Kim Dotcom and The Internet Party have been dominating the headlines for the last few days. It has been pretty hard for any of the other parties to generate media attention. I suspect this will start to grate with Labour and the other opposition parties. However, it will be interesting to see if they attempt to use social media to circumvent the main stream media and generate cut through on social media.
However, the interesting element of social media vs main stream media has been Kim’s Tweet this morning.
He is tweeting at Tim Murphy, who is Editor in Chief of the NZ Herald titles. This looks like, either facetiously or seriously, asking the Editor in Chief of the Herald to change the stories they are running. Now if any other party leader or party official were to do this, even jokingly, there would be a massive out cry.
It is obvious that Kim is not used to, and not enjoying, the media attention that has come
to bare on him since the launch of his party. This becomes even more apparent when he pulls out of an interview on The Nation. Instead he sent his party general secretary to be interviewed. However he was also towing the line about it all being a smear job.
This tweet from the Nation sparked a number of exchanges with Vikram. With Vikram attempting to explain why he said what he did.
Now the question that needs to be answered is, are these revelations simply a personal smear campaign? Or is there more to it than that? I guess only time will tell, but Jono, over at Occasionally Erudite, has some thoughts on that question. But he sees three possibilities:
1. Dotcom is lying: Which may go very badly wrong for him if Slater has an affidavit or two in his back pocket that he can release. Or if someone comes forward who was at the 2011 birthday party and can confirm that it was indeed given as a gift.
2. Dotcom’s staff are lying: It’s a possibility. But it’s a very specific series of allegation they’re making (assuming it’s come from the staff), involving the exact date Dotcom allegedly received the flag, the circumstances in which it was received, where it was stored, why it’s no longer stored there and when it was moved. On the other side though, when Police raided the mansion, you’d have thought they’d have gone through the place with a fine-toothed comb, yet no mention was ever made of a Nazi flag, an item which would surely have provoked comment.
3. Dotcom’s denial is “Clinton-esque”: The denial, as published, says that Dotcom “does not own a Nazi flag”, which could be taken to mean that he once owned one, but at the date of interview no longer owns one. Of course, as with an outright lie, it will still look terrible if Slater releases proof that Dotcom once owned a Nazi flag, even if he doesn’t now.
But it is worth reading all his post. Vikram needs to be careful what he says, because if the allegations do turn out to be true, all of his comments on this being a personal smear campaign will come back to haunt him.
In the same interview Vikram made the following claim about the Internet Party being on track to make the 5% threshold.
If you read Jono’s post, he has information about other claims being made by those involved in the party about them polling 2.6%. This is at odds with all of the major political polls that have been released lately. We can all remember what came of the claims made by Colin Craig at the last election about his polling having him beating Mark Mitchell in Rodney. If you want to be taken seriously, and are going to make claims like that, you need to back them up.
On this issue of polling, Kim has tried to claim that on the basis of a non scientific, online poll on stuff, that 18.1% of New Zealanders would vote for the Internet Party. Now I don’t need to point out how unscientific and open to manipulation Stuff online polls are.
So we have the two most senior people in Internet Party questioning the media’s approach to reporting on the stories around themselves and their party, as well as making wild and unsubstantiated claims about their polling on social media. It will be interesting to see how things pan out over the next few months, and if come September Vikram and Kim are correct in their claims, or if they are worth the electrons they were sent with.