It is an open secret that Whaleoil’s readership increased substantially when The Dirty Politics Hack was revealed. Not only did it increase our readership at the time the news hit, we also retained most of the people who came to see what the fuss was about. The hack and the book were designed to cause such carnage that Whaleoil would be forced to shut down. Failing to win the contest of ideas on the internet, certain individuals on the left instead conspired to silence the opposing voice by breaking the law.
Now we have three academics who want to do a Colin Craig and try to intimidate us with money and lawyers in order to silence Whaleoil by financially crippling us. These academics chose to enter the robust arena of politics and didn’t like it when the opposition body slammed them into the canvas. Their intention is to use their defamation case to create a “chilling effect” on political discourse. They don’t want “toxic bloggers” and private businesses to have the freedom to criticise their views and opinions.
Incomprehensibly, these same individuals consider it their right to attack private companies and hurt their businesses while they are being paid by the taxpayer. They are allowed to lobby while paid by the government yet want to deny the exact same right to businesses and individuals wanting to lobby the public themselves. Their actions are a clear attack on free speech that will have serious repercussions for every New Zealand blog and media outlet if they succeed.
Thankfully, in both the case of the hack and the court case started by the three troughkerteers, these actions will have the opposite effect to what they intended. An article written at Harvard Politics.com explains why.