Mika Brzezinski is a real journalist, trained and skilled!

This lady has standards.  Wish there were more of her.  And judging by the viral popularity of this particular segment, it reflects the thirst audiences have to be served more facts and less BS.

Media personality trust [ POLL ]

Suggested by a reader, our first “Which of these media personalities do you trust?” poll is below.  To anyone expecting their name on there and finding it missing, please consider it a failure of recall rather than a deep meaningful message or a personal slight.

Any obvious  and embarrassing omissions will be included in the next poll.

Which of these media personalities do you trust? (tick as many as you like)

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Herald and Bryce Edwards manufacturing news again

Bryce Edwards is always one of the first to climb into me…on almost anything, like most sanctimonious commentators he should perhaps remove the log from his own eyes.

Here he was two nights ago begging for bloggers to write hit pieces against the National party.

So there wasn’t any copy for him to use on his chosen topic so he went out and begged for it…to create the impression that there was over confidence and arrogance amongst National. He had nothing..and so begged for copy. And so his dutiful obedient left wing followers all piled in to help him with his column.



Bryce Edwards was then able to announce his column yesterday..which was on guess what?    Read more »

Journalists as politicians

With the alarming uptake of journalists moving to grab jobs as politicians, mostly for the Labour party it might be timely to re-visit an article from 2010 about this very same issue in Australia.

Sure it is from Australia and from four years ago but it makes for interesting reading nonetheless.

Peter Costello, now a civilian, has bagged the practice of journalists going into politics.

From Channel Nine’s 2010 election commentary panel, the former lawyer and Liberal treasurer (1996-2007) was remarking on the defeat of Labor’s Maxine McKew , a former ABC current affairs presenter/interviewer and Bulletin journalist, in the seat of Bennelong.

In his column for The Sydney Morning Herald on August 18 he wrote:

“Every so often a journalist chances their arm in real politics. Maxine McKew is one. Her underwhelming parliamentary career shows how much harder it is to do than it is to pontificate.”

Putting the possibility of partisan bias in Mr Costello’s dismissive remarks to one side, the issue of journalists crossing over into politics is worth thinking about.

Is it a good idea given the role of the Fourth Estate in a democracy?

Journalists are meant to be independent ‘pontificators’, objective observers of governance and a key part of the accountability process. They are not meant to cross over into party politics with all the vile distortions (spin doctoring) which accompany contemporary adversarial games.

Journalists, particularly political journalists like Maxine McKew, know about the viciousness of politics in Australia. They know about vested interest influence peddling through slush funding practices. They know about factionalism, tribalism, smear, character assassination and zealotry. They know about media management and focus group rhetorical and policy manipulations which pervert honest engagement with the electorate.

When a journalist decides to leave journalism for politics without a cleansing career change in the middle it does bring into question their ethics and leanings for their most recent work. It is much the same if a politician immediately becomes a lobbyist straight after bowing out of politics. It smells a bit whiffy and looks slightly dodgy.  Read more »

PR counter terrorism playbook Rule 1: Discredit the messenger



The journalist that broke the Mayor Rob Ford story in Toronto Canada was pilloried.  It’s something I’m not unfamiliar with myself.

“But as she became the face of the story, Doolittle also endured a surprising amount of hostility. “I understand how someone can say, ‘I don’t care what the mayor does in his personal time.’ That’s completely valid,” she says. “But you don’t need to say, ‘I bet you’re a heroin-using prostitute.’”   Read more »

What blogging was…and is

As I prepare for February 11 where I present my case to the High Court I found this via Boing Boing.

It is a post from a longtime blogger David Weinberger about what blogging was.  It is very interesting and if I can be presumptuous I think he has the post ass-backwards because his summary at the end if the part I want to focus on first.

So, were we fools living in a dream world during the early days of blogging? I’d be happy to say yes and be done with it. But it’s not that simple. The expectations around engagement, transparency, and immediacy for mainstream writing have changed in part because of blogs. We have changed where we turn for analysis, if not for news. We expect the Web to be easy to post to. We expect conversation. We are more comfortable with informal, personal writing. We get more pissed off when people write in corporate or safely political voices. We want everyone to be human and to be willing to talk with us in public.

So, from my point of view, it’s not simply that the blogosphere got so big that it burst. First, the overall media landscape does look more like the old landscape than the early blogosphere did, but at the more local level – where local refers to interests – the shape and values of the old blogosphere are often maintained. Second, the characteristics and values of the blogosphere have spread beyond bloggers, shaping our expectations of the online world and even some of the offline world.

Blogs live.

For me blogging is all about expectations around engagement and immediacy…it is the attraction of blogs (which is just a word) that we don’t run to artificial deadlines predicated by media constructs and legacy technologies. We can and do break news and update that news at any time of the day or night. We aren;t holding back stories because we need to sell newspapers or get people to watch the 6 o’clock news…we are telling stories when it suits us. We don;t subscribe to the artificial constructs that other media have to.

Wienberger explains some of the formative conflicts…some of which still occur and for me in particular are occurring as people’s view change or don;t change as is the case with Judge Blackie’s view on what is and isn’t media.  Read more »

World’s oldest newspaper goes Internet-only


With the debate as to what constitutes media, it is interesting to note how the “big boys and girls” started themselves, way back in the day…

One of the longest running newspapers in the world, which started as a notice pinned to a coffee shop wall, will soon permanently stop the presses.   Read more »

Corrections and apologies

As you may recall, the current brouhaha about Whaleoil being media (or not) essentially hinges on two points:   1) People don’t like my work, 2) I don’t answer to anyone – like a professional standards body.

Luckily, neither of those criteria need to be met in law.  If not liking what I do is a test for deciding if I am to be a journalist and Whaleoil media, then the game would be over for me as well as many others.

As for not answering to anyone, well, that’s also not true.  I answer to my readers every day.  And if I don’t do the right thing, they will refuse to come back.

But mistakes get made, and we now have a formal complaints procedure, which incidentally processed its first complaint a few days ago.  Whaleoil open and accountable?  Whodathunk?

The main stream media are also forced into correcting mistakes, and most of them aren’t in any way done publicly.  But when they do, some of them are used for entertainment, rather than a genuine mechanism to correct a mistake.

Here are some entertaining examples from 2013   Read more »


Greenwald – “Every journalist has an agenda”

Glenn Greenwald, the  journalist who broke the Edward Snowden story talks about journalism and agendas…disproving the lie that many journalists delude themselves with…that they are objective and don;t have agendas.

I have always said the same, and I don’t have a problem with agendas of journalists except when they deny such a thing exists. Why they continue to be cowards and continue to hide their agenda is beyond me…life is a contest of ideas…just be honest about them.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald jabbed at MSNBC on their turf Thursday, accusing the network of shilling for President Barack Obama and the Democrats nearly “24 hours a day.”

Greenwald, who broke the story about the National Security Agency’s levels of surveillance earlier this year with leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, was addressing the claim that he’s “become more of a spokesman” for Snowden.  Read more »

The Axis of Envy or The Overton Window as it applies to blogs

A reader emails some thoughts about media, blogs and the future:

Hi Cam

On holiday now and have some time to ponder the role of Blogs in NZ.

The New Zealand Herald, TV3 and TVNZ (The Main Stream Media or MSM) are not comfortable with the rise of Blogs and especially the rise of Whaleoil.  I have spent some time considering this and believe the major driver for their concern is that they fear the loss of their privileged position as the ordained elite guardians of enlightened thought in New Zealand.

To understand this we first need to understand the Overton Window.  The Overton Window concept comes out of an American Think Tank ( and was created by Joe Overton in the mid 90’s. Joe wrote an essay in which he observed that any collection of public policies within a policy area, such as education, can be arranged in order from more free to less free (or from less government intervention to more).

He also noticed that debates on policy tended to be limited by the boundaries of public acceptance, and ideas outside those boundaries are usually rejected with little examination. If the change you are pushing is outside of those boundaries, your chances for reasoned debate and more importantly changes to public policy or law are very low. Overton called these boundaries a window and hence the term The Overton Window.   Read more »