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Nat two track strategy – March to Sept

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, September 13th, 2014 - 26 comments
Categories: accountability, blogs, class war, democracy under attack, dpf, election 2014, internet, Media, news, same old national, spin, telecommunications, tv - Tags:

The main theme in Nicky Hager is the use of a two track strategy by the National Party and its associates.  This strategy uses John Key as a smiley front man. Meanwhile behind the scenes a network of covert black ops people keep diverting and distracting their opponents with orchestrated, continual and often trivial, attacks.

Hager and his book Dirty Politics

Although no doubt unaware that Hager was working on his book at the time, many of us were aware of some such thing happening, but did not have the behind the scenes evidence.  We could see the endless attacks happening. John Drinnan identified the overt signs as it was happening back at the beginning of the election campaign in March.

h/t the genuine @article for drawing attention to this on twitter

The linked article is by Drinnan and is dated Friday March 28, 2014. Following the start of the article shown above, Drinnan continues:

It is Labour’s job to counter National’s influence over the news agenda. But it does not have many of its own partisans in the media; the left-leaning website The Daily Blog does not have an audience to compare with Whale Oil.


And we have the MSM to thank for giving Whale Oil and Kiwiblog credibility, an free promotion, by (most often) uncritically citing them as a legitimate news source.

Drinnan cites the example of the Kim Dotcom, Mein Kampf story, run by Brook Sabin on TV3, and amplified by Patrick Gower.

A few minutes later the pro-National blogger Cameron Slater – an assiduous Dotcom critic – “coincidentally” posted about the Hitler book on his Whale Oil website. It appears Slater sparked the item, with his inquiries prompting Dotcom to feed the story to TV3, hoping to get in first.

TV3 news and current affairs director Mark Jennings says Sabin had been working on the story for weeks.


TV3’s Sun-style tabloid treatment would have slipped by, had not political editor Patrick Gower weighed in and hyped the Mein Kampf issue even further.


Gower is regarded as a major point of difference for TV3 news, and Jennings has given him free rein.

But in my opinion Gower’s treatment of the Mein Kampf story adds to a perception that he is sun-struck by the glare of Key’s popularity in the opinion polls.

And we are still getting these politics of attack by a thousand trivial hits, while mainstream journalists and commentators focus on The Game, and sideline any focus on policies, values, and democratic processes.

Today we have the non-story of Len Brown’s trip to China during the period he had an affair with Bevan Chaung.  And last night, Brook Sabin presented a highly editorialised piece, pushing the idea that the Greens had lost confidence in Labour.  In between the editorialising were some selctive clips of Russel Norman speaking.  This is a distortion and distraction from the signs in the latest poll that John Key and National’s support is slipping.  And it is possibly a way to counter that slide.

Contrast that with an unedited interview with Metiria Turei yesterday morning on TV3’s Firstline. Turei emphatically states the Green Party position on their aim to change the government this election. She then goes on to talk about some of the significant policy issues.

[Edit: quote added] Turei said [h/t Corokia for the quote]:

Unfortunately in a campaign you can’t always control how the story is told, so for those asking, let’s be clear: nothing has changed.

Our 100% focus this election is to change the government in order to achieve a cleaner, fairer, smarter New Zealand.

Three more years of National would be disastrous for our environment, our children and economy and we need to change the government

Clearly some mainstream journalists do their best to tell the story as they see it (as in Drinnan’s piece linked above), and to focus on the significant issues.  But the dominant focus is that promoted by the logic of the corporate media, to get attention and sell advertising.

Thus they beat up any minor conflict, drama, and personality politics.  And the Whale Oil smear machine, and its related covert black ops team have been willing and able to feed the media its lines. How many journalists have been compromised by the Lusk-Ede-Slater attack network? And why is it still  continuing, even after it’s dirty, sleazy, anti-democratic practices have been exposed?

We need a strong, robust, public service media, on and offline: one that is free from commercial and political or government manipulations.  This is an issue for the election and for the health of democratic process.

Keep calm vote left

26 comments on “Nat two track strategy – March to Sept ”

  1. Paul 1

    Brook Sabin is the son of Mike Sabin.
    Mike Sabin is the National MP for Northland.

    Some questions.

    Does Mike Sabin have a vested interest in Mana not getting into power in Te Tai Tokerau?
    Does Mike Sabin have a vested interest in Green Party policies on the environment not seeing the light of day?
    Who selects the narratives that Brook Sabin gets for TV3?
    How did Brook Sabin get his job at TV3?
    Does Mike Sabin have any financial interests in West coast iron sands or have the support of those who do?

    Follow the money.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    As we move into the final week, the big chooks will turn up the heat to deliver their desired outcome, Key ruling alone, but if necessary, with Craig across the line, and the two passengers, Dunne and that idiot from ACT. It’s already starting with the anti-Peters editorials in the Press earlier this week and the Herald today, and the contrived wedge into the Labour Green arrangement. For-profit radio is in on the act too, not just with their Tory shock jocks, but with their attack promos on heavy rotation. And not to forget the Tory attack blogs and commentators at every turn. Watch out also for the ‘independent’ endorsements from concerned citizens and the backyard research. This is shaping up to be a week the likes of which we voters have never seen before as the huge forces of the right assemble to launch one last desperate assault.

    • Paul 2.1

      They have a lot to lose.

    • karol 2.2

      And now we have Glenn Greenwald!

    • bearded git 2.3

      I reckon they will push peters towards cunliffe with these editorials. The one in the tory herald today will have peters foaming.

      lab 30 gr 13 nzf 7 IMP 4=54=cunliffe with a very stable majority.

      l’m hoping labour and imp track up in the last couple of weeks with the kdc revelations

      • alwyn 2.3.1

        Those look like pretty reasonable numbers and will be close to the outcome.
        That is of course if you mean number of seats in the house. 54 out of 120 looks about right for this rag-tag bunch.

  3. weka 3

    Turei’s interview was good. I just watched Norman’s from yesterday morning (Breakfast) and I think it was pretty good too. He’s clear on what the GP intend to do, that National and the GP have little policy common ground but where they do the GP will continue to work on a case by case basis. And the GP is committed to changing the govt, and that this has been the position consistently for quite some time.


    My emphasis, because he did actually say that, very clearly.

    • weka 3.1

      I also thought that in both interviews, the interviewers did well and gave the two MPs the chance to correct the mis-impressions about what the GP is doing. Ali Pugh (TVNZ) and Michael Wilson (TV3), I don’t watch much TV news, are they generally reasonable interviewers? How much would this have been from the producers?

  4. The media will continue to act like this unless there are consequences for doing so.

    Labour need to make it subtly clear that if things continue as they do, the next time a Labour government takes office (as it inevitably will), the full force of the government will be used to back a massive increase in public broadcasting designed to crowd out and eliminate private media (which is losing money fast). This will include a new website specifically designed to take readership away from the Herald and Stuff.

    Hit them in their wallets. It’s the only way to make sure.

    • Tom Gould 4.1

      Unfortunately, the old notion of public broadcasters doesn’t work any more. The taxpayer still owns 100% of TVNZ but they have editorial freedom. Same for Radio NZ. Such rules of proprietorial separation from editorial don’t apply, it would seem, in the private sector media. So maybe the way forward is for modern media regulation to match the contemporary media environment? Oversight with speed and teeth and real sanctions? That’ll fix ’em. They will scream ‘press freedom’ and claim a communist take over, but it could work with skill and determination in a post-Dirty Politics era?

      • karol 4.1.1

        I’m thinking of a new style public service media, that links offline state broadcasters (including triplej type youth radio), with a range of online sites.

        • alwyn

          Tom Jackson, unfortunately, wants to go back to the old-style public broadcaster of the first Labour Government.
          In 1938, under the Savage administration, the radio news broadcasts were written in the Prime Minister’s office. They were the only ones that could be used.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            There’s nothing in Tom’s comment that indicates anything of the sort. Oh, and you’re projecting: right now press releases from the Prime Minister are “reported” uncritically, to the extent that he has a whole #team of corrupt PR hacks masquerading as journalists on his behalf.

            Funny how right wingers always accuse others of wanting to do the things they themselves are guilty of.

          • dv

            ‘the radio news broadcasts were written in the Prime Minister’s office

            Fast forward to 2014

            What has changed Alwyn?

          • Tom Jackson

            I said no such thing. The corporation would have a charter and a code of ethics. Maori TV has demonstrated that such broadcasting is still possible.

            • alwyn

              Perhaps I have taken your views further than you mean.
              It is when I see things like

              ” the full force of the government will be used ”
              ” eliminate private media”
              “take readership away from ”
              “Hit them in their wallets. It’s the only way to make sure.”

              that I start to worry. I don’t want any politicians selecting who or what the media is to support. I don’t trust any of them.

              • karol

                I don’t want any politicians selecting who or what the media is to support. I don’t trust any of them.

                But that’s what has been happening via the commerical news media.

                • alwyn

                  Sorry Karol but on that I have to disagree. Consider TV3.
                  I can’t believe that any network that succumbed to political influence would have programs like “Campbell Live” AND “Paul Henry” on each night. One is well left and the other far right. If a political organisation was controlling them they would have one or the other but not both.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It’s all in the editing and reporting of day to day stories. Usually in terms of what is ignored or left out, the order of the facts presented, how many lines is given to each side and who opinion or comment is garnered from.

  5. Bill 5

    And why is it still continuing, even after it’s dirty, sleazy, anti-democratic practices have been exposed?

    I’m not trying to be facetious, but why wouldn’t it? Firstly, it works. Secondly, and by way of comparison, (though what we’re being subjected to is more sophisticated) do you think the Politburo or whatever/whoever gave a flying monkey’s that ‘everyone’ knew Pravda was peddling official propaganda?

    What I found myself wondering was what our situation might be – what we might call our situation – when Farrar and Slater sign up to that bullshit voluntary code (whatever it is) that will allow them to claim journalistic integrity by dint of a piece of paper or whatever, if, at the same time, ‘mere blogs’ are overtly sidelined and rubbished by msm in terms of source, information and legitimate commentary.

    That would be NZ entering ‘interesting times’ in my book.

    • karol 5.1

      I’ve looked at the Online Media Standards Authority code. it just doesn’t cover the kind of black ops WO and KB are running.

      it’s mostly about standards re sex, violence, bullying, etc.

      • lprent 5.1.1

        Ditto. I have a half written post around somewhere that says (essentially) “why would we want to lower our standards down as far as the OMSA?”

        • Bill

          So, you don’t think there’s a danger, that by simply signing up to the code while simultaneously seeking to (further) deligitimise blogs, that the ‘dirty network’ gets to elevate Farrar and Slater in the public eye and gain an even tighter control over what public discourse the msm encourages/creates/disseminates?

          It doesn’t matter how shite the code is. What matters is how any sign up to the code is reported, yes?

  6. Duggie 6

    The smears just continue unabated.
    This post appeared on Whaleoil last Tuesday.It insinuates that an Australian TV show about political sex-scandals would not be fiction here if it was about “a party leader and a highflying corporate lobbyist” .
    Reading the comments it becomes obvious who the people involved are. Meanwhile some of the commenters are fair wetting themselves with excitement:
    “Wow…..can’t wipe the smile off my face. Its finally going to happen, yippeeee!!! ”
    “The south Auckland vote will completely collapse if this is true.”

    • Murray Olsen 6.1

      They all seem to have a virginal schoolboy attitude to sex. I didn’t realise there were still people like that around.

  7. anker 7

    What a nasty piece of work Whale OIl is………………

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