Pawns, Bishop. Who to believe?

On February 13 this was posted by ‘Cameron Slater’: Bishop victim of blue-on-blue attack?

Several reliable sources are saying that Chris Bishop was the victim of some utu by Bill English and his faction after Bishop, Nikki Kaye and Todd Muller were held responsible for the chatter about Bill’s leadership and leaking to Barry Soper and Richard Harman.

The beauty of the hit on Bishop is that no matter what Bishop says Bill’s team have framed him…

Slater made a number of very low, dirty insinuations in that story (hence no link). He went on the surmise quote a lot considering he had claimed to have “several reliable sources”.

Hit jobs always leave trails, and murk, and make the target look over their shoulder. I should know better than most, having been the target of a few hit jobs. Don’t look at who was hit, or where the information originated… look at who benefits. Look for who isn’t in the mix. Once you establish those things then you are close to identifying who is behind the hit jobs.

Don’t look for what and who was in the books, look for who was missing. Then, look at who benefited from all of those hit jobs. Look for who had previously been hurt or harmed by the targets in some way.

Now look at the Bishop hit job with new eyes.

There’s enough murk to make the post looked like dual hit jobs against English and Bishop, totally unsubstantiated.

Slater made a number of other claims of sources in his scatter gun attacks during National’s leadership contest.

Today, a month later: Now we know why Bishop’s Snapchat issues were leaked

I looked back at the date that Chris Bishop’s little issue with Snapchat was released to media by Labour associated people.

It was 11 February, just two days after the alleged sexual assaults at the Labour youth camp.

Now we know why. Labour thought they were going to be the news after four youths were allegedly sexually assaulted at the camp.

Cue the attack on Chris Bishop.

Heather Du Plessis-Allan fingered Labour for it back then…

She mustn’t have been one of his sources back then.

In the end, Bishop’s Snapchatting was innocuous and not really a story…

That’s a change from Slater’s very dirty insinuations a month ago.

And – there’s an accuracy fail in today’s assertions. Going by The definitive timeline of Labour’s sex scandal (at Whale Oil):

10/02/18 Day 2 of Young Labour Summer Camp

The alleged sexual assaults are said to have happened late that evening or early the following morning.

11/02/18 Day 3 of Young Labour Summer Camp

  • NZME runs story on Chris Bishop about a mother upset at him for messaging her daughter and other minors.
  • Alleged 20-year-old offender sent home from camp.

Slater’s changed claim is that Labour initiated the attack on Bishop via a story that was probably running through the printing presses about the same time as the offences were happening supposedly happening.

Going by comments, the WO army just lapped up Slater’s latest claims, as they believed his claims a month ago without question. One comment:

So the Chris Bishop smear article wasn’t “a blue on blue hit piece” originating from Bill English’s crew after all? It was Labour putting out covering fire a week before any trace of media coverage? Surely both scenarios can’t be true.

No, both scenarios can’t be true – but both were asserted and believed at WO.

Who to believe? The ‘Cameron Slater’ who wrote last month’s post, or the ‘Cameron Slater’ who wrote today’s post?

Also, this puts some doubt (if any where needed) on ‘several reliable sources’.

What’s up at Whale Oil?

It’s curious that there were no posts at Whale Oil yesterday under ‘Cameron Slater’ apart from a couple of regular posts that had no commentary, and none on Wednesday either since early in the day. I haven’t seen any messages that Slater would be on blog leave.

This is in contrast to a procession of posts under that author’s name in the previous week or so on the National Party leadership contest.

There could be a number of reasons for Slater’s absence, and I don’t care what the reason is, this is merely an observation.

In lieu of Slater’s activist style attack or promotion posts a number of authors have filled the gap, with a diverse range of topics – I think this is good for WO. Some of them are quite interesting.

SB has been doing some good posts on partnership schools and Labour’s education plans, for example Chris Hipkins described as ‘aggressive’ by CEO of He Puna Marama Trust. Education is an area of interest to her.

Something seems amiss by Orinjamba makes a good point:

Has anyone noticed that ever since the new Government took power there have been very few, if any, stories in the MSM about families with kids living in cars?

I seem to remember this being an almost constant running theme on a weekly basis while National were in Government, however, now it seems to have slipped off the radar entirely. One could even be forgiven for thinking that this is no longer even an issue given the apparent dearth of coverage on the subject.

Another noticeable absence has been the lack of wailing and gnashing of teeth from Labour supporters regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership or whatever the bloody thing is called these days. I can remember the groundswell of antipathy towards the negotiating process for this deal back when National were pushing for it, followed by the momentous gushing of confused excitement when the deal fell over due to a lack of collective agreement amongst the proposed signatories.

Where is all the opposition now from Labour supporters who, only a couple of years back, were so against this trade deal?

There is some opposition to the TPPA still, but it is very muted. Obviously the diaries of Labour and Green MPs will be much busier now they are in Government.

I expect Slater will be back on deck some time, but in the meantime I think it’s good to see more variety and less of the abrasive attack culture at WO.

The WOBlog Party and a dirty politics encore

At times in the past Cameron Slater has promoted Whale Oil as a great new alternative to fading and flailing old media. He had some success until he got dragged down by exposure via Nicky Hager’s ‘Dirty Politics’, plus getting embroiled in a number of defamation cases (three are still in progress).

He took a Breitbart phrase (probably claims they took it off him) – the media Party, due to the growing involvement of media in political activism as opposed to investigations and reporting. This was very ironic, given his very obvious emphasis on political activism, and this activism has raised a few notches recently.

One could suggest Slater is trying to run a WOBlog Party. One could also question who is financing his activism.It os on record that he has run a mercenary blog to an extent, and continues to not reveal any vested inteersts in his posts and campaigns.

Some of his hit jobs seem to be purely spite, he doesn’t let go of old gripes easily. This has been apparent with his numerous attacks on Bill English, making obvious he has longstanding differences.

All this would be just a now fairly irrelevant blogger flailing. He is generally regarded as politically toxic – he claims to have inside information but rarely has anything other than vague unsubstantiated assertions to offer these days, and quite notably was taken by surprise by English’s announcement on Tuesday – Slater was still busy trying to smear English when the announcement was made, and Slater obviously found out from news reports as it happened.

But in apparent desperation to be noticed (unless he is being paid to smear) Slater has lowered himself to past depths of dirtiness.

He tried this without getting much support in his attacks on English – often multiple posts a day at Whale Oil.

He got very dirty over the non-story about Chris Bishop, making disgraceful insinuations, worded in a way that he presumably hoped would protect his legal butt.

And this scum level politics has continued against potential National leadership contenders, with targeted attacks against some possible contenders yesterday. Again these involve insinuations and suggestions of impropriety, of course only as ‘suggestions’ with no evidence.

He is getting limited support on Whale Oil, with some opposition and criticism getting passed site censorship but ticks also show a general lack of support. He is now regularly trashed on Kiwiblog – there are some examples here yesterday – National leadership candidates.

Slater has obvious political motives, and other motives like money could also be reasonably raised.

However he is likely to be toxic for any MP and especially for any leadership contender that might be seen as associated with or a beneficiary of his dirty attacks. That may be why he generally attacks politicians he opposes without openly showing support for those he wants to promote.

Whatever he is up to Whale Oil is obviously being used as an extreme political activist site, delving to the dirtiest of depths again. That’s not something any politician or party would want to be seen to be a part of.

Hopelessly out of touch poll claim

Polls are often used to claim things that they don’t portray. There is no way of knowing exactly why polls move, and what timeframe cause and effect operates under. Pundits can only guess, or make things up.

In New Zealand media companies who publish polls try to make dramatic stories out of their own polls.

Here a niche blogger makes a ridiculous claim based on a US poll aggregator’s rolling results: Shithole countries comment gets Trump a big bounce in the polls

I had a chat amongst some other political tragics some weeks ago about how big a bounce would Donald Trump get with his shithole countries comments.

Some weeks ago? Trump made those comments just over two weeks ago, reported on 11 January (US date so 12 January NZ date).

It turns out a pretty substantial bump in the polls:

It doesn’t turn out to be anything of the sort. A Real Clear Politics ‘President Trump Job Approval’ chart is displayed – here is the same thing a day later, with the date of the shithole comment shown.

Since the comment there has been a small improvement in the poll average.  All polls cover several days and are obviously published after they are taken. Some of them are rolling polls. There is never a ‘before and event’ poll and an ‘after an event’ poll that can measure a movement on a specific day. So there is no way of knowing when a poll moves and why with any precision.

And different polls come out over time, with some leaning one way or the other, so the timing of the polls in the mix can make a difference, especially coming out of a time when some polls shut down for the holiday period.

RCP polling data shown at the blog:

I don’t know how that can tell anyone why a poll average changed due to one of many events that happened on 11 January, before that and after that. Trump is in the news a lot. A few days prior to his shithole comment Michael Wolff’s book was big news, and that’s likely to have some effect on poll trends.

A single rolling poll (Rasmussen Reports that tends to favour Trump) shows no appreciable change over the shithole period.

Date Approval Index Strongly Approve Strongly Disapprove Total Approve Total Disapprove
26-Jan-18 -12 30% 42% 44% 55%
25-Jan-18 -15 29% 44% 45% 54%
24-Jan-18 -16 29% 45% 44% 55%
23-Jan-18 -18 29% 47% 43% 57%
22-Jan-18 -18 28% 46% 42% 56%
19-Jan-18 -14 30% 44% 45% 54%
18-Jan-18 -16 28% 44% 45% 54%
17-Jan-18 -16 29% 45% 45% 54%
16-Jan-18 -16 29% 45% 45% 54%
15-Jan-18 -13 31% 44% 46% 52%
12-Jan-18 -13 30% 43% 46% 53%
11-Jan-18 -13 29% 42% 45% 53%
10-Jan-18 -14 30% 44% 44% 55%
09-Jan-18 -17 28% 45% 43% 56%
08-Jan-18 -16 30% 46% 42% 56%
05-Jan-18 -15 29% 44% 44% 54%
04-Jan-18 -12 31% 43% 45% 53%
03-Jan-18 -15 29% 44% 44% 54%

To understand what people thought of Trump’s comment requires a targeted poll. Like this one from HuffPost/YouGov:

January 11 – 12, 2018 – 1000 US Adults

According to a recent news report, President Trump asked “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” referring to immigration from African countries and Haiti. Do you agree or disagree with that comment?

  • Agree strongly 12%
  • Agree somewhat 14%
  • Total agree 26%
  • Disagree somewhat 13%
  • Disagree strongly 45%
  • Total disagree 58%
  • Not sure 16%

A comment at WO from ‘no bullswool’ would appear to be bullswool:

Donald Trump is refreshing in that he says what many ordinary people are thinking.

Back to the WO post:

Once again the media are shown to be hopelessly out of touch with ordinary voters.

Those are big changes over the previous months polling and you can clearly see his Approval ratings climbing rapidly off of the back of his shithole comments.

They are not big changes, ratings haven’t climbed rapidly, there is no way of linking minor poll fluctuations to one comment by Trump, and are a fool (or are trying to fool others) claiming you can see clearly what Slater is claiming.

Who is hopelessly out of touch?

Dirty faces of Boxing Day

It didn’t take Whale Oil long to go dirty on the Prime Minister after the ‘season of good cheer’.

On Christmas Day Jacinda Ardern tweeted:

At 2 pm on Christmas Day that’s probably a fairly typical snapshot of the mood of children.

SB kicked off Boxing Day at Whale Oil with this picture in Face of the day:

My first thought was that this was a photoshop but it was on our PM’s twitter feed so it is totally legit. Someone needs to photoshop some happy kids into the photo stat!

I suspect that if the photo had been one selected (or photoshopped) with happy faces SB and WO would have piled on Ardern for that.

But instead a bunch of bozos piled in on Ardern over her Christmas wishes. That’s sad.

WO frequently claims to have some sort of great moderation, but being nasty without swearing is still dirty. The dirty faces of Boxing Day

Lorde and Israel

A singer has removed a gig from their schedule. In the circumstances I have concerns about the use of social media pressure to coerce, but this is just the entertainment industry and the bottom line is financial, and that’s likely to be the reason for the change.

But some seem to think it’s a big deal.

The Standard:


It’s fair to question why Lorde has singled out Israel, but why single out Russia as a comparison? Activists in the world could probably argue against every venue if so inclined.

Tough talk from a dirty gutless flake? WO should know all about financial compromises and imperatives.

But this may not be the end of it, as the other side of social media pressure plays it’s hand.

“What National needs to do” – a transparent envelope

‘Cameron Slater’ in  The back of the envelope analysis of what National needs to do to win in 2020 at Whale Oil:

National still has no path to 61 seats and victory.

That is the key.

They do have various paths to forming the next Government (‘victory’ is not a thing under MMP). It won’t be easy for them – and it won’t be easy for Labour, NZ First or the Greens either.

The problem is like a rotting fish for want of a better metaphor. Everyone knows the ancient proverb that a fish rots from the head down.

And so it is with National.

While Bill leads National, National has no route to 61 seats in the house.

Let’s face it, Bill English is basically devoid of personality.

English was actually credited with running a very good campaign, showing his own personality, and achieving a very creditable result for a third term party in government. He missed out on remaining Prime Minister because NZ First chose not to back them, that’s all.

He tried to emulate John Key’s blokiness and just came across as fake. You can’t spend a lifetime in the beltway scheming and plotting to counter for your own lack of ability and not have it affect your personality. When your chosen career of politician is a career actually chosen for you by your Mum then there is no real driving force inside of you…other that seeking power for power’s sake.

So it’s another attempt to trash English. Another of many attempts.

How popular National would be if they got rid of Bill English and a few other hangers-on like Nick Smith and Paula Bennett.

And others. Slater has been naming National MPs for months that he doesn’t like so wants them out.

So, what National needs to do is lop off the stinking, rotting head of the fish, and get themselves a new leader and deputy more suited to the modern political environment. That team must also show that unlike Labour, they have personality AND the necessary skills to lead the country.

Labour succeeded this year due to the personality of Jacinda Ardern.

English led the country for nearly a year, and was generally regarded as successful at that, except by extremists with their own agendas at the likes of The Standard – and Whale Oil.

All National needs to ask itself is “What is our route to 61 seats?”. As soon as they realise that Bill English won’t provide that route because of his long, long, long history then he will have his political throat cut. If he’s smart he will do it himself after wangling some offshore job somewhere…but he has only a limited time to do it.

Slater offers no analysis of what National should do except dump English and others he doesn’t like. His envelope is very transparent.

I think that English did the right thing staying on as leader of the Opposition. When Helen Clark and her deputy Michael Cullen stepped down straight after losing in 2008 Labour were rushed into appointing Phil Goff as a caretaker leader, and then struggled for nine years until the fortuitous rise of Ardern.

It may well be that it is best for English to retire, but it would be silly to rush that. Other senior National MPs will no doubt also step aside during the next couple of years. They will do it their way, not jump to Slater’s agenda.

And despite repeatedly trashing those in National he holds grudges against, as he did through the election campaign and since, Slater is still largely failing to rouse support on Whale Oil.

Tanya Stebbing commented:

English actually did lead National to an election win, he did brilliantly, it was just that Winston had an axe to grind. Well, Winston won’t have the chance at the next election, so it will be down to Labour/Greens versus National/Act, and if the new govt continue performing poorly they may well lose more votes. We will see petrol hikes next year, no tax cuts, inflation rise, food and services go up. Once people get hit in the pocket, votes become very volatile.

I hope English stays on, he did an outstanding job, wouldn’t it be amazing if he got up yet again for third-time victory, one that is unable to be stolen and there are no coalition nonsense talks! Now, that would be sweet indeed!

That got 24 upticks.

Christie, unlike Slater, tried some analysis (4 upticks):

I have said this before. I believe NZF will be gone t the net election, as Winston has promised and failed to deliver one time too many. That will leave 3 parties in place – two of which are joined at the hip. We will effectively be back to FPP and there is no reason why National cannot govern in such circumstances.

That’s one possibility that looks reasonably likely. Slater responded (1 uptick):

There is plenty of reason. Firstly you are defying the vagaries of MMP. Nowhere int eh world that has MMP has one party ever governed alone.

That doesn’t mean it will never happen. It’s quite feasible that NZ First and Greens miss the threshold next election if they disappoint voters this term. That will leave National and Labour and possibly ACT. A one party government would be likely, unless National tacked ACT on again.

Secondly…what is National’s path to 61 seats?

That’s about the extent of Slater’s ‘analysis’, a question he fails to answer except for banging on about a purge of people he doesn’t like.

I’ll suggest some possibilities to a pathway to 61 seats for National.

Leaders and MPs not rushing into retiring. Being an effective opposition. Coming up with a sensible set of policies. Running an effective campaign in 2020.

Other things largely outside the control of National will also play a major part in any pathways, like how Ardern measures up as Prime Minister, how Labour Ministers perform, how Winston Peters performs, whether Peters retires or not, whether Shane Jones looks anything more than an maleloquent idiot, how James Shaw performs, how the Greens perform.

National did remarkably well for a party in their third term in Government in this year’s election, and they managed that without heeding Slater’s advice.

My back of the envelope analysis of what National needs to do to win in 2020 is to continue to keep as much distance as possible from Slater and his transparent agenda.

NZ media ownership report: Blogs

The New Zealand Media Ownership 2017 report details trends in print (down) and online (up) trends.

They have a section on blogs:

In 2017, some of the most well-known blogs and blogging platforms included PublicAddress (which features Russell Brown’s Hard News amongst others); Lizzy Marvelly’s Villainesse; Martyn Bradbury’s The Daily Blog; David Farrar’s Kiwiblog; Cameron Slater’s Whale Oil; The Standard, The Dim-Post, Chris Trotter’s Bowalley Road and Bill Bennett.

Villainesse won the best blog award at the Canon Media Awards, other nominations included PublicAddress and The Spinoff Parents. Judges Toby Manhire and Bill Ralston commented that “Villainesse stands out for its strong feminist voice, excellent graphic presentation and a good sense of what is in the news” (Canon Media Awards, 2017).

In 2017, bloggers – not so much the blogs themselves – were in the spotlight for various reasons. In August, The Daily Blog’s Martyn Bradbury revealed that the police had unlawfully accessed his private banking information as they searched for the hacker behind Nicky Hager’s’ Dirty Politics book. In an article written by the investigative journalist David Fisher, Bradbury detailed how the police actions lead his bank to deny him credit (Fisher, 2017).

In 2017, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig sued Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater for defamation. Slater then countersued Craig. In June, a High Court judge reserved his decision in the defamation case.

In October, Slater, public relations professional Carrick Graham and former MP Katherine Rich failed in a court bid to knock out a defamation claim by three health experts (“Whale Oil blogger, former MP, and PR specialist could face jury”, 2017). Slater was accused by Dr Doug Sellman and two other health academics Boyd Swinburn and Shane Bradbrook of defaming them in a series of posts on his site.

Their action was prompted by revelations in Nicky Hager’s 2011 book Dirty Politics. The High Court did not strike out the case, and said the defamation action could yet proceed to a jury trial (“Whale Oil blogger, former MP, and PR specialist could face jury”, 2017).

In August 2017, Nicky Hager observed that the Whale Oil blog, which “not long ago [was] so influential, is now “diminished” (Hager, 2017). He noted that “there is hardly a single journalist left who would take stories off the dirty politics bloggers. Cameron Slater and the Whale Oil blog still exist, but they have shrunk back to
the margins of politics” (Hager, 2017).

Slater has quoted just that last paragraph and has responded:

The report authors talk about blogs, and this one in particular, quoting extensively from Nicky Hager.

This report is could not possibly be described as fair and balanced because they never bothered to contact me to ask about Hager’s comments. For the record, my traffic is higher now than before Dirty Politics, and I’m not sure how Nicky Hager can claim that “there is hardly a single journalist left who would take stories off the dirty politics bloggers.”. He certainly doesn’t have access to my phone records that would prove that to be a lie. As for shrinking back to the margins of politics, that claim is again farcical.

My site has higher traffic than all other blogs in the top 100 combined and it exceeds the much vaunted and well resourced Newsroom site by a considerable margin. It is simply another false claim by Nicky Hager, but the fact the reports authors didn’t even bother to contact me for comment tells you more about their and the report’s bias than it does about anything else.

My subscriber base, my readership would be the envy of many of the print publications listed above. Unlike print media my audience is growing.

For a blog Whale Oil is large by New Zealand standards, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’s political influence has diminished significantly in the last three years.

There was a time when Whale Oil prompted a number of large stories in media, but now it is largely a comments forum, a repeater of MSM news with a few comments tacked on (I do that a lot too) and a lot of filler posts and click bait to keep their numbers up.

Whale shit

Bigger than bull at Whale Oil.

The campaign against Golriz Ghahraman is still rambling on at WO. Yesterday was quieter, with ‘just’ a lame cartoon plus another dirty Photoshop posted by Juana Atkins.

But they are back at it with two posts already today, with some Whale sized shit from Slater.

With all of the revelations we’ve seen about Golriz Ghahraman over the last week, I had expected the story to be picked up by the mainstream media.  That’s their job right? To report on facts and raise issues of concern about the current government, particularly when it comes to lies and deception peddled by our Members of Parliament.  Yet it’s been strangely quiet.

Media were all over it when the story broke, and for a day or two afterwards, and then it subsided, as is the norm for stories. What I think Slater means is that the media are quiet now while he is trying to beat a dead horse story.

So far, the mainstream media have stayed away from this story in droves.  They seem unwilling to publish anything that might make this Government look bad.  Stories the previous Government would have been castigated about for weeks seem to slip quietly under the rug.

From the 26th November (Tuesday) all the main media outlets covered the story. Therre is even a new opinion piece on Stuff today by Damien Grant: ‘Why I admire Golriz Ghahraman’:

We like to hold our elected representatives to an impossible moral standard. The few who can achieve such purity are so devoid of drive and ambition that they are ineffective in the blood-spattered arena that is modern politics.

Fudging your CV, embellishing the past and periodic acts of bastardy while appearing angelic – even as the viscera of your opponents taint the edges of your apparel –  are prerequisites for a successful life in politics.

John Key was called the smiling assassin. Jacinda Ardern’s first act as leader was to nudge Metiria Turei under a recycling truck while empathetically embracing the nation’s  impoverished children in a Kate Sylvester dress.

Ghahraman can have no complaint that Quin has brought these issues into the light. When you stand for office such scrutiny is expected but I do not care if Ghahraman fudged her CV or had photos taken with war criminals.

We vote for people because we want them to get things done. There isn’t any point in marrying a eunuch or voting for a saint.

Slater does not seem to favour the saintly style of blogging, but seems to expect unblemished politicians (except ones he is shilling for) and media.

He closes his post wanly:

We are long overdue some real balance by the mainstream media.

Unwittingly witty. He wants ‘real balance’ from other media. That’s kinda cute given his own degrees of imbalance.

Like this:

Photoshop of the day

by SB on December 2, 2017 at 1:00pm

Slater seems to have approved of this, he has commented in the thread.

This is whale sized shit.

And he wonders why media don’t continue his political attack campaigns any more.

Whale Oil dives deeper into dirt

Lurcher alerted me to this in a manner that was unsuitable for posting, but he makes a valid point – Whale Oil is sinking to shitty depths. One of the latest examples is a photoshopped image linking a Government MP to Charles Manson – I’m not linking to it and don’t want the image shown here.

It was posted under the authorship of ‘SB” – Spanish Bride, also known as Juana Atkins. She seems to have increased her management role at Whale Oil after the recent departure of Pete Belt.

Also posted under ‘SB’ recently was a  cartoon depicting African people as apes. Claiming ‘free speech’ is one thing but that doesn’t excuse being dirty and derogatory.

Posts under ‘Cameron Slater’ have also reverted to more of his bully blog style, with repeated petty labelling and name calling and derogatory comments. Political blogging reverting to it’s worst.

Yesterday alone, after other media had largely moved on, Whale Oil featured at least eight posts attacking MP Golriz Ghahraman and the Green Party.

That’s a gross misrepresentation, presumably deliberate, at best.

Whale Oil has also been running a sustained series of attack posts on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern which have been at times blatantly misogynist.

All this dirt does is discredits Atkins, Slater and Whale Oil even more (if that’s possible) and gives critics justification for proclaiming the return of ‘Dirty Politics’, which has already been done, associating David Farrar and Kiwiblog and Jordan Williams, who have also been attacking Ghahraman, and also the National Party by association.

This goes far outside acceptable standards of political coverage.

Dirty bully blogging is back as Whale Oil sinks into the mud, while hypocritically regularly applauding their standards.