Fairfax face factless feckless Peters

Fairfax have challenged allegations made by Winston Peters and warn of a “witch hunt”

The previous post Double standard with Peters and Norman points out that Winston Peters gets a lot of leeway from media, who sometimes aid and abet his attack politics.

But Peters has threatened one of the fundamentals of journalism – protecting sources.

He wants the police, or John Key, or the Privileges Committee (depending on his target at the time) to compel Peter Dunne to hand over evidence that bizarrely Peters says he has copies of.

Fairfax are fighting back, calling Winston on his bluff and bluster.

Attempts to get reporter’s emails ‘will be fought’

Fairfax Media will resist any attempt to force it to release private communication between its journalist and UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne.

Fairfax Group executive editor Paul Thompson said politicians should tread carefully before embarking on a witch hunt. That could have a chilling effect on how journalists covered politicians.

Fairfax would protect the communications between its journalists and any contacts, regardless of whether they were the source of sensitive information or not.

“The protection of our sources is paramount,” Thompson said.

“We will resist any attempt to force us to release that sort of information.

“It’s the most fundamental commitment we make to our sources. We will go as far as we need to to protect that information.”

The relationship between journalists and their sources was not just about “getting a great scoop for a newspaper” he said.

“It’s about keeping the public informed.

“We can’t trust the Government or officialdom to always tell us the truth. It’s about preserving the right of journalists to work in the way they need to work.”

I would expect strong support for this stance from other media and from many political commentators and bloggers.

And Thompson also strongly rejects one of Peters’ allegations.

On Firstline:

Rachel:  Was there anything in those emails that was potentially personally embarrassing to Mr Dunne?

Winston:  Yes.

And on Q+A:

CORIN So can you just give us a sense of the nature of what you’ve seen and you’ve claimed to have seen in these emails? Is it.. how does it.. what does it show about the nature of the relationship between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne? Do you think Peter Dunne was acting in an appropriate way?

WINSTON No.

CORIN In what way?

WINSTON Well, I don’t want to, you know, go down that path. It doesn’t-

CORIN Because Peter Dunne says he was absolutely professional, that this was simply just a case of a journalist talking to an MP. Are you saying that’s something different?

WINSTON Sadly, that statement is not true.

CORIN What evidence have you got to back that up?

WINSTON Sad for his staff as well, but, sadly, that statement’s not true.

CORIN Have you got evidence to back that up?

WINSTON Yes.

CORIN What is it?

WINSTON Well, again, I never have pursued that path.

And…

CORIN Why do you think he did leak it, if that’s the case?

WINSTON In a phrase – there’s no fool like an old fool.

CORIN What does that mean?

WINSTON You know what it means.

CORIN No, no, tell me.

WINSTON Well, I’ll leave it to you. I’m not going to head down that salacious path, but there’s no fool like an old fool.

Clear implications and accusations, all without any evidence – in fact without any admission of any specific evidence.

Thompson also rejected suggestions there was more to the relationship between Dunne and Vance.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has claimed to see emails that were personally embarrassing but Thompson said Fairfax was “absolutely” backing Vance.

This is a direct challenge to Peters’ bluster. In the presence of a strong denial and the absence of evidence it must be assumed that Peters is making things up.

Has Peters produced any evidence at all to back any of his accusations?

Winston NO

If Peters can’t put up any evidence one must assume he has been lying about having it.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Darryl

     /  10th June 2013

    Well if one believes Fairfax, then Winston Peters accusations are certainly questionable. He hasn’t proved anything, just made a lot of noise.

    Reply

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