John Armstrong, in a terribly misjudged attack on two of the country's best bloggers (Gordon Campbell & Bryce Edwards) started the war this year between bloggers & journalists while the free market punditry tsk tsked the influence of left wing blogs.
I personally loved how Farrar and Slater have influenced gutted newsrooms for some years now, yet the punditry only seem to have a problem when it is the left blogs having the influence.
Better editors would have told Armstrong to send another edit. They didn't and like Garth George before him, Armstrong was let down by his editorial team. If the Herald's columnists were animals, the SPCA would have rescued them and prosecuted APN for cruelty by now.
Gordon Campbell's response to Armstrong's outburst is one of the best bone snapping take downs of 2012.
Keith Ng showed us the second round of bloggers vs journalists when he righteously took HoS & John Hartevelt to task over their ridiculous National Standards rankings.
Middle class education neurosis sells newspapers and few seemed to ask the question whether a corporate media actually cared about their child's education or cared about attracting page hits.
Ng also scored an exclusive by blowing the lid off the massive breach of security at the Ministry of Social Development. Ng's ability to attract donations directly for such investigative journalism gave some hope of a new way forward for media with a purpose. That in itself showed how little light there was in a year public broadcasting got murdered in broad daylight and Bernard Hickey gave up his pursuit of a public-prepared-to-pay style of journalism.
The recent challenge to Shearer's ability as leader generated on the blogs was another high point in terms of influence for the blogosphere.
“The blogs dont get to vote in the labour party, so we dont pay much consideration to it” - Andrew Little.
“Blogs,who cares about blogs” - Clayton Cosgrove
"I don't read blogs" they are "nonsense" - David Shearer.
Yeah, well it turns out they all should have been reading the blogs to see the desire to lower the threshold to 40% was being openly discussed and Shearer's ability to communicate beyond the words puppy and kitten were also being widely questioned.
I think the manner in which the mainstream media beat the story up into a coup by Cunliffe when the bloggers version of events differed so vastly is one of the most important evolutions in news this year.
It was the first time an event had been covered politically that had completely different narratives emanating from it. The MSM, shocked by the 40% threshold vote misread what was happening and manufactured a leadership challenge based on Patrick Gower asking Cunliffe 8 times in a row if he supported Shearer.
Why Cunliffe had to tell Patrick Gower who he was going to vote for in a secret ballot 3 months away was a good question. Being demoted and publicly flogged for 'disloyalty' was the terrible answer.
Let's not forget Vernon Small lowering himself to claiming that 'dark forces' could manipulate the leadership process in his inflammatory piece that ran during the weekend of the conference.
Red-under-the-bed type fear mongering? Really Vernon? It's not the democratization of a modern political party ladies and gentlemen, it's an invitation for 'dark forces' to fucking take over.
Vernon's commentary at that conference had all the authority of a panel of lepers judging a beauty competition.
The wide difference between what the msm saw and what the bloggers saw will grow, not diminish as we get closer to 2014 and that's when credibility and authority start to become challenged.
I sense the MSM won't give up their power so easily, watch to see their editorial war chant in 2013 become the sudden need to regulate online media.
There were of course lows. Cameron Slater published the work details of a grieving port worker and Slater finally admitted on Media 3 this year that he took money for blogs (but won't tell any of us which ones they are).
His move from blog to Newspaper was a brilliant business decision by his pornographers turned newspaper owners. Slater will weaponize the Truth and bring a new level of ugly into the media that would make the Leveson Inquiry blush.
2012 was a fascinating year where bloggers and journalists fought and ripped into each other for competing narratives and authority. With the impending death of corporate newspapers, the scramble to put together the new business model for online journalism provides opportunities for bloggers and new revenue challenges to the corporate news venders.
My guess is that you could see new moves afoot from the blogosphere as early as next year on this front.
Without further ado, here are this years Tumeke NZ Blogger Alignment Awards 2012, with much referencing to Wiki for the Dungeons & Dragons alignment descriptions.
Lawful Good Blogger 2012 - Gordon Campbell
Lawful Good is known as the "Saintly" or "Crusader" alignment. A Lawful Good blogger typically acts with compassion, and always with honor and a sense of duty.
Campbell is the greatest blogger the country has. His blogs are always the highlight of scoop.co.nz and he brings an intelligence to topics and level of research that beats anything else in mainstream media.
The attack against him by a right wing news gatekeeper like Armstrong shows the influence Gordon has gained from his tireless work this year and the genuine respect Gordon has attracted from across the blogosphere.
Runner-up:Chris Trotter over at Bowallyroad has been seeing something of a revival after Chris's brilliant performance as a commentator on TV3's election show last year. When The Standard are quoting Chris in glowing terms, you know he's winning the debate. His blog is a weekly must read.
Neutral Good Blogger 2012 - Keith Ng
Neutral Good is known as the "Benefactor" alignment. A Neutral Good blogger is guided by his conscience and typically acts altruistically, without regard for or against Lawful precepts such as rules or tradition. A Neutral Good blogger has no problems with co-operating with lawful officials, but does not feel beholden to them.
Keith's incredible exclusive on security lapses at MSD and his laser beam criticism of Herald on Sunday & Hartevelt's use of bogus stats to generate National Standards envy was one of the blogging highlights of 2012.
Keith is becoming a pioneer of crowd sourcing journalism in NZ and if his talent is given the market demand it deserves, he'll equal Kim Dotcom's wealth by about mid March of next year. Anything less than a mansion in rewards for Keith should be interpreted as further proof that the market needs heavy regulation.
Runner-up: Idiot/Savant has continued to be one of the best bloggers in NZ and 2012 was a another huge year with more blogs based on Official Information Act information than anyone else. I/S was described by Gordon Campbell this year as one of the most important online assets for the left. Gordon is right.
Chaotic Good Blogger 2012 - Queen of Thorns
Chaotic Good is known as the "Beatific," "Rebel," or "Cynic" alignment. A Chaotic Good blogger favors change for a greater good, disdains bureaucratic organizations that get in the way of social improvement, and places a high value on personal freedom, not only for oneself, but for others as well.
The Queen is without doubt one of the most ruthless and bone cutting bloggers in the blogosphere, but she is so witheringly funny with it, that even when it's aimed at your sacred cows you can't help but laugh.
Her staunchness on an issue like abortion is a reminder to the wider left that being pro-choice means actively protecting the rights to safe abortion rather than leaving it in the too hard basket.
I think QoT is on track to become a blogging phenomenon.
Runner-up: Gareth Renowden at Hot Topic continues to hammer home the realities of climate change with all the curse of a prophet foreseeing a future no one wants to believe.
Lawful Neutral Blogger 2012 - Russell Brown
Lawful Neutral is called the "Judge" or "Disciplined" alignment. A Lawful Neutral blogger typically believes strongly in Lawful concepts such as honor, order, rules and tradition, and often follows a personal code.
Russell Brown has had a great year again. I doubted if the move from TVNZ7 to TV3 was the great victory Russell claimed at the time, but since watching Media 3, the show has gone from strength to strength and Public Address is still the standard in terms of blogging credibility.
Runner-up: Lynn Prentice draws much scorn from the right wing blogs. And he draws much scorn from Labour MPs. And he draws much scorn from the punditry. If he's doing all that, then he is the perfect runner up for Lawful Neutral Blogger. The Standard finally came into it's own this year and showed the current strategy by Labour to ignore the largest left wing blog in NZ is deeply flawed.
Neutral Blogger 2012 - Bryce Edwards
Neutral alignment, also referred to as True Neutral or Neutral Neutral, is called the "Undecided" or "Nature's" alignment. This blogger represents Neutral on both axes, and tends not to feel strongly towards any alignment. A farmer whose primary overriding concern is to feed his family is of this alignment. Most animals, lacking the capacity for moral judgment, are of this alignment since they are guided by instinct rather than conscious decision. Many roguish characters who play all sides to suit themselves are also of this alignment (such as a weapon merchant with no qualms selling his wares to both sides of a war for a profit). Some Neutral bloggers, rather than feeling undecided, are committed to a balance between the alignments. They may see good, evil, law and chaos as simply prejudices and dangerous extremes.
Bryce Edwards has quickly become the all seeing Eye of Mordor on the blogs and has earned the respect of all sides by standing up to Armstrong's attack on him with a professionalism that can't do anything but win supporters.
His blog is a weekly must read.
Runner-up: If Graeme Edgeler says it, it's true. Which is unfortunate because some of what he says I don't like.
Chaotic Neutral Blogger 2012 - Cathy Odgers
Chaotic Neutral is called the "Anarchist" or "Free Spirit" alignment. A blogger of this alignment is an individualist who follows his or her own heart, and generally shirks rules and traditions. Although they promote the ideals of freedom, it is their own freedom that comes first. Good and Evil come second to their need to be free, and the only reliable thing about them is how totally unreliable they are. Chaotic Neutral bloggers are free-spirited and do not enjoy the unnecessary suffering of others, but if they join a team, it is because that team's goals happen to coincide with their own at the moment. They invariably resent taking orders and can be very selfish in their pursuit of personal goals.
Cathy has undergone her Judith Collins metamorphosis this year. Once the most vicious blogger on the right with a venom unparalleled, Odgers ruined her chances of a high ACT Party ranking because of some of her early, uglier hate speech posts. Her defanging has made her a less offensive writer, but it also bloats into wordy lumps of prose like this awful one from the NBR. God it's awful writing isn't it, like a boxer with both hands tied behind their back.
Collins has had to remake herself away from the Crusher so she can look like a viable PM, so too Odgers and her sudden scramble to less fork in the eye socket style writing.
Criticism aside, she is still one of the best far right bloggers in NZ.
Runner-up:Josie Pagani. While not a blogger, she has become the Fox News Democrat of choice for the msm when they want the pretense of a debate. Her constant tugging of Labour to the right gets rewarded by punditry positions throughout radio and sometimes when you listen to her she manages to make the other person she's supposed to be up against sound like a raving Communist.
Lawful Evil Blogger 2012 - David Farrar
Lawful Evil is referred to as the "Dominator" or "Diabolic" alignment. Bloggers of this alignment see a well-ordered system as being easier to exploit, and show a combination of desirable and undesirable traits; while they usually obey their superiors and keep their word, they care nothing for the rights and freedoms of other individuals and are not averse to twisting the rules to work in their favor. Examples of this alignment include tyrants, devils, undiscriminating mercenary types who have a strict code of conduct, and loyal soldiers who enjoy the act of killing.
Farrar has been given an unchallenged role in the mainstream media as a political commentator, but he's not just a commentator is he? He is the pollster for the Government, a virtual online mouthpiece who has mastered appearing moderate when he is actually quite hard right. His blogs are an intoxicating mix of passive aggressive soft sell messaging that makes him one of the best propagandists online.
Kiwiblog is an important blog to read to know what the Herald and ZB will be writing and talking about the next day. His spin lines are the usual first hints of where Government policy will go next. Farrar's role as the spokesperson for the IDF in NZ was once again confirmed with Israel's latest violent escapade into Gaza.
Runner-up:Scott Yorke is this years runner up for Lawful Evil Blogger. It's not that I think this Labour Party hack would be better suited writing apologies for David Shearer's office, but the constant encouragement Bryce Edwards gives the 19th funniest political satirist in NZ is cruel. Imperator Fish is latin for 'so much effort, so few laughs'. My animosity towards Scott is driven by this clown putting my contact details on his blog. That's the sort of gutter tactics Slater plays, when it's duplicated by someone claiming to be on the left the issue leaves a bad taste in ones mouth. Scott's thin skin is at odds with his dishing it out, in this regard he's more similar to Slater than any other blogger.
(I see Scott has predictably had a whinge about his inclusion here and has tried to re-write history to justify why he put my contact details on his blog. I'd just like to note that if Scott honestly thought he had done nothing wrong, he wouldn't have taken the link down after I complained bitterly about him putting it up. He's trying to have it both ways now, currently claiming it's an over reaction, yet it was an over reaction he took down? You used scum tactics Scott so getting called on your scumbaggery shouldn't surprise you.)
Neutral Evil Blogger 2012 - Matthew Hooton
Neutral Evil is called the "Malefactor" alignment. Bloggers of this alignment are typically selfish and have no qualms about turning on their allies-of-the-moment, and usually make allies primarily to further their own goals. They have no compunctions about harming others to get what they want, but neither will they go out of their way to cause carnage or mayhem when they see no direct benefit to it. They abide by laws for only as long as it is convenient for them. A blogger of this alignment can be more dangerous than either Lawful or Chaotic Evil characters, since she or he is neither bound by any sort of honor or tradition nor disorganized and pointlessly violent.
While not strictly a blogger, Hooton's close following of the blogosphere is akin to a hungry white shark looking for a snack. The Neutral Evil Blogger doesn't have a blog of their own, they manipulate everyone else's. The funniest moments on the blogosphere in 2012 are when Hooton goes on to the Standard and posts very polite points that are well reasoned and contrite. If the spastic frenzy it provokes amongst the left could ever be harnessed we would be world leaders in renewable energy.
His columns in the NBR are constructs of Machiavellian genius. If the Death Star had an architect, it would be Hooton.
Runner-up: Jordan Williams - again not a blogger but a blog conscious dark Jedi who is on the rise. Anyone with a key to Parliament while leading a campaign to overthrow MMP should not be underestimated. He's not Darth Vader yet, but he is post killing all the Jedi kids Anakin Skywalker.
Chaotic Evil Blogger 2012 - Cameron 'Whaleoil' Slater
The Chaotic Evil Blogger is referred to as the "Destroyer" or "Demonic" alignment. Bloggers of this alignment tend to have no respect for rules, other people's lives, or anything but their own desires, which are typically selfish and cruel. They set a high value on personal freedom, but do not have any regard for the lives or freedom of other people. They do not work well in groups, as they resent being given orders, and usually behave themselves only out of fear of punishment. It is not compulsory for a Chaotic Evil blogger to be constantly writing sadistic blogs just for the sake of being evil, or constantly disobeying orders just for the sake of causing chaos. They do however enjoy the suffering of others, and view honor and self-discipline as weaknesses. Serial killers and monsters of limited intelligence are typically Chaotic Evil.
Some bloggers just want to see the world burn, and Cameron W Slater would be amongst that class of psychopath. Slater is the wolf that cries boy. A man who seems to revel in online cruelty to others yet is always the first to burst into tears when it comes back the other way. His admission this year on Media 3 that he takes money for blogs but won't tell us which ones ends any credibility he's ever had, which let's be honest was barrel scrapping this year.
To use the personal employment details of a port worker's grief as political point scoring for the Ports of Auckland is as gutter as it gets, and when you consider Slater's crimes against journalism, that really is saying something.
His success at turning the Truth into a casually fascist pus pit that will infect the media landscape is all but guaranteed. Journalism students throughout NZ are warned that repeating the word 'whaleoil' three times in a mirror leads to him appearing behind you with a hook for a hand.
Runner up: There is no runner up to Slater. His poison is well beyond the levels of anyone else in the game. Keeping Stock and Barnsley Bill, while evil don't even come close.