Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Whale Oil scandal

Whale Oil Beef HookedPundits say it's worsening.

Not enthralled by every new revelation, I am only semi-engaged. But even that status would trump  non-political New Zealanders - the vast majority.

My concerns by degree of seriousness beginning with the worst:

1/ Theft of private property from Cam, and publication of it.

2/ Cam's seemingly unhinged nasty, maybe even soul-destroying attacks on individuals. He's not alone though. For example Winston Peters has ruined a life or two in his time under parliamentary privilege. Graham McCready takes down people for no reason other than spite. Cam's intent or invective is by no means unique.

3/ One, maybe two Minister's careless correspondence with and favouritism towards Whale Oil, though the 20 day rule for OIA response isn't a minimum limit (despite  MSD treating it as such). So, as Bill English said, he got a response quickly? Is it illegal?

4/ Corporate lobbyists pay Whale Oil to run favourable opinion pieces. Big deal. They could take paid advertisements in MSM defending their positions. Why does a blogger or guest blogger's 'opinion' carry any more weight or influence?

5/ The likening of this episode to Watergate. Really?


S Beast said...

I'm concerned about the additional strain on government agencies such as the Privacy Commission. Slater can apparently suck massive amounts of resources from this organisation both through his complaints and his deliberate and vile actions that cause complaints to be laid against him.

When is enough, enough!? I object to him wasting massive amounts of public servant time to achieve some kind of political objective.

Brendan McNeill said...


None of us are perfect, and those of us who blog are doubly exposed to criticism by virtue of the fact that we take a position, we state our viewpoint, and we get off the fence.

At times we will make all mistakes and get it wrong.

My concern for Cameron Slater is more pastoral than political. Reading between the lines he aligns himself with the Christian faith.

That’s fine, so do I.

That imposes upon both of us a duty of care, a responsibility to aspire to a different standard, one that while being truthful still ensures we respect our opponents and extend grace to those with whom we disagree. We of all people should understand that they are also human, fallible, prone to mistakes and errors of judgement.

Have we always met that standard? Probably not as well as we would like.

What it should do however is challenge us to find ways to engage in future that don’t drag us down to the lowest common denominator.

That’s an aspirational goal that we all face, Christian or otherwise. Let’s hope that tomorrow and the next day we get it right more often than we fail, and that we find ways to be more respectful of those whose opinions we challenge.

We share a common humanity that needs to take precedence over our politics or our religious worldview. Otherwise we will revert to a form of tribalism that will undermine our liberal western democracy and the liberties we presently enjoy.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

I identify with your sentiments Brendan. But we are small players with the luxury of holding fast our principles. Whale aimed to amass readership and present serious competition for MSM. Which he did. Sometimes by unscrupulous methods. I doubt any 'big fish' can stay unswervingly and utterly true to his or her personal philosophy. Trade-offs. Compromise. Life.

Anonymous said...

the lightweight ,heavyweight Slater has plumbed new depths in promoting dirty,underhand politics american style.Its sole purpose is his own personal aggrandissement.The irony of the mudslinger getting some back is delicious.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Brendan for putting into words what I have wondered about for some time.

I'm reminded of Jesus defending the woman caught in the act of adultery. He didn't have to accuse the scribes and Pharisees of anything yet still made them bow their heads and slink shamefully away.

If you want to hold to a Christian perspective how you do things is just as important as what you do.


Berend de Boer said...

You may have listened to much to John Key Lindsay. I think the book definitely points to behaviour that should not be acceptable.

Judith Collins clearly conspired against a civil servant. Leaking name + phone number to have him exposed to the public is not acceptable.

Civil servants have no choice but to serve the government of the day. They should be treated with courtesy by their minister.

The book would have been more worthwhile if the tone and behaviour of politicians in general had been the key subject.

We just got Nicky Hager desperately trying to link John Key to whaleoil, which has seriously detracted from the good points he made.

Berend de Boer said...

Brendan, my thinking. Whaleoil quotes Scripture in order to score points against opponents. That is a mockery of being a Christian. If I may quote another verse Galatians 6:7: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

You cannot don the mantle of the Christian faith as a hypocrite for long. Numbers 32:23: "be sure your sin will find you out."

So we can hope and pray that whaleoil discovers what it truly means to be a Christian.

Anonymous said...

The left are correct that this is a definition election for NZ - and that Whale holds the core of that definition.

But they - and you - fail to understand what's going on.

Whale now has the widest reach of any media outlet in NZ. Blogs, TV, Radio - Whale wins them all. Because of this, Whale's political impact is unparalleled in NZ. But what the left cant abide - and why they are running and extremely dirty illegal campaign against Whale - is because he means to put them out of business both in the media and in politics - and is well on the way to meeting his goal.

Whale is a cross between NZ's Beppe Grillo & Rupert Murdoch. Whether or not he is in parliament, Whale will effectively choose and guide the government for the foreseeable future.

Even a year ago, a National government shutdown to Radio National would have seemed unlikely. Now it is almost certain. Ditto taking out the teacher unions. Ditto chartering all the schools. And yes, Lindsay, ditto finally dealing to welfare.

Great things are on the way for people who love NZ.
Terrible or leftists, of course. But only whale really has the guts to call it has he sees it: They've had it coming for far too long!

Anonymous said...

[Jesus] didn't have to accuse the scribes and Pharisees of anything

Jesus repeatedly damned Scribes and Pharisees to hell in strongest terms possible!

Leftists are today's scribes and pharisees: and it is Cam who follows Jesus's example with holy, righteous, unrelenting anger.

Darkness has no fellowship with light.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Labour. Unions. MSM. Greens. Leftist. And everyone else Cam has set his face against! Better to have been drowned in the depth of the sea. That's what Jesus actually said.

Judge Holden said...

You're comfortable with PR lobbyists paying Slater to run covert attack pieces on their behalf on individuals who try to hold their clients to account? I had no idea you had such a vicious streak (although that's libertarians for you).

Am also amazed you think it's OK for Ministers to manipulate OIA processes for political purposes (to the extent of secretly feeding OIA requests to the nastiest attack blogger in the country and personally fast-tracking the responses). I guess you're also dandy with Ministers secretly feeding the names of innocent officials to Slater for him to smear, or for Slater/Odgers to get secretly paid by Hotchin to undermine a regulator investigating his actions. Such nice people on the right. Does the rot go right to the core do you think?

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 11.37

You are correct that Jesus gave the scribes etc... a good seeing to but that was not the context of my example. When in Key or Cunner's office you may say what you think in plain language but when people are watching its more effective to tie them in knots with their own rules and embarrass them in a subtle fashion. Cunners has felt this embarrassment in his CGT meanderings.


Anonymous said...

It is likely Mr Slater will have plenty of time to read his Bible and re-examine the core teachings of the Christian faith whilst in confinement within a year.
Rev Rorscharch

alloy said...

Love him or hate him, (I'm largely undecided), Cam Slater is anything but subtle.

It's this very lack of subtly that elevates his blog over the current MSM.

If it's hit job we pretty much know it's a hit job.

There are however a few things I want to point out:

1)If Cam Slater's private email correspondence was of such public interest that it over rides his privacy rights, why did Nicky Hager spend the time writing a book, and not release it the moment it came in his possession.

2) It's impossible, without intimately knowing the correspondents concerned to build up an accurate picture from private emails. My plans for example for world domination would certainly make headlines (were I someone mildly important) but would be no more than a exercised of imagination or delusion.

3. Nicky Hager has made no effort to balance his work, it's an obvious hit job, no more, no less.