Undergroundnetwork


Credibility of a creep by underground

Polls conducted by the likes of Readers Digest magazine and others frequently find journalists alongside lawyers and used car salesmen as the publics’ least trusted professions. Considering that journalism students study ethics and are usually idealist people concerned with objectivity and impartiality (we are also naive!), from where does the public get this perception? Much of it must be for the gutter journalism that dominates the television in particular. Insensitive interviews, sensationalist stories, the hounding of victims and the pursuit of tragedy give viewers the impression of journalists as cold-hearted egocentric vampires. All it takes are a few bad eggs, and all journalists are unfairly smeared as untrustworthy. There is one I consider to be particularly rotten.

Ian Wishart. Helen Clark was kind when she called him a creep. I can think of another word starting with C that would be more appropriate.

He used to be respected. Some think his work on the winebox inquiry was top notch. He even had critics writing for the NBR, a conservative business newspaper. He was a conspiracy theorist, but he was not a hate-fueled conspiracy theorist. He was always anti-government, anti-mainstream, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But at some point he lost all rationality. Somewhere along the line he really lost his marbles.

His magazine Investigate is really just a vehicle for this guys conspiracy theories. Subscribers must live in perpetual fear, with the overriding paranoia that everyone is out to get them. Particularly the government, atheists and especially homosexuals. Apart from being a cesspit of warped ideas from a bygone era, the magazines purpose appears to be to sell his books, of which there are many.

He has just released his unofficial biography of New Zealand’s Prime minister Helen Clark. Given this wretched man’s track record of harassing Clark and husband Peter Davis, don’t expect to find any surprises here. Expect the usual accusations that Clark is gay, Davis is gay, or perhaps they’re both gay. Either way, nothing new, just the same tired irrelevant, unsubstantiated claims. Fancy him releasing it in election year. Perhaps that is indicative of the man’s over-blown ego that he thinks he will sway the election. I imagine it could backfire as voters are tiring of the personal politics and would like to debate policy. Maybe I’m a little optimistic there. Still, realistically no one is going to read it.

Eve’s Bite was fairly popular. I worked in a bookstore at the time it was released, and I resented having to hand over what was really a waste of a good tree. Needless to say, those that bought it were those bitter hate-filled angry sorts, particularly old ladies you know their children didn’t visit, who you wanted to say that they better enjoy heaven, because hopefully they will be there soon so they can’t stop preaching hate to the living.

The Herald‘s John Roughan referred to it as the author’s own bile. Again he was being kind.

Most of the book he cites dodgy reports illustrating the evils of secularism and liberalism. He reserves a large amount of space to attacking homosexuals, which is also something of an obsession throughout his magazine too.

In one chapter of Eve’s Bite, he claims to dismiss the work of Richard Dawkins. Instead you find him take on Dawkins weakest arguments, those based on cosmology, and he still does not chalk up a victory. If he had have taken on Dawkins on biology or even theology, Wishart would have been left nursing a bruised ego.

Perhaps he does take on Dawkins’ and friends’ more irrefutable arguments in the divinity code, but what chance does this guy have. Here we have a religious fundamentalist with a cereal box journalism degree taking on a respected scientist who has dedicated his life to science, and whose own work is part of a huge body of scientific work. I have flicked through the book, I cannot pretend to be able to argue any particular points he makes, but why bother? I had seen enough when I noticed he cited wikipedia as his source to back an argument against evolution! Any student knows that you can not get away with using wikipedia as a source in an essay, but apparently it is good enough for a professional ‘journalist’. I couldn’t get away with it in one of my own articles I must submit to newspapers as a requirement of my course, why can he?

Ian Wishart is quick to defame and accuse individuals of all sorts of things, from homosexuality to corruption. Which begs the question: What kind of skeletons in the closet could this moral crusader have? He cannot be completely squeaky clean, can he? Consider that it is often those who point fingers who have the most to hide themselves. Remember Graham Capill, the former leader of the Christian Heritage Party? Well he’s serving nine years for sexually assaulting young girls. Freud’s opinions on homophobics may shed some light on Wishart’s obsession with homosexuals. Now that would be a cover-story that would sell a few investigate magazines!

Obviously he has read his wikipedia entry so it must be pretty credible. Is he remarried? Surely thats a big deal to the conservative Christians and Exclusive brethren. Something about black pots and kettles comes to mind.

The guy used to host ‘Real TV’ for Christ’s sake. He is a conspiracy nut. He is not worth a thing. I just wish the mainstream media would stop indulging him. It is because they are lazy. They cannot be bothered doing their own investigative work so they wait each month for Investigate magazine to make another outrageous unsubstantiated claim. The media leap on to the story, then follow it up, only to discover that there is no evidence for his claims. By the end of the month the story has blown over and all the claims have been dismissed. But then next month the magazine is back at it, and the lazy mainstream media just lap it all up.

The fact is, his magazine is full of half-truths and fabrications, with no signs of retractions or apologies. You’d think that fundamentalist Christians like Wishart would know their ninth commandments. Even when the magazine was slightly right with its story, it got most the main facts wrong. In the Air New Zealand story the magazine claimed it was flying American troops to Iraq and was being escorted by American jets. There was no escort, and they were Australians going to Iraq. But don’t let the facts get in the way.

Never mind whether others are too politically correct, he isn’t even factually correct!

Sometimes his ignorance is comical. One Investigate issue is on the so called ‘rise of the neo-coms’, new age communists with connections to militant Islam. Wishart shows his obvious lack of historical knowledge and politics when he tries to make a dubious link between those on the left and those who are raging war against the west. His motive is simple, through scare-mongering, he hopes to taint all left wingers as terrorists or sympathisers, who seek to destroy democracy and Christianity. Unfortunately he forgets that the Soviets were at war with the Taliban and that it was the capitalist (and Christian) Americans who propped up the Taliban and assisted the birth of Al Queda. A basic lesson would have also taught him that communists are persecuted in many Muslim countries and were ousted from power in many circumstances by Islamists. Christian fundamentalists like Wishart have far more in common with Islamic fundamentalists than any rogue Marxists.

I get the sense that the tide is turning on the guy anyway. I recall from my days in the book store that sales were steadily declining from around seven issues sold per month in 2005 to only one by early 2008. Perhaps the readers are dying off. Perhaps they’re wising up! Anyway I’m sure the magazine is losing readers as they keep re-marketing it; changing the format, having less inflammatory covers, changing the design of the cover, changing the slogan underneath the title, etc. It seems as though they are trying to freshen their image, or even disassociate the magazine from itself. The content hasn’t changed though.

It still bugs me that this guy is given any respect. I can’t stand seeing him rolled out in media after every sensationalist distortion or book release. The guy hasn’t a gram of credibility left and he does far more damage than good.

Firstly it annoys me that this guy is considered a journalist. He is a stain on the profession. Secondly, his scoops detract attention from things that people should be focusing on, for a democracy to function effectively. In order for anything like the fourth estate to be effective, the media must keep the politicians honest. As it stands, ‘journalists’ like Wishart and others keep the focus on politicians’ personal lives and irrelevant side issues. Especially in election year the media need to be ensuring that the focus is on policy, demanding politicians prove their case as to why we should elect them. Wishart should bear in mind the importance of Nicky Hager’s Hollow men and his investigative work into the inner workings of the National Party and their relationship with covert groups such as the exclusive Brethren. That is how it is done. There is no spite, no hate, just a determination to ensure people do not screw over the public of New Zealand. That is a noble service, whereas hate-filled rants are not so helpful to anyone. His misinformation serves only to corrupt an already ill informed public.

That’s enough on that ‘creep’. I just hate how that guy gives journalism a bad name. I believe that journalism should be as honest, fair, balanced and honest as possible. Naive, idealistic, maybe, but we must all ask ourselves why we write.

That is all I’m going to ever say about him on this blog. I just needed to get that rant out. I anticipate I will be writing an article on those journalists whose work I respect and admire. That will be fun.

Paul.

Ps. For those who don’t trust journalists, both Spiderman and Superman worked for a paper. Coincidence?

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wishart lashes out:
http://poneke.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/wish/#comments

Perhaps Wishart only surrounds himself with people who agree with his ideas and praise his every word. That would explain his overinflated ego. He clearly sort out some criticism, which is commendable, but as is typical with his writing he ignores the main objections of his opposition and resorts to name calling instead. Really mature.
Unfortunately for Wishart, only fans of his will likely read his new books. He has no credibility in the eyes of everyone else. So he will not change public perception or educate the nation of any controversy. He is the boy who cried wolf. Although he will sell truck loads, I actually pity the guy. It is most strange sensation, but I really do pity him. Why?

Comment by undergroundnetwork

I hate what Ian Wishart is trying to do this country. His work seems to appeal to those who are cruel, callous and terribly lonely.

Comment by TruthSeeker




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