Our media is rooted

The good people of Timaru got fed this horse shit yesterday morning.

NOTICE: People of Timaru, if your mayor was having an affair on ratepayer time your local paper wouldn’t tell you because you’re not supposed to care. On top of not supposing to care your local paper won’t tell you that there are ratbags in the town hall because they have deemed it to not be in the public interest.

This is horse shit…tell everything and let the public decide if it is in the public interest. Bastards.

Is an affair by the mayor of our largest city of public interest? There is no doubt it’s interesting to the public, but public interest is another thing.

And the answer is … maybe.

It is not of public interest because Len Brown was obviously doing a good job during the two years he was having his affair with Bevan Chuang. How do we know? Because he just got elected with a majority of 50,000 votes, that’s how.

But it is in the public interest on the basis he used his position to foster the relationship, that he did so in work time, and that he used council premises in doing so. 

The most vexing question though is the moral one … should the fact he’d had an affair been known to voters?

Certainly it would have changed some minds, but that doesn’t make publication of the affair right.

With the mayoral chains off, Mr Brown might be the biggest wine-swilling, swearing, racist, sexist you’ve ever met (I’m sure he’s not), but if those factors don’t affect his day job, is it any business of the voters? Or does an affair cross a different boundary?

Stealing would. So would physical assault. Sex outside marriage?

In the past the media has decided where the line lies, and affairs, unless they impact on the public role, are below it.

Why has that fallen to the media? Simple. The media can widely spread the word.

But the media world has changed. This story broke via a blog on the internet. Now, anyone with a readership can set their own rules.

Another factor is the audience.

In South Canterbury a story about an affair involving a local mayor would be widely read and commented on, but if it wasn’t affecting the person’s job I would anticipate complaints against us for publishing.

What right is it of ours to divulge a person’s private life? What about the family? That sort of thing.

There are different rules depending on size of community and feeling of community.

Should Len Brown stay on? Given the size of his majority and that the affair hasn’t had an obvious impact on ratepayers, yes.

And it seems unfair that a politically motivated blog could bring him down.

Will people look at him differently? Absolutely.

Will that stop him doing his job? Time will tell.

One thing is very clear since the story broke. Len Brown wasn’t kidding when he told voters he wanted the job.

This most certainly is our business…these ratbags ask us to trust them but their own wives can’t trust them….yet this paper in Timaru doesn’t trust the population with the facts…no wonder South Canterbury Finance was able to operate their ponzi scheme for so long…no one was prepared to hold them to account.

Len Brown’s affair was not private, it was conducted in very public buildings, on tables in maori rooms, at his desk, on his couch and in hotels obtained through his position as mayor.

This blog and my authors will not shy from telling the truth about ratbags…we will out them, we will run them through and we will tell you everything that we have as evidence. We won’t filter and we won’t decided for you what you should and shouldn’t think.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.