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My 2 cents

Written By: - Date published: 9:37 am, September 17th, 2012 - 49 comments
Categories: blogs, newspapers - Tags:

It must be pretty sweet when your full-time job is to write 4 500-word columns of opinion a week.* It’s even sweeter when you can use those 500 words to have a whinge at your critics rather than write about things that your audience, you know, gives a crap about. The weird thing about Armstrong’s article is it first attempts to refute the critics (I did too write other than government line at APEC), then provides excuses (it was really hot in Japan and the lifts didn’t work in Russia).

But, in truth, it’s a just personal tirade by an old Tory who doesn’t like it when his pro-National line is challenged. And the place for that kind of writing isn’t a national newspaper column: it’s a blog.

Note that Armstrong identifies the former political allegiances of Campbell and Edwards and looks down his nose at them as “Aro Valley-style socialists” but won’t say what his own political leanings are. He wants us to believe that he – and his elite clique – are, alone among humans, above political bias and only report the objective truth.

Except that, then, he goes and ruins any pretense to objectivity when he writes that Edwards’ columns is “starting to develop a much more political dynamic that is unlikely to please National”.

Hmmmm, maybe we’ve hit on the problem. All these centuries, Armstrong’s been labouring under the misapprehension that it is the job of a newspaper columnist to “please National”.

(*Armstrong has written 100 pieces since mid-February. I’ve written 130, as it happens. More comments on average too. And the political commentary at The Standard doesn’t get to piggy-back on sports and crimes stories to get an audience – it has to stand entirely on its own two legs. But what would I know about writing interesting and informative political analysis?)

49 comments on “My 2 cents ”

  1. Brad 1

    At least journos are not too cowardly to hide behind a pseudonym

    [lprent: Both of the ‘bloggers’ that Armstrong was having go at actually use their real names. Perhaps it would pay you to stop stroking your intellect* and let it cool down.

    My “real name” is known. So are more about half of the authors who write on this site. It is a meaningless distinction. As anyone with half a brain would be aware, the people using their real names on this site do so so that they can mount more severe attacks when they want to. The harshest posts are invariably written by people not using pseudonyms. But I suspect that is a argument that you is beyond your hormone addled ability to think*….

    * The organ you think with clearly resides on the end of your penis. ]

    • Carol 1.1

      And, yet, the (alleged) “bloggers” that Armstrong has a go at are using their “real names”… so, relevance of your comment, Brad?

    • Pascal's bookie 1.2



      All the Non-bylined pieces that appear every day, notably on page 2 of the dompost, and the scuttlebutty ‘Insider’ col from the Herald’s Friday bsuiness section. Both of which are highly political and anonymous.

      you’re a real smart one there ‘Brad’.

    • prism 1.3

      Stand by your full name then if you are so keen on exposure. You might get your photo taken topless! Nothing like certain media to destroy your personal integrity and dignity.

    • Pete 1.4

      It should be noted that editorial comment often lacks a byline in the print media – for example, the Listener’s editorial has no byline. There are columns in The Economist written under pseudonyms, like Bagehot and Charlemagne.

      • Duncan Brown 1.4.1

        Publishing a name over the Leader or Editorial in many newspapers has only occurred in the last 10 or so years. Prior to that, it was considered to be the “newspaper’s” point-of-view and could have been written by the editor, a senior editorial writer, or even at times by a stringer, writing to instruction. It didn’t matter who wrote it becasue it was the stance that the paper took.

    • Murray Olsen 1.5

      Dear Brad
      Please perform irrumatio on yourself.
      Murray Olsen

    • Your pseudonym BS is a distraction and you know it. And I can say this because look up, that is my full real name, “Brad”.

  2. BernyD 2

    You got a link for that ? 🙂

    • Carol 2.1

      The Armstrong rant is on the NZ Herald site. Here is the link to the Gordon Campbell piece that Armstrong was responding to. Well, Armstrong doesn’t respond to the well argued and evidence-supported piece by Campbell on APEC, the TPP and their significance. Instead Armstrong responds to the aside at the end of Campbell’s article:


      BTW, the informed critical analysis of APEC and its bearing on the TPP process provided by the Canadian media was noticeably absent from the New Zealand coverage. By and large, the reports from our travelling media in Vladivostok were indistinguishable from a DPMC press handout. Where we significant players at Vladivostok? Hardly. Still, at least John Key did make this story in the Chicago Tribune.

      • BernyD 2.1.1

        Sorry carol it was a sarcastic reply to Brads post

        • Carol

          Ah, OK. Gottit, Berny.

          Meanwhile I checked the comments again beneath Armstrong’s article – he continues to get a roasting from most commenters.

        • prism

          You could avoid confusion when your comment goes down the ladder if you just noted the name of whom you are replying to, and if you added their comment number that’s a help.

          • BernyD

            Thanks, I think it’s the new Aurora (Mozilla) browser, I use MSiexplore @ home and don’t have a problem.
            Aurora doesn’t resolve the “Reply” link properly sometimes.

            • lprent

              Odd. I’ll try it out after work. The link is largely unambiguous (the comment-page part is ambiguous but shouldn’t cause problems in most posts).

              I turned SDPY on over the weekend. Could be something to do with that.

              • BernyD

                I’ve been having issues with Aurora /Firefox when refreshing as well, for more than amonth now.

                Iexplore doesn’t have the problem, which is why I switched @ home.
                I’m beta testing Aurora, so will stick with it @ work.
                Happy to test it for you, but it does seem sporadic

              • David H

                Ahh could that be why I have a layout problem ? I am using FFox the only problem I have is the top right hand of the page is all over everything else up there and any long links also run over the right hand part of the page. no problem with the comments section tho’

                • BernyD

                  I think FFox gets confused on a slower link, mine was running at 2mbits/sec when I had the problems. Something to do with the cookie / page refresh cycles I’d guess.

                • lprent

                  Nope – different issue. It is on my fix list to do permanently.

                  I have is the top right hand of the page is all over everything else up there

                  The way that wee tabs at the right operate is that they are really big lists that are hidden and then displayed with javascript. What it sounds like is that you have an old version of the CSS or JS cached from when I was testing some cloudflare options (I don’t see it). Try holding down the Shift button, and while holding it down press the page refresh. That will force the cached items on the page to refresh.

                  …any long links also run over the right hand part of the page

                  That is an old old bug in firefox. Try the help/about and find out what version it is. And what operating system are you using?

                  • BernyD

                    FFox 15.0.1 was just jamming up on me, would only display the header/banner then stop.
                    Restart and it would work once then same behaviour.
                    iexplore was sweet.

                    FFox (or any Mozilla derivative I think) has a different refresh cycle to iexplore,
                    If you’ve written javascript to change page sizes after load you’ll encounter this problem.
                    iExplore returns a 0 page height, ffox gets the correct height, which implies that iexplore is running the javascript simultaneously with the page load, whereas Mozilla run it in line.

                    • David H

                      Sorry I have tried Internet Exploder, Chrome, and Opera (I use opera on my phone it just runs better than FF on it). I just like the way I can block ads and stop scripts, and Kill off Googles nasty little trackers.

                  • David H


                    Firefox 15.01 the latest with the latest Java ,Flash etc etc, and I am running windows 7 with sp1 also up to date. I build computers, so I make sure mine is up to date. Hmmm it may be the cache, I do have a bad habit of just closing the lid. But I did have to reboot a couple of 3 days ago. I’ll shut it all down tonight.

  3. Blue 3

    I’m still waiting for Armstrong’s column defending Key and Banks and insisting that all is well and smelling like roses, nothing to see there.

    Perhaps he’s having a wee rest after the trials of APEC?

  4. I always thought armstrongs columns were more fiction than fact. perhaps part of his bleat is that he can see his job disappearing with the herald as they downsize. his appeal for a paywall made me laugh, sounds like a turkey voting for an early christmas!!

  5. King Kong 5

    Looking at the title of this post I think you have drastically over charged.

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    Bryce’s piece in the Herald today should be interesting. Academics aren’t constitutionally prone to letting shit like this slide.

  7. Carol 7

    Ha! And Gordon Campbell responds:


    Is this kind of attack ignorable? Not really. Even though I can’t help feeling that I was merely the pretext, and Edwards the real target of Armstrong’s injured pride. (One of Edwards’ alleged “echo chamber” crimes is that he has occasionally recommended my work.) In addition, Armstrong’s Herald colleague Fran O’Sullivan has been taking a few potshots at Edwards of late on Facebook. The goal appears to be to shore up the old regime and drum any trace of liberal thought out of the new Herald altogether.

    And Campbell goes on to argue why it is important to critique the NZ MSM’S inadequate coverage of the TPP and APEC – and the crucial topic Armstrong avoids adequately responding to in his last column.

    • BernyD 7.1

      This website was well named, It would appear the Herald is having the same trouble it had 40 years ago.

      The Auckland Star may yet be raised from the dead 🙂

      • Carol 7.1.1

        Ah, yes. And Campbell’s latest article is a must read – it’s a powerful piece, critiquing the problems of the MSM claims to “objectivity” and the crucial role of the Internet and alternative voices holding the right-wing dominated MSM to account.

    • deuto 7.2

      Snap – was just about to provide the link to Campbell’s response to Armstrong – an absolutely topnotch piece of journalism, in my opinion.

      I laughed at Campbell’s clever points about what it would be seen as if the Herald now dropped Edwards’ column.

      This trend towards political transparency is an entirely welcome development. As a reader, I want to know (or want to be able to quickly discern) where the writer is coming from. That’s why I think its great that Armstrong wrote that line about Edwards being ‘unlikely to please’ National – because it means that if the Herald does move to drop Edwards’ column sometime in future, the reason will be crystal clear to its readers. The readers would regard it (accurately) as Old Granny Herald sucking up to its boy, National.

      But people need to read the whole response as it covers all the bases of Armstrongs’ diatribe.

    • David H 7.3

      And I did like this gem in the middle of his article.

      To which I’d say: put a cork in the self pity and the passive aggression, feller. You were on an employer-paid trip to Russia and beyond, one that offered remarkable access to the deeds and intentions of some of the most powerful people on the planet – and you’re complaining about it, and whining about the workload? And offering the humidity up as an excuse? Here’s a positive suggestion. Next time, do some homework before the APEC conference. That way, you’ll have a basis for understanding what is unfolding before your eyes, or behind the arras. It will be an adrenaline rush, and you’ll thank your lucky stars for being so privileged, just to be there.

      Now that just completes a a good old fashioned telling off.

    • weka 7.4

      This is my favourite bit

      Let me just say that, beyond the name-calling, there are two substantive issues involved here. One, it has been true for years that the only ideology in media circles that gets called as such is on the left. Right wing propagandists are taken as the sensible norm by the corporate media. That ethical blind spot is now coming under scrutiny on the Net, and the journalists involved clearly don’t like it. To repeat: the name calling and the charges of ideological bias against Bryce Edwards and me are coming from journalists whose own ideological foundations and job performance are now (thanks to the rise of citizen journalism) being held up to public scrutiny for the first time. 

  8. Populuxe1 8

    Opinion piece is opinion piece is opinion piece is only opinion….

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      But the value of an opinion is in if it connects to reality. John Armstrong’s obviously didn’t.

  9. tc 9

    I love the smell of burning has been old media gov’t sycophants in the morning.

  10. captain hook 10

    has armstrong been checked for infantilism and senility lately?

  11. fatty 11

    Is there such a thing as a political commentator that doesn’t come from an ideological perspective?…no, there is not.

  12. QoT 12

    I’m at about 140 posts myself since Feb, Zet. And I imagine that like me, you hardly get to just sit at a desk 8 hours a day with nothing to do but watch Parliament TV, read Scoop, call your mates in the various Parliamentary offices, and write about it.

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