First INCITE: Politics newsletter today

The first monthly newsletter from INCITE: Politics is due out today. As it is by subscription, and as it is  featuring political and business mercenary Cameron Slater I won’t be paying for it and won’t be quoting it here.

The name INCITE is a curious choice – at a glance it might seem like it’s taking the piss but editors Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk appear to be serious about this project.

Lusk allowing himself to be promoted on Story with Duncan Garner recently may not have been a coincidence.

When launched launched last week – see Incite Politics by subscription announced – contributing commentators were listed:

Comment will be provided across the political spectrum with contributions from:

Carrick Graham, Matthew Hooton, David Farrar, Chris Trotter, Jordan Williams, Cam Slater, Simon Lusk, Willie Jackson and many others.

Graham, Lusk and Hooton are well known political and business lobbiests who promote business or political interests for fees. It is known that Graham and Lusk have paid Slater for posts at Whale Oil – there have been claims that they have written material that has been posted under Slater’s name.

There must be some scepticism about the claim INCITE will be “a practical, dispassionate analysis of politics”.

By yesterday the contributor list had shrunk.

Carrick Graham, Matthew Hooton, David Farrar, Cam Slater, Simon Lusk, Willie Jackson and many others.

There had been questions asked about why a political subscription newsletter would be launched just as politics is winding down for the long summer break. Slater tried to explain yesterday:

Well, there are a number of reasons for that.

Firstly this report and the coming monthly reports are a bit different. All the contributors in the first issue and contributors in coming issues have signed up to deliver their thoughts in this report because it is going to be different. We are going to be forward looking not backwards looking. Have a look at all the political commentary since parliament rose for the break. It is all about what happened in the past year and nothing at all about what should happen. In due course Fairfax will do their annual prediction post but that is more about flippancy than about accuracy.

Politics for me has been a life long addiction/hobby/career. Just because lazy and inept politicians and the equally lazy media have gone on holiday doesn’t mean we should stop talking about politics. The issues that matter to voters don’t go away over Christmas.

But interest in thinking and talking about the issues does dissipate for at least a month. It’s bills that don’t go away, and some have suggested this is an alternative revenue attempt as Whale Oil business model seems to be waning.

The launch of INCITE on Whale Oil last week didn’t attract much attention, with only ten comments, five of which were by Slater and Pete Belt. Yesterday’s promo only attracted one comment.

That suggests a lack of interest in paid content from Slater. His free content has hardly been riveting lately. Whale Oilers will also be aware that any criticism or questioning would be inviting bans. Message control has been draconian there for the last eighteen months.

In what looks like vote of no confidence in the Whale Oil readership yesterday David Farrar posted a discount promo: 15% off for Kiwiblog readers.

Kiwiblog readers who want to subscribe to the monthly newsletter can get a 15% discount at this link.

Discounting via a rival website just prior to the first edition is certainly an interesting move. The on Kiwiblog will not be encouraging for INCITE.

One example, from Jimbo:

Most of those named commentators are well known for pushing unacknowledged interests and crafting opinions for murky paymasters.

Not sure why you would want to keep that sort of company, DPF. I certainly won’t subscribe.

Currently 20 upticks, 1 downtick.

Farrar responded:

I am happy to write and do polls for whomever will pay me.

That confirms presumptions that Farrar’s Curia polling company will be involved in “exclusive polling and polling analysis”.

The cost to produce INCITE won’t be insignificant. Contributions from Slater, Lusk and possibly Graham may be for free – cynics may suggest that Lusk and Graham may pay to have their client’s views promoted as has happened at Whale Oil.

But polling isn’t cheap. Farrar says he will be paid for his contributions, and others may want something for their efforts sold as exclusive as well.

Unless special mate’s rates and deferred payments are involved the cost of each edition must be in the thousands.

One hundred subscriptions at the monthly premium of $35 is only $3,500 which presumably includes GST.

On subscriptions, Tom Barker at Kiwiblog:

Annual subscribers beware. Slater was appointed editor of “Truth”- and it folded five months later. Don’t expect a refund on the balance of your subscription when his latest venture does the same.

A three month subscription has no discount, so those who are curious and not winding down for the year may take a one off look. They may be satisfied enough to keep paying for more. Or not.

The last comment currently on Kiwiblog: “I dunno. I admire the chutzpah.”

NOTE: If anyone has subscribed it will be interesting to hear what you think. Quoting examples is fine (I think Slater quotes paywalled NBR articles) but as it is subscription not too much please.

Leave a comment

46 Comments

  1. Kerry

     /  15th December 2015

    Surely people are not thick enough to buy an entire years subscription I give it 3 editions until the plug is pulled, and they launch there next scam to eek them through another few months.

    Reply
  2. Mefrostate

     /  15th December 2015

    Description of the components of Incite over on WO:

    Little in trouble – David Farrar writes about the fundamental problem for Andrew Little, his negative approval rating, and contrasts it with the very popular John Key.

    The Route to Victory – Simon Lusk considers the potential routes to victory and the relative institutional strengths of both the Labour and the National parties in the 2017 election.

    Ten Questions – Winston Peters takes the time to give some thoughtful answers to some important political questions.

    Politician of the Year – Review our choice for the inaugural INCITE: Politics Politician of the year.

    The Advent of the Media Party – Cam Slater writes about why the media have moved from neutral, dispassionate observers to players in the political game, and why the public no longer trusts them.

    Pundits & Media – Cam Slater’s view on the New Zealand media, with a counter view from Simon Lusk.

    The Grey Economy – Carrick Graham writes about the massive amounts of taxpayer money that goes to nanny state promoting NGOs.

    How to win at Politics – Cam Slater builds a case for the need for politics to be meritocratic.

    Maori Politics – Willie Jackson makes observations about the future of the Maori Seats, and whether the Maori Party can regain the seats it lost in 2014.

    Future Contenders – Simon Lusk explains the election process for Labour & National party leaders, providing background for a future series of articles on aspiring Prime Ministers and Leaders.

    Sex Offenders – David Garrett from the Sensible Sentencing Trust discusses how the justice system is still skewed towards the rights of sex offenders, not victims.

    Local Politician of the Year – We have two contenders and people may be surprised by our choices.

    Recommendations: Book, Podcast, Video & Web Site recommendations for those serious about politics.

    About half of this appears to be Slater’s usual biased opinions and rants. Farrar’s column will be meaningless since he’s such a JK fanboy by default. Graham’s writing will be crap given he spends his life undermining NGOs. Lusk’s articles appear the most non-partisan and critical. I’m not seeing a lot polling, I’m not seeing much that can’t be found elsewhere, and I’m not seeing enough to be worth the $35 price tag (more expensive than NBR, mind).

    Reply
    • jamie

       /  15th December 2015

      “The Advent of the Media Party – Cam Slater writes about why the media have moved from neutral, dispassionate observers to players in the political game, and why the public no longer trusts them.”

      I think he means ‘why the media have stopped talking to me since I became political kryptonite and have nothing to offer them.’

      Reply
  3. Joe Bloggs

     /  15th December 2015

    There are many flaws in this business model, but one in particular deserves comment. No, it’s not Slater’s toxic character or his pay-per-post social engineering programme – those grubby flaws need no comment). It’s this:

    The report will be . . . forward looking. . . . Instead of focussing on what has happened we will attempt to look at what is going to happen.

    Noble sentiments maybe, but “looking at what is going to happen” is much the same as fortune-telling, divination, prediction … and idle speculation.

    Riddle me this: how can one possibly produce insightful critical analysis without considering what has happened? How can one speculate about the future without considering the social and historical contexts within which possible future alternatives are shaped? One can’t. One simply passes wind…

    Speculation of this sort is idle gossip, pub-talk over a pint, particularly when Slater has been starved of political insight since Dirty Politics… and he certainly wasn’t forward-thinking/forward-looking enough to anticipate that fiasco

    Reply
    • Maureen W

       /  15th December 2015

      @ Joe Bloggs

      “Noble sentiments maybe, but “looking at what is going to happen” is much the same as fortune-telling, divination, prediction … and idle speculation”

      A National coalition will win the next election, Little will be rolled before then. How’s that for you?

      Reply
      • Mike C

         /  15th December 2015

        @Maureen

        That’s pretty good crystal ball gazing “Madam Maureen”. LOL.

        Can you now consult your ball and ask it what is going to happen to the Whale in the next 12 months 🙂

        Reply
        • Maureen W

           /  15th December 2015

          Note the “Incite” brand makes no mention of “Whaleoil”. As far as “serious politics” is concerned, no-one want’s to be associated with a tarnished brand – never hug a corpse and all that. I wouldn’t be surprised to see in renamed and repackaged as a google clicks harvester. As Kevin points out below in part .. “no blog owes any loyalty to it’s readers”.

          Reply
          • Mike C

             /  15th December 2015

            @Maureen

            “Never hug a Corpse and All That” … LOL.

            You’re absolutely right … Whale Oil is a corpse … and they are trying to reinvent themselves and leave the bad brand behind them 🙂

            Reply
            • alloytoo

               /  15th December 2015

              Not so much corpse at this point as Zombie, lurching along.

      • Kevin

         /  15th December 2015

        Actually that’s pretty good. Except I don’t think National will need a coalition to win the next election. As for rolling Little, possible if the “anti-Little you screwed Cunliffe” faction gets enough traction. But Little has gambled that Cunliffe is impotent even with Cunliffe’s supporters otherwise Little would have placed him in at number three.

        Reply
        • Maureen W

           /  15th December 2015

          Well Kevin, that all depends on things that can’t be predicated like Muslim Immigration policies, Ponytail Pulling, Apologising for being a Man, Bringing Dead Fish into Parliament and other human foibles.

          Reply
      • Joe Bloggs

         /  15th December 2015

        So I owe you $35 a month using the WO model??? haha, I admire your chutzpah and good luck with your newsletter 🙂

        Reply
    • Kevin

       /  15th December 2015

      There’s nothing in what you quoted to say that Incite won’t be considering what has happened. The quote just says it won’t be focussing on what’s happened but looking at what’s going to happen.

      As for crystal ball gazing the CIA have proved to be pretty good at it:

      http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2015/12/it-may-pay-to-listen-carefully-to-the-cia/

      Reply
  4. mrMan

     /  15th December 2015

    So I take it we’ve got no subscribers? Or is there a problem at the printers (did Dermot’s PDF publishing software crash?).

    Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  15th December 2015

    Basically it’s a pay-walled blog with no comments then?

    Reply
  6. Kevin

     /  15th December 2015

    If it can deliver exclusive, powerful and time-sensitive information then there’s no doubt it will succeed. After all politics is war and wars are often won by getting information first.

    Reply
    • Maureen W

       /  15th December 2015

      @ Kevin
      Yes, you only had to have had a look at the KB response to it yesterday – 0/43, the dazzling response on WO, and the realisation that many people who used to follow WO for political insight got booted off the blog. Who are the customers exactly Kevin???

      Reply
      • Kevin

         /  15th December 2015

        Politicians, journalists, and people in the political game.

        Reply
        • Maureen W

           /  15th December 2015

          Bryce Edwards on Twitter ..
          “Anyone reading the new Slater/Lusk/Farrar Incite thing? Only reaction I’ve seen: “the political equivalent of Hosking vacuuming his car”

          Reply
        • Joe Bloggs

           /  15th December 2015

          Hahaha, you really crack me up Kevin…what on God’s pleasant earth makes you think that politicians, journalists, and people in the political game don’t already have their own access to exclusive, powerful, and time-sensitive information?

          Reply
          • Maureen W

             /  15th December 2015

            A “circle-jerk”?

            Reply
          • Kevin

             /  15th December 2015

            From the way some of them act. 🙂

            Reply
            • Maureen W

               /  15th December 2015

              @ Kevin
              You’d have to wonder then, why it was only promoted on the Whaleoil until yesterday, given the blog has not provided any particular political insight for about a year now and is more likely political poison for “insiders, politicians, journalists and the like”.

        • jamie

           /  15th December 2015

          @ Kevin: “Politicians, journalists, and people in the political game.”

          I think you have it the wrong way around. Those are the people Cameron used to get his info from. They don’t talk to him any more.

          Reply
    • Rob

       /  15th December 2015

      So what do you think of the 15% discount for kiwiblog readers and dick for the faithful Kev.

      Reply
      • Kevin

         /  15th December 2015

        Maybe Slater did a deal with Farrar where Farrar would provide exclusive poll-related information at a discount and Kiwiblog readers would get a 15% discount. Just a guess and I have no evidence if it’s true or not either way. But to me it’s a win/win deal and something I would have said yes to.

        As for “dick for the faithful” no blog owes any loyalty to it’s readers and no reader owes any loyalty to a blog. Whether a blog wants to offer a discount to it’s readers is up to the blog. It’s just business.

        Reply
        • “no reader owes any loyalty to a blog” you’re spot on there and he’ll soon see that.

          Reply
        • Joe Bloggs

           /  15th December 2015

          @Kevin

          to me it’s a win/win deal and something I would have said yes to

          maaate have I got a deal for you…. Forget about your Ginzu knives, your bullet blenders… this is the real deal, a great little harbour bridge, only slightly used, one careful owner…

          Reply
  7. http://www.incite.co.nz. Can’t even get the website

    Reply
  8. Loki

     /  15th December 2015

    Out of the country today so missed the massive launch.
    The kiwi net seems oddly silent about it. Did anybody get a copy?

    Reply
  9. MaureenW

     /  15th December 2015

    I do wonder what happened to “never hug a corpse” and “explaining is losing”

    From Chimp..

    ..As a first issue it’s a little lighter than I would like, because we weren’t just filling it, it also had to be created, a delivery and payment channel set up and tested, people approached to assist, and so on. We have more stuff to cover but ran out of time. So the next issue will be even better.

    Now. Who will the mystery MP be for the January issue? Any guesses? 😀

    Reply

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