Nicky Hager resembles something washed up on a Fiordland beach. There’s something of the Ancient Mariner about him, but his views are narrow like the Exclusive Brethren’s he rails against....I feel sure I've been saying something somewhat similar myself. I suspect the journalists have been visiting the wrong blogs.
Such is Hager’s righteousness that he’ll stoop to anything. First he acquired stolen property, Don Brash’s emails. Well-brought up people would have returned them to their owner. Not Hager. He convinced himself that he had a higher duty, to publish them. The fact that he stood to gain publicity and profit from doing so was, you must understand, one of the painful duties of a crusader. Did he pay for the stolen goods? Hager is strangely coy about his own funding. He didn’t contact Brash, lest it alert him. Nor did he attempt to find what was missing. Hager possessed no faxes, phone calls, publicly available transcripts, or meeting notes. He seldom referred to newspaper reports. Just a thin incomplete veneer of emails. Some were doctored as I discovered to my surprise. Who did that, I wonder, and why? In the end Hager fixed us with his glittering eye, producing a beat-up over mundane matters of a kind that all political parties deal with every day. How a party positions itself is what politics is about...
Why are today’s hacks so easily beguiled by a polemicist? Because too many of them were intellectually washed up on his same Fiordland beach. In the 1960s and 1970s, universities and journalism courses taught students to test evidence by asking what other factors might be relevant to a story, before drawing conclusions. In today’s post-modernist, politically correct world, instincts, hopes, opinions and feelings are more important than facts. Thus reporter Ruth Berry could write that Don Brash’s views on the Treaty had “alienated” him from “middle voters”. Surely she meant herself? Brash’s Orewa speech doubled National’s poll support. When he resigned, National was ten points ahead. Too many journalists go around the blogs and talk only amongst themselves. Facts seem superfluous. Sadly, they are also foreign to many modern university arts disciplines where some reporters were taught. Evidence is what you say it is, not what it actually is.
I don't say this often, but go read Bassett's piece. It's worth it just for the conclusion.
LINKS: Nicky Hager and the hollow book - Dr Michael Bassett
Thief - Not PC (29 Nov)
Why we need chains - Not PC (28 Nov)
Hager, Brash & Herald humbug - Not PC (21 Nov)
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-National