“Not as bad as Whale Oil”

Since the release of Nicky Hager’s book ‘Dirty Politics’ there has been much discussion and condemnation of what has been revealed – even though much of the dirtiness of Cameron Slater was already well known. He has boasted about his political uncleanliness.

Last year after the Len Brown revelations just after the local body elections Slater said on The Nation:

Mr Slater argued that Auckland politics was “a dirty disgusting despicable game”.

“It involves dirty disgusting despicable people at all levels,” he said.

“And to have this high and mighty belief that New Zealand politics is clean, it isn’t.”

(Frontpage)

He repeated this on his Whale Oil blog recently. He often quotes ” Never wrestle with pigs, two things are for certain if you do. You will get dirty and the pig will enjoy it”, along others from his list of ‘rules’.

Whaleoil’s Rules of Politics

1. If you are explaining, you are losing

2. Utu is good, even necessary

3. Never hug a corpse – it smells and you end up smelling like the corpse too

4. Always know where the bodies are buried

5. Don’t let mongrels get away with being mongrels

6. Don’t mess with The Whale or Cactus Kate

7. Never wrestle with pigs, two things are for certain if you do. You will get dirty and the pig will enjoy it.

8. Never ask a question if you don’t already know the answer

9. Speak plain, Speak Simple

10. Remember, I’m telling this story

11. Never trust a politician if you aren’t close enough to them to hit them in the back of the head with a bit of 4×2

12. Never trust a politician with a moustache or a hyphenated name

There might be a lot of people, especially politicians, giving serious consideration to rule 3 right now.

Slater’s personal attacks and vindictiveness are well known. There’s no one who comes close to his media prominence and dirtiness in New Zealand politics.

So all other bloggers can comfortably claim they are “not as bad as Whale Oil”. But that sets the bar very low and should not excuse lesser levels of dirtiness.

One of the more long serving and respected bloggers Russell Brown posted  We can do better than this at Public Address and concluded:

In one of the early reports that annoyed me, Radio New Zealand’s political editor Brent Edwards, talked about smears being unleashed to “blogs” and “the blogosphere”.

Actually, we’re not all like that. The multitude of bloggers, political bloggers included, have no part in this. And while the cynical side of politics is not new, I do believe that the scope, scale and nature of what is described in Hager’s book is unprecedented.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can, all of us, do better than this.

Russell is right, we’re “not all like that”. No one else is as bad as Whale Oil. I agree that “the scope, scale and nature of what is described in Hager’s book is unprecedented” – although it shouldn’t really have been a surprise to Russell if he was aware of what Whale Oil has been doing for years.

But in comments Russell seems to think that the ‘all of us” in “We can, all of us, do better than this” doesn’t apply equally to all of us.

It’s over to you, Pete, to identify a left-leaning blogger with even a tenth of the venality and vindictiveness of WhaleOil.

I feel kind of icky agreeing with Pete (sorry, Mr. George) but if our baseline is “not as bad as Whaleoil” that’s a depressingly low bar you can clear without lifting your feet.

Which is really just a morally elevated way of saying “everyone does it”. It’s simply not true. What has happened in and around Whaleoil these past few years is actually of a different nature.

He seems to be claiming it’s not true that everyone doesn’t do it, despite calling for “all od us” to do better.

Some of what Whale Oil has done has been of a different nature” and of a more extreme nature, but there are many examples of dirt mongering across the blogosphere. Russell moderates Public Address fairly well but even his own blog shouldn’t be exempt from criticism. There’s dirt at different levels but there’s dirt – there were even mild attempts to attack me personally to divert from the issues being discussed on that thread (eg ScottY and Kracklite).

Public Address is relatively mild but still allows personal political attacks and dirty comments. The other major left wing blogs The Standard and The Daily Blog allow and promote a lot of abuse and attempts to emulate some of Whale Oil’s “success”.

Lynn Prentice (lprent) at The Standard often boasts about his nastiness:

That is because in my sysop role I’m deliberately a nasty vindictive mean old man with abuse of power issues, whose only redeeming quality is that he is too lazy to be bothered exercising those traits, but who often and almost randomly goes totally over the top when roused.

And as chief moderator that sets the tone for blog with support of a one sided attack culture.

And Martyn Bradbury is well know for over the top rants and abuse, as well as doing party promotional blog posting without revealing he is being paid by or seeking payment for his work, one of the things Slater is correctly criticised for.

Josie Pagan is very familiar with how nasty the left wing blogs can get, they have blasted her a number of times. She recently posted The politics of vilification.

Nicky Hager’s book exposes both the politics of demonisation and the National Government’s role in facilitating it. The right wing blogs have been more extreme, more violent and more coordinated with the parliamentary party and so the book is their comeuppance. 

I agree with that. Whale Oil is obviously the main culprit but Kiwiblog can be very nasty in it’s comments and I think the generally and widely respected David Farrar would admit to overstepping lines of decency at times (as most if not all bloggers do to varying degrees).

But imagine how much harder would it be for the government to deflect some of the disgusting stuff they’ve been involved in if some on the left blogs had not spent so much energy vilifying and demonising people they disagree with.

I’ve been suggesting to left wing blogs for a long time thatthey would be fdar more credible and effective if they cut down on the crap – I’ve been banned from The Standard for giving them advice along those lines.

At least Farrar recognises problems and has pledged ttake measures to try to improve Kiwiblog – Some changes for Kiwiblog.

Josie concluded:

But there is also a wider lesson to everyone about the way politics is conducted. 

As I wrote back in December, “The fundamental principle of the left is our compassion…. Ours is the politics of redemption, forgiveness and humanity.” 

Or, as Nicky Hager elegantly stated on The Nation this morning, “if anyone is doing it, they should stop.

It’s hard to see Whale Oil changing it’s degree of nastiness but if we are to improve political discourse in New Zealand it’s up to all of the rest of us to do what we can to improve – bloggers and politicians.

Directing all the blame at the other lot and demanding action from them ignores those shitting in our own nests.

Yes Russell, we can, all of us, do better than this. ‘All of us’ means not opting out because we’re are not as bad as Whale Oil.

UPDATE: Russell has responded via Twitter:

Thanks for another droning restatement of what you’ve already said. I’m at a loss as to what I’m supposed to do about it.

I replied: Try using your stature showing some leadership in the blogosphere in raising standards perhaps?

Whaledump to continue disemboweling data

Yesterday @Whaledump assured there drip feed wouldn’t be all about party politics.

This is not all about party politics. Be patient. You’ll see.

This morning rumours circulated in several media reports that a data dump today would be about Labour candidate Stuart Nash.

Whale Oil claimed this was nonsense – he lashed out at a selected messenger who happened to be National Minister Steven Joyce, incorrectly accusing Joyce of saying he would be releasing the data:

Steven Joyce has made allegations that Whaleoil is going to release information about Stuart Nash. Joyce says it is to balance things up. This should be called out for what it is.

It is an out and out lie.  

I know nothing at all about Stuart Nash doing anything other than he is a bloody good politician who scares National.

Whaledump, obviously following Whale Oil, also denied:

trololololol! wtf?? I don’t have anything on Nash. Somebody is black opsing somebody.

WO v me? WO v Joyce? Joyce v me? WO v Nash? v all? lolololololol

This is truly some next level black ops shit.

Someone certainly seems to be playing games with this. But the big game is set to continue:

More politics today. I said “be patient”. Not “its coming out tomorrow”.

More on this as it comes out.

The next dump is here: http://pastebin.com/Kzu0C673

Dirty, dirtier and dirtiest

There’s no doubt that of the major political blogs Whale Oil has been the dirtiest. It seems to have been a surprise to many how dirty, but to any observers of the blogosphere it just confirms with some specific examples what was already well known.

Barry Soper alludes to this in The Soap Box: Revelations? Hardly!

Anyone who’s shocked by the dirty nature of the emails that have tried to paint a smear campaign by National of its opponents understand little about two things – the hate speak that Whale Oil Beef Hooked blogger Cameron Slater’s known for and the business of politics which is anything but clean.

What about the rest of the blogs and social media? Certainly not as bad but there’s plenty of other dirt mongering and dirt mongerers.

In fact the hacking of Slater’s data and using it to hijack the election campaign must rate near the very top of the dirt scale.

Bunji at The Standard claims Left wing blogs aren’t “the same”.

On Morning Report yesterday John Key was busy casting all sorts of aspersions, and refusing to say that clearly odious behaviour by Judith Collins, Jason Ede and Cameron Slater was wrong.

But some of the aspersions were against shock horror left wing bloggers!

As a left wing blogger I take personal umbrage.

There is no equivalence.

He’s right, they are not the same. There’s no equivalence to Whale Oil across centrist and right wing blogs either. Cameron Slater is one of a kind, along with his co-dirt-mongers.

But Bunji and many others who frequent The Standard, by participating or not taking umbrage, support an often dirty forum there. Similar to varying degrees for Kiwiblog and The Daily Blog and Dim-Post and Public Address – and other social media forums including Facebook, Twitter, the Trade Me boards etc etc

(To be fair Bunji isn’t one of the dirty ones at The Standard, but I haven’t seen him speak up against the in-house dirt their either).

Saying “we’re not dirtiest so we’re ok” is making excuses for dirty and dirtier. They can’t wash their hands of it like that.

Political forums seem to attract a dominant minority of people who are intolerant of opposing (or even non-agreeing) views. And they can be bullying, lying and very nasty. Not quite in Slater’s league but some come close.

John Key has been justifiably been criticised for make the “but they do it too” excuse.

It’s nearly as bad saying “but we aren’t as bad”.

I’ve been banned from Whale Oil because my opinions were contrary to their agenda.

I’ve been banned from The Standard for suggesting they would promote their political ideas better if they didn’t play so dirty.

I’ve also been banned from Dim-Post and The Daily Blog. 

David Farrar has often been criticised for allowing dirty commenting run rampant at Kiwiblog – but at least I’ve never seen him ban anyone for having a different opinion, and that’s a major. And he’s never banned me despite me being strongly critical of him, his blog and National at times.

Whale Oil may be dirtiest, but there’s plenty of dirty and dirtier about as well.

This all reflects very poorly on our political discourse. Of course that our top politicians lead the dirt mongering by example doesn’t help. And media are caught in this too – it’s difficult to avoid reporting on what is attracting attention (they shouldn’t) but it’s easy to get stuck in a dirt mongering rut.

Some are suggesting that politics is just dirty and nothing can or should be done about it. That’s one of Slater’s favourite excuses for his excesses.

I don’t buy that rolling over and let our democracy be savaged. 

It’s time enough good people stood up against it and made a difference.We don’t have to (and shouldn’t) accept degrees of dirt.

We should demand decency and dignity in our democracy. We can’t eliminate dirt but we should replace most of it with a decent political contest.

That’s sort of what Nicky Hager seems to have been aiming at, but his book is likely to make things worse in the short term.

The challenge is how to create something better once the carnage has died down.

Who is up for this challenge?

 

Who’s been hacking?

This post follows the Hager precedent where it is ok to float a few bits of information and let others join the dots.

Cameron Slater has accused Kim Dotcom of being involved in hacking his email and Facebook data. Dotcom has stated:

For the record: I haven’t hacked Whaleoil. I have nothing to do with Hager’s book. There will be legal action against Slater & co

However that is a loose disclaimer. I asked for clarification:

Can you confirm that you had no knowledge of or anything to do with the hacking of ?

No response to that.So there’s an obvious possibility there.

The next dot – David Farrar claims I’ve either been hacked or spied on.

I started reading more fully the book yesterday, and the footnotes in the book. To my shock I realised that Hager had info in the book that could not have come from the hacking of Cameron Slater, but could only have come from my computer, my apartment or my office.

Specifically he refers to copies of two scripts used by my company, Research, this year. There is absolutely no way they could have come from Cameron Slater’s computer systems, as Cameron doesn’t have them. No one has them but me and my office.

I thought about how this could have happened. The two most likely scenarios are that my computer systems have also been hacked, or that someone physically removed the scripts from my office (or possibly apartment).

A commenter ‘berend’ points out:

The source is an employee. Footnote 17 for chapter 9 says “Confidential source.” Footnote 18 calls him “The employee said”.

Next dot – as I posted yesterday, the gmail account I use for political correspondence and my Facebook account have been hacked.

What would I have in common with Slater and Farrar? They are big time bloggers with long and substantial involvement in politics and with the National Party.

I’m a small time independent blogger with scant political connections.

Another dot – suddenly another blogger who usually shuns mainstream media is going public – see Prentice irritated by Labour links and he was interviewed on Radio NZ this morning. Lynn Prentice, known as lprent.

Prentice and I have sparred online for years. He has made some funny claims like this last year in an ironic Pete George – an example of right wing blogging falsehoods (his grand entrance at The Daily Blog). He and many other left wing activists cal me a right winger. That’s very funny.

A post at The Standard (ironically on a post called Happy Labour Day):

The likes of Cam Slater, David Farrar, Brett Dale, John Key, Jami-lee Ross, Mike Hosking, Leighton Smith, Lucia maria (she also want to see the gays exterminated), Colin Craig, John Banks, Simon Bridges, Bob McCroskie, Gosman, Fisiani, Santi, Grumpy, Matthew Hooton Monique Angel, Pete George and all others that I have left off my list (sorry, will be here all night), are to trade unionists what the SA brownshirts were to the Jews in 1930′s Germany, common thugs who see those who belong to a trade unions (along with homosexuals) as vermin to be exterminated in a Final Solution.

Get ready folks, post 2014 we will see trade unionists streaming through our court system when National make joining a trade union to be a crime, and the PPTA outlawed in our schools.

Slavery, here we come.

That’s not an unusual view from the far left, anyone seen as an opponent is viewed as an enemy to be defeated by an means possible. 

Some of the Twitter respnses to Dotcom’s hacking denial are also indicative:

go get him kim, teach him a lesson the old fashioned way. Bet em’ at their own game! Eradicate the problem!

Slaters are nasty creatures. Slimy, greasy and sticky to stamp on.

Pete is missing the point. Whoever hacked WhaleOil’s computer deserves congratulation.

Back to a Standard stalwart, ‘felix':

felix

The thing that sticks out for me about the Slater boy, Farrar, and their unpaid intern Pete George, is that they all resort to variations of “He’s got to be more careful, there are some real scumbags out there who will twist his words against him at every opportunity”.

Hey dicks, that’s you guys.

No-one else gives a fuck.

And another:

Clemgeopin

@Pete George
The way you come across with your posts is that you are here to put down Labour and the left, and take the side of the right wing. That is irritating and mostly time wasting rather than genuine debate or discussion.

If your intention is to push the agenda of the right, your natural place to hang would be the well known right wing blogs, of Slater and Farrar.

And back to Prentice who links me with Slater

Leaving the perverted obsessions to Cameron Slater and even Pete George seems like a wise thing for us to do.

and the right wing

Appointing PG makes me immediately suspect the organisation is just another right wing shill like the Taxpayers union and other previous ones.

…etc etc – it’s fair to say I have irritated Prentice for some time and he seems to have had a habit of targeting me. And David Farrar. And Cameron Slater.

I have absolutely no evidence who hacked me. I haven’t seen any evidence who hacked Slater or Farrar.

There’s a likely connection between the hacking of Slater and Farrar. Who on earth would think to put me in that same basket of cases?

There is one piece of evidence linking lprent and the hacking of my gmail.

Got one of those this morning. Looks like PG’s email has been hacked. Virtually identical to several others over the years.

That’s just because he (and mickysavage) were in my gmail address book.

Who’s been hacking? I don’t know. But there’s as many dots here as in a Hager hatchet job.

In any case would lprent have the IT expertise or the desire to axe some opponents to resort to illegal hacking? 

 

I’ve also been hacked

A major part of the Nicky Hager ‘Dirty Politics’ book revelations is who hacked Cameron Slater and apparently illegally obtained emails and Facebook conversation data.

It would be an even bigger issue if the hacking was more widespread.

  • my Xtra email was hacked last year (Xtra were having major problems with email security)
  • at the end of last year one of my gmail accounts was hacked (the account I use for political correspondence only)
  • early this year my Facebook was at least flagged as under attack

I have no idea if this is related or not but one does wonder.

I have a fairly minor voice in the blogosphere and in especially politics in New Zealand, but I have been labeled by some as right wing alongside Cameron Slater and David Farrar, by people like Lynn Prentice at The Standard and Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog (in fact Prentice’s debut post at The Daily Blog did just that – Pete George – an example of right wing blogging falsehoods)

I’ve exchange a small number of emails with Cameron Slater of the years – and also with David Farrar of Kiwiblog, Prentice and other authors at The Standard, Bradbury and other authors at The Daily Blog, and other bloggers across the spectrum.

I’m not exactly on good terms with Slater (and never have been):

  • I’ve had a number of confrontations and debates with Slater on Whale Oil and in Twitter
  • I was banned from Whale Oil about a month ago with a trumped up excuse (I was arguing contrary to Slater’s views on issues around rape and cultures).
  • A few weeks ago Slater posted ‘Breaking News’ that tried to dump me in legal trouble over breaking name suppression.

While Slater has been ground breaking with his blogging/on line media and has had unprecedented levels of success – and I applaud him for that, to an extent – I have always been opposed to his dirty approach to doing politics and have argued against him on that.

But as stated some saw me as linked to the right wing conspiracy.

I would be flattered if I was the target of political hacking – but would also view it with extreme concern.

Data being stolen from Slater is a serious issue. If political hacking has been more widespread then it would be even more serious.

The hacking aspect of Hager’s revelations should get as much scrutiny as the dirty politics Hager claims to have revealed.

 

Good guesses or prior knowledge?

There was a lot of guessing about the topic prior to the release of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics. Some people seemed to have a particular interest.

Martyn Bradbury made some uncanny ‘guesses’ two days ago in 3 guesses about Nicky Hager’s new book:

Here are my 3 guesses on his book.

1 – Right wing spin doctors in Wellington will be crying harder than Matthew Hooton post the Hollow Men.
2 – We won’t hear from the Taxpayer Union for a while.
3 – This won’t be the only time Nicky makes an impact before the election.

Then just after the release in The Nicky Hager Book – Dirty Politics. How Attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment

PPS – I don’t think this will be the only time Nicky will step forward before the election.
Bradbury has a habit of bragging about what he knows, but he also makes many predictions. I’ve never bothered to check how many he gets wrong or right.
UPDATE: Bradbury has responded via Twitter:

pfft – Nicky contacted me months ago asking specific questions which helped my guesses – the lesson is read TDB

 So Hager interviewed at least one left wing blogger on this. And he didn’t attempt to get the right wing blogger side of the story.

Hager’s book – early impact

Nicky Hager’s just released book Dirty Politics seems to mostly conform common knowledge but some interesting bits have been reported, especially:

@BrookSabin

Hager says Slater blackmailed Rodney Hide to stand down.

Felix Geiringer @BarristerNZ

To embarrass @phil_goff, it seems @johnkeypm told @Whaleoil to OIA classified docs, declassified them, and expedited release

Whale Oil and Kiwiblog comments are playing it all down as nothing to worry about but Cameron Slater and David Farrar should have some concerns, as should John Key.

Timing is awkward for Slater as he has just been in Fiji and is now in Korea. He has posted (with numerous comments following):

Hager’s Book

No doubt you will all want to talk about Hager’s book, even though none of us read it yet. This is the post to chat about it if you like – leave the Backchat for other things.

It is of course likely to be a very single sided affair, and a direct attack on the government to hurt it at election time. What is being framed here is only one side of politics in New Zealand. Hager conveniently appears to avoid what happens on the left.

But that’s ok. Nothing changes.

 A lot is likely to change. Maybe a Government, depending on how damaging this is.

I’ve only just got to Korea where I have pre-existing arrangements.

To other media – I will be hard to get hold of for a while. Time difference and a full schedule will get in the way. If you like, get your stuff to me via email instead of phoning me.

And if you like, my absence can be spun as part of the conspiracy story that Hagar has put together.

Of course it will be fascinating to get a glimpse behind the scenes of New Zealand politics. Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

I’m finding it very interesting, but I don’t find dirty politics enjoyable.

Farrar has played it light on Twitter but hasn’t posted yet. General comments on it at at Kiwiblog from here.

UPDATE: now posted The Hager book

Rather bemused to find an entire chapter of Nicky Hager’s book is on me, and also how banal it is. Almost everything in there is in the public domain, as I live a pretty open life. But what Hager has done is wave his normal conspiracy theory through everything and make the fact that bloggers and other talk to each other, some sort of sinister thing.

Basically the chapter is a revelation that I am a member of the National Party! I didn’t realise this was a big secret.

It’s worth reading his whole post, which includes some counter punches – of course there are left wing bloggers (anonymous) who are close to other parties.

The best of the blog threads so far is at Public Address where the comments discuss doubts over claims of how the data was obtained. There could be a lot more to be examined and possibly revealed on this yet.

The Standard has two posts so far:

Martyn Bradbury is going off like a bomber – The Nicky Hager Book – Dirty Politics. How Attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment

Interesting that two days ago Bradbury posted ‘guesses’ about the book:

Here are my 3 guesses on his book.

1 – Right wing spin doctors in Wellington will be crying harder than Matthew Hooton post the Hollow Men.
2 – We won’t hear from the Taxpayer Union for a while.
3 – This won’t be the only time Nicky makes an impact before the election.

I wonder how he knew. Dotcom and Harre seemed to be taking a close interest in the book release today.

Regardless of how serious this gets for National – and other parties that ‘secretly’ use blogs should be careful how much exposure on this they wish for – I hope this gives the party and social media dirty tricks a damn good shake up.

New Zealand democracy and Parliament and Government deserves much better. Now could be a good time to demand it.

Whale Oil and Canon

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 2014and 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.

But.

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.

@gtiso

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.

Whale Oil hypocrisy on ‘free speech’

It’s very ironic that when I tried to comment on a Whale Oil post The left HATE free speech I got this message:

 

Whale Oil blocked

More than a bit ironic.

They took offence at what I’ve also posted here: Why there’s anger, Murray

When saw content decided you taken enough from us @Whaleoil

Not a free speech thing, but upholding standards

Ironic on the same day they posted Tania Billingsley and the Green and Rape Crisis fingerprints.

We speak uncomfortable truth…

…and reckless speculation, but seem to be uncomfortable with alternate ‘truth’.

 

 

The desperation of political sockpuppets

Political bloggers push stories, they speculate, they try to score hits against their opponents. Some of them make things up – they lie.

Naitional linked blogs Whale Oil and Kiwiblog are major players.

Yesterday David Farrar posted Are Labour planning smear campaign on Shane Jones?

This is very unusual. Whale blogs about a poll being done, presumably on behalf of Labour, asking if people’s view of Shane Jones was:

  • Shane Jones delivered amusing one liners but his political career was accident prone and did not amount to much. The most attention he got was for using his parliamentary credit card to pay for pornographic movies.
  • Shane Jones was one of the few politicians who tells it like it is and with his attacks on Countdown has been the most effective Labour politician this year. He will be a huge loss to Labour especially amongst Maori and blue collar voters.

If the polling was being done for a media client, then the question would be sensible – it would be for a story on the impact of Shane Jones. But presumably the poll is on behalf of Labour (as was being done by their normal polling company) and the question is why would you poll on Shane Jones…

It’s easy to make the presumptions made here. UMR is Labour’s usual polling company and it’s a Labour related poll question. but it seems very unlikely it was Labour, as pointed out in UMR poll on Jones not Labour.

Farrar did some research, possibly taking Russell Brown’s word for it but he may also have checked through polling company contacts (he is a pollster and runs polling company Curia). He appended his post.

UPDATE: I’m told from a very reliable source that in this case Labour is not responsible for this question. So it will be fascinating to discover who is, if it ever comes out.

Later in the day Farrar put up another post at Kiwiblog – Is this photoshopped? This showed a photo of David Cunliffe at a rally at Parliament. While the photo did look unnatural the implication that Cunliffe had not actually been at the rally was lame. Farrar again updated:

UPDATE: Have had confirmed that was at the rally. So the image may be touched up, but is genuine.

This isn’t unusual. It’s common for bloggers to float ideas without full details or evidence, often to initiate discussion and try to flush out more information – sort of crowd-sourced story development.

Farrar can be provocative and devious – note his masthead statement: “DPF’s Kiwiblog – fomenting happy mischief since 2003″.  He is also relatively open about his interests in About Kiwiblog which includes disclosure statement is here.

He sometimes oversteps, notably with an attempted hit job on Winston Peters just before the 2011 election. But as he said on Facebook yesterday “Umm, everyone knows my viewpoint”. If they don’t know they can easily find out.

Later yesterday Farrar and Whale Oil’s Cameron Slater were blasted by their main opposition in the blogosphere, The Standard. The iron fist behind The Standard, lprent (Lyn Prentice) posted The desperation of the National’s sockpuppets.

National Party pollster David Farrar must be seeing some numbers he really doesn’t like because he is claiming that David Cunliffe photoshopped himself into a rally that he was really at! Yeah right – a doyen of the local net governing body failed to use google before making a complete dick of himself on the net. I expect we will see a lot more of National’s paid for bloggers acting like fools heading into this election because National only being good at putting us heavily into debt (again!) rather limits the good news they can write.

There are a number of ironies in Prentice’s post and comments. Desperation comes to mind, as does sockpuppet. Pot/kettle stuff. In the thread Prentice says…

As you might have picked up, I am pretty pissed off about the lying that showed up today at the sewer. It is stupid, shallow, and something that needs quashing as a political technique.

However I am pretty sure that it is simple to make up such mischief. Farrar will make quite a good target between now and the election. With a bit of luck we can see if he appreciates the attention enough to donate me some discovery time.

Threats of a blogger war, one way at least. In the post…

This looks like another odd attempt to smear a man that the Nats are clearly worried about. It looks David Farrar finally realised how much of a dickhead he looks as he goes from this incorrect assertion (ie a lie) with a touch of plausible deniability.

Irony keywords: smear, worried, dickhead, incorrect assertion.

And on to a series of justification about why he David Farrar really is not just a petty dipshit putting out this kind of nonsense and never bothering to check it. I guess he is trying to remember the glory days when he was the single big voice in the local blogs and could lie like this for his paymasters with relative impunity.

He pushes the paymaster/sockpuppet theme strongly.

But even weirder (as usual) is the under-employed Cameron Slater, a blogger with no visible means of support and with lots of friends in the Prime Minsters office, posting creepy, paparazzi style pictures of David Cunliffe eating his lunch at parliament.

This picture was prominent on The Standard yesterday:

The question one has to ask is from whom did the bloated moron get this photo from? John Key our Minister for Photo-ops or his personal blogmeister Jason Ede perhaps?

And accusations of the Prime Minister’s office being involved in it all.  More pot/kettle.

The previous day The Standard ran a Q&A for David Cunliffe. When someone said “@ Lynn – thanks for organising this” he responded:

I didn’t. The request came from Cunliffe’s staff. They did most of the work.

I just went to work early so I could go home early to moderate.

And Prentice often brags, like yesterday:

I’d also point out that I spent several decades in volunteer work working for and with Helen Clark across 7 elections (whilst usually in disagreement with her) so I have a fairly good idea what is required for the task.

But you only find out about things like this if you see them in the comments. The Standard has very vague and misleading disclosures. From ‘About':

We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization.

The Standard doesn’t disclose it’s own connections and it protects it’s authors’ anonymity – Prentice says they are not anonymous because he knows their identity, but most of the authors’ identities are either not publicly disclosed or are vigorously protected. Attempts to speculate on identities is discouraged with threats of bans – threats and bans are the standard way of discouraging questioning anything to do with authors.

Apart from Prentice who are the authors? They state:

Why don’t you say who you are?

Some of the authors here use their real names, but others choose to blog anonymously for a variety of reasons. Some of us have professional reasons for doing so, others of us are reluctant to expose ourselves to the kind of personal threats sometimes made online.

While there is no formal disclosure some details about authors have dribbled out over time.

Mike Smith is Prentice’s co-trustee of The Standard. Until recently he worked in David Shearer’s leader’s office.

mickysavage (Greg Presland) is closely associated with David Cunliffe via his New Lynn electorate committee and recently became known as the lawyer behind Cunliffe’s secret donations trust.

Ben Clark stood for Labour last election and is the brother of MP David Clark.

Stephanie Rodgers is “a member of the Ohariu LEC and campaign team I’m obviously very biased, but Ginny is a fabulous candidate and a wonderful person.”

Geoff has started to post and you can get an idea of where he’s coming from in Judith vs John and Moving Collins On.

Bunji is relatively mild but does his bit for the team. See John Key challenged!

Zetetic is unlikely to have been used by Trevor Mallard as some have alleged but has  fairly obvious intent. See Cabinet Club.

The ‘Eddie’ handle seems to be in remission at the moment but had strong hints of various internal hands.

Karol is currently the odd one out claiming to be a Green supporter.

James Henderson seems to have retired from The Standard but had close Green connections (which may have turned red again).

And the author messages are not to be messed with. Criticising authors is severely frowned on, proving them wrong usually invites wrath commonly leads to being banned.

Prentice illustrates this in his latest thread.

[lprent: That may be your opinion - and I'd say that it is impossible to tell. Go and raise your pet lies, assertions and conspiracies on your own post on your own blog or comment in Open Mike. Don't do it on mine, they really are just a diversion troll.

My post is almost entirely about David Farrar and Cameron Slater being a complete dickheads stalking Cunliffe with silly picture posts. ]

‘Diversion troll’ is Lyn-speak for questioning his bull and bluster.

But the post isn’t about the image it is about Farrar and the bloated moron being dickhead stalkers. So this is your warning. Try Open Mike for conspiracy theories.. or return to the banned… ]

Lyn is the only one who can refer to images apparently.

[lprent: I didn't say that you did. I said that David Farrar did? Is this a sockpuppet? But you didn't heed my warnings about what I the author considered this post to be about. Do not repeat the offense for which you got warned - banned 2 months. That is one fast way to de-amnesty yourself. ]

Lyn-speak translated means that if you say something they don’t want said you will be banned.

[deleted]

[lprent: Banned 4 weeks. ]

That one may have been fair enough.

As the most widely-read and influential leftwing blog in New Zealand, The Standard is a great platform to get yourself heard.

Only if you toe the line and are accepted as one of the comrades.

But there has been a significant change of tone at The Standard over the last few weeks. The resident trolls are protected from this sort of moderation for obvious reasons, anyone deemed a threat to Labour can be freely attacked, abused and harassed.

Some trolls are specialists at trying to initiate bans on people they decide are not welcome. They frequently make things up (lie). And the end game is for Prentice to use an excuse to ban them.

When Prentice posts about sockpuppets and desperation wry and black comedy (inadvertent) come to mind. There’s plenty of same old, but it seems to be deteriorating into sad farce. Debate on the left is dire.

The abuse will continue until the disillusioned absentee voters return to Labour. /wry

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 227 other followers