Karl du Fresne on the Auckland media ‘Priesthood’

I like Karl du Fresne’s writing, even though he has had a few cracks at me. That’s fine everyone is entitled to their opinions and he, at least, has some rationale behind his opinions.

An so it was with some interest that I read his thoughts on the ‘Auckland Media Priesthood’ as he calls it.

So while I take no credit for Braunias turning out the way he did (if my tutoring had been inspirational, others on the course would presumably have shone too), at least my judgment was vindicated.

I mention this episode because Braunias himself recalled it in a recent interview with an admiring Duncan Greive on the online news and commentary site The Spinoff.  But it’s what Braunias went on to say that interested me. Here’s the relevant passage, from the section of the interview in which Braunias talked about that journalism course:

“I couldn’t tell a news story. I had no nose in news. I didn’t have the hunger for it, or the gall. I just didn’t have what it takes whatsoever. I was just kind of a dimwit.

“The feature writing course, that was appealing and I kind of got saved there in a way. I got first place in the feature writing thing, and it was marked by a guy from theListenermagazine, Karl du Fresne. He became a bit of a shocking, right wing, redneck, reactionary goose. It was a bit of a shame that my saviour was writing opinions so inimical to me, and so awful to read.”

Braunias seems a bit conflicted here. He calls me his saviour, but in the same breath denounces me because of my supposedly loony right-wing views. The way he tells it, I was sagacious enough to recognise his talent, but then something mysterious happened that apparently fried my brain and turned me into a drooling right-wing imbecile. A goose, to be precise. Pardon me, but how does that work?

Let me attempt an explanation. In the circles Braunias moves in, namely the Auckland media priesthood, the only legitimate journalism is that which conforms to a left-wing template. Deviation is heresy and must be countered with scorn and ridicule.

The rationale is that if someone is right wing, it can only be because they’re stupid or nasty or both. (The term redneck, which Braunias used to describe me, unmistakeably implies rank ignorance as well as conservatism.) This is the smug, Pharisaical way in which members of the Auckland media elite dismiss any opinions that don’t concur with their own.

Braunias is not the only offender and certainly not the worst. Others include Russell Brown – Auckland’s leading prig – and former Listener editor Finlay Macdonald.

Braunias isn’t so in love with the sound of his own voice that he would be as tribal and as stupid as Russell Brown, but you are who you hang out with…and he hangs out with some utter fools. I like Braunias, I respect his abilities but when he goes off on silly jihads with tossers like Russell ‘Did I mention I’m state funded’ Brown…well.

My blog in September on the death of Graham Brazier, from Hello Sailor, triggered a frenzy among the left-wing Auckland twitterati, Brown and Macdonald joining the pack with gusto.

I committed the sin of questioning the media’s deification of Brazier and suggested Hello Sailor weren’t the band they were cracked up to be. To the Auckland media elite, this was heresy on a grand scale. But rather than address any of my arguments, they ran the line that I must be thick as well as reactionary. (They were conspicuously silent, surprisingly, on Brazier’s record as an abuser of his female partners, although I’ve no doubt that they all see themselves as staunchly pro-women.)

“Christ he’s an idiot,” tweeted Brown, referring to me. Elsewhere, on his Hard News site, he called me an ass. This is apparently the only way Brown can explain the fact that someone else sees things differently from him.

“Careful, we mustn’t speak ill of the brain dead,” tweeted Macdonald. Giovanni Tiso and Philip Matthews weighed in with similarly puerile jibes, yapping like toy poodles. Braunias chimed in too. All the usual suspects, in other words.

In another Twitter feed, Macdonald called me an asshole. This guy’s the New Zealand head of a major publishing company, for heaven’s sake, and here he was indulging in the digital equivalent of poking his tongue out and making faces, like the leader of a school playground gang.

These people fondly think of themselves as liberals, but in truth they’re anything but. Quite the reverse: they’re bigots whose carefully constructed liberal façade conceals an angry, sneering intolerance of any opinions that conflict with their own. I think they’re gutless, too. They share their views with people they know will agree with them, because there’s safety in numbers.

And here’s another thing. If the explanation for my deviant, redneck opinions is that I’m too stupid to know any better, should they be mocking me? Wouldn’t it be more consistent with their sanctimonious pseudo-liberalism if they took pity on me? Shouldn’t they, as caring people, be wrapping me in a warm embrace of inclusiveness?

On second thoughts, scratch that. The thought is too frightening to contemplate.

The left-wing have a monopoly on hypocrisy. They claim to champion freedom of speech but are the first to try to silence dissenting voices. They aren’t self-aware enough to realise what they are doing. Instead they mount the bully pulpit of Twitter and try to silence people like me or Karl du Fresne or anyone really who crossed their paths.

They know best and everyone else should just shut up and if you don’t shut up then we will make you shut up. There are even those who cry freedom of speech out there who have also stated that I have no place in the blogosphere…because reasons. The real reason is petty jealousy and complete irrelevance. If they can’t be heard then they must silence those who are drowning out their mad rantings.

Watch the attacks mount on du Fresne afresh from these fools.


– Karl du Fresne

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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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.