The whole argument out on the Interweb about Whaleoil’s status as Media and mine as a Journalist seems to have pretty much got to the point where the general position is “yes, Whaleoil is media”, and “Yes, at times Slater does things Journalists do”.
And then come a lot of value judgments not present in law. My “brand” of journalism is not good enough, I’m not accountable or answerable to anyone, I don’t belong to a professional body that may curtail some of my excesses, there is no formal procedure to complain or seek redress.
They like to quote that I’ve found myself in court many times now. That’s of course spinning it a bit. The first occasions were a deliberate act of Civil Disobedience to make a case for Name Suppression being reviewed, and I’m proud to say I was instrumental in having that law changed.
It cost me a lot of personal money, and I am not keen to repeat that process, but this is a clear case of staging a protest and taking the consequences, not some indicator that Whaleoil is out of control – or needs control. Pus, when I did, I did have to answer to the courts.
The only other time I’ve found myself in court is over the current defamation action. And let’s just see where that finishes before we draw any conclusions.
So I am clearly not out of control, and I am answerable.
But the “proper” media, those who are uncomfortable with the brand of journalism I do here at Whaleoil, like to see me reigned in, constrained, brought into line. Perhaps even muted, broken and dealt with.
This, they propose is the price I need to pay to be afforded the protection of the Evidence Act 2006, which allows me to protect my sources.
Essentially, I’m not nice enough, I’m too much out of control, and they don’t like my style to such a degree that the law should not apply to me.
Apart from the clear intellectual dishonesty of people that are holding this position, to also say that if I was a member of the Press Council, like them, then all would be just fine. Because they have rules, and procedures, and complaints processes, and that’s all that is missing around Whaleoil as a ‘framework’ for me to be able to claim the privileges (I say: rights) under law.
So it is with some interest that the “real media”, who have higher standards, are constrained by the Press Council code of conduct, and are generally of much higher calibre than someone like me. And their organs are not at all comparable with a mere “blog”.
The Waikato Times has been caught out reversing its online survey results about the Hamilton City Council’s decision on Thursday to defer its fluoridation decision. The poll asked people if they supported the council’s decision to wait until the after the legal challenge currently before the High Court is decided. 68% of people said “yes” and only 32%.said “no” but the Waikato Times misrepresented this as 68% saying “no” and 32% saying “yes”.
Various members of the public had taken screen shots when the poll was running so were shocked to see the newspaper print the poll with the results reversed. Fluoride Free Hamilton spokesperson, Pat McNair, posted the screen shots on the Waikato Times Facebook and many people commented how they had seen those results when they had voted.
However, instead of responding and correcting the mistake, they removed all comments, covering up their deception. Direct communication has failed to elicit a retraction.
So how much faith can we put in the Times’ survey results during the recent fluoridation referendum campaign? How many of those did it falsify and did this affect how people voted?
Good to know, isn’t it, that the Waikato Times sources have protection because of that paper’s moral high ground – their old media industry, their boys (and girls) club Press Council, and those grey haired wisened old hacks produce obviously so much better quality journalism.
If only the law had a test for “deserving” to be a journalist.
But it doesn’t.
So even the Waikato Times is allowed to be media.