Bradbury versus Scoop and The Standard

Martyn Bradbury claims at The Daily Blog:

With Scoop about to collapse next month,  The Standard, Public Address and Pundit are about to lose their largest revenue streams.

Alistair Thompson from Scoop:

No Scoop is not about to collapse. I have no idea what Martyn Bradbury is going on about. Looks like his messiah complex is getting worse.

Bradbury has not had a good record with his predictions lately.

And Lyn Prentice blasts him at The Standard in Poor (and rather pathetic) Bomber:

Oh dear, Bomber really has no idea how our site operates. Or how any of these sites operate. We haven’t really depended on advertising for most of the last year. I’d guess that nor has either of the other sites.

That Scoop has financial problems has been obvious for some time. Bomber gloating about it is a tad.. disgusting….

Yes, a tad disgusting if there’s no basis to his claim but not out of character. Malicious left versus left gossip is lose/lose.

Scoop about to collapse?

Martyn Bradbury sees Scoop as representing left wing media but claims they are about to collapse

Those voices representing the Left have been slowly killed off. The Herald was supposed to replace Matt McCarten as a columnist, they instead ended up simply appointing Rodney Hide to spout his right wing nonsense. When  a Left voice is included, it tends to be the same old tired right wing Labour voices they roll out.

With Scoop about to collapse next month,  The Standard, Public Address and Pundit are about to lose their largest revenue streams.

It would be a shame to see Scoop collapse. Is this just Bradbury hot air or is it accurate?

With the imminent launch of Slater’s new media weapon the Left are in total retreat along all fronts. The Standard is currently searching for a new direction as that voice of the Left, but their pathetic and limp criticism of Labour selling out on 24 hour surveillance shows that the leash around their neck from head office has tightened.

Bradbury and Prentice have fallen out and now diss each other (Prentice was a founding author at The Daily Blog).

The importance of a new media to counter this Right wing onslaught is more necessary than ever before.

It remains to be seen whether Freed will be a “Right wing onslaught”, with Slater heavily involved it’s hard to see them getting mainstream credibility, especially seeing how Whale Oil has been positioning itself as a carefully controlled mouthpiece with most content being Truth style magazine slush.

In terms of The Daily Blog, we are in talks over the summer to look at where we can build. Hope to have some news in the new year.

The Daily Blog was launched as a great left wing media machine. Like Whale Oil now Bradbury also ruthlessly controlled comment content and is also over the top and self aggrandising. After the election Bradbury was shell shocked due to his brash predictions proving to be crap, and his blog diminished even more.

If Scoop collapses left leaning online content will look mean and lean.

UPDATE: Once again The Standard seems to be down this morning, it’s becoming a common occurrence.  Not a good sign for a blog that is looking to expand and build it’s presence.

November’s top 4 blog rankings

Whale Oil seems to be a bit slower than usual to promote the latest Open Parachute blog stats.

Whale Oil Beef Hooked

  • September: visits 3,716,364 page views 5,309,045
  • October: visits 2,008,487 page views 3,275,031
  • November: visits 1,776,421, page views 2,981,810

It doesn’t look like Whale Oil have posted on this yet which suggests they don’t think there slide is good to publicise.

Kiwiblog

  • September: visits 695,190 page views 1,093,806
  • October: visits 373,637 (53.7%), page views 604,405 (55.3%)
  • November: visits 301,11 page views 522,519

.David Farrar was on holiday for much of the month and his posting was substantially reduced.

The Standard

  • September: visits 429,438 page views 868,342
  • October: visits 255,449 page views 561,703
  • November: visits 194,646 page views 431,100

That’s a bit of a surpise, I though Labour’s leadership contest would keep them up.

The Daily Blog

  • September: visits 504,304 page views 813,779
  • October: visits 210,877 page views 347,647
  • November: visits 160,716 page views 259,736

Having pipped The Standard in election month The Daily Blog is slumping. It looks like Martyn Bradbury’s failure to come close to reality in his election picks has knocked the stuffing out of him and the blog.

Bradbury’s post today – So what does Cameron Slater have over John Key?  – has 7 votes and 3 comments, a very flat response.

Not all blogs supply Open Parachute with site statistics, notably Public Address.

Here the visits are down a bit but page views are up over 25% reflecting much more activity here – thanks for your support.

Open Parachute September and October and November Sitemeter rankings.

Mixed blog reactions signal a major challenge for Little

There have been mixed reactions to Andrew Little’s elevation to Labour leader around the blogs.

On the left there seems to be a stronger reaction than to the election result – that may be because it was a tight race with uncertainty in the result in Labour’s leadership contest, compared to a predictable election result, there were feelings of despair in Labour circles well before the September vote.

The Standard is mostly congratulatory and supportive of Little in And the winner is …

This isn’t a surprise, they have been Cunliffe supporters and promoters and switched to Cunliffe’s choice in this contest. And there are significant union leanings and involvement at The Standard.

In contrast Andrew Geddis at The Pundit is very negative about it.

Worst. Result. Ever.

The only thing worse than electing the wrong person as leader of Labour is electing him by the narrowest of margins, by virtue of the influence of a handful of individuals acting under instructions.

Labour just made the wrong choice, in the worst possible way.

Obviously, I think that the decision to choose Andrew Little over Grant Robertson was the wrong one however it came about … that’s because Grant is a good friend whom I think will one day make a fantastic Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Russell Brown is just about as negative:

News from home …

I’ll be brief (it’s 5am where I am and have to catch a plane) but the Labour’s leadership result and the means by which it was achieved both seem disastrous for the party and for the prospects of the centre-left.

Little didn’t win the support of the party or the caucus, he loses his electorate more badly every time he contests it, and he’s vowing to dump all the intellectual capital built up by David Parker. I can’t see any good thing about this.

Am I missing something?

Martyn Bradbury laments the languishing of his revolutionary dreams:

And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ

The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew, he was the leader of the EPMU, one of the most conservative Unions in NZ, so don’t expect revolution, expect tepid evolution. With MANA killed off, Labour can now try and out-gallop the Greens to the centre because activists and members can’t politically go anywhere else so expect National lite for the next 3 years.

Some interesting blog votes though. That post currently scores a low 2.2/5 approval. And in comments:

MIKE THE LEFTY says:

Martyn, why are you writing off Little before he has even had a chance to do anything? This is not helpful. Give him a chance and stop bagging him before he has even started.

Rating: +44 (from 60 votes)

MARTYN BRADBURY says:

I’m not writing Little off – Labour are trying to reach muddle Nu Zilind now, they aren’t waving the flag for the Left – their pitch will be centrist, not progressive.

Rating: -14 (from 62 votes)

John Minto also has a post at The Daily Blog:

Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem

The corporate sector will be particularly happy with his appointment because they know that when the tide runs out on John Key and National they can be assured Labour will continue to run the economy on their behalf.

His personal style is thoroughly inoffensive and this is what Labour thinks it needs at the moment.

But how important is this to the progressive movement in New Zealand?

Not much. Little will lead a Labour Party which seeks power not because it has a policy programme to make a big difference for working New Zealanders but because senior Labour MPs hope they will soon get another turn to run the free market economy and receive the baubles of power which go with it.

Little won’t cause waves outside the party either. The mainstream media have endorsed him as Labour’s best choice for leader because he is deeply conservative economically and in particular doesn’t support a capital gains tax. He hasn’t advocated any change to economic policy settings that would make a significant difference either to corporate profits or the plight of hundreds of thousands of families struggling on low incomes.

The ability to drive an ambitious policy programme to back up a big vision for working New Zealanders is simply not in Andrew Little’s genes.

Not surprising that Little is not revolutionary left enough for Minto.

And Chris Trotter’s post is more of a Grant Robertson lament:

Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over Grant Robertson.

THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond the confines of the Caucus Room to become a genuine party-wide movement.

It’s all there in the numbers. From being the strong partisans of David Cunliffe, the allegiance of a clear majority of ordinary, rank-and-file members has shifted to Grant Robertson. It is a measure of just how hard Robertson’s people worked for their man’s victory that another 100 votes would have clinched it for him.

He went on (and on) about Robertson and his campaign, and barely touched on Little until the final paragraph – with the only positive comment being directed at Robertson.

Little’s victory is, therefore, a win for those Labour members who still believe in the party’s emancipatory vision and in its antagonistic stance towards the demands of Capital. That it was so narrow is not simply a testimony to Robertson’s political skill and determination, but a worrying indication of just how strong the temptation has become among Labour members to stop struggling against the treacherous currents of capitalism – and turn the boat around.

The left remains strongly divided, with both the hard left (Bradbury and Minto) and the centre left (Brown and Geddis) bitterly lamenting Little’s elevation.

Andrew Little has a massive challenge – and so does the Labour caucus and Labour Party.

Whale Oil: And yet another medical use for cannabis

The momentum world-wide for allowing legal use of cannabis for medical use keeps building – but not in New Zealand. Whale Oil posts:

And yet another medical use for cannabis

I wonder when politicians will start to realise that they are on the wrong side of the debate when it comes to legalising cannabis.

More and more studies are proving that the plant has more benefits than issues.

This is an issue that I think can and should be be campaigned on across the political spectrum, in social media at least. Whale Oil, Kiwiblog, The Standard, The Daily Blog and Public Address are all sympathetic to relaxing use of cannabis for medical use at least.

Time to start a proper discourse, the only problem is finding a politician with some courage.

Time to put political differences aside and working cross-blog on this? It is difficult finding an MP or a party willing to address this, but a joint effort by blogs could build pressure on them to do the decent thing on this.

Bad language on blogs

Much has been made of a clamp down on bad language being behind the clampdown on comments and commenters at Whale Oil. In his announcement of Travis qutiting Whale Oil yesterday Pete Belt later conceded he over emphasised it. He initially said:

There has been a shift in culture, where we’ve changed a bunch of foul mouthed blokey commenters for (what they see) a knitting circle.

It all comes down to the ability for people to swear in the comments, and old commenters that could not change being resentful that they’ve lost “the only place on the Internet” where they felt at home.

Many pointed out that the issues were far wider and deeper than “the ability for people to swear” so later Pete conceded:

Travis has alluded to it – I deliberately oversimplified things. It isn’t just about swearing.

I’m puzzled by the over-emphasis on swearing.It seems to have been a simplistic approach that ignores a much bigger problem – abuse.

Note: I infrequently swear on blogs but was banned from WO for, apparently, using the phrase ‘man crap’. The word crap is used so obviously allowed on NZ Herald and Stuff online.

Attitudes to swearing have changed markedly in my lifetime. When i grew up swearing at school was severely punished and you just didn’t swear in front of adults. Print media, radio, movies and TV were very particular about what language must be excluded. That has relaxed a bit in print media and radio, and substantially in movies and in TV programs where nearly anything goes at times. It reflects real life.

Younger people in particular swear far more openly than they would have last century.

While I don’t swear much I usually don’t have a problem when people swear, I’m now used to it being common, including on blogs.

I don’t recall much if any criticism of Whale Oil for the swearing. There was a far bigger problem with personal attacks, regardless of whether swearing was involved. Non swear words are commonly used to viciously attack people.

One of Cameron Slater’s biggest moments of infamy was not for swearing – he was quoted without censorship for language in the Greymouth Star:

Blogger puts the boot in

Provocative right-wing internet blogger Cameron Slater was today standing by a headline that described Greymouth car crash victim Judd Hall as “feral”.

Mr Hall, a 26-year-old from Runanga, died when a car in which he was a backseat passenger left the road and crashed into a house about 11 o’clock on Friday night.

At 7.21am on Saturday, Mr Slater’s Whale Oil blog site carried a brief story on the crash under the heading, ‘Feral dies in Greymouth, did world a favour’.

When contacted by the Greymouth Star today, Mr Slater accepted that he did not know Mr Hall or his family, but justified the “feral” description by saying: “It is Greymouth, isn’t it? Didn’t Helen Clark say that you are all feral?”

He said anybody travelling at 140kph in a car in a 50kph area was ‘feral’, whether on the West Coast or in south Auckland.

He did not regret the headline and would not be apologising for it.

Mr Hall wasn’t even responsible for the crash. Many may consider calling the driver a fucking idiot far more appropriate than the language Slater used.

Excessive swearing can detract from blogs, as it can detract from conversations, depending on the context and the company you are in.

But I think are worse than swearing on blogs are abuse, personal attacks, harassment and stalking.  And message control censorship.

Whale Oil didn’t have a bad reputation for swearing, it had a bad reputation for attacking people, sometimes viciously. Slater led by example.

The Standard has a bad reputation for one sided abuse and attacks, protected and even promoted by the site moderation, with lprent leading the way.

Kiwiblog doesn’t have a bad reputation for swearing, it has a bad reputation for personal attacks. David Farrar isn’t criticised for his occasional swearing, he’s criticised for allowing too much free speech – and his recent moderation improvements have clamped down on abuse, not swearing.

There’s probably more annoyance expressed and complaints on blogs about bad grammar than swearing. I saw someone complaining yesterday about mixing brought with bought. For some people the misuse of apostrophe’s seems to be a major offence (and I deliberately misused one there).

So what’s more important on blogs, having swearing police or grammar police?

I’d prefer that people were allowed to freely express their opinions and feelings, as long as it’s not done to attack and abuse.

I’d prefer less religious or Bain argument on Kiwiblog than less swearing.

I’d prefer an even playing field on The Standard to less swearing.

I’d prefer less silent censorship on The Daily Blog than less swearing.

I’d prefer more honesty on Whale Oil than using swearing as an excuse to ban people to sanitise and propagandise  the comments.

Each blog to their own. Cameron got around his own swearing ban yesterday by using an acronym – FIFO. That means fit in or fuck off. I don’t think it’s the swear word that is cringe in that, it’s the intent. If you’re careful not to speak contrary to the Whale Oil authors or sponsors and you’re lucky not to strike Pete Belt on a bad day (which seem to be frequent) then you can keep commenting there.

Fuck, I’d rather promote free and robust (with respect) expression than be mob controlled with crap like that.

The most damaging language in society and on blogs is not swear words. Bad language isn’t controlled by using banned word filters.

I’d prefer no censorship and more relaxed language dictates – and as I have my own blog I’m free to have that.

The Daily Blog moderation change

The Daily Blog has announced a change to it’s moderation.

Commenting on TDB

We have a new moderator who will focus on all moderation on comments from now on – ‘Scarletmod’ will do our moderation.

We will also crack down on personal abuse between commentators, as well as sexist, racist and homophobic language.

Crazy comments on the truth behind 9-11, Jews running the planet, climate change denial and chemtrails won’t make it past moderation.

Basic rule is we don’t feed trolls.

Cracking down on abuse seems to be spreading, with Whale Oil and Kiwiblog pledging similar action over the last few months.

Of particular note is a switch of moderators, this presumably means that Martyn Bradbury is reducing his control – he seems to have become somewhat subdued since the election result confounded his overly optimistic predictions.

One could wonder if his some of his pre-election predictions would qualify as ‘crazy comments’.

Each blog can have whatever commenting rules it chooses, and exclude anyone they want. Bradbury’s moderation was known to silently filter out comments and he also banned commenters, including me. Disagreeing seemed to be a censorable sin.

Forbidding things like ‘climate change denial’ could easily be used as an excuse to exclude alternate views. The topic of climate change is complex and evolvin and should be debated openly and widely, not limited to one side.

‘Basic rule is we don’t feed trolls’ could be ominous – ‘troll’ can have various meanings, one common one in practice being “I don’t want you here saying things I don’t like’. It is a common form of abuse absent any argument.

Blog stats drop post election

The blog stats are out at Open Parachute for October and all the major blogs are well down after the September election surge.

Whale Oil Beef Hooked

  • September: visits 3,716,364 page views 5,309,045
  • October: visits 2,008,487 (54.0%), page views 3,275,031 (61.7%)

The trigger happy banning binge pre-election may be starting to bite at Whale Oil as well.

Kiwiblog

  • September: visits 695,190 page views 1,093,806
  • October: visits 373,637 (53.7%), page views 604,405 (55.3%)

David Farrar has been on holiday in South America for the last two weeks and has posted much less frequently and on less topical issues which will have impacted at Kiwiblog.

The Standard

  • September: visits 429,438 page views 868,342
  • October: visits 255,449 (59.5%), page views 561,703 (64.7%)

The Labour leadership issues followed by the contest between four candidates will have reduced the normal post election reductions at The Standard.

The Daily Blog

  • September: visits 504,304 page views 813,779
  • October: visits 210,877 (41.8%), page views 347,647 (42.7%)

The Daily Blog has the biggest slump to well under a half the visits and page views – this doesn’t surprise me. Leading into the election Martyn Bradbury et al were full of hope and hype but were stunned that the election result showed that voters were on a different planet.

The failure of the Internet Party and the ejection of Mana from Parliament is reflected in a substantially diminished demeanour  at The Daily Blog.

Dim-Post has also dropped to well under half but Danyl went on a Hiatus  mid-month (with an end of month temporary return).

Not all blogs supply Open Parachute with site statistics, notably Public Address.

Open Parachute September and October Sitemeter rankings.

Cross blog support for cannabis law reform?

David Farrar has a post at Kiwiblog showing a marked shift in the US towards cannabis law reform – US views on cannabis legalisation.

NZ Herald reported in June: Poll shows opinion shift on cannabis

A poll shows most people want smoking cannabis to be decriminalised or made legal.

The latest Herald-DigiPoll survey shows just under a third of those polled thought smoking cannabis should attract a fine but not a criminal conviction, while a fifth went further and said it should be legalised.

Forty-five per cent said it should remain illegal, and 2.6 per cent said they did not know.

And in August: Fast Fire on Cannabis: Who’s for legalisation?

A new survey shows that an emphatic majority of voters want to partially or fully legalise cannabis, but there is little appetite for change among most political parties.

In the latest Herald-Digipoll, almost 80 per cent of those polled wanted cannabis to be at least partially legalised; 63 per cent wanted it legal for medicinal use, while 16 per cent wanted it completely legal.

Almost one in five – 19 per cent – wanted cannabis to remain illegal, which it currently is.

In the Herald’s Fast Fire series about decriminalisation of cannabis, most leaders were against it.

It’s a pity then that apart from the Greens who seem lukewarm on actually changing anything most of the rest of the parties seem cold on addressing cannabis law reform in New Zealand.Current law is not working well but it doesn’t look like anything will be done about it. Parliament moved with international trends on marriage law reform but are backwards on this,

There are genuine concerns about the harms involved with cannabis use but there’s an unwillingness to deal with the harms done by our law policing as they are.

I think there’s quite strong support for reform across the blogging world, perhaps this is a good candidate for joint non-partisan social media pressure to encourage our elected representatives to represent us on this.

Farrar is pro-reform, and I know Cameron Slater (Whale Oil) and Russell Brown (Public Address) have been as well. There’s some support at The Standard but I’m not sure how much there would be across the authors. Same for The Daily Blog.

What about other bloggers? Who would support a cross-blog campaign?

A Whale of a mess compared

This was how Whale Oil looked after the first post this morning.

Whale of a mess

Amongst that the Daily Proverb says “If you fail under pressure your strength is too small.”

It reminds me of a Superstar quote:

“My temple should be a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves. Get out! Get Out”

That’s what appears to be six advertisements plus a “donate” promotion. There is more advertising further down the page.

Cameron Slater may claim to have the most popular blog in New Zealand – he certainly built it to an impressive level – but as the advertising and banning increases the popularity seems to be waning, going by the number of comments and the tone of comments both on and off the blog.

Kiwiblog is a contrast:

Kiwiblog home page

I’ve always liked Kiwiblog’s clean simple layout and it’s functionality. It’s one of the easiest blogs to keep up with comments on.

The Standard is clean and informative, allowing you to quickly assess blog content.:

Standard home page

They have some advertising further down the page and sometimes have an advertising banner but this is much cleaner and more informative.

The Daily Blog is more like Whale Oil with a lot of advertising and clutter.

DailyBlog front page

I’ve never much liked the Daily Blog look nor it’s functionality. Like Whale Oil it seems to be designed more to harvest clicks and advertising revenue. Both seem to be trying to emulate (and compete with) the old media model online.

Public Address has some relatively discrete advertising but is overall a much cleaner and informative look.

PublicAddress front pageThe “new kid on the block is On The Left:

OnTheLeft front page

That’s more magazine style with a lot of graphics but no advertising clutter and flash so is easier on the eye.

Back to Whale Oil – it’s not always that messy but the example at the top is common. Here is a screen shot of the Daily Roundup from yesterday.

Whale Daily RoundupThat’s another massive mess making it very hard to know what the post or the blog are about.

To be fair when a post at Whale Oil has more text content it doesn’t look as cluttered. For example:

Whale Oil home page

Like The Daily Blog revenue and click harvesting (which can be used to sell advertising) seem more of a priority at Whale Oil, while Kiwiblog, The Standard, Public Address and On The Left are designed more as functional blogs designed Oto invite readership and participation.

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