Bob Jones in trouble, so is the Herald

The NZ Herald is in damage control mode this afternoon after Bob Jones’ column ignited a storm of controversy.

They have had to take down his most offensive comments.

Without those comments the column would still have been hard hitting and I would probably be here now saying hear, hear, Bob…but they were dreadful and Shayne Currie will be having a please explain meeting now, while I am now writing about irresponsible mainstream editors who like to point finger but haven;t noticed the 3 other fingers pointing right back at them.

Keeping Stock managed to grab the offending comments:

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. Every wealthy bugger I know over 65 shamelessly takes the Government Super, and seem puzzled when I lambast them. “But I’m entitled to it,” is their constant response as if that is justification for taking something they don’t need.

When we talk of dependency mentality it’s usually about rife welfare abuse which this Government and especially ACC have commendably attacked on all our behalves, but as I said, it’s not just the underclass. Right now there’s a Lower Hutt bloke in his mid-70s lying outside the Wellington ACC offices, supposedly starving to death in protest. Why? He wants your money and the ACC, rightly, won’t give it to him. 

This character set himself up as an advocate for ACC claimants, leading on one occasion to a court case which he won and received full costs. But now he wants several million from you all via the ACC for the stress he says the court action caused.

This sort of (always male) behaviour is a regular occurrence in the capital. In the 1980s when long-overdue reforms saw the closure of some isolated, scarcely used post offices, a Nelson region goose turned up in a park opposite my office, surrounded by the standard litter of signs, asserting he was starving to death in protest. I bowled across and nailed him with some impeccable logic. “Why starve to death?” I suggested. “Why not get it over with quickly and commit suicide?” So he did.

One of my daughters working, or more accurately, attending in our office at the time was appalled. “Don’t you feel bad?” she asked me. “To the contrary,” I replied. “Anyone who values their life on the existence of a country post office plainly hasn’t got one. I did him a wonderful favour.”

Last week, a few hundred Auckland Indian taxi-drivers were purportedly starving to death in protest at the airport’s taxi-rank arrangements. Funeral directors should not get too excited about a Christmas bonanza.

As one commenter pointed out in the comments section of the article:

Under the Crimes Act 1961, inciting someone to suicide is punishable with up to 14 years in prison. I think the Herald needs to think long and hard about publishing Mr. Jones from now on.

The NZ Herald has some serious ethical questions it needs to answer as a supposedly “responsible” mainstream publisher. Simply removing the offending comments and posting an apology at the bottom might save them from the toothless Press Council but is it really enough?

Suicide is a real problem in New Zealand and for Bob Jones to make light of it in such a crass and callous manner really beggars belief.

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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.