Key on bloggers

For the first time that I’m aware John Key has condemned Cameron Slater for his apparent involvement in a smear campaign against the Serious Fraud Office as revealed by the email that precipitated the resignation of Judith Collins.

NZ Herald reports PM condemns Slater as Cunliffe slams inquiry:

When questioned, he condemned Mr Slater for his role in what appeared to be a smear campaign on the Serious Fraud Office.

Key also took a swipe at Labour’s use of bloggers:

And he took a swipe at Labour’s failed attempts to dig dirt on him, and at the “three or four” staffers in Mr Cunliffe’s office that wrote in the left-wing blogosphere.

“It’s a known fact that Jason Ede in my office talked to a blogger. There are people in your office who have written on blogs.

“It happens on your side and you know it … and I can name them if you want me to.”

To an extent at least that’s factually correct. For example Clint Smith currently works in Cunliffe’s office (and has worked for the Greens) and has been a Standard author in the past. Mike Smith is a trustee and author at The Standard and last year worked in David Shearer’s office.

The other Standard trustee Lynn Prentice reacted to Key on Twitter:

@thestandard – so far I have heard @johnkeypm impune our site a number of times. Sleazy dirty arsehole – just like @Whaleoil

I asked “You wouldn’t impune another site at all, would you Lynn?”

Nope. I impune people. Particularly those obsessing on ours. Looks at your tags.

He had just referred to @Whaleoil as a “Sleazy dirty arsehole” – while that Twitter handle is used by Cameron Slater ‘Whale Oil’ is a blog site.

And Prentice frequently criticises blogs. Like in The desperation of the National’s sockpuppets:

Then lo and behold within a week, it turns up on one of the Nationally funded blogs like Kiwiblog or Whaleoil. Still unverified. Still without proof. Still not a story that any journalist would touch because it would violate the press council rules.

And on Wakeup call for the media – has Slater done us all a favour?

Like a laser, a non-story would pumped back and forth between Whaleoil and Kiwiblog, each remarking on what the other had said, until journos started to write stories about “allegations” raised by the blogs.

The arseholes of the net will choose to hang off the self-destructive like Slater or dive into the older sewer at Kiwiblog. The more rational will come here or to Public Address or Transport Blog where the conversations may be robust but their comments can be heard.

Prentice raises some valid points especially in his post The desperation of the National’s sockpuppets but also makes unsubstantiated assertions about blogs, especially regarding the funding of them.

Prentice has a history of denying links between Labour and The Standard but they don’t stack up – see:

It was significant that Key finally publicly condemned Slater in last night’s debate, albeit on one specific issue and not for Whale Oil’s wider efforts to undermine opponents, democracy and political debate. Key has failed to condemn enough, but at least this is a start.

Expect Slater to react today.

Key also poked a stick at Labour’s connection with blogs that provoked a typical reaction of denial from Prentice. At least Key has made a start in acknowledging condemning dirty blogger politics.

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