Tagged: call the waaaaaambulance

A brief history of Chris Trotter, Waitakere Man, and John Tamihere

2005: John Tamihere interviewed in Investigate Magazine.

INVESTIGATE: What is the most powerful network in the Labour executive?


The Labour Party Wimmins [sic] Division. Whether it’s bagging cops that strangle protestors they should be beating the proverbial out of, or – it’s about an anti-men agenda, that’s what I reckon. It’s about men’s values, men’s communication standards, men’s conduct.

I spoke to the boards and principals association in Wellington, and I showed them a picture of two girls with their fists clenched, standing on top of two young male students. The object of the exercise was to prove that once again the female students had romped home academically against all the boys. If the positions in the photo were reversed, all hell would break loose.

Where else in the world do Amazons rule?

In our constitutional base you could kill the Prime Minister – sure, there’s a deputy prime minister – but in the interregnum the second in charge is the Speaker. The Governor-General. If those three die you go to the Chief Justice, another woman.

I don’t mind front-bums being promoted, but just because they are [women] shouldn’t be the issue. They’ve won that war. It’s just like the Maori – the Maori have won, why don’t they just get on with the bloody job. I think it becomes more grasping.

Other comments include “I’m sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed”.  Tamihere loses his seat in the 2005 election to Dr Pita Sharples and goes on to host a talkback show on Radio Live.

2009: Chris Trotter coins the term “Waitakere Man” in a post urging Labour to return to its working-class roots.

To win in 2008, National had to break Labour’s grip on the mixed metropolitan suburbs.
The voter escorting National to its First Term Ball turned out to be the sort of bloke who spends Saturday afternoon knocking-back a few beers on the deck he’d built himself, and Saturday evening watching footy with his mates on the massive flat-screen plasma-TV he’s still paying-off.
His missus works part-time to help out with the mortgage, and to keep their school-age offspring in cell-phones and computer games.
National’s partner – let’s call him Waitakere Man – has a trade certificate that earns him much more than most university degrees. He’s nothing but contempt for “smart-arse intellectual bastards spouting politically-correct bullshit”.
On racial issues he’s conflicted. Some of his best friends really are Maori – and he usually agrees with the things John Tamihere says on Radio Live.
National was getting two (or more) votes for the price of one. Sometimes Waitakere Man brought with him the votes of his mother, daughters, sisters, aunts and nieces as well. How had Clark forfeited the trust of Waitakere Woman?
What broke their connection with Clark was the anti-smacking legislation. They felt affronted – as if their parenting skills had been weighed in the balance of the Prime Minister’s conscience and found wanting. Clark, who had no children, was telling them how to raise their kids. She seemed to be passing judgement on their whole family – turning them into criminals. They felt betrayed.
Waitakere Woman’s sense of betrayal, combined with the ingrained misogyny and cultural diffidence of Waitakere Man, was what got National onto the dance floor in 2008. Key should read both Rodney Hide’s intransigence on Maori representation, and the recent Referendum’s unequivocal result, as timely reminders of the price of his party’s admission.
When the band begins to play, Waitakere Man and Waitakere Woman must not be left standing.

2010: Chris Trotter revisits “Waitakere Man” in a post criticising the Labour Party for selecting Carmel Sepuloni for the seat of Waitakere.

In making this decision it has not only chosen wrongly, but it has also dealt what may prove to be a fatal blow to the career of one of its more talented MPs, Phil Twyford.
“Waitakere Man/Woman” is the key to Labour’s recovery.
…[quotes previous post on Waitakere Man]…
Carmel Sepuloni’s going to win back those voters?
Yeah, right.

Following a judicial recount, Sepuloni misses out on the seat by nine votes and was not returned to Parliament due to her placing at 24th on the party list.  Phil Twyford returned to Parliament after winning the seat of Te Atatū.

2012:  Chris Trotter identifies John Tamihere as the “avatar” of Waitakere Man.

Mulling over the Labour Party’s decision to re-admit John Tamihere to its ranks, I’m beginning to understand how Dr Frankenstein felt. “Waitakere Man” – the monster I created more than three years ago on the pages of The Independent Business Weekly – has not only gone its own way, it’s acquired a powerful, new, flesh-and-blood political avatar.

Waitakere Man proved troublesome from the moment he emerged from my computer keyboard. Many people believed he was myavatar. They charged me with counselling the Labour Party to embrace this bigoted blowhard and tailor its policies to suit his prejudices. Not true. My intent was only ever to make Labour aware of Waitakere Man’s existence.

It seems that Phil Goff has coincidentally started following Trotter’s advice, but Trotter, ever the voice of wisdom, warns:

When, inevitably, [Waitakere Man] brings his knee up between progressive Labour’s legs, let no one who voted for Mr Tamihere’s re-admission feign either horror or surprise.

August 2013: Chris Trotter theorises Tamihere will run for Waitakere under New Zealand First, and win.

But, if Tamihere (JT) runs, it won’t be in Labour red. Though the party eventually agreed to accept his 2012 membership application, the word in Labour circles is that a Tamihere candidacy in Waitakere would be approved only over the dead bodies of the party’s women’s and LGBTI sector groups.

That the very attitudes and values that produce such an allergic reaction among Labour’s social liberals and identity politicians might also be the attitudes and values of the average Waitakere voter, is as neat a summation of Labour’s dilemma as one is likely to find in the topsy-turvy context of contemporary electoral politics.

By recruiting JT to the NZ First cause and putting him up in Waitakere against both Paula Bennett and whoever Labour chooses (probably Carmel Sepuloni) Peters could grow the overall NZ First Party Vote by as much as 2-3 percent. On election night that could mean a NZ First tally of 8-10 percent – rather than the 6-8 percent it is currently anticipating.

Trotter also refers to Paula Bennett as “oozing BBW appeal”.

5 November 2013:  Following media exposure of the “Roast Busters” rape club, John Tamihere and Willie Jackson bully a rape survivor on their talkback show.  [Post by Giovanni Tiso featuring transcript of the questions asked]

Tell me this, how old are you?

How did your parents consent to you going out as a 14-year-old til 3am in the morning?

So anyway you fibbed, lied, whatever, and went out to the parties –­ did you not know they were up to this mischief?

Well, you know when you were going to parties, were you forced to drink?

Don’t youse [sic] know what these guys are up to?

Yeah but girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?

6 November 2013: Danyl Mclauchlan posts on the Roast Busters/John Tamihere issue.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in and around this instantly-infamous Radio Live clip …

… Finally, there’s a huge amount of affection for Tamihere amongst the Trotterist factions of the Labour Party. People like Mike Williams and Josie Pagani feel JT’s well-documented pathological contempt for woman would be an electoral asset among blue-collar male voters, and David Shearer gushed that he’d be an amazing Minister for Social Development. The core tenet of Trotterism is that identity politics isn’t important, and if that faction in the party had its way they’d have a welfare spokesman who thinks that young girls who drink alcohol deserve to be gang-raped. So let me say again that Tamihere would be a poor choice for that role, and that, like Shane Jones he is basically un-electable, and that people in the Labour Party should stop promoting these weird, creepy misogynists. 

Chris Trotter responds:

I’d exercise a little caution if I were you, Danyl.

8 November, 2013:  Josie Pagani (whose views on these issues would have to be the subject of a separate post) posts at Pundit on the issue.

I am disgusted with the attitudes of Willie and JT … But I don’t support banning them from radio. The painful, ugly truth about the attitudes of Willie and JT is that they are shared by tens of thousands of men who think women should take responsibility for not being raped.

Willie and JT’s job is to discuss stuff. You don’t fix their faulty attitude by telling the part of our community who think they have a point, that it should not have a voice. You deal with it by argument.

Because where do you end up if you get banned for expression? You end up like the pathological blogger Dimpost, who effectively attributes blame to me for the words and attitudes of Willie & JT.

It goes something like this – I have previously spoken out in support of Willie and JT, as politicians with something to contribute to the community. Therefore, I am responsible for everything JT says (and therefore the inference is that I agree with everything he says).

How perverse do you have to be to implicate a woman in the anti-woman views expressed on radio? What is really happening here is that he is trying to silence me (and others) because he disagrees with me about other political issues. This is where you end up when you try to have Willie and JT removed from the radio – banning people you disagree with, not just those who hold offensive views.

And Chris Trotter responds in comments:

Danyl McLaughlin’s [sic] association of Josie and myself with the behaviour of the Roastbusters and their defenders – based on nothing more substantial than that we share a political analysis with which he disaggrees – marks a new low for his blog. Perhaps you should ask yourself whether Danyl’s compulsion to denounce, denigrate and distress those by whom he feels threatened makes him more, or less, like the Roastbusters he purports to abhor?

The TLDR of all of this:  Chris Trotter has repeatedly made it clear that he thinks there is a “Waitakere Man” archetype of NZ voter who is a narrow-minded white dude who likes, and is even embodied by (except for the whiteness, obviously) John Tamihere.  Chris Trotter has repeatedly urged the Labour Party to appeal to this archetype – though always in every-so-slightly cagey terms like “dance partner”.  Which makes it very convenient, when Tamihere is an abusive fuck to rape victims, for Trotter to distance himself from the whole situation and paint himself as the victim.

You don’t get to constantly grind down identity politics and put your view of working-class (or is it self-employed?)/lower-middle-class men on a pedestal, then complain when the obvious misogyny and bullying behaviour which comes with that archetype explodes into the public view.

Here endeth the lesson.

Homework: consider the idea, posited by The Egonomist and others, that the promotion of a particular type of bigoted redneck thinking is identity politics – and the reason we don’t recognise this is because some identities get to be “normal” and not “other”.

Why I will never be a paid political commentator

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.


Daniel Farrell is here to approve your feminism: Episode 2: The Phantom Misandry

So, after all the kerfuffle over yesterday’s post, Daniel Farrell came back to his keyboard to try to retcon his fail a little bit more.  At this point, I have to ask if this whole thing is a marvellous piece of performance art from the Auckland Uni Law Revue performers.  It would make sense for Auckland students to make their sockpuppet a Waikato dude.

I mean, it’s really hard to believe that right here in our own backyard is a dude who takes a faceful of criticism for whinging about “modern feminism” and thinks he’ll calm the storm by saying “I am not against feminism as it should be”.  He thinks it’s going to help, somehow, to say anyone who criticised him is “childish” and “irrational” and then, after making a post in which he specifically attacked a woman for having sex he didn’t approve of, whinge about personal attacks.  

Even his “apology” is troll-perfect:

I would also like to apologise to those who were offended by my comments as they were portrayed.

Daniel Farrell, basically, is a walking illustration of male privilege.  He’s never learned not to shoot his mouth off on a topic he clearly knows nothing about – because his opinions are valid and people have to hear them!  He firmly believes that people must spend more than 10 seconds on his page before commenting on his posts, because HE deserves their attention.  Of course he gets to cast aspersions on other people’s sex lives, especially women who do bad things – but don’t you dare fucking call him a bad name, that’s getting personal!  And childish!

And why shouldn’t he express his opinions about feminism, what about his freedom of speech?

This is not a person who’s ever had the weight of society telling him he’s a lesser creature who shouldn’t cause a fuss.  That’s why he can’t comprehend feminism, or feminist criticism, as anything other than an attack on his very penis.

All I can say is take it away, good folks of Twitter.

Don’t worry, ladies: Daniel Farrell is here to approve your feminism

It all started while I was at work, and had to limit myself to eye-rolling:  Daniel Farrell, one of the Directors of the Waikato Students Union, decided to let us all know that he disagrees with “modern feminism”.

It might pay to clarify at this early stage that Daniel’s definition of “modern feminism” is, um, unique.

But you can’t beat this for logical thinking:

1.  A music video is released which a lot of people find rape-y and gross. (full disclosure:  I have chosen not to watch said video.)

2.  Law students from Auckland University create a gender-flipped version of said video to highlight its misogyny and rapeyness.

3.  Flipped version is taken down from YouTube, original is left up.

4.  People complain about this.

ERGO:  feminists are hypocrites because they complain about objectifying women but are totally okay with objectifying men.

You cannot fucking argue with the man’s logic.  You cannot.  Because it doesn’t exist.

I don’t believe in siccing people’s employers or future employers on to them because of things they’ve posted online.  But you’ve got to ask if Waikato University is going to be happy with this dude’s critical thinking abilities being blamed ascribed to their teaching.


… and that’s all I originally wanted to say, when I’d first seen Daniel’s blog post, because, well.  The rest of it was just laughable, wasn’t it?  I mean, we’re talking about someone presuming to pass judgement on feminism who literally sums up the founding ideas of feminism as “initially a movement to stop the “hey, wench, cook me some eggs” of the day. That’s noble enough.” NOBLE ENOUGH.  I’m fucking dying here.  I cannot breathe.

But then, by the time I sat down to write this response, Daniel had – thanks to a heaping of smackdown from Twitter – posted a clarification.  See, he’d written the post in a rush, he’d expressed himself poorly, he just wanted to make it clear that:

There are a lot of people who call themselves feminists who are doing the right thing. They are good people who are simply trying to ensure gender equality. I hope that this is the majority of “feminists”, and I am not referring to them in any way and to any members of that group that thought I was referring to them, I apologise, as that was not my intention. I am referring to one specific type of “feminist” – the militant feminist who goes around saying all males are misogynists simply because they have a penis rather than a vagina. The feminist who goes around saying people who don’t agree with them 100% support things like rape. They are harming the good work that people under the feminist movement do. So when reading this, don’t read it with the pretense that I’m trying to say women are evil or anything silly like that.

Oh, yay!  Despite earlier statements, Daniel doesn’t hate good feminists, he just hates bad feminists, the kind who “say all males are misogynists simply because they have a penis”.  Sadly, he was unable to link to evidence of the existence of any such feminists, and that makes me sad, because I enjoy seeing mythical creatures.  But he’s totally down with feminists “who are doing the right thing”, and shit, ladies, if Daniel Farrell thinks we’re doing the right thing we must be on to something.

The specific little bit about “the feminist who goes around saying people who don’t agree with them 100% support things like rape”?  I suspect that’s connected to this tweet, where no, Daniel, nobody said “disagreeing with me means you support rape”.  But someone did ask why it was more important for you to completely misrepresent anti-rape-culture activism than to actually confront rape culture.

To give Daniel full credit, though, anyone who questions his mighty opinion is silly.  Or irrational.  Or childish.  Anyway, where are his cookies?  He totally didn’t-actually-delete the section where he has a go at sex-shaming feminists who have sex with people (who just coincidentally are not him) in parks.  What a sensitive fucking hero.


Other reactions: Dovil and Gin Tears and Creme Brulee

Final pedantic notes:  Daniel has no idea how sex and gender work; and making a throwaway Once Were Warriors reference (LOL BUT IT’S HISTORICAL BECAUSE HE SAID WENCHES, LOL) basically proves any point anyone ever wants to make about his lack of basic empathy.

ETA:  Of course, since drafting THIS post and scheduling it, things got better.  Stay tuned!  Find episode 2 here!

An open letter to shock jocks: Please stop apologising

This one goes out to all the people whose employment is entirely based on the fact that they say gratuitously offensive crap into a microphone on a daily basis.

Stop apologising for doing your job.

This isn’t an expression of support, I hasten to add; I’m not one of those “woo yeah fuck the [insert favourite slur here] freedom of speech fuck yeah” fans who inevitably crowd around you when, yet again, you’ve just done your job.

I’m not in any way in favour of what you do.  But I understand that, while there are people equally juvenile and petty and vicious who are willing to tune in to hear your shitty, bigoted utterances, you’re going to have a job.  You’re going to be giving a certain type of audience What They Want.

All I’m asking is that you stop trying to have your offensive cake and eat it offensively too.

When you make tweets comparing a talent show contestant to an iconic literary rape victim [sadly deleted ETA: screenshot courtesy of Daily Blog], I think you know exactly what you’re doing.  It’s part of the role, to be the person who publicly cracks the unoriginal-yet-taboo joke when you see particular names or phrases.  To get all marketing-wank about it, it’s the core of your personal brand.

All I’m asking is that you grow a pair of the gonads of your choice.

Don’t prevaricate about how the offensive joke is obviously a joke.  No one’s taking you literally.  They know it was meant to be a joke – and an offensive one.  Why sell yourself short by undermining its offensiveness?

Don’t apologise “if” people were offended, or claim you didn’t mean to offend anyone.  Your entire existence is dedicated to offending people.  Why publicly question your own success?

(And seriously, if you sincerely didn’t think a crack about Once Were Warriors was going to offend people, maybe see a neurologist because significant parts of your cognition appear to be malfunctioning.)

Don’t promise it’ll never happen again.  Of course it will.  It’s your job.

And don’t whinge when there’s backlash.  You live on backlash the way most people live on oxygen.  What is it they say about people who can dish it out but can’t take it?

Oh, that’s right.  Deep down, all you “shock jocks” are chickenshit douchebags who’ve gotten where you are in life because most of the people who really took your shit to heart either dropped you as a friend, didn’t want to make a scene, and don’t work in radio station senior management.

So you want to stay being paid and famous for telling rape jokes on Twitter … but only as long as no one ever calls you out on it … despite offending them being the entire point.

Stop apologising.  It’s just pathetic.

Mansplaining encapsulated

Ah, Twitter.  I knew exactly what I was getting into when I posted links to the most excellent Mansplained Tumblr, but this one is just so perfect.

Because @otherdavidsmith, after seeing a retweet on this post – which involves an individual telling a personal story of a single incident which happened to them – just had to explain something to myself and the retweeter:

@GuardianJessica @qot_nz Far too easy and convenient. It sounds more anecdotal than truthful.

So, just to be clear, that’s (a) dismissing women’s stated experiences because it just doesn’t sound right to him, and (b) explaining what “anecdotal” means … although he doesn’t actually understand that anecdotes can, in fact, be truthful.

I mean, hello, entire concept of mansplaining with side order of dismissing the power of talking about our experience openly.  It’s 2nd Wave / internet feminism fusion cuisine night tonight!

This was, ahem, pointed out to him, which of course he took with good grace, taking some time to think about how he might have presented himself and whether in a social context of male privilege he might rethink his approach to inserting himself into feminist conversation in future.

Wait, no, the other thing:

@qot_nz @GuardianJessica I didn’t patronize you, I offered an opinion. If you put something in the public space you need to expect those.

I really have a deep and abiding love for this argument: the idea that I (as a silly little woman who doesn’t know how things work, obviously) just don’t understand that tweets are public, and that people have the capacity to reply to them.

Thank fuck for the mansplainers of Twitter or I might have gone on blissfully unaware of these complex 21st century interaction concepts.

The thing is, though … this always comes up after the guy in question has inserted himself into a conversation with no actual regard for the conversation.  With nothing to actually add, merely to make it clear that He Has Important Views On Something which We Must Listen To.

And to top it all off, he insists that it’s his OPINION and he’s ENTITLED TO IT … after dismissing a post on a Tumblr with literally hundreds of similar stories because OMG it’s too anecdotal.

Treating a neckbeard’s opinion as sovereign while denigrating the testimony of women: not mansplaining at all there.

I swear, the only thing that gets me through the complete lack of self awareness from these guys is the fact that, instead of making me question my feminist rage, they just reinforce it.

And because – did you realise? – Twitter is public, they do it for the whole world to see.


ETA: after writing up this post, the saga continued, with @otherdavidsmith insisting that he wasn’t implying that the original poster was untrustworthy, it’s just that the post sounded anecdotal to him.  (Which, you know, he already said, but being a man it strengthens his position to just repeat himself).  Like a script.  Which might have something to do with the fact it’s in script format, like many of these kinds of social-network relay-your-experience platforms.

He then links to a freedictionary definition of “anecdotal” to back himself up … which makes no sense in the context, because the specific Tumblr post is an anecdote but not anecdotal in the sense of containing multiple anecdotes, but men don’t need no stinking context when they’re undermining women’s experiences.

And then … then he asks me about a local sports team.

Did I just get mansplain-negged?

An apology to David Cunliffe

I want to apologise.  I was one of the flood of lefties who posted anti-Shearer statements in the week ahead of the conference.  I advocated for David Cunliffe as a prospective leader – indeed, the only leader with the potential for success in 2014, by my own assessment.

And now it looks like my post, among others, has shafted David Cunliffe.  We stirred the pot.  We shook the tree.  We rocked the boat, which knocked over the pot the tree was standing in.  And this convinced otherwise well-meaning, open-minded members of the Labour caucus that a dangerous plot was underway to undermine the very foundations of the Party by mounting an attack under cover of pseudonyms and Birnam wood.

So I’m sorry, David C.  Sorry that I played a part in what’s happening to you.

Hang on.

What the fuck am I saying?

The mainstream media constantly come down on this site, and bloggers in general, for being pseudonymous anonymous cowards with axes to grind.  You couldn’t move last week for Labour MPs declaring they don’t give a damn about blogs.

And yet suddenly the word of a handful of bloggers, and some awful shillery by Patrick Gower, is enough to bring Cunliffe to the brink of expulsion?

I mean, he hasn’t done anything.  Besides deliver good speeches and be generally charismatic and kind of dashing with the whole beard thing happening, Waitakere Woman likes a bit of scruff, yes she does.

… Sorry, got distracted there.  Cunliffe has done nothing, at least publicly.  Not spoken against Shearer.  Not made increasingly more leader-ish statements to the media (when he can talk to the media).  The only “source” for Cunliffe “threatening” the leadership is blogs, and Patrick Gower’s “but WHY, daddy?” interrogation methods.

Is it just me or does that make no fucking sense?

This situation is all the proof we need that there is, indeed, an anti-Cunliffe faction in the Labour Party.  People who perceive his very presence, the very thought that he might like the look of the leadership some day, as an active, viable threat to David Shearer.  (Because ambition is such a terrible attribute in a politician.)

Especially now the membership get more say, some might note.

So, because our media in their wisdom would really much rather report on a beat-up leadership challenge than actual policy, the ABCs are pretending to believe there’s a real problem here, that Cunliffe is up in the rafters in a mask about to drop a chandelier on Shearer’s head, so they can justify punishing and humiliating one of the most talented MPs on the front bench.

Because their first and only instinct, apparently, is self-preservation.

Wow, David C.  I am sorry.

Good luck for tomorrow, mate.

More on Armstrong

Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards have now both responded to Armstrong’s comments, in far more mature tones than I managed, but if anything that just illustrates how ridiculous it was for Armstrong to rant about “bloggers” and “parasites” while attacking well-respected real-name columnists.


Between the lines in Armstrong’s column, a morality play is being presented. It is a pageant in which he, the humble scribe from the mainstream media, is heroically doing the hard yards under deadline and dutifully observing the rules of good journalism – while Bryce Edwards and I are being cast as the Flash Harrys from the blogosphere who allegedly (a) reek of bias (b) feed parasitically on the fruits of his honest graft and (c) pay scant heed to the facts and to the truth. What a pair of arrant bounders we are!


I believe I have given Armstrong’s political commentary the prominence it is due since my daily roundup began. No doubt our interpretation and view of politics differs at times, but the reference to ‘bile and invective’ leaves me at a loss to explain.

More posts on the topic have been from Russell Brown and Bomber (yes they’re up front because they linked to me, deal), Damian Christie, and Zetetic at The Standard.  In a wonderfully ironic way it’s kind of proving Armstrong’s point, buried beneath all his self-pity, but what kind of parasites would we be if we weren’t talking about this?

Blogging parasite reporting for duty

Everyone on Twitter’s been savaging poor innocent John Armstrong enough already, but …  well, I had nothing else to sharpen my claws on, so here goes.

John Armstrong’s complaint, basically, is that the “blog-a-tariat” (spot the person who is seriously not comfortable with 21st century netspeak) are mean about him, and don’t understand just how difficult it is having to travel overseas, hob-nob with international hob-nobs, and get to come back to throw your toys out of the cot on a major media website for pay.

I mean, have you pathetic wastrels ever tried to write insightful analysis of what Bronagh Key wore to meet the First Lady when you can’t charge your BlackBerry?  It’s a fucking hard-knock life, that one.

But it’s all just a little ridiculous, for one key reason:  John Armstrong is not having a go at bloggers.  He’s having a go at Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards, two well-regarded real-name-using also-doing-it-for-pay (one assumes) major-media-published writers, who happen to kinda blog, if only because Scoop is an online-only publication and all Edwards’ Politics Daily columns get reprinted at Liberation.

John, basically, has jumped on the Josie Pagani/Fran O’Sullivan bandwagon of having a whinge about the evil online commentariat who hate your freedoms … but not quite figured out that that line works a hell of a lot better when you can snark about our silly pseudonyms than when you’re attacking a well-regarded columnist and a politics lecturer.

He compounds the whole thing by doing that absolutely classic mainstream-media-trying-to-work-interwebs thing:  attacking “bloggers” for “not letting the facts get in the way” at the same time as not linking to the posts he is responding to.  Sure, this column was likely originally intended for the print version of the Herald (clearly where its largest audience is … wat?) but it’s just common internet sense to include links – if only to reassure your readers that your whinging has a basis in fact.

Of course, this might lead people to read Gordon Campbell’s post which has so incited John’s ire by saying:

BTW, the informed critical analysis of APEC and its bearing on the TPP process provided by the Canadian media was noticeably absent from the New Zealand coverage.

Then John’s readers might think, “Hmm.  Maybe I’ll look at John’s own reporting from APEC.”  And then they might find this article, which I’m almost tempted to copy-paste in its entirety for humour value.  I won’t, because I’m not Bob McCoskrie, so here’s the piercing, engaged-with-the-big-issues-of-the-day opener:

A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs official locked in her room for 45 minutes; a posse of Kiwi journalists stuck in a lift at the International Press Centre … it must be the Curse of Russky Island.

Wait, now, let’s give John his due, he’s probably just trying to get in an interesting hook to keep the reader’s interest through some dry, in-depth coverage of global political discussions.  Like this:

Strangely, borscht – Russia’s national dish – is off the menu. Authorities were worried visitors would take exception to one of the ingredients, beets, because they are only fed to animals in some countries.

Oh, okay, I’m being mean, clearly this is just a light-hearted wrap-up of events.  Earlier in the scene, John was far more informative.  In his first report, he talked about how Russia doesn’t really give a shit about APEC, or at least I think that’s what he got on to after rambling on about how cool it was that Jenny Shipley totes met Vladimir Putin before he was cool.  In his second, he brings us cutting-edge news about the infrastructural development of Vladivostok.

Hold me the fuck back.

What did APEC achieve?  What were they even meant to talk about?  For the kiddies forced at gunpoint to read the Herald for social studies, what the fuck IS APEC?  John does not tell us.  He was probably too busy being stuck in the awful traffic of Tokyo and trying to find a compatible cellphone charger.

Anyway, it’s not John’s fault that he had nothing of depth to report on (even though he’s just spent half his column saying he totally has reported on issues of depth) because after all:

Adding to journalists’ problems is that Apec meetings are closed. Discovering what really happens requires talking to more than one delegation as every delegation has motives for saying what it is saying to its media contingent,

Which can only make me wonder why the fuck the Herald bothers to send John on these terrible paid overseas trips.  Surely he can copy-paste governmental press releases from NZ?

(Yes, the original does end with a comma.  I don’t know either.)

And if Armstrong had linked to Bryce Edwards’ post on the subject, they might have read this line:

There was a lot build-up and reporting from the APEC meeting in Vladivostok, but nothing much actually seemed to happen. There are only so many ways you can work ‘Pussy Riot’ into a story about trade negotiations

And then they might find this article by John Armstrong, curiously not published on the helpful APEC page, which manages to mention the band’s name twice without actually addressing why John Key would even be discussing an all-girl punk band with the President of Russia.  Oh, context.  You’re delicious but so fattening, we can’t have any or it’ll go straight to our hips.

But the ultimate punchline has to go to some smart cookie on the Herald’s web team.  They filed John’s little cryfest under “Best of Political Analysis.”

The TL;DR version?  John Armstrong basically tries to denigrate Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards by referring to them as mere bloggers, throws his toys out of the cot and demands we tell him he’s a good little journalist.  He’s not.  He has the immense privilege of getting his opinion published for money in one of the major newspapers of our country, he gets paid to hang out with our elected leaders, and for all that he can’t fucking hack a little statement-of-the-obvious about how NZ media in general report on international politics.

Boo fucking hoo.


H/T Jackal for id’ing and linking to the two key posts by Campbell and Edwards

ETA: For more commentary, rather more sympathetic to Armstrong, see Dim Post