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Dirty attacks on academic

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, October 3rd, 2014 - 10 comments
Categories: Ethics, making shit up, Media - Tags: , , ,

Yesterday the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) released this statement:


The villain of Dirty Politics, Cameron Slater, used his post-election downtime last week to attack University of Otago nutrition scientist Lisa Te Morenga, calling her a ‘trougher’ and, ironically, criticising her for being offensive on the internet.

TEU president Lesley Francey said Slater’s comments were intended to intimidate and to undermine academic freedom.

Journalist Russell Brown said the issue started with Carrick Graham, who was exposed in Dirty Politics as a lobbiest paid by big business to discredit and undermine public health advocates via Slater’s Whale Oil blog. Graham tried to intimidate Dr Te Morenga by going through her Twitter history and finding something he could quote out of context.

Graham’s friend and supporter Cameron Slater then used Whale Oil, to attack Te Morenga.

After this Brown noted there was a threatening legal letter from Jordan Williams, an official complaint to Otago University and a public warning from Carrick Graham to “be careful”.

Most of the cast of Dirty Politics is present in this hit. There’s quite a back story, which Russell Brown has gone into in detail in comments here and here.

It seems to have started with a fake Twitter account misrepresenting a conference (FIZZ-2030) aiming to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks. Jordan Williams of the “Taxpayers’ Union”* used the account as an excuse to attack Fizz and “a group of academics” (I wonder who set up the fake account?). Te Morenga responded (in unwise terms perhaps), and that triggered the full scale dirty politics hit described by the TEU above.

Russell Brown sums up:

The whole thing appears to be a carefully-constructed effort to smear a group of health and nutrition researchers on behalf of a paying client.

These people are scum.

As of yesterday Brown was still on the case…

* The “Taxpayers’ Union” is a front for right-wing spin and political attacks. “Executive Director and Co-Founder” Jordan Williams features heavily in Hager’s Dirty Politics. He’s known for extreme sexist attitudes and apparently threatening tweets. “Co-Founder” David Farrar has his own chapter in Dirty Politics, and a similarly unsavoury record. The fact that this organisation is taken seriously by any form of media is testimony to just how perverted political commentary in NZ has become.

10 comments on “Dirty attacks on academic ”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    Frank had a detailed story on Williams half truths and lies over Hone Harawiras trip to Mandelas funeral


    The taxpayers of course funded a photographer to travel with John Keys delegation, no word from Williams over that when other leaders seem to manage with selfies!

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    So, in the midst of his whiny insincerity over the fact that some female acquaintances have discovered what a hateful loser he is, Williams was busy being a hateful loser for money.

    Jordan leaves a stain.

  3. repateet 3

    Is this the same Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Taxpayer’s Union Jordan Williams who has come out so strongly against the rort of David Seymour being plied with taxpayers’ money? Yeah, right.

  4. Tracey 4

    How is this different from Ms Price’s behaviour recently on twitter? The media called that “dirty”.

    • Chooky 4.1

      well i dont think Ms Price was paid to do it by BIG Business!….a big difference there

      …and she was defending her husband wasn’t she?.

      …from “dirty covert attacks” from inside his own Party!

      ….and undermining his leadership

      ….and the grassroots members’ democratic elected Leadership of their Labour Party!

    • Chris 4.2

      Gee, you’ll be defending Cathy Odgers next.

    • Murray Olsen 4.3

      Did Ms Price go through the ABC twitter histories to find something to use against them? Did she give that material to a blogger to attack them? Have the ABC faction got reputations that can be impugned? Was she paid to attack them in the interests of continuing to sell food that makes us sick?

      No doubt a few more differences if you look hard enough.

    • D'Esterre 4.4

      @ Tracey: “How is this different from Ms Price’s behaviour recently on twitter? The media called that “dirty”.”

      What Price did is nothing at all like Dirty Politics. A bit of name-calling – which is what she did – is not like the vile stuff Hager revealed. On the other hand, the story above is exactly like the sort of thing he recounted. Go read the book if you haven’t yet done so. And no, politicians don’t all do this sort of thing, however much the PM would like you to believe that they do.

  5. coaster 5

    Im not realy sure how anyone can question how bad sugary drinks are.

    If the media keep using these guys, youd have to wonder if they are just lazy, stupid or in on it.

  6. red blooded 6

    “Im not realy sure how anyone can question how bad sugary drinks are.”

    Let’s remember that paid lobbyists managed to defend the health issues surrounding smoking (& then 2nd hand smoking) for years. You’ve got to wonder how expensive those consciences were…

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