Thursday, 23 April 2015

"A bit of banter" - and then some

I didn't think this story could get any worse. I was wrong. It just got much, much worse.

It would appear that the waitress's employers have colluded with a journalist who is known to have a close relationship with the PM and other National party figures to assist her in writing an article which reframes the issue (and of course reveals her name, which I've rather futilely redacted):

Her bosses, Hip Group owners Jackie Grant and Scott Brown, told the Herald they were disappointed Ms                  - who they say has "strong political points of view" - went public rather than coming to them directly with her concerns. However, they are hoping to "put this all behind us" now.

The waitress spoke at length with Rachel Glucina of the NZ Herald under the pretence that she was a PR consultant working for the café. When she discovered that she had been conned she immediately contacted the Herald. Glucina (who has a tabloid background) claimed that her employers had known who they were dealing with (which they deny, not very plausibly) and that she had no control over whether the article would be published. Bomber contacted the editor of the NZ Herald late last night to ensure that he was aware of the situation. They have published regardless.

I wish I had words to express the enormity of this. The most widely read newspaper in the country is all-but-openly colluding with the National Party in attempting, with the most underhanded and illegal of tactics, to discredit stories that tarnish Brand Key. The most terrifying part is the flagrancy of it all - the Herald knew exactly what they were doing. I can think of only two explanations - the first is that they (and their National party sponsors) were genuinely arrogant enough to think that this wouldn't come to light; the second scarier possibility is that they think they'll get away with it regardless, presumably thanks to their political connections. I should state that there's no direct evidence at this stage that Key or anyone in the National party approached Glucina about writing the article, but "suspicious" would be a rather understated way to describe it given the fact that she's not only a close friend of John Key but acted almost immediately once the original story broke. It's certainly grounds for the Ombudsman to take a serious interest.

We are sleepwalking down the road to tyranny. I am terrified that, once again, people will not be paying attention, that the rest of the media will decide the story is not "entertaining" enough to pursue, that the political opposition will decide that it's a "beltway" issue and fail to hold the PM to account. I really, really don't want to see that happen. If we allow this to stand the powers that be will take it as license to accelerate their agenda of turning our once independent media into a outsourced National party propaganda machine. Please, inform yourself about this, read the Daily Blog articles, and please share and discuss.

UPDATE: The Herald article's now added a statement from the editor, Shayne Currie. The tone protests innocence but nowhere does it contradict the waitress's claim to having been deceived, which effectively confirms it.

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