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Monday, September 17, 2012

Bloggers vs Journalists: Did John Armstrong just threaten Bryce Edwards?

Ideologically Impure has started the tempo of the blogospheres response to John Armstrong's extraordinary public flaming of Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards with some deliciously cruel meme generators...

...Dim Post is slightly less damning, but his comments section over flows with contempt at Armstrong's position...

The ambient political bais in his spitting contempt is dripping. Why isn’t Gordon Campbell a “journalist”? Because he happens to be left wing and frank about it? Or because he doesn’t conform with what John Armstrong thinks a journalist should be? And Bryce Edwards simply aggregates what he finds online and adds a bit of commentary. Worse, Armstrong appears to believe that the best way to shut down dissent from “unauthorised” journalists and bloggers is to simply put up paywalls and charge them – in other words, to put in place financial censorship to try and ensure only “proper” voices are heard.

Thoroughly entertaining column from Armstrong. Always a highlight when the declining fraud finally steps out of the closet and leaves the last shreds of pseudo-impartiality behind, but in this case the reveal is hilariously banal. Venerable Colonel Blimp becomes Whaleoil’s talent-challenged apprentice overnight. And the burning issue? Never mind hungry kids, consider the poor hordes of scribes suffering the heinous torture of foreign hotels and (gasp) no press releases!.

There’s also something pretty odd about Armstrong complaining about an activity that Armstrong’s own employer helps fund … The Herald contributes to the cost of collating all the information Bryce includes in his aggregator.

...Armstrong's position, to attack two of the most highly respected bloggers in the game seems like an on-line troll creating death wish.

Firstly Bryce Edwards and Gordon Campbell are more columnists than bloggers, but as John Armstrong points out, let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

When Bryce Edwards first turned up with his daily wrap ups, I was skeptical. It seemed that Bryce thought Tumeke was Maori for 'The blog Bryce Edwards refuses to link to' (interestingly the post that drew so much scorn from Armstrong originally had a link through to a post I had written on Pagani, but by the end of the day that had been edited out?), I also questioned KiwiBlog having a hand in originally funding Bryce's daily wrap ups. But since those early wobbles of confidence, Bryce has become the must read daily review of the political stories of worth. His contextualization of the events and running narrative that comes with it are the best initiation the NZ Herald has brought to their sagging line up.

Gordon Campbell is held in even higher regard than Bryce Edwards. One of the few openly left journalists in NZ, Campbell's work is some of the best journalism in this country and to attack him has all the credibility of Whaleoil attacking Noam Chomsky.

Let's just make a simple comparison shall we? While John Armstrong was complaining about the lack of borscht at APEC...

Strangely, borscht – Russia’s national dish – is off the menu. Authorities were worried visitors would take exception to one of the ingredients, beets, because they are only fed to animals in some countries.

...here is Gordon Campbell...

APEC has since declined in importance as this insightful piece in the Toronto Globe and Mail noted to where it is widely perceived as little more than a “talking shop” where (off the main agenda) the two competing trade pacts jostling for leadership in the Asia Pacific region are being promoted. Those two competing pacts are the China-led tripartite grouping on the one hand, that includes South Korea and which is ardently wooing Japan. The other is the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership club of actual and prospective members (Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam) which is also actively wooing Japan. The TPP bloc didn’t do much more than exchange pleasantries in Vladivostok but it will be meeting for more significant purposes in a few days time in Leesburg. Virginia.

Japan is, in other words, the key player that both camps are trying to draft. China and Japan however are currently locked in bitter territorial disputes over islands that both countries claim, and which Japan is seeking to nationalise. Largely to whip up nationalistic fervour inside Japan to the benefit of an unpopular government, before some upcoming elections. Yet according to the Canadian analysis, Japan is more inclined these days to join the China–led trade grouping:

...Armstrong's petulant attack on a blogger like Gordon Campbell who has far more talent than Armstrong simply damages the credibility of the NZ Herald right when they are desperately trying to re-launch into the digital age.

The weirdest part of Armstrong's column? His bizarre threat to Bryce Edwards...

The rapidly growing influence of Edwards' blog was initially down to its being an exhaustive wrap-up of all of the day's political news. It is now starting to develop a much more political dynamic that is unlikely to please National.

...I'm sorry, what?

It is now starting to develop a much more political dynamic that is unlikely to please National.

Is that a veiled threat? Bryce writes columns the National Party don't like and.....? So.....? Is Armstrong suggesting there is some black list Bryce may find himself on? Does Armstrong write columns the National Party love?

What is really at the heart of John Armstrong's outburst? The threat the old guard of journalists feel towards bloggers is exacerbated by the commercial pressures to churn out stories. Bloggers now have far more power to influence the news cycle and journalists resent that deeply.

For Armstrong to decry the so called ideological blindspots of Bryce and Gordon is absurd when John is such a cheerleader for the Government. Armstrong is voicing the real frustration of how much more influence bloggers are now attracting beyond the old Wellington beltway gatekeepers like him, Jane Clifton and Fran O'Sullivan and quite frankly it is sad and beneath a journalist of his worth to bitch as childishly as he has.

Note it's only left wing bloggers who apparently are the problem. Farrar and Whaleoil make a living out of spin and twisted manipulations and between the two of them manage to create about 90% of the blogging crimes against humanity yet don't even rate one mention in Armstrong's diatribe against the blogosphere.

Armstrong's column was dummy spitting at best, the dying echo of a dinosaur at worst.



At 18/9/12 10:36 pm, Blogger Phil said...

I thought John Armstrong was bitching about being paid p all and having to work for it! It was a tired and third rate piece of phlegm.


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