It seems Kim DotCon is political kryptonite to anyone he touches: starting court cases, ending careers, embarrassing them in front of their friends. He may not be accident prone himself, but he is certainly prone to causing them to his erstwhile friends.
Alistair Thompson, until yesterday the lynchpin of Scoop, was the latest to fall under his sway and have the inevitable happen -- resigning yesterday from the baby he began because Cameron Slater was able to reveal that, far from being an independent press gallery journalist reporting for an independent site, he had already assumed the role of Kim DotCon’s Internet Party Secretary, and had registered the Party’s website domain in his own name.
Even his erstwhile brother-in-arms Gordon Campbell finds it indefensible that an independent journalist would stain himself this way.
The manner of his parting makes it particularly sad, for me personally as well.
This is for two reasons.
First, because back in the bright and breezy days of early online activity, back when Scoop has just launched and I was giving assistance to a fellow in a David and Goliath court battle with the Auckland Council for having done him over, Alistair Thompson at Scoop was the only fellow willing to risk his neck publishing my twice-daily accounts of the court battle we dubbed Sludgegate. Every other news outlet from NBR to TVNZ had been happy to talk up the case before it went to the High Court, but the instant it got there they all went silent.
Enter Citizen journalism, with your own correspondent sitting (alone) in the High Court’s press box for two weeks writing these twice-daily reports that Scoop published and shared around. They’re still there now, as close to the bone now as they were then.
“I hope you’re not going to get us all sued,” Alistair said to me one day while cutting the code to upload the latest report. Fortunately, we didn’t.
What I did get into trouble for however was for the same thing Alistair did. When the ‘David’ I was supporting was without funds and needed a website for supporters to get behind, without thinking I registered and paid for it. And promptly forget about it.
But sitting in the High Court pressbox a few days later, I discovered both High Court judge and council lawyer mistook me for someone neutral. So when the “barrister representing council vermin” raised the fact my name appeared to have registered the website on which a link to a particular document had appeared, along with some distinctly unflattering prose about said vermin, I was given a stern dressing down by the High Court judge – who told me his “ideal model” of a court reporter to which I should aspire was Owen Poland.
(In googling his name, I’ve only just now discovered who he is. He runs “corporate training.”)So you can see, I do have some sympathy for Alistair. It’s easy to do what he did so unthinkingly.
All that said, what I don’t share is his sympathy for Kim DotCon – a convicted fraudster, internet pirate and copyright thief.
But if DotCon’s new party were to stand solely on the platform of opposing the Surveillance State, as we’re hearing suggestions this morning, then for that that I would have a great deal of sympathy indeed.
I would even wish them well.
Disclosure: I have neither been approached to shill for the Internet Party or Kim Dotcon, nor have I been offered bagfuls of easy money to offer advice, expertise or white papers full of cliches. But if I do, you’ll be the first to know.