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coling-craig
October 8, 2012 | by  | in Features |
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Stop Fucking Asking Colin Craig

SERIOUSLY, STOP.

If you have been following the marriage equality ‘debate’ at all, you may have noticed Colin Craig spraying his opinion all over every article he possibly can. Louisa Wall, who just, you know, authored the Bill, has surely been interviewed less.Yes, the BA student from Wellington is predictably liberal, but I’m not actually arguing for marriage equality here. I just don’t think Colin Craig should be given two sentences at the bottom of every story. His opinion is not relevant.

In general, representing both sides of a debate equally is desirable. I don’t want the mainstream media to simply parrot my opinions, I have Twitter for that. It does seem stupid to continually give attention to a guy who has absolutely no say in whether the law passes however. Colin Craig is not an elected MP, has no influence on any sitting MPs, and the marriage equality Bill will be either passed or rejected by 2014, the soonest he could interfere. We† all love a conflict though, and feel like both sides need a voice—so it’s easy to call a guy who always wants to talk.The actual MPs who are voting against the Bill mostly refuse to talk to the media, perhaps having seen an opinion poll in the last decade. Colin Craig seems to actually think his views represent a substantial portion of the public, so any press is good press, while the actual voting opposition can easily hide.

Last election, the Conservative Party captured 2.65 per cent of the popular vote (the ‘party vote’ on your form) and won no seats.The popular vote percentage isn’t actually that low for a small party, it’s more than the Maori Party, Mana, United Future, and Act, but their 59,237 voters were widely dispersed rather than concentrated in an electorate, so no seats for them. More notable was the amount they spent on their unsuccessful bid—$1,878,337 (more in total than Labour), or around $31 per vote. Even with all that money, with all that advertising, they still didn’t manage 5 per cent. Can we not discern from this that their opinion is probably not representative of very much of the country?

Not only does it give a voice to someone who does not deserve it; it creates a smarmy ‘enemy’ for liberals to rally against, since we can’t just blame Key this time. I’m all for partisanship, but hating on an unelected politician is just hating on someone you disagree with.Yes, it is possible that the Conservatives will somehow manage 5 per cent, or find a safe seat, but that is two years away.We will have plenty of time to destroy his message closer to the election, comrades.

I’m hardly the first to draw attention to the problem with “two sides” journalism.“Fairness bias” is the latest buzz-term among media critics. The example that usually comes up is climate change, which sounds like something that isn’t agreed upon by 99 per cent of scientists when both sides are presented equally. However, creating a conflict makes for a good story, and the far right are loud with their lies.

The ‘other side’ of this debate does deserve coverage. Usually I think the majority shouldn’t legislate the minority, (see: civil rights) but since this is before Parliament, we need to hear from the opposition.That voice should come from someone who actually represents people however, not just some guy who uses the coverage to win votes. ▲

† Full disclosure, I work for Stuff.co.nz

Henry Cooke is a student at Vic undertaking a BA in political science and media studies. He is on Twitter; not ironically, but sadly.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Brendon Ward says:

    “Colin Craig is not an elected MP, has no influence on any sitting MPs,”

    This shows that you do not understand the political process.

    • ygbkm says:

      no u

    • Henry Cooke says:

      I see your point, but I really do think any influence in negligible. It isn’t as if the Nats will be worried he will side with another party – come election time they will make their concessions, not before.

  2. Ben says:

    I think the most important point you make Henry is accountability. As you have mentioned Members of Parliament voting against the Bill are conspicuously quiet, and by focusing on Craig’s comments against marriage equality NZ media are neglecting to hold MPs accountable for their views and reasons for voting as they have and/or shall do. As the only group able to hold MPs to account aside from other MPs, that’s a pretty serious neglect right there.

  3. Vimal says:

    Wait what!? I thought you were a Design student at Massey?

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