Yesterday, John Key gave us some advertising in the house. At question time about the Dirty Politics revelations that Jason Ede of his office had been writing blog posts that went up under Cameron Slater’s name at Whaleoil (see video in “Is John Key on the skids?” at about 1:48)
Megan Woods: Why has he (John Key) not asked for the drafts of the blog posts
John Key: I don’t think that it would achieve a hell of a lot, and more than if Mr Little was to go and ask how many people write anonymously or under pseudonyms on The Standard and all of those things. He might find some really amazing answers. But that again would be the pot calling the kettle black, wouldn’t it.
Quite an interesting weasel worded and completely meaningless answer (read it again – he doesn’t say anything).
It is also a false equivalence between the way that the blogs of right like Whaleoil and Kiwiblog operate, effectively as puppets of the National party, and the way that the blogs of the left largely operate, ours included.
Firstly. No-one writes on this site “anonymously”, they either use their own name or most likely write under a pseudonym. If I felt so inclined I could figure out who they were if I really needed to. No-one else can, except possibly the GCSB or SIS by tapping the data streams.
The reason for pseudonyms is because of the behaviour of some of the arseholes in political debate like Cameron Slater or John Key or even some on our side of the political fence. We, like most political blogs, both allow and actively encourage people to write under pseudonyms.
There have been many instances over the years on this site and others of threats and actions of retribution being carried out against people because of them expressing their opinions. In the net retribution can come for something you wrote decades earlier that is still visible when you approach a job.
After more than 3 decades around the net and its predecessors, my advice and that of every just about other veteran of it, is to only put your name to your opinions on the net if you need to for your work (like journalists and politicians), or you are so far along in your career that it is hard to be attacked in it. Because if it is possible to be attacked, then somewhere on the net there are many nutters who will do so.
Secondly. Our site isn’t open slather. We can and do actively prevent some people from writing posts and comments on this site.
We don’t allow parliamentary staffers like Jason Ede to write our posts or to use our names and pseudonyms.
The infamous H-fee post back in 2008 is the single questionable instance out of more than 15 thousand posts and I’d love to find out who the political dickhead was who put that up on our site. The authors of the time made damn sure that didn’t happen again. We also severely discourage politicians and staffers from writing on the site except under their own names.
Thirdly. We don’t allow criminal activities, assertions of fact without backing proof, violations of laws, encouragement of violence, or many of the other things. These are the things that have the irresponsible man-child Cameron Slater regularly being questioned by police or enquiries and appearing in front of courts. Something that I, thankfully, don’t have to do. They also get books written about you, something that is unlikely to happen about our volunteers to write posts and run this site.
As Danyl McLaughlin of Dimpost so perfectly said on twitter yesterday in response to Patrick Gower also running false equivalences (after I’d criticized one of his ex-colleagues for lying about this site “Scott Campbell: Liar on The Nation“*).
Indeed. He is referring to some passages in Dirty Politics where Cameron Slater was chortling in his obnoxiously irresponsible fashion about doing exactly that.
John Key is quite wrong. There is absolutely no equivalence between the way that we operate as a blog and the way that his puppeted blogs operate. It says more about how John Key thinks than it does about the way we operate.
* By the way, Scott Campbell has been unable to find any instances of posts or comments backing up his claim that this site was used by the beehive to attack him in 2008. Instead he is running diversions into the single H-fee post and vague statements that make it sound like he was sucked in by over-beers bullshit. He appears to me to be a complete arsehole of PR whose words are hard to distinguish from a typical fact free ‘Cameron Slater’ post.