Lindsay Mitchell on the “Whale Oil Scandal”

Lindsay Mitchell gives a fair summary of the current situation

Pundits say it’s worsening.

Not enthralled by every new revelation, I am only semi-engaged. But even that status would trump non-political New Zealanders – the vast majority.

My concerns by degree of seriousness beginning with the worst:

1/ Theft of private property from Cam, and publication of it.

2/ Cam’s seemingly unhinged nasty, maybe even soul-destroying attacks on individuals. He’s not alone though. For example Winston Peters has ruined a life or two in his time under parliamentary privilege. Graham McCready takes down people for no reason other than spite. Cam’s intent or invective is by no means unique.

3/ One, maybe two Minister’s careless correspondence with and favouritism towards Whale Oil, though the 20 day rule for OIA response isn’t a minimum limit (despite MSD treating it as such). So, as Bill English said, he got a response quickly? Is it illegal?

4/ Corporate lobbyists pay Whale Oil to run favourable opinion pieces. Big deal. They could take paid advertisements in MSM defending their positions. Why does a blogger or guest blogger’s ‘opinion’ carry any more weight or influence?

5/ The likening of this episode to Watergate. Really?

They had their best shot at taking Whaleoil and me down with it.   Everyone that is interested knows the rot is happening on all sides of politics, throughout the media and right into big business.

But as Lindsay clearly points out:   Nothing illegal.

As for being paid for opinion – where this gets to be a problem is when your opinion is for sale.  That is completely different to being sponsored because you are a vocal supporter of the same opinion.

How can you tell the difference?  Consistency.

Have you seen me come out against one issue and then for the same issue later on?   For me to keep up my charades I would eventually run out of opinions of my own, because they would all be ‘owned’ by people that pay for them.

Readers of Whaleoil know that isn’t the case.

But it does go towards a deeper problem – the people that are calling for transparency are also guilty of non-transparency.

All I am asking for is that everyone sticks to the same rules.  And if they don’t, I’ll help them along a bit.



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