Hard News by Russell Brown


Doing battle alone

I do not envy Jon Stephenson this week. His status as a freelance journalist allows him to do the kind of work he does, but it also means that when he's subjected to personal attacks from senior political and military figures -- as he has been -- there is no one but himself to respond.

And I think he has done so with more composure than I might have mustered.  As flagged here earlier in the week, he appeared on Media7 last night responding to the claims against him. And he acquitted himself well on Morning Report today.

But I am wondering when the gallery and the Commonwealth Press Union's media freedom committee -- both of them reliably noisy when the interests of larger media organisations are threatened -- will show some solidarity here. It is one thing for a government to argue the merits of an investigative story; quite another to simply dismiss the credibility of its author and depict him as a kook.

I would urge you to watch the Media7 programme, which also covers the operation of the Official Information Act and concludes with some excerpts from the BBC HardTalk interview with John Key, in which the Prime Minister repeatedly addresses propositions of fact as if they were mere matters of opinion. It begins to feel, indeed, as if there simply are no facts any more.

PS: If you haven't seen the full HardTalk interview, it's now on YouTube.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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