Whale Oil is again at the centre of online angst after a hypocritical and highly questionable attack on Tania Billingsley and her associates. This in turn has prompted a questionable attack on Canon NZ.
One inappropriate blogger agenda doesn’t justify another.
Whale Oil won “best blog” at the Canon Media Wards in May – the blog itself was one of the most congratulatory – see Cameron Slater wins Best Blog at Canon Media Awards 2014 – and prominently displays this:
There was widespread criticism – Whale Oil is often controversial and confrontational (and political blogging is competitive and not without jealousies) – but as the dominant new media blog that sometimes breaks news it was deserved. The Len Brown story that broke just after last year’s local body elections was cited as influential on the judging decision.
In June NBR reported: Whale Oil flaunts Canon award as evidence he is a journalist
Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater has presented his Canon Media Award to prove to the High Court at Auckland he is a journalist.
The blogger presented his arguments today before Justice Raynor Asher where he is appealing a District Court decision which ruled he was not entitled to the rights of a journalist.
In December, Judge Charles Blackie ruled Mr Slater was not entitled to rely on journalists’ rights to protect the identity of sources, as set out in the Evidence Act, and should disclose the identity of a confidential source.
Traditional media journalists have very mixed feelings about Slater’s journalistic claims.
I don’t don’t think there’s any doubt that some of what Slater does is journalist-like, but most of the posts on the blog tend more towards agenda based politics with many “magazine” type posts.
Slater has a reputation for pushing boundaries and is regularly accused of crossing lines of decency.
I’ve always had mixed views. As far as blogging goes Whale Oil has been ground breaking and some of it’s content is very good, while most is easy to ignore and some is ill-advised at least, sometimes getting close to disgraceful.
Slater has well known links to the National Party but mostly at least operates independently. John Key has admitted having regular chats with Slater and Judith Collins is known to be a fan. On the other hand Slater is also very critical of National officials and some MPs.
On Wednesday Whale Oil posted Tania Billingsley and the Green and Rape Crisis fingerprints. A number of accusations and insinuations were made against Tania Billingsley and associates of hers.
I do not subscribe to the notion New Zealand has a culture of rape. I also do not subscribe to being told to stop asking questions in this particular matter lest this show insensitivity to rape victims in general.
I do not want to trivialise whatever really happened and how this has genuinely affected Tania.
If Tania, Tabby and Jan Logie can use this event to push their agendas, then I reject their attempt at stopping people like myself placing the story under some scrutiny.
It was far more than scrutiny, it was a wide ranging assault on Billingsley’s credibility and character. It was widely condemned which I think was justifiable.
The problem remains: We have one side of the story, we have lots of unanswered questions, and we have a potential scandal that is much more explosive than an MFaT official possibly mishandling a powderkeg of a diplomatic situation.
I’m getting inundated with emails about this too. People are just not buying the official story.
I’ve seen a lot of the type of blog comments that will have been emailed. Many of them uninformed speculation and attacks on the alleged victim.
I’m not keen of the term “rape culture” but whatever the culture is that defends male behaviour that can be as bad as disgraceful, and attacks female victims and alleged victims, and puts the blame on them, has been widely represented on blogs. And by this post at Whale Oil.
I challenge Tania to make herself available to me for an interview.
I think Slater would be one of the last people Tania would want to do an interview with. Journalists tend to try and get both sides of a sotry before they publish, not post a one-sided rant and then demand an interview in public.
The public has heard the case for the prosecution.
That’s patently false. Neither “the prosecution” nor Tania nor Jan Logie have raised the facts of the alleged incident in public. They have raised political issues but that has been separate to the details of the case.
It deserves to hear the cross examination of the facts as they are presented.
Trial by blog. The approach deserves contempt.
And it’s highly hypocritical. When Tania went public with her 3rd Degree interview Whale Oil strongly criticised her for prejudicing the case against the Malaysian diplomat.
But now Slater wants to promote his agenda and promote his blog he doesn’t care about prejudicing the case.
There will be much more to this case than is publicly known, because we know little about it.
But to pick one side of the story using the worst of male rumour and insinuation is very un-journalist-like.
Slater is pandering to a macho male dinosaur domination audience with no care for finding the facts of the case. He is disgracing the journalist award he won.
Condemnation of this is justified.
But some critics have taken inappropriate action. They decided to criticise and attack Canon because of the award given under their name.
Canon is the award sponsor. They didn’t choose the nominees, nor did they have anything to do with the judging.
Holding them responsible for an award winner’s actions after the award was given is nonsensical.
A number of people approached Canon on Twitter. Canon responded:
One of those criticising Canon was a competing finalist in the best blog award, Giovanni Tiso. Ironically he got a lot of attention (which will have contributed to him being chosen as a finalist) for a campaign against advertisers of RadioLive over some online comments over the ‘Roastbuster’ case.
His campaign was successful, prompting some advertisers to threaten to pull from RadioLive. This campaign was widely supported but some (including me) thought it was taken too far there was some criticism.
Tiso (and others) have continued their criticisms of Canon.
Bollocks to that: it’s entirely clear that Canon and the Newspaper Publishers’ Association do in fact condone Slater’s other writings.
Otherwise they wouldn’t have given him the award. That’s what condoning means, people.
There was a queue of people on the night telling me Slater was the rightful winner. Clifton and Currie eating out of his hand.
These people love him. Condoning doesn’t come into it.
And by the way, @canonnz’s implication that Slater somehow has only disgraced himself *since* then is utterly ludicrous.
I call bollocks to this. An award sponsor cannot be held responsible for everything every recipient of a past award subsequently does. They are not even responsible for what winners did prior to the award.
I think it’s fair criticising Slater and Whale Oil, especially on his Billingsley assault and his support of a very poor male culture of targeting and blaming victims.
But redirecting blame at Canon is as wrong-headed as redirecting blame at victims of sexual assault. One disgraceful agenda doesn’t justify another.