It seems that the NZ Herald, AKA “A newspaper”, cannot throw New Zealand’s former number one blog Whaleoil down the memory hole fast enough. In 2014 Whaleoil won a Canon Media Award for breaking the story of “Pants Down Len Brown”. The award was for Best Blog and at the time many commentators got their combined tits in a tangle about it.
The award was made by independent judge Deborah Hill Cone in recognition of Whaleoil breaking a major news story relating to the then Mayor of Auckland Len Brown. The Canon Media Award was presented at a glitzy big media event. I was there at the winning table with Whaleoil Editor Cameron Slater who made a speech and got booed for his trouble by none other than NZ Herald journalist David Fisher.
In fact, such a fuss was made about the public acknowledgement of Whaleoil’s big exposé that a short time after the award was presented to Whaleoil the Canon Media people wrote to Cameron asking him to return the award. Their sponsor Canon was getting flack on social media from left-wing political activists so they wanted to withdraw the award. Cameron replied that if he did return the award as per their request he would first video himself shooting the award to pieces at a gun range and he would then video himself pouring the broken shards into a large envelope to post back to them.
Realising that if they demanded the award back that Cameron would ensure that the story went viral they backed off and instead quietly removed all evidence that the award had ever been made to Whaleoil and Cameron Slater from their records and website, effectively assigning the controversial moment to the media memory hole.
Now the NZ Herald is re-writing history after doing an article on Bevan Chuang. Chuang was Len Brown’s mistress and the source of the story. In the breaking story her identity was protected by Whaleoil who did not name her either as the source of the breaking story or as Len Brown’s mistress.
Whaleoil Editor Cameron warned her however that if the story were published, it was highly likely that her identity would be leaked to the media by Len Brown or his minders in order to try to intimidate her into silence. He told her not to talk to any media, and Whaleoil paid for the costs of motel accommodation so that Chuang could go into hiding. Chuang insisted that she wanted to go ahead with the story despite the risks, but Cameron refused to publish until she had signed an affidavit that what she had told him was completely factual.
All hell broke loose when the story broke, as Cameron had warned her it would, but Chuang panicked and instead of staying hidden away she ignored his advice and talked to the mainstream media. In no time at all her name was everywhere.
More than 5 years after the story broke the NZ Herald has not only completely written Whaleoil out of the biggest political news story and scandal of 2013 they have had the bald-faced cheek to make it appear that the scoop was their own!
To mark the Herald on Sunday’s 15th anniversary, we have gone back to some of our biggest newsmakers to find out where they are now.
She became a household name in 2013 as one half of the country’s most public sex scandal.
Don’t you love how the Herald has claimed that this was one of their best stories in the past 15 years when it was Cameron Slater and Stephen Cook from New Zealand’s number one blog Whaleoil who broke the story? Not a single mention is made of who really broke the story. The NZ Herald along with the Canon Media people have pushed Whaleoil down the memory hole and poured concrete over the top in the hope that it will soon be forgotten.
“Following the Auckland local body elections, Mayor Len Brown admitted a two-year affair with junior council adviser Bevan Chuang.”
That is a very empty acknowledgement of what actually happened.
Oh well, at least we all got a catchy song out of it all. Do you remember this ditty?