Josh Forman and blogs

Josh Forman isn’t a name that’s well known in the blogosphere but that could be changing.


Josh Forman works closely with Annette King, his own emails show that.

Labour’s own willingness to play dirty politics team has now been busted. Their sanctimony in parliament is shown for what is is worth.

Andrew Little should very carefully ask some serious questions about the role of his deputy in Labour’s own dirty politics. In particular he should ask about the Health system information that Annette King is sharing with josh Forman and also the information that Annette King has regarding the EQC and CERA that was passed by Josh Forman to both her and to myself for the purposes of asking OIA requests in order to embarrass the minister responsible.

Slater has had some communication with Foreman, as posted last month in An Idea and a Challenge where an email was quoted:

Hey Cam,

Thanks for running my post about Bradbury ‘The Daily Poison’ on your site today. Generated somewhere around a thousand extra hits and counting.

I have to be honest, during the Dirty Politics saga at the last election I took the media line that you were a feral dog of a man to be true.

Funnily enough, since I have taken my time to read through some of your stuff, I can see that you are actually a pretty reasonable sort of character, most of the time, much like I am, most of the time.

For me, while sensationalist stuff may be exciting, I would much rather have a contest of ideas based on policy and general national direction rather than personality fights, and to do this, the centre left needs to engage with the centre right more, instead of constantly fighting off the deluded bastards the nip at our heals from their hideout slightly to the left of Leningrad.

Long term, I want to build my site to be the a centrist, though slightly left force to be reckoned, that can engage in meaningful debate with the right, instead of focusing on the small self interested groups that make a lot of noise, but represent a tiny minority of the public.

In my view, The Standard and The Daily Blog should be and be seen to be representatives of the tiny minority that they actually espouse the views of.

I would be happy to work with you to build such a blog, if doing so meant that you actually had a decent online adversary to engage with on a policy level, hailing from the left. I know it may seem like a counter intuitive suggestion, right working with left, but there isn’t enough of it in NZ and it may do us all some good.

Think about it, and get in touch if you are interested.


Josh Foreman

And a comment suggests change of status for the Slightly Left of Centre blog.

LOL, it seems “slightly left of centre” is now “please wait to be invited before you can see anything” (see screenshot). Is that the rattling of a gate being closed after the horse has bolted?

And a new post at Whale Oil: Josh Forman and his attempt to leak information from his government job

Little did he know that I had smelled a rat some days ago and set him up.

He details how this was done, then concludes:

Time now for Andrew Little to step up and instead of joking or going all feral like yesterday in parliament he should get some straight answers out of Annette King.

Labour have been busted doing what they have always done but professed not to do. Their sanctimony has been exposed.

Addressing Slater ist streng verboten

Pete Belt’s heavy handed ‘moderation’ at Whale Oil has earned him the nickname of Goebbels (Godwin’s law applies to discussions, not posts). Here is an example of why.


Incidentally it seems my own (slightly lengthy) comment on the same subject has gone. Not sure whether it’s moderated or yet another of those quirky bugs in Disqus.

The whole “Us vs. Them” approach by many road users needs to stop.


[MOD] I’m just staring at it now. It was auto sidelined because of one or more key words triggered it for review.

It fails against our rules. You do not get to use Cameron’s own blog to attack Cameron personally. If you have something personal to say, email him. Otherwise, go try and start a fight somewhere else.

Things have been rather peaceful here of late, and I really don’t need anyone to create conflict by making it personal.

This highlights two things.

Addressing issues with Cameron Slater on Whale Oil is strictly forbidden – unless of course it is praise, comments lauding Whale Oil seem to dominate the threads there now.

More insidious is “auto sidelined because of one or more key words triggered it for review”.

In this case the trigger keyword was probably ‘Cameron’ or ‘Slater’. Whale Oil seems to operate on an automatic censorship system that filters out comments that have one of apparently many banned or trigger words.

If comments get caught by this electronic net – and there have been numerous reports of comments disappearing – then they will only be released at the whim of the Minister of Propaganda.

They can operate their blog however they like at Whale Oil but discussions and debates can’t be relied on to be open and frank. It’s quite likely one side of arguments is suppressed, and some topics never get aired due to keyword traps.

There’s no guarantee the comments threads are anything but orchestrated extensions of posts with strict message control.

Key has apologised to Slater

John Key has apologised to Cameron Slater for releasing a personal email. Stuff reports John Key says sorry to Whale Oil.

The prime minister has apologised to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater over the release of an email that forced Justice Minister Judith Collins’ resignation.

An email from Slater, obtained and released by Key, implicated Collins in the smear against her own official, saying she had been “gunning” for SFO director Adam Feeley.

Collins resigned, insisting she would clear her name. Key called an inquiry. Slater countered by lodging a privacy complaint against the prime minister for disclosing a personal email.

The email indicated Feeley may have been the target of a campaign to undermine him involving two bloggers, Cathy Odgers and Slater, and seemingly endorsed by Collins.

Justice Lester Chisholm is due to present his report to the prime minister this week. It is likely to clear Collins of any illegal actions. However, the bloggers may be the subject of criticism.

Despite this, Key has been forced to say sorry to Slater and Key’s office has confirmed: “The Prime Minister recently wrote to Mr Slater to apologise.”

But he stood by his actions. “The Prime Minister believes, however, it was in the public interest to release the email in question publicly,” a spokeswoman said.

The Prime Minister’s Office said it would not release the letter as it related to a privacy issue, but it was up to Slater to decide if he wished to make it public.

Slater yesterday agreed to issue a copy of the letter.

In it, Key says there was “intense media and public interest in matters concerning you and Judith Collins, following the publication of the book Dirty Politics”, creating an “election issue”.

Slater’s email raised serious questions about Collins’ conduct, he says. “In my view the reasons for Ms Collins’ resignation were of real and legitimate public concern, and it was in the public interest that the fullest possible factual background be available.”

But Key acknowledges the release of the email provoked increased media scrutiny of Slater and his family. “I regret any harm that may have been caused to you or your family by the release of the email, and hope that this letter may help to bring this matter to a close.”

The report from an inquiry into an alleged smear campaign against the boss of the Serious Fraud Office is due out soon (by Friday 28th).

Neither Collins nor the bloggers were willing to comment before the report was released.

That’s understandable.

Whale Oil still in message control mode

NZ Herald reported this morning: Len Brown scandal journalist Stephen Cook on P charges

The journalist who broke the story of the Len Brown and Bevan Chuang sex scandal has appeared in court on methamphetamine charges.

Stephen John Cook, 46, came before Manukau District Court this morning on charges of possessing the class A drug and a glass pipe used to smoke it.

Cook gained publicity last year when he teamed up with WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater to publish details of the mayor’s high-profile affair.

The alleged offending which brought him before the court today stemmed from an incident in Auckland on Saturday.

Tonight there was a comment on Whale Oil’s Backchat that was presumably related to this. It asked that as Slater was so opposed to drunk driving what he thought of P.

Soon afterwards the comment disappeared.

If the journalist charged was someone like David Fisher it would be likely to feature in at least one prominent scathing post on Whale Oil.

Slater said recently:

I am very happy with where we are placed, and very happy with where we are going.

Big things are going to happen soon, and then you will see why it is that we have headed in this direction.

Going in the direction of suppression of discussion about unfavourable news is not a good lead in to a new media enterprise.

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.

Not a right wing blog

This isn’t a right wing blog. Nor is it a left wing blog. It’s an open blog where I can post what interests me, promote what is important to me, and encourage wide ranging discussion – which happens to be one of my interests. A lot of our political discussion seems to be silo-ed into left or right but I think it’s important to debate across the political divide.

On some things I lean right – we need free enterprise and free trade. On some things I lean left – we need social welfare. One of the challenges of politics is getting a good balance. If we have more successful business and more and better paying jobs that reduces the need for welfare – but means we can afford to help those who genuinely need state assistance more.

My first interest in blogs was participation for several years at Aardvark - I just checked, Bruce is still sort of keeping things going there having just revived forums.

Then I found Kiwiblog and jumped in there. I was painted as a leftie but found the challenge there a lot of fun. I’ve been quite prolific in comments there but that has reduced substantially over the last year or two.

After a while I looked around and found The Standard. I was recognised as being “from Kiwiblog” so was immediately painted as a rightie. That made it even more challenging there and it has continued like that, they tend shun anyone deemed to be not one of them, regardless of what you say.

I’ve also dabbled on a number of other blogs including Whale Oil, Public Address, The Daily Blog, red Alert, and have been banned from all of them (and a number of times from The Standard). Criticisms have ranged from being to bland and boring (I’m sure I have been at times) and being to provocative and contrary – DPF’s “fomenting happy mischief” is a practice I sometimes enjoy.

I have generally enjoyed debates on the right more, because people on the right seem more inclined to argue the issues one to one on their merits. Sure it can get very robust, but that’s healthy in debate, especially in politics.

The political left seems more abusive, exclusive and pack orientated, where “if you’re not with us you’re against us” seems a common mentality – but the right isn’t immune from that as Whale Oil is currently demonstrating.

The “Dirty Politics” attempt to swing the election has become a one-sided “right bad, left perfect” campaign.

I have experienced bad abuse from the right, and there’s a few dishonest regulars at Kiwiblog who lie and abuse to try and discredit, with little or no attempt to debate.

But abuse and harassment has been worse from the left, for me at least. They may not be as extreme and direct as Cameron Slater but the intent and the practices are just as dirty in their own way – they also try to discredit and drive away alternate opinions.

And until Whale Oil’s clampdown on dissent and alternative views the left was clearly the worst for censorship.

So I’m sort of in the middle politically but swing either way depending on what makes sense to me. I’ve voted both ways over the years – I think governing competence is more important than election campaign inspired policies.

And this isn’t a left wing or a right wing (or a centrist) blog.

It aims to offer something a bit different – open debate across the spectrum, with an emphasis on robust but respectful debate backed by as many facts as possible (one thing that seems to get up the noses of some blogs is arguing against them with facts).

Many in political blogging want to impose their opinions, their ideals, their favoured parties and politicians. And in doing that they often try to exclude alternate views, frequently through name calling, abusing and making false accusations.

Your NZ is for something different – debate from all sides is welcome and encouraged. We can learn a lot by exploring issues with the other side of the argument.

It’s a well used phrase but right or wrong versus right or left.

And accepting that right or wrong is often not simple or binary. Sometimes it’s looking for the least bad alternative, as in dealing with the ongoing problems in the Middle East.

This is not a right wing blog, but people who consider themselves right wing, or left wing, are welcome to contribute.

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.

Pete Belt explains again

Pete belt has being doing a lot of explaining at Whale Oil lately, and he should know what Cameron Slater thinks of explaining.

In response to feedback on TRAVIS LEAVES WHALEOIL he has posted a follow up comment.

Travis has alluded to it – I deliberately oversimplified things. It isn’t just about swearing. The reason Travis has chucked in the towel is that a lot of the people he enjoyed conversing with have been blocked. I’ve tightened up the rules over time to include things like “do not debate Cam directly in the comments, use email”.

That still oversimplifies things. From what Travis has said it’s not just about “people he enjoyed conversing”. He said:

It is sad to see so many former loyal readers tossed aside like a bag of shit, readers that the blog built it’s base on. Intelligent people, business owners, all sorts of decent people. I have witnessed on several occasions now in recent weeks where people have been banned or severely warned for dissenting views. To be treating adult humans as though they are children that need behavioural control and told what not to say is patently wrong.

Then Pete switches from Travis’ friends to ‘trolls’.

The reasons for this are very good – most trolls will come in and have a go at Cam personally. It’s a net I use to catch a lot of stuff that has no place here. But it also has had the effect of catching people who are genuine commenters who wanted to have a debate with Cam on the blog. Few realised Cam was hardly ON the blog, but that’s another issue.

The banning binge has been far more indiscriminate than that.

Everything has a reason. But in the end, the bolshy types started falling by the wayside as they kept pushing. In the end, there was only one outcome.

Many have said they didn’t push, they were shoved out without warning and without knowing what they had done wrong.

One area where Travis is particularly unfair is that Whaleoil, and it’s ‘staff” have been through hell and back over the last 6 months. We have been under organised and sustained attacks to try and destroy us – as a blog, and as people.

I don’t think he’s been unfair at all there. This sounds like more ‘poor us’ syndrome. Yes, things have been tough for Whale Oil over the last few months, but that’s not sufficient excuse for the draconian reaction.

In a way, Travis leaving is another Dirty Poltics “win”, in my mind. Another man down. But the barrage of trolls and deliberate attempts to start conflict was so intense and sustained, there is no doubt in my mind some of our own got caught in the cross fire.

This has also been tried in comments on Whale Oil – the ‘if you complain or react you are letting “Dirty Politics” win method of squashing dissent.

And Pete is ignoring the fact that the changes and the banning binges started happening well before “Dirty Politics” was launched.

That’s what the amnesty after the election was about. At the time, we were barely holding on. There were times I was doing nothing but read, delete and block for a whole day. It was insane. This was at the time where we all were under scrutiny, and it was hard to know who was a friend being critical and who was a political operative intent on destroying Whaleoil.

That’s nonsense. A number of longstanding commenters and supporters of Whale Oil were purged. Pete must have known and Cameron will have known that the net was being cast far wider than a few new trolls.

Travis told me the amnesties haven’t worked because nobody that got culled wants to come back.

That’s because in effect to be reinstated you were told to grovel and were also told there was little chance of success – according to what Peter has said:

8. can I ask for a review?  are there amnesties?  is that it, forever?

No.  Sometimes.  Probably.

An admission that indiscriminate banning went too far…

Anyway, he alluded to it, and I think he’s earned this addendum – there have been people that have been blocked that probably shouldn’t have been. But then there are also those that never stopped needling – a bit like Travis, in fact. And in the end, enough was enough.

…Travis says he walked, he wasn’t pushed.

At this stage, the people who are blocked are all speaking from how it has affected them,

This isn’t correct. I’ve seen many people speaking about how they think it has affected Whale Oil too.

with little or no regard for the way it is going against what Cameron Slater wants. I may be the poisoned voice that whispers in Cam’s ear, but nothing gets done unless he’s on board.

Cameron wants many old and loyal supporters and commenters banished from his blog? I’d be interested to hear his take on that.

Sadly, Travis, and others, have needs from Whaleoil that Cam is no longer wanting to cater for. And I am the whipping boy because I’m the one that’s actually making a lot of the day to day judgments.

He no longer wants people with independent thoughts and a willingness to express their opinions and to debate?

Whaleoil is more than a place for some blokes to come shoot the breeze. It’s part of a larger plan. It has to provide reliable income for the Slater family. It needs to pay my outrageous fees.

Real reason #1 – money. The cleansing was to keep the advertising necessary to pay the bills and wages. Fair enough.

In closing, Cam Slater, and/or Whaleoil, were in the news every day for a month, and not in a good way. Nobody else has been put under the amount of pressure that we were under. In the mean time, we tried to run a blog. This is while we were subject to commissions of inquiry, we had major privacy breaches, and we were committing to legal action we couldn’t afford to pay. It was insane.

And many thought the draconian and erratic ‘moderation was and is insane – and it began before the pressure piled on.

Against this backdrop, Travis’ needs, and those of his commenting friends…

As already said it’s far wider than Travis and a few friends.

…that are no longer with us, really didn’t register. Some pretty quick and dirty decisions were made to ensure we survived this period, and this included pushing away any negativity, even if it came from within.

But this all still ignores what Cameron posted today:

I am very happy with where we are placed, and very happy with where we are going.

Big things are going to happen soon, and then you will see why it is that we have headed in this direction.

The media landscape in New Zealand is about to change forever.

It might seem mean…bit FIFO applies.

So participation and support don’t matter now, Whale Oil is moving on to new things and those who helped it’s past success don’t matter now.

That’s Cameron’s call. Perhaps he thinks he can build a new audience. He must be confident because he should know that when you kick a loyal audience it’s difficult to win back trust and credibility.

And despite what he claims:

It won;t become an echo chamber, I refuse to allow this site to become like Twitter has become, or like the 3News site where ranty, abusive and shouty leftists just howl down other peoples ideas.

There are other types of echo chambers than ranty howly ones – and Whale Oil has become one – like a well oiled PR machine, with any sign of dissent papered over or pushed aside.

That doesn’t sound like a change to the media landscape. Whale Oil used to be a change. It seems to be becoming something very similar to what they claim they are going to take over from.

It’s going to be a challenge to succeed despite both Dirty Politics and the discarding of a significant audience.

If this proves too difficult Pete Belt might have quite a bit more explaining to do. And Cameron knows what that means in his language.

Whaleoil, sex and dissent in the ranks

From the outside for some many it has been obvious that all is not well at Whale Oil, with many once regular and loyal supporters adding to the list of those saying they have been excommunicated.

It is apparent that all is not well within as well. A difference between blog moderators surfaced today.

It happened on yet another of the increasing number of bizarre posts – IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE: WHALEOIL OR SEX?

WO - Travis 1As has become common it is hard to differentiate the post from the advertising, so that was a normal sort of bizarre. But the opening comments raise eyebrows even more about what is going on at Whale Oil.

WO - Travis 2

Whaleoil or sex? One things for sure, the woman wouldn’t have to worry about being banned from sex, or worry about rules concerning what she could or couldn’t say during said act of intercourse, nor would she be banned from the bed for disagreeing with the method in which the sex takes place.

Wow. Passive aggressive. Why not just send your resignation? I thought we did this sort of thing away from front-of-house?

I think Travis has been a moderator at Whale Oil since Cameron Slater started to build a team to help him, although over the past few months he has been fairly quiet with Pete seeming to virtually take over the blog and lead the purges.

It sounds like Travis is not in full agreement with how things are going.

And it sounds like Pete is not very happy with the problems being brought to the surface – although he has done as much to bring this to attention as anything.

It’s not surprising to see a fall out, it’s pretty obvious to most that annoying and banning your loyal followers is unlikely to turn out well.

What is surprising is that Cam doesn’t see the damage that’s being done – or perhaps he’s over it and doesn’t care.

UPDATE: the comment by Travis has been deleted but Pete’s remains.

WO - Travis 3

On Whale Oil discussion

It’s good to see the ongoing issues at Whale Oil discussed here – Whale Oil now an edited publication, not an open forum

I agree with Greg at least in part. I hope Freed works, more news/political media of any type is good, especially major media. I think it needs to be a lot more than Cam though, he could certainly provide a significant contribution but it needs to be more than Whale Oil re-invented.

Like most here I applaud some of what Cam has achieved with Whale Oil, but I think the change of direction in comments policy could be a major setback. WO did very well being an inclusive blog and then shat on many regular and long standing supporters.

I also condemn illegally obtaining emails and other communications, that has very troubling connotations for democracy, something many of the fans of Hager’s (et al) “Dirty Politics” fail to appreciate.

But what was revealed (or expanded on) has been severely damaging to Cam’s credibility, especially regarding paid for attacks and campaigns.

He has also been isolated from some of his previous strengths, his political connections and tipsters, and his media liaisons. It could be difficult for him to rebuild his credibility there.

If Cam puts a lot of his efforts into Freed then Whale Oil may have passed it’s peak.

Is Pete Belt effectively becoming WO operator with occasional Cam cameos? That’s how it looks at the moment, time will tell if WO is effectively under new management.

Pete is talking about quality over quantity but I think both have dropped substantially. The Beef has diminished substantially, it’s now less a steak and more more like beef flavoured sausage.

News and scoops seem to have just about disappeared, as have many commenters. Many of the posts are dross, some of the posts are revolting dross. It might make for effective click bait and stoke WO statistics but it keeps reducing credibility and serious readability.

Power in politics and in media is a numbers game, but the stature of the numbers matters as much if not more than the raw quantity. Thirty two opposition Caucus members have far less power than twenty Cabinet members and less power even than one Prime Minister.

Ten fungal toenails have a different impact to one firm finger.

The statistics show that WO is still a major player but time will tell whether the changes are setting up for a new era or have tipped the blog down a mud covered slippery slop.


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