Monday, 1 September 2014

“Some of the most serious allegations I’ve seen…”

"These are some of the most serious allegations I’ve seen," said David Cunliffe this morning, about allegations that bloggers Whale Oil and Cactus Kate wrote “attack blogs” at the behest of a paying client and a justice minister “gunning for” a minion.

The Herald publishes a graphic calling a senior bureaucrat the “victim [their word] of a number of highly critical blogs.”

Are these people serious? The victim? What, off mob violence? Of a violent mugging? Of a drive-by shooting? No, of some “highly critical blogs.”

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Fucking. Kidding. Me.  Someone wrote some things about him online, and this bureaucrat is now a fricking victim?

This sort of silliness both overstates and understates the power of blogs – and vastly downplays some of the most seriously serious scandals of recent years. (Did Mr Cunliffe not see Helen Clark buying an election with $800,000 of taxpayer-funded pledge card, then retrospectively legislating to make it all legal?  Or the Winston Peters-Owen Glenn-Helen Clark debacle of 2008  – or Winston’s theft of $150,000 of taxpayer money? Or Don Brash dealing secretively with a small but well-funded religious cult to get around donor rules? Or, even, the blatant theft of emails and correspondence of your political opponents … )

I’m sorry, but if these are truly the most serious allegations he’s ever seen he seriously needs to get out more. (Maybe ask David Shearer about the sort of serious stuff that goes on in the world’s warzones, for example.) So a blogger wrote “attack blogs” about a bureaucrat.  How hurtful. How harmful. I’m amazed the poor fellow wasn’t hospitalised.  Just imagine, being attacked by a blogger!  (Maybe pay a visit to your friend and adviser Greg Presland’s home at the Double Standard, David, or Matt McCarten’s Bradbury Blog, to see how folk do this sort of thing just for sport?)

It rather overstates the effect of bloggers, don’t you think, to take this sort of silliness seriously. To get all sanctimonious about what amounts to a few colourfully-phrased blog posts. As blogger Ruth used to say, a blogger is a brain on a chair. He has a keyboard, not a gun. His influence is precisely as much as the degree to which his stories and smears are taken seriously.

This is basically an online flame war that’s spilled over into real life, and is somehow making headlines.

Is attack politics itself wrong?  Then where’s the condemnation of Trevor Mallard. Or Winston Peters.  Are baseless attacks out of order? Then talk to those two again, or every political blogger ever, everywhere. Are attacks on bureaucrats themselves wrong? Not as long as these pricks hold the power of life, death and penury over all of us.

You don’t like what a blog post says, then don’t read it. Move on. There’s plenty of others saying plenty different.

I’m not sorry Judith Collins resigned.  That was long overdue. Not for things she did in the shadows, but for the many and serious outrageous offences against taxpayers and individual liberty done right out in the open – for which she received and receives nary a condemnatory quip even from her political adversaries.

There is an insufferable whiff of sanctimony wafting over this whole sorry saga. It doesn’t just overstate the importance of this kind of attack blogging, the degree to which it is taken seriously demeans and disregards the real power that bloggers and politicians can wield.

Of that, more here.


  1. Hello PC, how are you these days? This post ties in with your above one about ideas. I remember when Glenn Greenwald started blogging- I always liked him even though I didn't agree with him about some issues. He struck me as an 'ideas man', and has gone on to show the positive power of blogging.

    I think cactus Kate lost her way a bit. Never could understand why a young, intelligent woman would waste the best years of her life thinking about people who don't matter in the larger scheme of things.

  2. Hi Ruth, Nice to hear from you. I figured the smart folk would see the link with the one above.

    Yep, Cactus is smart. But not as smart as she thinks she is.

  3. @Ruth: And as you say, there are bloggers who show that ideas do matter, in a way that the MSM never could. It's in this way that the power of blogging -- in it's ability to leverage the exchange and foment of ideas -- is still heavily *under*stated by the MSM.


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