Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The perils of political confidence

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  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I didn't think much of Johns' interview this morning. Either the tape is a 'game-changer', in which case he should have the balls to publish it, or it isn't, in which case he should just admit that it isn't in the public interest.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Johns

    Too many Johns in this story. #Confusing ;)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    To be entirely cynical for a moment, it is possible that:

    1) Teapottapegate is the proverbial storm in a tea cup, but there’s a certain amount of (justified) paranoia in Nat circles about how rogue tape recordings will be sliced up and spun.

    2) Far from being “potentially a game-changer”, Bryce Johns is trying to ‘sex up’ (to coin a phrase) pretty weak material for a reveal in the last issue before the election. Something the HoS does have form on doing – political stories where, so to the speak, the foreplay is a lot more impressive than the money shot. H-Fee, anyone? How about the SST's Operation Leaf scoop that should have been a career-killer for everyone concerned, but wasn't?

    3) Yes, Tau invoking the New of the World was fucking stupid. There’s plenty of ethically sub-prime conduct that doesn’t rise to (sink beneath?) that torrent of used douche water.

    4) Jonathan Milne might need oxygen at the very idea of politicians… well, talking politics. Don’t think anyone else outside the media-political complex will feel the same.

    5) “The sense of political fixing in the Epsom deal has been hugely amplified by the incident.” You may wish to expand that a tad, Russell.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I didn't think much of Johns' interview this morning. Either the tape is a 'game-changer', in which case he should have the balls to publish it, or it isn't, in which case he should just admit that it isn't in the public interest.

    It's not hard to see how the contents of the tape could fall between the poles of evident public interest and unremarkable private chat and still be a significant political story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    It's not hard to see how the contents of the tape could fall between the poles of evident public interest and unremarkable private chat and still be a significant political story.

    No. But that's not how the HoS editor is describing it - the tape is 'breathtaking', 'a game-changer', that he's decided not to publish for reasons which are still rather vague.

    Looks like he made a bad call. The Nats get to shit all over him but he didn't sell any extra papers.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    5) “The sense of political fixing in the Epsom deal has been hugely amplified by the incident.” You may wish to expand that a tad, Russell.

    I don't think it's outrageous to say that the Epsom deal is perceived as a political jack-up, and that this incident fosters the immersion that the parties involved have something to hide, even if they don't.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    No. But that’s not how the HoS editor is describing it – the tape is ‘breathtaking’, ‘a game-changer’, that he’s decided not to publish for reasons which are still rather vague.

    To be fair, it was Milne who used the word "breathtaking", and in a particular context:

    But it's the sheer range of comments in Key and Banks' discussion that is breathtaking - and the pair's assessment of the prospects of National, Act and NZ First.

    Deciding your story isn't quite compelling enough to risk a massive shitfight and potential prosecution isn't the same thing as there being no story. There evidently is a political story in it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The legal exclusion quoted by Price and others is important (and has been conveniently ignored by the foaming commenters at Slater and Farrar's blogs):

    does not include such a communication occurring in circumstances in which any party ought reasonably to expect that the communication may be intercepted by some other person not having the express or implied consent of any party to do so.

    Comparing a contrived photo op in a public setting a metre from an invited press posse with hacking of private phone conversations is masterful spin, breathlessly regurgitated by TVNZ and others.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15711 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    As usual it will amount to nothing. The initial "how dare they record the Prime Minsters private meeting" has got everybody's knickers in a twist. Can you really imagine a politically explosive discussion between Key and Banks at all let alone one held in front of a bunch of journalists, anyone heard of lip reading?
    This will turn out to be nothing other than a distraction engineered, no doubt, by Key and Co. for their own advantage.
    Seriously, who's going to believe a "package" was left on the table of the Prime Minister and the DPS let it just sit there, Tui moment if you ask me.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4441 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    "how dare they record the Prime Minsters private meeting" has got everybody's knickers in a twist.

    and such a predictable tactic that the media who have swallowed it should feel like fools

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15711 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    and the pair’s assessment of the prospects of National, Act and NZ First.

    Hang on... Didn't Key say he wouldn't work with Peters?
    flippity flop, you just can't trust that man Key

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4441 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    It seems feasible that National's own polling had shown that Winston First would get in, and so they needed Act as a counter. Though as Russell notes, discussing it in that setting reflects extreme confidence that there would be no consequences.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15711 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Sacha,

    Sacha wrote,

    Comparing a contrived photo op in a public setting a metre from an invited press posse with hacking of private phone conversations is masterful spin, breathlessly regurgitated by TVNZ and others.

    I agree, we can only watch on and see what affect this has. Any publisher that does not publish is not acting in public interest, it was afterall a meeting by our PM to influence voters in an upcoming election was it not?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2468 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Kathryn Ryan right now saying this distraction is the last thing National wants. #fail

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15711 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    It takes a lot to unhinge Mr Key. But then again, covert taping seems to do that to anyone, regardless of political colour or celebrity status. Still, if Key really had nothing to hide, why did he get so worked up?

    Also, comparisons with the News of the World are disingenuous. Whistle-blowing is one thing. Wilful invasion of privacy is quite another.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3895 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Stuff has an update, with the Greens calling for National to release the transcript -- which, presumably, National doesn't actually have.

    And John Key said more this morning:

    Key said he would not give permission for the tape to be released because "once you start News of the World tactics from a tabloid like the Herald on Sunday, you just encourage them to do it to everyone else".

    "Once you start with me, then it just goes to other well known New Zealanders.

    "The British public saw what that was like and in the end it's very distasteful."

    If this develops into an actual feud with the HoS and its publisher, that's not exactly ideal for National, but they don't seem to be trying to avoid such an outcome. Quite the reverse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    If this develops into an actual feud with the HoS and its publisher, that's not exactly ideal for National, but they don't seem to be trying to avoid such an outcome. Quite the reverse.

    Every press secretary knows that the public despises the media, even more so than politicians (especially a popular one like Key). So a protracted fight with a media outlet is a gift from heaven.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I don’t think it’s outrageous to say that the Epsom deal is perceived as a political jack-up, and that this incident fosters the immersion that the parties involved have something to hide, even if they don’t.

    My (highly negative) opinion of *cough* electoral accommodations has been crystal clear, and unchanged, since '96 when Bolger fucked over his own candidate in Wellington Central. Just to add insult to injury, he didn't do it two weeks out but, quite literally in the last thirty seconds of his last television interview of the campaign.

    But I just remain unconvinced that the Tea Party will materially shift any minds that aren’t already made up about whether Key is a vacuous finger-puppet and Banks Screwtape incarnate.

    For that matter, I don’t think Labour’s freshly announced policy to end the scourge of MP smuggling – thoroughly fisked next door – is going to get, or lose, any traction either.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    It can be argued that it was not a private conversation , that it was in fact a very well signaled media event.
    Bad for National? Only if they have something to hide, surely.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2468 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    So, could this be case of form in a teacup?

    Ummm...what would have happened if there were two lip readers outside the window and giving a running commentary of the two J's chitchat??

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1458 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Every press secretary knows that the public despises the media, even more so than politicians (especially a popular one like Key). So a protracted fight with a media outlet is a gift from heaven.

    Radio NZ's Epsom vox pops this morning didn't seem to bear out this theory.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    My (highly negative) opinion of *cough* electoral accommodations has been crystal clear, and unchanged, since Bolger fucked over his own Wellington Central candidate, quite literally in the last thirty seconds of his last television interview of the campaign.

    I've mentioned in another thread that it's a relic of the FPP era, and switching electorate voting to PV or STV would go a long way to addressing 'deals'.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3895 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    they don't seem to be trying to avoid such an outcome

    look over there

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15711 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Any lip readers able to get anything worthwhile off the TV footage? (I'm assuming there's some reasonable footage taken through the windows by all those TV cameras).

    Would neatly sidestep the table recording issue.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2292 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to DeepRed,

    Not in seats like Epsom, which has a huge right-wing majority in the 70% plus range,

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

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