The real reason why Nicky Hager protected the journalists involved in Dirty Politics

I have written before about the fact that Nicky Hager deliberately left out of the book a number of senior journalists who were involved in what he called Dirty Politics.

During the intimate Q and A, Hager talked about the Kiwi journalists named in his book.

“If you see a name of a journalist in the book, they are the ones I don’t think have done anything wrong, they’re just incidental to the story. Every journalist who had been taking stories in dodgy ways from David Farrar, one of the bloggers, or Cameron Slater or from the prime minister’s office, I actually left their names out. I decided not to do the journalists basically.”

…”The people I’m talking about are in the press gallery, senior journalists. Basically I didn’t want to humiliate them, I wanted to give them room to think again and do it differently. That was the reason. Because we’re a small country and there are only going to be the same senior journalists the year after and the year after that, so let them change their minds on it.”


Until now I thought that the reason he protected them was twofold. One was to essentially blackmail them into not dealing with Cameron Slater and David Farrar  in order to undermine their influence ( one of the goals of the entire Dirty Politics hit. ) Hager knew that if the Senior journalists knew that he had ‘protected’ them they would cut all ties with the two influential bloggers in order to remain under his protection.

The second reason I thought, was what he had said himself. Being ideologically driven he genuinely believed that what they were doing was not normal political journalism, where journalists work with anyone who has good information and sources. He believed that what they were doing was ‘dirty and wrong.’ He therefore genuinely wanted to give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and go forth and sin no more.

Today I realised that there is a third possibility for Hager’s actions that makes a lot more sense.

The third reason was commercial.

A true investigative journalist would not be selective with who he exposed so why did Hager limit the scope of his book and subsequent commentary to everyone, except those senior journalists working with Cameron?

The answer is promotion. Commercially Hager’s book was a success because of the free promotion week after week provided by the MSM. If he had not thrown his cloak of protection over those Senior journalists would the MSM have promoted his book? Clearly they would not have, as it would have exposed their dealings with Cameron. Now that I have thought about it, Hager leaving all those journalists out of the ‘investigation,’ was a cold and calculated commercial decision.

Hager’s book benefited from the New Zealand Media covering it heavily for around 7-10 weeks. The coverage was unbelievable and where the MSM led the blogosphere followed. A party line seemed to be followed where no criticism was made of Hager or even Rawshark for their actions and the sole focus was on the victim of the crime.The narrative was that the victim was a villain and the criminal was a hero whistleblower.The author who collaborated with the criminal, was fawned over by the Media and referred to as New Zealand’s most respected investigative journalist.

Interestingly, discussion and speculation about who the hacker might be was absent from the MSM coverage. There was also no discussion about the glaring absence of any evidence of ‘Dirty Politics’ from the left and the claim by Hager that only the right did ‘Dirty Politics.’

In one fell swoop by leaving the journalists out of the ‘investigation.’ Hager not only ensured free promotion of his book but he also was able to control the narrative in the Media. For a guy who has the body of a half sucked cough lolly, we really should give him credit where credit is due. Don’t be fooled by the gawky and odd mannerisms, the apparent sincerity and all around absent minded professor, and academic dorkiness. Inside that jerky puppet like body beats the heart of a puppet master, who successfully used the Media for his own political and financial ends.

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