Ardern has failed the left, apparently

I’ve seen comment in various places along the lines of how Jacinda Ardern could have embraced Metiria Turei’s sacrifice and led the revolution that would rescue new Zealand from a calamitous era of ‘neo-liberalism’.

Much of this is encapsulated here:

For there really was a window. An opportunity. Instead of playing her part in the political assassination of Metiria Turei, Ardern could have used her new position and her extraordinary popularity to stand by her side.

Together, she and Turei could have broken the siege that has prevented beneficiaries – which is to say, a significant portion of the working class – from leading a dignified life and participating in society.

Hope rippled around New Zealand’s far left that revolution was finally in the offing.

Yesterday, it was Jacinda Ardern’s turn to take the pledge, and she didn’t hesitate for a moment. ‘Yes,’ she said. Neoliberalism has failed. This may be what the majority of her supporters wanted to hear her say, but it also turned every other answer she gave in the course of the half-hour interview into a test of that premise.

This in turn underscored that it is one thing to look at Labour’s policies going into this election as a series of discrete (and largely desirable) interventions into various areas of New Zealand’s life; quite another to view them in aggregate as an expression of an overarching political project. Which – since the leader is so adamant that neoliberalism has failed the country – ought to be a project of anti-neoliberal reform.

It’s expecting rather a lot of a new leader who has risen in urgent circumstances leading in to an election to suddenly ignore all of the policy development done by her party over years and to adopt reforms demanded by a radical but small minority outside the party.

The term ‘neoliberal’ is often said to be excessively vague, but its value in this context was in fact to give specificity to Espiner’s line of questioning. Most obviously: would Ardern consider revisiting the Reserve Bank Act, the Public Finance Act or any of the other legislative instruments that have allowed the last four governments to put neoliberal reforms into practice?

The answer – need I say it – was no.

And in the process of the fairly gentle interrogation that followed, the much-vaunted boldness of the Ardern project evaporated.

She thinks that climate change is the ‘nuclear-free’ issue of our time, but wouldn’t commit to divesting from coal or even ceasing to issue new licenses for deep-sea oil exploration.

She wants to end child poverty, but wouldn’t resile from her predecessor’s foolish commitment to contain spending to 30% of GDP and keep guaranteeing operating surpluses – one of the main causes of the staggering, crippling rise of our household debt – nor does she think that the government needs to seek more revenue through taxation.

She is even open to getting the TPP back on track, subject to conditions that she would not reveal in order not to show her hand in the upcoming negotiations.

Ardern has left her self open to criticism by claiming that neo-liberalism has failed and the climate change is the most important issue of our time.

But she could hardly have made as radical changes as Lange/Douglas had in the 80s, in reverse, just before an election.

Such a decision would have carried its own risks, naturally. But then this is what defines political courage, and it’s nothing if not courage that we desperately need.

That would have been crazy. it would have been political suicide, and Labour would have headed the same was as the Greens in the polls.  Winston would be vying with National to run the next government.

In other words: Ardern gave every indication that under her leadership, and with a much diminished contribution from the Greens, Labour remains committed to the continuation of the fundamental policies of the last 30 years. Call it the interlude we get to have every nine years or so in-between Tory governments.

We’ll see the back of some truly dreadful ministers, associate ministers and undersecretaries. Some people’s living conditions will improve, or at least stop deteriorating – which of course is not insignificant. It never is.

But the desire for deep and lasting change that the enthusiasm surrounding Ardern both evokes and demands will likely remain unfulfilled. Nothing illustrates this prospect better than the literal papering over of last month’s empty, self-defeating slogan – ‘a fresh approach’ – with an even emptier one – ‘Let’s do this.’ This what?

This is from a post by Giovanni Tiso: The neoliberalism question: notes on the Ardern/Espiner interview

If Tiso, and Trotter, Slater, Bradbury et al really want to start a revolution then they should stop expecting someone else to do it for them.

They should start a party, put forward the policies they want to see, and put them to the electorate.

Or they could join an existing party and argue their case in policy meetings and put themselves forward for candidacy and for the party list and sell their revolution to the voters.

This is a democracy, and like it or not that’s how things work here.

Sitting on the sidelines complaining because yet another party leader doesn’t instantly turn into a party dictator is fairly fanciful and futile.



Wail Oil versus Tiso – legal action, or just another fund raiser?

Pete Belt posted a long lament at Whale Oil yesterday, ironically complaining about people being mean to them, and he proposed seeking donations for a legal fund to take someone to court over boycotting of sponsors.

While Belt claims that everything is tickety boo at Whale Oil there are signs of strain, with a number of claims that stretch credibility, and irony overdrive evident.

.The post was oddly titled I’VE DISCOVERED I CAN NO LONGER WRITE WHATEVER I WANT and began:

Sitting at my desk this morning, I wondered how many of our readers have had a go at blogging themselves.  I was considering it for a Census question.  Then I thought, perhaps I should make a post inviting people to promote their own blog.

Next I thought:  perhaps a weekend post where we allow self promotion.  People can promote any company, service, blog.  Whatever.

And then an awful thought struck me:   It would make a perfect list for people like Giovanni Tiso, Toby Manhire, David Fisher, John Drinnan, Chris Keal and their salivating mob to focus on.  They could start harassing individuals, customers, employees, company owners.  “Do yo know your Marketing Manager promoted your company on that toxic blog?”

Interesting to see five journalists named. Main stream journalists have often been targets of Whale Oil attacks and feuds.

Like any bully blog they have been happy to dish out the dirt but they aren’t so keen on being on the receiving end.

It is one thing for these terrorists to grab on to drive-by opportunities to find their next cause.  It would be an altogether different thing to hand them a clearly identifiable list of targets to systematically start harassing.

I spent some time analysing this situation.   Is what they are doing against the law?   Is this a part of free speech?

Pete Belt expressing concern about free speech is hugely ironic. He is the most draconian blog censor I’ve seen, having banned many from Whale Oil at whim and he openly exercises tight censorship of comments. Sure he says ‘their blog, their rules’, but ‘free speech’ and Pete Belt are strangers.

So why does this feel different?  Why is this unlike anything Whaleoil has faced before?

Because they are on the receiving end of dirt now?

And then it came to me.

Whaleoil can not be hurt.  Truly, it can not.   It is too large, too well supported, and has deep roots in the community.  Cam Slater, and through him the blog, are fearless.

Whale Oil appears to be hurting badly. Finances have been a problem since ‘Dirty Politics’ and since the commenter purges in the middle of last year. It’s hard to know how much impact these had but it is significant.

Blog ratings like Open Parachute and Alexa show that Whale Oil has slumped in numbers – and these numbers are crucial for their advertising revenue flow.

Slater seems a shell of the former ‘fearless’ keyboard warrior. He and Belt now look more like worriers. Probably with good reason.

What we have here is nothing different from a hostage situation.  Tiso, Manhire, Fisher et al are basically signalling to Whaleoil that it must stop doing what they don’t like, or they will damage the hostage of the moment.

More openly and less dirtily than Whale Oil has frequently been.

And here is the conundrum.

Whaleoil can not be damaged.

Whale Oil has been badly damaged. They had grown rapidly, it looks like they were investing heavily in growth and in projects like Freed, and then their readership (and almost certainly their revenue) slumped. They have admitted being under severe financially pressure – Belt has even done fund raising ‘to feed Cam’s family’.

But our supporters, one by one, as individuals, as companies, as live human beings, can.

Belt has blown away many supporters, en masse at times. They have either been banished (banned) or have grown tired of  the sycophantic shell of a comments community.

Much of the damage has been self inflicted. But why not blame everyone and everything else.

There is no sign that this is a passing fad.  If anything, the Team Tiso are here to stay.  Tiso is just one guy with a fairly obscure blog.  His power comes from the fact his friends in the media will help him publicise and give power to whatever crusade he’s on at that time.

And to be fair, he’s not just doing it to Whaleoil.  The harassment of victims includes anyone or any company that he’s picked to have a negative thought about.   Using Twitter, and his mates in the media, they “mob up” and start roaming about like mafia enforcers.  See it our way, or suffer real-life, actual, reputational and/or financial damage.

Belt has a reasonable point here. Tiso rose to prominence when he organised pressure on sponsors of a radio station when he didn’t like how they handled a ‘roast busters’ issue. This was initially widely supported. But Tiso took it too far – he threw a hissy and unfollowed me when I pointed this out to him.

But Whale Oil accusing someone else of “roaming about like mafia enforcers” is, like, kinda ironic.

In my mind, this can’t be allowed to continue without some kind of response.  Ignoring them isn’t working, because they have such a large media component at their disposal.  Sinking to their level seems counter productive and inherently wrong.

Whale Oil would never sink to anyone else’s level. Yeah, right. They own the basement. There’s more than a few who consider much of what Whale Oil has done has been inherently wrong.

One of the things that bullies don’t like, is when they are bullied themselves.

Obviously, except that Belt seems to miss the ironic lack of self awareness of that statement.

I’m starting to think that unless they leave our readers, friends and supporters alone, it is time for our readers, friends and supporters to get together and respond.

It must be legal.   It must take the high road.

Like find a funder to pay someone to hack Tiso’s blog? That sort of high road?

When Cam was in trouble after DP, we collectively raised over $70,000 to settle a QC legal bill.   When we act in unison, we are a formidable force.

It saddens me that we have to become the bully to silence the bully, but it appears to me that the next step is to consider putting this matter in front of a court.   Is the systematic hounding of individuals and companies on the basis you don’t like the way they run their business, or you don’t like what they say, something that can trip some kind of legal definition of harassment?

The dirt that Slater keeps bragging about has often involved hounding individuals when he doesn’t like what they have said, or when someone has paid him to harass them. If they are not already aware of the legal definition of harassment they should be. Slater has past and ongoing legal actions against him.

If we can raise $70k+ in 5 days to help Cam Slater with a legal bill, it appears to me we can pull together the first $100k in funds to bring a test case to the courts.  We will name the people who are harassing our friends and supporters – ostensibly you – and we start exploring through the courts the possibility that what they are doing constitutes something that isn’t lawful.

Another of Belt’s ‘poor us’ fund raisers? This week he threw a birthday party and charged people $150 to attend. That seems to have been a financial flop and was a PR disaster.

So next a legal fund? Last time it worked. This time could be trickier.

It appears that Slater was paying Ben Rachinger out of his fund raiser bank account. To do something that was probably unlawful. There’s more than on irony there.

Those Whale Oil supporters remaining (ones that Belt hasn’t driven away yet) may be feeling a bit of donor fatigue by now.

If it was just one thing, their behaviour would be just fine.  But it is the sustained and systematic nature of it that makes it different.  This is mob rule.  This is intimidation.  This is sustained harassment.

Whale Oil has just celebrated a ‘Decade of Dirt’. Sustained. Systematic. Dirt.

The threat is clear:  associate with Whaleoil and Cameron Slater, and we will get you.

I don’t see any other way to stop them.  They won’t stop on their own.  I want them to.  I think we need to ask a court if what they are doing is legal, and if so – fine – we’ll have to learn to live with it.  If not, then we can go back to a society where a well-motivated mob with media connections are no longer terrorising individuals and businesses.

The legal definition for harassment is clear and the barrier to trip is fairly low, so it seems a practical way to not stoop to their tactics and let legal heads settle the question.

This isn’t about Whaleoil.  This isn’t about Cam Slater.  Those two will happily continue.  They are untouchable by this mob.

Yeah, right. Things seem far from happy. The Whale Oil mob seems far from untouched by this other mob (if you can call Tiso a mob).

But to do nothing means the mob will continue to hold individual and company reputations hostage until their demands are met.

Whaleoil can be the platform, the community, the group that stands together and says

I am Spartacus.

Good grief. The levels of desperation are competing with the levels of irony.

It’s worth remembering the reputation Slater has not only established, he’s bragged and promoted.

Controversial blogger Cameron Slater has  won  again – this time taking out the 2014 New Zealand Quote of the Year competition.

The Whale Oil blogger won the Massey University-run contest with this quote: “I play politics like Fijians play rugby. My role is smashing your face into the ground.”

Apart from being highly offensive to Fijian rugby that doesn’t sound quite as noble as ‘I am Spartacus’.

Slater last October:

Politics is a dirty, filthy, despicable game, played by dirty, filthy, despicable people.  And I love it.

Except when on the receiving end. That was in a post called OF COURSE NATIONAL’S POLITICS ARE DIRTY. WHO IS KEY TRYING TO KID?

Who is Belt trying to kid?

Bradbury refutes claims on journalist images

Martyn Bradbury has emphatically denied claims that he viewed images of a journalist and said they could ruin her career. After the release of embarrassing photos of RadioLive political editor Jessica Williams and accusations that Ben Rachinger had used them to pressure/blackmail it seems that some people have put one and one together with vague memories claimed a ten. It was then claimed on Twitter that Martyn Bradbury (Bomber) had “let’s also remind viewers Bomber had seen the material and intimated it might ruin the journalist” (Giovanni Tiso) and “Martyn Bradbury blogged about having seen the revenge porn images and how it would ‘ruin the career’ of Ben’s ex” (Coley Tangerina). Bradbury has posted a strong denial of this in The latest Rachinger twists and turns and Wellington Emerald Stormtroopers.

Here’s what I actually wrote…

I will say this about Rachinger, if the comments from a certain female political journalist ever see they light of day, they will never work in the industry again

..I had heard about comments made by a Journalist to Rachinger, that is what I was referring to. Claims by ‘Coley Tangerina’ and Giovanni Tiso that I viewed anything are a total lie.

That clearly doesn’t mention images or photos at all, just comments. But it is also potentially confusing, especially without seeing the whole context. It’s not clear whether “they will never work in the industry again” refers to Rachinger, or to the journalist. It could be easily taken either way. I’ll try to get clarification.

I removed that comment as people involved felt it was offensive, which was not my intention at all. The point I was making was the Left have a tendency to see traitors everywhere…

Sure Ben hasn’t helped his cause one inch, but not hacking the Standard deserved some recognition, not pitchforks.

I have no idea of how and what has occurred here, and am as surprised as anyone that there were images released, but the ongoing smears and misinformation by some on Twitter not only reinforce the original point of the blog I wrote about the Left on Twitter, but it’s also childish.

A fairly clear statement that Bradbury was unaware of the images. It could be construed that he was aware of the images but was surprised they were released by my assumption from reading this is that Bradbury did not know the images existed until they were posted on Monday.

However “a total lie” and “misinformation’ may be a bit strong, it’s more likely to be imprecise memories and jumping to conclusions, which are common in social media. But for the wider story Bradbury’s clarification removes from the jumble of evidence one ‘proof’ that existence of the images was common knowledge amongst journalists prior to their publication this week.

As a side story, @b3nraching3r seems to be off-line again.

UPDATE: Martyn has given me some clarifications (at The Daily Blog):

1. The Journalist

2. I’d heard many different things after that blog, I was surprised by their release, not their existence

I had seen nothing, I had heard something that a Journalist had said to Rachinger, that was what I was referring to in the blog. Suggestions by Coley and Tiso that I did are a lie

Tiso versus Compton – insidious dirt

A Twitter stoush between John Key’s social media adviser and an online activist does credit to neither.

Stuff reports in John Key’s social media adviser faces Twitter threat claims.

John Key’s social media adviser found himself at the centre of a social media storm amid claims he threatened to reveal the identity behind a Twitter account.

Gwynn Compton has made his Twitter account private and faced a round of online abuse after an exchange with an anti-National Party Twitter account named @johnkeymustgo emerged on Monday.
Following a short exchange about a tweet sent out by the National Party about animal testing, Compton, whose Twitter account does not show he is linked to Key’s office, implied he knew who was behind the @johnkeymustgo account.

“You think you’re so clever. But you’re not that good at hiding your online fingerprints. Have a nice day:)”.

Seems  silly of Compton to get involved in petty squabbles and respond like. Perhaps he needs a social media adviser.

Then Giovanni Tiso (@gtiso) got involved:

Who is this delightful fellow who claims to work for the PM and threatens to track down his critics on Twitter?

That’s an odd response. It was barely a threat, if at all. Compton pointed something out that he had presumably observed. It could just as easily be seen as advice of sorts.

How seriously does Tiso view (alleged) threats to reveal things about people on Twitter?

Not very, going by what he then did.

On Monday morning Tiso, who has written extensively about the Dirty Politics saga, published the exchange, along with Compton’s LinkedIn profile, which says he is a senior adviser in the office of John Key.

“Who is this delightful fellow who claims to work for the PM and threatens to track down his critics on Twitter?”

The post was retweeted more than 60 times with a number of replies, generally accusing Compton – or Tiso – of bullying.

Later the @johnkeymustgo account revealed that Compton was behind the website. In doing so, some personal details of Compton were also revealed.

So the accuser become the abuser.

Tiso said Compton’s threats were not extreme, and if a regular Twitter user made it, it would not mean anything.

“But if you do it and you’re an advisor to the Prime Minister, I think that’s different because the power imbalance is such.”

So anyone related to the Prime Minister is fair game. And they should be shamed into silence.

Tiso distanced himself from the revelations of personal information about Compton, saying he had only linked two publicly available social media pages and did not support revealing private information.

Compton didn’t reveal anything (as far as I’m aware), public or private. He didn’t threaten to reveal anything publicly.

On Monday morning Tiso, who has written extensively about the Dirty Politics saga, published the exchange, along with Compton’s LinkedIn profile, which says he is a senior adviser in the office of John Key.

In Tiso’s world it’s only other people who are deemed to play dirty (when he accuses them of it) no matter how flimsy the evidence.

Here he has overstated an offence (it could seen as a fabricated offence) and then done pretty much what he had accused someone else of doing.

This looks like another example of insidious dirt – Tiso has often played a part in a social media campaign to shut up anyone he disagrees with or who’s deemed politics he disagrees with.

And it’s not isolated. Also this week Tiso is busy trying to reveal everything he can about a blog that the author has tried to remove from the internet. See The unusual case of the disappearing blog  – where Tiso is more than threatening to reveal something someone doesn’t want to be public, he seems to be doing everything he can to ensure it’s as public as possible.

This is the nature of the left that thinks it deserves to be in power. Who would the hound out and hound under if they got some power?

Tiso versus senior political journalists

In Tending Fascist Giovanni Tiso blasted Patrick Gower and Jane Clifton for not investigating “the scandal of their careers” (yeah, right) – dirty politics.

As senior political journalists who failed to uncover the scandal of their careers, Gower and Clifton may have a vested professional interest in arguing that it wasn’t in fact a real scandal, or that it wasn’t worth uncovering if one couldn’t also uncover what the Left has undoubtedly been doing.

But theirs is also part of the continuing and increasingly brazen attempt to normalise dirty politics, which is also the overt significance of the hiring of Collins (and the reason why Phil Goff provides no balance – although to be fair Goff would struggle to drag leftward a panel with Tomás de Torquemada).

There is no role of the media establishment to re-examine, no collective conscience to interrogate: just old prerogatives to re-establish and a fragile status quo to defend.

Putting the harsh criticisms aside, I would be appalled if senior journalists like Gower and Clifton used illegal hacking as a means of investigating stories.

Tiso campaigns very strongly against legal and court approved surveillance.

But he blasts journalists for not doing the job a hacker and associates did.

So he’s against legal surveillance but supports illegal hacking.

This looks like a continuing and increasingly brazen attempt to normalise dirty politics, as long as it’s the ones he agrees with doing the dirty digging.

Goff to write for Sunday Star Times

Last week Judith Collins started a weekly column for Sunday Star Times. It was promised that someone from ther left would also have a column, and today they announced that it would be Phil Goff.

New columnist Phil Goff goes toe-to-toe with Judith Collins

When we announced last week that Judith Collins would be writing a column for the Sunday Star-Times, it excited comment across the broadcast and digital media.

1) Love her or hate her, Judith Collins is without doubt one of the most uncompromising, no-holds-barred personalities in New Zealand.

We think it’s time to respect our readers’ intelligence and let them make up their own minds on what she has to say for herself.

2) This is not new and shocking. Indeed, there is plenty of healthy precedent for senior MPs writing columns for the country’s big papers – among them, David Lange, Simon Upton, Deborah Coddington, John Tamihere, Jim Anderton and George Hawkins.

3) Finally, for those who believe commissioning Judith Collins was an outrage, I have more bad news … as foreshadowed, I’ve taken on a second MP, too. Phil Goff will go toe-to-toe with Collins in the Sunday Star-Times every week. Goff, once the leader of the Labour Party, has now been moved off new leader Andrew Little’s front benches. Like Judith Collins, he is freed of the constraints of collective responsibility – both of them can call it like they see it. If that means they sometimes criticise their own leaders, so be it. This weekend, the former foreign affairs minister will examine whether Kiwis should be allowed to go take up arms in foreign wars like those in Syria and Iraq.

David Farrar posted on this, saying that after Collins’ first column was published “The outrage on Twitter was hilarious.” It was.

And on this announcement he said “This is hilarious as many on the left regard Goff as a right wing sell out. I look forward to more howls of outrage.”

And sure enough the far left aren’t happy, or still aren’t happy (are they ever?)

At The Standard Phil Ure:

but..but..two rightwing neo-lib/fuck-the-poor warmongers..

..what will they find to disagree about..?

And Mark:

What – Two right wingers having a column in a Sunday paper. You would have thought that they would have gone for someone from the left for balance but why break the habits of a lifetime.

And I checked out one who spluttered the most on Twitter, Giovanni Tiso. But he seems to have taken offence at me posting Giovanni Tiso et al versus Judith Collins a few days ago, when I tried to view his Twitter account I got “You are blocked from following @gtiso and viewing @gtiso’s Tweets.”

Many on the hard left are intolerant of different opinions and especially of criticism. Tiso would probably shut down most of the media and most of the Internet if he could. He tries – after the Collins column last weekend he started a campaign against the Sunday Star Times.

But it’s not hard to find out what his response to the Goff news was.

@gtiso responds predictably:


Milne must have been on the phone for like six days straight until they got to Goff. Fuck me.

A hard-hitting left wing politician! HAHAHAHAHAH!!! I swear they are trying to kill me. They’ll find my corpse under my desk. HAHAHAHA!!!

I’m dying over here. Goff. Christ. Mr TPP! Hehehehe… [wipes tear] Okay I’m good now.

He might have fancied his own chances of being a left enough balance, but having tried to organise a subscription cancelling campaign against the SST I doubt he would be considered favourably. They are unlikely to pander to the perpetually pissed off.

I doubt whether Tiso and others will be happy until and the government conform to their ideals. Which will be never.

Giovanni Tiso et al versus Judith Collins

Giovanni Tiso launched a social media campaign against the Sunday Star Times because they published a column by Judith Collins.

Tiso has a history of this sort of action. He attacked Radio Live for a Roastbusters interview. Praise and support for this wore off when Tiso took his attempts to shame advertisers too far.

He campaigned against Canon for sponsoring awards when a best blog award was won by Cameron Slater. Tiso’s own blog was a finalist.

And he started campaigning against the Sunday Star Times in the weekend because they published a column by Judith Collins. he got some push back but kept fighting.

you and have no problem with people who poisoned the political conversation to get rewarded

If everyone who Tiso thought “poisoned the political conversation” was banned from media it would be a severely diminished forum.

Danyl joined the Tiso campaign at Dimp-Post.

Liberal media watch, Sunday edition

There’s been a big debate on twitter about Judith Collins’ Sunday Star Times column. The column itself is here, and it is about concrete fiber board. It is possibly the most boring thing there has ever been a twitter debate about.

Some people are upset about the column because they feel Judith Collins is disgraced: Oravida, her role in Dirty Politics, etc. I don’t have a problem with disgraced political columnists per se. After all, Rodney Hide has a column.

But he admits that…

I do have a few problems with the SST appointing Collins. One is that – as Finlay Macdonald said on Twitter – the media is supposed to be holding MPs – especially government MPs – to account, not giving them jobs. Also, the government already has a huge platform to communicate to the public.

His Green Party seem to get quite a bit of material out via the media. And shouldn’t we hear more from MPs, not less?

So various people on Twitter are calling for boycotts and canceling their subscriptions. I’m not quite there yet. Not over a column about concrete fiber board. But I’m thinking about it, and encourage anyone else troubled by all this to do the same. Various journalists on twitter are up in arms over this suggestion: ‘What about all the good content in Fairfax papers? What if good people lose their jobs, etc?’

Here’s my question to them. The Dirty Politics saga was a media scandal as much as a political scandal. What are people who are offended by it supposed to do, exactly, when they’re confronted by an editor like the SST’s Jonathan Milne, who is cheerfully demonstrating that not only has he learned nothing, but that he’s determined to keep pushing the barrow out, get dirtier, make his little corner of the media more sleazy, more compromised, more biased? Canceling your subscription is pretty much the only power we have.

So he seems to be on Tiso’s side there. And as compromised and dirty as him, suggesting that “the most boring thing there has ever been a twitter debate about” is “get dirtier, make his little corner of the media more sleazy”.

Martyn Bradbury also jumps in the bashwagon,

Collins appointment to Sunday Star Times cements Rights dominance over mainstream media

That the Sunday Star Times would appoint a Politician so mired in the filth of Dirty Politics shows that the mainstream media have learnt nothing from Dirty Politics and they actually just don’t give a damn about any pretence towards balance.

I don’t read the Sunday Star Times. I don’t care if Judith Collins writes columns for them or not. I don’t care if carefully balanced lefties are also allowed to write for them (Tiso discussed the need for an equal and opposite MP to balance the newspaper).


Rewarded with a megaphone. Rewarded with a shot at rebuilding her credibility.

Every MP disgraced by Tiso should be banned from trying to rebuild their credibility. We can’t have them repairing any damage and trying to do their jobs.

Perhaps newspapers could set up a social media system where very article and column was vetted and approved or rejected by Giovanni, Danyl and the rest of the self appointed media police.

Or they could ignore them.

Whale Oil and Canon

Whale Oil is again at the centre of online angst after a hypocritical and highly questionable attack on Tania Billingsley and her associates. This in turn has prompted a questionable attack on Canon NZ.

One inappropriate blogger agenda doesn’t justify another.

Whale Oil won “best blog” at the Canon Media Wards in May – the blog itself was one of the most congratulatory – see Cameron Slater wins Best Blog at Canon Media Awards 2014and prominently displays this:

There was widespread criticism – Whale Oil is often controversial and confrontational (and political blogging is competitive and not without jealousies) – but as the dominant new media blog that sometimes breaks news it was deserved. The Len Brown story that broke just after last year’s local body elections was cited as influential on the judging decision.

In June NBR reported: Whale Oil flaunts Canon award as evidence he is a journalist

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater has presented his Canon Media Award to prove to the High Court at Auckland he is a journalist.

The blogger presented his arguments today before Justice Raynor Asher where he is appealing a District Court decision which ruled he was not entitled to the rights of a journalist.

In December, Judge Charles Blackie ruled Mr Slater was not entitled to rely on journalists’ rights to protect the identity of sources, as set out in the Evidence Act, and should disclose the identity of a confidential source.

Traditional media journalists have very mixed feelings about Slater’s journalistic claims.

I don’t don’t think there’s any doubt that some of what Slater does is journalist-like, but most of the posts on the blog tend more towards agenda based politics with many “magazine” type posts.

Slater has a reputation for pushing boundaries and is regularly accused of crossing lines of decency.

I’ve always had mixed views. As far as blogging goes Whale Oil has been ground breaking and some of it’s content is very good, while most is easy to ignore  and some is ill-advised at least, sometimes getting close to disgraceful.

Slater has well known links to the National Party but mostly at least operates independently. John Key has admitted having regular chats with Slater and Judith Collins is known to be a fan. On the other hand Slater is also very critical of National officials and some MPs.

On Wednesday Whale Oil posted Tania Billingsley and the Green and Rape Crisis fingerprints. A number of accusations and insinuations were made against Tania Billingsley and associates of hers.

I do not subscribe to the notion New Zealand has a culture of rape. I also do not subscribe to being told to stop asking questions in this particular matter lest this show insensitivity to rape victims in general.

I do not want to trivialise whatever really happened and how this has genuinely affected Tania.


If Tania, Tabby and Jan Logie can use this event to push their agendas, then I reject their attempt at stopping people like myself placing the story under some scrutiny.

It was far more than scrutiny, it was a wide ranging assault on Billingsley’s credibility and character. It was widely condemned which I think was justifiable.

The problem remains: We have one side of the story, we have lots of unanswered questions, and we have a potential scandal that is much more explosive than an MFaT official possibly mishandling a powderkeg of a diplomatic situation.

I’m getting inundated with emails about this too. People are just not buying the official story.

I’ve seen a lot of the type of blog comments that will have been emailed. Many of them uninformed speculation and attacks on the alleged victim.

I’m not keen of the term “rape culture” but whatever the culture is that defends male behaviour that can be as bad as disgraceful, and attacks female victims and alleged victims, and puts the blame on them, has been widely represented on blogs. And by this post at Whale Oil.

I challenge Tania to make herself available to me for an interview.

I think Slater would be one of the last people Tania would want to do an interview with. Journalists tend to try and get both sides of a sotry before they publish, not post a one-sided rant and then demand an interview in public.

The public has heard the case for the prosecution.

That’s patently false. Neither “the prosecution” nor Tania nor Jan Logie have raised the facts of the alleged incident in public. They have raised political issues but that has been separate to the details of the case.

It deserves to hear the cross examination of the facts as they are presented.

Trial by blog. The approach deserves contempt.

And it’s highly hypocritical. When Tania went public with her 3rd Degree interview Whale Oil strongly criticised her for prejudicing the case against the Malaysian diplomat.

But now Slater wants to promote his agenda and promote his blog he doesn’t care about prejudicing the case.

There will be much more to this case than is publicly known, because we know little about it.

But to pick one side of the story using the worst of male rumour and insinuation is very un-journalist-like.

Slater is pandering to a macho male dinosaur domination audience with no care for finding the facts of the case. He is disgracing the journalist award he won.

Condemnation of this is justified.

But some critics have taken inappropriate action. They decided to criticise and attack Canon because of the award given under their name.

Canon is the award sponsor. They didn’t choose the nominees, nor did they have anything to do with the judging.

Holding them responsible for an award winner’s actions after the award was given is nonsensical.

A number of people approached Canon on Twitter.  Canon responded:

One of those criticising Canon was a competing finalist in the best blog award, Giovanni Tiso. Ironically he got a lot of attention (which will have contributed to him being chosen as a finalist) for a campaign against advertisers of RadioLive over some online comments over the ‘Roastbuster’ case.

His campaign was successful, prompting some advertisers to threaten to pull from RadioLive. This campaign was widely supported but some (including me) thought it was taken too far there was some criticism.

Tiso (and others) have continued their criticisms of Canon.


Bollocks to that: it’s entirely clear that Canon and the Newspaper Publishers’ Association do in fact condone Slater’s other writings.

Otherwise they wouldn’t have given him the award. That’s what condoning means, people.

There was a queue of people on the night telling me Slater was the rightful winner. Clifton and Currie eating out of his hand.

These people love him. Condoning doesn’t come into it.

And by the way, @canonnz’s implication that Slater somehow has only disgraced himself *since* then is utterly ludicrous.

I call bollocks to this. An award sponsor cannot be held responsible for everything every recipient of a past award subsequently does. They are not even responsible for what winners did prior to the award.

I think it’s fair criticising Slater and Whale Oil, especially on his Billingsley assault and his support of a very poor male culture of targeting and blaming victims.

But redirecting blame at Canon is as wrong-headed as redirecting blame at victims of sexual assault. One disgraceful agenda doesn’t justify another.

Differences over RPE donations

I became involved in a Twitter discussion yesterday about a campaign to solicit donations to a rape organisation that proved what an awful forum Twitter is for debate. Each tweet is limited so points can’t be properly explained – and then pick up on a single tweet out of context and make incorrect conclusions.

So I will explain what some of my views are here.

Last week Giovanni Tiso campaigned for advertisers on the Tamihere/Jackson slot on RadioLive to boycott the show in protest against their handling of rape and Roast Buster issues. This campaign was successful, widely praised and highly commendable.

Giovanni then started another campaign, this time to solicit donations for Rape Prevention Education from the boycotting advertisers.He emailed them asking them to donate $10,000. Fair enough, I don’t have a problem with that.

Two advertisers very quickly agreed to donate, ANZ and Telecom. Russell Brown has stated:

I can confirm Telecom was already considering the issue when they got Gio’s email.

Great, everyone’s happy. I have no problem at all with this.

But some companies chose not to respond or chose not to donate. So Giovanni followed up to see if he could get them to donate. Part of his soliciting was done publicly on Twitter:

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso 

.@yellownz, you showed great leadership last week. Will you be joining @TelecomNZ & @ANZ_NZ in donating $10k to ? #rpe


Giovanni Tiso@gtiso
But until then, we can pressure the big advertisers who boycotted @radiolivenz last week a bit longer. … #rpe

So, please, retweet this …, and/or email (attn: Katherine Cornish) #rpe

But also, follow-up on the other companies listed here … #rpe. Can we change @vodafoneNZ‘s mind? #rpe

@vodafoneNZ Telecom did!

This approach prompted comments and questions. It was seen by some as a form of public coercion. A Herald journalist commented:

John Drinnan@Zagzigger
they should pay for their boycott?

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso
They should donate to a rape prevention organization to show they are committed to changing their culture.

John Drinnan@Zagzigger
no no. I’m talking about the advertisers – good cause – but they hv done nothing wrong hv they? boycotted as suggested.

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso 
We’re giving them an opportunity to do even more. @TelecomNZ and @ANZ_NZ were happy to take it. Which is fantastic.

but by all means continue to make your contribution to this cause by way of a steady stream of snide, inane remarks

Senior Herald journalist upset that we’re being rude to corporations in raising $20,000 (so far) for #rpe. Fantastic sense of priorities.

John Drinnan@Zagzigger
very manipulative

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso 
You’re a fool.

That’s when I joined the discussion.

Pete George@PeteDGeorge
@Zagzigger @RadioLIVENZ John’s got a valid point. Pressuring, especially on such a sensitive issue, can get tricky for people.

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso
Well, Telecom and ANZ were super-cordial & only too happy to give. But by all means, keep hand-wringing

Pete George@PeteDGeorge
Others mightn’t be so comfortable. And remember some of the core issues – social coercion and shaming

And it went on and on from there.

I can understand Giovanni being annoyed and criticised after having so much praise. But I think he is so focussed on his campaign and encouraged by support that he hasn’t considered wider issues.

He has been using social media to try to coerce donations from companies, and has encouraged others to do the same. This has involved a mild form of shaming – ‘others are donating to address rape culture, why don’t you’ sort of thing’.

Yes, some companies have been happy to respond, that’s good. But that doesn’t justify any means to pressure others to do likewise.

Being ‘polite’ is good, but persistent public polite pressure can become harassment.

Inevitably ohers joined the shame/coercion.

If Damien Grant has not himself donated $10k to #RPE (a fair assumption), it follows logically that he does not care about rape survivors.

The “Pressure to donate” canard about former Radio Live advertisers is idiotic. They’re being offered a one-off chance tobuy good PR.

They are free to buy or not buy, or buy at a lower or higher price if they choose. Markets, bitches. This is how they work.

How horrible it must be to have to actually tell people that you are a good corporate citizen, or at least just not a bunch of evil shits?

Unless I’m mistaken, even if they refuse they are still hounded to donate

The horror! #releasethehounds

One person kept claiming that corporations weren’t people so it didn’t matter if they were pressured and harassed.

It was a shame to see a good cause escalate into an abusive slanging match, but that’s what can happen on social media. And as I said earlier, Twitter is terrible medium for debate.

I hope a night’s sleep and some reflection will have calmed things down.

And I hope Giovanni can see that John Drinnan and I (and others) didn’t mean to attack him, but wanted to point out how his actions might be seen if they went too far, as appeared to be happening.


RadioLive and rape culture

The RadioLive and rape culture repercussions continue. Jackson and Tamihere have an advertising free show today.

Willie Jackson & John Tamihere’s show on RadioLIVE today will be commercial free. Telecom is the latest company to pull its advertising.

A number of companies pulled from it by RadioLive seems to have tried to not risk losing the rest. But it’s still getting worse regardless:

Vodafone New Zealand ‏@vodafoneNZ

We have suspended all advertising with Radio Live following the actions of John Tamihere & Willie Jackson around the Roast Busters case.

The instigator of the advertising protest, Giovanni Tiso, has blogged This is what rape culture looks like where he explains his actions, and lists the questions that Jackson and Tamihere asked.

How did your parents consent to you going out as a 14-year-old til 3am in the morning?

So anyway you fibbed, lied, whatever, and went out to the parties –­ did you not know they were up to this mischief?

Well, you know when you were going to parties, were you forced to drink?

Don’t youse [sic] know what these guys are up to?

Yeah but girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?

Why is it that it’s only taken you this arvo to stand up and say this happened?

I know you’re only 18 but as the pressure comes on, a lot more girls who might have consented who are identified might well just line up and say they were raped as well.

How free and easy are you kids these days out there? You were 14 [when you had sex], yeah?

But if some of the girls have consented, that doesn’t make them rapists, does it?

You see Amy, when you get to that sort of number and you get people like you who’ve been around for three years, you know what, I find it very difficult to understand why an allegation, if rape has occurred, it hasn’t happened before.

That’s why I’m getting a bit confused here right. The girls like them, the girls think they’re handsome, the girls go out with them, then you say they get raped, right?

The other side come to it, are they willing drinkers, all those questions come in don’t they?

Do you think over this period any of the girls could have got together and said, this is not on?

When the tried to apologise the following day they just demonstrated that they didn’t get it.

Tiso concludes:

This is what rape culture sounds like: victim-shaming, blaming alcohol or lying to one’s parents, the core belief that if rape happens often enough, it’s no longer rape. It’s all there.

This week, our collective conscience has been shaken. It’s time to turn the outrage and anger into collective action, so that we may not regain that false, misplaced sense of innocence and trust.

Apart from some isolated misogynists there has been widespread condemnation of the culture surrounding the Roast Busters. At least the awakening of action to address the issues may make good of something widely seen as awful.