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Leave it to the pros

Written By: - Date published: 4:20 pm, August 19th, 2008 - 50 comments
Categories: Media, spin - Tags:

Thanks to what I can only presume is a technical glitch at the Listener there’s online access to a lot more of their current content than usual including Jane Clifton’s column in which she’s bemoaning the blurring line between bloggers and jounalists.

Hilariously she focuses on the responsibilities real journalists have and bloggers don’t but still manages to rename our very own Clinton Smith, “Clinton Brown”.

On a more disturbing note she claims:

And, as we’ve found with Dead Fish-gate, some activists are even turning unwary journalists into political activists by selectively leaking them choice tidbits of covertly taped conversations. Unable to resist, journalists are effectively running party spin holus-bolus.

Ironically Clifton is claiming Garner is “unwary” and “effectively running party spin” because he broadcast those infamous secret agenda tapes while she is simultaneously and implicitly running the National party line that the tapes were made by a labour party activist.

That’s a truly impressive rhetorical sleight of hand. But then again Clifton is (as she is at pains to remind us) a pro.

50 comments on “Leave it to the pros”

  1. IrishBill 1

    It should also be noted that:

    a) Dead-fish-gate is just an awful awful phrase

    b) While David is a National Party activist/staffer/member, Clint isn’t a Labour Party activist. In fact he’s not even a members, in fact as far as I know he’s never even voted for them.

    But then again, Clifton is the pro so maybe she knows something the rest of us don’t.

  2. coge 2

    Actually, Clinton Brown is one of Wellington’s finest bass players.

  3. Crank 3

    For a man who has nothing to do with the Labour party Clinton sure seems to show up at a lot of the young Labour rallies and protests.

    I remember during the EFB rally last year that Clinton gave some off the cuff speech on behalf of the young Labour protesters where he stated for dramatic effect that he didn’t vote Labour…or something along those lines.

    I just hope that some spur of the moment remark has not prevented him from being honest since about his true political allegiance.

    Not that it really matters.

    [lprent: Very bad idea telling a person on their own blog that they’re lying – especially when you have no evidence.

    In this case you have had a clear statement by SP that he is not into NZLP. He has just been at a number of demo’s where NZLP supporters (and probably greens) have been as well.

    In effect, what you are arguing is a guilt by association. Apart from violating the principles in the Bill of Rights Act you should realise that is just stupid because it applies to everyone.

    I could as easily say that because you sometimes agree with opinions that are also held by Whale, that you are also a closet pornographer with a homo fetish. Or because you hang around here, that you agree with my harsh moderation policies.

    I take this kind of thing extremely seriously because it is a flame starter as well as being obnoxiously offensive to me. Typically these days I usually ban at the first offence on the general basis that it improves the breed. It indicates that someone has been stupid enough to comment on a site without looking at the site rules (think of it as evolution in action).

    Bearing in mind you have been a effective commentator I’ll let it go. But I suggest that you read About and Policy at the top of the page closely. ]

  4. Tane 4

    Clifton, what a hack. I’ve gotta say, I’ve never once read an article by her talking about substantive issues, y’know, like how policies and issues actually affect ordinary NZers in their day-to-day lives. It’s always smug crap about which MP was funny in the house, and it’s the kind of reporting that portrays politics as a game played out by an elite and completely disconnected from the ordinary people. Fuck that.

  5. Tane 5

    Oh and Crank, you’re right, it’s all a Labour Party plot. Well done mate, give yourself a pat on the back.

    Or, better yet, come up with some actual evidence before accusing authors on this site of lying.

  6. “The Blogerati Russell Brown, David Farrar et al”

    Jane’s a pro alright, class A idiot.

  7. Crank. I think I’ve been taken part in organising 2 protests in conjuction with Young Labour – the efa one and the one at NatCon.. and of course they’re involved in lots of political stuff around town… often see them at drinkling liberally for example.

    and crank, I’ve never voted Labour, accuse me of being a liar again and you can go back to Kiwiblog.

  8. I think Clifton is confused with Clint Brown, but she’s the pro of course maybe I’ve got my surname wrong.

  9. higherstandard 9

    Quite true with a beard like that SP could only be a true blue (green) green.

  10. aw shucks, hs. I guess you’re right though, it is pretty glorious.

  11. IrishBill 11

    “it’s the kind of reporting that portrays politics as a game played out by an elite and completely disconnected from the ordinary people.”

    Tane, I couldn’t agree more. I get the feeling that’s why there’s a growing antipathy to bloggers in teh Msm (even though they are all starting their own blogs). I am pleased with Colin Espiner though as he gets into the cut and thrust of dealing with comments on his blog. I imagine Clifton would be too precious to do so.

    “I think Clifton is confused with Clint Brown, but she’s the pro of course maybe I’ve got my surname wrong.”

    Steve, I laughed out loud.

  12. higherstandard 12

    Note to SP I am not Billy to your Robinsod

  13. Janet 13

    It amazes me that in these days of huge public concerns about conflicts of interest and the importance of disclosure that Jane Clifton’s political column in the Listener is not accompanied by a note that she is the partner of National Party strategist and potential cabinet minister Murray McCully.

    She may not be influenced by his opinions, or have access to National Party inside knowledge, or benefit financially from the relationship but it would be ethical to at least inform the readers about this association.

  14. Jeez HS – am I just a figure of mirth for you???

    Oh and Jane Clifton? Hack. I couldn’t give a better analysis of her hackery than Tane has.

  15. Draco TB 15

    Jeez, these MSM bloggers… er, journalists, really are starting to get their knickers in a twist about the competition aren’t they? Perhaps they should do what’s necessary to survive in the free-market – get better and actually start reporting the news. If they have a resource shortage to investigate the news, as she said they did, then perhaps they should speak to their owners about getting some more.

    As for the article – man, she comes across as an arrogant biatch. So far up herself she probably thinks the suns shines out her arse.

  16. Matthew Pilott 16

    What a complete tool. So playing national Party MP comments verbatim is spin but waffling on like a hack or wannabe press sec isn’t?

    These MSM journos really are starting to look precious (fully agree with comment about Espiner – he’s happy to mix it up. And unlike Bernard Hackey he has intelligent responses, not “who are you and what do you do for a living?” diversionary tactics to hide the fact that he’s a complete idiot). Until recently there hasn’t been any way for large numbers of people to react to their reporting, short of not reading/watching it. Not really effective there, how would the editor of The Listener know you buy it but use Clifton’s piece for a snot rag or worse?

    Now, blogs allow people to go at them boots’n’all and say “Do your job properly”. I like.

  17. Quoth the Raven 17

    Now, blogs allow people to go at them boots’n’all and say “Do your job properly’.

    That’s what Idiot/Savant said to Colin Espiner on Espiner’s blog. I think it’s really positive that we have a medium where journos have to actually argue their positions with their readers and not just make assertions. Maybe it will have an influence on their television/paper work and they’ll start doing their job properly.

  18. Note to SP I am not Billy to your Robinsod

    HS I actually think you are. LOL

    Captcha: Russians there. Sorry, LOL again

  19. randal 19

    why doesnt jane clifton review the fatuous bombastic right wing inane leighton smith and wipe the smile off his dial

  20. randal – why don’t you get clever Trevor M to punch her in the face?
    He is good at that, a real pro who can land one on the dial.

  21. higherstandard 21

    Here you go Eve thought you might like a look at a site with a different view.

  22. Quoth the Raven 23

    D4J – Why not Gerry Brownlee?

  23. I suggested Trevor for his formidable boxing skills that have frightened Owen Glenn away and don’t believe the listener lady needs a blue steamroller running her over.

  24. Dan 25

    I have been reading the Listener for nearly 50 years, but I cancelled my subscription tonight. At one time it used to be a liberal conscience for New Zealand, with lots of in depth analysis. Tom Scott used to be compulsory reading. Russell Brown’s departure was the signal that it was time to go. There are still some columns I will miss, but the general drift of the editorials and columnists such as Clifton are very disappointing. The standard of journalism has dropped markedly.

    I laughed out loud at Clifton’s lead that “bloggers and activists make it hard to tell the accurate from the biased and the malicious”. The same comment could be applied to the Herald and the Listener
    It is the very lack of a strong Fourth estate in New Zealand that allows a political party to get very close to power with no policies of substance; whose main claim to lead is “It’s time for a change”; whose leader has unproven political skills; whose philosohy is based on focus groups, and whose past history has been conveniently ignored when in fact it provides a clear blueprint for what they intend to do.
    Where are the professional journalists with a sense of community or nation who are not cowtowing to the owners?

    Thank you Jane Clifton for the final motivation to set the Listener adrift. I will spend my Listener sub on a supply of Renaissance Stonecutter ale and turn to reading the biased and thoughtful and insightful and plain sickos on the Internet blog sites.

  25. Anita 26

    Someone fixed the technical glitch 🙁

  26. I’ve replaced the link to the Clifton article (which they’e now changed to subscriber only) to google’s cached version of the complete article.. Jane’s still got a few more tricks to learn about this interweb thingy.

  27. burt 28

    lprent

    [lprent: Very bad idea telling a person on their own blog that they’re lying – especially when you have no evidence.

    But Clinton did turn up at the anti EFB march and did spurt forth “Labour good – EFB good” party lines. Sure he said he hadn’t voted Labour but that was about as convincing as him saying the EFB was not an attack on free speech.

    [you don’t get to come on here and call me a liar without basis, especially when you’ve already been warned not to. take a week break. SP]

    [lprent: Damnit – you beat me to it.
    Besides I saw the video of that and if he didn’t say “Labour good”. He did say EA 1993 was broken and the EFB was better. That is pretty much what I think about the EFA despite all of the whinging. ]

  28. Anita 29

    burt,

    I think that the EFA is better than the old electoral finance legislation. I don’t vote Labour.

    Are you unconvinced about me too?

  29. Anita – Burt seems to think that everybody that disagrees with him on the internet is Helen Clark.

    He is a very strange man.

  30. Tane 31

    Having dealt with a fair few Labour Party people in my time, I think the Right’s mistake is to give them far too much credit.

  31. Quoth the Raven 32

    D4J – I suggested Brownlee because of his formidable boxing skills the ones that landed him court paying out $8000 to a coaster.

  32. Tanya 33

    Jane is wonderful, spot on every time, a real, real pro, like the illustrious Garth George. Fantastic.

  33. Razorlight 34

    Isn’t whinging about the media a somewhat futile exercise.

    What someone on the left thinks is a hideously biased non balanced beat up of a story, someone on the right will think is accurate journalism, and vice versa.

    This week we have had bloggers from the right highlighting unbalanced journalism (DPF commenting on the SST campaign to re-elect the government)and here we have different Standard contributors making the same complaint about Clifton or the Herald.

    I just think it is pointing out the obvious. And I do not know why people expect the media not to have an opinion one way or the other. Why do they have to be these neutral balanced reporters.

  34. lprent 35

    Razorlight: I think what has been more interesting is the MSM journo’s and commentators commenting about the bloggers. That is what this post is (mainly) about.

    It has become an interesting theme over the last month.

    Bill Ralston
    Vernon Small
    Trotter
    Jane Clifton

    are the ones I’ve noticed. They do tend to show their lack of understanding of the medium. For instance Bill Ralston’s article was incredibly shallow. From what I saw of it, it seemed to have swallowed Whale’s technical incompetence about this site hook line and sinker. Clifton’s one was classic – Clinton Brown?

    The blogs tend to be actively partisan to one degree or another, but usually quite clear in what ways. The blogs do take a great deal of delight in highlighting deficiencies in the MSM generally from all sides.

  35. Razorlight 36

    I know what you are saying lprent and I did go off in a tangent.

    It just seems to be a reoccuring theme throughout the blogs and the msm. It is beginning to be a battle between the two with snide comments coming from both sides aimed at the other medium.

    I agreed with SP for the first time ever the other day when he simply said one should read across the spectrum and come to their own conclusions. If you subscibe to that it does not really matter how partisan a journalist is and should not be a reason to stop reading their opinions.

  36. r0b 37

    I have been reading the Listener for nearly 50 years, but I cancelled my subscription tonight.

    Dan – I can’t claim 50 years, but I cancelled my long standing subscription about 2 months ago. You’re spot on with your comments on the columnists. Ralston was the straw that broke my back. What a wally.

  37. Razorlight 38

    rOb…why?

    I am just curious as to why people refuse to read something because they disagree with it. Even if it completley partisan, why would you not want to know what the other sides perspective is on the issues?

  38. There’s also a quality issue, Razor. I read only one rightwing blog (and only a few left ones) because they’re not worth my time. You can be happy to read opposing views without having to read crap. Sadly Ralston is crap, along with too much of the rest

  39. r0b 40

    rOb why? I am just curious as to why people refuse to read something because they disagree with it.

    RL – so as to register my displeasure in the only way that a commercial entity understands or cares about – stop giving them money (and circulation figures for advertising).

    I’m happy to read things I disagree with, do it all the time on blogs, but I don’t see that I need to commercially endorse and encourage rubbish.

  40. r0b 41

    Since edit won’t let me – just to add – not all of The Listener is rubbish by any means, but enough of it is, it passed my tipping point.

  41. Dan 42

    Razorlight, its not that I don’t enjoy reading contrary points of view. In fact opposite is the truth in that it sharpens ones own view of the way of things. I enjoy a trawl through some of the right wing blogs once or twice a week.
    But after some reflection I find the overall Listener package no longer is worth the dollars.
    And Rob, you are right about Ralston. At times he used to be quite an engaging TV interviewer, but his foray into print journalism is a disaster.

  42. Janet 43

    My Listener sub goes back even more than 50 years. It is sentimentality that keeps me subscribing but almost every week I am tempted to cancel as it appears to me little more (as others have noted) than the house journal of the National Party, reflecting the hopes and fears of the educated, privileged, but largely uncompassionate right. Some of the the inaccuracies and spin it prints as informed commentary (eg think of any article on education in the last few years) verges on insulting to readers.

    What keeps me going is that I take a long term view and while it is at the extreme right wing swing of the pendulum at the moment, before long it will inevitably return to being a more mainstream liberal, thinking NZer’s must read weekly magazine.

    A few months ago long term Listener staffer Gordon Campbell wrote a considered piece about the right turn of the Listener on his scoop site and Russell Brown had some interesting reflections when he left on publicaddress (sorry don’t have links to these but they should be easy to locate).

    I currently prefer fresh and energetic blogs like this to the tired and conservative print media (one reason is that you can enlarge the print on screen!)

  43. Ben R 44

    “you are right about Ralston. At times he used to be quite an engaging TV interviewer, but his foray into print journalism is a disaster.”

    Not at all. I’ve found his commentary on the internal workings of TVNZ & the Tony Veitch business reasonably interesting. He also seems to have a refreshingly self depreciating sense of humour, witness his piece about going out in Ponsonby and overhearing people talking about ‘the old guy’.

  44. Draco TB 45

    The shape of things to come?

  45. Felix 46

    Ralston on Radio Live is particularly sad.

    Not sure if he’s dumbed down his style for the sake of inclusiveness or if he really is just losing his faculties – either way it’s an embarrassing display from someone who actually had a bit of cred once upon a time.

  46. Ben R 47

    The Daily Show is excellent, as is the Colbert Report. There’s a good clip on YouTube of Stewart being interviewed on CNN & giving a scathing critique of how they fail to properly inform voters.

  47. r0b 48

    Just a passing off topic Cheers to Ben and Janet. Great to some grown ups not only on the net, but right into the hurly burly of blogs. (Helps me feel not quite so ancient too!).

  48. Sounds like shes somewhat bitter, jealous even.

  49. bill brown 50

    The same bunch of pros that got:

    “Clark a control freak”

    from

    “Clark is renowned for her managerial skills, the discipline she demands from those around her and her tight control of all things Labour undertakes under her leadership.”

    Good to see the comments giving them an overwhelming panning for it though.

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