Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Perverse Entertainment

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  • nzlemming, in reply to Leopold,

    He’s real?
    I always assumed that he was a lefty running reductio ad absurdum commentary on Mr Farrar’s posts

    I think he is real. The pseudonym dates back to Usenet and nz.general

    ETA @MatthewPoole Snap! But less of the dinosaur, ye young whippersnapper!

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1701 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    My God! Part of the blogosphere I discovered before Russell! I found this site something like 6 months ago, had a bit of a chuckle, then felt mean and thought "Good on old Redbaiter, finally giving away full time trolling to make his own site". I think it will be very good for him, because he struck me as a sad and lonely person without a worthy goal. He'll still be a crazy wingnut until the end of his days, but he might be a much happier one.

    FWIW, I don't think he's a New Zealander by birth. Subtleties in the way he uses language have always made me think he's Australian originally.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8008 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    He's been doing it since long before blogs were the done thing. If "he" (assuming a singular male, rather than some kind of cabal) is a lefty, he's remarkably durable. Most people run out of steam after a few years of pretending to such vitriolic biliousness.

    A bit like undercover policing. Having to take on an alter ego and not get caught is one of the most stressful divisions of any police force - in addition to fighting the 'beast within'.

    The demise of NZPA will have much wider effects, & not just to people working for it.* Little local papers like the Oamaru Mail and the Greymouth Star will be starved to death - which I rather think is the Fairfax organisation's intent.

    It'd be the equivalent of NewsCorp/Hollinger owning Reuters, then closing it down.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Personally speaking, Mr Redbaiter seems to me, personally speaking, a professional fourth former.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 635 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    TV3 News led with the NZPA story, last night. Any ideas if TV1 even mentioned it ?

    As for Palin and Bachmann being "over already" I can but hope. Apart from Obama actually losing, my next biggest fear politically is Palin winning.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 547 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    TV3 News led with the NZPA story, last night. Any ideas if TV1 even mentioned it ?

    They did but it was further down the chain. Fairfax decided to print their own press release on it.... I guess what we will see is more press releases being printed in their entirety without any scrutiny.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    I don't care about Redbaiter's blog. I care that NZPA is closing.

    I've found the response from many journalists regarding NZPA's closure to be pretty confusing, honestly. It sounds like a lot of people think this is the result of company politics, rather than any sort of economic decision. Surely that'd actually be pretty major news, then?

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert, in reply to nzlemming,

    with a section on its "About" page titled "Rooted in Minnesota,"

    Nuff said

    Since Nov 2006 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Came across his blog for the first time today too, maybe the same way. I'm happy for you to write about it so I don't have to go there.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Speaking of people who should be parody accounts but aren't, has anyone figured out why Tau Henare is still allowed to use Twitter? He's the New Zealand equivalent of 50 Cent, only with fewer No 1 singles to his name.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    As for Palin and Bachmann being “over already” I can but hope. Apart from Obama actually losing, my next biggest fear politically is Palin winning.

    I'm slowly convincing myself that the GOP doesn't actually want to win; that they have moved on from politics being anything other than a fundraising exercise. That's not to say that they will try not to win, only that if they do it will be incidental.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 193 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I'll say this for Redbaiter, his insults had a certain poetry about them. I often wondered if he said them out loud beforehand, just to sound-check them.

    I'd be willing to bet, if you ever met him, and didn't know who he was, that he would seem like quite an ordinary person, quite possibly personable, probably a bit shy. If his real personality were anything like as nasty as his online one, he'd have nothing to lose by people knowing who he is. He's no Whaleoil, IMHO.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8008 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Josh Addison,

    If I recall correctly, he showed up and got himself banned in quick order very early on in PAS’s history. Him and dad4justice.

    I recall having to ban dad4justice, after his spate of heart-rending drunk commenting jags, but not Redbaiter. You may be right, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17915 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    I think he is real. The pseudonym dates back to Usenet and nz.general

    ETA @MatthewPoole Snap! But less of the dinosaur, ye young whippersnapper!

    I remember Usenet before Redbaiter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17915 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to Alex Coleman,

    I’m slowly convincing myself that the GOP doesn’t actually want to win; that they have moved on from politics being anything other than a fundraising exercise. That’s not to say that they will try not to win, only that if they do it will be incidental.

    I don't know, I think Lucy's information vacuum is part of the equation here. They can talk to people who do not know and will never know that Michelle Bachmann is crazy, because what they see her say lines up with everything they see in their news sources. That electorate isn't small, and the Democrats ignore it at their peril (see the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, and the 2010 midterms.) No matter how crazy these people are, they will be voted for.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Alex Coleman,

    I’m slowly convincing myself that the GOP doesn’t actually want to win; that they have moved on from politics being anything other than a fundraising exercise. That’s not to say that they will try not to win, only that if they do it will be incidental.

    There may be something in this. Palin is so obviously a grifter, and she's vividly demonstrated the way politics can be harnessed for personal enrichment. It would be surprising if some of her peers hadn't noticed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17915 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    That electorate isn’t small, and the Democrats ignore it at their peril (see the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, and the 2010 midterms.) No matter how crazy these people are, they will be voted for.

    But they're also wildly vulnerable candidates, and the party hierarchy knows it.

    When you look at that Pew poll -- and I think Pew is the gold standard for opinion research -- it's hard not wonder whether the constant Rasmussen polling is offering a misleading impression of their chances.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17915 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I remember Usenet before Redbaiter.

    I think I do, too, but I'm not entirely certain. The trolls do tend towards a certain sameness that renders them somewhat unmemorable individually.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3731 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    The trolls do tend towards a certain sameness that renders them somewhat unmemorable individually.

    Well I saw part of one of the quotes Russell uses quoted in comments at the DimPost today that immediately made me think "redbaiter". And lo, so it was. He's distinctive

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    And yet, I too, have wondered at times if he's some sort of cabal.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Clint Fern,

    Bizarre that the quote at the top of the redbaiter blog is from George Orwell - is he unaware of The Road To Wigan Pier?

    It'd as perverse as if you headed this blog with an Ayn Rand quote.

    Nelson • Since Jul 2010 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    What I'm trying to figure out is where newspapers will get all the sorts of stories that used to come from NZPA.

    I asked last night on Twitter and ended up with a whole bunch of comedians saying "from twitter!!!" or "they'll just print press releases!!!".

    But seriously, where will newspapers get the stories that NZPA used to supply?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1819 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Well, Paul Madgwick is suggesting that the non-Fairfax papers will use whatever feeds APN uses, and is also suggesting that the new setup will be "more" like the the original NZPA - I assume that will be the local news info that each participating newspaper will contribute...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Ballantyne,

    I recall when Redbaiter first popped up on Usenet back some time in the 1990s with posts in nz.general and nz.politics. His outstandingly nutty rants were actually quite refreshing at first, since Usenet was already in terminal decline back then and most of the posters were plainly drongoes. Redbaiter generally spells quite well and has a uniquely colourful style, which is why I'm pretty sure there's only one of him.

    It also led to Gordon McLauchlan outing him in the Herald in the early 2000s – he wrote McLauchlan a letter complaining about some "commie" thing he had said the previous week and foolishly put his name on it. McLauchlan quoted the letter as an example of the sort of thing he had to put up with and gave away Red's name and home town. The town was Tauranga – not a big surprise, that – and his name I won't mention because Redbaiter obviously still wants to keep his identity as secret as he can.

    Like Batman.

    It doesn't matter anyway – he's not anybody you'd ever have heard of; but it did elicit some chuckles among the handful of people who haunted nz.politics back then.

    I don't know when Redbaiter finally realised Usenet was dead and left – I'm pretty sure I was gone before he was.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom, in reply to Islander,

    Little local papers like the Oamaru Mail and the Greymouth Star will be starved to death

    But surely so will the Timaru Herald and the Taranaki Daily news (both owned by Fairfax)? Even The Manawatu Standard, Marlborough Express, Nelson Mail, Waikato Times etc draw a lot of content from NZPA, unless things have changed since I last saw them.

    If it was a "starve the competition of quality content and save it all for ourselves" strategy it'd be nasty but logical; this seems more of a "the readers have no news? Then let them eat advertorial" move.

    Radio did this back in the early 90s... never mind community engagement and compelling local content, stick a "Morning Zoo" in a studio in Auckland and have them make prank calls all morning while carefully omitting to mention anything which could let slip where they're situated.

    Ratings plummeted and the smarter bosses reversed it... but only just enough to get the ratings back up, of course. Now wait for readerships to fall. And the reaction? Why more layoffs, of course.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

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