Regular readers of David Farrar’s National Party blog will be aware that it’s been in a bit of trouble lately. Aside from the setting up of robust left-wing opposition in the form of The Standard, Kiwiblogblog and others, DPF’s had to contend with an increase in left opponents in his comments section who are willing to call him on his National Party spin.
Bill Ralston summed up the situation well in the Herald on Sunday recently:
If the blog authors are tough in their analysis, the hundreds of comments they get can be even more rabid. In the columns, on the blogs, on talkback and in the letters to the editor pages of the major papers, the tide of opinion has turned rabidly against National. Some of this has been helped by Labour activists who always outgun National supporters when rallying for a fight online and in feedback to the traditional media. “They’re much better at this than us,” admits one of John Key’s advisers
This was bad news for a man whose reputation within the party relies on the success of Kiwiblog, so to crack down he introduced a moderation system. This was done supposedly in the name of cleaning up the sewer and providing for more constructive debate, while those of us on the left suspected it it would be abused (or designed) to crush dissenting views. Farrar tried to give it an air of legitimacy by appointing a supposedly independent, non-partisan moderation team.
One of his moderators, “Rakaunui” (DPF’s Maori foil for Tane?), has been more than a little partisan in his moderation, under Farrar’s express orders. Just today I found several of my comments deleted for supposedly being “off topic”, even in cases when I was directly responding to questions or accusations from other commenters.
This evening was a classic example. Here’s right-wing regular Kimble debating with my old mate Robinsod in a thread about the Electoral Finance Bill:
At the risk of sounding paranoid, but is it a coincidence that the Labour Union movement in NZ never donates money to the National Party campaign? Aren’t these groups supposed to be non-biased politically? Mmmmmm, suspiciouser and suspiciouser!
Kimble you moron – the labour party grew from the labour movement. A lot of unions are still affiliated to the labour party (it’s because National wants to fuck their members). Stop trolling.
Whale – hello? Hello Whale? Um, press report of $20K? Bob? McCroskie? Hello?
The language is slightly coloured, but nothing out of the ordinary for Kiwiblog. He’s clearly replied to a direct question from Kimble, on a topic directly related to election finance. His answer was deleted, Kimble’s stayed. The question to Whaleoil was also directly related to election funding and Farrar’s Kill the Bill campaign. That was deleted too.
I posted a comment quoting both parties and pointed out that there appeared to be partisan censorship going on. That comment was also deleted. As I say, this is just one example of what has become quite a trend – indeed a policy – over at Farrar’s house.
Now David Farrar owns his blog and he’s free to do what he likes with it. But if it is just a home for National Party lines where dissent and contradiction aren’t welcome then he needs to make that clear. Swanning around as an independent ‘political analyst‘ while he carries on like this is simply not credible. Nor is purporting to stand for free speech when he can’t even handle mild criticism.
Anyone else had similar experiences?
(UPDATE: Looks like Robinsod has been banned indefinitely, without warning.)