Another election, another shock-horror book from left-wing conspiracy theorist Nicky Hager.
. . . The book starts with what is already known: that a prime ministerial operative, Jason Ede, regularly feeds information to Cameron Slater, who writes the blog “Whale Oil” and who Mr Hager described as “obnoxious” at tonight’s book launch at Wellington’s Unity Books.
The book builds on that information though: in an echo of Mr Hager’s most famous effort, The Hollow Men, the book contains leaked emails between National Party figures.
The book also alleges Mr Ede hacked into Labour Party computers and fed the resulting Information to Mr Slater.
Mr Hager says he got the information through “a lucky break” because, after Mr Slater’s blog attacked West Coast residents as “ferals” earlier in the year, the Whale Oil blog was hit with a series of denial of services attacks.
As a result of these attacks – and here Mr Hager has been somewhat vague – emails were obtained and these found their way to Mr Hager. . .
Somewhat vague, well yes, he would be wouldn’t he, just as he was more than vague about the source of then-National leader Don Brash’s correspondence that found its way into his hands.
There’s nothing vague about the timing of the book’s launch though.
It is politically motivated in an attempt to influence the election outcome.
If the talk-back test is any indication, Hager could be very disappointed.
Kerre Woodham introduced the topic on Newstalk ZB last night and few listeners showed much interest in it.
The book has a chapter devoted to David Farrar who responds:
I’ve had a quick read through the chapter on me, and a few things I’ll point out.
Hager thinks my setting Kiwiblog up was due to my involvement in the IDU. That’s nuts. I’ve been debating politics online since 1996, originally through Usenet. I set Kiwiblog up because I like debate. It was not encouraged by anyone, and I was surprised it has turned out influential. In fact in the early days quite a few in National put pressure on for me not to blog.
I get e-mails from numerous people, including Jason Ede, pointing stories out to me, or suggesting things I may want to blog on. I get them from lots of ordinary blog readers, from friends, from some staff, and sometmes even an MP. But I decide what I blog, and they always accord with my political views.
My blog isn’t nearly as well-read as Kiwiblog or Whaleoil but I also get emails with tips or suggestions for posts.
Sometimes I ignore them, sometimes I use them and when I do it is my own point of view on them. I am open about my involvement with National but have never asked anyone in the party for information. No-one inside or outside the party has ever told me what to write.
A tiny proportion of what I blog comes from National sources. Way under 5%. I write Kiwiblog, and people send me ideas – and this is somehow a conspiracy. Very very very occasionally I might proactively ask for some info – maybe every couple of months, if that.
Most of what I blog is pro-National, as you would expect. But most weeks there is an issue I disagree with them on. I did multiple posts attacking the Government on the proposed copper tax, and even had Kiwiblog join an aggressive campaign against National on this. I have several times lobbied minor party MPs not to support National on bills or amendments. I recently said I think John Key should have accepted Gerry Brownlee’s resignation.
When Curia first set up, it of course had only one client. Since then it has grown nicely. At last count around 60+. The initial staff were mainly people I knew through National, as I took over what had been some internal polling, but today we have well over 100 staff and I don’t think any of them are Young Nats. The 2ic for Curia is a Labour supporter who told me the first time we socialised together that for a right wing bastard, I’m not totally bad. We poll for many clients, whose politics I do not share. I’ve polled for former Labour and Alliance MPs. I’ve polled for Family First, and disagree with them on 90% of their issues.
Nicky seems to think it is a secret I am National’s pollster. A bloody badly kept secret. It’s on my website. It is referred to often.
He is also excited that my staff do some canvassing work for National candidates or MPs. Yep. It creates extra work for my staff which is great. But we don’t just do it for them. While most of our work is polling, if people want to utilise our call centre, and pay for it, they can. Just last week I had one client contract our call centre to make 18,000 phone calls on their behalf – this is a totally non-political client. I’ll work for pretty much anyone who pays (so long as not a conflict of interest)
Most of the book is on Cam. Cam does some great stuff and he sometimes does some appalling stuff. Cam does not work for anyone, or even take guidance from anyone. He is his own force of nature.
He, like David, will criticise National people and policies and is sometimes complimentary about those on the left.
Hager basically doesn’t like the fact the right now have voices. He basically says no media should ever use me as a commentator. He is threatened by the fact we finally have one organisation (Taxpayers Union) arguing for less government spending, to counter the 2,000 or so that argue for more.
My final comment is to note that people thought his book may be on the NSA and GCSB intercepting electronic communications. It would seem the person who is the biggest recipient and publisher of intercepted electronic communications is in fact Nicky Hager. If someone published a book of e-mails between a group of left-wingers, he’d probably call it a police state, and demand an inquiry.
Does anyone else see even hypocrisy in someone writing a book by the recipient of intercepted emails criticising someone else’s intercepted emails?
The left would be incandescent if it happened to them, but as Liberty Scott notes they are already angry:
. . .You see, attack politics are actually normal. It’s the norm for many politicians to be pejorative. The left’s primary pejoratives are to claim policies are “racist” and “sexist”, or that those on the right “hate the poor” and are only in politics for the money (they of course, donate most of their salaries to charity), and finally there is the anti-semitic attacks on John Key and the childish “fuck John Key” contribution to intelligent discourse.
What is apparent is anger. Anger from those who think they are entitled to spend other people’s money without their consent, anger from those who want to tell other people what to do with their property, anger from those who don’t like foreigners, or foreigners buying things they themselves can’t or wont buy, and conversely anger from those who are fed up with being told they owe others a living, fed up with being told that some people are entitled to be listened to more, because of some aspect of their background. The anger in politics is due to polarisation. Those on the right are becoming more clearly cynical of answers that involve more government, while those on the left are less inclined to compromise with business, with those arguing to be left alone, and those who offend and upset them.
Hager’s book from what little has percolated out simply seems to report that some bloggers are affiliated with the National Party. Who knew?!? Hager wont write a book about those affiliated with the Labour Party, or the Greens, or heaven-forbid the Kim Dotcom/Alliance Revival/Harawira Whanau First Party, because they are who he wants to have in power. He talks about how bloggers deliberately try to get media attention to support one political point of view, yet he is guilty of exactly the same tactic when he puts out his books.
Hager’s biggest problem is that what he purports others to do, is exactly what he is trying to do himself. Pass himself off as “independent” and dedicated to exposing secret political deals, but he is anything but independent, and completely ignores anything going on on his side.
That’s because he’s not an objective journalist, he’s a very subjective conspiracy theorist.
The book will excite the left, those biased in the other direction, like me, will treat it with disdain.
Will anyone other than political tragics be interested in it?
I suspect it will just confirm their poor view of politics and its practitioners.
P.S. the book was launched at Unity Books – that might explain why Stephen Franks calls it a bookshop for book burners:
A significant part of Wellington’s literary set have a poisonous consensus against views they do not favour. In effect they define their tribe by what it agrees to hate. What they hate is drearily predictable, including road improvements (particularly fly-overs), Israel, and any challengers to their clerical view of what is ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’.Thomas Sowell refers to this class as the anointed. Their world is divided into the righteous and the unrighteous.
Our Prime MInister is among the un-righteous, obviously. Making a fortune is irredeemable, especially out of investment banking, then being overwhelminly popular with voters who have to attract voluntary customers for a living.
Accordingly Unity book-shop has attempted to minimise its sales of John Roughan’s biography of John Key. Since it was published it has been on the floor behind other stands whenever I or a friend has checked. Much of the time it was face down.
I tackled a person who appeared to be an owner or manager. He said it was his staff who put it there, and he couldn’t stop them from doing it. Each time he tried to turn it face side up or give it more prominence they would return it to where people would have to ask for it expressly. . .
Last time I was in Wellington I went into the shop, saw the books upside down on the floor, picked up several and placed them right-side up on the table.
I wonder how long it took for staff to put them back on the floor?