Guest Post: Herald like a blow-hard blogger on Tan

Written By: - Date published: 4:12 pm, August 29th, 2008 - 32 comments
Categories: act, Media - Tags:

After a fair summary of the facts as they stand, the Herald enters the realm of the right-wing blogger, always ready to paint its opponent with the worst possible spin, and then build on that as if on fact:

‘That version of events avoids, as it must, any hint of the suspension being politically motivated. It falls a long way short of traversing this whole episode, however. It is reasonable to ask how the EPMU would have responded to a staff member who had agreed to stand for the Labour Party but had not told the union of his candidacy. Certainly, there would be no talk of suspension. Any breach of the collective agreement would be quickly and conveniently overlooked.’

It is a reasonable question to ask, and the Herald may indeed be correct in its suspicion that things might have been different had a Labour supporter breached the collective employment agreement in this way.

But it cannot say, ‘Certainly, there would be no talk of suspension.’ (Emphasis added.) Especially if, as the EPMU alleges, Tan was reminded of this contractual obligation, the EPMU would be foolish to ignore it, regardless of the political affinity of the offender. Sets a precedent, you see.

Classic stuff. Make some unfounded assumptions for which you have no proof, and then you’re away. Later, more unfounded assertions:

‘Mr Tan’s case suggests, in fact, that any fostering of candidacy is extremely selective. Indeed, the contractual condition requiring permission to stand in elections could be seen as enabling a scrutiny of candidate suitability as much as it allows the union to juggle workloads while a person is campaigning.’

Actually, it does not ‘in fact’ suggest anything of the sort. The Herald seems to have missed the original report that states, ‘Earlier this year an employee’s request to stand for the Labour Party in local government was turned down.’ That’s what is widely regarded as a ‘fact’, Mr/Ms Herald editorial writer, not your easy assumption made for the purpose of a cheap slur.

Jafapete

32 comments on “Guest Post: Herald like a blow-hard blogger on Tan”

  1. monkey-boy 1

    “Classic stuff. Make some unfounded assumptions for which you have no proof, and then you’re away.”

    Guest – you must be quite new around here..

  2. Julie 2

    I’m starting to come to the conclusion that the Herald is in fact at war with the EPMU. The big story was whether Clark should/would stand Peters down, and potentially face an early election if he threw his toys, but they devoted their editorial to the Tan thing.

    And they said in a headline earlier in the week that he was sacked when in fact he has not been, and had to publish a correction the next day (small and in the briefs of course, I rather think that isn’t suitable antidote for the bane).

    Plus there’s the fact that that Herald surrounded the EPMU’s advert (for their work rights rallies) on the politics page earlier this week with negative stories about the EPMU (Tan above, EFA to the right) then failed to mention the 6000 worker rally at Manukau that the EPMU organised on Wednesday.

    I’d be feeling a bit uncomfortable working for the Herald at the moment, if I was an EPMU member, does anyone know if their journos are by chance in bargaining?

  3. Macro 3

    I wonder what would be the Herald’s stance if Mr Tan had been working for them, and they had found out, after the fact, that he was standing for Parliament? Would they be happy to continue to employ him on full pay whilst he was campaigning? I think not.

  4. 2_dead_dogs 4

    Face facts.

    There is NO WAY Tan would have been fired from the union if he were standing for the greens or labour. No way hozay and YOU ALL KNOW IT.

    He was fired for his political persuasions which, as you know is illegal in New Zealand.

    So SUCK IT.

    And if you want to get all sad about how I’m telling you to suck it, it doesn’t matter because I’m still RIGHT.

  5. Anita 5

    2_dead_dogs,

    He has not been fired.

  6. the sprout 6

    I figure there are 3 possibilities for explaining Tan.

    1. He’s a mole.
    2. He had a Road to Damascus experience such that one he decided he wanted fight not for the rights of workers, but for employers.
    3. He’s ideologically agnostic and just decided to take whichever path might best fulfill his personal ambitions.

    I wonder which one of these possibilities would endear him to any employer?

  7. ghostwhowalks 7

    Do these guys ( almost never women writing editorials) at the Herald ever understand any thing about the rights they talk about.

    This part is strange:

    “Not least of these is the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of political belief.”

    The collective employment contract doesn’t say anything about standing for National or ACT and so on , it says any political office.

    And as has been pointed out , previously an EPMU employee was refused permission to stand for LABOUR!!.
    SO the EPMU applies its employee restrictions equally, so is there fore non discriminatory

  8. ghostwhowalks 8

    I see they have ‘corrected ‘ the original headline of the story about Tan being suspended.
    At first it said “ACT candidate sacked…” even though the first paragraph made clear he was suspended.

    Due to the wonders outsourcing of sub editing this can be fixed later on.
    Also noticed in some stories the use of the aussie term ‘dockers’ for what is known in NZ as ‘watersiders’
    eg this story about the Napier earthquake

    Anchored in the roadstead nearby, [the freighter Taranaki] vibrated as if in a gale, her derricks and rigging sounding like harp-strings. A few on board thought she had blown up, then someone cried, “Look at the shore!” Horrified seamen and dockers saw “the town of Napier crumbling before their eyes amid a fog of dust”.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10365989

  9. Matthew Pilott 9

    2_dead_dogs, if you want to come online and make bold assertions, it helps to be factually correct.

    You also look slightly dim making such assertions given someone wasn’t allowed to run for Labour in local government earlier.

    So, ah “suck” it, what ever “it” may be. Tool.

  10. 2_dead_dogs 10

    Oh god! He was suspended and not fired! Big deal.

    The facts are that he was suspended/fired/what have you because he stood for a political party that the union didn’t like.

    The fact they denied someone standing for labour local body is almost irrelevant. Who knows that the story is? Could it be because that person might be a screw-up and an asset to the opposition?

    It pales into insignificance, given that the EPMU already have a candidate standing for Labour in the general election- Don Pryde. If you want to call on precidents, I think that is much more relevant.

    Andrew Little has admitted that Tan’s choice of political party had something to do with the suspension.

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

    D’ya reckon Don asked first or just pissed off?

  12. Felix 12

    So you don’t see any distinction between being suspended and fired?

    How can you be so passionate about an issue you clearly have no grasp of?

    Try reading your own words out loud, slowly. Then go and have a lie down and be thankful no-one knows who you are.

  13. 2_dead_dogs 13

    I am passionate about it for many reasons. The thing is that while there is a difference between suspended and sacked, that difference isn’t as great as that between suspended and not suspended.

    The fact is that his standing for ACT led to a negative employment outcome which should never have occured.

    You can argue the semantics all you like but it’s just a diversion from the fact he was basically suspended because of his political beliefs.

  14. Matthew Pilott 14

    If you were passionate about it I imagine you would have learnt that he was stood down for not properly disclosing to his employer that he was running for a public position, and was thus in breach of contract. Are you passionate about contract violations too?

    There’s actually a greater difference between suspended and sacked, than there is between suspended and not suspended.

    The difference between the first is that you are no longer employed, and not paid. With the latter you are employed and paid, but not doing work. You may call it semantics, but having a job and being paid mean a fair bit to most people.

  15. randal 15

    I dont give a stuff about any contract. tan is a scab and thats that.

  16. 2_dead_dogs 16

    Is he getting paid while suspended? If not there is very little difference between being suspended and being sacked.

    The union didn’t have to suspend him for running for a public position.

    Andrew Little admitted Tan’s choice of party had something to do with the decision to suspend him.

    How can you continue to defend this?

  17. 2 dead dogs: “Oh god! He was suspended and not fired! Big deal.”

    Actually 2dd, it is a big deal. It’s, like, a really important fact, and your inablility to (1) grasp the difference, or (2) grasp the significance of the difference undermines your credibility.

    2dd: “The facts are that he was suspended/fired/what have you because he stood for a political party that the union didn’t like.”

    Sorry, that is not true. He breached his employment contract.

    2dd: “The fact they denied someone standing for labour local body is almost irrelevant. Who knows that the story is? Could it be because that person might be a screw-up and an asset to the opposition?”

    Wrong again. This does show that members of other parties have been refused permission to stand whilst employed by the EPMU. That’s the fact here, not you ridiculous supposition.

    2dd: “It pales into insignificance, given that the EPMU already have a candidate standing for Labour in the general election- Don Pryde. If you want to call on precidents, I think that is much more relevant.”

    Wrong again. Pryde is not an ordinary employee of the EPMU, unlike Tan. Can you prove that he is employed on the same collective employment agreement as Tan? That his circumstances are the same (he would be employed part-time for a start, unless things have changed in recent years)? Unless you can, Pryde is not a “precedent”. (Note spelling.)

    2dd: “Andrew Little has admitted that Tan’s choice of political party had something to do with the suspension.”

    Possibly. I’m still waiting to see a transcription of the interview so that I can interpret what he said in context.

    So there you are 2dd. Wrong on every point except the last, and possibly wrong about that one too.

    But then I get the impression that you’re not concerned about facts or logic in the least.

    PS In answer to your question at 5.31pm, yes he is still paid. Since you have to ask such a basic question, it seems remarkable that you hold forth with such authority about matters about which you know next to nothing.

    Oh, and the EPMU did not suspend him for running for a public position. He breached his CEA. How many times do we have to explain this fact to you before you understand?

  18. 2_dead_dogs 18

    Suspended because he stood for ACT. That is all the public are going to hear.

    The public do not care for the semantics you use to dilute the debate on here. The public do not read the standard in any great numbers.

    Tan suspended from the EPMU after standing for ACT is all they hear.

    So good luck with that.

    lol

  19. Anita 19

    2dd,

    So the public is hearing something which is quite untrue. Why is that?

  20. Swampy 20

    The Herald represents the half of the general populace who want Labour and all sympathisers out of government at the election.

  21. Felix 21

    2dd:
    “Suspended because he stood for ACT. That is all the public are going to hear.”

    No, that’s all you hear. Even after having the facts patiently explained to you in children’s terms.

    Swampy:

    “The Herald represents the half of the general populace who want Labour and all sympathisers out of government at the election.”

    What incredible editorial systems they must have in place to represent so many people. Quite astounding. You could probably write for them, you know, with your incredible skills of analysis…

  22. 2dd: “Suspended because he stood for ACT. That is all the public are going to hear. The public do not care for the semantics you use to dilute the debate on here. The public do not read the standard in any great numbers.”

    Yep, 2dd, condemned out of your own mouth. You don’t care about facts, just smears and lies; and as long as the effect is in your favour, that’s okay.

    Well, the Standardistas and I do care about the truth. If you want lies and innuendo, there are plenty of right-wing blogs catering to your tastes. Oh, and the Herald it would seem.

  23. lprent 23

    Felix: From what I understand (hearsay) the circulation of the herald is about 150-160k per day, and about 50k of those are outside auckland.

    Even if you assume very high numbers reading the same paper, that means that not many people read the herald. Probably not a particularly high proportion of Auckland’s population.

    It’d be interesting to find the numbers of people who read the heralds online site.

    We’re not that big a readership, but the number of people reading the site per week is getting significant. The herald has been running about 100 years plus and has a significant staff even in the web section. We’ve been running a year and doing it on a voluntary basis.

  24. 2_dead_dogs 24

    Holy mercy lprent, the arrogance of it, comparing yourself to the herald!

    How many people watch the television news? How many people listen to the presenters reading out the headlines from the various papers? Saying things such as ‘EPMU sacks Tan’?

    I wonder where ‘The Standard’ is going to be in another 12 months given that it seems to be some sort of reaction to National’s popularity?

    Anita:

    The public is not hearing something that is untrue. As you guys have pointed out, the facts of the matter have been laid bare. That is that he was suspended because he didn’t advise the heirachy of his intentions.

    I’m sorry but the public are simply not going to buy that.

    Particularly when you have Andrew Little saying that his choice of political party had something to do with it:

    “Mr Little said most requests were dealt with on the basis of workload, but in the case of someone standing for ACT, which held positions counter to the union’s core beliefs, the choice of party could be an additional factor.

    That was because the union needed to decide whether it was going to give Mr Tan time off from his job to campaign for ideas it disagreed with.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10528449

  25. lprent 25

    2dd: Not arrogance – just looking forward. I’m just looking at history of the political blogs and other political media channels in the US and other wired countries.

    The opinion blogs have been steadily rising in importance consistently for quite a long time now. So have the internet news services.

    The mainstream media channels have been decreasing in circulation and viewership bot individually and as a group. The latter is partially because of other access to information from channels like the blogs, and the former because of the fragmentation of more channels.

    The blogs have a tendency to point out all of the factors in political spheres in microscopic detail. This is the same process as occurs (and has done for decades) in looking at standards in my computer sphere for the same reasons. Rather than depending on a few commentators in the MSM, literally thousands of people poke over everything and get the interesting details highlighted.

    The same effects have been happening here. In this case for instance. This post pointed out that the EPMU :-
    “Earlier this year an employee’s request to stand for the Labour Party in local government was turned down.’

    That makes the primary thesis of the Herald editorial a complete waste of printers ink. It is interesting that you didn’t add that to your summary. It means that this is a practice that the EPMU does for all political affliations.

    BTW: It also tells me that you didn’t read the post as that was its main point. Why don’t you read the post before commenting – it makes you look foolish to completely miss the point.

  26. 2_dead_dogs 26

    No I read it and commented on it. If you had actually read my 4.17pm post where i said

    “The fact they denied someone standing for labour local body is almost irrelevant. Who knows that the story is? Could it be because that person might be a screw-up and an asset to the opposition?”

    You would have understood what I meant.

    It has no impact on the ‘primary thesis’ of the Herald editorial at all. The union could have turned that person down for any one of a number of reasons.

    For example: What if the person was an idiot? I doubt the union would want an idiot standing, they would be more of a liability than an asset.

  27. 2_dead_dogs 27

    I read left and right blogs. I think both you guys puff yourselves up too much.

    Back in 04 when the blog thing was kicking off here, my family asked me ‘what do you think about blogs?’ my response was ‘they are too partesian, too extreme in their points of view. don’t pay attention because you are sure to be misled.’

    i went on to talk about how, while one mainstream media outlet may be seen to have a bias from time to time, generally speaking they are pretty much neutral, that is their ‘creed’ and without that grounding, they would be cutting off a lot of their readership which is essential because they cost so much to produce.

    the fallacy of citizen journalism:

    You may say that blogs are gaining importance. i would contest that. i would say that, without blogs, that information would reach the public in any case. the only difference is the channel through which it passed. blog writers who like to pump themselves have to admit that, in the absence of blogs, they would have simply passed their ‘insider knowledge’ to friendly news organisations. one is tempted to think of blog writers as some sort of intelligence ticket-clippers.

    and who wouldn’t? if i had some tasty tid-bit on labour or national, like hell id allow someone like audry whats-her-name or chris trotter take the credit! i wanna have my blogosphere day in the sun. thing is, if the information is worth anything, it gets picked up pretty quick and published uncredited in the MSM which makes the whole blog thing pretty pathetic.

    lprent, you should be comparing yourself to talkback radio. most of the content on this website, and others, is generated by uninformed, opinionated individuals. that is where the attraction to this form of media lies. there may be small victories in breaking a storm in a teacup but that’s about as far as it goes.

    blogs positions are valid but

    can you imagine a dominion post or herald that is 90% filled with the uninformed opinions of people like me and you?

  28. 2dd, Where to begin? Maybe it would be best if you went off and read Flat Earth News by Nick Davies. Here’s a taste: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/feb/04/comment.pressandpublishing

    Then come back and we can have a serious discussion.

  29. Hans_Blixx 29

    2dd: “uninformed opinions of people like me”

    ’nuff said.

    Go. Away. Ignoramus.

  30. bill brown 30

    “Back in 04 when the blog thing was kicking off here, my family asked me ‘what do you think about blogs?’ my response was ‘they are too partesian, too extreme in their points of view. don’t pay attention because you are sure to be misled.'”

    Did you stand at a podium, shake your fist in the air and intone in a very loud voice? – just trying to get the picture right in my head.

    “can you imagine a dominion post or herald that is 90% filled with the uninformed opinions of people like me and you?”

    Don’t have to imagine it – I get it delivered every day.

  31. the sprout 31

    “[blogs] are too partesian [sp], too extreme in their points of view. don’t pay attention because you are sure to be misled.”

    “can you imagine a dominion post or herald that is 90% filled with uninformed opinions?”

    LMAO! 🙂 very funny 2dd.

  32. Julie 32

    2dd I’m going to try, although I suspect I’m going to fail, to further explain just one little point about suspension – in this case it is a suspension that is not a disciplinary action, but in fact is a suspension whilst an investigation and a process are underway. This is not unusual in situations where there is an allegation of serious misconduct against an employee. My observation, from several years of working as a union organiser (not for the EPMU or with Tan, although I do know him and several people who work at the EPMU), is that suspension on pay can sometimes provide the vital cooling off period that allows both parties to come to a reasonably amicable resolution, and can even improve the worker’s chance of retaining their job, depending on the circumstances.

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