Open Parachute has a post Evidence, not lawyers about that well-known writer of political fiction, Ian Wishart, issuing a press release saying that he is preparing to sue the Chris Barton at the NZ Herald and Gareth Renowden at Hot-Topic.
As Open Parachute says
The offensive sentence? ‘Only this week breakfast TV host Paul Henry flirted with stupi-duty by lending support to Ian Wishart’s AirCon, a book that the excellent Hot Topic (www.hot-topic.co.nz) noted â€˜appears to come from another planet” (see Chris Barton: Climate debate adrift on rising tide of lunacy). (The word ‘supi-duty’ was a parody on a critical missive the Herald had received from a climate change denier).
Seems pretty mild to me hardly worthy of legal action. After all it was Paul Henry who was accused of flirting with ‘stupi-duty.’ Yet Wishart is threatening legal action and also that ‘he may widen the lawsuit to include Renowden as well.’ Renowden is the author of the critical review of Wishart’s book on Hot Topic (see Somethin’ stupid ).
Ian Wishart in his delusions may believe that he is writing factual books. But in fact he is producing a body of political fiction. It is fiction because he doesn’t let facts get in the way of his imagination. If facts don’t fit his strange ideas of how the world should operate, then he twists them until they do, or just makes bullshit up and tries to market that as ‘fact’. They are political because they are targeted to activate the prejudices of the sewer or talkback.
It is difficult to understand why Ian Wishart is thinking about bringing this case. It is unwinnable because any reasonable person who has read any of his material before would have the same conclusion as Chris Barton without reading more than a review of Wishart’s latest opus, including me. The only reason that people I know haven’t bothered to sue Wishart in the past for his various defamation’s against them is because it is a negative sum game. Even if you win, then you’d have still lost in the time and effort taken.
However, if Wishart chooses to sue someone else, then all of those previous defamations would be admissible to show why Chris Barton’s statements were a reasonable opinion based on Wisharts previous writing. Not to mention that a legal offense fund would be easy to build.
After all Wishart has chosen to make a laughing stock of himself over time, along with gaining a considerable number of enemies. Personally, I’d be very interested in a court ordered disclosure of the finances of Wishart, Investigate, and the publishing of his books. It doesn’t appear to me that they could be self-funding. In which case a political blog like this would be very interested in who his supporters are.
In any case Chris Barton’s comments reflect a commonly held view of Ian Wishart and his books. Overleaf, I’ve pointed out how the authors of this site have viewed Ian Wishart. I’d suggest that other blogs pull out their posts from the archives. Besides like this one on Poneke’s blog about a comment by Danyl they are usually hilarious.
Various authors here have made their opinions clear over the last few years.
all_your_base commenting in Back to the future (again)
What this latest admission shows is that National hasn’t changed its spots since Brash. Turns out Key was actually telling the truth when he told Investigate magazine that he wouldn’t change the policy, just the tone. That could make it the first demonstrable fact that Ian Wishart has ever published.
From the Robinsod’s hilarious “review” of Absolute Power: Book review: Absolute Power
I had high hopes for Absolute Power, I really did. If Faulkner taught us anything with The Sound and the Fury it was that a tale told by an idiot could be a masterpiece, if Nabokov’s Pale Fire offers us any lesson it’s that an exposition of paranoia and madness can make for damn fine reading.
So it was with great literary expectation that I picked up on the first of the excerpts published on Cameron Slater’s blog. I have to say I was disappointed and further reading just brought further disappointment. I mean sure the idiocy, madness and paranoia are all there. So too the stream of consciousness prose, the wild Pynchonesque explosion of detail beyond logic and the refusal to be bound by traditional narratological process. It should have all added up to some kind of masterpiece.
But it hasn’t.
all_your_base pouring humour on Wishart ‘investigating’ Owen Glenn
I was particularly intrigued by the sensationalist chapter accusing Owen Glenn of Mafia connections. The basis for this defamation? â€˜Some of his associates allegedly have names like ‘Guido’, ‘Luigi’ or ‘Tony’â€˜. Intrigued, I decided to do a little digging of my own. I’m delighted to be able to report that to these names we can also add ‘Mario’.
Steve Pierson in The best they’ve got?
When I heard a Chinese national had been approved for citizenship by a minister against the advice of officials and with a letter of recommendation from a Labour MP, after he had apparently donated to the Labour Party, I thought ‘seeing as this is coming from Ian Wishart, it’s probably nothing but the jokers better not have got themselves into anything dodgy’. So, it’s nice to see Wishart has made a fool of himself again, and accidentally turned what was meant to be this great scandal on Labour into an embarrassment for Key.
I commented in Book review of the insane about Gareth’s review of Aircon
Gareth has a lot of fun tearing the ‘science’ in Wishart’s opus to bits. As he points out, Wishart doesn’t actually understand the fundamentals of any of the science. It would involve learning and thinking, something that Wishart appears to consider is below his dignity.
I did this prior to reading Aircon. My subsequent read of that work of fiction merely confirmed my opinion. In the book Wishart manages to demonstrate his monumental lack of knowledge about science to a degree that is an appalling indictment of his lack of secondary level training. Where he has occasionally managed to find a “peer reviewed” paper, he has typically completely mis-interpreted the contents.
It is hardly surprising that Ian Wishart also appears to have committed a act of artistic plagarism on the cover of Aircon as Tane pointed out in Coincidence?.
So Chris Barton is hardly alone in considering that anything written by Ian Wishart is likely to be stupid, and Paul Henry (hardly the brightest spark around) was doing an act of stupi-duty by lending support to Wishart and Aircon.
In my opinion, Ian Wishart is a rather poor journalist who sometimes writes books. He doesn’t check his facts, preferring instead to selectively quote without making the effort to understand what he is talking about. This has showed up in the last two books of his that I’ve read.
In Absolute Power, I know many of the people he wrote about in the circumstances he was referring to, and what Wishart wrote was almost entirely a tissue of distorted and misinterpretation of facts, reporting of unsubstantiated rumours, plus some outright lies.
While my earth sciences degree is somewhat old and I’m not working in the area, I have been reading in the area for the last 30 years. It was clear to me reading Aircon, that Ian Wishart had no basic understanding of the topic. Again it was almost entirely a tissue of distorted and misinterpretation of facts, reporting of unsubstantiated rumours, plus some outright lies.
Open Parachute speculates on why Ian Wishart is thinking about bringing this case.
Seriously though, why the legal threats? Surely there is no serious ground for them? Wishart can’t seriously expect to win such a lawsuit? Has he lost the plot?
I think he has two motives:
1: Publicity. Some authors will do anything to promote their book. Legal stunts are not new. And there is the old adage ‘no news is bad news.’ Interestingly, though, my perception is that it is usually the purveyors of bad products who are the most likely to resort to defamation charges (consider the MaxiCrop case in New Zealand and the Chiropractors in the UK see Suppressing science).
2: Intimidation. Such legal action may have no chance of winning but companies can still be intimidated. They can often end up treating such litigious people with kid gloves. Editors may tell the journalists and columnists to go easy. Again we saw this effect of the MaxiCrop case pn the sensitivity of Crown research Insitutes in New Zealand (see Suppressing science).
Whatever. Legal intimidation is a sign of weakness. I would have thought that if Wishart was confident of his message he would rely on the facts, on the evidence, not the lawyers.
Probably he is trying both and looking at the posturing with little substance Crosby-Textor legal approach to silencing critics.
Seriously, Chris and Gareth, if Ian Wishart does bring this case. Don’t fold. Just ask around and you’ll get a whole lot of help from affidavits to cash. There are a lot of people who are very pissed off with Ian Wishart. As well as the scientific distortions in Aircon, a case like this allows all of those previous distortions of fact to be brought forward to show why it would be reasonable to consider a Wishart book to be a work of political fiction.