SCOUT.co.nz is terrible, but the whole news industry is moving this way

Hosking CrosshairsSo I am in shock at the decision by newly launched gossip magazine SCOUT.co.nz to use rifle cross-hairs to target Mike Hosking in what they apparently call an ‘exclusive’ which was that he vacuumed his car in a public street…OMG Stop the presses!!! I’m shocked that this is a story, I’m shocked that this is the way the whole news industry is moving (more on that soon) but I’m mostly shocked that whoever made the ‘cross hairs’ decision seems to have no knowledge of what terrible occurrences that exact idea has lead to in the very recent past.

Anyone remember Sarah Palin targeting Gabby Giffords?

If not let me remind you. Sarah Palin has targeted 20 Democratic seats to encourage Republican voters to do all they can to win them back for the Good Old Party using rhetoric like ‘don’t retreat, reload!’  The map that was drawn up had cross-hairs on the seats and on one fateful day, a mentally unwell person took Sarah Palin’s advice a little too literally and stormed a Gabby Giffords event and shot her in the head.

Now I am not saying that NZ has the same culture that exists with guns in the US, but anyone with half an ounce of intelligence would know this is not the way to report ‘news’ even gossip but the post on SCOUT.co.nz mentioned the salary that Hosking was on, the price he just paid for his house and the street where he lived. The only outcome from the post was to engender a negative feeling, a feeling of jealously and hatred towards Hosking and if an imbalanced person felt like checking him out he or she now has a pretty good idea on how to find him after hours.

Hilary Barry posted a brilliant retort to the ‘story’ by posting an image of herself vacuuming her car with the hashtag #stalkingisnotok and the best item I’ve seen written on SCOUT today is from Russell Brown who goes into a lot of detail on the story, behind the story.

Many of her former Herald colleagues believed she had, at best, jumped before she’d been pushed, and that the final straw had been not her unethical treatment of waitress Amanda Bailey but her ludicrous “conifers” column. The belief was that she was due to be dispensed with in a reshuffle after the departure of editor-in-chief Tim Murphy.

I am also saddened that this is the path that all the media is taking. I am saddened to see when I visit TVNZ News that most of the video on that site is 40 seconds or shorter and focusing on things that rate heavily on Facebook, I think that content producers are missing the point and assuming what we, as consumers, are prepared to spend our time watching and reading and I think they are wrong. Yes there is a place for ‘bite sized’ content, but not at the expense of serious, interesting, challenging news that informs and entertains. We are focusing too heavily on the ‘entertains’ and it’s becoming very un-entertaining.

News radio shows doing 2 minute interviews on the international intricacies of the Syrian Refugee Crisis, television news spending 23 seconds of video on a tragedy where 4 people died…it’s not right and it sure as hell is not good broadcasting which is why most people I know, most people under 40 are turning to alternative sources of news online to get what we need and want, not what is dictated by 9 ad breaks an hour or a necessity to have a certain number of click throughs.

SCOUT.co.nz is terrible, it’s a product that doesn’t work in NZ as we don’t have celebrities, we have people with high profile. Peter Jackson and Lorde. they’re celebrities, daylight is second to the next highest profile person in NZ and they come in well below the thresh hold of what one needs to be classed a celebrity.

If anyone is interested in starting a Give a Little page with the object being to raise money to put a Private Eye on the people running SCOUT.co.nz to expose their lives and put all the excitement of them walking their dog, or washing their car online for all to see, then I’ll happily donate the first $100 and write the story.

Colin Craig, at risk of a $20,000 fine for ‘spamming’ NZ with his ‘Dirty Politics’ booklet

I put on my Facebook page yesterday that I had received a copy of Colin Craig’s ‘Dirty Politics’ booklet in my letterbox and asked people of Dunedin if I was lucky enough to be singled out (a little paranoid I know) or if anyone else received it as well.

Colin Craig FBI was more than a little surprised to find out that not only did I, and others from Dunedin receive it, but also people in Winton, Tauranga, Auckland, Gisborne, Kaitaia, Timaru, Christchurch, Hastings, Napier and Mangawhai get the glossy 12 pager. Since that Facebook post I have had confirmed to me by a source that in fact it’s gone or going to every household in New Zealand. That’s 1.8 million residences.

Someone mentioned in a comment that they had received a copy of the booklet even though they have a ‘no circulars’ sticker on their letterbox, which reminded me that we have a ‘no junk mail’ on ours. So with a little research I found out that it is an offence to deliver unsolicited mail to a letterbox that has a notification on it informing that they don’t want any. The Marketing Association has a sector called  Mailbox Help designed to sort out situations like this, they work alongside groups like NZ Post. If you’re interested you can get hold of Mailbox Help for whatever reason you want on 0800 111 081.

I spoke with Mailbox Help and they informed me that they have had complaints about Colin Craig’s booklet from Kaitaia to Dunedin. I asked what happens next and they said that it was likely that they would be undertaking a ‘severe investigation’ as there had been so many complaints. If after the investigation it’s decided that Mr. Craig has committed an offence he could be fined up to $20,000 and made to either retract his deliveries or stop them all together. In layman’s terms if this timeline was to happen it’s likely that Colin Craig may face a financial penalty then have to issue a public apology to, what can only be described as, spamming the whole of New Zealand.

The above may make people smirk, but there is also a much more serious element to the delivery of these booklets and it’s two fold. The first is that Mr. Craig is claiming defamation against Cameron Slater, John Stringer and Jordan Williams. Defamation is a jury trial but with sending out this booklet to, what would appear to be, the whole of New Zealand Mr. Craig has made it impossible for a jury to be formed that has not been influenced by himself for his own gain. Secondly, there has been counter-claims by the three accused that this booklet is defamatory and that they potentially, as a group or individually, may take legal action against Mr. Craig themselves. If indeed this 12 page booklet contains inaccuracies attributed to anyone of the three then surely Colin Craig has now opened himself up to a significant legal action. I also note that the Conservative Party and Newstalk ZB have taken down links to the booklet, so maybe one can assert that they are asking the same questions about it as well?

Finally I just want to touch on a post I wrote a couple of days ago asking if Colin Craig was an innocent victim here, or maybe had narcissistic tendencies. I don’t know, and am not qualified to make that conclusion definitively however i just want you to think now about what has happened over the last few days.

A man who has never won a political position but spent (if you include the booklet) several million dollars trying to do so, who is always 100% assured of his success and who believes that what is happening to him personally is of vital importance to all of NZ as shown in his press conference of July 29th…

Either the dirty politics brigade is telling the truth or I am. The New Zealand public need certainty about the truth of these claims. This is about who is honest. Is Colin Craig telling the truth or is it the Dirty Politics Brigade. Let the courts judge this matter so we know whom to trust.

…has made accusations that he has been personally wronged.

So what is a narcissistic? According to PsychCentral.com some of the characteristics of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are…

  • a grandiose sense of self-importance
  • an overwhelming need for admiration
  • belief they are of primary importance in everybody’s life

I’ve stated that I don’t have the qualifications, nor the desire, to diagnose anybody with any disorder, but seeing as Colin Craig is such a believer in binding referendum lets let the public decide.

UPDATE 1.30pm

To the original point of this post, that Mr. Craig has sent his booklet to letter boxes that have ‘no junk mail’ stickers on them. I have just received a copy of the delivery instructions by Reach Media to its workers who actually put the booklets into the letterboxes.

CCRaig distribution

As you can see clearly it states that for the COLIN CRAIG VS DIRTY POLITICS delivery the deliverer is to ‘include‘ the ‘no circs‘ letterboxes.

Speaking with Reach Media they claim that the reason they have delivered it to ‘no circ‘ letter boxes was that it was booked in as a “government piece” although they also concede they didn’t know what the delivery was when it was booked. When asked if they thought in hindsight if it was a ‘government piece’ the gentleman on the phone, who claimed he took the original booking, agreed it was not.

UPDATE 2.45pm

NZ Post have been in touch to make clear they are not responsible for fining people who breach the rules around junk mail so I want to retract a former heading of this post which claimed that NZ Post was potentially going to fine Colin Craig,  however the fine is still very much a possibility. For example, as stated in the North Shore City Bylaw, Section 5 Offence to Deposit Unaddressed Unsolicited Material, 4.95 Depositing unaddressed, unsolicited material “Every person who breaches this bylaw may be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000.” There are similar bylaws for different parts of the country with fines of various amounts.

Russell Brand and the Westboro Baptist Church

Russell Brand recently had the Westboro Baptist Church as his guests. If you don’t know who they are then you should check out the Louis Theroux documentaries The Most Hated Family in America and the follow up America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis.

Check out Russell’s interaction with them…

It reminded me of the time I interviewed Shirley Phelps Roper, one of the heads at the church, about their beliefs and life in general.

Any thoughts about their theology?