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.

Will trousers stay up at Belt-less Whale Oil

Without much fanfare late yesterday at Whale Oil: Goodbye Pete

Pete has worked his last day at Whaleoil. It marks the end of five years of what has been a rollercoaster ride for all of us. A lot of what happened was not what Pete had signed up for.

Pete has forever changed Whaleoil for the better with his moderation plan. He assured Cam that the initial pushback would be worth the stress and he was 100% right. His expertise in moderating online forums transformed Whaleoil into a place where everyone felt safe to comment and where comments were as much of an attraction for intelligent content as the posts themselves.

Soon after joining Whale Oil Pete Belt led the commenter purges in 2015. While it cleaned up some aspects of the WO forums it also sanitised them, removing critical voices and protecting the post messages – some of which we now know were paid for. Some criticisms have returned, carefully, but it often looks sycophantic like The Standard or The Daily Blog, with dissent moderated out.

“Comments were as much of an attraction for intelligent content as the posts themselves.” Sadly that is mostly delusion. There are some good comments and occasional good posts (most rely on mainstream media content) Whale Oil is nothing like the ground breaking story breaking force it once was. It is now just another blog, albeit still larger than the others, but operating in a corner of New Zealand discussion now dominated by Facebook and to a lesser extent Twitter, and possibly overshadowed by quite non-blog performers like Reddit.

On a number of occasions, Pete stepped up and took up the slack. When Cam was in court for a week and a half he enabled Whaleoil to keep going when the going was really tough and when Cam needed the occasional weekend off to go hunting having Pete on staff made it possible.

Indications are that Belt held WO together through turbulent times, both financially and operationally. He will leave a big deficit in blog management.

Curiously SB (Spanish Bride) posted the announcement that Belt had left. Nothing from her husband in comments either. Perhaps some public thanks are yet to come from Cameron Slater.

Is SB taking over management of WO?

It will be interesting to see what happens there now. With content being nothing out of the ordinary now, apart from some now old hat colourful (or dirty) trashing of people and parties.

With the Belt gone, will the trousers stay up?

 

Whale struggling against the tide

Whale Oil continues with contradictory attacks on National and Bill English, but are struggling against the tide of opinion of commenters.

Yesterday under ‘Cameron Slater’: I just received an email from the Leader of the Opposition

Here I was, putting the last post to bed before putting  my feet up, and what would zap into my inbox?  An email from Bill no less.

A loss is a loss Bill.   You don’t congratulate yourself on how you ran the best ever campaign to become the opposition.  In the end, what you did failed.

Slater kept on saying he wanted English to fail, and then complains when he does.

What you are doing now is very similar to what Labour did when they lost in 2008.  They thought it an aberration and all they had to do was wait three years.

It’s a quite different situation to 2008, when Labour had no coalition options and dropped to 34%.

Oh Bill, you know I’m involved.

I just wish you remembered to fight for 1.1 million people when you were sitting in that room not listening to what was being said at the other side of the table.

It all came to tears.  And 1.1 million people, a lot of volunteers and the lower party hierarchy’s work came to absolutely nothing.

Cheers Bill.  Nice of you to stay in touch.

Call me sometime, if you have the guts.

Due to the bitterness and contradictions I think it can be safely assume that this was written by Slater himself.

He slams English (and others in National), and then shows that he wants to be called, to be included. He seems to hate being left out in the cold, but keeps showing that he is not an attractive option for any party these days. He can’t be trusted not to turn on anyone when he has a hissy fit.

Comment from wasailot (53 upticks):

I got that email too. $1000 donated to the National party just now, plenty more to come.

I am left a little confused by some commenters on WO. Some say that they voted for winston to see Bill, Bennett, Steven, et al thrown out of government. Some of those then bag National for not giving winston whatever it took to regain power. I would have thought they would be very pleased to see National out on their ear.

Response from ShoreRight:

Got the email too, donated often during the campaign and will keep on doing so.

Comment from Grant (51 upticks):

I actually respect Bill for not going with Winston. It was a great move – it was either Labour this election or next. One hobbled and controlled by Winston or the other just the Green’s and Labour with free range. National are playing the long game and it is you who is not listening or realising the obvious.

Comment from KGB (53 upticks):

Perhaps they did fight for what many supporters believed in.
No Winston!!!
I support the decision to not allow a corrupted NZF represent Racing & Fisheries.
National in opposition is for me a better result than bending over for, not only a man I don’t respect, but the riffraff he leads.

Comment from Rugged (25 upticks):

The article calls him out for not fighting for the values we all believe in. Unfortunately even this centre left version of National had incompatable values with Winston “crush capitalism” Peters. Surprise surprise National couldn’t land a deal with someone who thinks a $20 minimum wage is a good idea.
would honestly rather them be in opposition then trying to adopt Winstons interventions

Comment from AndrewG (12 upticks):

Well, the consensus seems to be that Bill has been a gracious loser, and a fantastic leader and the email certainly confirmed that.
But Winston was after utu for a long time and I suspect Bill was well aware of that.
Now it’s up to Bill and the team to start again and lead National forward.

Finally a response from Jman:

Cam has been encouraging us blog readers to vote NZ First for at least the past year, with the assurance that Winston would always side with National because he hated the Greens too much to ever be part of a 3 way Labour, Greens, NZ First coalition.

I can understand his annoyance at Bill for screwing up the negotiations and thus making him completely wrong.

For three years Whale Oil has been rendered toxic in wider politics, and increasingly over the last few months has been struggling against the tide in it’s own pond, which while retaining popularity as a forum for some has become a political backwater.

If inconsistency and bitterness continues to dominate then this is unlikely to change this much.

Bitterness under the bus

Nicky guided a big bus over Whale Oil in 2014, and John key and National walked away. Cameron Slater is still bitter in a big way.

Slater used to promote politics done as dirty as possible, and tried to drive a few buses over others – most notably Len Brown immediately after the 2013 mayoral election, trying to upset a democratic result, and also Colin Craig in 2015. Slater seemed to revel in doing maximum damage and seem to care nothing about destroying reputations and careers both as a game and as a mercenary.

But he is not so keen when on the receiving end – the Whale has been wailing every since Nicky Hager bussed him, and since he was left in the dust by National.

His bitterness has been apparent in the recent election campaign, wishing disaster on National and on Bill English and National MPs and staff.

And he still holds a bus sized grudge over John Key deserting him.

Yesterday he posted: No hard feelings John, but no one gives a stuff what you think anymore

That’s kind of ironic, given how many stuffs are given to what Slater thinks now.

John Key’s phone must have stopped ringing, so he’s decided to come out and offer up his advice for coalition negotiations.

Key was opening of a new Trading Room at the Business School at the University of Canterbury and was asked. He didn’t write multiple blog posts every day.

What a dickhead. He saw this coming and bolted for the door that’s how much he cared about the situation. Now he has the temerity to offer up his opinion.

Piss off. He quit, that means STFU.

No it doesn’t, it means he is free to do and say what he likes.

We don’t care anymore what he thinks. What an attention seeking effwit…phone stopped ringing eh John?

No hard feelings, eh?

Sounds very much like projection of Slater’s on situation . He seems to hate that his phone stopped ringing three years ago, and still holds a grudge.

Comments and ticks were carefully scathing of Slater.

Christie’s comment was strongly supported:

He was opening the new Business School at Canterbury University. His comments were made probably in response to a journalist asking if he was in touch with Bill English. My belief is that he resigned when he did for the reasons he stated – particularly when there was another election coming up.

Bill English’s family have been treated with some respect by the media, but John Key’s kids were always fair game. Perhaps he felt – like many of us did – that a local rapper, being paid public money, writing a song about raping his daughter was a bit too much for him. Who could blame him? I don’t blame him for resigning – I just wish he hadn’t.

George Carter’s too:

Whether it was part of a speech or in a response to a journalist his point is fairly light and non intrusive. We’ve heard far more from other ex-PM’s and MP’s so i’m not sure why you’re so dismissive of his comments.

SpanishBride joined the wailing in response:

Probably because when John Key threw him under the bus after we were hacked and our private e-mails turned into a book for profit by Nicky Hager after working with the criminal Rawshark, John Key sent a message to him saying “No hard feelings.”

I suspect she misinterprets what “no hard feelings” meant there.

Wanarunna sort of supported the post:

Quite understand Cam’s reaction here. People don’t have to agree with it, and I don’t, but hey, this is Cam’s blog where Cam says what Cam thinks. Sometimes when I read comments on this blog I get the impression that some people think that Cam speaks for the Whaleoil Community (if there is such a thing), and if he says something they don’t agree with, then somehow he has it wrong. No, he’s just seeing things from his perspective, not yours.

A response to that resulted in a thinly veiled threat from Slater…

WhaleOilNoHardFeelings

…but those two responses have now disappeared.

Such is the thin skin and censorship at Whale Oil. Slater has obviously got hard feelings after three years of being belted by a bus, and shows a lack of hardness when the political booting is from the other foot.

His attacks on Key and English and National are petty and largely impotent.

Slater claimed that National without his support would tank, and he predicted them polling in the thirties. One of the more notable outcomes of the election was how well National’s support held up in the mid forties, unprecedented in attempting to win a fourth term.

They seem to be managing quite well without Slater’s dirty politics.

Whale Oil survives as a popular niche blog, but not as a political player of any importance.

Sellman, Swinburn, Bradbrook v Slater, Graham, Rich

Stuff: Whale Oil blogger, former MP, and PR specialist could face jury

Blogger Cameron Slater, Food and Grocery Council head Katherine Rich and PR specialist Carrick Graham have failed in a bid to get a defamation claim thrown out of court.

The case was brought by public health professionals Dr Doug Sellman, Dr Boyd Swinburn and Shane Bradbrook, who alleged they had been defamed in a series of blog posts on Slater’s Whale Oil blog, and comments Graham allegedly left on the posts.

They also alleged Graham had organised the posts’ publication and authored one of them himself, and Rich – a former National MP – and the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council had paid Graham for his services.

The case was prompted by allegations made in Nicky Hager’s 2014 book Dirty Politics.

In a decision released this week, the High Court at Auckland declined the defendants’ bid to have the case struck out.

They had argued the case was filed too late as it was brought more than two years after the first publication of the statements.

However, Justice Matthew Palmer said as the statements were still available on Slater’s blog, they had, in effect, been published multiple times.

This is an interesting and important ruling.

[40] In relation to defamation proceedings Parliament reconfirmed in 2010 that a standard limitation period of two years is appropriate – less than for other claims. That reflects a policy that a person who has been defamed ought to take legal steps to vindicate his or her rights relatively quickly after the defamation has been published, or after he or she reasonably becomes aware of its publication. That may be two years after a blog is first posted. But if the blog is still up on the web, and the publisher cannot show the post has not been accessed in the past two years, I see no reason why a defamed person should not be able to sue for the continuing publication of a blog in order to vindicate their reputation. Accordingly, I consider the multiple publication rule is the law in New Zealand.

So a blog post is an ongoing publication. This must surely also apply to news items posted online by media, as well as tweets and comments in social media like in Facebook.

The judge also found that what Slater claims is ‘colourful language’ is potentially defamatory.

[85] Third, I consider the terms “trougher”, “rorter” and “ripping off”. Where these terms are used in the statements complained of here, the plaintiffs plead that, in its natural and ordinary meaning, the statement means and has been understood to mean, that the relevant plaintiff “has misused public funds”, “has misappropriated public funds”, and “has used public funds for his own benefit, to ‘enrich’ his own life and not in the public interest”. The defendants offer more innocuous meanings, as noted above.

[86] I consider an ordinary reasonable person would understand references to “troughing” and “troughers” to have connotations going beyond the meaning of being funded publicly. The same is true of “rort” and “rorter” and “ripping off”. I consider the ordinary reasonable person, with the attributes identified by Blanchard J, would infer those terms to carry a pejorative connotation of wrongdoing in the use of funding; being, in some sense, morally or legally illegitimate.

[87] These terms do not take their meanings only from the tone or adjectives that
qualify them. And their meanings are not altered by, or an ordinary part of, a context of the robust political debate. The dictionary definitions suggest “rorter” and “rip-off” may have a more fraudulent connotation than “trougher”. Rort, for example, can support a meaning of fraudulent or dishonest. For each, a derogatory meaning is part and parcel of the ordinary meaning of these terms in New Zealand. That seems likely to be why they were used. The reader is likely to think worse of their subject, in a more than minor way.

I think that has often seemed to be the intent of whoever writes and posts at Whale Oil.

[89] The terms “trougher”, “rort” and “rip-off” are capable of bearing the meanings alleged by the plaintiffs here, in the specific passages identified in the annex. Whether they are, here, is a question for trial.

So the applications to strike out were denied.

Result
[125] I decline the applications to strike-out the causes of action except in relation to the pleaded meanings identified in the table annexed to this judgment.

[126] I am inclined to let costs lie where they fall, since each party has had a measure of success.

[127] Because this proceeding could be the subject of a jury trial, and it is important the jury’s minds not be prejudiced, as the parties requested, the contents of the allegations in pleadings should not be publicly reported. The contents of the allegations are largely contained in the table annexed to this judgment.

So another defamation trial looks likely for Slater, this time accompanied by Graham and Rich.

The full judgment: https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/cases/sellman-ors-v-slater-ors/@@images/fileDecision?r=352.466892743

More from Newsroom: Whaleoil, ex MP, PR man to face jury trial

It will be interesting to see whether a Court accepts claims that Whale Oil has been used to attack people for payment, as claimed by Nicky Hager in ‘Dirty Politics’.

However it may not be ready to go to trial yet.

[123] Prior to the hearing I had directed the parties to propose further timetabling directions for the substantive hearing. The defendants indicated they would seek a stay pending the outcome of any appeal of this judgment, if the strike-out applications were declined. The plaintiffs indicated they would press for their proposed timetable to be ordered.

This is just one of a number of cases considering the use of Whale Oil as an attack blog.

Whale Oil was integral to the defamation case between Jordan Williams and Colin Craig. This initially resulted in a record jury award against Craig, but that was quashed by the trial judge and a retrial may be forthcoming.

Slater is also waiting for the judgment in the related defamation cases between him and Craig.

There is another case involving Slater and Whale Oil that is presumably ongoing. A judgment in July:

[2] Mr Slater has applied to strike out Mr Blomfield’s proceeding on grounds of delay. Mr Blomfield applies for further discovery, on an “unless” basis. Both applications are opposed. Mr Blomfield contends that the delay in prosecuting his claim to hearing has largely been caused by Mr Slater’s own actions.

This case has taken a long time.

[26] The primary reason why the case has taken so long to get to trial is the need to resolve an important question of law about whether s 68(1) of the Evidence Act 2006 (protection of journalists’ sources) applied to a blogger such as Mr Slater. That question was first addressed by the District Court in a judgment given on 26 September 2013 by Judge Blackie It was the subject of Asher J’s judgment on appeal. Subsequently, Mr Slater applied for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal. An application to adduce further evidence was dismissed on 19 November 2015. Ultimately, on 17 May 2016, the substantive application for leave to appeal was abandoned.

[27] In the meantime, there were also contempt applications brought by Mr Blomfield in respect of alleged breaches of an undertaking by Mr Slater not to publish certain material relevant to the proceeding. Those applications were dealt with in two judgments given by Asher J on 10 February and 18 February 2016.

Slater’s application to strike out the proceeding was also struck out.

Judgment: https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/pdf/jdo/d4/alfresco/service/api/node/content/workspace/SpacesStore/1f0d30c0-f211-43f2-840a-00b90faf848d/1f0d30c0-f211-43f2-840a-00b90faf848d.pdf

In yet another legal action involving  Slater and Whale Oil and also Carrick Graham to attack people: Lawyer Jeanne Denham who tried to destroy ex-husband Peter Clague’s career suspended

Denham was found guilty of misconduct earlier this year over her decision to pursue a private prosecution of Clague for assault which the judge called an “abuse of process”.

She also conducted an elaborate PR campaign against both her ex-husband and Kristin School, with the assistance of controversial PR man Carrick Graham and blogger Cameron Slater.

From NEW ZEALAND LAWYERS AND CONVEYANCERS DISCIPLINARY TRIBUNAL

[8] Ms Denham engaged the services of a public relations consultant, Mr Carrick
Graham, who in turn provided press releases which were approved by Ms Denham, to the blogger Cameron Slater for the “Whaleoil” blog.

[9] Having equivocated and (she acknowledged in evidence before us) being concerned about the harm she was likely to do to her former husband, his reputation and the reputation of his employer Kristin School, Ms Denham determined in any event she ought to proceed with the media strategy.

[10] On 18 October 2012 she filed a complaint with the police regarding the alleged assault on 10 September 2010. The timing of this complaint was that it shortly followed the response (and opposition) by Mr Clague to her relationship property claim. Some six days after this complaint the first blog post on Whaleoil appeared stating that the head of Kristin School was being questioned by police regarding a
charge of male assaults female.

[11] The blog also named the Chair of the Kristin School Board of Governors and stated that the school had known about the allegations and done nothing.

[12] On 25 October 2012 Ms Denham texted Mr Graham saying “Carrick – Cameron’s blog is starting to generate interest in the Kristin community. It’ll spread like wildfire now!” Two minutes later the response from Mr Graham read “Excellent. We’ll talk more tomorrow about what else we can run on there!”

Many more details followed, including:

(6) That Ms Denham was paying a public relations agent and in turn a blogger (Cameron Slater) to publicise what would otherwise be private matters (at least until aired in Court), is a clear indicator that “justice for a crime committed” would not appear to be the dominant purpose. In examination about Mr Slater’s involvement in her payment to him, both in the District Court criminal trial and before the Tribunal, her evidence was evasive and unsatisfactory. Furthermore she misled the Tribunal in her affidavit dated 30 November 2016 where she stated “I did not have any editorial input into the Whaleoil postings and did not have any real understanding of who “Cameron” was at the time or the true nature of his Whaleoil blog”. Emails to Carrick Graham in late October 2012, in which she seems to have a clear view that her reputation might be tarnished by a connection with Mr Slater, and in which she certainly refers to editorial input to the press releases, if not the blog itself, discredit this assertion.

And from

[74] For example, at paragraphs [31-33] when discussing the Whaleoil blog that referred to “the fool” avoiding “a whole world of pain and trouble (not to mention public attention) by settling the issue when they separated”. His Honour commented at [32]:

“[32] It is difficult to interpret this as anything other than a blatant attempt to
apply pressure to the defendant to settle the complainant’s relationship property
claim, given the timing of the posting, with the affidavits in reply on that claim
due, given the complainant’s acknowledgement that she was aware of the
material which was going up on the Whale Oil site and given that she was
paying Mr Slater for his services.

[33] The complainant denied any input into these postings but against the
overall background as I have set it out I find that impossible to accept.”

Of course the defamation case between Sellman, Swinburn, Bradbrook and Slater, Graham, Rich is yet to be decided, but the latest judgment has found that it should not be struck out and should be tested in court.

Slater must have confidence in his defence, posts attacking those taking this case against him using some of the language detailed by the judge are still published on Whale Oil.

Blog responses to CB poll

It’s interesting to see blog responses to polls. With some it depends very much on the results.

Last night a Colmar Brunton poll showed a significant swing for National and against Labour.

Whale Oil tends to be slow reacting to news, especially news they don’t like. So far they have only one post on the poll, and it’s bizarre – Face of the Day:

Meet Gary Morgan.  The Man At The Top at Roy Morgan Research.  He may be, in the end, the most powerful influencer of how this election turned out.

That on it’s own is an odd claim.

Well, I think he should hide in his office for the day.  Even though I have no doubt there has not been anything shady going on, the end result is that the widely swinging poll, and specifically its timing, is hugely damaging to the Labour party.

That has to be the shoddiest bit of polling yet.   It wouldn’t surprise me if the left will accuse Roy Morgan of deliberately screwing with the election in favour of National.

The shoddiness is in the post.

That’s last night’s Colmar Brunton poll. Roy Morgan has nothing to do with it.

And it is dirty and devious to use ‘the left’ to imply a deliberately screwed poll.

Has ‘Whaleoil Staff’ really got confused between Roy Morgan and Colmar Brunton? Or is it deliberate confusion to attack the pollsters and the poll result?

Meanwhile The Standard is usually very quick to have posts on Labour friendly polls, but as is common last night’s poll has not appeared anywhere apart from in last night’s Daily Review 20/09/2017.

Instead Anthony Robins continues his posts attacking National:

Is NZ doomed to lying politics now?

Bill English and the Nats are now running firmly on a platform of lies – Gower calls them on this for a second time this week. Should the political left get down in the gutter too? Is NZ doomed to lying politics now?

Sounds defeatist.

Nats “discovered poverty last week” – and will forget it just as quickly

Ardern’s jab that English “discovered poverty last week” was the line of the debate. After the election National will forget it again just as quickly, if the record of the last nine years is anything to go by. Do you want to vote for that?

Why do Labour supporters put so much effort into attacking National at The Standard when they have a largely left wing audience.

The Standard (resident trolls and moderators) actively try to drive away anyone judged to be a National supporter. Even those in the centre, or non-aligned, or deemed to be not left enough get attacked and banned.

So they are hardly going to swing many votes away from National by attacking them.

And there is a stark contrast between Jacinda Ardern’s ‘relentlessly positive’ and The Standard’s ‘relentlessly negative’.

Note that there are some positive Green posts at The Standard these days but Green supporters are prominent in their negative attacks.

Blogs hard out on attack

Political blogs tend to cater for their own audiences much of the time, but in an election campaign tend to put a lot of effort into attacking the other lot. That’s certainly evident at this stage of the campaign.

Kiwiblog is run by David Farrar, who has close associations with National. He can be critical of National and praise other parties, but is mostly posting praise of national and attacks on others. Posts over the last day:

Farrar should be considering displaying an authorisation statement under the Electoral Act, something The Standard displays as a precaution. Recent posts there:

For some time the Standard posts have been promoting the Greens and attacking National, and have recently rediscovered their Labourness joining the Ardern adoration club.

Whale Oil has been noticeably anti-National and pro-Winston for months, but recently has been spreading attention across the spectrum, attacking Ardern and Labour, the Greens, TOP – pretty much anyone but NZ First.

The Daily Blog is a mess of messages. Authors are out in force trying to promote their favourite issues.

John Minto doesn’t see much hope in Who to vote for?

Voting involves a moral choice.

In a capitalist economy you either vote with capitalism’s winners or with the losers. With those who have used the system to enrich themselves at the expense of others or those forced to struggle at the margins.

After this election the new government will be dominated by either National or Labour – not the dramatic choice it should be because Labour brought only a tentative, watery policy mix to the election and capitulated on tax before the first vote was cast.

Labour by itself won’t make a significant difference. Ardern has addressed the desperate social situations of child poverty and homelessness with the usual hand wringing rather than policies.

Labour talks values but these are useless without policies to give them meaning.

The best hope for a half-way decent, policy-driven, progressive government comes with a strong Green Party in coalition with Labour.

Greens are the only option this election for left wing revolutionaries.

Anyone voting National this election has a personal moral deficit.

Trying to attract voters by shaming them? Negative political attack is the fall back option for political activists, and that is evident across the blogs.

Slater implications on Peters Super leak

Cameron Slater continues to make vague accusations and implications about who leaked information about Winston Peters’ superannuation overpayments, claiming to know who leaked but also saying he is unable to say who it was. Given his changing claims in reaction to news it sounds most likely to be bluster and bull.

But yesterday Slater went further with another implication, this time of his source of information.

He posted So, if it wasn’t IRD then who was the leaker

If not IRD then who?

I’ll bet MSD has the same result. That then leaves Anne Tolley, Paula Bennett, Wayne Eagleson and several staffers on the hook. If it wasn’t the civil servants then it has to be one of that lot.

That sounds like spraying around accusations without having any idea who leaked.

It isn’t that anonymous…everyone knows who did it.

If ‘everyone’ includes Slater, if he knows who did it, why is he spreading the mud around so much?

They might be able to hide behind the OIA but they won’t be able to hide behind court discovery. National are just being cute. They leaked it and that will come out. If it wasn’t IRD or MSD then it can only be ministers or ministerial staff.

Back to vague again.

As is happening more often at Whale Oil, Slater was challenged on this in comments.

WhaleOilIRDLeak

So Slater has made vague insinuations against a number of people, claims ‘everyone knows’ who did it, and then says “you don’t know what I know’.

That all sounds very lame.

Not so lame is the implication by Slater that a source of information for him on the leak is Winston Peters’ lawyer, who also represented Slater in his defamation case against Colin Craig.

Slater has often claimed to be hard up, has often asked on Whale Oil for donations to help him pay for legal expenses, has often said how expensive defamation cases are…but that’s another story.

Slater has also been pimping for Peters and for NZ First for months, and has been throwing mud at the National and Bill English and various National Ministers and MPs…but that’s largely another story too.

What is of particular interest here is that Slater has implied that Peters’ lawyer may be providing Slater “what I know” about the Super leak.

Stuff on August 28: Winston Peters has investigators working on who leaked info about his pension overpayment

NZ First leader Winston Peters says he won’t stand by and let someone get away with “blatant dirty politics” after information about his superannuation overpayment was leaked.

“Someone decided they would break the law and leak it in a political way and some of those tweets and other comments point to knowledge out there that it was malicious and politically dirty,” Peters told media following a candidates meeting in Northland on Monday night.

Peters said he had investigators working on uncovering the leak and would let the public know who it was – “I’ve got my deep suspicions”.

Peters had also implied that a number of culprits were responsible for the leak, starting with IRD according to RNZ but that has now been ruled out.

There is no indication here that Peters’ lawyer is involved in the investigation. I think it would be extraordinary that he would give details to Slater at all, and especially knowing how loose with his fingers Slater is on Whale Oil.

Would Peters himself pass on information to Slater? I think that’s doubtful too.

Peters has a history of spraying around accusations, claiming to know who is responsible for things, claiming to have facts, but often failing to front up with any evidence.

In that regard Slater is very much the same. I don’t think his implication to fact ratio is very high. He is high on dirt and innuendo, and low on credibility.

I doubt that any lawyer will appreciate being name dropped by Slater trying to sound credible.

I think it’s most likely that Slater is guessing, he has no real idea who leaked, but he is trying to sound like he’s in the know to defend his accusations to readers who challenge him on “making accusations here based on nothing substantive”.

If the leaker is revealed then both Peters and Slater will probably claim to have been right – given the number of accusation’s they make the chances are one of their targets could be close to the mark.