Perhaps edit the main post to include this info?
Think RB knows how he meant the question to be interpreted.
Think WOCS answered how he believes that taking money to spread someone else’s words that he just happens to agree with is fine.
Yeah, that’s what he said and I thought the context was clear, and Slater’s subsequent statements made it clearer. I could have been a bit more gracious and acknowledged Graeme’s rather different interpretation of the original interview.
PS: I should note that Slater in a subsequent interview with David Fisher admitted to demanding money, but said he’d never received any. Which is a bit sad. But we have to go with that. I’m just in no doubt what kind of work he was demanding money for.
I’m sorry you feel that way. All I was saying was that when I saw the Media3 interview with Whale, I read it a different way. I didn’t think he was admitting as much as some others thought he was admitting. That’s all.
I think it's evident that even Slater himself didn't hear the question in the way you say you did.
He says he asked for one. They gave him one and then he blogged on it. They even gave him some to give away. I got one of them. I quite like it. Not saying he was paid – I very much suspect he wasn’t – but if he was, why not?
He should say he was paid, ideally.
But here’s Slater’s own response to commentary on his admission:
PR flacks like Matthew Hooton, Deborah Pead and others get paid too for ensuing that their clients story is adequately covered in the media. They use all sorts of tricks to get that out there too…some of which have been outed. They also bill their clients for seeding stories in social media. I know this because I’ve seen the invoices. Matthew Hooton for example hired Martyn Bradbury to “interview” customers of the new medical laboratories in Auckland to attempt to spike them. He was working, paid, by Diagnostic Medlab as their contracted spin doctor and was attempting to cause outrage against the legal commercial arrangements of the DHB. SO he hired a blogger, who got paid, and they ran stories against the competition David Fisher never ran stories about Matthew Hooton paying bloggers to do his dirty work then, so why now? One can only think petty revenge.
Hooton doesn’t do consumer PR and I’m damned if I can square the idea of “dirty work” or writing on behalf of trade unions with seeking publicity for a new razor.
I do not think that, based on what was said on your show, that there was an admission that Whale has sought money to run lines on a political story. Indeed, it’s possible you agree. The reason you think Whale has sought money to run lines on a news story is not really what he said on your show, but because you’ve seen correspondence where he sought money.
Graeme, my actual question to him was whether he demanded money to “run certain lines”. Here’s one example where he indicates his understanding (indeed, anyone’s understanding) of that phrase, in talking about Labour enlisting their tame journalists “to run lines for them”.
Perhaps you can find some way to construe that as “here’s a great new razor!” but I really don’t have time to further entertain your silly fit of contrarianism.
Publish it. I’d be interested in seeing it.
Duh, Graeme. Source. Confidential.
Mostly, I took that to mean advertorial stuff. Whale has been asked by a company to say something nice about a product, and essentially to give them free advertising. He replies that he’ll do it if they pay him. The PR companies doing the asking are being paid, so why shouldn’t he?
It may be more than that – in the Colin Craig sense, I have no idea – but I don’t think you can point to what Whale said on Media 3 and conclude that it is more than that.
Can you actually point to any likely advertorial content on Whaleoil? And if there was, what would that have to do with Slater’s political views? And how would my question about “running certain lines” apply to product promotion, rather than political positions? You’d have to be squinting pretty hard to make your first impression that he was talking about doing advterial for consumer PR companies.
Also, the reason I asked the question was because I had in fact seen correspondence in which Slater demanded money to take a certain line on a current news story.
I quoted that on Whaleoil , ( pointless I know , I might have better luck quoting Gandhi to Neonazis) . First response from Slater was to say you’re wrong if you said that , but he doesn’t believe you said it . (My comments have since been deleted )
On Media3 ...
Me: “Have you ever demanded money from PR companies on the blog in return for running certain lines?”
Cameron Slater: “Absolutely.”
Me: “You have? How often does this happen?”
Slater: “I’ll tell you why. They get paid.They’re getting paid to put a message out. They’re getting paid to put spin into the media. And one way they try and do that is to freeload off people who have an audience. That audience is actually worth something. You’ve got an audience. You’re getting paid by NZ On Air and other parties to have a TV programme that you believe people will watch. And I don’t believe that freeloaders like …”
Me: “I’m not being paid to present certain opinions on behalf of the people paying me.”
Slater: “Here’s the thing, right? I have particular political views and particular personal beliefs. If I was being paid to present beliefs that were against my personal beliefs, then you’d have a valid claim. But I don’t see why I shouldn’t be paid for my opinion. I get paid to go and radio and paid to go on television, although you’re not paying me to come on this. People people pay me for my opinions. Keith Ng got paid for writing a story. That’s what makes the world go round – money. That’s just how it is. As long as you’re true to yourself and you’re not compromising your own personal beliefs and personal ethics then I don’t see a problem with it. I’m a shameless capitalist.
You can hear the recording for yourself here at Peter Aranyi’s extensive post from last November.
Hi all. The email form appears to have broken at a bad time. I’ll get it fixed asap.
What’s concerning is that 750,000 visitors would put WO in the same league as Stuff or the NZ Herald, and yet this didn’t immediately strike people in the business as implausible.
As far as I can tell in reality WO would have less than 5%, maybe 1% of the readership of NZ’s major news sites.
Simon Lyall posted some numbers on the gulf between independent blogs and the major news sites on a recent thread here:
Adding up the total NZ Blog stats shows perhaps 6 million page views (Whale Oil is up 1.5 million from September, probably due to Len Brown) and if we add in Public Address and a few other uncounted NZ-orientated blogs then I guess we might get to 8-10 million pageviews a month acroos the “NZ Blogosphere”.
By contrast the advertising departments for the various major sites list:
Herald: 15 million pageviews/week
Stuff: 17 million pageviews/week
TV3: 3.9 million pageviews/week
TVNZ: 4 million pageviews/week
eg 40 million page views per week or 160 million pageviews per month.
In other words the main mainstream sites get 15 to 20 times the traffic of the NZ Blogosphere.
This really speaks to the myth of WO’s influence.
He got very abusive towards me today on Twitter after I got him to admit he knew the JMAD number was vastly wrong but still reproduced it without comment as the basis of a brag post.
I've contacted Merja Myllylahti at JMAD who has acknowledged the error in the blog stats and will be re-publishing a corrected report asap.
Unfortunately, the misapprehended Whaleoil number was aired as a fact this morning in Gavin Ellis's chat on Nine to Noon.
From today's Herald editorial:
The Law Commission's definition of news media for the purposes of legal recognition had four elements: the publication of news, information and opinion of current value; its dissemination to a public audience; publication must be regular; and the publisher must be accountable to a code of ethics and a complaint process.
Some blogs meet all those criteria except the last. Only those associated with newspapers and broadcasters are subject to a complaint adjudication process. The Law Commission's report, The News Media Meets "New Media", proposed a single complaints body recognised in law in the hope that blog sites would submit to it for the few privileges the courts and Parliament bestow.
One of those privileges, sought by Slater now, is the right not to divulge the names of informants. It is not an absolute right and should not be. If it were a matter of life or death, or a real threat to public danger, press freedom should give way; indeed, the press could justifiably take the initiative in those extreme circumstances. But when it is not a matter of life or death, free speech is paramount. And real freedom to speak through the news media sometimes requires protection from identification.
The courts ought not restrict that protection to media which subscribe to a code of ethics or a complaint process. There are obvious benefits in credibility for those who subscribe - and the Evidence Act's limited protection is welcome. But being subject to outside oversight is not the defining characteristic of news media. Regular publication of news and views of general interest can be regarded as a medium deserving the rights and protections - and legal obligations - of all media.
The right that Slater seeks is not particularly generous, or final. If a case goes to the High Court, news media may be forced to betray a confidential source to the judge, who will decide whether confidentiality overrides other considerations in the case. Other jurisdictions give media freedom higher protection. A blogger might not have the means to challenge this ruling in a higher court but it should not stand. News comes in many and varied forms and the courts should recognise it when they see it.