from the BFD
What do you do if you are a news organisation that has signed up to the PIJF (Public Interest Journalism Fund) and some bad news comes along about those in the Labour Government that you signed up to, that might seriously affect their chances at the upcoming election? Well, why just guess? Let’s look at a case study of how they actually do it on TV One News at 6pm.
On 7 June Foodstuffs NZ released information publicly that shows a massive increase in retail crime over the last year. The information was also released by many media outlets that same day. It shows an increase in supermarket robberies in the last year alone of 38%, which is costing each household in New Zealand an average of $800 a year in higher supermarket prices.
That certainly sounds like bad news for the government, but let’s hand it over to Simon Dallow on TV One News to see how it can be spun. In the following clip, Simon first mentions that “a lawyer and researcher” says that we shouldn’t really be focussing on all the crime that is happening in New Zealand, since we are coming up to an election. Yes, that’s right, they don’t even pretend to hide the fact that they are openly trying to manipulate people’s opinions and votes coming up to a general election. It’s not even subtle.
Then follows the actual information, a segment from the North Island Chief Executive of Foodstuffs NZ, who talks about the huge increase in crime that they have recorded in their own stores:
Aggressive behaviour and shoplifting is skyrocketing, according to reports from 320 Foodstuffs grocers in the North Island.
North Island operators of New World, Pak’nSave and Four Square stores saw a 40% increase in retail crime throughout February to April, with almost 1000 more incidents than the same period a year earlier.
Chris Quin, chief executive of Foodstuffs North Island, said the grocers had never before seen retail crime at this level. “It’s an extremely concerning trend, and it’s unacceptable,” he said.
The data came from “just about every community” in the North Island, leading Quin to believe it was one of the largest data sets of retail crime.
The data showed there was “no postcode” for retail crime, which was happening across cities, regions, and smaller communities.
More serious incidents – defined as burglary, assault, robbery and other aggressive behaviours – increased 36%, though the total numbers were not provided.
Shoplifting increased 57%, from 1619 incidents to 2541, with premium cuts of meat and high value health and beauty products most targeted.
Sounds grim, so to counteract that, TV One gets a police representative from the National Retail Crime Support Unit to speak. He tells us that the increased crime is partly due to the increase in reporting, and he mentions an app called Auror, and then again suggests that the increase in crime is really just due to more reporting on this platform. A person might wonder though, how the police can claim that the increase in reporting from Foodstuffs, based on Foodstuff’s own internal data, could possibly be affected by anything that the police do separately in their own reporting systems? A 38% increase in the Foodstuffs database is a 38% increase, no question, so the police claim is obviously false, something that these days is called “Disinformation”.
Then TV One cuts away to “a lawyer and researcher” (who yet again is not named or introduced, but just for the purposes of this article, let’s identify him as Max Harris, a left-wing political activist who once worked for Helen Clark at the UN). The unnamed Max then tells us again that the increased crime is really just due to better reporting technology, and that “It might look like crime is actually doing something different to what is actually happening on the ground”. Are we enjoying the warm glow of that gaslight yet folks? Don’t go believing your own lyin’ eyes now.
We then have an overdub from another TV One reporter, Cushla Norman, who tells us how “the crime debate is fertile ground for the opposition” (but where was the debate?). Then they cut back to “a researcher” (Max again) who tells us that the worst thing that could happen is that people should have a knee-jerk reaction and expect the government to do something about crime, because that simply doesn’t work. Notably, the “lawyer and researcher” doesn’t actually provide any research to back up that claim. It is simply stated as if it were a fact, while sounding remarkably like comments previously made by ministers of the current Labour Government: what an amazing coincidence. The news segment then ends by calling the crime issue a “political football”, thus insinuating that it isn’t anything real at all, just something that the opposition made up.
So that’s how you do it folks, if some annoying truth-tellers dare report a story that you know you just can’t avoid, first give an introduction that attempts to discredit what people are about to hear, even if it’s just a totally baseless statement from an anonymous unidentified left-wing activist (can you guess why they didn’t introduce this person?), then show the information itself, then immediately find someone who will ‘refute’ that information, then follow that with more unsubstantiated opinions, and end with a statement that people really should ignore this issue anyway. Thank you Simon Dallow and TV One for the clear lesson in how to conduct election propaganda and gaslighting in 2023.
So I became curious to find out about this new app Auror, which was mentioned by police during the item and was claimed to be the technology that has improved their own reporting over the last year (the period that Foodstuffs mentioned in particular). The “increased reporting due to technology” has also been mentioned in other previous media articles in an attempt to explain the massive crime spike that has occurred over a wider period during the term of this Government. Let’s look at this technology, and the app “Auror”. Auror was not actually developed by the police; it was created by two private entrepreneurs in 2012, who tested it in 2014 in consultation with a major retailer and Counties Manukau Police, and then launched it fully in 2015, at which time it was linked up to all New Zealand Police and a great many retailers. The system now covers 80% of retailers in New Zealand.
The new reporting system was therefore in place under the previous National Government, and for at least two years before the Ardern Government was even formed. It cannot then explain why crime reporting has increased in the last year, as was claimed by police in the above item. Nor can it explain why reported crime has increased during the term of this government. It isn’t increased reporting: it is increased actual crime, we can all see it and the shopkeepers can tell you all about it.
Please government, media and police, can we stop all of the gaslighting? Aren’t we supposed to avoid burning gas to save the planet?