Andi Brotherston

Is Shelley Bridgeman the best columnist ever?

Cactus Kate has already waxed lyrical about Shelley Bridgeman. I was ho hum about her, thinking that she was trying to be the next Mrs Carruthers QC. However it seems she actually has a brain and isn’t afraid to use it. Today she explains the folly of court suppression orders in a modern age.

When are people going to realise that name suppression only excites the public appetite for information that, had it been reported in the usual fashion, would barely have interested us?

Exactly, something Ryan Giggs forgot about or the fools fighting over some bloody dogs.

Had Sandra Grant, a hitherto unknown lawyer, not been granted interim name suppression I bet she wouldn’t have warranted the colour photograph on page four of the NZ Herald that appeared once suppression lapsed. Her drink-drive conviction had become almost secondary to the main story which was the name suppression itself. We were affronted that someone with an inner knowledge of the machinations of the legal system should try to seek anonymity; the implication was that she was being afforded privileges that may not be so readily accessible to the rest of us. Had name suppression not been a factor, Grant would at most have warranted a passing mention in the newspaper. And I certainly wouldn’t be writing about her today.

The worst offenders of those seeking name suppression are celebrities and what I call establishment…lawyers, accountants and business people.

Broadcaster Martin Devlin similarly created an unnecessary amount of interest when he sought name suppression following a fit of disorderly conduct in Quay Street one morning. Had this been reported in the routine way most of us would have dismissed it as barely interesting.

But coming as it did after much speculation, our curiosity was piqued. Who was this celebrity and what exactly had he done? Chat at water-coolers and on message boards was rife with hints as to his identity and, of course, once his name was made public talk then turned to whether the guy was indeed a celebrity. To make matters worse, it was a strategy that seemed at odds with his persona. Devlin makes his living from the media and from having an upfront, opinionated demeanour. To suddenly become shy and retiring seemed disingenuous.

What is worse about Martin Devlin is his overly protective wife Andi Brotherston who clearly has google searches on her waste of space husband because she places calls to anyone who dares to malign his sorry arse and threatens them with defamation. She has busily been trying hose down the Jetstar story about his foolish ranting and getting himself tossed from the plane. The funny thing is she always says she is calling from TVNZ….without disclosing that it is actually a personal situation and that she is his wife.

It’s not just name suppression that can have the opposite effect to that intended. Any attempt to censor ideas or information, to keep the public in the dark, often leads to wider publicity and a greater audience than would otherwise have been the case.

This is called the Streisand Effect. It is well known and spectacular when it goes off.

Bottom line is that Simon Power’s silly re-write of the law won’t work. If the US Government can’t keep its most precious military and diplomatic communciations secret and Twitter and Facebook can bring down dictators like Hosni Mubarak and muammar Gadaffi then what hope do our politicians have in stopping people telling the truth about other people.

It is only a matter of time until there is an anonymous Twitter account broadcasting details of people before the courts with name suppression.

Making matters worse

Martin Devlin is an idiot, worse he is married to an even bigger idiot. I say Martin Devlin is an idiot because he wrongly believed that trying to get name suppression for his little bonnet dancing episode would protect his family. A family that clearly takes its PR advice from the missus of the household, Andi Brotherston. I wonder if TVNZ is paying for the repairs to the company vehicle from the aforesaid dancing episode?

Fresh from her Paul Henry faux pas, she then advised the idiot bonnet dancer to apply for name suppression. Of all the media outlets applying to have the name suppression decision overturned TVNZ, of which Andi Brotherston is one of their key spinners, was conspicuous by its absence. Surely this is a conflict of interest in the first instance, but hey, let’s be generous and think that TVNZ were just lazy and let the other media outlets do the heavy lifting.

However the whole TVNZ/Martin Devlin/PR disaster waiting to happen thing has reared its head again, this time over at a Sports forum called Sports Freak.

Has this group of fools got no brains when it comes to public relations? Well apparently not.

Dear Sportsfreak

It has come to our attention that one of your regular contributors “Durmast” is using an image of Martin Devlin as his or her profile picture. Martin assures me he is not “Durmast” (and he should know) but to many people the distinction would be missed.

In any case, we ask that you have “Durmast” change his or her profile picture, or that you take steps to make the change yourself. It is unfair to have someone else’s comments seemingly attributed to any of our presenters, especially one who makes his living as a sports commentator.

Obviously there are legal remedies available, and we reserve our rights in respect of those remedies, but I would hope that you would do the responsible thing and take it upon yourself to make the necessary changes to ensure any confusion does not continue.

If you could confirm that you have received this email and intend to make the necessary changes, that would be much appreciated.

I’d be happy to discuss this with you if you would prefer. My details are below.

Yours faithfully

Name withheld
Major NZ Media outlet; name withheld

First up, real lawyers don’t threaten, they just do, so if I was Sports Freak I’d ignore this silly letter. In fact I would have published it as a pdf and let readers know just how pathetic you think they are. Secondly, what planet of PR are they from. This is only going to blow up in their face, as it is right now by me posting on it. The Sunday Star-Times just got their ass handed to them on a plate by threatening bloggers, so much so it caused an insurrection and their little legal threats got blown out of the water.

The other thing that Sports Freak could do is create a social media disaster for Martin Devlin and TVNZ by asking all their commenters to change their forum icon to Martin Devlins image, and also all their Facebook and Twitter account icons to Martin Devlin’s image. In fact I might do that just for a laugh and see what comes of it.

UPDATE: The avatars are being changed already.

Random Impertinent Questions

Why were Shane Jones and Maryan Street literally pushing people out of the way to stand next to William Hague?

Isn’t William Hague a Tory politician?

Why would two Labour politicians spend taxpayers money to go to a Tory function filled with National party illuminati?

Is Stuart Nash going to give Princess Sarah a royal wedding or is she still only concubine status?

Which two Labour MPs are doing the horizontal tango and want it all kept on the down low?

Is it true that an internal National party poll showed Simon Power has a negative 23.4% approval rating for leader?

Has National ever had a nicer grandma than Maggie Barry stand for selection?

Boy don’t those photoshop guys know their stuff?

Isn’t Martin Devlin brave for facing up to his f*ck-wittery?

Andi Brotherston really knows how to hose down an issues, doesn’t she?

Just what is Andi trying to say?

These communications people with fancy titles sometimes really should lay off the sponsors products. [Shakes head] Still trying to work out what that says. She should stick to ratting out TVNZ staffers to the Minger and Pork Chop.

Andi Bothersome confuses us allDisclaimer: I haven’t appeared ever on Q+A because Tim Watkin is too scared to call me (he has rung around every other blogger known to man begging them to come on the show) and has the same underhand agreement that Damien Christie has that I will never appear on any show that they produce. Such are the manipulations of the illuminati of the left-wing.