Andrew Sullivan’s last blog post on media and blogging

Andrew Sullivan has quit blogging. He suddenly announced his retirement about 10 days ago and has quickly wound down to yesterday’s last day of blogging.

His last blog post is about one of his first and echoes my thoughts on the medium perfectly.

Thirteen years ago, as I was starting to experiment with this blogging thing, I wrote the following:

[T]he speed with which an idea in your head reaches thousands of other people’s eyes has another deflating effect, this time in reverse: It ensures that you will occasionally blurt out things that are offensive, dumb, brilliant, or in tune with the way people actually think and speak in private. That means bloggers put themselves out there in far more ballsy fashion than many officially sanctioned pundits do, and they make fools of themselves more often, too. The only way to correct your mistakes or foolishness is in public, on the blog, in front of your readers. You are far more naked than when clothed in the protective garments of a media entity.

But, somehow, you’re liberated as well as nude: blogging as a media form of streaking. I notice this when I write my blog, as opposed to when I write for the old media. I take less time, worry less about polish, and care less about the consequences on my blog. That makes for more honest writing. It may not be “serious” in the way, say, a 12-page review of 14th-century Bulgarian poetry in the New Republic is serious. But it’s serious inasmuch as it conveys real ideas and feelings in as unvarnished and honest a form as possible. I think journalism could do with more of that kind of seriousness. It’s democratic in the best sense of the word. It helps expose the wizard behind the media curtain.

I stand by all those words. There are times when people take this or that post or sentence out of a blog and make it seem as if it is the definitive, fully considered position of the blogger. Or they take two sentences from different moments in time and insist that they are a contradiction. That, it seems to me, misses the essential part of blogging as a genuinely new mode of writing: its provisionality, its conversational essence, its essential errors, its ephemeral core, its nature as the mode in which writing comes as close as it can to speaking extemporaneously.

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The ‘unassisted suicide’ of old media

Andrew Sullivan ceases blogging today, and one of his final posts is a discussion of modern media developments by old media companies.

CBC interviewed him about native advertising:

Sullivan’s case against native advertisement is powerful and succinct. “It is advertising that is portraying itself as journalism, simple as that,” he told me recently. “It is an act of deception of the readers and consumers of media who believe they’re reading the work of an independent journalist.”

Advertisers, he says, want to buy the integrity built up over decades by journalists and which, in the past, was kept at arm’s length. Now they will happily pay to imitate it: “The whole goal is you not being able to tell the difference.” Sullivan’s argument is so doctrinaire, so principled, that it makes bourgeois practitioners of the craft, like me, squirm.

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The weasel words and hypocrisy of the NZ Herald

The NZ Herald has finally published their reasoning for refusing to publish the Charlie Hebdo front cover.

The New Zealand Herald won’t be publishing.

The Herald’s longstanding policy is not to publish imagery designed to cause offence to religious or ethnic communities.

It is not a response to the views of extremists or jihadists, which the Herald of course opposes, but to respect the sensibilities of mainstream believers.

Fairfax publications The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age published the cover late in the day, while Daily Mail Australia opted against running the image, a decision made by its London head office.

Except their excuse is rank hypocrisy.

Exhibit A:


Maybe their policy is more recent than 2010…but they did say longstanding policy…is 5 years longstanding when the Herald has been publishing since 1863. I should have thought that 5 years in a history of 152 year was but a blip, certainly not longstanding.   Read more »

Comment of the Day

From a commenter yesterday:

I sent the NZH some feedback as soon as I came across their article…

“To the New Zealand Herald. Your decision not to show the latest Charlie Hebdo cover while simultaneously using the headline “Defiant Charlie’s New Cover” is loathsome.

I note you have since changed the headline and removed the text where you state that you made this decision voluntarily, but the fact remains – you have withheld what will undoubtedly become a satirical statement of historical significance, and in doing so you contradict every facet of the right to immutable freedom of speech upon which you rely for your journalistic license.

Shame on your editorial decision.

Unlike Charlie Hebdo you cede your raison d’ĂŞtre to terrorist criminals and betray one of the most important societal influences that you should be upholding.

Demonstrating to society that freedom of speech can be successfully withheld from its participants via disgusting acts of violence is despicable.”

Well said.

Fairfax, TVNZ and TV3 all showed the cover.

The NZ Herald should rename themselves The Dhimmi Herald.


Mark Steyn continues his attack on media via Hannity

Mark Steyn continues to hold the media to account.

Truth Revolt reports:

Fox News Thursday night, Mark Steyn appeared on Hannity to discuss Charlie Hebdo, Islamic terror, and the media, sparing no mercy for the “eunuchs” of the American press and our comedians and satirists. Steyn scoffed at the idea that American press outlets are standing with journalists in France, noting that American papers didn’t reprint the images the Hebdo cartoonists were killed over. Steyn also directly attacked the American impulse to give cover to Islam every time a new terror attack occurs.

The media congratulates itself on its bravery incessantly. And one of the most disgusting things it’s done in the 24 hours since this happened is to maneuver Islam into the victim seat again. Islam always wants to play the victim role.

Steyn addressed the idea that American media are “standing with” or are showing “solidarity” with the journalists suffering and dying in Europe for daring to challenge Islam’s desired authority. He had no patience for the empty pen gesture that was nearly ubiquitous in the last two days. He wondered why the press will not show the cartoons.

I think the pen gesture you just mentioned is pathetic really. I would be more impressed if people were to actually hold up copies of the Charlie Hebdo covers, that those cartoonists died for. They knew the risk that they were taking.

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Facts don’t matter to the media

One of the smartest men alive, Thomas Sowell, has an opinion piece at about how the media, and some politicians create then win from promoting a mob mentality, often without any facts at all, or in many cases just making stuff up.

He discusses the recent cases of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, plus the older case of Rodney King. All case that were portrayed wrongly by the media, and then pounced upon by politicians or commentators like Al Sharpton in order to promote their own race based agenda. Before everyone gets all uppity, you might not be aware that Thomas Sowell is black.

He even points out the inconsistencies (probably deliberate) of the media.

Incidentally, did you know that, during this same period when riots, looting and arson have been raging, a black policeman in Alabama shot and killed an unarmed white teenager — and was cleared by a grand jury? Probably not, if you depend on the mainstream media for your news.

Sowell concludes:

The media do not merely ignore facts, they suppress facts. Millions of people saw the videotape of the beating of Rodney King. But they saw only a fraction of that tape because the media left out the rest, which showed Rodney King — another huge man — resisting arrest and refusing to be handcuffed, so that he could be searched.

Television viewers did not get to see the other black men in the same vehicle that Rodney King was driving recklessly. Those other black men were not beaten. And the grand jury got to see the whole video, after which they acquitted the police — and the media then published the jurors’ home addresses.

Such media retribution against people they don’t like is part of a growing lynch mob mentality. The black witnesses in Missouri, whose testimony confirmed what the police officer said, expressed fears for their own safety for telling what the physical evidence showed was the truth.    Read more »

This is what Fairfax and Waikato Times calls an apology

Yesterday we wrote about the slamming the Waikato Times got from the Press Council…with all the professional media people on the Council and the EPMU hacks all voting to uphold the complaint.

Only the womble members voted against.

The Waikato Times thought that despite them featuring their hatchet job on the front page despite there being not a shred of evidence to support their claims, that they would run the apology in the middle of the Christmas holidays and buried inside the paper. They preferred instead to focus on the jubblies of Miss Whangamata for their front page.

Their apology, such as it is is now online.

fairfax-apology Read more »

Wisdom about terrorism



More New Zealanders die from the flu every year than have ever died at the hand of terrorism.  Yet few are scared of catching the flu.




Seth Rogan sums up MSM involvement in publishing stolen e-mails

Seth Rogan

Seth Rogan

Actor Seth Rogen has blasted members of the media for publishing email messages stolen during a hack attack on Sony Pictures’ databases last month.

He told US radio host Howard Stern: “It’s stolen information… I think it’s f***** up that anyone is talking about it. And I’m OK talking about my s**t, honestly, because I don’t f****** care that much, and the stuff that was stolen from me on the grand scale of s*** is not that bad, but it’s f****** stolen. I do think it’s f***** up that everyone is doing exactly what these criminals want…

“All of this information would literally just be sitting on some obscure corner of the internet if it wasn’t for these news articles exposing the information…

“I can’t believe people are just so happy be like, ‘Look at this stolen information. Hey, let’s f****** read it.’ (The email authors) are not doing anything illegal. They’re not trying to fool you as the consumer. They’re having private correspondence with one another.”

Since the cyberattack, the group calling themselves Guardians of Peace have released stolen files featuring celebrities’ salaries, personal information, upcoming movies such as Annie and a wealth of emails, which have publicly embarrassed or landed some Hollywood execs in hot water.

The hackers have since escalated threats, referencing the 9/11 attack in their latest chilling message, which warns people off going to see Rogen’s latest film The Interview at cinemas (the Department of Homeland Security says it hasn’t found any evidence to suggest there is an active plot against US movie theatres).

The Interview, about a TV presenter and a sidekick who set out on a mission to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has angered North Korea, who called it an “act of war”.


Seth expresses with a lot more swear words than me my sentiments exactly. No criminal activity was exposed by the hackers criminal activity. Sony has done nothing illegal. All that has been exposed was private correspondence that no one has the right to see. The only reason the information can be used to blackmail and threaten Sony is because the Media are prepared to use the stolen information that they have no right to use.

I am sick to death of the old ‘ public interest defence.’ When it comes to the famous, the public are interested in every detail about them. There is nothing, no matter how private or personal that they would not want to know, therefore nothing is protected, nothing!

We foolishly thought that the MSM at least would limit themselves to communications involving politics when our stolen information was given to them. The day Rachel Smalley spoke on NewstalkZB about a conversation between Cam and an upset friend with relationship problems, the ‘ lardo heifer’ had the gall to not only talk about it, but to attack them for what they said about women! We realised then that there was no line that the MSM would not cross.



Blaming the victim is still in vogue

You would think that if your home was broken in to these holidays and your stuff stolen and then sold, you would be safe to lay the blame squarely at the feet of those who broke into your home and those who then sold your stuff and pocketed the money.

You would be wrong.

In the upside down world of media ethics these days it is actually the victim’s fault but only if the theft is hacking. Some how when the theft is online and the fence who benefits financially is the MSM it is actually your fault. Interestingly,the writer can only come up with one solution to protecting yourself. Forget about using e-mail contraception, the only real protection available is not to have online intercourse at all. A solution that is as ridiculous as it is impractical.

Just like the people who condemned the girl for getting pregnant ( It wouldn’t have happened if you had kept your legs shut) those who get hacked and their lives dissected by the Media for profit should have stepped away from the keyboard.


Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio were among the targets of Sony executives. Photos / AP
Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio were among the targets of Sony executives. Photos / AP

There is a lesson for us all in the continuing revelations from stolen Sony emails being splashed over worldwide media. It is a lesson that Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairwoman Amy Pascal could have benefited from before sending emails with racist comments about President Obama. Or an email calling Leonardo DiCaprio’s behaviour “absolutely despicable” when he decided to pull out of a planned Steve Jobs biopic.

The lesson is a very simple one. It is that when you are writing an email (or any other corporate document), imagine that it will inevitably one day end up on the internet for everyone to see…

The emails of Amy Pascal and other Sony Pictures’ executives reveal damaging internal discussions about business practices and commentary on a wide range of people – including Angelina Jolie – that the company relies on to do their business.

It is hard to imagine how those involved can retain their credibility as more of the emails become public.

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