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An illiterate from another age

Written By: - Date published: 5:20 pm, April 27th, 2009 - 43 comments
Categories: scoundrels - Tags:

I see that Michael Bassett has written about this site. However he doesn’t bother to check his facts or to keep up with current trends in online participation. It is a pity in a historian because he is obviously incapable of understanding how fast the world is changing. He seems to prefer to make either things up or gossip.

About The Standard he writes:-

Then there was the establishment of a blog called The Standard. The Labour Party ran a weekly newspaper from 1934 to 1959 that published political material. It was subject to the normal journalistic standards of the time. But the new blog version made no pretence at following even the reduced journalistic standards of modern times. Registered to an address in Helen Clark’s electorate, and operating out of the Beehive under ministerial supervision, it gave an airing to innuendo and false stories that ministers hoped might get picked up by the mainstream media.

Obviously Michael is referring to his own low journalistic standards. Fact checking is not one of his skills shown in this article.

You cannot register a domain to an address, you can only register it to a person, in this case me. All my details are on the DNS registration, including how to get hold of me – it is a requirement of InternetNZ.  Michael obviously thought that making things up was preferable to fact-checking as he has never talked to me. For that matter nor have any of the other  ‘investigators’ of this site who have been so confident of their ‘facts’.

At the time (September 2007) my address was actually in the Auckland Central electorate because of the boundary changes after the 2006 census. Very sloppy, you’d think that a political historian and would-be journalist would be aware of boundary changes.

Our About says how we formed and what the site is for. The site and the contributors do not make any claims to The Standard being a news site or its contributors to being journalists. Perhaps Michael should read up about what a genre blog site is, because it is clear that he has little understanding of the concept.

Most of our contributors don’t even support Labour in any formal sense. I’m a Labour activist because I pay the sub*. I’m not a office holder or employee. Quite simply I don’t take orders or even direction from people inside Labour. I’m well known as being a maverick who keeps trying to push them towards using more computer and net tech, and who you have to convince to gain my support for projects.

Helen had no idea about the site until months after it started. She is a bit of a technophobe (apart from that damn blackberry) just like Michael appears to be. I showed the site to her as an example of how to raise on-line activity. Over previous decades I’d donated her first personal computer, shown her how to use e-mail, how to use the web, and how an MBA in operations would run an electorate campaign. It is important to help politicians to keep up with modern culture and technique. It appears that the same thing is required for fossilised historians, as it is something that Michael is clearly failing to do.

The significance of all this is that New Zealand’s Labour dirty tricksters were all on the public payroll. They operated mostly from the Prime Minister’s Office where Helen Clark appeared to operate a kind of training school for younger versions of herself: people with degrees and absolutely no experience of life.

It is pretty obvious from this statement that Michael has been writing about something that he has not bothered to read. It’d be clear to any reader of the site that the posts are written by people who are upwards of 30 and who have considerable experience in many areas. Having degrees is not uncommon these days. There are a high proportion of the population who do.

Many people who did their 20’s during Michaels favourite times in the late 80’s and 90’s have considerable experience of life and are likely to have a degree or two. They had to suffer as Michael and his generation screwed up the economy worse than Muldoon had previously done because they were so inexperienced at the linkages between cause and effect (characterises the neo-liberals). Since Dr Michael was one of the prime movers and held a degree, perhaps he was describing himself.

It’d also be clear that many of the newer contributors (like myself) are even older. They’d have been writing comments and eventually get asked if they wish to write here – usually because they can write and clearly have life experience. Many of the people we ask decide not to write on the site for one reason or another, but go and form their own blogs.

Several are now on Labour’s backbenches, where they are still being supported by the taxpayer. The Standard still exists, but it has been hollowed out by the end of the Beehive’s funding. It would be interesting to know whether, in its current withered state, it is being funded from Phil Goff’s office.

We have steadily increased the number of contributors over the years from the few at the start to close to 20 now. None are backbenchers, and none are aspiring politicians. The literate politicians know that their words will be on the net forever and that everything eventually leaks. So they write for safer blogs. There are many contributors writing guest posts, but generally we won’t accept from politicians either.

None of our contributors have ever worked from parliament to my certain knowledge. Since I’m the only one who can read the web-logs that would prove this one way or another, then I’d have to conclude that Bassett is simply making this up. We have an informal internal policy that we do not allow politicians or would-be politicians to write. They waffle too much and don’t have sharp enough tongues.

It is clear that Bassett also has no idea of the economics of running a site like this. The minimal amounts required to keep the site running are paid by me,  and I have done so since inception. Currently this is less than NZD 20 per month. The site requires people with basic skills in computers, network access, some spare time and above all an ability to write. It doesn’t require paying peoples salaries.

The number of posts is steadily increasing and getting to be of better quality now that the activists have stopped working on their various campaigns. The number of comments is also steadily increasing. The page views closing in on election week.

This is a site for sharp-tongued activists, not faded politicians. In his younger days Michael probably had the skills to write for something like The Standard. However he has now dropped to simply gossiping and dealing in bullshit. I haven’t looked through his other material, but if it is of the same low standard of fact checking as the commentary about this site, then it isn’t worth reading. He is merely an illiterate from another age.

hat-tip: thanking Whaleoil

[update *my labour card just arrived…]

43 comments on “An illiterate from another age ”

  1. Christopher Nimmo 1

    Surely this is actionable?

    • lprent 1.1

      Surely this is actionable?

      Bassett’s column probably was. Since I am the sole ‘owner’ on this site and he’d clearly read my domain entry, he was also clearly referring to me when he alleged misuse of parliamentary funds to run this site.

      Mostly what I was referring to is his lack of facts. He got exactly one thing right, that my address was in the Mt Albert electorate in early 2007 – pity the site started in late 2007. My post is mainly expressing my opinion of his article based on the facts in my possession.

      He is welcome to sue.

  2. The media in New Zealand are hypocrites bashing The Standard for bias while turning a blind eye to Kiwiblog!

  3. Anita 3

    Is he right that the original weekly newspaper was run by the Labour Party? When I looked at some copies in the Alexander Turnbull Library there was a “Labour Party Page” in some (just like the “New Zealand Workers Union” page and so on) but it didn’t look like it was a party paper.

    Of course Bassett is a historian, so one would hope he’d have that bit right.

  4. Christopher Nimmo 4

    I was talking about Bassett’s column.

    • lprent 4.1

      Yes, but I cannot be bothered with that. It is more fun writing my opinion in response.

      However Helen would have my full support if she could be bothered suing the weasel. He is clearly lying to my certain knowledge through much of his article, but stating it as fact, in the bits about this site.

      Unfortunately I don’t think she’d bother.

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    “But the new blog version made no pretence at following even the reduced journalistic standards of modern times.”

    Te funny, seeing he got sacked from his dompost gig for not being up to their ethical standards.

  6. Thomas Beagle 6

    Cor, over 1100 words in response. He must have really struck a nerve.

    • George Darroch 6.1

      Thomas, when someone lies about you directly and repeatedly in a major newspaper, you have a right of reply.

    • lprent 6.2

      It was a good day for releasing tension. Once I started it was hard to stop

      • It’s a great piece. I don’t know why Bassett’s taken seriously? He is, as you say, from another era and is so thoroughly embittered by his failings in the fourth Labour government, that his commentary reads like an endlessly evolving self-justification. Despite all this, I’m pleased you’ve so thoroughly refuted his various erroneous claims.

  7. Quoth the Raven 7

    Why is it these wingnuts are so obsessed with this issue? The links between DPF and the National party (as Poneke expounds on) are well established, do they care? is the sky falling?

    • mike 7.1

      But he doesn’t deny it qtr. The over the top defensiveness is what makes it so obvious you have something to hide…

      • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1

        Ah, so your avatar is about you being more of the gestapo type. That’s the spirit!

  8. Akldnut 8

    jeez mate I’ll throw a couple at hundred at you if you wanna smack this dork around a courtroom.

  9. I wonder how quickly you would start deleting comments if we start naming your posters and where and who they work for?

    • gingercrush 9.1

      Who the fuck gives a shit. This pathetic obsession with who is behind “The Standard” is an absolute joke.

    • QoT 9.2

      And that would, obviously, be TOTALLY about hiding the Giant Standard Conspiracy and not, you know, creepy invasions of people’s privacy.

    • lprent 9.3

      The ‘evidence’ has to be far better than they’re using similar meta tags (not even the same tags) in photo-shop. Especially if you cannot even match the tag to a person.

      To date that hasn’t happened. It’d be hard enough for me to figure out who people are. The technically challenged like Whale (who you’d inevitably quote) doesn’t have a chance..

      Besides wingnut ‘investigators’ simply ignore alternate possibilities and jump straight to desired result. Actually so do all of us but a wingnut or moonbat is almost defined by this behaviour.

      For instance with the photoshop ‘evidence’. Most cracks for major products pop in interesting tags. It is the crackers way of finding out where their stuff gets used.

      When I dispose of my old machines they wind up in all sorts of weird places. Womens refuges, refugee centres, electorate offices, all kinds of kids from around the family, etc. Not to mention that I have no idea where a couple of stolen laptops wound up.

      However most of the wingnuts like Whale find it impossible to stop themselves from treating a logic sequence as being something like 1, 2, 55. They miss out at least 5 steps on the way through that are required to establish a chain of logic.

      Bassett does it regularly in the article above. That is why he is under the category “fuckwits”. For instance he went straight from I live in Helens electorate (well I did at one time) to Helen is an evil mastermind raising identical clones in the 9th floor of the beehive. This guy probably thinks that James Bond scripts are written by historians as real histories, because that is essentially what he described.

      Eventually we shut down the ‘debate’ because there wasn’t any (just repetition of unsubstantiated claims), it was boring and getting in the way of debate.

      These days we just view it as someone wants to be a martyr, so like the kind people we are, we help… You can peddle your fantasies elsewhere, but not here.

    • Jungle Feaver 9.4

      I wonder how quickly you would start deleting comments if we start naming your posters and where and who they work for?

      Very quickly I would imagine. Last thing anyone needs is pictures of their home turning up on some fuckwit’s blog.

  10. George.com 10

    Am I the only person, or do others find Bassett more and more these days a bitter old man? He makes much of the ‘dirty tricks’ of the left, whilst simuntaneously making a number of arguable (on the record of facts presented by lprent above) smears himself. Perhaps a case of pot calling the kettle black Michael? Really, if you want to complain about the ‘dirty tricks’ or ‘smearing’ of others, one should be above reproach yourself. The apparent mistakes (in good faith lets simply believe they is what they are) Bassets makes are arguably smears. Moreover, is Bassett to follow up this gem with a review of the ‘dirty tricks’ of the right wing? I very much doubt it.

  11. Tim Ellis 11

    I don’t have an issue with people posting their views anonymously at the Standard, although I do have an issue with people hiding behind anonymous names to smear others. I think there is a difference.

    I value your integrity LP, and I think the practice of outing people who simply post their views is despicable. DPF and WO go way over the top in this regard in my view. WO and DPF have made specific allegations about one of the Standard’s authors being an employee in the Prime Minister’s office, however. That is a material issue in my view.

    If you are saying that WO and DPF are lying about that particular connection, LP, then I take your word.

    • Tane 11.1

      Tim, Lynn was pretty clear on that. Farrar and Whale are just flinging mud and hoping it sticks. You’ll remember they accused Rob Salmond of being the mastermind of The Standard, and then had Rob himself come onto Kiwiblog and point out that he had nothing to do with it.

      We don’t play the game of confirming or denying for obvious reasons – there are only so many left-wing activists in NZ. But I can tell you that some of those who have been supposedly ‘outed’ by Farrar and Whale have expressed to me their bewilderment as to how their names ever came to be associated with this blog.

      Farrar, Hooton, Whale and ‘Steady Eddie’ (we all know who he is now) are simply engaging in a game of smear and intimidation to try and shut down what they obviously see as a successful left-wing voice. Personally I don’t know why we should even give them the time of day.

      • lprent 11.1.1

        Damn I’d forgotten that one about Rob Salmond in my reply below. It all sort of fell to pieces when Rob said that rather than being a evil genius of long standing, he’d only been employed in parliament for a quite short time.

        Whale and Farrar have tried so many stories so far it is hard to keep track of them all. Personally I like winding Whale up occasionally. I keep hoping that his steroids will catch up with him when he gets apoplectic and he will increase the average intelligence of the world.

    • lprent 11.2

      This outing stuff is just so stupid. I can confirm a couple of nots that don’t violate policy.

      If you are referring to Chris Elder who Whale alleged was all_your_base. That is incorrect. I’ve met a_y_b in real life and I’ve met Chris Elder – they are not the same person. Besides we don’t allow people in parliament to write on the site.

      For that matter he alleged that rOb was the Rob from No8Wire. Wrong again. Both said that Whale was incorrect. Consequently I can confirm that as I’ve met rOb at a conference.

      I can also say that there are no known parliamentary or government department IP ranges in use for writing posts. Of course there is plenty of reading, some commenting, but no posting.

      The other allegations I can neither confirm nor deny because either I don’t know or because I’m not going to say. However I can say that Whale’s investigative track record is so poor, I’m surprised that he can find his arse with his hands. .

      • Jungle Feaver 11.2.1

        However I can say that Whale’s investigative track record is so poor, I’m surprised that he can find his arse with his hands.

        Indeed and that’s why it’s so funny because sooner or later he’s going to piss the wrong person off and will end up hot water for it! 😀

  12. ripp0 12

    He [ the Bassett fellow ] makes much of the ‘dirty tricks’ of the left..

    Can one presume that he [ the Bassett fellow ] as a historian is also aware of the ‘dirty tricks’ on the right. Yes, the enzed right as well as the US. Methinks that the US compenent would throw him (likely willingly). But should it.?

    For instance does he realise that the broader right includes a deliberate fool category — saith President G.W. Bush: you fool them once and they stay fooled — so long as another or others are picking up the tab..

    In this regard the NYTimes has a most pertinent article in print right now with links to legal case material(pdf and summary supplied) that take the point of political dirt and deceit to whole new level.

    And whose content along with backstory reveals a substantial stain upon the credulous creeps of climate change denial… and all thereby tainted by association with them…

    Historians of the right mind, as it were, scared I’d say, that such stuff might through blogs and bloggers with their organic media growth potential leave the likes of himself in the dust.

    On the face of this so far and in disgust at the above I’d go so far as to declare lprent QED.

  13. Irascible 13

    Once upon a time Bassett was a credible historian with a reputation to uphold. It doesn’t seem that he is applying those standards any more to his research or writing. That makes his credibility as an historian of NZ politics even more questionable than his commentary on contemporary N.Z. has proven. My heart bleeds for the collapse of a critical academic reputation.

    • lprent 13.1

      Yes, that is the worst of it. Some of his stuff was pretty good in the Economist mode rather than Fox news. If you knew the bias you could find interesting info there, if only because he also put the alternate viewpoints as well.

      He seems to have lost that.

  14. appleboy 14

    Bassett is a purse lipped hang wringing bitter hearted right whinger who has been fired from the DomPost for lack of honesty in his journalism. What more needs saying.

    • Rich 14.1

      ired from the DomPost for lack of honesty in his journalism

      That’s an amazing achievement in itself!

  15. Doug 15

    Labour seem to have a habit of turning on it’s own.
    Sir Rodger Douglas,
    Dr Michael Bassett,
    Judith Tizard.

    • lprent 15.1

      The first two left of their own accord. Besides I was talking about Bassett’s attack on this site. As per my usual policy, I respond acerbically. Mind you it took a bit to get as acid. I’m not sure I succeeded

  16. gnomic 16

    Who cares what Michael Bassett thinks? I recently read his hagiography of Roderick Deane, any credibility the man had vanished with the publication of that volume.

  17. sheesh 17

    Sheesh Lynn,

    You really are worried that Rob Salmond is coming down on you for fucking up the labour spin on Mt Albert arent you buddy? Imagine attacking someone of Bassetts calibre, a man inside the Mt Albert electorate who many in the area hold in high esteem.

    You must be backed into a corner buddy!

    The best of luck, you’ll need it!

    • lprent 17.1

      Bassett, as you can see by the comments here, is not regarded highly. I simply pointed out that he is completely wrong in his facts – somehow he has dropped from being a historian to being a wingnut.

  18. sheesh 18

    Oh comer on Lynn, you are donkey deep with the Labour party and with Helens old regime in the Mt Albert electorate. Bassett knows it, you know it, we all know it. It’s really a matter of record now. Rob and his team are desperately trying to dig Labour out of your hole!

    [lprent: Another troll – in this case someone who has bugger all idea about either the way this blog operates or how the NZLP operates. The Rob (Salmond) one is amusing – I think he is still in America.
    Banned for attacking post writer and not the post content ie a wish for martyrdom ]

  19. As I’ve been saying for ages, you guys bring this stuff on yourselves. When you have large number of anonymous bloggers posting fervently pro-Labour material it’s pretty easy to accuse you of being a Labour astro-turf outfit. The fact that you were closely linked to Mike Williams failed smear campaign didn’t help you much in that respect.

    I know that some of you are Greens, some posts are critical of Labour, yadda yadda yadda, it’s just that you’ve gone out of your way to be opaque and unaccountable. Obviously that has it’s advantages for you guys or you wouldn’t have done it but it also has some costs, and one of them is that it makes you very vulnerable to this sort of criticism.

    • lprent 19.1

      You get the same behaviour on places like the Handmirror where the majority of the posters are not anonymous. It is the mindless attacks with spin lines without bothering to engage the brain that is irritating.

      The advantage for us is that we don’t get this type of behavior happening to us in real life. The track record of the right in how they attack opponents isn’t particularly nice. A lot of us remember the last national government. This one appears to be following the same path.

      The other advantage is that it means the posts must be taken in their own context. In my opinion it leads to a better debate. That is certainly borne out with the number of the comments, generally with the quality of the comments, and the number of page views in to read the comments. The formula works, and the troll component is something pretty trivial to control these days.

      …anonymous bloggers posting fervently pro-Labour material

      Not exactly, there are a number of critical posts on Labour, either explicitly (eg Irish, Tane, etc) or implicitly. In the case of the latter, I do a reasonable number of posts on climate change, where it is pretty obvious that I thought Labour had been dragging the chain. Other posters do the same in their particular interest areas. But most of us also have access to the various parties that we support, and can help move policy there directly.

      I suspect what you see is that we don’t publish fervently anti-labour posts, but do a large number of fervently anti-right posts. This is a left partisan blog after all. We exist to make the right defend their policies. Particularly relevant now that the government is led by the right, and we’re more of an opposition blog.

      Political blogs have more freedom to attack when those that they support aren’t in government. This is something that is showing up on the right blogs at present. Kiwiblog has been going almost bland so far this year

  20. zzzzzzzzzzzz 20

    More endless verbose droning from Lynn.

    [lprent: expat – thank you for those kind words. In line with your usual lack of effort.

    Just to remind people:
    expat is in auto-moderation so I can embellish his comments because most lack a basic level of understanding. However I’m sure that he can be brought up to standard with a lot of work

    Doesn’t look like he is trying. ]

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