Goff fibbed again?

In trying to diminish his responsibility for leaking the Gwyn SIS report Phil Goff has highlighted a discrepancy between his and Andrew Little’s claims.

Goff fibbed to Radio New Zealand about not lying or he has put his leader Andrew Little in an embarrassing position – actually this is awkward for Little regardless.

This what he said to Radio NZ yesterday:

“I didn’t lie about it, but I didn’t pretend that I didn’t make the comments and I apologised for being in breach of her embargo. I should have honoured it to the letter.”

Goff off the hook over leak

And this is what Andrew Little was reported as saying in defence of Goff last month:

“He’s given me those assurances, I’m satisfied with that,” he said on Firstline this morning.

“He hasn’t given the report to anybody, he declined media interviews until the report was released at 10am yesterday, so I don’t know where they came from and I’m satisfied they didn’t come from Phil Goff.”

Goff: SIS report leak ‘perfectly appropriate’

Someone has not been truthful.

Goff had presumably have talked to Little about whether he had leaked or not and will have known that Little defended him. Emphasising now that “I didn’t lie about it, but I didn’t pretend that I didn’t make the comments” highlights the discreoancy between Goff’s and Little’s claims.

Goff has put Andrew Little in a very difficult position here. The time of year might reduce the spotlight but it’s not a good look for a new era for Labour’s caucus under Little’s leadership.

It also makes Inspector General Cheryl Gwyn letting Goff off look weak when he then appears to mislead with impunity.

UPDATE: I posted on this at The Standard and a typical response – they have launched into attacks on me with little attempt to contest the facts.

One thing they’re expert at is drawing attention to things they don’t like.

After a pile of petty dirt it probably won’t be long before they accuse me of disrupting the thread.

UPDATE2: Tracey calls it as it is

When it was confirmed yesterday by goffs apology, i rolled my eyes. Just as I did when I saw he has a SST column. Little needs to do a Key and get Goff to state NOW that he is NOT standing at the next election.

IMO, Little saying nothing yesterday, to my knowledge, leaves open the strong suggestion that Little knew about the leak and it was part of a strategy.

So, PG, I deplore dishonesty in our leaders, and every elected MP imo is supposed to be a leader. It undermines our democracy and the trust people have in our systems.

If I were Little I would have announced yesterday that Mr Goff is gone.

And:

Unless Little intends carrying on the awful tradition of planned leaking that some of our pollies indulge in, this was a chance to put his foot down.

It is unfathomable that Goff didnt know exactly what the media would do, sack him, show you have a genuine standard.

Cunliffe versus truth

From David Cunliffe Speech to 2013 Labour Party Conference – Building a future for all:

One for the rich and powerful, who don’t pay their fair share of tax because they have smart accountants to ensure they avoid it.

Families who pay tax on every dollar they earn, pick up the slack for the mega-rich and the foreign corporations who don’t.

Five years ago, John Key told New Zealanders, “wave goodbye to higher taxes, not your loved ones’’.

But he only meant it for the privileged few.

He gave massive tax cuts to the rich that they did not need while he put up GST on everyone.

Cunliffe is supposed to be intelligent and financially literate – if so this means he is telling deliberate distortions and lies.

The tax cuts “to the rich” were not massive. Damien Grant writes in NZ Herald:  Poverty isn’t fault of rich

Key to the inequality fantasy is that New Zealand is a neo-liberal rich-man’s paradise but the facts do not support this.

Bill English said the top 12 per cent of households, those earning over $150,000, pay over three-quarters of all tax. To balance this, half of all households take home less than $60,000 and pay $2.7 billion in tax; yet they receive $8.1 billion in transfer payments. Half the population are net beneficiaries.

The tax increases were partly balanced by the increase in GST which costs them more as the biggest spenders.

And GST increases were balanced for lower income earners with income tax cuts, and beneficiaries had compensating benefit increases.

Cunliffe is speaking to an audience which is receptive to his dishonesty. Time will tell whether enough voters buy his bull.

Deborah Hill Cone – truth or trash?

Was Deborah Hill Cone’s controversial column on female journalism truth or trash? It certainly provoked a strong reaction from journalists of both sexes. Many saw it as a dissy pissy hiss at female journalists.

The discussion has continued, resulting in NZ Herald reporter David Fisher challenging me to explain the truth. It came from this Twitter exchange about whether an apology from Hill Cone was appropriate:

@RuthLaugesen
I wonder if Deborah Hill-Cone might consider apologising to #youngfemalejournalists in her Monday column.

@BillyRalston
I think she’d be pleased with the outrage and encouraged to write more on the theme rather than apologise

@FranOSullivan
So much easier than doing the hard journalistic work eh? Provoking outrage & truth don’t count.

@DFisherJourno
 Any truth or substance to her column bill? Any?

@PeteDGeorge
Some truth, but no worse than some male journalist’s methods.

I admit that as a quick quip that wasn’t well explained. I’m sure that some “feminine” methods of extracting information from politicians are used, but it could equally be claimed that “masculine” methods are used.

And how do you get a story from lesbian or homosexual politicians? In reality probably as per most stories, you just ask.

@DFisherJourno
Approval from Pete George is the harshest condemnation yet. Ouch.

I thought that reaction was odd and said so. Fisher responded with:

Tell you what, you tell me what bit of that column contained “truth”.

I don’t think there’s a quick simple answer to that, certainly not one that can be done in by tiny Tweets. Here’s my non-journalist analysis.

Better to blend in than be tempting target

I don’t agree with that. I don’t blend in in the blogosphere and frequently seem to make a tempting target.

I’ve been reading my kids a book called Maude by Lauren Child, but I think it might make a cautionary tale for journalists.

Maude’s family are all fabulously eccentric – her mother wears a hat with a real peacock perched on it, her father’s waxed moustache is so twirly it attracts butterflies, her brother tapdances everywhere he goes, and so on. But everyone feels sorry for Maude because she is so inconspicuous that she just disappears into the background.

For her birthday Maude asks for a goldfish but her unique family can’t bear to get her something so banal, so they buy her a tiger instead. All is fine until they’re so busy being fabulous they forget to feed it. The eccentrics shriek and scream and come to a sticky end. “Yum, yum,” says the tiger. But quiet Maude just stands completely still and is invisible. “Sometimes, just sometimes, not being noticeable is the very best talent of all.”

When I started out as a reporter we were taught the very best in our profession were ciphers, like Maude. They blended in anywhere: that’s how they got the big stories.

Like everything, journalism isn’t that simple. Sometimes journalism requires blending, inconspicuously observing, and then reporting.

But sometimes it requires pushiness. Sometimes it requires deviousness. It requires perseverance, cheek, boldness, secrecy. And if you believe what many say modern journalism involves cutting and pasting carefully crafted crap – sometimes referred to as churnalism.

Lacking any sophistication, and unaware that it is frequently much more powerful to be in the background than grabbing headlines, I thought this sounded boring.

Ultimately headlines are surely the main aim of most journalists. Headlines are powerful. A paragraph on page 53 isn’t.

As a young female journalist I was probably sadly before my time in shamelessly trying to schmooze my way to notoriety of any kind like an overpainted attention-seeking goose.

There are some overpainted attention seeking geese in journalism. And, overdressed, overspoken, outlandish. And some of them are ganders.

Back then, how I would have loved to have been in Andrea Vance’s position, the famous Fairfax journalist who brought down a Cabinet minister.

Vance didn’t bring down a Cabinet minister. Dunne wasn’t in Cabinet. And Vance didn’t bring him down, she reported on something of great public interest. She used a number of sources. Dunne was one source, but there is still doubt whether he was the major source or if he was just a supporting source.

And Dunne outed himself and downed himself. That was totally of his own doing, and nothing to do with Vance.

How glorious to be feted for your special powers of turning a powerful man to mush, leading him to say he “made errors of judgment” while in your thrall.

I think that’s where Hill Cone started to annoy female journalists. “Special powers”, “mush” and “in your thrall” are part of the innuendo and accusations that are strongly disputed and with little or no evidential foundation. That’s bad journalism.

Whether their relationship was romantic or not scarcely seems to matter.

It does matter to the many who have tried to make up a headline grabbing unsubstantiated story, and to politicians wanting to smear.

Although it does seem disingenuous for Vance to now play the victim.

Others may have suggested or implied Vance is a victim but I have seen no evidence of Vance playing the victim.

Whatever the background, Vance still exhibited a degree of influence – for that week anyway she was more powerful than any politician – that made her the envy of her colleagues.

Vance didn’t do anything that week.

That week Winston Peters opportunistically tried to claim the spotlight and the credit for a story he was fed (by someone with questionable motives) but had no evidence for. It was largely a sideshow.

That week David Henry released the result of his investigation into who leaked the Kitteridge report to Vance. He said he had insufficient evidence but strongly implied that Dunne was the leaker – however he remarkably ignored the possibility that the leaker would not have used parliamentary emails.

That week Peter Dunne admitted his behaviour hadn’t been up to standards he thinks are required of a Minister (he was a minister outside Cabinet) and as due to that he resigned.

That week Vance was out of the country and did nothing in relation to all this.

Especially those who are a little too dangerously in love with the romantic image of their profession – they are the noble crusader, the Katharine Hepburn wisecracker, the reincarnation of Martha Gellhorn.

That seems very odd in relation to Vance breaking the GCSB spying story. Maybe Hill Cone is referring to David Fisher and his Twitter profile: “Saving the world, one story at a time – david.fisher (at) nzherald.co.nz 021 347 154″

Even if these days being a female reporter is more like being an “It” girl than a hack.

I’m sure that being a female report is many different things to different reporters.

Vance’s GCSB stories were focussed on the content, on the subject – particularly that the GCSB spied on New Zealanders illegally. I didn’t think there any “It” girl about it. Perhaps there has been some jealousy from other journalists but most of the public didn’t know who was behind the revealing of the story.

You have to be good at putting on the different personas that are expected of you, whether that be vampish, coquettish or as “enchantingly nasty” as Rita Skeeter.

Odd descriptions in relation to journalists. But we all put on different personas in different situations, whether they be professional or personal. I adjust my persona depending on whether I’m dealing with my boss, my colleagues or the wide variety of clients I deal with. Having different personas is an important part of dealing with a wide variety of people.

Most often young female journalists still seem to be cast in these starring roles by older tweedy men. It is in the classic tradition of Pygmalion – anyone remember Maddie in House of Cards?

I have no idea how individualistic journalists can be, how “cast” they are by their bosses and how older and how tweedy those bosses are. I suspect there is a bit of variety.

I wonder how many female reporters in the parliamentary Press Gallery have unresolved “daddy issues”. (Oh I know they will all deny this strenuously, they are tough, independent and staunch. I’d have said the same, too.)

I don’t wonder how ridiculous this sounds. Perhaps I need to look up what “daddy issues” means, but it sounds accusatory and demeaning to female reporters.

Daddy Issue – a young woman who is attracted to much older men. Often stems from a lack of a good relationship between the girl and her father.

Ok, that’s worse than demeaning.  And particularly accusatory in relation to Vance. With zero evidence.

I just can’t help thinking it would be progress if female journalists were writing their own parts rather than continuing to play the role of temptress to male politicians.

And that continues the quite nasty insinuations specifically (for Vance/Dunne) and generally (for all female journalists).

I’m fairly certain that more than a few female journalists will claim to be “writing their own parts”. Especially those who are bosses and editors – I presume some rise above Hill Cone’s ceiling.

Personally, I can’t think of anything I’d less like to do these days.

She seems to have chosen not to. But I’m not sure many female journalists would like to be doing what she’s doing either.

I’m not quite Germaine Greer, who in her 50s decided gardening was better than casual sex, but at 45, perhaps not far off.

More on the sex theme.

Female reporters are like prima ballerinas or elite gymnasts; with a few notable exceptions (Kim Hill, Fran O’Sullivan, Susan Wood) for most of us our career is over and our waistlines are expanding by the time we’re 30. But the tweedy old men can blithely carry on with a new retinue of young proteges.

David, there is probably a bit of truth to that. But I suspect it’s highly questionable how much truth. It certainly sounds like an extreme over generalisation to me, but I’m not in journalism so I don’t know.

But I can think of quite a few other female journalists who to me are nothing like Hill Cone’s alleged world of female reporters are like prima ballerinas or elite gymnasts.

These days the female journalist I most admire does not resemble Andrea Vance with her high-profile “scoops”.

That’s a remarkable comment. The best journalism, the best “scoops”, should be high profile. Sure they have to compete with a media obsession with celebrityitis and trivia. That makes a high profile story like the one Vance broke on the GCSB even more notable, more high profile.

In any case the minority amongst us who want decent news are far more interested in the story. The reporter may be noticed but they are not the story, they are only the story teller. They are key, but not the key focus, and shouldn’t be.

Janet Malcolm (aged 70-something) is most famous for her quote: “Every journalist who is not too stupid or full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.”

Not famous to me, and with a quote like that I’m not surprised. And I note that is only referring to male journalists. Perhaps David will get it.

Malcolm has what Slate writer Alice Gregory calls “terrifying neutrality – like a teacher who is capable of handling even her most despised pupils no differently than the ones she secretly adores”. But I can’t imagine Malcolm flirting on Twitter or wearing disco pants.

If Hill Cone was one of New Zealand’s top journalists that might be scathing. But it sounds dissy, hissy, pissy.

And I don’t imagine that one of New Zealand’s top journalists would write like that.

So David, I had to work through that in detail to see what I really thought.

As I said, there is some truth to Hill Cone’s observations. I noticed the disco pants controversy. I noticed the “flirting” on Twitter, and raised my eyebrows at times – but I never saw anything that justifies the resulting sexual innuendo.

But there are at least as many untruths. And assumptions (often false). And gross generalisations.

And it is very slanted towards (or against) female journalists – what terrible tricks their supposedly male bosses supposedly make them use to weedle stories out of politicians. No mention of what tactics of trade male journalists may be encouraged or expected to use.

To summarise, I can understand why female journalists have reacted to the Hill Cone column – which consisted of partial truths and copious crap. And some of that was quite crappy crap.

And I note that a number of male journalists flirted (on Twitter) with statements of support for their female colleagues who had took exception to the general dissing of female journalists and the specific attacks and insinuations directed at Andrea Vance.

Like me, they say more trash than truth.

UPDATE: Ironically after Hill Cone said with a few notable exceptions (Kim Hill, Fran O’Sullivan, Susan Wood)”

@FranOSullivan
Anyone who knows @avancenz works knows DHC slur was baseless.

Carter struggling as Speaker

David Carter is struggling as new Speaker. It’s a daunting task countrolling a house of harangers and Carter is finding the initial going tough.

Cam Slater at Truth slates Carter:

Just dreadful – A lesson in how to win in Parliament

Despite all my warnings to the contrary, and because of a shabby little back room deal the man who never wanted to be Speaker is. The results so far are dreadful and I suggest it won’t improve.

David Carter Speaker

Mike Smith at The Standard:

Mr Answerer

Oh dear. Lockwood Smith was by common consent one of the best Speakers we’ve had. David Carter seems to be heading in a different direction. Lockwood required Ministers to give direct answers. Today in the House Carter gave the answer for Hekia Parata, interpreting her words to  get her off the hook. He may well have put himself on one though, if that is the way he is going to go.

Jane Clifton at Stuff in About The House:

Adding to the Opposition’s frustration was that when Mr Key gave his more elliptical answers, new Speaker David Carter, in a misguided attempt to keep the peace, tried to interpret them.

His interpretations led even the mild-tempered Labour leader David Shearer to say tersely that he was entitled to a clear answer from the prime minister, not a disputable interpretation from the Speaker of what he might have meant.

Increasingly flustered, to the point of referring to Winston Peters as “prime minister”, Mr Carter tried to enforce peace from on high by making two new rulings.

One was made after a row with Greens co-leader Metiria Turei, in which he forbade her to table a transcript of a radio interview with Mr Key.

The rules disallow tabling of news items and other freely available material. When their exchange became dangerously fractious, Mr Carter ruled that MPs were henceforth only to table “documents that I feel will be of benefit to the debate”.

Opposition MPs’ eyebrows rose as fast as their jaws dropped. This was unbridled Speakerly power.

Mr Carter tried to shut down further unpleasantness by reminding MPs that Standing Orders made him the arbiter of the quality of questions and answers.

On that basis he ruled that the prime minister had every right to respond in a political vein to Ms Turei’s questions.

“Point of order! Which Standing Order says that?” the Greens’ Russel Norman asked with some belligerence.

“Oh, we’re not getting into quoting Standing Orders,” Mr Carter said grumpily – forgetting that he just had.

He unwittingly caused a further dust-up when he tried to enjoy an oasis of light relief. Mr Key was taunting Mr Peters with one of his old controversies, the “scampi” scandal, and Mr Carter was unwise enough to share the Government benches’ amusement.

“You might well smile there, Mr Speaker,” Mr Peters barked at him, “but you were sued on that issue yourself so I would not get too happy about that!”

Mr Carter’s one consolation was that even if the Speaker is not always right, the office confers a degree of immunity, enshrined in the final Standing Order he managed to quote – and with great severity: “The member must not bring the Speaker into the debate!”

Parliamentary Speaker is a tough job – and someone new to the job will find it hard dealing with seasoned pushers of boundaries and avoiders of questions.

How was Lockwood Smith when he first started in the job? I doubt he would have earned instant control or respect.

Carter looks easily flustered. Time will tell whether he grows into the job or keeps blustering his way through it. In the meantime we can expect a lot of frustration from the opposition.

National MPs would help the Speaker – and Parliament – if they supported Carter and didn’t abuse their speaking rights and obligations in the House.

If Parliament descends into more chaos than usual John Key will have to take some of the responsibility. It seems that he pushed a reluctant Carter into the job, so if the job isn’t done reasonably and fairly then Key will have to deal with it or be dealt the responsibility card.

UPDATE: See Much better Mr Speaker – rulings without interpretations

Time warped bloggers versus MSM

RRM commented on Kiwiblog about the blogger versus MSM feud:

Someone who lives in both worlds might just force the rest of them to up their game.

It’s slowly dawning on me (I’m a leftist after all :-P ) that Cameron Slater’s Truth editorship has potential to really show up the print news media – provided he brings with him the style that made whale oil what it is. His blog is pretty crude at times but he’s generally right in what he say,s and he’s pretty incisive and seems to often be well ahead of the pack. It’s got to be easier to tame that a bit for print, than it would be to try to warm up an average news outfit like Stuff…?

My response:

RRM I agree that a damn good shake up of news media would do a lot of good, and as you say Whale is ahead of the pack. It will be interesting to see how Truth goes.

It’s also interesting to see the rise in interest from The Standard and Trotter and their conflicting ideas.

– They helped promote a leadership debate through their blogging
– They complained bitterly when MSM promoted a leadership challenge at the conference
– They blast the MSM for their incompetent old ways
– Relishing the new found attention the MSM gave them they suddenly think they have power
– Part of that power is holding the MSM to account
– They blast the MSM for daring to hold them to account
– They vigorously defend their right to comment anonymously
– They blast MSM identities
– They feed off attention given to them by MSM identities

And so it goes on. They are now talking this up into a major class struggle, the evil MSM versus the brave anonymous bloggers. The new battle (having so far lost their battle to kick Shearer out).

They make some valid points along the way, and I agree that MSM needs a good shakeup and ordinary people should and can have more say.

But they have a major problem, and it seems to be very entrenched. As old school political activists they have trouble thinking beyond “us and them”. They have fought left versus right, Labour versus national, worker versus boss.

So they automatically see this as blogger (unless it’s Brian Edwards who’s not a real blogger anyway, he’s really one of them) versus MSM. And it’s a battle that must be won for the good of humanity.

flipper observes:

Pete , the real problem for the left is that the are caught in a 1900 – 1928 time warp.

Yes, some of them are. I can see it prominently in the internal conflicts in Labour. And the brave new bloggers also have some warped conflicts between their old political ways and new online tools.

Back to Whale. He’s got it much better sussed, he has it worked out and they are just wiping the sleep from their eyes.. It’s not an either/or us versus them battle.

It’s a merge and adapt opportunity. Use the strengths of the old with the advances of the new.

 

Whale Oil and Truth

An announcement yesterday by Cam Slater on his Whale Oil blog seemed to take virtually everyone by surprise:

Announcement: Whaleoil Appointed Editor of Truth

Internet shock jock goes mainstream

“Wellington, you’re on notice – be afraid.”

New Zealand’s number 1 news and opinion blogger Cameron Slater has today been appointed Editor of the Truth.

Slater has been brought on board to fundamentally change the way newspapers deliver to their audiences. Newspapers worldwide are in decline, due, Slater says, to a tired old business model that no longer works.

“We’re not going to spend $4 million on a paint job and then deliver the same tired old paid-for shit.

“Most of the media in this country is weak, and it’s paid for. The integrity in news went ages ago.”

Slater is adamant that the backbone of New Zealand – the people who work – are not getting a fair shake from government or the system. He aims to change that.

“Each and every one of us has got an investment in NZ Inc, and the majority of the people in charge of the place are taking the piss out of our investment.

“We’re going to keep the buggers honest. There’s no better disinfectant than sunlight.

“To use a tired phrase – if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, so Wellington, you’re on notice – if you’re having a lend, we’re coming for you!”

Changes will be rolled out over a period of months and will include both print and a 24 hour news website to support the paper. Slater aims to alter the approach to news presentation significantly.

“We took the pulse of the nation, and it had nearly bloody died.

“No bastard wants to read old news – they can get that online. We’ll be more of a views-paper that promises to deliver REAL news, REAL opinion.

“The people are numb from the eyes down with the diet of PR’d crap they get now. I will not do it to them anymore – it’s not right.”

It will be a huge challenge trying to revive a very tired old scandal rag but it actually makes some sense. It’s easier to redevelop an existing institution than start from scratch. Truth could be almost totally revamped without objection, in effect it could be used as a virtual blank canvas on an existing frame.

Whale has two huge advantages over just about anyone else – he has built a substantial following on his blog, and much of that will at least have a look at how Truth is transformed.

There have been mixed reactions to this announcement. Various MSM have covered it, including the Guardian in the UK (on a blog).

On Whale’s announcement post there have been many comments of congratulations and support. Kiwiblog is also mostly supportive albeit with a few grizzles – Whale appointed Truth Editor.

The Bradbury Bombast

Martin Bradbury surpised almost everyone revealing he had been a truth columnist, until now – Cameron Slater as the 4th Journalist of the Apocalypse – why I resigned from Truth.

No, I couldn’t work for Christian Family man and gun fetishist Cameron Slater. He’s not a journalist, he’s a far right hate merchant whose blog borders on hate speech. He fluffs his page view numbers with biblical quotes and gun porn while waving his proGay marriage flag around to hold the high ground on an issue more to confound and blunt his opponents attacks on him than any real personal values of equality.

So once I heard he had gerrymandered his ascension to editor, I decided to leave.

It’s funny to see a left wing hate merchant whose blog (and rants in other forums) borders on hate speech accusing Whale of bordeline hate speech. He rants further on in his post:

He will have an impact as corrosive as Satan’s sperm and it will surprise many how successful he will be. Expect vicious personalized attacks, union bashing, Maori bashing, leftie bashing, pro gun nonsense, worship of Judith Collins, climate change denial, etc etc etc, he will inject a toxin into the public discourse that will be as addictive as it is destructive.

But suggests it could be successful, albeit in a typical over the top vernacular:

Will it work?

It’ll be more popular than Mary Poppins musical tickets for single women in their 30s. What many of the detractors on the Standard fail to appreciate is that Slater is one of the best propagandists in NZ today. His ability to twist issues and appeal to people’s worst natures while pretending to be their best nature is an art that he is the undisputed king of.

He will make the Truth relevant again, he’ll slice through the MSM with a laser. He’ll make them look tired and irrelevant, Slater will weaponize that newspaper and start a very unique movement.

There is certainly the opportunity to start a very unique mixed media movement.

The Standard write Slater off as a joke, I think that is a terrible under-appraisal of the rampage he can now cause. Fascinating times ahead.

Bradbury fears (or talks fearfully) of rampage because he sees Whale as an opponent who if given the chance would do what Bradbury himself would like to do to political opponents.

I think he’s wrong. The best chance of success with Truth is to connect to as many ordinary people as possible, but that won’t be seen from the Bradbury bombast bubble.

And Jane Clifton (Listener) tweeted: Dare I say it, Bomber has resigned from the Truth = Slater has improved the MSM already #stillafraid

The Standard

On The Standard lprent continues his feud, and many comments continue the tone –  Whaleoil and his toilet paper.

I haven’t seen a copy of The New Zealand Truth for many years. But I guess that it has been going down the toilet under the impact of modern media channels. But now it has really started heading for the sewer – Whaleoil has been made editor.

I have to say that I think that it is an inspired choice. I always felt that the criteria for a story to be present in The Truth wasn’t about the facts or even being in the public interest. It was mostly if they were likely to be sued by someone who could actually push through a defamation suit.

Since I was a kid, the so-called “People’s paper” has been a minor irritant in the journalism sphere attacking people and institutions who wouldn’t fight back because it was somewhat pointless to do so and because doing something about the crap that they wrote actually validated it. Everyone learned to simply ignore the stories from the Truth as being a shit pit for the stupid to gloat over.

Cameron Slater is perfect as editor as he has those essential bullyboy characteristics required in abundance. He has a eye for exactly the type of crap that the Truth specialises in. High sounding but completely inaccurate bullshit where the logic of the author largely consists of making 1+1 to equal 111. And when challenged, for instance by the courts on suppression orders, he can rapidly shift from bombastic to craven.

And of course it helps to keep a high profile deadbeat off of the taxpayers tab.  I wish him well in the role.

So lprent started his attack based on an uninformed assumption. Ironic that he accuses Whale of being “high sounding but completely inaccurate bullshit” – which is something some of The Standard authors excel at. ‘Eddie’ comments:

Eddie

Truth is half owned by Mathew “Hoots” HootonMatthew Horton and half owned by some dodgy businessman called David Crow. http://www.spcs.org.nz/2010/steve-crow-and-david-crow-435-devon-limited/

[lprent: wrong – fixed ]

A rare case of lprent correcting an ‘Eddie’ inaccuracy, but I presume this one was more of a mistake as opposed to ‘Eddie’s’ deliberate attack lying that typically gets protected rather than corrected.

But lprent makes what may be a valid point:

Whale hasn’t exactly had a good track record of working with others either in on his blog (ask Cactus), or in his previous business experiences). I suspect he will have the same ego problems with this venture as well. You never know, he may wind up with some people who can work with him. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Whale will have two major challenges – to make the new Truth work he will have to be able to work effectively with the Truth journalists and contributors. This will be much different for Whale to the freedom and individualism of his blogging.

But Whale’s blogging experience could also be a strength – he blogs solo but he has established an extensive network of contacts both as sources of information and through the blogosphere and other media. He already works successfully with many people, albeit in a different environment.

He’ll have to extend this to working within an established commercial media operation.

I won’t hold my breath, but I’ll be watching with interest. There is much potential in establishing a new media hybrid. A lot of trial and error will be required, but it’s a bold branch out in Truth’s history.