“Tainted” Fisher’s colleagues distancing themselves from the Hager freak show

What drives Nicky Hager? That is not a question that comes to mind when I hear or read the work of most people who call themselves journalists. Even strongly opinionated work. It is normally written with an excitement that may be excessive at times but tells me the reporter is motivated solely by the satisfactions of discovery and disclosure.

I hear that excitement in the writing of David Fisher who has worked with Hager for the Herald to disclose what may be learned about New Zealand’s intelligence-gathering in the material Edward Snowden took from the United States National Security Agency.

I hope you hear that excitement in me when I think I have hit on something. But I don’t hear it in Hager. Reading or hearing him, I get the feeling something else is going on. His voice and manner are those of someone who is deeply shocked at the discovery of things that are interesting enough to report but are not really shocking.

You have to ask why David Fisher “feels the excitement” when his “dealer” Hager does not. ?And when the public does not. ?And when his colleagues do not. ?

The Snowden material reveals the GCSB has adopted a “full-take collection” policy for Asia-Pacific communications, all of which it passes on to the NSA where a whiz-bang programme can sift some possible wheat from all the chaff.

To Hager’s reading of the material, most of it has little to do with counter terrorism and amounts to political and economic intelligence.

This is worth knowing for its own sake and does not seem so sensitive that it could not have been mentioned by the agency’s minister at some point. There could even be a deterrent value in making it known. But it is hard to see that it is inherently wrong.

Pacific reporters could not find much concern in the islands after the revelation. One old hand said it made a change for small states that usually felt no one was listening to them.

Yeah, it’s a big yawn all ’round. ?Except for Tainter Fisher and journos that will use any stick handed to them to beat Key with.

Writing about his latest discoveries [Hager]??sounds less concerned about the privacy of the internet than that the information is passed to the United States. He criticises the Government for “Anzus-era language” about terrorism and using information on its nearest neighbours “to help secure its place in the US-led alliance”.

It sounds like the same old mission – to cut every tie with the US that he possibly can. I don’t begin to understand this level of anti-Americanism. I was at university in the Vietnam era and marched against the war. There is much in American government I dislike.

What you actually have to ponder is why a man so out of place and out of pace with public opinion, public needs, and indeed common sense, can excite such ongoing support from media?

So it continues.

It will. ?As long as your colleagues call him an “investigative journalist” without a hint of any irony, and give him the platform he needs for free, for weeks on end, to interfere with elections and to pad his pocket with the income that comes with it.


– John Roughan, NZ Herald