The Dim-Post

June 9, 2015

Escalation

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:25 pm

The executive summary of the Dirty Politics scandal goes something like ‘A cabal of some of the most awful people in the country engaged in unethical and borderline illegal activity for political and financial reasons, and the mainstream media helped them do it in exchange for exclusive content.’ There was some contrition from a few individuals in the media after it all came out, but no real soul-searching, and most of the activity just continued on, same as before.

Today it got a bit weirder, and more awful. Over the weekend TV3’s The Nation – which is produced by Mediaworks – screened a story containing yet more allegations of criminal activity by Cameron Slater. Slater promised Lisa Owen that there would be ‘consequences’, and today a sort of vassal blog site which I will not link to, run by a pair of Slater’s lickspittles published private photographs of a senior MediaWorks journalist.

Which was horrible but, frankly, wouldn’t have mattered that much because, as I’ve said before, no one reads any of this idiocy. But the New Zealand Herald ran a story about the publication of the photos amplifying the malice behind the original publication a hundred-thousand-fold.

The story has been on-and-off the site all afternoon, and right now its off, or at least not searchable. I hope there was some soul-searching at the Herald and a decision to take it down and keep it that way, because the judgement here seems suicidally dumb. Do media organisations not see how helping this little coven of seat-sniffers attack other journalists might work out really badly for them one day? Slater et al do hate, and want to destroy all journalists not totally loyal to their masters, so helping them do that and facilitate their ‘punishment’ of journalists for publishing stories they don’t approve of is not in your interest no matter how many clicks it buys you. Even now they’re probably calling up MediaWorks and offering them dirt so they can ‘get payback’. Maybe ethics are too much to ask for in this day and age, but can’t we get some basic survival instincts?

Update: The Herald has been in touch to advise that they didn’t publish any of the images in their story so I’ve changed the post to reflect that.

52 Comments »

  1. Basic survival seems to depend on click-bait, so while it’s shitty, it’s hardly unexpected behaviour from the Herald.

    Comment by Rob Stowell (@rob_stowell) — June 9, 2015 @ 7:32 pm

  2. Ethics are not too much to ask for, in fact we shouldn’t have to ask, they should be a given. What’s happening with the politicians currently in power and the bottom-feeders they associate with is nothing less than outrageous and continued activism to expose their tactics and ideally remove them from power is at the top of my agenda.

    Comment by sparksedit — June 9, 2015 @ 7:41 pm

  3. Did you note who wrote the Herald story?

    Comment by Rob Stowell (@rob_stowell) — June 9, 2015 @ 7:47 pm

  4. My impression has been that the Herald has been keen to put the boot into Mediaworks.

    Wether that’s because of professional or corporate competition or both I don’t know.

    But looking at Twitter etc there’s s lot of ego involved.

    Comment by NeilM — June 9, 2015 @ 8:16 pm

  5. “Did you note who wrote the Herald story?”

    I didn’t see the Herald’s rendition, but the ODT still seems to be reporting the story (not pictures!). At least with a Google News search I can’t find anything about this anywhere else in MSM, but the ODT still lists it on the front page in its Latest News box. Most of it is about legal issues of the pictures being leaked, but there’s a name near the top. At the end it’s attributed to David Fisher and the NZH, but surely you’d also have to expect that editors must take responsibility for what finally ends up published.

    Comment by izogi — June 9, 2015 @ 8:44 pm

  6. So now our national media buys into revenge porn, that’s just great.

    Comment by fivehoursnorth — June 9, 2015 @ 8:57 pm

  7. …published private photographs of a senior MediaWorks journalist.

    But did they? This is what is not quite clear to me. Is it really her photos and how the f*** did they ever get hold of them.

    Anyway, love your executive summary. Spot on. I was just thinking today how would I even begin to explain this to anyone not following this closes and it just did my head in.

    Comment by eszett — June 9, 2015 @ 9:22 pm

  8. The NZH article was a David Fisher piece before it was removed; Google Cache to a large degree never forgets. No sign of any compromising photos though. And I think I know what the “sort of vassal blog site” is, but I’m not linking. All I’m going to say is that the site has a very strong Alex Jones/InfoWars vibe.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — June 9, 2015 @ 10:26 pm

  9. And whatever happens, I hope all the Big Media outlets just sue each other till they’re bankrupt. Then something more worthy might just rise from the ashes.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — June 9, 2015 @ 10:30 pm

  10. Slater gives the media stories*, and they give him awards*, and then give themselves awards*. Why would they change?

    (*for new readers, all of this has actually happened)

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — June 10, 2015 @ 1:06 am

  11. sammy: “Why would they change?”

    It might possibly come about if the whole Dirty Politics thing goes full-monty Hackgate.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — June 10, 2015 @ 1:18 am

  12. “. I hope there was some soul-searching at the Herald ”

    i wouldnt put a single cent on that

    Comment by framu — June 10, 2015 @ 7:48 am

  13. The corporate media in NZ has gone past eating its own babies. It’s now lopping off bit of its own cadaver to devour. The whole Glucina hit job shows how compromised the Herald is when push comes to shove – do you really think a paper that would use deception to publish a hit piece on Amanda Bailey would have half a brain to think through the consequences of gleefully attacking an actual media rival? People STILL don’t seem to have grasped it. New Zealand does not have a free, independent media anymore. It has something more like a free market version of Putin’s media, only with the directions not coming from a meeting in nice office in the Kremlin but rather from wannabe Brown shirts on the internet.

    Media reform has to be top of the agenda of any future centre-left government.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 10, 2015 @ 8:06 am

  14. “…and today a sort of vassal blog site which I will not link to, run by a pair of Slater’s lickspittles…”

    Jesus. Such sites actually exist?

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 10, 2015 @ 8:12 am

  15. Your evidence of Slater’s involvement Danyl? Personally, the people involved in the blog to which you refer seem quite capable of “hit jobs” without outside assistance. And what are your thoughts about the young man who tried to push private photographs in the public domain?

    Comment by Reginald Perrin — June 10, 2015 @ 8:28 am

  16. I have always wondered how JW, as a political journalist, thought it was a good idea to sit as a senior member of the “NZ Twitter Left Wing Agitators and Social Justice League”.
    I can understand most of the members in that club. They are complete nobodies and the thought of this kind of attention would have been unimaginable to them as children whilst they were receiving wedgies and having their lunch stolen.

    JW on the other hand is meant to be a professional and it doesn’t come as a shock that these kinds of misjudgements spill over to her personal life.

    Comment by King Kong — June 10, 2015 @ 9:12 am

  17. Yes, that’s the issue here. Her personal life.

    Fuck right off into the sewer you came from.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — June 10, 2015 @ 9:15 am

  18. Yip exactly King Kong, definitely her fault. Thank the Lord for people like you who can cut to the point for all the hand-wringing whingers adrift in a shapeless sea of political correctness.

    Comment by nw — June 10, 2015 @ 9:21 am

  19. Steady on Buddy. Going for a swim with hungry sharks does not make you honourably trusting, it makes you an idiot.

    Comment by King Kong — June 10, 2015 @ 9:22 am

  20. king kong – you might want to start with a comment that isnt 100% ad-hom.

    Comment by framu — June 10, 2015 @ 9:28 am

  21. King Dong literally tripping over himself to find some way to blame a woman.

    Comment by Trouble Man — June 10, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  22. For all we know she could be involved in a conspiracy to stitch up Cameron Slater. Good on her if she is, but that would be a bit “dirty politics” and I am not sure the left are lauding the proponents of those tactics as heroes.

    Comment by King Kong — June 10, 2015 @ 9:38 am

  23. I have always wondered how JW, as a political journalist, thought it was a good idea to sit as a senior member of the “NZ Twitter Left Wing Agitators and Social Justice League”.

    Well Armstrong, O’Sullivan and Glucina are both founding members of the “Stroke Off John Key at Every Opportunity In Order To Baste Themselves In His Divine Ejaculate Club” and it hasn’t seemed to have done their careers any harm.
    Are you saying it’s OK for journos to only back winners?

    Comment by Gregor W — June 10, 2015 @ 9:45 am

  24. @King Kong,

    You are a fucking idiot. For all we know, you are Cameron Slater. And that’s not OK.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 10, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  25. @Gregor W,

    Do not engage. Do not feed the troll.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 10, 2015 @ 9:47 am

  26. Hasn’t stopped every frothy mouthed lefty on social media trying to dream up ways to get them fired though. They have managed to remain professional enough for their companies to be able to ignore those voices.

    Comment by King Kong — June 10, 2015 @ 9:54 am

  27. @Flashing Light,

    For all I know you are Josef Fritzl and that’s not ok either

    Comment by King Kong — June 10, 2015 @ 9:56 am

  28. Join me in my boycott of the Herald. The tipping point was a story about the distress of Steve Irwin’s family following publication of details about his death, heavily larded with excruciating details about his death.

    Comment by Adrian — June 10, 2015 @ 10:00 am

  29. Do not engage. Do not feed the troll.
    Troll tucker.

    Comment by Joe W — June 10, 2015 @ 10:18 am

  30. well, that went down hill fast

    Comment by framu — June 10, 2015 @ 11:05 am

  31. @Adrian: I’ve been boycoyying the Herald for something like fifteen years now. Of course I say ‘boycotting’, what I really mean is ‘not reading because it’s a crappy newspaper’, but close enough, right?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 10, 2015 @ 6:01 pm

  32. The social media/journalism/politics/ nexus is taking political discourse interesting places.

    On the positive side most people don’t take any notice.

    There’s something about the instaneous publishing of an endless stream of preening for an instaneously reading audience that brings out the worst.

    Comment by NeilM — June 10, 2015 @ 7:01 pm

  33. “The social media/journalism/politics/ nexus is taking political discourse interesting places. On the positive side most people don’t take any notice.”

    I think there’s often a difference between people thinking they don’t take notice, and actually not taking notice. Many people never see a blog in their life and wonder why anyone cares or attribute it with any relevance, yet still get their fix of the consequences via the MSM which uses social media and the blogosphere, and whatever’s leaked into it, as a source.

    Comment by izogi — June 10, 2015 @ 7:18 pm

  34. The behaviour here (in this case) is so vile that only someone personally interested would step up to defend it. There is no public interest in doing so, there is none of the sort of principles that right wing people tend to move to defend even when their own personal lives are not affected, there is only a woman who a disgusting little rat has tried to humiliate and a website then tried to revictimise.

    Some on the left have taken the extreme position that the pictures should no even be mentioned because to do so might lead to further victimisation.

    I am glad that the Herald ran the story, so people know what a disgusting little rat Rachinger is, a right wing creep who was doing his best (which was no enough) to expose Hager’s source, attack Hager and others including Greenwald. He has tried to engage or honeytrap these people and more. I am aware of a wide range of people whom he has tried to engage, people who said he asked questions which if they had been foolish enough to answer would have endangered their work and their lives. That’s whay the little bastard does. He engages people with a view to get information with which he can leverage himself or lean on them later. He’s a nasty little psychopath.

    His supposed left wing views are totally insincere. If you view his Twitter timeline, which he has since deleted and rebooted, that is quite clear. I found it curious that LF called him initially a left wing activist, and that he has at times pretended to be one (though he is a right winger, police informant, and great mates with Slater).

    I think he is still working with Slater. Plenty of evidence exists of him and Slater discussing how they would deviously pretend not to like each other, etc. He is working with Slater and Slater with LF. Still. The cops will likely be taking anything he gives them still but will be wary. Thankfully a scraped archive of all if Rachinger’s online activity exists, including his old Twitter achive, scraped by people who knew about the sort of thing he was up to quite some time ago. When people pretend to be hackers or to have interesting information other interesting sorts of people will want to know the varacity of these claims.

    There ate lots of reasons people might pretend to be hackers. For instance, I’m told that hunting peodophiles is often an excuse given by people caught or who fear they have been caught spending time in child pornography corners of the dark net. People active on Silk Road and other forums I am told have been known to give similat excuses.

    Back to the victim in discussion here: Willians is a strong person and won’t be one. What we can do for her is to not judge het for having taken pictures of herself andnflirted with someone. It should not be embarrasing for her because such behaviour, in this day and age, is simply jot embarrassing. It is her body and her time and she should be able to do whay she wants with that without judgement.

    Anyone who thinks her behaviour is outrageous or should make her or others blush is a fool and morally askew and far from being with the times. The creeps who presumably hoped that people would think less well of her misjudged the mood of the times gravely. I can’t wait to see both the authors of the blog and Rachinger especially behind bars, although there are complications. The Police won’t look good out of this, because, of course, Slater and Rachinger have collected info on their inept investigation as well in their usual sociopathic way no doubt.

    Comment by Gothelamo — June 10, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

  35. …yet still get their fix of the consequences via the MSM which uses social media and the blogosphere, and whatever’s leaked into it, as a source.

    I’m at risk of imaginging a golden past of political discourse. There has most likely always been talkback of a sort.

    Still, I think there’s something about Twitter, the way in which communication is communicated, that changes the message.

    I also eventually came to the conclusion that language is a prison.

    Comment by NeilM — June 10, 2015 @ 10:07 pm

  36. “but can’t we get some basic survival instincts?”

    Internationally journalists are among the bravest with hundreds being killed reporting on wars, corrupt governments & crime. What going with these clowns shows how trivial and useless MSM is here in NZ.

    MSM in NZ is the propaganda wing of the State. All this represents is inter factional fighting among those who seek to control the Ministry of Truth.

    Comment by Simon — June 11, 2015 @ 6:43 am

  37. a pair of Slater’s lickspittles published private photographs of a senior MediaWorks journalist.

    I have no idea what site you are talking about but Lauda Finem has a story about this.

    Comment by Ross — June 11, 2015 @ 8:29 am

  38. Lauda Finem, when uneducated Latin goes vulgar. My little joke.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 11, 2015 @ 9:00 am

  39. “Stroke Off John Key at Every Opportunity In Order To Baste Themselves In His Divine Ejaculate Club”

    Possibly the best image provoking sentence I’ve read in the last six years. The very first to make me laugh out loud and throw up in my mouth at the same time.

    Comment by Jeeves POnzi — June 11, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

  40. @ Sanctuary: “Lauda Finem, when uneducated Latin goes vulgar. My little joke.”

    About sums it up.

    Comment by D'Esterre — June 11, 2015 @ 2:36 pm

  41. I must admit that Lauda Finem is somewhat of a guilty pleasure.
    I loved their stuff on purported Police corruption, not to mention the occasional shit-bagging of lprent.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 11, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

  42. “… Lauda Finem is somewhat of a guilty pleasure…”

    You’ll go blind you know.

    I tend towards Richard Seymour at http://www.leninology.co.uk/ for my idle hours.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 11, 2015 @ 4:41 pm

  43. “I tend towards Richard Seymour…

    Try the http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/ and associated blogroll.

    Comment by unaha-closp — June 11, 2015 @ 6:20 pm

  44. The Herald has a problem. It has a ‘proud’ tradition and history but is under siege by disparate forms of media, which appear to be out-competing it for readers. The way it appears to be dealing with this is to lower its bar and engage increasingly in tabloid types of ‘expose, to try and salvage what it can of a shrinking readership. Ethics are not part of the tabloid creed, however the tendency to lower the bar of acceptability to encourage sales is considered a survival skill in a increasingly competitive market.

    Regarding the fine line between titillation and news, I think the blogosphere in general has never been above crossing it if it has suited said blog’s own political agenda. Being selectively self-righteous is not the same as being ethical. It raises the question: can ethical behaviour be ever be mandated? Sanctuary suggests a centre-left government should reform the media, for example – good luck selling that one before an election!

    Perhaps the best way to police any media as Danyl has, is to challenge it when it is detected, because ‘not buying’ the Herald may have inadvertently contributed to it lowering its standards to try and capture a shrinking market. So in effect, the blogosphere, is not only the source of unethical skullduggery as used by Slater, it may also become ‘the media’s’ leading ethical guardian of the future.

    Comment by Lee Clark — June 12, 2015 @ 7:08 am

  45. “…good luck selling that one before an election…!”

    Modern elections are presidential style tabloid celebrity death matches where the electorate is treated as some sort of primitive monoglot creature capable only of oscillating between simplistic extremes.

    Think about the coverage of the last budget; How much of it was actually devoted to discussing vote health, or defense, or conservation? A big, fat zero, thats how much. The coverage was all about the horse race and the politics of personalities. Having a vague mention of an actual policy about media reform tucked away in innocuous terms on your website won’t get a look in in that sort of environment.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 12, 2015 @ 8:13 am

  46. “The coverage was all about the horse race and the politics of personalities. Having a vague mention of an actual policy about media reform tucked away in innocuous terms on your website won’t get a look in in that sort of environment.”

    On relevant media coverage, I’m not certain how it’d go without it being tried, but I’m a little saddened that a great TV show like BackBenches doesn’t get a slot where more people might actually see it. It’s good, at least, of Prime to save it after the demise of TVNZ7, though.

    It’s one of the few political media productions which does a fairly good job of making politics interesting and amusing for an audience. At the same time it covers current issues, fosters some good informal debate between MPs on policies, lets people engage with real MPs (in a moderated way) on what they think, and shows politicians beyond hand-picked petty bickering simplified sound-bites which typically get from Parliament into news bulletins.

    Comment by izogi — June 12, 2015 @ 9:05 am

  47. My view is that I agree with both of the above. I just feel that to a large extent media feels it ‘owns’ coverage and feels it gets to choose governments by pitching certain narratives that suit its narrow purposes. The problem then is if a political party states an intention to try an clip the media’s wings, it hazards receiving the kinds of negative media coverage that might decide whether or not it actually gets elected.Consequently, political parties tend to put ‘media reform’ into the ‘nice idea, but probably suicidal’ box and instead seek feed the very monsters.that are able to destroy them.

    Comment by Lee Clark — June 12, 2015 @ 9:53 am

  48. Lee #42: Is it more than just a symptom of old media struggling to adapt to the Internet Age?

    Lee #45: UK Labour under Neil Kinnock found that out the hard way when The Sun went both barrels with “Will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights?” and “It Was The Sun Wot Won It”. And it gets to the point where it takes something to truly cross the line, such as Hackgate, to force through meaningful change. Maybe part of that ‘media reform’ could involve establishing or otherwise facilitating a counterweight to the usual suspects.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — June 14, 2015 @ 4:44 am

  49. Hi Kumara, yes there is a struggle to adapt, but part of that struggle is that the internet can provide the kinds of transparency which traditional media can, if they choose, fail to observe. However, this may be because the internet provides opportunities for people to ‘hack’ steal misappropriate, buy, select or fabricate information and pass it off as journalism. Re KInnock – It’s fair to say he was shafted by the media (but falling on his tushy into the waves at Blackpool didn’t help him much, either).

    Afterwards, Blair made inroads for New Labour when he decided to court the tabloids for their support. But once a party lies with the dogs getting fleas is inevitable. I don’t think that media reform is impossible, but that the ‘media’ might not be willing participants in any process they consider would curtail their own views about journalistic ‘ethics’. At the same time, the media’s views about ‘ethics’ appears to shift and change according to how their balance sheets look, or which party or personality they favour at the time.

    Having said that, if you ask DPF, he will produce evidence that the ‘media’ is biased against Key and National, and that hasn’t appeared to have dented his popularity. So even a potentially salacious piece of tabloid-bait like ‘Tailgate’ fell on deaf ears as far as the public were concerned. So maybe I’m (to adapt a Bushism) ‘misoverestimating’ the media’s powers to persuade. Which of course might be interpreted as suggesting media reform isn’t necessary.

    Comment by Lee Clark — June 14, 2015 @ 8:27 am

  50. Would it be reasonable to say that the internet has helped to more strongly polarise traditional media? As in, the likes of the APN and Fairfax and similar have found themselves needing to compete with readers’ ability to rapidly find commentary that’s sympathetic and reinforcing of what they already want to think about any given issue.

    Comment by izogi — June 14, 2015 @ 8:58 am

  51. It’s hard to say here in Aotearoa – I know the tabloid tradition in the UK has been little short of feral for ages, and was pre internet, and that tradition may even go back to the ‘Penny Dreadful’ and broadsheets and pamphlets way back.. New Zealand has a reasonably tame tradition by comparison, I’d argue.

    Comment by Lee Clark — June 14, 2015 @ 5:06 pm

  52. I know the tabloid tradition in the UK has been little short of feral for ages….

    Which in itself is really interesting given that torts relating to defamation seem to be much more successfully prosecuted in the UK compared to here.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 15, 2015 @ 11:45 am


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