Thursday, June 12, 2008

REINZ bullying

Speaking of the Real Estate Institute, getting secret policy concessions from National isn't their only crime at the moment. Last night, Three News reported that they had also tried to bully newspaper editors over their coverage of house prices by threatening to withdraw advertising:

3 News has confirmed industry figures met Fairfax and APN bosses last month with suggestions they threatened to pull millions in advertising if coverage wasn't more positive.

Real estate companies spend millions advertising in Fairfax-owned papers like Wellington's Dominion Post and the APN-owned New Zealand Herald.

But the industry got so sick of the negative headlines last month it had meetings with the heads of both companies, claiming the media was causing the housing slump, there was too much focus on rogue agents and its reporting was unfair.

"The bullying message to newspapers was, 'unless we get favourable coverage, we pull millions of dollars of advertising'," says Clayton Cosgrove, Associate Minister of Justice.

Naturally, the newspapers are denying this, claiming that their editorial line is "independent" and "not for sale". And if you believe that, there's a man in Nepal who says he needs your help smuggling Gyanendra's millions out of the country as well.

(OTOH, there's a very interesting project for an enterprising media studies student here. Anyone game?)