Probably the best summary of Dirty Politics yet

House Of Cards TV Series HD Wallpaper

Paul Thomas writes int he NZ Herald about Dirty Politics.

Millions have been splashed out and a pigsty’s worth of mud slung but what have we actually learned from this election campaign?

• Nicky Hagar knows a thing or two about marketing.

• Cameron Slater isn’t as nice as he looks.

• You can judge a minister by the company she keeps.

• While the Whale Oil cabal give the impression they’ve watched too many episodes of House of Cards, their machinations owe more to Walter Mitty than Frank Underwood.

• Hillary Clinton got the wrong Kiwi politician when she added Helen Clark to the select group – Keith Richards and cockroaches – that would survive nuclear Armageddon. She should have nominated Winston Peters.

• Contrary to Tana Umaga’s famous complaint, some people seem to think we are playing tiddlywinks here.

Fair points. I also like the picture of Frank Underwood in the article, and since we are talking about House of Cards…who is going to play Zoe?

The campaign has also reinforced that just as truth is the first casualty of war, irony is the first casualty of politics.

There was Internet-Mana’s Laila Harre on the TV news complaining about the media manufacturing a news story out of a private email (Hone Harawira foaming at the mouth about the Internet Party’s preoccupation with legalising cannabis).

That was followed by David Cunliffe complaining about the timing of the release of a damning New Zealand Institute of Economic Research assessment of Labour’s capital gains tax arithmetic and accusing Federated Farmers, who commissioned the report, of “playing politics.”

A month ago Cunliffe was hailing Hagar’s carefully timed intervention in the election, predicting it would “shift hundreds of thousands of votes”. One man’s political stunt is another’s welcome contribution to the debate.

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When the truth is revealed about the hack, who did it, who was behind it and who funded it then we are really going to see some smirks wiped off a few peoples faces.

The minor players in the campaign have all engaged in hype. The Whale Oil cabal had an inflated sense of their influence; Hagar oversold the significance of his revelations; and the media overestimated the impact they would have on the public.

Yes but all the diagrams published in the NZ Herald show me to be the centre of all evil…they can’t have it both ways. Either I’m an irrelevant, little read blogger or I really am at the centre of influence of NZ politics. Those aren’t my conclusions those are theirs…now choose.

The Watergate analogy was wheeled out early and regularly recycled. To give this some context, the Watergate conspiracy was so big there were two “Watergate Sevens”.

The A team were the seven White House aides and advisers indicted for their role in the scandal and its cover-up. The B team consisted of the five men caught burgling the Democrat Party’s national headquarters and their handlers from Richard Nixon’s campaign organisation, the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP).

Nearly all of them, plus various others, went to jail. Nixon would have joined them behind bars if he hadn’t been given a “full, free and absolute” pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford.

What crimes were exposed by Dirty Politics? Who’s going to jail as a result of these revelations? At this stage it would appear the only clear-cut instance of criminality was the hacking of the Whale Oil website that provided the material for Hagar’s book.

That inconvenient truth has been glossed over if not brushed aside on public interest grounds, that it revealed stuff the public needed to know. Being a hacker means never having to get a search warrant: the judgment on whether the hacking was a public service or an invasion of privacy can only be made after the material has been stolen and made public.

In both the fishing expedition methodology and greater good justification, this type of hacking bears a more than passing resemblance to the US surveillance operations exposed by Edward Snowden.

And the people behind it all have all been front and centre opposing spy agencies, but don’t seem to understand the irony of running their own little spy agency for political purposes. The truth will out, then we can really see where the label of Watergate will lie.

Another murky area is how much credence can be attached to email conversations the participants assumed were for their eyes only. Some commentators seem to assume supposedly private chatter among like-minded friends and collaborators is the unvarnished truth, when it may be the opposite: it may in fact be grandstanding or jest or outrageousness for effect. The point is, if you’re not part of the in crowd, you’re unlikely to get the in joke.

The notion that the mark of a person is what they do when they think no one’s looking is valid if what they do is criminal or at someone else’s expense, or if they say one thing in public and do the opposite in private. Otherwise, like the belief that people can and should be held to account for comments made in what they thought were private conversations, it’s a denial of the whole principle of privacy.

The right to privacy is meaningless if it doesn’t include the right to be harmlessly disgraceful in private.

Finally someone gets it.

A number of individuals, ranging from Colin Craig at one end of the socio-political spectrum to the mystery hacker Rawshark at the other, have set out to influence this election in ways and to degrees not previously seen in this country.

History may show the overwhelming focus was on the least significant and troubling of the various interventions and that Whaledump was exactly that: a cloud of waste matter floating through the (air)waves.

The media have been clouded for their loathing of me personally, and missed the real story.

They should hang their heads in shame.


– NZ Herald

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