Angry journalists

June 20th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Deborah Hill-Cone wrote in the Herald on Monday:

As a young female journalist I was probably sadly before my time in shamelessly trying to schmooze my way to notoriety of any kind like an overpainted attention-seeking goose. Back then, how I would have loved to have been in Andrea Vance’s position, the famous Fairfax journalist who brought down a Cabinet minister. How glorious to be feted for your special powers of turning a powerful man to mush, leading him to say he “made errors of judgment” while in your thrall.

Whether their relationship was romantic or not scarcely seems to matter. Although it does seem disingenuous for Vance to now play the victim. Whatever the background, Vance still exhibited a degree of influence – for that week anyway she was more powerful than any politician – that made her the envy of her colleagues.

Especially those who are a little too dangerously in love with the romantic image of their profession – they are the noble crusader, the Katharine Hepburn wisecracker, the reincarnation of Martha Gellhorn. Even if these days being a female reporter is more like being an “It” girl than a hack.

You have to be good at putting on the different personas that are expected of you, whether that be vampish, coquettish or as “enchantingly nasty” as Rita Skeeter. Most often young female journalists still seem to be cast in these starring roles by older tweedy men. It is in the classic tradition of Pygmalion - anyone remember Maddie in House of Cards?

I wonder how many female reporters in the parliamentary Press Gallery have unresolved “daddy issues”. (Oh I know they will all deny this strenuously, they are tough, independent and staunch. I’d have said the same, too.) I just can’t help thinking it would be progress if female journalists were writing their own parts rather than continuing to play the role of temptress to male politicians.

It is no surprise that this outraged a huge number of female journalists, and rightly so. It’s offensive to both Andrea and her colleagues. wrote a great response:

I’m angry. I’m not sure what’s come over New Zealand in recent weeks. It’s like we’ve decided to take out the prize for holding the most sexist and misogynist views towards women in the media.

As a FEMALE (I’m also blonde and quite small, but don’t hold that against me) reporter with just ten years experience working in a variety of media in New Zealand, Australia and London, I’m gobsmacked. Yes, I’m over 30. So in the words of some commentators, my career is over.

The reality is by the time you get to my age and you’re still in the media, it’s easy to feel positively ancient. Many of my colleagues last just a few years before the bright lights of PR, marketing or pretty much anything else beckons. Despite what so many seem to think about journalism, it’s not easy. Every man, dog and blogger out there is ready to criticise our every move and it’s even worse for those of us in the press gallery.

We work hard, have spent years studying, many of us still have huge student loans, we work late night and weekend shifts for low pay. In the end many of us sacrifice family, friends and an ordinary life to do it. You don’t do this job unless you love it.

I’m not complaining – ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am proud to say I am lucky enough to have the best job in the world and I absolutely love it.

But the treatment dished out to female reporters is frankly disgusting. The vitriol thrown at the very talented Andrea Vance in recent weeks has been abhorrent. She is a very, very good journalist. I’m not afraid to say that I’m jealous of just how good she is. The comments and insinuation following her stories on the GCSB leak have left me, and many others, infuriated.

For some, it seems the idea a female reporter would (shock horror) manage to get a story purely by working hard and being tenacious, is impossible. Surely some sort of seduction or honey trap was involved? How else could this possibly have happened?

It’s not just the treatment of Andrea that has shocked me. It feels like it’s become open slather on female journalists, particularly those of us in the press gallery. Apparently we all have “daddy issues” and we flirt and flutter our eyelashes to get stories. We’re all temptresses. If only it was that easy.  I myself have been belittled and had my abilities questioned because I’m young, blonde and female – that clearly means I can’t get a job based on my any merits other than how I look. The four years at university and experience at numerous media outlets count for nothing.

I’ve bolded what I think is the key thing.

Katie’s excellent column got retweeted by a large number of journalists, especially the female ones. This led to to ask what was the collective term for a group of angry female journalists. The replies included:

  • A swarm
  • Lovely people who we all admire and love. And respect.
  • I don’t know but I can’t wait for Alasdair Thompson to blog on the subject.
  • a sisterhood?
  • a group of really pissed off journalists
  •  I’d like to declare a moratorium on the use of the word “posse” as any part of a description of a group of female journalists.
  • can we just give DHC a term instead?
  • I’m still holding onto hope a NZ female journalists collective is created. So “collective” is nice.
  • A court. A giggle. A pert.
  •  The term for a group of goldfinches is a “charm”. But bird references.
  • a valkyrie?
  • The press gallery?
  • This was discussed among the Gallery tweeps a few weeks ago, upon discovering a group of male journos is a Pride.
  •  A bulletin? A column?
  •  An umbrage? A vexation?
  •  i like “a glaring”. it’s also a word for a group of angry cats
  • A fury? A vengeance? A wrath? or maybe best described as a Gallery?
  • an agency?
  • a group of pissed off female journalists is a “poutrage”

My favourites were “a valkyrie” and “a poutrage”.

 

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50 Responses to “Angry journalists”

  1. Redbaiter (7,640 comments) says:

    Silly little girls are everywhere today, and journalism (so called) is no exception.

    All on the mission their Progressive university professors/ mentors sent them on.

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  2. Black with a Vengeance (1,552 comments) says:

    A wraith or a howler of angry female journalists?

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  3. graham (2,216 comments) says:

    From what I remember (not being an avid follower of her column), Deborah went through a divorce three or four years back, and has been bitter ever since.

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  4. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    I don’t know what is in Dunne’s emails but I doubt he withheld them because they reveal that a female reporter is hard working and tenacious.

    There is plenty of sexism out there, but it is much harder to achieve anything if you are always going around with a chip on your shoulder whining about how horribly unfair life is. There is not much overlap between high achievers and people complaining about discrimination. Just get on with actually producing some decent journalism and the respect of people that matter will follow.

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  5. KiwiGreg (3,178 comments) says:

    “We work hard, have spent years studying, many of us still have huge student loans, we work late night and weekend shifts for low pay.”

    So not the sharpest knives in the drawer then? Or wah wah wah was pretty much all I heard. Bunch of BAs who were marginally too ambitious to be teachers.

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  6. Viking2 (11,146 comments) says:

    ah, so the girlies ego’s have got bruised. Tough shit its a tough life and many are really only interested in their own ego’s and agenda’s.

    Like the one yesterday who approached a young man outside of the court house and said straight up. “Tell ME about your day from beginning to end. If you don’t I will print about it anyway”

    They don’t get called scum for no reason.

    Cry me a river for I really don’t care about your whingeing about how tough life can be sometimes.
    When you dish stuff out you deserve what you get back.

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  7. BeaB (2,060 comments) says:

    So they don’t spend a small fortune on their clothes, hair and makeup for any real purpose?
    Wendy Petrie can hardly move her face and hair it is all so gummed up with gloop.

    I know we are meant to see them all as intrepid professionals but their own failings and hypocrisies let them down.

    Of course Vance exploited the infatuation of a silly vain man. She isn’t the first and won’t be the last.

    If they had any sense they’d find some goodlooking young men to give women an even playing field but looks don’t seem to be important for the blokes so we have to suffer radio faces like Patrick Gower.

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  8. nasska (10,689 comments) says:

    ….”This led to to ask what was the collective term for a group of angry female journalists.”….

    Probably a “cackle”. The term is also used for a group of hyenas.

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  9. Kleva Kiwi (281 comments) says:

    Wow, just wow.

    If only she would get a clue and realise what she has been doing is not journalism, its opinion based gossip.
    If she and the other “angry” so called journalists (including her hated male counterparts) would actually present the news as facts without opinion or rhetoric then maybe the public may begin to warm to them as a profession.
    As it stands, I have no time for this highly strung self involved tabloid writer.

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  10. Scott Chris (5,884 comments) says:

    I wonder how many female reporters in the parliamentary Press Gallery have unresolved “daddy issues”. (Oh I know they will all deny this strenuously, they are tough, independent and staunch. I’d have said the same, too.) I just can’t help thinking it would be progress if female journalists were writing their own parts rather than continuing to play the role of temptress to male politicians.

    She sounds jealous to me. Or maybe she’s speaking for herself.

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  11. Alan Johnstone (1,064 comments) says:

    Rather liked heather du plessis allan on this subject last night on Seven blunt.

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  12. s.russell (1,564 comments) says:

    The dearest ambition of most political journalists is to destroy someone who makes a greater contribution to the public good than they do. The visciouness with which they hound some poor MP or minister who makes the slightest mistake is disgusting (although, amazingly, certain individuals seem to get off lightly). This makes me incline towards the hyena group noun.

    I also note that Deborah Hill-Cone also cannot get her facts right: Peter Dunne was not a cabinet minister. Typical of NZ reporters.

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  13. flipper (3,575 comments) says:

    Its an age thing.
    Apart from Hill-Cone, how many of these children actually have some real world (that is non academic) experience?
    How many were “copy holders” ? How many worked in a reading room, or their modern equivalent?
    More to the point, how many have actually lived and worked in a world outside of academia? Not too many, I suspect.
    Time to freeze the bimbos, wherever them may come from, and revert to on-the-job experience as the fundamental training requirement before getting air time or bi-lines.

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  14. Jimbob (640 comments) says:

    This would have to be the best example of the saying that “the truth hurts”. Since journalists are down the bottom of the pile along with politicians on the rating of trust worthiness, Katie’s spiel says it all.

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  15. smttc (692 comments) says:

    Peter Dunne was on Moaning Report this morning discussing UF’s problems with the Electoral Commission when Simon Mercep hijacked the interview and begun asking Dunne about the leak of the Kitteridge report and if it wasn’t Dunne then why wouldn’t he release the emails with Vance and vindicate himself.

    It was clear from Dunne’s response that “his lack of judgment” and reason for resigning and not releasing the emails had nothing to do with the fact he had contemplated leaking the report and everything to do with the content of those emails. In other words, those emails are embarrassing to Dunne regardless of whether they disclose that he was the leaker.

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  16. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Post Modern Sheilas.

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  17. JC (909 comments) says:

    Out here in flyover land I didn’t even realise that there was some sort of hate on Vance.. more of a wry chuckle about a silly man is about all I got out of it.

    As for an angry posse of female reporters.. didn’t hear anything about it either but maybe now I’ll give a wry chuckle about it.

    JC

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  18. Pete George (22,863 comments) says:

    Katie makes a very valid point.

    On the Dunne/Vance relationship there has been a lot of conclusion jumping or just plain vindictiveness with nasty claims, implications and comments. This can be very damaging to targets and particularly to their families who have no way of challenging the barrage.

    And this was all done with no evidence (still), just based on assumptions (or mischieviousness) based on the age and sex of the two involved.

    The sexual innuendo wouldn’t have happened if the leak had been to Vernon Small.

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  19. Pete George (22,863 comments) says:

    And Duncan Garner @GarnerLive has justed tweeted:

    Katie has a point. Andrea is guilty of one thing. Doing her job bloody well. That’s it.

    Many other journalists – both male and female – have said similar.

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  20. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Isn’t Debra Hill Cone a NACT supporter? No surprises there.

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  21. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    The sexual innuendo wouldn’t have happened if the leak had been to Vernon Small.

    I couldn’t imagine Dunne emailing Small ad nauseum while Dunne and his missus were on holiday. If Dunne was saying sweet nothings to Small, I imagine this would be a bigger story than it is. Come out of the closet, Peter. :)

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  22. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    And this was all done with no evidence (still), just based on assumptions (or mischieviousness) based on the age and sex of the two involved.

    So what you’re saying is Dunne should just release the emails because they’re probably as boring as dish water?

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  23. graham (2,216 comments) says:

    It strikes me there have been assumptions on both sides. That is, some people have assumed that Andrea Vance used her feminine wiles to lure Peter Dunne. And others have assumed that she did not use her looks and femininity at all.

    Has Andrea Vance herself commented on this? Has she come out and categorically stated that she did not lead Dunne on in any way? I don’t know, hence the question. Otherwise, it strikes me that all we have are assumptions – on BOTH sides of the argument.

    Maybe the truth, as often happens, lies in the middle. Maybe Vance is a very good journalist, who also happens to be very personable and engaging and likeable. Obviously I don’t know her, so have no idea. But someone who is friendly and engaging and fun to be around could be acting entirely innocently, but still have her actions misinterpreted by someone else.

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  24. Scott Chris (5,884 comments) says:

    This led to to ask what was the collective term for a group of angry female journalists.

    A frock.

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  25. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Typical of the Herald that it only allowed seven comments to the Hill-Cone article. They are shameless censors of free debate.

    If you want to see young female reporters sucking up absolutely uncritically to powerful males watch any police or traffic report.

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  26. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Has Andrea Vance herself commented on this? Has she come out and categorically stated that she did not lead Dunne on in any way?

    Why in the fuck should she do that?

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  27. Harriet (4,524 comments) says:

    “A news story should be like a mini skirt on a pretty woman. Long enough to cover the subject but short enough to be interesting” – Anonymous, linked to a Texas newspaper editor

    NZ female journalism is full of burqa like opinions. :cool:

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  28. Redbaiter (7,640 comments) says:

    “If she and the other “angry” so called journalists (including her hated male counterparts) would actually present the news as facts without opinion or rhetoric then maybe the public may begin to warm to them as a profession.”

    They won’t. This is how so called journalism lecturers at universities have destroyed the profession, pushing the left wing dogma that it is better to advocate than to be objective.

    They are not lecturers of course, they are left wing/ progressive indoctrinators who don’t really care about journalism as a profession. They just want their left wing/ Marxist views to be the default political position of every so called journalist who “graduates”.

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  29. Redbaiter (7,640 comments) says:

    “Why in the fuck should she do that?”

    Wow, so Ryan thinks that by reason of being a journalist, Vance should be spared the media scrutiny that normally applies to every other person.

    I’m appalled by Vance’s silence on this issue, and the cowardice of other journalists in not pursuing her for answers.

    Right now, she should be the story.

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  30. Pete George (22,863 comments) says:

    graham, you are probably closer to the mark than most people.

    Vance commented a little on Twitter (she has been out of the country while all this happened).

    @LI_politico 9 Jun
    @ONENewsNZ “female journalist” wonder where people are getting the idea to undermine @avancenz as journo. #eatingtheirown

    @avancenz 9 Jun
    @LI_politico and neither @ONENewsNZ or @CorinDann bothered to call Fairfax or me after defaming me pretty much all day.

    @mlle_elle @edmuzik @danylmc yes thank you Elle. After all, who cld take Winston Peters and Michelle Boag seriously as a moral compass?

    @Westerly 9 Jun
    @avancenz @LI_politico that’s fairly crappy they didn’t contact and seek a response to about Boag’s comments.

    @avancenz 9 Jun
    @Westerly @LI_politico or any of it. Completely aside from the misogyny.

    And…

    NBR ‏@TheNBR 10 Jun
    Good to see Fairfax strongly backing @avancenz
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8776490/Attempts-to-get-reporters-emails-will-be-fought

    @avancenz 10 Jun
    @TheNBR thanks NBR. Shame then about the email your reporter just sent me. Would you be asking those questions if I was male?

    @sineadboucher @ndbrennan As classy as their grubby questions emailed to me today. @TheNBR

    @TheNBR 10 Jun
    Dunne-leak reporter Andrea Vance clams up http://tinyurl.com/l4c4adx

    @avancenz 10 Jun
    FFx have asked for a correction. Awaiting response.

    Just got a nice apology from @NBR and they are amending.

    And…

    @RoryMacKinnon 10 Jun
    Sending my regards to fellow reporter @avancenz putting up with all kinds of sneering misogynist horseshit today. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10889163

    avancenz 10 Jun
    thank you Rory.

    And…

    @kirsty_johnston 10 Jun
    So can we assume Winston hasn’t got the emails? Or what? Slippery bugger @CampbellLiveNZ

    @avancenz 10 Jun
    @kirsty_johnston @CampbellLiveNZ he no more has them than he had the teapot tapes.

    Dunne has adamantly denied there was anything personal, he was still denying it yesterday and today.

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  31. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    More to the point, how many have actually lived and worked in a world outside of academia?

    I resent that. Apart from Chris Trotter, how many journalists show any evidence of having actually attended a university, let alone having learned anything from one?

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  32. Redbaiter (7,640 comments) says:

    “how many journalists show any evidence of having actually attended a university,”

    Everyone of them is progressive by political nature. They did not in most cases learn that from their parents.

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  33. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    Everyone of them is progressive by political nature. They did not in most cases learn that from their parents.

    Well, it’s obvious that you never attended a university.

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  34. RRM (9,472 comments) says:

    A coven?

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  35. RRM (9,472 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (3,504) Says:
    June 20th, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I’m appalled by Vance’s silence on this issue, and the cowardice of other journalists in not pursuing her for answers.

    Right now, she should be the story.

    Translation: I can’t fap to THIS!!!

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  36. dime (9,468 comments) says:

    “for low pay.” – BAHAHAHAHA well its what you deserve.

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  37. BlairM (2,288 comments) says:

    Seems like Deborah was just telling it like it is. Probably not something a man could get away with writing though. Some of these women need to get over themselves.

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  38. James Stephenson (2,037 comments) says:

    Rather liked heather du plessis allan on this subject last night on Seven blunt

    I thought she did well to keep a straight face on the “unresolved daddy issues” bit…what’s the age gap exactly?

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  39. RRM (9,472 comments) says:

    “…cast in these roles by older tweedy men…” “…unresolved daddy issues…”

    Far out, it sounds like Deborah Hill Cone really bared her soul in writing that piece.
    And bitches just want to cover her in shit for it.

    If there MUST be a Ministry of Women’s Affairs, maybe it needs to focus more on why women cut each other down all the time?

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  40. lastmanstanding (1,207 comments) says:

    James S As far as I know Barry is about my age so just past the six decade mark and Heather is nudging 30 . So Barry is more than old enough to be Heathers father. Infact Heathers father maybe younger than Barry.

    On the matter in hand IMHO Andrea used her Irish blarney and charm and turned an old man head. The boufount one was seduced well and truly.

    Let face it. Its happened before and it will happen again.

    Vance used what she had to get what she wanted, End of story.

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  41. labrator (1,750 comments) says:

    I’m still looking for a credible list of things that Dunne would describe as “[making] errors of judgment” that don’t include a sexual element.

    He has a history of fawning over Vance on twitter, so much so it was pointed out by WhaleOil well before the final events, so it’s no leap of faith. It’s a bigger leap of faith to jump to Vance’s defense purely on the basis she’s a woman without any knowledge of what’s in the emails.

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  42. Tauhei Notts (1,611 comments) says:

    An Australlian sports administrator, the name of whom escapes me, got maligned because he explained what his response would be if one of his darling daughters asked him whether she should go into journalism or prostitution. His response was;
    “If journalism turns you into the sort of woman that I meet as journalists, then darling, choose prostitution.”

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  43. Pete George (22,863 comments) says:

    labrator, Dune’s official statement:

    “While I did not leak the report, and challenge Fairfax to confirm that, some of my actions after I received an advance copy of the report were extremely unwise and lacked the judgement reasonably expected of a Minister in such circumstances.

    And a Dom Post report of his media conference:

    DUNNE CONSIDERS LEAK … BUT DOESN’T

    Dunne told reporters that he had canvassed the possibility of leaking the report but did not actually leak it.

    Dunne insists he did not leak the report, and his copy was kept in a locked brief case in his home.

    “I have acted extraordinarily unwisely, even stupidly, and I’m now resigned to paying the price for that.

    “There is no credible explanation that I can offer you as to why I acted in that way, but the fact is I did, and as a consequence I face up to my responsibility that I can no longer credibly serve as a Minister.

    “That fact, in my judgement, that I canvassed the possibility of making the report available, even though I didn’t do so, was a lapse in judgement.”

    Dunne said he wasn’t withholding the emails in order to protect the reporter involved, but as a matter or principle.

    “It’s a question of belief and of principle, that if people communicate with me … that they have a right to have their correspondence treated confidentially, in confidence.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/8769623/Peter-Dunne-resigns-as-Minister

    So “canvassed the possibility of making the report available, even though I didn’t do” is the only error of judgement he has made public and for that he resigned.

    And he outed himself releasing emails to David Henry that revealed this, so he dobbed himself in while, as he says it kept other emails confidential on principle.

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  44. Paulus (2,503 comments) says:

    Am still waiting for Winston to produce all the evidence of everything in the various GCSB reports, the Ketteridge report and Dunne’s emails.
    He proclaims to know everything so come on Winston – give, and pay back the $158,000 you stole from taxpayers.

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  45. Pete George (22,863 comments) says:

    Paulus, Peters has since he admitted he didn’t have enough evidence to release to make a strong enough case.

    In other words he was told something and had (and has) nothing to back it up. And what he though he was told wasn’t entirely accurate. And based on no evidence.

    My guess is that knowing they had no evidence someone involved in the report (unlikely to be Henry or anyone on the PM side) decided to either try and pressure Dunne into revealing something or decided to kangaroo court him. And knew Peters would do it with nothing but a nod and a wink.

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  46. Viking2 (11,146 comments) says:

    Alan Johnstone (407) Says:
    June 20th, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Rather liked heather du plessis allan on this subject last night on Seven blunt.

    MMM, rather like granddaddy issues I’d of thought. :lol:

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  47. V (668 comments) says:

    It’s comical the way the NZ repeater scene think they are “somebodies”.

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  48. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Deborah Hill-Cone should win a journalism award for that piece. Female journalists often do use their sexuality to get what they want. She is simply speaking the truth and it is no surprise other females in the trade deny it. What would we expect them to do, admit it !

    David remarks “It is no surprise that this outraged a huge number of female journalists, and rightly so.” but I am sure he knows the truth and is simply being diplomatic.

    I have seen this first hand and denials do nothing but erode credibility. Not all female journalists do this, but those that can do. It is not confined to journalists either. It is simply a fact of life. If your looking for someone to blame, then blame the men being taken in by it. I am sure a good looking young buck reporter would not be above charming female sources either. I think some folk need to grow up. Deborah Hill-Cone simply said what we all know, out loud.

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  49. Pete George (22,863 comments) says:

    Deborah Hill-Cone simply said what we all know, out loud.

    No. Obviously some people disagree with her, some strongly disagree. Hill Cone certainly does not speak for everyone. Neither do you.

    I’m sure both male and female journalists use all sorts of methods to try and encourage stories out of people. Generalising means little.

    From what I’ve seen and heard Andrea Vance acted professionally and there is no evidence to the contrary. She successfully scored a major leak and broke a big story. Some may try and smear her for that, and many jump to uninformed conclusions.

    That’s a sad consequence of putting yourself out there. It can be shitty, but what she revealed was also potentially quite shitty. She has copped a lot of crap, much of it very unfair, but it’s the price she was prepared to pay for doing her job.

    And it should be noted that there is a lot of poor journalism that is criticised, often justifiably. But not in this case. Vance was doing what journalists should be doing, digging, extracting and reporting.

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  50. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    No. Obviously some people disagree with her, some strongly disagree. Hill Cone certainly does not speak for everyone. Neither do you.

    I’m sure both male and female journalists use all sorts of methods to try and encourage stories out of people. Generalising means little.

    PG, A predictably sanctimonious reply. I did not suggest she spoke for everyone and generalising means you are generally right. While personalising means you are generally wrong. Exceptions do not make a rule. If you can not understand that then you are too stupid to bother with.

    Stop holding yourself up as an example for men to follow or as a protector of women. You are neither.

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