An announcement yesterday by Cam Slater on his Whale Oil blog seemed to take virtually everyone by surprise:
Announcement: Whaleoil Appointed Editor of Truth
Internet shock jock goes mainstream
“Wellington, you’re on notice – be afraid.”
New Zealand’s number 1 news and opinion blogger Cameron Slater has today been appointed Editor of the Truth.
Slater has been brought on board to fundamentally change the way newspapers deliver to their audiences. Newspapers worldwide are in decline, due, Slater says, to a tired old business model that no longer works.
“We’re not going to spend $4 million on a paint job and then deliver the same tired old paid-for shit.
“Most of the media in this country is weak, and it’s paid for. The integrity in news went ages ago.”
Slater is adamant that the backbone of New Zealand – the people who work – are not getting a fair shake from government or the system. He aims to change that.
“Each and every one of us has got an investment in NZ Inc, and the majority of the people in charge of the place are taking the piss out of our investment.
“We’re going to keep the buggers honest. There’s no better disinfectant than sunlight.
“To use a tired phrase – if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, so Wellington, you’re on notice – if you’re having a lend, we’re coming for you!”
Changes will be rolled out over a period of months and will include both print and a 24 hour news website to support the paper. Slater aims to alter the approach to news presentation significantly.
“We took the pulse of the nation, and it had nearly bloody died.
“No bastard wants to read old news – they can get that online. We’ll be more of a views-paper that promises to deliver REAL news, REAL opinion.
“The people are numb from the eyes down with the diet of PR’d crap they get now. I will not do it to them anymore – it’s not right.”
It will be a huge challenge trying to revive a very tired old scandal rag but it actually makes some sense. It’s easier to redevelop an existing institution than start from scratch. Truth could be almost totally revamped without objection, in effect it could be used as a virtual blank canvas on an existing frame.
Whale has two huge advantages over just about anyone else – he has built a substantial following on his blog, and much of that will at least have a look at how Truth is transformed.
There have been mixed reactions to this announcement. Various MSM have covered it, including the Guardian in the UK (on a blog).
The Bradbury Bombast
Martin Bradbury surpised almost everyone revealing he had been a truth columnist, until now – Cameron Slater as the 4th Journalist of the Apocalypse – why I resigned from Truth.
No, I couldn’t work for Christian Family man and gun fetishist Cameron Slater. He’s not a journalist, he’s a far right hate merchant whose blog borders on hate speech. He fluffs his page view numbers with biblical quotes and gun porn while waving his proGay marriage flag around to hold the high ground on an issue more to confound and blunt his opponents attacks on him than any real personal values of equality.
So once I heard he had gerrymandered his ascension to editor, I decided to leave.
It’s funny to see a left wing hate merchant whose blog (and rants in other forums) borders on hate speech accusing Whale of bordeline hate speech. He rants further on in his post:
He will have an impact as corrosive as Satan’s sperm and it will surprise many how successful he will be. Expect vicious personalized attacks, union bashing, Maori bashing, leftie bashing, pro gun nonsense, worship of Judith Collins, climate change denial, etc etc etc, he will inject a toxin into the public discourse that will be as addictive as it is destructive.
But suggests it could be successful, albeit in a typical over the top vernacular:
Will it work?
It’ll be more popular than Mary Poppins musical tickets for single women in their 30s. What many of the detractors on the Standard fail to appreciate is that Slater is one of the best propagandists in NZ today. His ability to twist issues and appeal to people’s worst natures while pretending to be their best nature is an art that he is the undisputed king of.
He will make the Truth relevant again, he’ll slice through the MSM with a laser. He’ll make them look tired and irrelevant, Slater will weaponize that newspaper and start a very unique movement.
There is certainly the opportunity to start a very unique mixed media movement.
The Standard write Slater off as a joke, I think that is a terrible under-appraisal of the rampage he can now cause. Fascinating times ahead.
Bradbury fears (or talks fearfully) of rampage because he sees Whale as an opponent who if given the chance would do what Bradbury himself would like to do to political opponents.
I think he’s wrong. The best chance of success with Truth is to connect to as many ordinary people as possible, but that won’t be seen from the Bradbury bombast bubble.
And Jane Clifton (Listener) tweeted: Dare I say it, Bomber has resigned from the Truth = Slater has improved the MSM already #stillafraid
On The Standard lprent continues his feud, and many comments continue the tone - Whaleoil and his toilet paper.
I haven’t seen a copy of The New Zealand Truth for many years. But I guess that it has been going down the toilet under the impact of modern media channels. But now it has really started heading for the sewer – Whaleoil has been made editor.
I have to say that I think that it is an inspired choice. I always felt that the criteria for a story to be present in The Truth wasn’t about the facts or even being in the public interest. It was mostly if they were likely to be sued by someone who could actually push through a defamation suit.
Since I was a kid, the so-called “People’s paper” has been a minor irritant in the journalism sphere attacking people and institutions who wouldn’t fight back because it was somewhat pointless to do so and because doing something about the crap that they wrote actually validated it. Everyone learned to simply ignore the stories from the Truth as being a shit pit for the stupid to gloat over.
Cameron Slater is perfect as editor as he has those essential bullyboy characteristics required in abundance. He has a eye for exactly the type of crap that the Truth specialises in. High sounding but completely inaccurate bullshit where the logic of the author largely consists of making 1+1 to equal 111. And when challenged, for instance by the courts on suppression orders, he can rapidly shift from bombastic to craven.
And of course it helps to keep a high profile deadbeat off of the taxpayers tab. I wish him well in the role.
So lprent started his attack based on an uninformed assumption. Ironic that he accuses Whale of being “high sounding but completely inaccurate bullshit” – which is something some of The Standard authors excel at. ‘Eddie’ comments:
Truth is half owned by
Mathew “Hoots” HootonMatthew Horton and half owned by some dodgy businessman called David Crow. http://www.spcs.org.nz/2010/steve-crow-and-david-crow-435-devon-limited/
[lprent: wrong - fixed ]
A rare case of lprent correcting an ‘Eddie’ inaccuracy, but I presume this one was more of a mistake as opposed to ‘Eddie’s’ deliberate attack lying that typically gets protected rather than corrected.
But lprent makes what may be a valid point:
Whale hasn’t exactly had a good track record of working with others either in on his blog (ask Cactus), or in his previous business experiences). I suspect he will have the same ego problems with this venture as well. You never know, he may wind up with some people who can work with him. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Whale will have two major challenges – to make the new Truth work he will have to be able to work effectively with the Truth journalists and contributors. This will be much different for Whale to the freedom and individualism of his blogging.
But Whale’s blogging experience could also be a strength – he blogs solo but he has established an extensive network of contacts both as sources of information and through the blogosphere and other media. He already works successfully with many people, albeit in a different environment.
He’ll have to extend this to working within an established commercial media operation.
I won’t hold my breath, but I’ll be watching with interest. There is much potential in establishing a new media hybrid. A lot of trial and error will be required, but it’s a bold branch out in Truth’s history.