Written By: - Date published: 2:51 am, November 17th, 2012 - 50 comments
Categories: activism, blogs, broadcasting, democratic participation, humour, kremlinology, labour, Media, news, newspapers, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
I have been busy over the past few days and didn’t get around to it. But being at conference is a breathing space so I thought I’d leave a note for the media commentator Gavin Ellis who appears in this piece with Kathryn Ryan about The Standard at about 8:50 (I can’t link directly to the track because of copyright).
He appears to have been incapable of understanding things like:-
It is pretty clear that Gavin Ellis could do with a refresher course in even the legal principles of publishing. They are essentially the same on a blog as they are on a newspaper. Left and mostly Labour party activists have various issues about the Labour party coming up to the first Labour party conference since the defeat in 2011. Some of these are being dealt with in this and follow up conferences at least in part because our authors and many others helped bring them to the surface.
Rather than deal with that reality Gavin Ellis seems to prefer to cherry pick his posts to fit around an daft thesis that appears to have never been thought through. I found it quite fascinating how unwilling he was to look at all of the authors from other sites and media saying much the same things as our authors did. I was surprised that he appeared to completely miss that both Eddie and r0b were in fact responding to material from Vernon Small earlier that weekend. That there was a cascade of posts is a natural consequence of many people thinking much the same thoughts and responding to a topical issue. The only reason that my post was so late was because we’d already had three posts on the topic on the sunday when I wrote it. So it got re-edited and went up on Monday.
All of us and all of the others that Gavin Ellis named had previously raised similar questions in earlier posts as they did last weekend and throughout the week. So why was only Chris Trotter apparently concerned prior to last weekend according to Gavin Ellis. Most of the 200+ comments responding to Eddie’s post were from commentators who’d already been talking about the same issues even before the leadership debates last year. It isn’t exactly hard to research this. Searching using our search engine or googles will reveal this in seconds or minutes.
I’d have to ask if Gavin Ellis has even been read the posts or comments in which these same issues were being raised throughout the year. Why else would he be surprised about them being naturally being re-raised in the week before the first conference since the last election. Arggh who gave this political drongo airtime. I mean it is good fiction, but hardly worthy of the name of analysis or even commentary.
One bit did make me laugh. The likelihood of our authors being ‘manipulated’ has about the same lifetime of plausibility as a snowballs chance in hell. These aren’t junior reporters. With most of them, I’d rate any manipulators chances of getting away with a straight spine after the attempt to be quite low. They make their own decisions on a personal basis about what they will write about. I know exactly the reaction I’d get if I asked them to write a particular way. These are frigging volunteers. There is no hold that I have on them apart from preventing them from writing. Obviously that isn’t something I’d like to do.
And Gavin Ellis has clearly not bothered to exert the effort of thinking about why people will prefer to use a pseudonym. What our authors do on the blog is part of their private life as volunteers for the left. The people writing with pseudonyms are in positions where it would not be difficult for the malicious to interfere in their professional lives. Our older authors are the ones writing under their own names. They are the people where there is no easy way for malicous malipulative people to interfere in the professional lives. And yes it has been done and it will be done again. Writing with a pseudonym ensures that they cannot easily be pressured or manipulated.
And if the authors are being pressured then there is always myself or Mike to deal to whoever is doing it. Speaking for myself I’d be happy to drag the festering manipulation into the open for a good public dissection. Conversely if we think that an author is going over the line between the professional and personal opinion then there are quite a lot of things that we can and will do. Which is why it doesn’t happen.
Gavin Ellis appears to have little understanding of either the politics of the left nor how we run our blog site or even forums on the net. I rather suspect that he has blindly picked up a neat theory without bothering to think about it too deeply. In fact he seems to have named it himself in relation to china. It is the antique art that used to be called kremlinology. It probably fits some strange sentimental streak for the arcane viewpoint. It would have certainly sounded like it for most activists from the left when he described sentimentally described Richard Long and Fran O’Sullivan without some of their other career highlights that are so apparent to the left. Perhaps he should just read what is said or even (horror) ask rather than inventing yet another conspiracy theory. This isn’t exactly rocket science.
And like most people from the traditional media he also seems to have a curious blind spot about how newspapers have their own issues with anonymous content like editorials, “staff reporters”, and newsfeeds. Not to mention the apparent ease with which most mainstream media seem to be able to be manipulated by their need for capital and revenue. Coming from a site that requires only a minute amount of revenue to operate it does seem rather apparent to me.
And apparently to others Queen of Thorns (QoT when she deigns to write here :twisted:) has fun sticking a very similar needle into the people with pseudonym phobias. I wish I’d read that first – then I could have
plagiarised quoted it… There are pile more around the net, but I’m sure we have given poor Gavin enough hints that he can use google on.