Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: We can do better than this

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  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the Gallery in particular tends not to move unless it smells blood.

    This. It's been evident in much of the reporting on Labour under Goff, then Shearer, and now Cunliffe. Bully-boy stuff, the flip-side of sycophancy.
    It's not everyone, and hard to pick any single individual or instance. But any pleasure in seeing it now directed at Key has to be tempered. It's kind've ugly.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And Rachel Glucina, who gets name-checked in Dirty Politics, was vapidly evasive about it at the latest Wintec Press Club:

    Braunias did ask whether she’d paid much attention to her minor role in noted gossip Nicky Hager’s new book, Dirty Politics. No, she hadn’t read it, and she’d never met Hager anyway. What did she think of Hager? “Don’t know, never met him.” She said it with a snap.

    People were well warmed up for the Q&A. It quite quickly became, in Braunias’ closing words, fractious. Most questions centred on whether what she did was ethically tenable. Justifications varied. Questions about the depths her gossip plumbed were met with “It’s my job.” She swatted away allegations of partisan bias with “I’m just a gossip columnist.”

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Slater often seems to be playing a politics-themed LARP (sorry to any Larpers reading) where the win-condition is to be as awful as possible.

    And not in an amusing way where you laugh at how horrible it all was post-game.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls,

    Nicky "noted gossip" Hager. Not particularly apposite.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    It’s not everyone, and hard to pick any single individual or instance. But any pleasure in seeing it now directed at Key has to be tempered. It’s kind’ve ugly.

    It seems the fuse that Hager lit has elevated into a political bushfire, with or without the Left egging it on. Good investigative journalism can do that.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    Where has Stephen Joyce gone? I'm scared.
    Nats had to roll out Bill English today, as about the only 'clean' senior party member left, to do some policy presentation and distraction.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    JK seems to believe that they can ride out the storm through to the election and still be popular enough to win. If fresh polling next week shows them taking a big hit, maybe then there will be some sacrificial lambs.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    More in "let's not go to the pub after" kind of a way.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I ran out of time to put this in the post, but the past week's news seems likely to have a very significant bearing on Slater's defence in a defamation case:

    Blogger Cameron Slater should be able to claim the mantle "journalist" to protect his sources in a defamation case, the High Court at Auckland has heard.

    But defamation expert Julian Miles, QC, said if the blogger did then refuse to reveal his sources he would struggle to defend claims his blog posts about a businessman were "honest opinion".

    Mr Miles was called to the High Court to offer expert advice in a defamation action against Slater - the first case in New Zealand in which the definition of "journalist" has been a key issue.

    Former Hell Pizza executive Matt Blomfield has alleged Slater defamed him in a string of posts on his Whale Oil website.

    An earlier district court decision found Slater did not qualify as a journalist and would have to reveal who gave him the documents and computer hard drive on which his posts were based.

    Mr Miles said a series of posts to the blog during 2011 and 2012 showed Slater had developed a pattern of work which involved receiving information and then publishing it. It meant he should qualify for the protection enjoyed by journalists, he said.

    There's no public interest in this story. It seems like another paid-for hit job.

    Also: note that what Slater's trying to avoid disclosing is the source of stolen computer documents. From memory, he's quoted bragging about having other people's stolen inboxes twice in the book.

    This is why all the kvetching about Hager's use of the messages in his book is so contemptible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, at times your tone and level of bile is reminiscent of the gutter trolls you deride.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    [Update: For the record, I note that Farrar now denies the allegation in Dirty Politics that he organised the “Princess Party”, though he did attend. As to why writers sometimes choose to remain anonymous, such as me on this occasion, look no further than the climate of intimidation created by the Nats’ attack politics machine. Who needs that kind of filth, I don’t.]

    Oh, FFS… I’m not even. Really… I read the post (stupid me) and the comments (really stupid me), and really should feel at all surprised the well being of any women just... stopped being important almost immediately. Cover your ears Myles, but that would have made me bilious with sadness and anger if it just wasn't exhaustingly predictable. Abuse victims < Men with political points to score.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    It would also put Slater’s nose out. And it’s possible ‘pissing off the whale’ is something those close to him are reluctant to do.

    Maybe. I think Slater's days of influence are numbered.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I know I keep banging on about the Canons. Like Russell, I don't have a stake in them taking the award away from Slater (and I certainly wouldn't want it thrust upon me), but then I also think that the industry body is duty-bound to finally distance itself form Slater. It's a symbolic gesture, yes, but symbolism is important in these things.

    In that spirit, here's something I really regret not asking Rick Neville when he emailed me last week: when was it that he decided to include the best blog award in the show? And when were the criteria set, and why, given the odd choice of rewarding a single story (submissions still asked for four pieces)? Because my strong suspicion is that they created the category in order to give the award to Slater.

    Anyway, I suggested a reporter who's been in touch to ask and they got an out of office reply. He's back on September 9. A most well-timed holiday.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Do you know the timing on that case? The article was on the 23rd of June, and I can't find anything post that on the Courts' website.

    You'd have thought we'd be due a decision by now?

    I'm wondering if Slater gave evidence that he didn't take payment for stories. If he did, he may well have Archered himself most severely.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    She swatted away allegations of partisan bias with “I’m just a gossip columnist.”

    Content to remain part of the problem, I guess.

    Meanwhile, Farrar on The Panel this afternoon. I don't even.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Whatever denial Farrar now finds it expedient to issue (and he doesn't have a good record for honesty), my point remains is that these parties are explicitly seen as hunting grounds by Roast Busters style sexual predators and a certain correspondent is so morally myopic that he honestly thinks that plotting these acts and warning of them are the same or that pointing out the difference is petty and personal (i.e., all about him).

    Anyway, beyond that reply and moving on to general statement, this fustercluck of revelations touches unfortunately on a very ugly seam in New Zealand "manhood".

    As Nicky Hager has pointed out, there's a weird, sick obsession, a mixture of compulsion and revulsion towards sex that may be to some degree consensual (temporarily disregarding for the sake of this argument the power relationships of adultery and prostitution) versus the valorisation by these beasts of premeditated rape.

    It is not incidental, but integral to the corrupt exercise of power and dominance (and that's where the realities of prostitution and adultery between unequally empowered people re-enter the equation). This scandal is very indicative of primitive sexual instincts, attested to by Jordan William's admission to getting "high", everything said by Slater and by Farrar's boyish giggling and choice of party dress.

    It's not just a sick display of older men competing for younger women, it's those "men" competing for dominance using those women as currency.

    It's not not new, sadly, that this has been going on for a long time, but too long it has been hidden behind prurient ideas of good taste and gentility fit for the bowling club. If I'm going to try to rip away that mildewed curtain to the hurt of the older generation that hung it there in the first place, then so be it. I don't think that's "petty"; I think it's necessary.

    You cannot do away with the ugliness that is rape culture without confronting it head on and showing how deeply it is rooted in power.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The book gives no indication that Farrar was part of the disgusting rape conversation in the book, even if he ran the parties. And I really don’t think he would have been. He can be faulted for being matey with these guys, but I do not think he would be part of that kind of talk.

    I wouldn't piss on Farrar to put out a fire, as the saying goes, but even I wouldn't tar him with this particular brush.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    The whole thing calls for an independant inquiry, not denials.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Johnny Canuck, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    Stephen Joyce is busy running the National Party polling, to see what impact if any this is having on public opinion.

    Vancouver BC • Since Feb 2013 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • llew40, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Well, putting myself into the shoes of Canon, as a corporate sponsor I think they were quite right in their initial insistence on sticking to the separation of sponsor from judge - after all, who would want to be a part of an awards process where sponsors had an influence on the judging?

    The way the situation is evolving though puts them in a more difficult situation. Ahead of any possible criminal charges or proven misrepresentation of an award entry (which must surely be very close to being the case), do they form a view that sponsors should take a moral position on award participants?, if so, who and why?.

    Almost certainly there will have been discussions about the representation of the award entry, and I assume that they will have been discussing a stronger line on distancing themselves from it. I imagine they will also be thinking about whether or not next years sponsorship is worth it - which would be a terrible industry outcome.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Ianmac,

    I wrote to Jim at the Panel yesterday pointing out that he let claims of "the Left do it too," pass un-challenged.
    Today he started to ask Farrar to, I think, to name these nasty Left bloggers but Farrar just plowed over with his spin of justification - for a long long time.
    I have written to Jim again with the request that he challenge "them."
    ( We do know that some comments on the Standard are unpleasant but the bloggers?)
    I wrote also to David Fisher, who I respect, and asked the same question re Left bloggers. He did reply and said,

    "I thought it was fairly clear to anyone with an internet connection. I did ask Slater about the other blogs - he cited The Standard and then referred to posts about himself. Some of those are unpleasant but - for my part - I can't begin to see a comparison.

    Thanks David.

    Bleneim • Since Aug 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    In one of the early reports that annoyed me, Radio New Zealand’s political editor Brent Edwards, talked about smears being unleashed to “blogs” and “the blogosphere”. Actually, we’re not all like that. The multitude of bloggers, political bloggers included, have no part in this.

    I've been blogging for over 18 years now. In that time the only PR offer I've had was to write about a well known brand of baked beans in exchange for one (1) can of the baked beans. Meanwhile, W. Oil gets $6500 a month for writing about how smoking is cool.

    So yeah, most of the "blogosphere" (worst word ever) is nothing like the 'Oil.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Hmmm, I can see why John le Carre refuses all awards and honours.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    Meanwhile, W. Oil gets $6500 a month for writing about how smoking is cool.

    Worse than that, he gets the money but someone else ghostwrites for him.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 313 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to llew40,

    Well, putting myself into the shoes of Canon, as a corporate sponsor I think they were quite right in their initial insistence on sticking to the separation of sponsor from judge – after all, who would want to be a part of an awards process where sponsors had an influence on the judging?

    Exactly -- like Russell, I'm struggling to see the rationale for giving him the damn thing but putting that on Canon makes as much sense to me as boycotting NZ Post because you're offended by this. I don't think I'm the only person who'd be severely displeased if NZ Post tried to manage the brand of the book awards they sponsor.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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