. But you're never going to change some of those perceptions," he said.
Why won't one change those perceptions? Because they're based on truth! As we reported in a previous blog, in a paper called "Government advertising and Media Coverage of Corruption Scandals" by a Harvard Business School economist, it was found that the more media outlets depend on the government for money, like from advertising revenues, the more those outlets refrain from criticizing the government.
The paper quotes a non-government organization (NGO) which wrote a report on the issue, saying: "We found an entrenched culture of pervasive abuse by provincial government officials who manipulate distribution of advertising for political and personal purposes … The effects of such abuses are especially insidious when public sector advertising is critical to the financial survival of media outlets".
Given the vast amount of Kiwi government advertising placed in media outlets throughout this country, it's hardly surprising folks are concerned. So yes, Willie - you got one thing right - it is about you paying off Jack Tame!?