Cameron Slater’s blog Whale Oil has been found to not meet the Evidence Act’s definition of “news medium” – meaning he doesn’t get to claim the right to protect his sources’ identities.
The Evidence Act defines “news medium” as
a medium for the dissemination to the public or a section of the public of news and observations on news
From the Herald report:
Wellington media lawyer Steven Price said the thrust of the Law Commission’s report was that bloggers who were serving the functions of free speech and a free press should be treated as media and be entitled to media privileges.
“Still, it is concerned that the reporting be dispassionate and reliable. It can be argued that Whale Oil doesn’t measure up on that criterion.”
This point really interests me, because I think there’s a big grey area if you look at the whole range of blogs and bloggers in New Zealand. And what about looking at group blogs as a whole vs. at the work of individual posts or posters? At any one time on the front page The Standard you could have a serious, info-dumping post from lprent on climate change, full of citations and graphs. Sure, he’s obviously pushing a certain agenda, but is that enough to rule the post out as “news”? On the other hand, it could be sitting next to a post from me or Zetetic which is a big opiniony rant. But if opiniony rants mean The Standard as a whole isn’t media, what about the Herald, which publishes Bob Jones on a regular basis, and daily anonymous editorials?
Do Public Address and Pundit count more as “news media” because their authors are (I believe) all writing under their legal names, and because many of them are often quoted or relied on for comment by traditional media?
If we treat the media-blog divide as a spectrum, where’s the line in the era of Stuff Nation?
Do I think Whale Oil should count as news media? Probably not. Neither should Ideologically Impure, for that matter. Highly partisan and personally abusive? Fuck yes. But when Keith Ng breaks a national news story at PA? I think that’s news.
The irony is that one of the reasons the line is blurred, and one reason Slater may sincerely believe he qualifies as a “journalist” for the purposes of the Evidence Act, is that our undeniably-mainstream media keep using him as a source. When the Len Brown affair broke on Whale Oil, Stephen Cook was frequently referred to as a “journalist” (which is again confounded by the fact that he has worked as a “proper” journalist) in the media.
I don’t have any answers. But I think this judgement is going to be an interesting, early data point in what has to be an ongoing discussion about where blogs and media sit in relation to each other.
And I just want to clear a few things up, if only to establish with some finality that Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury shouldn’t be trusted as far as you can piss facing into an emerald Wellington gale. Martyn’s post is here, or will be until he deletes it and pretends it never happened.
QoT left the blog with Nicole Skews
is a lie, and one which I have previously corrected him on . Coley (which is what people call her when they’re not trying to silence her with the threat of workplace-related drama*) left The Daily Blog on 12 September. Her side of the tale is here.
I, on the other hand, had stepped down from blogging there on 24 July, with the following email:
Hey man, my post for the week is now with you.Unfortunately I’m going to have to step back from TDB. As you’ve probably gathered, things in the meat-world have been pretty rocky for me this year and the past month has just taken all my spoons.It’s been great though, I really like what you’re achieving and the line-up is awesome – so I know I won’t necessarily be missed *too* badly.
You’ll want to keep this in mind for a bit further down. When in later email conversation I corrected him for claiming that my stepping down was due to Coley’s, he stated in an email of 20 September:
My mistake – I thought the 2 events were connected.
Next up. Martyn’s statement:
QoT’s latest attack is to claim that our desire on TDB to have more female voices is somehow a conspiracy to hide my true intentions of allowing the patriarchy to rule while paying lip service to diversity. She claims the lack of posts by the female bloggers in October is proof of this while I think that is a terrible slap in the face to the women bloggers on this site.
is easily compared with my actual post here - which Martyn does not link to. Please note: the statistics are not for October. They are for the entire running history of The Daily Blog, from February to October 2013, as noted on the post. I do not accuse Martyn of “allowing the patriarchy to rule”; I say:
With those kind of numbers, you’ve got to ask exactly what is being served by getting more women’s names onto the TDB roster. Is it women, or is it one guy’s liberal cred?
But Martyn claims that he’s actually the real feminist here:
QoT knows first hand from times she couldn’t get her blog through to us that there are many extra time issues for female bloggers to contend with. Family, work and study all impact on the time commitments people can commit to blogging, every blogger on this site has the ability to post whenever they want above the minimum commitments they agree to.
It’s a nice point, and a very valid one, and yeah, I’m not a perfect
employee contributor. But it struck me as odd that Martyn was suddenly so understanding of the pressures on women and how this might affect their ability to commit regular blog posts, because after I sent that email, back on 24 July, his response was far less accepting.
Martyn, 24 July:
WHOA – Hold up sister – QoT – mate, comrade – hold up.
I was out tonight at backbenchers and I had a couple of guys from out of town who had made the trip in special to watch it and they were raving about you and the impact you have made on their girlfriends in helping them find their voice.
QoT I do not want to lose you – how about this – how about we cut you down from weekly to fortnightly – would that help?
A day later, after I hadn’t responded – remembering that I’d explained life was a bit difficult at the moment.
So would fortnightly take the pressure off you?
Please note that is the entire text of the email. I explained – very nicely** – that it wasn’t a goer. He responded:
Doh – those personal things – bloody nuisance those.
I’ll back off for a month and then start gently prodding – you are simply too important a voice to allow quieting my dear QoT – there is genuinely a new generation of women reading your blogs and feeling real power from seeing a woman as staunch and powerful as you front footing it with anyone.
I know how passionate you are so know your personal trauma must be great to pause from blogging. Take time to heal comrade, I’ll hold your line in the fight.
And then a month later, with no further contact from me – and sure, I could have been more forthcoming, but Martyn could also have taking a fucking hint** – the boilerplate reminder emails began again. And I didn’t want to pick a fight, because I feared that Martyn would be nasty in retaliation. I think subsequent events bear this out.
But it does seem to suggest that he is not as open-minded about the pressures on women bloggers as he claims, and quite happy to apply it himself.
And finally, Martyn says:
The insinuation that Amanda Kennedy, Christine Rose, Dianne Khan, Jenny Michie, Julie Anne Genter, Julie Fairey, LadyMac, Laila Harre, Latifa Daud, Louisa Wall, Marama Davidson, Moana Mackey, Penny Hulse, Phoebe Fletcher, Professor Jane Kelsey, Rachael Goldsmith, Sue Bradford, Susan St John, Tali Williams and Melissa Ansell-Bridges are somehow puppets being played for deceptive means by myself, Chris Trotter, Selwyn Manning, Frank Macskasy and Wayne Hope is as ludicrous as it is offensive to those women.
It’s very nice to know that he can name all his remaining women bloggers. But again, it begs a question: if all of these women find my statements offensive and ludicrous, why isn’t Martyn giving them a platform to say so?
The rest of Martyn’s post is a masterclass in sexist double standards and tone argument. It shouldn’t need saying that the man who refers to me as “Queen of Scorns”, who coined the phrase “Emerald Stormtroopers”, and who categorised what is basically an argument over one comment on a blog as “completely fracturing the Auckland and Wellington left” is probably not the person who should be lamenting the horrors of blog-war.
Martyn is a liar. If you are dealing with him, screencap everything. This correspondence is now very much closed.
*In an earlier post, Martyn referred to her as “Nicole Skews of [her workplace]“. This has, like so many things, been silently retconned.
**And let’s all think for a moment about how women are programmed to be nice in order to not antagonise men because they fear being attacked by them. I don’t think it’s a stretch given the exact post I’m commenting on now.
Spot the interesting trend in the names of the bloggers cited (in order of citation) in Bryce Edwards’ latest article about the “blog wars” taking place around rape culture:*
- Giovanni Tiso
- Graeme Edgeler
- “Prof Andrew Geddis”
- Chris Trotter
- Danyl Mclauchlan
- Scott Yorke
- Martyn Bradbury
- “Another identity activist”**
- Alan Alach [sic]
It just makes it all the more tragi-hilarious that Bryce, in the third paragraph of his article, says
Identity politics is, of course, the prioritisation of a person’s identity – ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc – over issues of ideology, and especially economics and class.
The phrasing’s very interesting. It might almost seem to suggest that a mere identity is unworthy of “prioritising” over important things like ideology. It absolutely suggests that silly identity politics doesn’t ever involve discussing important things like economics and class.
It kinda also seems to imply that things like ethnicity, gender and sexuality aren’t as important as the real issues. Do you think that might be an easy conclusion to come to when your own personal ethnic, gender and sexual identities don’t come giftwrapped in centuries of economic and social oppression?
And do you ever notice how the real issues which identity politics are apparently distracting us from are always the issues which the person complaining about identity politics wants to talk about?
And seriously. Why is it always the men who talk about “prioritisation” like they’re not capable of thinking about more than one thing at a time?
*I have not included Donna Awatere Huata nor Annette Sykes as they’re mentioned in an earlier section of the column – but let’s note the only brown faces to appear on this topic are both supporting Tamihere and Jackson.
**Hi there! I have a name!
This isn’t a post about why I stopped blogging at The Daily Blog, but it will refer to some of that history. Obviously my experience is going to bias my opinion, and I expect some people will reject what I have to say because of that.
But there have been new developments over at The Daily Blog, and in a month when we’ve seen some amazing progression of feminist views and thinking in the mainstream media (I literally keep smiling at the thought of Matthew fucking Hooton for god’s sake) it’s important to be very clear about the difference between real progress and egotistical douchebags riding the feminist train for cookies.
So Chris Trotter wrote a post, which I shall pseudo-link to because I don’t want to be responsible for anyone accidentally clicking through to a wall of privilege-defending misogyny: http:// bowalleyroad. blogspot.co.nz /2013/11/a-disturbing-precedent.html. The short version is “poor Willie and JT, trial by media, won’t someone think of our freedom of speech?”
And Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury responded at The Daily Blog, fellating Trotter appropriately before criticising him because he’d already filled his “worst pus-filled cancerous ulcer on the penis of Genghis Khan” metaphor quota for the day. http:// thedailyblog.co.nz /2013/11/15/to-my-dear-learned-colleague-chris-trotter-you-are-terribly-wrong-and-i-disagree-strongly/
Here are some interesting things he said.
I personally believe that what is required now is for the male commentators to step back, shut up and listen to the women and whanau who have been damaged by rape. What will be said will be angry, it will be cutting, it will challenge our privilege and it will force many men to re-evaluate our role in rape culture while popping and deflating some male pride and ego.
It’s time we let the wahine speak, Chris, and it’s time we just listened.
PLEASE NOTE: In light of what has been exposed by the Roast Buster debate, TDB will be actively seeking more female bloggers for the site. Our commitment is to provide more women with a platform.
A few points.
1. It’s really fucking funny in a not-at-all-funny kind of way that Martyn wants to wax lyrical about how sometimes women might be angry and cutting and challenge our privilege but we have to re-evaluate etc etc. Because that sure wasn’t his attitude when Coley Tangerina called out Chris Trotter for being an epic douchebag.
2. There is little so condescending as a leftwing white dude who refers to women as “wahine” and “sisters” in that very, very deliberate “look at me I’m totally on your side” way.
3. Ah, the fucking platform.
When I first took a step back from TDB – it wasn’t quitting so much as my meatspace life was getting rocky and I lacked the spoons for regular blogging – one of the many hilarious things Martyn said to me was
you are simply too important a voice to allow quieting my dear QoT
I had a couple of guys from out of town … and they were raving about you and the impact you have made on their girlfriends in helping them find their voice.
And that bugged me a little, because I’ve been running Ideologically Impure all on my lonesome for five years now (I’m even ranked!). I’m an author at The Standard. I have 800 Twitter followers and I’m sure at least some of them aren’t spambots. The fact I was taking a total break from internet stuff because real life was getting a bit heavy aside? I’m hardly without a fucking platform.
But there is a much bigger issue at play. The idea of the platform. The idea that, if we take Martyn at his word, he absolutely wants to get more women’s voices on board and provide a broad range of left/liberal views to attract a wide audience and raise the level of political debate in New Zealand.
Just one question.
How the fuck are you going to do any of that when you’ve already got a roster which is 38% women …
But those women only provide 6% of the posts?
I have done this math. I have a goddamned spreadsheet. Because I’ve seen so many people comment about the fucking flood of chaff which covers the TDB front page.
38% women posters. 6% of the total posts.
Okay, okay, naughty QoT, the problem there is that you’re including the endless stream of reposted media releases from Labour and the Greens and Mana and the CTU and Oxfam and Unite. And the endless stream of clickbaity memes with no commentary on them.
So let’s take out everything published under the “The Daily Blog Reposts” user.
Women are now 39% of the TDB roster, and produce … 19% of the posts. Half what they should be proportionally.
And heck, now I’m playing around with numbers, let’s ask a key question: how much of TDB’s content is just Martyn, his partner, reposts, and six of his closest white male friends?
Oh, wait, I’m being unfair again.
Eight-nine point three percent of all posts on TDB are reposts, Martyn, the Liberal Agenda, Chris Trotter, John Minto, Keith Locke, Tim Selwyn, Selwyn Manning, Frank Macskasy.
How the fuck does anyone claim to provide a platform for a wide range of voices with that kind of record? And that’s just on women; I haven’t gone near the representation (or lack thereof) of POC bloggers, queer bloggers or bloggers with disabilities.
As I write this, Martyn has published another post of Chris Trotter’s, meaning the front page of TDB is dominated with straight white guys talking at each other about women (noting that Trotter’s latest only uses the word “women” once).
With those kind of numbers, you’ve got to ask exactly what is being served by getting more women’s names onto the TDB roster. Is it women, or is it one guy’s liberal cred?
Statistics taken from The Daily Blog posts February to October 2013.
The Labour, Green, Mana and CTU websites haven’t got it along their top ribbons: it’s still just “Media releases” and “Contact Us”. Nothing either anywhere along the bottom navigation bars, if they have them. Are we to conclude from this that the new internet blog experiment “the daily blog” is just that – a blog and nothing more? Without promotion from the political left it appears this blog thing is designed to be a minor distraction at best.
How they think they can completely revolutionize the online left without inbound links from the actual left is beyond me – that’s an automatic fail right there. It’s part of some muddled thinking given an airing in five to ten posts a day by the chirpy editor who has attempted to explain that the left are not well served or connected in the mainstream media …. but they do want to know what’s going on … and they want to hear a solid leftwing perspective on current events … so they need a website which attempts to be a news site … but the media are corporate shills anyway so no one really wants to emulate them … but it’s really unfair they don’t get NZ On Air funding. These threads don’t weave well – it’s conceptually a bit straight-up-fucked-to-hell, the way they are trying to set it up.
It is difficult to reconcile what they are saying. On the one hand, “We desperately need Public Broadcasting” – a concept so serious it gets its own German capitalisation. On the other, “It’s part of the wanky Wellington money-go-round actually”. Some questions are begging: Who is this blog for, besides the half-dozen white men who write half the content? And why don’t THEY get NZ On Air funding, huh?
And what kind of self-respecting leftwing blogger actually buys into the idea that the private sector is “leaner, meaner [and] more dynamic”?
My thought when this was originally announced some months ago was that it was the beginnings of a serious leftwing discussion hub – something more media-focused than The Standard, more explicitly leftwing than Public Address, less bugfuck surreal than Tumeke. How – after all – can a leftwing website justify building a platform if the end result isn’t a diverse lineup of interesting voices curated to influence mainstream commentary? That surely must be the long-term objective. That is where this should be going and it would be a disappointment were it not to arrive at that point in the future. Those were my initial, slightly long-winded, thoughts.
So what of this website?
Firstly it is at its own address – thedailyblog.co.nz. Which I suppose makes sense since Geocities shut down. Secondly it has a ridiculously busy front page … because the internet generation like clicking five different buttons to get to the content. Is that the presumption here? Presenting it like someone threw up on a WordPress template isn’t appealing. Thirdly, there are ads, but so what, shut your fucking face and use AdBlock if you don’t like it, because as a leftwing blogger I certainly don’t believe in stupid concepts like “the public good unfettered by commercial concerns”, and living in Auckland is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard.
And fourthly there are blogs from a bunch of white dudes from Auckland who are probably over 40 (all right, I have actually investigated this and turns out you can judge books by their covers).
It seem utterly redundant given the sheer volume of content you could be producing from 30+ contributors, but the site also spams you with unedited press releases from political parties and unions, videos which are trending on Reddit, five-year-old cat macros, and gratuitous boobs. Are we not totally over blog websites which churn out clickbait spam to artificially bump their pageviews? I am totally over it.
The main page is overwhelming. Certainly from a basic web useability perspective it is unfathomable.
So what constitutes success for this venture? Will it be audience numbers for the site alone – because it sure isn’t having any effect on the wider media narrative around political issues. It isn’t built to get people to engage freely or develop a community either. How are the admins measuring this – and do they care?
I have gone past the front page, because I actually bother to do basic groundwork when I review things, and I see very little of what was promised in the press release:
I’m not quitting the NZ Blogosphere, I’m intending to change it.
TheDailyBlog.co.nz will bring together 30 of the best left-wing bloggers and progressive opinion shapers in NZ all onto one site to critique the news, the media, and politics to provide the other side of the story.
What was the slogan again? ”Want to support this work? Donate today.” More like “Don’t, and won’t.”
It’s time I face up to a harsh reality, folks. I’m just never going to be taken seriously as a political commentator.
You’ve all tried to warn me about this for years. You’ve desperately looked for ways to open my eyes to the fact that a sweary, nasty, unladylike blogger can never really be seen as credible on big important matters. I ignored you. I rebuffed you. Sometimes I told you to go fuck yourself.
I was wrong.
The recent weeks have finally made the message sink in, and now I have to acknowledge the error of my ways.
See, I thought people would find it amusing if I parodied the way that rightwingers like to use household budgets as an analogy for Government Budgets. But this was just me being silly and foolish. I should have, in all sincerity, compared fiscal policy to a nasty stereotype about fat people and diabetics. Then I might have a column in the NBR.
I thought I could bring together strands of a wider social issue and consider its implications for political activism in NZ. I should have, instead, jumped to conclusions without doing a basic Googling of the facts and screamed that a high-profile politician was a liar and a fraud. Then Nine to Noon might ask me to join their panel.
I thought I could foster a bit of discussion on the limitations and criticisms of poverty-line simulations. Instead I should have wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, lost my job in disgrace, and metaphorically shat on the experiences of poor people from orbit. Then I could be on The Vote.
I thought a weekly round-up of random articles which interested me would be a fun idea. I should have just copied-and-pasted all the articles into my own “blog”, churned out a few fact-free press releases based entirely on my own opinion, and pretended to be an organisation of concerned citizens. Then I’d be the first person journalists call for a quote.
I thought a pseudonym would allow my ideas to stand on their own. I should have just been born an old white male senior Herald reporter. Then I’d get a weekly go at the anonymous editorial.
I guess my clickbait just isn’t the right kind of clickbait, and my nastiness isn’t the right kind of nastiness, and my secret identity isn’t the right kind of secret identity. Oh well.
I’ve spent a wee bit of time cleaning up and updating the DUFC Contributors list up there in the top menu.
It now lists every blog and writer who’s been featured in the whopping 63 monthly editions of the Down Under Feminists Carnival – at least, those whose blogs are still up and running.
In the course of updating the list I even ran across a few names I haven’t followed before – and will be now!
The Antipodeanfemiblogosphere is a mighty and wonderful place. Dive on in and have a look, people.
There’s a lot of buzz around the Labour leadership contest ending in either a deliberate “stitch-up” by Cunliffe and Robertson, or each of them endorsing the other as Deputy, or the relative merits of a Cunliffe/Robertson or Robertson/Cunliffe leadership team.
And maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see it.
There seems to be some kind of logic being applied which goes: there are two factions in the Labour Party who viciously hate each other. If we get the preferred candidates of each faction and mash them together into a leadership ticket, voila! Unity!
But doesn’t Cunliffe/Robertson just open the door to the Hootons and Garners and Gowers of the world making constant insinuations about Robertson’s treachery? Ooh, he was deputy to one leader and that didn’t end well, so can Cunliffe really trust his deputy? And the last guy Robertson stabbed in the back was called David, too!
And doesn’t Robertson/Cunliffe just open the door to constant insinuations about Cunliffe’s deep dark leadership aspirations being once again stifled by an ABC faction throwing him a figurehead role to appease his fans in the membership, and can Robertson really trust his deputy given his history of undermining those who stand in the way of his goal of world domination? David Cunliffe, I’m asking you to rule out a leadership challenge. Just rule it out, show your loyalty to your leader, rule out a challenge then!
This isn’t me saying that Robertson is a backstabber, or that Cunliffe is a treacherous worm. You can probably guess my actual opinions on either assertion. But that’s not the point of this post. If we can learn anything from the media’s behaviour since last year’s party conference, can we at least learn that they don’t really give a fuck and won’t focus on policy at all as long as there’s a quick and dirty LABOUR LEADERSHIP IN CHAOS AGAIN headline to sell?
That’s what a Cunliffe/Robertson or Robertson/Cunliffe leadership arrangement creates. Especially if there’s any hint of a backroom deal.
Also, you know, if we could avoid a two-white-dudes line-up that would be nice too …
My first post on the Jezebel Rule stated thus:
I made a decision a wee while ago to just unfollow anyone on Twitter who retweeted anything from Jezebel (in a non-criticising way)
Then, the supporting evidence was Jezebel’s appropriation of the term “hipster racism”, coined at Racialicious in 2006. Jezebel, being the awesome right-on feminist online magazine that it is, saw no problem in publishing the work of a white woman (Lindy West) casually borrowing the work of a woman of colour, Carmen Van Kerckhove, without so much as a “props to Carmen for the great neologism!”
Prior to that of course there was that whole “let’s publish an article by some guy the editors know about how cool French chicks are about being constantly sexually harassed, unlike you uptight American bitches” thing.
The latest? Oh, just a little bit of attacking a site for posting women’s pictures without their consent … while reproducing the same pictures without the women’s consent.
Exploitation is different if you’re doing it for great
pageviews justice, obviously.
The arguments when people attack Jezebel or xojane are usually of the “but not all the stuff they publish is horrific, exploitative/oppressive linkbait!” variety. And I do get that a lot of good writers – especially a lot of the good fat acceptance writers since Shapely Prose shut down – are writing on those sites.
But I, personally, just do not have the time or patience or tolerance for that shit to support even the good pieces. It’s all tainted by continual, massive fuckups which can only be remedied with firing people, buying a new domain name and starting over.
I was directed to this post by “Cactus Kate” from comments on The Standard, and was highly flattered:
[QoT] must surely now defeat myself as the owner of the most invective of any New Zealand female blogger. This year definitely. Her anger is unmatched here. I cannot compete. Bless the earth if you got on the wrong side of that before noon on a weekday.
Fear my scary anger!
But it’s the sentence before that which really caught my eye:
Contrary to rumour I am not blogging as the ultra-potty mouth QoT.
I sincerely hope this isn’t just self-aggrandizing on “Cactus Kate’s” part, because if this rumour exists, I want to find the person who started it and buy them a drink.