Legal action via media

There’s been a number of prominent examples of people using legal action in parallel with media campaigns.

This week Colin Craig launched a media blitz before even filing defamation action, and he has continued to work the media as much as he can via follow up interviews and social media promotion.

If his claims against Jordan Williams, John stringer and Cameron Slater hold up then it will have been a nasty campaign against Craig.

But why would Slater in particular make accusations he couldn’t back up knowing that Craig had a history of legal action? Slater has a lot of experience in legal actions so will have been well aware of the risks and what caution was prudent.

And the way Craig has used the media as his main form of attack questions his credibility in some ways. He seems to be more intent on fighting a PR battle using the threat of defamation as one of a number of tools.

It looks more like grandstanding than defending his integrity.

The timing may be influenced by Craig’s obvious ambition to get enough support in the Conservative Party to be reinstated as leader.

Is he playing to the party audience? To some extent that must be his aim.

But when legal action – presuming he follows through with defamation proceedings – is overwhelmed by a media blitz then it appears that legal resolution is not the main aim.

And if it gets to court the public campaigning may be taken into account in making any judgement of possible damages.

Craig has drawn more attention to what has happened and what has allegedly happened than anyone else, and he continues to do this via media.

Even if, despite all the self generated publicity, he manages to get a favourable court decision that will probably take too long for him politically.

He appears to want to be Conservative leader soon and to contest the election in 2017.

Sure if his claims are correct he has reason to feel aggrieved but his political comeback seems to be his primary focus, and legal threats look to be one of a number of means towards an intended end.

This looks very political, so that plus Craig’s media blitz must raise questions about the potential effectiveness of any threatened legal action.

Craig can reasonably be questioned what his priority is, resurrecting his political career or his personal integrity.

Is this legal action via media? Or media action with legal threats thrown in?

(Note to Craig: you have a right of reply)

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17 Comments

  1. By my count, Mr Slater now has 4 current legal actions against him, and I am also given to understand that he is a self-represented litigant in every single one of them. As someone who has been a self-represented litigant (and as a blogger who won their case – see below), I am mindful of just how much time is required to defend one action – I can’t even imagine defending four.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10081333/Judge-backs-bloggers-fight-against-fraud

    Lot’s of opinion is flying around the blogosphere on this action taken by Craig, and the media (culpable it seems in gratuitously running “hit” pieces without the apparent due diligence to check the stories at source, or the evidence of claim) have been utterly caught with their pants down, hence the default to mocking and scorn, which is a classic response to being humiliated -and let’s be very clear – the media have indeed been humiliated in this saga.

    I read in the Craig pamphlet that Mr Slater seems to have a “blind spot” when it comes to Craig – if Mr Slater has a blind spot, then the mainstream media have a total eclipse when it comes to Craig 🙂

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  31st July 2015

    He could open himself up to a counter-suit if his actions fail.

    Reply
    • Hi Alan,

      When was the last time Mr Craig lost a law suit?

      When was the last time Mr Slater lost a law suit?

      I’m inclined to go where the evidence leads – and in the end, evidence will be what determines the outcome, not the media froth-fest we are observing at the moment.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  31st July 2015

        I have no opinion on the merits of the case either way, Steve. But both sides cannot be right. I just hope it doesn’t come down to who has the best lawyers.

        Reply
        • Hi Alan,

          “Both sides cannot be right” – this also seems to be Craigs position, and thus he is apparently seeking a legitmate adjudicator (the Court) for a legally substantial outcome, based not on conjecture, opinion, political lean, or just “I don’t like Colin Craig, I think he’s (fill in the blank for nominated personal criticism or attack) so he must be wrong” confirmation bias, but evidence.

          Tyrant: Please see above.

          Reply
  3. Mike C

     /  31st July 2015

    I watched Paul Henry treat Colin Craig like shit on his morning show yesterday, and Colin Craig handled Henrys rude taunting behaviour extremely well.

    Paul Henry can be very biased towards his guests and subject matter at times, and it looked and sounded like Henry was Craigs self-appointed Judge and Jury in the Paul Henry Kangaroo Court.

    Colin Craig has a very pedantic pernickity type of personality, and there is no way he would be taking Slater to Court unless he had strong evidence supporting his case.

    I have no problem with Colin Craig utilizing the Media to explain his case better to the multitudes, and I would love Colin to engage on here, because this is the only unbiased Political Blog in New Zealand, and he would be treated with respect, unlike other blogs.

    Reply
    • Agreed, I would so much prefer interviewers to interview, ask questions and not make statements. Patrick Gower vs Andrew Little was just as bad re the “cooked-up” figures – repulsive. Ask the questions by all means, then let the viewers decide.

      Reply
  4. Colin Craig is an idiot – who on earth carries on like this in the media – Slater will no doubt be holing much info not yet in the public domain, and i am pretty sure he will be ready to share it with us

    Reply
  5. Tyrant: It is indeed possible that Slater may believe that he is holding more information. I’m mindful however that beliefs have consequences – especially if it turns out that the “belief” Slater has is not correct.

    That is why discovery is going to play such a transparent role in this whole process – and interestingly, it seems that it is Craig who wishes to champion the discovery process – which to my mind at least, kind of innoculates the “but wait, there’s more, you’ll see” responses from the named defendants in the matters at hand.

    Craig has seemingly intentionally handed Williams, Slater, and Stringer the “goldest” of golden opportunities to “dump” whatever they believe (there’s that word again) they have into the discovery process.

    We, the people, will know soon enough who, to coin Mr Wilkinsons phrase, is “right”, as the Law of Non-Contradiction correctly posits that both cannot be so.

    Reply
  6. Mike C

     /  31st July 2015

    @AlanW

    Usually in defamation cases like these, the outcome is less likely to be determined by who has “The Best Lawyer”, and more likely decided by who is “The Best Liar”. LOL.

    Reply
  7. Pete Kane

     /  31st July 2015

    Whilst Whale oil retains the public prominence of the three, it is Jordan Williams who has become one of the many ‘go to guys’ within the mainstream media. It will be interesting to watch this play out. Reputational damage can be very real in such a small society – and even smaller beltway.

    Reply
    • Mike C

       /  31st July 2015

      @PeteKane

      Do you know how Jordan Wiliams manages to earn a living from the “Tax Payers Union” and exactly how much he gets paid as its “Executive Director” ???

      Reply
      • Pete Kane

         /  1st August 2015

        Mike – No. But I’d be surprised if some (or their connections) weren’t named in the NBR”s latest big story regarding a particular list of certain NZers and their families weren’t contributing.

        Reply
        • Pete Kane

           /  1st August 2015

          Sorry Mike ‘were named’ not weren’t named. Although anyone following these ‘characters’ would have worked out my typo.

          Reply
          • Pete Kane

             /  1st August 2015

            Sorry Mike still got were and weren’t mixed up – to early. You get my point – it’s big money backing that that oh so altruistic and lovely bunch in the Taxpayers ‘Union’ in business.

            Reply
        • Mike C

           /  1st August 2015

          @PeteKane

          So, in other words, Jordan Williams receives payment from a bunch of very rich people … in exchange for trying to change public opinion and government spending regarding whatever topics are going to financially benefit his benefactors?

          Reply
          • Pete Kane

             /  1st August 2015

            Yes Mike. Although oddly enough for decades I’ve been surprised at how little (officially anyway) ‘big money’ interests chuck in to the mainstream political right given what the stakes are. I mean just at the business case level with things like tax rates, privatised services (SERCO) etc means a lot of money at stake.

            Having said that there have always been all sorts of organisations that have provided an income for right wing politicos not employed by parliamentary/ministerial services. And I’m not talking Fed Farmers (who have their obvious opposites in the unions) but not for profit trusts (rescue helicopters etc) and the like. Where as for much of the left its more likely to have been the dole rather than a salary.

            Reply

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