Hard News by Russell Brown

Various Informations

The Listener column on Wikipedia that I mentioned last week is now online. I should note that I've been very supportive of Wikipedia in the past, and I still am - but I don't think the problems with the project can go unremarked, or that what we see there now is the last word on free content.

I though it would be a show of good faith to have a little edit myself, so I spent a few minutes updating and amending the 95bFM entry, and I'll do some more work on it as time allows in future. There's a little more discussion on the Helen Clark article.

There's some worthwhile comment on this week's SH/Fran O'Sullivan/Investigate/Doonegate bunfight in the less frenzied atmosphere of NZBC, most notably from NBR's Rob Hosking:

… although I'd support the view that there is a leftish bias in the mainstream media I don't think there was a cover up of the sort alleged by Investigate and Sir H.

Don't forget: its not just 20 or 30 odd journalists who decided there wasn't a story in it. So did both National and Act.

And National and Act had more reason than anyone else to believe the documents on Sir H showed something new. But there wasn't anything new there. 

As I said above, Sir H thought they had a scoop. They didn't.

I've commented there too, and I disagree with Rob on the odd point: his reasoning for his view that Clark was the go-to-whoah sole source for the SST's Doone story doesn't stack up - after all, this is a story that had already been broken by the Holmes show the week before, and other journalists have said that leaks were gushing out of the police force itself (and furthermore, he's effectively accusing Oskar Alley of perjury) but I think he's largely on the mark. (NB: NZBC's direct links seem glitchy, so you may have to go to the main NZBC page and scroll down.)

Update: Rob has been in touch to say he wasn't fully aware of the contents of Alley's brief of evidence (which lists more than half a dozen sources spoken to before the call to Clark), and "unreservedly" withdraws anything that would imply perjury on Alley's part.

The website to watch for the inside story on Jock Anderson's apparently very shabby treatment from his former employers at NBR is here. It's a bummer for him, but good news for us: I think Jock might be good value as a free agent on the Internet. So is Jock also the vendor of the barrycolman.co.nz domain currently on the block at Trade Me? Well, it's registered to Lorraine Craighead at a Waiheke Island address, and Jock lives on the island, but who knows?

Update: Lorraine Craighead is Jock Anderson's partner. So that's that one settled.

Anthony Trenwith had some comment to make on the Star Times story about the imprisonment rate of foreign citizens in New Zealand:

The irony of the rent-a-quotes referred to is that they all seem remarkably unaware that what they're calling for is already happening and has been for some time. Immigration, on their lengthy highly inquisitive and not to mention intrusive) forms want to know if those wishing to come to this country have ever even been as much as charged with a criminal offence. If the answer is yes, they then demand all the gory details.

For those already here, they get all the fun of experiencing a repeat performance of the above exercise each time they go to renew their permit. Again, any sort of brush with the law - even as minor as something like careless driving - can be fatal to an applicant's chances. In more serious cases, Immigration won't wait for the renewal application but will revoke the permit of its own initiative. In other words, one strike and you're (probably) out.

Finally, it's worth remembering that a large number of those who are in prison were caught committing their offence at the border - that is, drug smugglers. Nothing wrong with the screening there!

Oh and by the way, is Ian Wishart really asking other media to not do what he did???

Two readers, Hamish and Trix, noted another friendly legal download site beside eMusic: Magnatune.com. Among its virtues, Hamish listed:

You may also want to check out Magnatune.com - MP3 and uncompressed WAV downloads, no DRM, and 50% of what you pay goes straight to the artist. All independantly signed artists, with a wide range of styles and free 128K MP3s of the entire catalogue. Their motto is the best part - "We are not evil"

It doesn't have anywhere near the catalogue of eMusic, but it's interesting to see that its bestsellers chart is dominated by classical and opera music.

Neil Young's Living With War is streaming from his website.

Lyndon Hood has a great post on the culture wars in Australia, and allegations of "dumbing down" from people who want intelligent design to be taught in schools as science.

Is this a record? The Thank You Stephen Colbert blog now has more than 28,000 comments to its sole post. The site also has links to the video from the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on YouTube. There is also an interesting 60 Minutes item on Colbert, and on the Daily Show Jon Stewart applauds Colbert's "ballsalicious" performance.