Or: National Party blogger attacks Labour Party blogger. (image: caracaschronicles)

‘I’ve been told things. I’ll repeat them as if they were true.’

Cameron Slater, the right wing ‘blogger whose poos don’t smell‘ is at it again. Cameron parasitically relies on the mainstream media for source material to feed his abusive narrative against anything remotely ‘pinko’. He has the ill-grace to frequently berate the very same mainstream media he so plunders and leans on as corrupt, lazy and dishonest ‘chumps’. What? Compared to him?

Who, really, is being dishonest, Cameron?

Yesterday Cameron pumped out a fetid 850 word blog post (an epistle by his standards) which set out to denigrate and smear the Labour Party (no novelty there) and specifically targeted left wing political commentator John Pagani.

John’s Left leaning blogs are published on the extremely high-rating Fairfax website stuff.co.nz … alongside ‘centre right’ blogs by the fairly well-known National Party functionary, pollster David Farrar. John is also a regular guest commentator on radio and has his own blog: JohnPagani.com.

Alexa data: stuff.co.nz vs Cam Slater's website (my blog's reach is even tinier)

I know both of them, Cameron and John.* I follow them on Twitter and occasionally comment on their blogs, when the spirit takes me.

Cam’s shabby effort yesterday is a DISGRACE — any way you look at it.

Also, in my personal view, if he’s serious, Cam reveals near-dementia levels of double standards and persecutional delusion. He really takes the ‘Our side is Good, their side is Bad’ fixation to breathlessly ludicrous extremes. Let me explain.

Cameron’s latest smear, an untrue statement counched as a ‘question’:

Is Stuff’s “political commentator” Pagani still being paid by the taxpayer to be Goff’s chief strategist?

Set aside for the moment the hilarious image of Cameron Slater acting as some sort of moral compass of the blogosphere …  yesterday he accused John Pagani of writing (and Fairfax of publishing) ‘dirty little tricks‘ against the National Party … and he says ‘some questions need to be asked about the propriety of John Pagani.’ Propriety? Questioned by Cameron? Hilarious!

He then enters the Twilight Zone and he tells us what Labour ‘suspects’, he tells us what Labour ‘fails to understand’ and how ‘they see conspiracy’. He tells us that ‘Labour deeply believes that all the key members of the VRWC are paid by the National Party’ [to ‘speak in the media as political commentators’].

OK, are you following? Cameron says this is what Labour thinks: That there’s a Tory conspiracy to pay for favourable political comment to appear in the media. Riiiight, Cameron.

Like an episode of comedy classic ‘Allo ‘allo Cameron then spells out a convoluted bedroom farce/conspiracy theory of his own: Labour, convinced National is conspiratorially (gasp) paying for comments, ‘decided their own suspicions are enough and – to make things fair – that they should start paying people too…’

Oh, the circularity!

Then, using what I call slippery weasel words he announces:

The person they have chosen, I’m told, to be their paid political commentator is John Pagani.

See? Cameron isn’t himself saying Labour has ‘chosen’ to do something dishonest and corrupt. All he’s doing is saying what he’s been ‘told’. More of the same liquid fertilizer dribbles down his chin:

Pagani is of course married to Josie Pagani, Labour’s candidate for Otaki Rangitikei (sic), and he used to be Phil Goff’s chief strategist. [Comment: It’s a fact that he is married to Josie and he did work for the Labour leader.] Well, according to the tip line, [oops, good bye facts] he actually still is Goff’s chief strategist. Apparently, it was decided it would be a cunning plan to change his status from employee to contractor so that he could then go out, deny being paid by Labour, and get gigs with, among others Radio New Zealand and stuff.co.nz

Count the sleazy accusations in that nasty little smear. Having poo-poohed Labour’s alleged conspiracy theory about National paying people to peddle favourable spin and comments in the media, he credits ‘the tip line’ with an allegation that Pagani ‘actually still is Goff’s chief strategist’ and that a ‘cunning plan’ was hatched to LIE about that, then LIE to various mainstream media outlets to get Labour’s [alleged] secret agent some high profile ‘gigs’ with newspapers and radio.

That’s pretty sleazy even for Cameron if you ask me, considering he offers ZERO evidence for his claims beyond ‘I’ve been told’, ‘the tip line’ and ‘apparently’ … and all this after accusing Labour of (paranoicly?) perceiving a National Party conspiracy — where he tells us there isn’t any.

He then goes on to smear others in news organisation Fairfax, recycling past rumours, indignations and half-baked scuttlebut. Honestly, Cam seems to me to be a very-close-to-bursting pustule of hot resentment towards the mainstream media — unless they’re hammering his political enemies. In that case, they’re heroic figures.

His final hallucination is so loaded with tin foil hat-esque conspiracy theory and woe-is-me vexation, it’s almost luminous:

So it is with some bemusement that we see John Pagani leave a high paid job in the Goffice and appear all of a sudden opposing David Farrar at the Fairfax run stuff site. A man who has no legacy at blogging or commenting, a back room dark arts practitioner who now all of the sudden makes a career choice to become an unpaid blogger and commentator, just when his wife is losing her income too.

Do you see the real ‘crime’ Pagani is accused of in Cam’s parallel universe? It’s there, right between the lines.

I recently read the notes from a fascinating presentation called 'Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Role of Self-Reflection in Ethical Decision Making'. Google it.

As I read Cam’s fevered reasoning, John Pagani is someone whom he sees as having no track record of blogging. Ouch. That’s not actually true, but in Cam’s mind he himself is a professional, experienced unpaid blogger (having logged his Gladwellian 10,000 hours). Now, horror! Other, less qualified people are blogging and eek! getting a profile. Carumba!

According to Cam, this thoughtful, clear-spoken left winger John Pagani is ‘all of a sudden‘ popping up to balance well-exposed right wing commentators David Farrar and Matthew Hooton. Both of whom, as I said in ‘David Farrar showing WhaleOil how it’s done‘ know how to moderate their venom and spin (Matthew less so IMO) to acceptable levels for a wider audience … considerably wider than some of the sad, jingoistic bigots who seem to inhabit the comment stream on Cam’s blog. (Blessings be upon them.)

Cameron’s real complaint about John Pagani seems to me to be that John is often an effective, incisive, informed and articulate commentator … and he has an audience. Pagani has earned it, in my view. He’s developed a reputation for insight and reasoned argument from the Left and with it, a good platform for his commentary in the mainstream media.

Cameron, still with his nose pressed up against the class, hasn’t. But he yearns to.

Poor Cameron. His world is shrinking around him as more talented writers and people with more significant things to say than he are ‘suddenly appearing’ in the blogosphere — encroaching on his patch, discussing politics and the media (how dare they!) and, in Pagani’s case, inadvertently highlighting Cam’s frustration with his own lack of mainstream media credibility and cut -through.


Cameron’s problem in a nutshell

Newspapers and broadcasters have professional standards enforced (cough) by bodies such as the Broadcasting Standards Authority and NZ Press Council. Those who work in the media are legally and contractually bound to comply with the various ethical standards and codes which encompass privacy, defamation, accuracy and fairness. (Actually, in my own experience, professional pride drives a lot of it too.)

As exposed, Cameron Slater’s modus operandi of publishing untrue, half-true and downright misleading statements (and others that look like lies to me) prefaced with ‘I’ve been been told’ or ‘the tip line says’ or placing a question mark at the end … well, frankly, that garbage just wouldn’t fly in a professional news/media situation.

Add to that his multiple convictions for breaching name suppression laws and his narcissistic ‘the-rules-don’t-apply-to-me’ loose cannon persona and you can perhaps see why he’s not more widely respected … and why, with a few exceptions, mainstream media doors aren’t being opened to him. Nor will any official position within his beloved National Party be a comfortable fit for someone with Cameron’s particular penchant for vendetta, innuendo and ready personal abuse.

Hence, perhaps, Cameron’s fairly obvious frustration as other openly partisan commentators with better ‘journalistic’ credentials and higher professional standards than him (not to mention better impulse control) like John Pagani and David Farrar, are presented to a wider audience … while he remains out in the cold.

He’s destined to remain a raving fringe-dweller unless he gets his act together. Too bad.

– P

* Disclosure: I worked with John Pagani producing the Paul Holmes Breakfast at Newstalk ZB in Auckland in the early 1990s before he went to work for Jim Anderton at Parliament. I like him.