Fishy goings on at the NZ Herald

Whale Oil Beef Hooked: Photoshopped image credit Luke

On 22nd January the NZ Herald published an article about Cameron Slater, written by a David Fisher. The paper identifies this fellow as a Senior Writer, not a journalist, and the article is certainly not news. It is a lengthy whine by Fisher about how mean Slater has been to him in the past in writing about his reportage. Yes, the Herald of 2019 actually believe readers give a tinker’s toss about the feelings of their staff.

This Fisher character starts off with fake commiseration for Slater’s poor health, presumably to show how big-hearted he is: quote.

I have enormous sympathy magnified by knowing how different this all is from how he expected it to turn out. His fall is so great it has become tragedy.

end quote

These noble sentiments are followed by a lengthy tirade against Slater and how awful he is; finding it particularly objectionable that Cameron called him a gurnard (it’s a variety of fish, get it?). At one point, however, Fisher diverts from the tirade to remind us what a better man he is compared to Cameron Slater; almost Jacindaish in his niceness. He writes

the world is kinder as a result [of Slater’s stroke] but I can find no joy in this. I can find no schadenfreude or any contemplation of karma.

end quote.

There is something decidedly dodgy, Whale Oilers, about a bloke who uses ?schadenfreude? and ?karma? in the same sentence. Strange that he did not also include ?zeitgeist? and maybe one or two Maori words (sorry, I mean M?ori words). Perhaps he could not access Google on his laptop in the wilds of Northland.

On the same day that Fisher’s miserable snivelling was published, there was a second Herald article also written by him. It was a decidedly strange piece about ?a midsummer murder? in a seaside village in the Far North, Opito Bay. In a dramatic, fevered report on the so-called murder, Fisher writes

The killer skulked, hidden from view, behind his victims when it came time to do his or her dirty work.

On and on he goes, rambling passionately, lyrically and omnisciently about the victims and their evil murderer.

Who were the victims? It’s not who, it’s what. He is writing about ‘murdered’ trees! It seems somebody poisoned some pohutukawas which were obscuring their view of the ocean. Well, not murdered exactly, because they’re not dead. How do we know this? Fisher’s article says so – so it must be true.

To record this heinous crime, the editor of the NZ Herald decided against despatching someone from his bevy of lady journalists as perhaps he thought a woman might find the gory details overpowering. No, a job in a seaside village full of fisherpersons needed none other than Senior Writer David Fisher. I wonder if David Fisher can see the writing on the wall?

He addressed the non-issue of non-dead trees with his usual level of professionalism. As well as giving Herald readers every detail of the “murder” he brought it home to them that ?it takes many minutes to grow a tree.? (I am not making this up.) His writing reads like that of a 15 year old schoolgirl’s; lyrically inane. Over a thousand words, in fact, about a few ?murdered? but not dead trees.

The article also tells readers how upset the bereaved locals are. It seems that wailers have replaced the whalers of yesteryear in Opito Bay.

Back now to his article about Whaleoil editor Cameron Slater. Fisher concludes with a comment that, confusingly, starts off being about Cameron Slater and ends up being addressed to Cameron Slater:

The arc his ambition has travelled is epic, its end crushing. It was enough without a stroke robbing you of dignity, freedom, mobility.

If this is how a Senior Writer at the Herald writes, imagine how bad the Junior Writers must be. Little wonder the Herald editor packed him off to the Far North for a non-story about four non-dead pohutukawas.