Deception and integrity in politics

Bryce Edwards the ‘Pope of Politics’ is having the time of his life.  Blogs are dirty and he’s lovin’ ittm

New Zealand politics is ‘a dirty, disgusting, despicable game. And it involves dirty, disgusting despicable people at all levels’.

That’s the view of National Party-aligned blogger Cameron Slater.

Is he right?

Some areas are obviously cleaner and more principled than others.

The blogosphere – although a particularly valuable part of the ‘public sphere’ – is often also one of the dirtiest and more deceptive.

This reputation will be further cemented by revelations yesterday that one of John Key’s spin-doctors, Jason Ede, has supplied content to Cameron Slater’s Whaleoil blog.

You might say that Bryce, but I couldn’t possibly comment.  

This story may seem frivolous or ‘beltway’, but it actually raises important questions about how political parties and politicians operate in New Zealand. For example, there are often allegations swirling around the blogosphere about who really funds the various partisan blogs, and whether they’re essentially written from within the taxpayer-funded parliamentary offices of the political parties.

There are constant rumours that the various blogs are closely connected to parliamentary offices – Whaleoil to National, The Standard to Labour, Daily Blog to Mana – but no evidence to prove the allegations.

The Greens are fairly upfront that Frogblog is produced by their spin-doctors in Parliament.

The problem is that no matter how many times you tell people the actual answer, it’s not as exciting as they would like it to be, so they stick with what they want it to be.

But just for you, and everyone else:  Whaleoil is not funded in any way by the National Party.  Anyone with half a brain should see that.  I have a good tilt at the usual party ratbags, and you think that I would be able to do that if I was in their pocket?

I regularly get requests and complaints to remove or change material, and I tell them they get what they pay for:  nothing.

I may appear to be National Party aligned, but that’s simply because that reflects some of my politics.  Whaleoil is actually fiercely independent.

But hey, I’m wasting my time, and some of yours.  Truth is the first casualty in war, and I’m fighting dirty all the time.

No matter how many times I tell people I receive no pecuniary benefits from the National Part, directly or via free room upgrades, they will believe and repeat their own firmly held views.

Of course the National Party is a source.  At many levels.  Including the Prime Minister’s Office.  Material received goes through a triage process.  A lot of of never makes it.

But as I’ve already stated the Labour Party is also a source.  At many levels.  Right near the top, as it happens.

“Let me tell you this. The whole planet’s leaking, everybody is leaking. You know, everyone’s spewing out their guts onto the internet. Putting up their, their relationship status, and, er, photos of their vajazzles. We’ve come to a point where there are people, millions of people, who are quite happy to trade a kidney in order to go on television. And to show people their knickers, to show people their skid marks, and then complain to OK Magazine about a breach of privacy. The exchange of private information, that is what drives our economy. But you come after me because you can’t, you can’t arrest a land mass, can you? You can’t cuff a country. You might as well just go and go, you can’t lynch that guy there, can you? But you decide that you can sit there, you can judge, and you can ogle me like a Page Three girl. You don’t like it? Well, you don’t like yourself. You don’t like your species, and you know what? Neither do I, but how dare you come and lay this at my door. How dare you blame me for this. Which is the result of a political class…which has given up on morality. And simply pursues popularity at all costs. I am you, and you are me.”

Welcome to Whaleoil.  Check your guilt at the door, and be informed and entertained.

At least I have the honesty not to pretend we’re doing anything more honourable than a dirty game of politics.  Come on in, the mud is warm, the pig is happy, and the wrestlin’ is easy.

Source: Dr Bryce Edwards via the NZ Herald

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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.