National has certainly got on the front foot over allegations of dirty tricks and gutter politics by Labour. Nick Smith took the wind out of 3News's sails by launching a pre-emptive strike in the General Debate yesterday, confirming that he had been pressed by a "Young Nat" on the issue of nuclear power. The tactics were the same; repetitive questioning, until the "interviewer" got the answer he wanted. Who will be next? And who's been going through John Key's rubbish - again?
Labour's response is simple - it's not us. Clark and Cullen are calling on John Key to "withdraw and apologise", but I don't see that happening any time soon. The first revelation (Bill English) was a scoop, but with each successive leak, it's been harder for 3News to find a new angle. And as I said yesterday, each leak is going to strengthen the perception that Labour is behind, even if not directly authorising a dirty tricks campaign.
Meanwhile WhaleOil reports that Michael Bassett has joined the chorus, fingering Duncan Garner and the team from Scoop, and commenting:
"TV3 hasn’t revealed their snoopers’ identities. They must protect their sources, they’ll tell you. Do you sniff a rat in all this? Are the journalists who chased the authors of the 2005 pamphlets the same people who are now covering the tracks of the eavesdroppers in 2008? Is the intended beneficiary of this double standard the Labour Party? You’d better believe it. Duncan Garner is acting like he’s on Labour’s payroll."
Keeping Stock has been a long-time watcher of 3News. However, as of yesterday, Keeping Stock's viewing habits have changed. Perhaps others might like to show their contempt of 3News's willingness to stoop to gutter tactics and do likewise.