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All Antennae – No Compass

Written By: - Date published: 7:16 am, August 27th, 2014 - 51 comments
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Duncan Garner lets it all out of the bag. 

Part of the problem is that under any normal circumstances Cabinet Minister Judith Collins would have been sacked for trading dirty secrets with Cameron Slater, the low-life blogger WhaleOil.

But none of this is normal. Because the prime minister, and others in his office, have been ringing and gossiping with him too. Key can hardly sack a minister for something he’s been neck-deep in as well.

So there is no question in Garner’s mind that Key has been doing something he should sack Collins for  – yet the logical conclusion – that Key should be sacked too remains unsaid.

And later regarding the Phil Goff OIA abuse he makes it clear that:

Who do we hold accountable? Why isn’t the prime minister on top of this? Do we really think some bureaucrat from the SIS made this highly political decision? Of course not.

the Prime Minister is also neck-deep in this as well.

Garner is perfectly aware of the dirt, sleaze and abuse of power going right to the top. He knows that Key has fatally compromised himself by associating with and validating Cameron Slater’s brand of sociopathic filth.

And yet despite this plain awareness Garner writes:

But he has to get on with it. Key’s line this week that the ‘‘cowardly hacker has stolen your election’’ is a good start, but National needs much more than that. Key has looked unsure on television all week – he’s looked unconvincing. The nice guy has gone.

So, for Key, it all starts tomorrow with the official National campaign launch. He needs a big-bang policy to get people talking.

He has to get on with the business of getting re-elected. He needs to talk about the relatively strong economy and change the narrative.

And he needs the media to buy it. They will – but only if the hacker’s dumped emails start to bore them…

If it carries on like this, then the hacker continues to win. And don’t forget Kim Dotcom is planning his own September 15 event targeting the PM.

These are Key’s darkest days as prime minister – for his own political fortunes – he desperately needs to find a way out.

There it is – plain as day. Duncan Garner saying he knows John Key is dirty and yet Garner pimps for Key to be re-elected. A senior media figure promoting a man he knows to be corrupt back into power.  There is of course only one reason why Garner is playing this game – he cannot come out and state the obvious that John Key and his government are toxic. If he did that no-one from National would ever talk to him professionally again. So he frames it up with this hall of morally vacant mirrors. He thinks he is being clever.

Every now and then someone nails it in a few words:

Funny eh? Seems that the narrow constraints of polite political discourse conducted by a handful of utterly conflicted and well-heeled insiders has somehow completely misread the depth of the disgust and contempt this govt inspires in many, many people.

felix

It’s not just John Key’s government that has fallen into dark days Mr Garner – you too are fumbling around in ethical shadows – playing a boxing game  that can never have a winner.  You too desperately need a way out.

51 comments on “All Antennae – No Compass ”

  1. Ad 1

    “Darkest days” on +45% Party, +60% Popularity? Give me a break Duncan.

    My bet, even after Mr DotCom does his worst, is this whole thing shears maybe 3% tops off Nationals turnout, and delivers 2% of it to NZFirst with the rest too pissed off to vote.

    And also that the election delivers no review, no panels or prosecutions, so the bar of political discourse is permanently lowered. The PM’s inaction is a sanction that enables the right to continue (after a breath) and then double down on the behaviour. Hagar’s story is simply confirmation in public of the new political normal.

    • Tracey 1.1

      …And, imo, a concerted preconceived plan to normalize appalling behaviour? Say what you will about the Brits but whether for a pecadillo (sp?) or stuff like this, they resign. Cannot imagine Collins being around if she were in British parliament.

      I don’t know what to make of my fellow kiwis, victims of clever and planned deception… or something else entirely?

      I cannot believe this is the same country that frothed at the mouth over paintgate, car gate and blamed Clark for Owen Glenn and Peters difference of opinion.

      • JanM 1.1.1

        Since the 80s we have been fed a steady diet of ‘personal responsibility’. Many of the older generation with an already shaky moral compass will have lapped that up, but the real tragedy is that our younger people have grown up knowing nothing different. The dark side of ‘personal responsibility’ is that you do whatever it takes to come out on top and ethics are an unaffordable luxury in a race for survival. Heaven help us all!

        • Tracey 1.1.1.1

          Spot on!

        • Roy 1.1.1.2

          I think you might be pleasantly surprised how many young people in the first-time-voter range reject the ‘do whatever it takes to come out on top’ philosophy and want a much more ethical, just society.

  2. Tracey 2

    I also thought it was interesting that last night when Key was denying using the words Slater attributed to him over the appalling west coast slur, Key didn’t deny speaking/texting with Slater about it just that I said I knew her or words tot hat effect.

    I also note the media are only reporting the “feral” aspect of the slur in Slater’s headline, not the world is a better place.

    Anyway, that is my observation of yesterdays squirm and deny.

    Today Ms Collins is saying she is a very loyal friend and she sticks by her friends, in response to her friendship with Slater. Blind loyalty is foolish. It also shows very poor judgment, in my opinion, of Collins who is unable to separate her role as Slater’s friend and Minister of Justice.

    • JanM 2.1

      And you think a friend of Slater’s has anything other than poor judgement to begin with?

    • Judith Collins is not foolish. In this situation, saying you are a loyal friend is both a clear threat and and a request for the other “friends” to stay loyal, lest you all go down the drain.

      Nothing resembling what you or I might see as friendship.

      • Tracey 2.2.1

        I hadnt thought of it that way. I dont think she is foolish as such, I think she is very calculating. So thanks for a different take that better takes into account her “personality”

      • Roy 2.2.2

        She is probably too scared of Slater’s revenge to distance herself from Slater.

      • disturbed 2.2.3

        JP,
        “Judith Collins is not foolish. In this situation, saying you are a loyal friend is both a clear threat and a request for the other “friends” to stay loyal, lest you all go down the drain.”
        My response;

        Blackmail, What has she got on this shabby lot? more than the odd pinch and tickle Yuk, excuse me off to the loo again to throw up..

  3. North 3

    Garner:

    “He [Key] has to get on with the business of getting re-elected. He needs to talk about the relatively strong economy and change the narrative.

    And he needs the media to buy it. They will – but only if the hacker’s dumped emails start to bore them…”

    This is plainly unacceptable from an influential media member. Particularly the indication that the media WILL play a positive role in Key’s re-election as long as Key will respond to his urging and give the media something to hang their hats on.

    How angrily they recoil when people say they’ve given Key a free pass throughout. The arrogance of it !

  4. RedBaronCV 4

    AS far as Key is concerned either he (and Gerry) are so incompetent that they had no idea what was going on in their offices or they were in it themselves.
    The choice really is between “devious,dishonest” and “incompetent.”

    Then Key turns around and says nobody is going to talk about it. Who the hell does he think he is with the uber controlling behaviour. He’s not in charge of the rest of us and frankly we can discuss it if we wish.

    As for Duncan Garner he should be calling for his resignation. And where are the rest of the Nact party? Why aren’t they calling for his head. Any other party would by now have called the big meeting and voted to sack the leader outright.

  5. lurgee 5

    Redlogix is presenting Garner’s opinion piece unfairly. One quote links two quotes from the beginning and the end of the article, with only three dots indicating an excision has been made but suggesting a relationship between the two seperate parats which does not actually exist. The first part describes Key’s reasoning and likely strategy given his position (according to Garner’s ‘insight’).

    Also, presenting this mega-quote as the third in a series, it look like it is the conclusion of an argument, whereas it is actually the beginning and end of it. The “Who do we hold accountable?” quote actually comes after the “But he has to get on with it,” and just before the section starting, “If it carries on like this …”

    But you wouldn’t know that from the way it is presented.

    Weird way of doing things and not very honest.

    It’s actually quite a good piece. He is not ‘pimping’ for Key to be re-elected.

    • karol 5.1

      I don’t understand your point. The article linked to in Red’s post starts with this:

      John Key has lost control of this election campaign and he desperately needs to find a way to stop the blood flowing from National’s open wounds.

      The focus is on Key’s election campaign. Garner is foregrounding that, and glossing over all the ethical and moral issues. Garner is making it all about winning

      The next few sentences are as follows:

      Yes, of course, this Dirty Politics saga is based on stolen and hacked emails – it’s not journalism, it’s political activism and it’s based on a crime.

      But Key can no longer rely on that as a defence. It hasn’t worked.

      This idea that it’s a vast Left-wing conspiracy has failed for the last nine days. Key and National have looked flat-footed and clueless for a week. It has genuinely surprised me.

      :

      So Garner is both writing it as if it is his analysis, but then it seems he is just presenting Key’s logic. It’s slippery. Ultimately Redlogix has called it as it is. Garner is prevaricating and hiding behind a focus on the Game.

    • I don’t see your point either, lurgee.

      All of these points Garner makes are in the article. Garner is either unaware of the connections between the points that co-exist in his mind or he is aware of them but ignores their implications.

      What is objectionable about the piece is that rather than giving Key advice about how to deal substantively with these serious allegations Garner is, instead, providing advice on how to brush them aside and go on to win the election.

      That betrays, as RedLogix argues, a serious lack of a moral – or even professional – compass.

      It is amateurish political analysis that ignores the public interest in favour of National’s – and Key’s – interests.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1

        +1

      • emergency mike 5.2.2

        Garner has always struck me as an intellectual lightweight who is an easy mark for the Nat PR team. For all his supposed soul seaching over Dirty Politics he’s still writing stuff like “What National needs to do to get back on track is get the focus back on blah blah blah…”

        This is a guy who thought that we’d be informed by watching him draw pictures of elephants and freaking out about his paranoia after smoking synthetic cannabis. Clueless.

  6. karol 6

    Garner’s lines are in keeping with the dominant approach of MSM journalists to politics: it’s one of all being about the Game. And the game is about winning. For them ethics, democratic process, and the best outcomes for the people are either not a consideration, or just something inconsequential happening in the background.

    That is why we need a new public service media: one that operates in the interests of the general public. This is something Nicky Hager advocates.

    • Tracey 6.1

      I know Ms Odgers declined the invitation to comment for the herald, for balance sake but has anyone actually printed that entire exchange with Odgers, etc and Hoots and Slater providing address of Hager (Hoots only the street, so arguably endangered everyone in the street).?

  7. philj 7

    xox
    Are there any principled journalists left in NZ MSM? Who would you suggest?

    • yeshe 7.1

      MIHINGARANGI FORBES, MAORI TV. AND YES, I AM SHOUTING ON PURPOSE !

      • bad politics 7.1.1

        Yeah & shes a very good journalist & great at moderating debates, & calls it out when she hears bullshit. That David Fisher is seems honest.

    • disturbed 7.2

      Philj, “are there any principled Journalists left in NZ?”

      Ask the Journalists that spoke the truth and lost their jobs!

  8. Fred 8

    What will it say about New Zealanders if this government get re-elected. Certainly won’t be able to claim the Least Corrupt country in the world status….

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/25/dirty-politics-new-zealands-own-house-of-cards-is-collapsing

  9. Dared Trek Ye John 9

    Redlogix

    You highlighted someones comment:

    “Funny eh? Seems that the narrow constraints of polite political discourse conducted by a handful of utterly conflicted and well-heeled insiders has somehow completely misread the depth of the disgust and contempt this govt inspires in many, many people.”

    So on the money, very good point.

    On July 23, 1970, William S. Burroughs wrote Truman Capote a letter. You have sold out your talent:

    The Herald, Hooten, Gower, TVNZ/RNZ board, Garner, Dunne, Fairfax etc, do you think it may apply to you (just a mosh pit of banks, meat, milk, real estate and booze)

    “You have placed your services at the disposal of interests who are turning America into a police state by the simple device of deliberately fostering the conditions that give rise to criminality and then demanding increased police powers and the retention of capital punishment to deal with the situation they have created.

    You have betrayed and sold out the talent that was granted you by this department. That talent is now officially withdrawn. Enjoy your dirty money. You will never have anything else. You will never write another sentence above the level of In Cold Blood. As a writer you are finished. Over and out. Are you tracking me? Know who I am? You know me, Truman. You have known me for a long time. This is my last visit”

  10. blue leopard 10

    I view Garner’s article as someone providing the sorry facts, yet in a sugar coating.

    This could have been written in such a manner due to the writer having a preference for Key – as I think Red Logix may be putting forward – however it could also be being presented in this style so as not to rile the writer’s pay-masters and those section of readers who would experience severe cognitive dissonance at having the bald truth stated directly without any padding. What this article may be highlighting, in other words, is the compromised nature of being a political commentator in the main-stream – corporate paid – media.

    I don’t know where Duncan Garner sits on the political spectrum – I had previously assumed right-wing / Key fan – however I note a recent tweet of his states:
    “Biggest housing lie; 39,000 Akld houses in 3 years. It’s actually consents not houses and after 1 year not 1 of those houses is built.” Perhaps he is simply someone attempting balance in a highly compromised environment?

    The thing I like about the article Mr Garner has written is that he states a number of things that I didn’t think the msm were ‘getting’ – that the defenses Key has provided have been pathetic, don’t actually address the questions raised, that a bureaucrat making a decision to release SIS information defies belief and that Key is very much involved with the corruption outlined in ‘Dirty Politics’ among other things.

    The thing I don’t like about this article (and suspect Red Logix objects to) is this information has been watered down by presenting an outline of how Key/National can overcome the problems.

    …But also note, Garner provides advice to the Hacker how to stay on top of this issue, as well.

    So I repeat, what this article may be highlighting is the compromised nature of being a political commentator in the main-stream – corporate paid – media.

    What we really need are journalists that are not being paid by those who have seriously vested interests in neo-liberal style political outcomes. Journalists who are not gagged due to their pay-masters’ political interests.

    We need someone/a group who are prepared to invest in sound journalism. Someone, or a group of people, who actually value(s) the benefits of sound democracy and see the connection between an informed populace and sound, functioning democracy.

    Without an informed populace, democracy simply turns into a farcical mob [or thug]-style rule as we are seeing is occurring now. Where a handful of emotionally and intellectually challenged fuckwits can hold us all to ransom because they are prepared to play the dirtiest and rather a few more other losers choose to follow them into the pit. Apparently these followers do not realise what their pathetic choices, based on a craving for personal power, actually does to democracy – nor what democracy provides: a stable society – undermine that and we lose stability. (….and people were distressed by the FJK video?? 🙄 ).

    What can clearly be seen from recent events is that the theory of self interest fails – it has been an utter failure with regards to the financial system and so too, it has been an utter faiure with regards to the democratic system.

    We need to overthrow political ideology that hasn’t, doesn’t and won’t ever serve us.

    And we need an independent media.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      I largely agree bl. That takes the OP to the next step nicely.

      I was careful not to say that Garner was biased. That was not my thesis. And if we rule out incompetent, ignorant and malicious as well – then that leaves some interesting alternatives.

      The simplest one is that Garner needs to protect access to his well-connected sources. He can’t piss off the whole of the Beehive just yet and for this reason he’ll keep talking out of both sides of his mouth for as long as he can get away with it.

      The other you put forward is that Garner is conscious of the political agenda of those who pay him.

      Another that felix casts light on – is that insiders like Garner have been captured by the Game. At some level it’s all become a TV series with no real-life consequences – or at least none that impinge on them because they are too well insulated.

      And then there are those who have become characters in the Game. Un-elected and unaccountable to the public – they gossip, manipulate and compete for scoops and scalps. It’s an exciting and rewarding life – it’s a buzz to think you are a player.

      But at some point the rest of us notice that that it’s not journalism anymore – they have gotten lost.

      • blue leopard 10.1.1

        Great points, well said. This is the line of questioning we need, thanks 🙂

        [re the bias comment – I wasn’t sure that I got that correct and clearly I didn’t, sorry]

      • karol 10.1.2

        Yep. All excellent points, RL and bl.

        As I said in my post a few days ago – this is why we need a new public service media.

        The whole corporate-dominated system focuses primarily on the Game – as does the Nats blac ops smear machine. It is this context in which WO, KB, Lusk, Ede et all were able to connect with journalists to push their agenda.

        • RedLogix 10.1.2.1

          But how to make it Tory-proof karol?

          I’m imagining something like the UK Guardian Trust model – with enshrined and statutory independence.

          • karol 10.1.2.1.1

            The old Reithian, BBC/NZBC public service model was while more open to diverse perspectives than today, still pretty conservative, and imperialistic.

            So we need a new version, based on the old ideal of information, education and entertainment.

            There needs to be some form of checks and balances to it is independent from political and commercial pressure/dominance.

            One of the things that needs to be done is to dismantle the extent that the media has become owned by a small number of corporate interests – some laws against the amount of media and communications organisations and entities that can be owned by one person or entity.

            More support of local community media organisations o and offline.

            More state funding to take the profit motive out of it.

            Peter Thompson says there are ways to protect public service broadcasting from government interference.

            • RedLogix 10.1.2.1.1.1

              Yes – it’s a difficult task – dismantling the current media model while fostering something better to put in it’s place. You can well imagine all the kicking and screaming that the current vested players would raise – and the very real risk of the left inadvertently replacing what we currently have with a leaden bureaucracy made in it’s own image.

              Diversity of viewpoint and income source has to be the key factor. Beyond the obvious efficiency of a Reuters like news service, there is no especial reason why big media is better media. My instinctive preference is for lots of smaller operators, alongside a national scale public-service broadcaster which puts a floor under the market.

              For instance a lot of the best journalism that flies pretty much under the radar these days is found in your smaller, regional papers. Sure they can be a bit parochial and stuffy – but it’s still written in the spirit of the profession.

              The two critical professional factors are; operations where young journalists can learn their trade and absorb it’s ethics – and sufficient diversity of employers in the industry.

        • disturbed 10.1.2.2

          100000000% correct Karol, nothing less.

          We used to have one before Key, Joyce/Goebbels came along to remove any dissention of Nat’s evil plans.

  11. aerobubble 11

    John Key was a currency broker, betting as much for the currency as against it. Direction doesn’t matter to Key, as the new boating metaphor ad shows. All boat crews have to return to their boat shed, and vomit up any torrid water. Key will sell/sail whichever why makes best sense for him.

  12. gnomic 12

    Garner has repeatedly stated he doesn’t think Labour can win this election. Increasingly there seems to be a blurring between the essential role of a journalist to report the facts, and taking on some sort of godlike editorial stance whereby the public are instructed what to think. Opinion seems to trump information. No doubt it is easier to spout twaddle than actually do the hard yards of researching issues.

  13. disturbed 13

    Garner’s a gonna as is Gonekey.

    Winston’s back.
    He is the last of a highly experienced old school politician and needed now to help take on this crappy Nat mob and sink them so believe it.

    He shook my hand yesterday in Napier and told the one hundred fifty others that he will not go with this Government under his watch, if he has anything to do with it.

    He recited all the devastating things this Goverrnment has done wrong, and said it is not a true national Government that he origionally came from.

    He said they have sold the country out and ruined our real economy as they have hollowed it out, ad he will help fix it, and this election will be the turning opoint in our history.

    Powerful speech he presented as brilliant as ever.

    Winston is twice what the Keyster thinks he is.

  14. Vaughan Little 14

    when Labour gets to form a government, I recommend that a new cabinet post be created for Winston Peters: minister of the national party. in this role he would have seniority in the party over the leader of the opposition so he could reorganize and clean it up. it’d be his finest hour. the only drawback would be that national might get into power for 12 years after 2017.

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