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To Blog, or Not to Blog

The democratic process has been analysed up hill and down dale over the last few days – even down to its Athenian roots on this morning’s National Radio.

What has happened is immensely disturbing in many ways that I am sure will resonate with readers of my blog. And no doubt call into question the motives of and processes followed by those who like me have chosen to publicly expose their own opinions – in my situation, specifically on local politics and administrations.  

Once upon a time, before the advent of ‘social media,’ all news was moderated, principally by editors who in turn were beholden to proprietors with widely varying interest in news manipulation depending on their particular political bent.

Then it all changed and suddenly the ether was full of new and un-moderated pages of opinion that had not been subjected to the afore-mentioned controls. It took some time for the population as a whole to come to terms with the fact that patronising this new media – mainly blogs, was entirely optional. The ability of these blogs to influence opinion was limited by the self-generated credibility of the writer, and the veracity and relevance of the information being purveyed.

A great number of people fail to understand that each blogger understands precisely how successful his or her appeal is through a daily, even hourly statistical review of every aspect of the readership. Failure to achieve an audience is the ultimate arbiter of reader preference. If nobody is interested, or rejects the views expressed by the blogger, then he or she is unlikely to persevere talking to him or her-self. It is always interesting to note the level of comments that appears, but t is surprising that this almost never reflects the statisically provable level of interest in a particular post.

It is perfectly true that bloggers generally fail for one reason or another to undertake the kind of cross referencing that is taught in Journalism 101. Few have the resources to undertake such of information that has to come to their attention, and as I have done on many occasions, make it perfectly clear that they are not even-handedly reporting ‘news’ – simply providing first- hand information (i.e. from Council meetings), and personal opinions on issues of the day.

Anyone who has been a regular reader of the Whaleoil Blog (and for that matter, 'The Standard,' or the ‘The Red Flag’) will be under no illusion as to what sources the writers of those blogs use to secure their information, and the scurrilous nature of a great number of the posts that appear, but therein lies discretion – if you are adult, and discriminating, you may choose to read or not read whatever happens to interest you. And it appears that the numbers reading Whaleoil (by far the highest readership in the land), now approches that of the 'Herald.' Like it or loathe it, it does appear to furfill a need. 

To claim (as Hager does) that somehow, the ‘dirt’ that emanates from the ivory towers of our Capital is somehow influential in determining our way of thinking is insulting in the extreme. The faux shock/horror of the press reaction over the last few days is more reflective of the glee amongst the traditional journalists at the predicament of Slater being ‘sprung’ as regards his multifarious sources that they have recently been far less successful in tapping, than anything else.

And Slater’s constant refrain regarding Herald “repeaters” in particular provides even greater incentive to put the boots in – particularly while he is in Israel. And before anyone points out his longstanding support for that Israeli cause – yes, I am well aware thank you, and fully expect some trenchant criticism of Palestinian intransigence over the next week or two. Most of which I give scant credence, along with his unfathomable denial of human induced climate change. Therein lies discretion.

Slater’s well-foundered criticism of ‘Herald’ senior writer  David Fisher for his fawning support for the cause of Kim Dotcom has been the basis of serious questioning of the Herald’s bias in favour of this and other causes, including its right wing lean towards the National Party. This is by no means a one-way affair, and it all contributes towards our understanding of the nuances of issues.

Anyone who reads my blog will fully understand my distaste for the modus-operandi of our Mayor Glenn Leach. It does not prevent me from offering praise where I think it is due, but it certainly does not prevent me from listening to and evaluating scuttle-butt, of which there is plenty. Certainly Mayor Leach has made his distaste for my blog perfectly clear from his bully chair, but I don’t take it personally, nor do I descend to sleaze.  

This whole explosion of horror over the Hager revelations is great for book sales, but frankly, I don’t believe it throws any more light on what happens within the ‘beltway’ than what we already knew – politics is ‘dirty’ – yeah right! Certain ‘black’ party operatives are unethical – yeah right! Politicians are hypocritical – yeah right! Certain bloggers scrape the barrel of political intrigue, sexual innuendo and outright gossip – ho-hum! And certain writers who make a living by righteously exposing these foibles use stolen emails and similar – no, surely not!

And the more that pollsters ask the question – “Will you change your vote because of these revelations?” the more self-fulfilling the result. I look forward either way, to the conclusion of this cacophony on 20 September. In the meantime, your choice is to read, or not!




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