Spam Journalism: The spurious use of sensational headlines to add spice to an otherwise pointless article.
Now here is a nice manufactured controversy that does not exist. Fresh from my old stomping grounds in Southland.
“It’s not on the scale of Helen Clark’s “paintergate” scandal, but it has caused a bit of a storm nonetheless.
“Well-known southern artist Nigel Brown yesterday said he was glad he wasn’t entering his work in a community art auction – because Prime Minister John Key has entered.
“Brown, a fulltime artist whose work shows in numerous galleries and museums, returned his canvas for the “Big Names Small Canvas” auction untouched this year.
“The Riverton Community Arts Centre holds the auction every two years.”
Firstly, this is simply nothing like Helen Clark’s “paintergate” scandal. John Key has not signed his name to a sketch that he did not draw himself. There is no fraudulant activity here at all. Mr. Key has simply donated his famous sketch to the Charity Auction in Riverton. I seem to recall he auctioned that sketch on Trademe, so this might be another in the same vein.
It seems that the “controversy” is that Nigel Brown is happy he hasn’t entered the charity auction because he does not like National’s approach to the arts (presumably he liked Judith Tizard’s). While Mr Brown is entitled to his political opinions, it turns out that he did not enter a canvas into the auction because he was too busy (i.e. couldn’t be bothered). This make his remarks somewhat self-serving (and, frankly, makes him sound like a bit of a tosser).
Of course, we find out all of this only after the Southland times notes:
“The Southland Times has been told Brown did not enter as a form of protest against Mr Key’s participation in the event. More artists are said to be taking a political stance and not entering their work.”
Translated: We were tipped off there might be a protest brewing but when we got there we found there was no actual story. This did not stop us from running it, of course.
Presumably they could not find any other artist who did not submit a work because they were protesting. It is highly unlikely that any of them even knew that John Key had submitted an “art” work. It is perfectly possible that none of them would care if they did know. After all, this is a charity auction for the local arts centre. Only a complete moron would boycott a worthy charity to make such a nebulous, pathetic point.
Even the good Mr. Brown is not that moronic.