Article on left wing blogosphere

November 3rd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Philip Matthews has an article in Stuff on the left blogosphere., which is an interesting read. Slightly disappointed that he repeats an accusation that I get paid for blogging (if only!) and fails to mention for The Daily Blog editor was on the payroll of two political parties – neither of which he revealed until right blogs exposed it.

One extract:

“Right across the Left there are conversations,” says Asher Goldman, co-founder of the newly- launched blog On the Left. “We lost the election, what does that mean?”

Is it even possible that bloggers are part of the problem?

Goldman agrees that blogging and tweeting are no substitute for real-world political activity. It should be an extra not an end in itself.

“A successful blog for me is one that has good stuff to contribute, a community built around it that is participating in useful, productive discussion and a few visitors, hopefully,” Goldman says. …

Goldman is a Green Party member, co-founder Stephanie Rodgers is a Labour member and both believe their new blog should be broadly across the Left rather than overtly party-based. They also want it to be fun, which has not traditionally been a feature of Left-wing politics.

I wish Asher and Stephanie well. If they can make their blog fun, rather than a daily dose of hatred, then they should do very well. It is important to have strong voices from across the political spectrum online. The Internet is a wonderful medium that allows anyone to broadcast – and how influential and listened to they are, is mainly a function of how they conduct themselves.

They already have 13 authors, several of whom used to blog at The Daily Blog. I’ve added them to the blogroll on the left sidebar.

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Cunliffe and bloggers

August 19th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe tried to score a point over John Key yesterday by saying he rarely talks to bloggers, but that seems a stretch.

One of his closest advisers (priming him for the televised debates) is Polity blogger Rob Salmond.

Greg Presland, a lawyer friend involved in setting up his leadership fund trust, blogs as MickeySavage at The Standard.

Labour MPs and candidates often write for TheDailyBlog, and Cunliffe gave an early interview to Martin ”Bomber” Bradbury.

Plus at least three staff hand picked by David Cunliffe to write for him are (presumably) former bloggers at The Standard.

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Emmerson on Bloggers

March 28th, 2014 at 6:18 am by David Farrar

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Yesterday’s Emmerson cartoon. Very funny.

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In bed with the bloggers

February 24th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

An interesting article on election year and bloggers in the Herald on Sunday.

I was interviewed for the article, but I think what I said didn’t fit in with the general angle, so none of my quotes were included. I rejected the notion pushed by Bradbury that the old rules are gone, and that there is licence to be incredibly vicious. I also rejected that I have a blog persona that is different to whom I am in real life. In fact in an interesting conversation with the journalist, I ended up agreeing that the “blog” me is closer to the real me, than the TV or radio me, as the blog is my territory, while on TV and radio I am mindful that I am a guest and I guess on my “guest” behaviour.

Anyway an interesting article. And congrats to Whale for winning the Netguide Award. It would have been a travesty if he had not won this year.

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Blogger wins first amendment case

January 20th, 2014 at 8:21 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A US federal appeals court ruled has that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in a defamation lawsuit brought by an Oregon bankruptcy trustee against a Montana blogger who wrote online that the court-appointed trustee criminally mishandled a bankruptcy case.

The appeals court ruled that the trustee was not a public figure, which could have invoked an even higher standard of showing the writer acted with malice, but the issue was of public concern, so the negligence standard applied.

Gregg Leslie of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press said the ruling affirms what many have long argued: Standards set by a 1974 US Supreme Court ruling, Gertz v Robert Welch Inc, apply to everyone, not just journalists.

“It’s not a special right to the news media,” he said. “So it’s a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others.”

I expect we will see this case cited in the appeal over whether Cameron Slater has to disclose sources in the defamation case brought by Matthew Blomfield against him.

The appeals court upheld rulings by the District Court that other posts by Cox were constitutionally protected opinion.

Though Cox acted as her own attorney, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who had written an article on the issue, learned of her case and offered to represent her in an appeal. Volokh said such cases usually end up settled without trial, and it was rare for one to reach the federal appeals court level.

 

“It makes clear that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as professional journalists,” he said. “There had been similar precedents before concerning advocacy groups, other writers and book authors. This follows a fairly well established chain of precedents. I believe it is the first federal appeals court level ruling that applies to bloggers.”

A welcome precedent.

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The Red Alert privacy accusations

December 10th, 2012 at 8:10 am by David Farrar

There’s been a great volume of posts and comments on the left blogs about one or more people in Labour, including an MP, allegedly targeting Labour party members for comments they have made on blogs under a pseudonym. The best summary comes from Danyl at the Dim Post:

My understanding of what’s happened here is that most authors on The Standard comment under pseudonyms. And they’ve commented on the Labour blog Red Alert using those same pseudonyms. Now, when you comment on Red Alert you have to provide your real email address. So these have been matched to Labour’s membership and the dissenting members have been contacted by party officials. All pretty creepy.

It is creepy and authoritarian, and worse.  If correct, I think the actions may breach the Privacy Act.

Lynn Prentice has commented:

I’d advise anyone who has used a pseudonym on Red Alert that could compromise them in real life to expect problems. The system operators over there are quite compromised, don’t act responsibly, and have been that way for some time. Quite simply they are not operating in a way that makes it safe to leave comments there unless you have cast-iron anonymity. …

Which incidentally, is why you don’t see Red Alert on our feed

That is a hugely damning statement. The person in charge of the most read left blog in New Zealand (and a long term Labour party member) says he won’t even link to the Labour caucus blog because of their ethical standards in using private registration details to target people.

If I was a journalist, I’d be asking whoever is in charge of Red Alert to confirm or deny the allegations from their own party members.

It seems that once the identity of certain people commenting at The Standard was known (by cross-matching the e-mail address they used on Red Alert to their membership database) they were heavied, as were their friends. The Sprout has said:

My friends were heavied in an attempt to intimidate me to stop posting during the leadership contest between Shearer and Cunliffe. Clearly someone in Wellington didn’t like me saying their pony was a rightwing puppet who couldn’t lead a party to save himself. Despite me only stating the obvious, it spurred a pretty awful and nasty intimidation campaign. They knew the people being threatened weren’t me, but they knew too that doing that to my friends would quieten me. How shitty North-Korean is that?

So far it’s been CV, millsy, Peter Wilson, and me – that I know of – but who knows who else has been leaned on to shut up?

Eddie confirms this in a post:

Now, a senior Labour MP has written a letter to the New Zealand Council trying to stamp on debate by party members online. The MP has singled one individual commentator in particular for attack in the letter (don’t worry, you know already if it’s you) after using back-end data from Red Alert to identify them.

To be clear, a senior MP is attempting to change the membership rules of the party to punish a member for writing somethings that the MP doesn’t agree with in the comments section of blogs (which everyone knows Labour MPs don’t read anyway). Talk about breaking a butterfly upon a wheel. Talk about abusing your institutional power in an attempt to insulate yourself from criticism, no matter the cost to the party itself.

And this comes from the party that says it is from open government and protecting people’s right of free speech on the Internet. Can you imagine what they might do if they were actually in Government?

One of those allegedly targeted was Colonial Viper. To make it harder for Labour MPs to work out who to target, many of the commenters as The Standard have adopted similar pseudonyms in a Spartacus strategy! Nice solidarity.

Pete George has a comprehensive set of links on this issue.

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Is Labour trying to regulate party bloggers?

December 7th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

IrishBill at The Standard blogs:

Word is that a senior Labour MP (who will go unnamed) has been lobbying National Council to put rules in place for party members who participate in the blogosphere. It appears they don’t like the idea that members might voice their concerns about the way their party is run. I can only assume that there would have to be some kind of a process whereby members who broke these rules would face a loss of membership or some other form of censure.

Ironic, as for a couple of years the Labour blog that did the most damage to Labour was the caucus Red Alert blog :-)

To be fair, in the last year they seem to have sorted their stuff out, and Red Alert has been mainly SMOG free.

A cynic might feel compelled to point out the hypocrisy of such a policy. Especially when John Tamihere has compared the party to the head-hunters on national TV and then had the party leader intervene to get his membership approved. Double especially when Shane Jones gets to attack the Green Party on matters he holds no portfolio for and yet faces no censure. And that’s not even talking about the way caucus members themselves have brought the party into disrepute with their online antics.

Don’t forget the attack on the Mad Butcher.

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Armstrong fires back

September 15th, 2012 at 7:53 am by David Farrar

John Armstrong writes in the NZ Herald:

Here is a blunt message for a couple of old-school Aro Valley-style socialists:

Get off our backs. Stop behaving like a pair of tut-tutting old dowagers gossiping in the salons. In short, stop making blinkered, cheap-shot accusations of the kind you made this week – that the media who went with John Key to Vladivostok and Tokyo concentrated on trivia, interviewed their laptops and parroted Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet press releases. …

Do the likes of former Listener columnist and Greens propagandist Gordon Campbell and former Alliance staffer and now Otago University politics lecturer Bryce Edwards have the faintest idea of the difficulties, obstacles and logistics of reporting an overseas trip by a prime minister, especially one which incorporates a major international forum like Apec?

Does it occur to them to actually pick up the phone and try to talk to those journalists about what is happening and why things are being reported in a certain way?

Of course not. That would risk the facts getting in the way of, well … interviewing their laptops and having yet another ritual poke at the parliamentary press gallery.

To read their drivel while stuck in a Tokyo traffic jam with your deadline approaching faster than a Japanese bullet-train makes your heart sink. …

But never mind. The rules that apply to journalists in terms of accuracy do not apply to Campbell and his echo chamber Dr Edwards – who is not be confused with Dr Brian Edwards, another blogger, but a far more original one when it comes to ideas and analysis.

Bloggers can blog when they like at what length they wish. Admittedly, they are normally not being paid for the privilege. Journalists are. But on a trip like last week’s one, the hourly rate slumps drastically by virtue of the hours worked.

Few media representatives travelling with John Key would have got more than four or five hours’ sleep each night – probably less – because of the Prime Minister’s schedule, which ran from 6am (earlier if a flight was involved) until well into the evening.

Days were spent clambering on and off buses in 35C heat and 100 per cent humidity.

Time has to be found within that schedule to write news stories and other articles – but not just for the following day’s newspaper. News organisation’s websites have to fed – especially if there is “breaking” news.

Deadlines in Asia are punishing, as countries such as Japan are three hours behind New Zealand, meaning deadlines are effectively even tighter.

Then there is the no small matter of filing stories back home. Equipment breaks down, mobile phones that are supposed to be in harmony with Japan’s system turn out not to be.

To Campbell’s credit, he does do his own digging. He is also a regular attendee at the Prime Minister’s weekly press conference. His blog is one of the more valuable. But he does have a blind spot with regards to the press gallery.

The rapidly growing influence of Edwards’ blog was initially down to its being an exhaustive wrap-up of all of the day’s political news. It is now starting to develop a much more political dynamic that is unlikely to please National.

Edwards’ blog is the extreme example of the fact that most blogsites rely on the mainstream media for their information and then use that information to criticise the media for not stressing something enough or deliberately hiding it.

Unlike the mainstream media, the blogs are not subject to accuracy or taste – and sometimes even the law.

It is the ultimate parasitical relationship. And it will not change until the media start charging for use of their material.

Monday’s media summary by Bryce will be an interesting read.

For my 2c I think John makes a very fair point about the reality of being a working journalist on on overseas trip, and the coverage of issues.

To be fair to Edwards, what he does everyday is not so much about blogging. His summary was originally circualated by e-mail, and it was his collection of links that people most valued. I know, as I sponsored it.

Since then his narrative around the day’s stories has become more prominent, and that is what most now read. Few actually read it I suspect on Bryce’s blog. Most I’d say read it off the NZ Herald and NBR websites, who as I understand it pay Bryce for his work – so not quite an unpaid blogger!

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Timaru District Council

June 28th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Matthew Littlewood reports:

A Timaru district councillor is “puzzled” by council management’s refusal to link to his blog.

Hamish Fraser has been running his blog since he was elected to the council two years ago, and has even live-blogged council meetings.

However, recently he asked management to include his blog address on the council’s website.

“We’re in the middle of a representation review, which has pretty big implications for the community, particularly Geraldine, Temuka and Pleasant Point,” Cr Fraser said.

“I would have thought the more community engagement we had on this topic, the better.

“For some people, the blog is the way they interact with me. Certainly a lot of people are finding it easier to comment on the blog or email me than give me a call,” he said.

However, Timaru District Council management told Cr Fraser that it would not include the link to his blog as the “council has no control over the quality, accuracy or opinion contained in your blog”

That’s silly and stupid. A link is not an endorsement. So long as it is clear the blog is the personal opinion of Cr Fraser, then as an elected official he should be able to have it as part of his profile.

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Anonymous blogging

March 28th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Whale blogs:

When I first started the Blog I did so under a pseudonym…I did it for a number of reasons. The main one though was that I knew that no matter what I said or did people would say it was my father speaking or that I was doing his bidding. Likewise I used the pseudonym so no one would hold him accountable for what I had to say or did. So when I started blogging it was under the pseudonym Whaleoil.

Eventually I registered a domain name and people then found out who I was and as I predicted the accusations started. To this day whenever there is something that I ahve said that upset the more sensitive types they suggest that my father put me up to it or that he somehow can control a 43 year old man who lives his own life with a family of his own. It actually says a great deal about their sad little life that they believe the father is the man or the man is the father.

Whale quotes from elsewhere:

There’s something freeing, to be sure, about being able to say anything you want. You can engage in unfounded name-calling, or intentionally hurt someone’s feelings, or just generally behave like a twelve year old. And no one will know it’s you. And that’s why I don’t read many blogs that are written by people who prefer to remain anonymous or who write under pseudonyms when there isn’t really any reason for them to do so. In fact, I don’t think there are any blogs I read on a daily basis whose authors are anonymous. The anonymous or pseudonymous blogs are often just filled with cruelty, name-calling, and bad arguments. Indeed, there are a great many people who choose to write under an assumed name because they want to harrass or offend others.

He concludes that if more bloggers came out, there would be a better more honest, reasoned, political discourse in the NZ blogosphere.

My views are similiar, but not identical.

I do read some blogs where the author is effectively anonymous, such as No Right Turn. I don’t think for his blog it matters hugely whether he is publicly known or not, because while I disagree with much of what he says, generally he is debating policies and issues, and not denigrating people. Occasionally he does, but for that matter so do I sometimes, despite my best efforts. But overall an (pseudo) anonymous blogger such as No Right Turn I have no real issue with.

My issue is with those who cower behind anonymity and use that to slander and abuse those they disagree with. They do it to journalists, they do it to other bloggers, they do it to anyone. And the hypocrisy is that they are prepared to have the reputations of others be pilloried for comments they make under their name, but won’t take accountability for their own words. They say things which (if someone took them at face value) can actually damage careers of other people, yet refuse to let their words affect them.

The irony is that blogging under your own name does force you to be a better blogger. Every post you make, you think “Am I comfortable with this being associated with my name”.

 

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A travel blog

March 21st, 2012 at 6:44 pm by David Farrar

Rachael used to be a ministerial comms person but has regained her sanity and is doing a year of travelling. I’m very jealous.

Anyway she has started a travel blog at Today I ate a baguette, and I have to say I’m almost addicted – finding it very readable. If you like reading travel blogs, and laughing at the horror stories, feel free to subscribe and follow it.

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Well done Cam

January 1st, 2012 at 9:37 pm by David Farrar

Whale Oil has hit the No 1 spot at Open Parachute based on sitemeter stats. Well deserved.

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ReadWriteWeb sold

December 15th, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Wellington technology blog, ReadWriteWeb, consistently judged one of the world’s most popular blogs, has been bought by San Francisco digital publishing company Say Media for an undisclosed sum.

Major US technology website TechCrunch, which itself was bought for US$25 million last year, is reporting the deal is worth US$5 million – about $6.6 million in New Zealand dollars.

Run by Petone’s Richard MacManus since it was started in 2003, ReadWriteWeb has a staff of just under 20, most of whom are based in the US.

MacManus said the site attracted about 5 million page views and 2.75 million unique visitors each month.
It had begun looking for a potential buyer a few months ago, as it needed more resource to grow, he said.

He planned to increase the blog’s technology coverage, including of technology hardware.

Well done to Richard McManus. This is the great thing about the Internet, that someone in NZ can be globally successful from his house in Petone.

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The blogosphere on Labour leadership

December 12th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Okay, so what are the different bloggers saying on the Labour leadership.

My view was expressed last week where I basically said Cunliffe is the safer option, while Shearer has the greater potential to grow Labour’s vote more. If Labour had got a result in the low 30s, then Cunliffe would make more sense, but with a result in the mid to high 20s only, then Shearer seems the better course.

Of course only 34 Labour MPs get a vote. Not sure what happens if it is a tie!

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The Test Pattern

December 5th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Test Pattern is a new website devoted to debating public policy in New Zealand. It’s contributors are some well known debating names, including:

  • Polly Higbee
  • Jordan Ward
  • Rebecca Mcintosh
  • Marcelo Rodriguez Ferrere
  • Josh Cameron

Their views on an issue are presented in vertical columns, so you can compare and contrast.

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Law Commission report on new media

December 5th, 2011 at 8:50 am by David Farrar

Tom Pullar-Strecker reports at Stuff:

Bloggers are nervously waiting for the publication of the Law Commission’s report on “new media” next Monday.

Former Commerce Minister Simon Power raised their blood pressure when he ordered the review in October last year, commenting that there was a “wild west out there in cyberspace”.

InternetNZ chief executive Vikram Kumar said at the time that if that was what Power really believed, “we’ve got reasons to be very, very worried”.

Power was concerned about breaches of suppression orders, libel on the internet, and whether bloggers and online publications should be subject to oversight by the Press Council or Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Blogger David Farrar, of Kiwiblog, expects a high-brow report but believes it is unlikely the Law Commission will advocate an “uber regulator” for new media.

I wouldn’t say I was nervous about it, but I certainly am interested and looking forward to blogging on the report next Monday. As with most areas of law reform there are likely to be opportunities and risks for those who are online publishers (which is anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account).

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Stuff on bloggers

November 5th, 2011 at 1:31 pm by David Farrar

A lengthy article in Stuff on bloggers. A good read. They profile Whale Oil, myself, Public Address, Dim Post and Robyn Gallagher.

 

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Greens worried about blogs

September 12th, 2011 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

How fascinating. At the Greens website:

Sign up for email notifications about when political blogs mention our MPs names and Green issues! These timely notifications will enable you to respond quickly enough to be among the first commenters, ensuring high visibility for our views and perspectives.

Personally I find this close to astro-turfing, that fake activism which appears to be grass-roots but is centrally arranged.

I welcome commenters of all persuasions and we have many Green voters comment here, such as Toad. but I’d rather not have people who don’t normally contribute rush over just to post comments about how great the Greens are or the like. I prefer people to response because they have read something they want to comment on – not because Green HQ has notified them do go and post supportive comments.

UPDATE: A reader has sent me this (since deleted) showing Labour trying to do much the same in 2009 with the Trade Me forums.

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Consistency

May 1st, 2011 at 9:25 am by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan highlights a wee quote from a well known blogger a few weeks ago:

“I am also pretty sure that Banks and Brash know that electorally they are rat poison as candidates. They are both pensioners, with Brash over 70. They also both know that their best years politically are behind them.”

You can check the link to see who it is. A month later he was singing a whale whole new tune.

Hat Tip: Catcus Kate

I want to know in what currency was he paid off by the American bag-men!

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Blogger being sued

April 15th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

ACC Minister Nick Smith has asked for an urgent report after it emerged that a senior ACC doctor is suing a sexual abuse victim for $250,000.

The woman, who blogs under the name Jax, says she was denied counselling for sexual abuse, and posted comments about Sensitive Claims Unit senior medical adviser Peter Jansen on a website. …

Ms Sepuloni asked Health Minister Tony Ryall, who was standing in for Dr Smith, if the ACC minister would investigate.

“Does he think fair treatment includes a senior medical adviser at ACC, Dr Peter Jansen, suing an ACC claimant, a victim of sexual abuse, for $250,000 for speaking her mind on a blog about the appalling treatment of sexual abuse victims under his watch?” she asked.

Jax says her blog has only 15 followers. “So let me see if I get this straight … a blog of 15 followers has done more than $250,000 worth of damage to a man who has never granted a single woman seeking compensation for sexual abuse a mere percentage of that amount?”

I don’t know how many followers Jax has, but what she may be over-looking is that if you google “Peter Jansen”, her blog comes up high on the first page of results. This means anyone searching for info on him, will probably see her blog.

I also note that Jax has blogged many many times or Dr Jansen. One of her comments is:

I am not stupid or dumb. Dr Peter Jansen who implemented these “INHUMANE” changes is hoping if he makes things too damn hard we’ll either go away or kill ourselves like two people I know already …

Accusing someone of hoping that claimants will kill themselves is pretty highly defamatory (in my opinion) unless one can prove it to be true. Some of her other comments are as bad.

Jax has every right to rail against ACC. But she would be better to attack the organisation, not individuals within it. It is not totally surprising that Dr Jansen has responded with a lawsuit.

While the lawsuit is not surprising, it is ill-advised in my opinion. The publicity from the lawsuit will result in many many more people knowing about the comments, potentially increasing the damage to Dr Jansen.

Also Dr Jansen may have overlooked that people are quite good at putting things into context. I doubt many NZers would jump to a conclusion about Dr Jansen, just because of the criticisms made by Jax on her blog. It’s not the Lancet. It’s one disaffected person’s opinion.

If I sued for every defamatory comment made about me online, I’d be in court at least once a week.

A possible compromise here might be that Jax refers to Dr Jansen only by title (removing her blog from google searches on his name) and he drops the lawsuit. I don’t know either of them, and they don’t know me, so I doubt my 2c of opinion is of any consequence. if it does go to court, it will at least be an interesting court case.

UPDATE: Dr Jansen has issued a statement:

“It is my belief, supported by independent legal advice, that I have been defamed. All that I am seeking is for the offending comments to be withdrawn and for a public apology to be issued. Money has never been an issue, this is about my professional reputation. If that redress is provided, I will of course halt the legal action that I have initiated as a private citizen.”

Dr Jansen also categorically denies the accusation made by Carmel Sepuloni MP in the House yesterday that he “accessed private information about a victim of sexual abuse and used it to initiate legal action”. He has asked the Chief Executive of ACC to initiate a review of the Corporation’s records to confirm this.

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The Left on Goff

March 28th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Phil Goff is still maintaining that not only did he handle the Hughes situation correctly, not a single one of his colleagues have criticised him. Well, they are not technically colleagues, but lets have a look at what the left are saying.

  1. Tim Watkin says that Goff’s line about not intereing with a Police investigation is “spin” and that Goff had no plan for how to respond
  2. Russell Brown flays Goff and says they are a “shambles”
  3. Bomber at Tumeke says that if Labour are not questioning the leadership of Phil Goff, then they “are officially the most stoned Caucus in the history of the Westminster system”
  4. Chris Trotter blogged that it is the moral duty of the Labour caucus to remove Goff if they don’t think he can lead them to victory
  5. Matt McCarten says Goff’s performancee has been appalling
  6. Lew at Kiwipolitico says that anyone who failed to understand the politics (like Goff did) of what happened “has no business running strategy for a Sunday book club, much less a political party which aspires to government”
  7. Danyl at the Dim Post also rubbishes Goff’s claims of natural justice coming first, citing numerous examples to the contrary, and in another post says “in the UK they have a competent opposition party, while [Labour] are Really. Fucking. Terrible.”
  8. Idiot/Savant at No Right Turns blogs that Goff has “established a consistent pattern of poor decision-making”
  9. Robert Winter says “The onus is on our parliamentary caucus to provide us with that national leadership that we deserve.”
  10. Psycho Milt (who is left) at No Minister says ” there should be wholesale ritual suicide in the Labour ranks”

This is essentially what Labour’s friends are saying about Labour’s leader, not Labour’s opponents.

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Worth v Hughes

March 25th, 2011 at 12:58 pm by David Farrar

Mydeology has done a comparison of how four blogs covered the Worth scandal in 2009 and the Highes scandal of 2011, by counting up the number of posts they made over the first two days on the scandal. Their findings:

  • The Standard – 11 posts on Worth, 1 on Hughes
  • Tumeke – 6 posts on Worth, 1 on Hughes
  • Kiwiblog – 5 posts on Worth, 5 on Hughes
  • Whale Oil – 6 posts on Worth, 11 on Hughes

Their conclusions:

  • Pro-Labour blogs will comment heavily (5 or more articles) when a scandal is anti-National, but very lightly (less than two articles) in comparison when it is an anti-Labour scandal.
  • Right-wing blogs will comment heavily when a scandal is anti-National, and heavily when it is anti-Labour.
  • Pro-Labour blogs produce around 10 anti-National scandal articles to every one anti-Labour scandal article.
  • Right-wing blogs produce between 1-2 anti-Labour scandal articles to every one anti-National scandal article.

 Their post made me wonder what was my first reaction to the Worth scandal. It was:

Now this is just ridicolous. You can’t have a secret resignation – or a resignation for undisclosed reasons. The Government is bonkers if they think the reasons won’t come out, let alone that they do not have a duty to disclose them. And refusing to state the reasons will keep it as a story for days and weeks, instead of a three day wonder.

If you resign as a Minister, you need to say why you are resigning. Not the full details, but at least some reason.

So I was actually pretty harsh on the Government’s initial response.  I followed up saying:

The more I think about this, the more stupid it is not to state why he has resigned. As in majorly stupid. The public will wonder what the Government is hiding, the Opposition will assume the worst, the media will dig up dirt until they find the reason, and the Governments looks shifty. Before it is too late, the Government should arrange for either Key or Worth to explain why Worth resigned – the public have a right to know.

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Whale v Frank

November 30th, 2010 at 9:35 pm by David Farrar

Whale has blogged about the Get Frank site, and use of bloggers material.

A number of bloggers back in 2007 gave permission for Get Frank to to use some of their posts on their site. At least one blogger was told:

as our adver­tis­ing grows we will be offer­ing all con­trib­u­tors the chance to take 50% of all adver­tis­ing rev­enue from their page(s) on a CPM basis.

I was one of those bloggers who gave permission. I can’t recall whether or not my e-mail made any mention of revenue sharing. I suspect I said yes on the grounds of liking to help a new site.

But Get Frank has gone on to be commercially successful, and the Bloggers Union (which is compulsory – like student associations) has been saying that those who provide the content should be getting a share of the revenue, which has been declined. So Whale has gone to war in his normal subtle way.

By coincidence, I had noticed around six months ago that Get Frank were still using my content and I made a mental note to myself to email them at some stage and say I think it is time to stop using my content, especially as I do get advertising revenue on my own site. But it was not a priority so I had not got around to it.

This flare up has been the catalyst for me to do so, and hence the permission has been terminated.

Cactus Kate has blogged on this also.

I blog primarily because I enjoy having a say. I do make some “pocket money” from advertising but on an hourly rate it would come to less than the minimum wage. So my motivation is not commercial. But I’d rather increase the money I made from my content, than have others do so, and receive nothing at all myself.

If Get Frank (or anyone) are interested in a commercial relationship in the future, my door is open.

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Review good, framing of it bad

October 14th, 2010 at 3:46 pm by David Farrar

Simon Power has announced a review of new media:

Justice Minister Simon Power has asked the Law Commission to review the adequacy of regulations around how the Internet interacts with the justice system.

“I’ve ordered this review because it’s imperative the law keeps pace with technology and that we have one set of rules for all news media,” Mr Power said.

I am a supporter of there being a review, and have in fact advocated for it. But I have to say the way the Minister has framed it is regrettable and rather confrontational.

First of all it may make a nice slogan, but the status quo doesn’t have one set of rules – broadcast media have very different rules to print media.

“At the moment we’ve got two tracks – conventional media and the so-called ‘new media’ – intersecting with the justice system, and it’s not sustainable.

“It’s a bit of a Wild West out there in cyberspace at the moment, because bloggers and online publishers are not subject to any form of regulation or professional or ethical standards.

This is another slogan which means little (and remember I do actually favour a review). First of all bloggers are subject to the law – as have been demonstrated of late. The notion of regulating bloggers (beyond the normal requirement to obey the law) or imposing some sort of “professional standards” on them is ridicolous fancy. Bloggers are simply citizens having a say. Simon Power makes it sound like he thinks you should have to apply for permission to have a voice online. Now that may not be Simon’s intent, but the way he has framed this issue is incredibly bad.

“Issues I’m concerned about include how trials can be prejudiced by information posted on websites and seen by jurors, real-time online streaming of court cases, breaches of court suppression orders, and re-publication of a libel.

Issues which I helped facilitate discussion of at last year’s R v the Internet seminar. They are good issues to discuss.

It will focus on whether either of the two existing industry watchdogs – the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Press Council – could provide a suitable vehicle for regulating unregulated forms of new media.

Yeah, and lets also give them the power to fine MPs if they say nasty things on their Facebook pages.

Having said that, it is worth noting the Press Council is self-regulation, not external regulation. One could discuss options such as allowing bloggers to voluntarily sign up to the Press Council, if they wish to do so as a way to enhance their reputation. But you then have issues around who covers costs of the Council – considering most blogs are non-commercial.

Mr Power says the public will have the opportunity to have their say when the commission releases an issues paper by December next year.

That is December 2011? Good – this should not be rushed.

As I said I am pleased the Law Commission is doing this review, as there are potentially even benefits for bloggers in it. But the way the Minister’s press statement has framed the issues is not good, and likely to rub a lot of people up the wrong way.

I will be advocating to the Law Commission, and InternetNZ, that they look to convene some workshops next year to discuss and define some of the issues.

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A popular Kiwi run blog

September 9th, 2010 at 3:25 pm by David Farrar

For those who like their art and fashion, you may want to check out Here Comes the Sun, which is run by Kiwi Amanda Thomas, and has a lot of overseas followers.

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