The Dom-Post has an overview of the blogosphere in their Insight section, including a profile and photograph of me (finally Fairfax gives the punters what they want.) I’ll link to it when it’s online, but if anyone is reading the article and visiting the site for the first time looking for satire, you’ve been short-changed. I had a baby recently (my wife was also involved in the procedure) so I haven’t written any comedy since the campaign began. You might enjoy these Labour and National Party campaign posters.
November 5, 2011
June 10, 2010
The Standard’s take on the MP credit card scandal:
Journalists’ reaction to the credit card fiasco today (especially Stuff’s ridiculously huge revolving headline) fell right into the National government’s lap. It was a classic set piece by the government that did not warrant the saturated coverage it received. My message to the media: Come on guys get spin wise!
Thanks guys. I accept this legally dubious runner-up award on behalf of Wellington based satirical bloggers everywhere.
December 9, 2009
New posts to this site are now going to appear on my twitter account.
August 22, 2009
Chris Trotter: Labour’s problem is that they are ‘essentially libertarian’.
I guess he stumbled across the word online someplace and liked the way it sounds.
August 19, 2009
No, I am not writing the Tara Te Heke posts over on Kiwiblog. Are they for real? I haven’t communicated with David since he went on holiday but I kind of think so. (Just for the record, I think the major flaw in the ‘DPB Party’ is the historically low engagement beneficiaries have with the democratic process.)
July 17, 2009
Via DPF, I was interested to see NBR is moving to a paid content model for their web site and that owner Barry Coleman targets bloggers in his litany of woes regards the current media business environment:
And to add to the madness it has been the aggregators that have profited the most from the supply of that free news copy. Worse still the model has spawned a huge band of amateur, untrained, unqualified bloggers who have swarmed over the internet pouring out columns of unsubstantiated “facts” and hysterical opinion.
Most of these “citizen journalists” don’t have access to decision makers and are infamous for their biased and inaccurate reporting on almost any subject under the sun (while invariably criticising professional news coverage whose original material they depend on to base their diatribes).
I think Coleman has missed the mark here – the NBR has bigger problems than bloggers. If you walk around any mid to large sized New Zealand city you’ll encounter dozens of homeless people, mostly mentally ill or incapacitated by drugs and alcohol, raving about government conspiracies or screaming at their reflections in shop windows; I don’t understand why anyone would pay $290 per year to read online content from Nevil Gibson and Matthew Hooton when the streets are filled with drunks and paranoid schizophrenics all generating essentially the same quality of material and distributing it for free.
July 14, 2009
Like Tim I’m less than convinced by The Standard’s ‘scoop‘ regarding Richard Worth’s resignation. I’m still curious as to what really happened and the story might even be true but the fact that it comes from an anonymous source via an anonymous blogger with close ties to Labour makes the information worthless (npi). And their conclusion is just plain nasty:
Key has given every journo worth their salt a huge incentive to dig around the private lives of his ministers. If he applies the same standard to other ministers as he did to Worth (and to be seen as fair and honest, he must), then he will have to sack any that have strayed. That’s an easy chance for a journo who gets the right info to secure a large feather for their cap.
So start dugging for smut, guys – it’s okay, The Standard said you could.
My impression is that most political journalists hate writing about the private lives of politicians (there’s a reason most of those stories end up in the Sunday papers).
It’s rumoured that Eddie, the author of the rumour is a senior Labour comms advisor so if there’s a story to be found here I think it’s that Labour are begging the gallery to start smearing cabinet Ministers.
UPDATE: Eddie and IrishBill from The Standard refute the rumour that Eddie is a comms advisor with the Labour Party.
July 12, 2009
The HoS has an article about the Soliciter General investigation into whether bloggers have breached contempt laws in the Clayton Weatherston trial.
Most journalists are very familair with the laws around defamation and court reporting, most bloggers (myself included) are totally clueless. The fact that bloggers keep getting away with publishing stuff that is obviously either defamatory or contempt tends to give you a certain feeling of invulnerability. It would probably be a healthy thing for someone to be ‘made an example of’.
The HoS also features Cameron Slater, this time stalking some Auckland socialite:
A fixture of the social pages is at the centre of an alleged text and cyber bullying storm. Police are investigating claims from Auckland socialite Pearl Going that she has been subjected to death threats and abuse via text, Facebook and emails.
The 24-year-old, related to former All Black Sid Going, has also complained about a year of cyber-harassment involving two websites . . .
Blogger Cameron Slater, known as Whale Oil, confirmed he was behind a website about Going started in June last year.
He said he had never met her and they had spoken on the phone only once.
Slater said he took exception to Going being included in a list of up-and-coming Auckland socialites published in the Herald on Sunday‘s Spy pages because he challenged claims about her background.
I love that last sentence.
The SST has a profile of Cameron Slater, nee Whaleoil. It is genuinely fascinating. This kinda leaps out:
Slater found his [independent means] after the collapse of the security systems company, of which he owned 49%, in 2004 amid rancour with his business partner. The failure ruined Slater financially he had to sell his second home to pay the IRD socially, and eventually, psychologically. The depression he had battled for years became disabling.
As a result, he is unable to work. Because he had income protection insurance, he now receives 75% of his former salary.
Somebody told me last year that Slater had mental health issues and I made a decision to stop linking to his blog or debating him – it didn’t seem right – and I privately asked a couple of people not to engage him in the comments section. Since his Close-Up appearance I’ve decided that since he’s ‘out there’ anyway it’s better to acknowledge him and walked back on that a little.
It does seem a bit odd that Slater is too sick to work, but not so sick he can’t spend hours at the gym, boxing training, tour around the country for the election and make sundry media appearances, although obviously that’s up to his insurance company and doctor. You can’t argue he doesn’t have issues:
Slater routinely uses Photoshop to vilify his targets: grafting Helen Clark’s head onto the body of a crotchless starlet, or riddling her with digital bulletholes. On seeing an article titled “The World’s Ugliest Dogs”, Slater “couldn’t resist” reposting the story, appended with pictures of female Labour MPs. He has published bizarre sexual allegations against a female Labour official and challenged strangers to fights, including the sons of Folole Muliaga.
“I got sick of the way the media created a frenzy around a fat woman who was sent home by the hospital to die,” he says. “F— them.”
Yeah. I was curious about the claim in last months Metro that Slater and DPF were ‘involved in all National’s internal debates’. DPF seems to have a fair amount of mana within the party but my impression is that a lot of Nats consider Slater a mentally ill, walking liability, although one young Nat researcher I met did have a weird kind of reverence for ‘the Whale’, who he described as ‘the terror of the left’. The article clears things up a bit:
Kevin Taylor, John Key’s press secretary, says Slater has nothing to do with party strategy or the PM’s office. Taylor has only spoken to him once, to argue over Slater baiting protesters at a conference.
As an aside, Kevin Taylor has also met me only once, a few years ago at a party in Mt Vic, although he probably doesn’t remember because after we’d talked for a few minutes some drunken woman wearing a bone carving found out what he did for a living and spent the rest of the evening screaming at him (‘Leave Helen Clark alone! Shese the besht Prime Ministher our countreshe ever had!’) I don’t think it was one of his more pleasant evenings.
Anyway . . .
Slater attributes his rising profile to a simple formula.
“It’s not what you write, or how you write; it’s not even the content,” he says. “It’s about getting attention.”
To that end, he has worked aggressively to expand his patch beyond politics, wading into any spat he can find. National people have asked him to stop, told him he is unhelpful. But ultimately it is not about the party. “I do this for me.”
I was interested to see these details about Whaleoils visitor numbers:
Slater’s profane, occasionally rabid, vociferously right-wing blog Whale Oil Beef Hooked (to be read with an Irish inflection) gets 5000-6000 page views a day, including many readers in the media and political establishment. In the past year, it has broken a number of stories that have been followed, often unattributed, by news outlets, notably Winston Peters’ lingering post-election grip on his ministerial vehicle.
I have to admit he does break some stories – but I’m still amazed he was never sued over his allegation during last years election that a senior Labour MP had raped someone and the police had covered it up. Slater does point out:
“I’ve got no money. I’ve got nothing. What’s anybody going to do, sue me? Fill your boots! You’ll waste 100 grand,” he says.
“When you’ve got nothing to lose, you’re dangerous.”
In terms of popularity 5000-6000 page views a day is an awful lot – it would put Whaleoil up there with Public Address and Kiwiblog as one of the most popular in the country. According to the NZ Blogosphere ratings Whaleoil is actually number ten on the list, getting about 800 unique visitors/day back in February. So there may be some creative accounting there, although I understand Slater has some pointless feud with Tim Selwyn and presumably disputes the numbers.