Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mike Butler: Dotcom shows up shallow reporting

“Human headline” Kim Dotcom’s launch/non-launch of his Internet Party has been “a study in the politics of naivety”, journalist and commentator Sean Plunket wrote this week. Writing in in the Dominion Post under the headline "Internet party amateur and vain", Plunket also noted that it has also a glowing example of the gullibility of certain sections of the New Zealand news media and public.

The Dotcom Party launch was leaked on the Whaleoil blog on Wednesday with the logo and details of funding. Left-wing blogger Martyn Bradbury was named as the candidate for Auckland Central, being paid $8000 a month. (1)

Scoop Media’s general manager Alistair Thompson was party secretary and has registered the domain names under the Scoop Media banner. Solicitor and political commentator Graeme Edgeler produced a report, believed to be in return for $3000.

One basic fact in this political circus is that Kim Dotcom is not a New Zealand citizen so cannot run for office.

The launch was postponed until February 20 after the Electoral Commission warned Dotcom that throwing a free party for thousands of New Zealanders might constitute “treating” – essentially buying – people’s votes.

The fact that Dotcom is fighting off extradition to the United States to face charges related to online piracy fuels speculation that his plan is to upset the 2014 election to bring in a more sympathetic Labour government and therefore avoid facing trial.

For two years since his arrest in a bungled raid on his Coatesville mansion on January 20, 2012, Dotcom has played naïve media personalities to build support.

Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater and Investigate Magazine editor Ian Wishart are the only New Zealand journalists to have dug into the fat German’s past to provide information that TV3’s Campbell Live and the New Zealand Herald reporters have systematically overlooked.

It has been a shame that reporters did not do a bit of basic digging because all the information about Kim Dotcom aka Kim “Kimble” Schmitz, aka Tim Vestor, aka Kim Kimble, aka Kim Tim Jim Vestor, is freely available. Wishart published a master class in investigative reporting titled “Merry Chrischmitz or Merry Hell? International criminal sets up home in Chrisco mansion” in April 2010. (2) Even a Wikipedia check gives more than enough sources to follow up.(3)

Herr Dotcom has already been convicted of various commercial crimes in other jurisdictions and has been duly slapped with a succession of wet bus tickets.

Dotcom’s presence is toxic. He has effectively ended ACT Party MP John Banks’ political career with claims over a $50,000 donation.

Dotcom arrogantly taunted Prime Minister John Key in a select committee hearing that resulted from procedural errors in his arrest in which it was confirmed that the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau illegally spied on Dotcom, a permanent resident.

That arrest shifted the focus from Dotcom facing extradition over to face charges related to online piracy to allegations that the Prime Minister presided over a system that spied on its own people.

Notable in mainstream New Zealand media reporting of the fat German is the extent to which reporters avoid going into Dotcom’s past even though all the material is factual and there is no legal impediment to its publication.

Scoop Media’s Thompson either resigned or went on sabbatical after committing the journalistic sin of being on the payroll while writing sympathetic stories.

For instance, in a supportive article titled “Gordon Campbell on Dotcom, and recent events at Scoop”, that was published on Scoop, Thompson’s mate Gordon Campbell sadly acknowledges the possibility that Thompson had a conflict of interest. Campbell did not go into the Dotcom back story, having the effect of limiting the damage to procedural hiccups. (4)

A possible silver lining in this dark cloud that is Kim Dotcom (yes, the two-metre megalump even dresses in black) is that the mainstream media is now forced to look into his chequered past.

1. (Exclusive) The Internet Party strategy revealed, Whaleoil,
2. Merry Chrischmitz or Merry Hell? International criminal sets up home in Chrisco mansion, Investigate Magazine,
3. Kim Dotcom, Wikipedia,
4. Gordon Campbell on Dotcom, and recent events at Scoop,


Cpt747 said...

...mainstream media's informed insights into what is happening in New Zealand are lower than a pre-school mentality...They regard themselves as self appointed, super detectives of the issues of the day...Their audience disregards the rubbish they exfoliate and see through their smugness, bias, sheer ignorance and intellectual deficiencies.... The 'dotcom side show' pales into a nothingness alongside the 'Political Oligarchy' of the Key/Finlayson/ Bill English ...tyrannical oppression and destruction of the New Zealand Democracy.....main stream media would not have the courage to even go there....

Barry said...

Yes. I think that Key and Finlayson and English and probably all of the other MPs are far worse destroyers of NZ with their ugly maorification of the country than Dotcom would ever be.

Joe Gordon said...

Barry, you are so right.
What we are witnessing is a Key regime in which to hold onto power he will promise anything and do anything.
Finlayson was Nga Tahu's lawyer and now Treaty Minister a conflict of interest by any standards.
The Maorification process has accelerated because of blackmailing by the racist Maori Party keeping Key in power.
Key has now bought the souls of Dunne and Peters by inviting these two self preserving politicians to ditch their consciences and join him. Both these slimy creatures profess to fight for the 64,000 pensioners who lose the overseas government pensions by deducting them from their New Zealand Superannuation a different type of pension.
This state theft is enabled by the use of outdated 1938 legislation the govt refuses to update to recognise the difference between the twio.
In 2008 Key was asked at an electoral meeting in Nelson if he thought we should keep them.
His reply that "if you have paid for them you should keep them" along with his no more race based seats, no rise in GST and no asset sales shows the depths of unintentional promising this creature will go to.
Our National anthem should be " God defend us us from our political crooks"!

Theo said...

Although I generally agree with what Mike writes, I feel that he has let a personal feeling intrude. Terms such as “fat German” and “megalump” do not add to a rational discussion.

The criticism of members of the media for not investigating the background of Kim Dotcom is, in itself, an example of shallow reporting. Most of the so-called offending was carried out twenty years ago when Dotcom was a teenager and when his activities as an alleged hacker were little different from any other talented and computer-savvy youth. The so-called “wet bus tickets” punishments came about because the offences were minor and youthful.

For the most part, the “crimes” were committed two decades ago or more and have been erased under a German clean sheet law. A more recent conviction in Hong Kong for failing to disclose a shareholding interest was deemed by NZ authorities to be too minor to be of consequence.

The destruction of his Megauploads company was the consequence of unlawful activity by the GCSB and the NZ Police who were carrying out the bidding of their FBI masters. The outcome has been a law change which now enables the NZ government to spy on it’s own people - a totally disgraceful state of affairs.

The possibility of legal action by Dotcom and others against the Government must be recognised. He has lost probably hundreds of millions of dollars through the illegal activities of the police, but this is only a drop in the bucket when the losses of the millions of people who lost their data and business records when the Megaupload servers were closed down is taken into consideration. That one day these losses may show up on our tax bills cannot be ignored.

His data storage operation was little different to a great many similar services. The future will determine whether any sort of case can be proved that he can be personally responsible for the data stored by his customers. And especially when it has now been revealed that the entertainment industry had access to all of the MegaUploads date and were empowered to remove anything they chose.

John Key has an abysmal record of bending his knee to the American entertainment industry. One of the first laws the incoming National Party enacted was the Copyright Law which criminalises anyone who makes up a cd of their favourite music to put in their car. It is against this background that the persecution of Kim Dotcom must be viewed.

Mike, you commented that there were enough leads on Wikipaedia for an in depth and accurate story. You are right.

janet said...

A good journalist would focus on the issues, not on Dotcom's size.

Shane said...

Is Theo another Schmitz alias? The German's convictions are not 20 years ago, nor are they harmless. He's been convicted of embezzlement 10 years ago, has been deported from Thailand, and is very clearly a fraudster and conman with an ego as large as his physical presence. He should be deported from NZ forthwith, we have enough people of dubious character here already!

Richie Moser said...

Theo . . .

I presume the information you purport to be factual -in paras 2, 3 & 4 - around Dotcom's criminal offending in the Federal Republic of Germany - is a wry tongue-in-check poke at the "shallow reporting" you also reference.

If not, I prefer the authenticity of the Bavarian Court records on this matter.

You will need a German translator.