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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 11. 1967.

Taylor press coverage bad

Taylor press coverage bad

Sirs,—Press and TV reports on the demonstrations against Taylor vary considerably in their account of facts, but were unable to disguise the principal fact that demonstrations took place. It is actual happenings which are news. Press. TV and radio, here seem to consider that it is statements of opinion, from the conservative side of course, which are news. These are varying statements of fact, as processed in the normal way. by Wellington news media.

TV 730 newscast August 1 reported 450 Victoria students marched to Parliament becoming part of a crowd numbering 2000. The Evening Post August 1. reports in its first paragraph, " a crowd of about 6000" (figure poorly printed, difficult to know what first symbol was). Then in its third paragraph—'The crowd num-tiered 1800." As to the student participation, the tenth paragraph states "A march of nearly 1200 university students, plus a few lecturers."

The same TV report described six pro-war demonstrators. The Evening Post report discovered ten of same. Do they mean six ten-year-olds or ten six-year-olds? One of them at any rate who had escaped from the Wizard of Id comic strip, carried a placard proclaiming "Every Communist is a Fink." He, of course, got pride of place in the only Evening Post photograph of the Student March.

The next morning the Dominion assessed the number of demonstrators at 700. On the night of the demon strations, the 11pm BBC World Service drawing upon what sources of Information one cannot guess but obviously not the NZBC services, also placed the number at 700.

On comparatively simple matters of fact such as these, the news media do not seem to know whether it is Christmas or New Year. These events occurred in Wellington. How accurate is the coverage of events so far away as Saigon which are subject to US military as well as local editorial censorship.

On what real basis then can they determine editorial policy. How do the policy makers decide whether in fact the Vietnamese war is one for national independence as described by U Thant, or a big hearted defence of Vietnamese Asians 6000 miles from America against so-called aggression from their own countrymen?

They really do not care, do they? Whatever they are supporting is right, whatever their motives and regardless of the facts.

L. Goddard.