Some advice for the opposition from Rodney Hide

Rodney Hide tells the opposition to find a better cause.

The Opposition is making heavy weather of trying to make Prime Minister John Key responsible for what Cameron Slater writes on his blog and in his personal communications.

I say in a kind and caring way that they should give it up. Because – and I say this even more caringly and kindly – Slater, aka the Whale, is not always responsible for what he writes.

By his own admission, Slater has had his battles with depression. By his own admission he is an embellisher.

Anyone who follows his blog knows him as a force of nature once he starts tapping his keyboard and pushing the upload button.

His blog is one man’s opinion, raw and unedited.

It is politics red and bloody and some of what you read you wonder if you really needed to know.

But back I go like a junkie. I enjoy the Whaleoil blog just like I enjoy the Left’s The Standard and The Daily Blog.

I’m not sure The Standard or the mouth breather at The Daily blog will appreciate that Rodney Hide enjoys their hate fuelled rants.

The blogs, as mad and as bad they are, add richness and diversity to political debate.

It’s true much of it is gossip. The blogs have lifted the lid on what was once confined to Bellamy’s. They have opened it up.

Political gossip always has an angle, juiciness trumps veracity and its effect can prove lethal.

But don’t blame blogs. Gossip has been used as a political weapon for as long as there’s been politics. ??

The complaints about Whaleoil are altogether too prissy. Politicians selectively leak material to make themselves look good and their opponents bad. It’s not always accurate or true.

Politicians cultivate media contacts and work closely with those journalists with whom they establish rapport and trust.

Journalists, for their part, trade information. It is the currency of their craft.

It is how facts are assembled and news stories broken.

Politicians are no longer confined to mainstream journalists. They can feed blogs.

The breathless sanctimony of the opposition and their pals in the media was astonishing to behold. The outrage over playing politics rough…the outrage of getting paid to write (The Herald has an extremely profitable native advertising bureau, plus their real estate pages and lifestyle sections are pretty much all paid for advertising)…and the outrage over campaigning against something or other…The Herald and John Campbell push advocacy journalism all the time.

As I said the hypocrisy was breath-taking.

The blogs are the new pamphleteers without need for paper or printing press.

The good ones generate big readerships and are an excellent way to push political points.

The blogs are the wild west of political reporting. They are anarchical.

They are threatening to established political, legal and media institutions. They are free speech at the click of a button. If you don’t like them, don’t go there.

Key is responsible for every aspect of government, every minister, every policy decision, every bit of spending.

That the Opposition is busy trying to make him responsible for Slater’s writings suggests not much is wrong with his administration.

I don’t believe that. They should forget the Whale and get on with their job.

All these people wanting to ban, me, hurt me, stop me all in the next breath extol the virtues of freedom of speech. They think nothing of impinging on my rights. Even lawyers forget this as they decided they are smarter than High Court judges.

The bottom line is Rodney Hide is right.

I did nothing illegal, nothing wrong, and yet the biggest political attack in NZs history was mounted against me. That’s pretty incredible since many of the co-conspirators have all at various times written me off as irrelevant. That is some effort to go to because of irrelevancy.

 

– Herald on Sunday

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