Understanding bloggers…and other political tragics


Andrew Sullivan has a post about bloggers and why they aren’t normal.

In that post there is this quote:

[T]he truth is that Klein and Yglesias and Drum and, for a few years now, myself, aren’t part of that group. We’re in a different category: people who have to follow the news for professional reasons. … [T]he less-interesting upshot of all this is that it’s not clear why most people should be particularly interested in how Klein and Yglesias and Drum use twitter, because their — our — needs are really different. But the more important lesson that really can’t be repeated often enough is that reporters, columnists, bloggers: we’re not normal. Even worse: of the not normal — the people who pay a lot of attention to politics — we’re not even normal in that group. …

Twitter, with its self-selected feeds, is particularly good at making you forget about [this]. It’s very easy to think that “everybody” is talking about something, when really it’s a handful of reporters and political operatives. Or that something is old news, when in fact only some 10% or fewer of those out in the electorate have even heard about it.

This is pretty accurate if you look at the recent fuss over John Key and Ian Fletcher. Driven by the media, when the rest of the country simply doesn’t care or even want to know. Look at the MentionMapp above for David Fisher, note the connections with other journalists, including Andrea Vance. Note also the hashtags he is using or those he associates with are using and know without a shadow of a doubt that Twitter has proved the quote above…”It’s very easy to think that “everybody” is talking about something, when really it’s a handful of reporters and political operatives. Or that something is old news, when in fact only some 10% or fewer of those out in the electorate have even heard about it.”

These people purport to be ethical and fair and balanced journalists when the evidence is pretty clear that they are not. The solution of course is for people to declare their bias, not try to hide it.

Let’s look at another journalist…Barry Soper.

Barry has always been a creature of Helen Clark and his Twitter usage proves it. Again there are the connections to David Fisher and to Andrea Vance.



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  • le sphincter

    Last I heard , the Pms memory was some sort of ‘vapourware’

  • LesleyNZ

    What is “normal”? No such thing anymore – I believe we have the “new normal” these days.

  • It is rather like the Washington Post political reporter in November 1972 who expressed genuine astonishment that George Mcgovern lost the election – because all the people she knew voted for him! (he lost 49 out of 50 states). These people are ‘genuinely’ unaware that nobody cares a jot about this issue outside of the smartypants beltway set.

  • Mr_Blobby

    “Even worse: of the not normal — the people who pay a lot of attention to politics — we’re not even normal in that group. …”

    Sounds about right to me.

  • Cameron, you say: “These people purport to be ethical and fair and balanced journalists when the evidence is pretty clear that they are not.”

    What evidence? A MentionMapp? Are you serious? You’re advancing THAT as ‘evidence’?

    Observe the disclaimer: “You are looking at a map of MENTIONS. Each user is connected to the people and hashtags they mentioned in the MOST RECENT TWEETS.”

    Hardly ‘evidence’ with which to question ethics and fairness even by the most fevered conspiracy theorist.

    And you haven’t given us the benefit of your own MentionMapp. Here it is:

    Oh.My.God. You’re linked to the Harlem Shake! You menace!

    – P

    • niggly

      Hey Peter apparently your nickname was “The Spy” once upon a time. Why was that? ;-)

      • “apparently”? Where? I don’t recall *ever* being known as that. (Are you confusing me with someone else, perhaps? Do we know each other?)

        I do, as I explained here (http://www.thepaepae.com/nothing-to-hide-but-not-nothing-to-fear/17190/ ) experience an odd phenomenon where people just tell me stuff

        I don’t know what it is, but people seem to want to tell me things — surprising things. It was like that when I worked as a journalist, it was like that before, and it’s still like that. I don’t pry, they just tell me. Dunno why. Something about my face? It’s a mystery.

        – P

        • Oh and link whoring is not tolerated almost anywhere…don’t do it again. You want a link? Ask…you will need to as I will never, ever give you a link. Add another link in your comments and I will remove them.

          • Years ago I told him that on this Blog and he argued with me thinking it to be totally acceptable online behaviour. It’s like coming into my home and instead of having a conversation with me and my friends, using the visit as an opportunity to try to sell us something. Self-serving behaviour in other words. Not being part of a conversation in other words.Promoting his own Blog in other words. Mind you I can understand him doing that as he must get sick of only having conversations with the same commentator day after day. Their favourite topic? Whaleoil of course :)

          • Not likely to be an issue. – P

    • Here is some evidence for you – Guyon Espiner; his 3rd Degree show dealt with the case of Tena Pora a couple of weeks back. They showed a number of aspects of the Police investigation which served their purpose (but UNethically, UNfairly, UNbalancedly mentioned NOTHING which even resembled the evidence the jury relied on to convict him… TWICE).
      Later in the show he has a lawyer representing Pora sitting there and Espiner is badgering the poor fellow asking him repeatedly “are you saying Tena Pora is innocent?”.
      The UNethical UNbalanced UNfair conclusion Espiner reaches is “there you have it folks an innocent man is in prison”.
      In terms of journalism it was just pathetic – all they wanted to do was sensationalise and get stuck into the Police and undermine public confidence in the Police.

    • There is a major difference Peter between me and those so called journalists. I wear my colours ont eh sleeve, whereas we have to discern through their actions and words. Fortunately social media, while useful to communicate, also drops boatloads of data that can be interpreted…I say interpreted because you just can;t take it at face value. Like you do all the time. Take the map of me or or you, have you noticed how I am in your and you are in mine. It doesn’t mean that we correspond or communicate. It means that you reference my all the time trying to provoke a response. The very thing that you despise and write endlessly about, trolls and sock puppets, you fail to truly understand the true meaning of the terms. You have clear troll like tendencies, and though you are a sock puppet for no one in particular you do fall into the realm of being a left wing sock-puppet….I say this again based on your writings and you associates and your comments.

      For instance you have taken the time to write about John Key and his alleged forgetfullnes over a phone call…on he had every right to make. The job is his decision alone, he can have who he wants, that is what ministerial discretion is all about.

      How ever you failed to write anything at all about David Shearer and his forgotten for parliament bank account with at least $50,000 in it, but self confessed to be more than $100,000…I mean who forgets $100,000 just resting in an a account.

      • David Fisher and Barry Soper actually ARE journalists, Cameron, not “so-called”, despite your ill-feeling toward them.
        I distrust your partisan interpretation of their (or anyone else’s) ‘colours’ based on whether their reporting/writing at the moment displeases your friends.

        Also, your use of these Twitter ‘mention maps’ seems nonsense to me. Sorry. Your example — the link between the two of us — undercuts your conspiracy theory against Fisher and Soper (and earlier Andrea Vance) — doesn’t it?

        “It doesn’t mean that we correspond or communicate.”

        Er, Cameron? Yes we do. What makes you deny that here? (Shall I prove it?)

        “Clear troll-like tendencies”? That’s rich coming from you, I must say. So is your suggestion I’m “a left wing sock puppet” based on my writing, comments and (spooky noise) my ‘associates’. Oooooh. But that’s your feedback, I guess.

        While you undoubtedly have more experience in the blogosphere than I do, I’m pretty sure it’s you who is misusing the term, ‘sock puppet’, Cameron. Ask around. I write in my own name.

        Mr Key’s appointment powers aren’t the issue, are they? It looks more to me like questions about the trustworthiness of some of his statements (in Parliament and to the media) and the changing account of his association with Ian Fletcher.

        Thanks for reading The Paepae so carefully.

        – P

        • I see you sidestepped the issue of David Shearer’s missing bank account by simply refusing to discuss it…and again focussing on John Key….sad, sad, sad

      • from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet)

        A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term—a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock—originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an internet community who spoke to, or about himself while pretending to be another person.[1] The term now includes other uses of misleading online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a third party or organization,[2] or to circumvent a suspension or ban from a website. A significant difference between the use of a pseudonym[3] and the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer. Many online communities have a policy of blocking sockpuppets.

        • Really…I only have one online identity, I know you think and that your sycophant woman blogger commenter have magically tried to deduce I am some sort of stalker using a false name but you are both wrong. It is hard enough being me let alone being some try hard anonymous person.

          So on the false identity charge against me to call me sock puppet you fail.

          I certainly don’t use misleading identities “to praise, defend or support a third party or organization”, I do it under my own name, and own blog, so that is fail number two.

          I am not circumventing “a suspension or ban from a website”…as far as I know I am not banned from anywhere…so a third fail.

          I certainly do not pose “as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer”….a fourth fail…I am the puppeteer.

          So four out of four fails for me to be a sock-puppet…I am who I am, I say what i mean, and I mean what I say….you on the other hand are a weasel, pretending chattiness, and friendliness in order to “collect” acquaintances, information and gossip. This is why you will always remain at a polite distance from me or my family…frankly Peter you are creepy, sanctimonious but one thing you are not is annoying. I don’t engage you…you engage me…and that continues to remaiin the state of play no matter how hard you try, and in trying you have become a troll…look it up…someone who deliberately tries to upset and engage in order to disrupt.

          You are my own pet troll…welcome to the troll farm.

          • I quoted the wikipedia definition of ‘sock puppet’ merely to demonstrate your mis-use of the very term you accused me of not understanding. A minor point.
            But you’d be right to say I think you’re an online stalker. Unquestionably.

            I only have one online identity,…

            Strange, that doesn’t square with what you told me in person — specifically relating to your use of Facebook to track politicians. So … has that changed, Cameron?

            “a weasel, pretending chattiness, and friendliness in order to “collect” acquaintances, information and gossip.”

            Sure thing Cameron. OK — No, actually I am genuinely chatty, I assure you. And I look for the best in people. Shoot me. (Not literally! Oops.) Refer to my earlier comment about people telling me things.
            And, oh boy, are you saying gossip is A.Bad.Thing, Mr Tipline?

            If your definition of ‘friendly’ is “never criticise my actions no matter what I do” you’re on a path to shallowness and disappointment. Take it as feedback.

            I’m perfectly happy with a ‘polite distance’, thanks. That’s quite close enough.
            As for the rest of your tortured psycho-babble about who is ‘engaging’ who, and accusing me of ‘trolling’ you, sorry Cameron, I think you’re being most disingenuous. Can you really be that blind to your own actions and fixations?

            Good night.
            – P

          • I told you things to see where they ended up…it was predictable and now have it confirmed…I only have one online persona…as I said it is difficult enough being me let alone multiple people.

            You don’t look for the best in people…look at your own posts about John Key.

            The only shallow and disappointed person appears to be you.

            Psycho-babble? Yes Peter you are a troll…I am not…you come here to engage I do not do so the other way. You initiate on twitter, I do not, in terms of our online correspondence it is you who initiates not the other way around. Save for emails to clarify the lies of your commenters, which I see have continued in the last couple of days accusing me of being a stalker with a silly twitter handle…I have pointed out to you before that person’s lies, yet you get some sort of thrill obviously from entertaining her fantasies.

          • Cameron, you say:

            I told you things to see where they ended up…

            I see. So you’re NOW saying you simply lied to me about your use of multiple fake Facebook profiles to stalk politicians? Lied to my face. Thanks for clarifying that.

            Let’s consider the veracity of your latest claims. You say

            …you come here to engage I do not do so the other way.

            Do I? Actually, referring to my Disqus profile, aside from briefly offering condolences on your mother’s passing, and an update to note the Min. of Ed. caving on the Thurston Place school, it’s been over a year since I ‘engaged’ in discussion here at your website. And quite some time before that. Have a look: http://disqus.com/OnthePaepae/

            I just refreshed my memory, and I see it was to do with your 16 March 2012 post responding to Duncan Garner calling you a liar, again — in which you linked to one of my posts at The Paepae (Cheers. Isn’t that how it works?)

            My comment was a short response to your wife Juana spinning a fantastical story (runs in the family?) in the comment stream which also referred to me. I called her narrative ‘Hogwash’. http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/03/on-duncan-garner/#comment-467543142

            So, a gap from 16 March 2012 to yesterday, 6 April 2013. Hmm yep, looks like I’m crazy-out-of-control all right. What a frenzy!

            But, you tell us, you “do not do so the other way.” …

            You don’t? So what’s this? http://j.mp/CS-comments
            Comments on The Paepae from someone claiming to be Whaleoil? IS THAT NOT YOU ‘engaging’, Cameron? (As if that was bad.)

            As for me ‘initiating’ on Twitter — do you mean referring to you? Do you understand how Twitter works? Good grief.

            For someone who says “Explaining is losing” your vacuous attempts to smear me as some sort of communications ‘aggressor’ (with you as the ‘victim’? Pfft!) seem unconvincing. As does your pop psycho-analysis (‘thrill’).

            But I guess your comments are for consumption here, with no real expectation they be truthful.

            Finally, let me say I was provoked to comment yesterday by your ludicrous, hyperbolic use of Twitter ‘Mention Maps’ to libel David Fisher and Barry Soper as not being “ethical and fair and balanced journalists” because they somehow offend you.

            I know you don’t like criticism, but that was shabby, Cameron. Even for you.

            – P

          • Still nothing on Shearers memory hole? Why won’t you comment on that?

          • David fisher isn’t, and Barry Soper is a shill for Helen Clark.

          • I find the reaction from you and other journalists highly amusing. For a nothing to see here move along issue according to you and them there is a rather large amount of push back….why is that? I think that you all protest a wee bit too much.

            I was commenting on an article from the us about how small the circle of people who engage in politics is and show some examples….and boy the howling has been spectacular.

            I don’t engage on your site for the simple reason that you harbour liars and let their lies stand even when informed of those lies. You even encourage them by subtle endorsement of their lies, chortling long with fantasies.

            As I said before you are creepy, you take everything out of context, write far too many words about it, like today’s little effort.

            I actually think you wish you were me not some irrelevant washed ex-reporter struggle to be heard in a little visited backwater of the nz blogosphere

          • Still no comment about David Shearer’s forgetfulness…did you forget a lazy $100k in a spare offshore bank account of your own?

            Is this a normal occurrence for a man who would be PM? To forget his offshore stash?

  • I don’t mean to be rude, but this is just silly.

    • Sure Russell, but then again you often think the things I say and do is “just silly”.

      I prefer to let my readers think about it…I don;t think ti is silly though to look at communications, relationships and information that is freely available.

      I bet if Keith NG wrote a post with some cooler graphics and put a little begging jar on the post you wouldn’t think that was silly. That’s because he is one of the cool kids

  • sheppy

    The solution is to give main stream news a miss and to only glance at the horrid occasionally when it’s sat on a table in a cafe. I gave up on NZ Journalism after I saw the worm move before people had started speaking. I suspect the leadership of North Korea has less of an agenda….

  • BJ

    I guess we should all just stick to the ‘Truth’ :)