Joe Hendren

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Is Prog-Blog John Pagani?

After some discussion with others I have reasons to believe the identity of the puerile poster Prog-Blog is none other than John Pagani, former chief press secretary to Jim Anderton.

Perhaps it was the personal attacks that gave it away, or perhaps the simple arrogance. Perhaps it was the repeated practice on misrepresenting the positions of others, instead of actually addressing the argument made. The writing style also seemed rather familiar.

While I would normally respect the right of a blogger to remain anonymous if he/she wishes, Prog-Blog has demonstrated that he does not respect the right of other bloggers to remain anonymous. In cases such as this, mutually assured identification should apply.

(This does not apply to the person who posts as 'Anon' on Prog-blog - generally his/her posts are more substantial).

Anonymous blogs can play an important function, especially where a person may have access, or perceived access to information of a public interest, yet identification would get them to get in trouble, most likely in a work situation. However when an anon blog is simply used for unsubstantiated abuse, anonymity is simply being abused. Consider this post from Prog-Blog (25-8-05), which from what I can make out from the garbled link appears to be aimed at National party blogger Aaron Bhatnagar.

"FAT CREEP AWAY FROM COMPUTER Foof it must be nice bludging on the old man. So much 'putin, playstation and Penthouse all day, you can't believe you're actually blinkin' in the sunlight for an hour or two. Super creep reports he will be away from his computer 'until later this afternoon'. WTF? This afternoon? Eeeee, we will be sure not to click refresh too much."

While one may disagree with many of Aaron's views, there is no need for this. Why bother with the personal attacks? Thankfully from my experience the NZ blogsphere rarely reaches such puerile depths. The comments above do not reflect well on Prog-Blog, nor on Jim Anderton's Progressive party Prog-blog claims to support.

And another question for Prog-Blog. If the Progressive MPs were so worried about the foreign ownership of TV3, an entirely reasonable concern, why did they not raise this issue when the Overseas Investment Bill was before the house this year? Many countries enact controls on media ownership through their overseas investment regimes. In fact, the bill effectively liberalised media ownership laws even further, as business transactions worth less than $100m now require no oversight. The Progressives supported the bill through all stages without raising a wimper inside or outside of the house. Either they simply do not believe what they are saying, or they are simply poor advocates.

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At 8:23 am, Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

So a number of people think it's Mr Pagani? What's he up to these days?

At 10:44 am, Blogger Comrade_Tweek said...

Yes, I think it is John Pagani as well.

I've come to this conclusion after knowning Mr Pagani for a number of years and after reading some of Prog Blog's former postings. What really gave it away for me was the posting of the Wellington Central Blog last week. I thought that I recognised the style.

It's one thing to have intelligent discussion and debate, it's something else to personally attack and defame someone - which, unfortunately, always tended to be John's forte.

At 11:27 am, Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

Poor old John. Is he still relevant in political discussion these days? I mean, with his track record...

At 11:48 am, Blogger Comrade_Tweek said...

Well, to quickly quote Oscar Wilde, "It's better to be talked about than not talked about..." However, I feel that you've answered your own question in relation to the relevance of John these days....

At 6:22 pm, Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

An MP once told me Pagani had charisma. I wondered why he liked horses that way.

What is Pagani doing these days for a crust?

At 6:28 pm, Blogger Comrade_Tweek said...

He is, I believe, a director of Sugar Productions. His own company which specialises in PR and media.

He also keeps his hand in as a private (sometimes) advisor/media guru to the Great Helmsman - sorry Jim Anderton.

(As you may have guessed I'm not a particular fan of either).

At 7:16 pm, Blogger span said...

I'm not sure it is Pagani, but then I never had much to do with him. I thought he was living in Paris or was that just temporary?

At 9:32 am, Blogger Comrade_Tweek said...

I think that it was just temporary. Though that does not mean that he can't post. I'm sure that he would be keeping abreast of the situation here.

The posts by Prog Blog are just too precise, plus he admits in a previous blog that while he was close to Anderton, he never joined the Alliance - which narrows down the list of suspects. It is obviously someone who is connected within the Prog machine and has journalistic skills - Pagani would therefore be one of the prime suspects.

At 10:57 am, Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

Whoever it is, the name should be changed to 'Prat-Blog'. There's a fine line between acidily witty and just being a petty, vindictive arse - but this chap (whoever he is) never seemed to get on the right side.

At 11:45 pm, Blogger Joe Hendren said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:47 pm, Blogger Joe Hendren said...


I think we have agreement right accross the political spectrum on that one!

At 11:50 pm, Blogger Joe Hendren said...


Out of interest, which MP was it? Are you allowed to tell?

John would could only have ever had Charisma long after Mark Todd retired her from competition.

His track record is to back old horses long past their best :)

At 11:50 pm, Blogger Joe Hendren said...

Pagani was also briefly the media commentator 'from the left' (what a joke) on Linda Clark's show on National Radio, though I suspect he probably got this job because he happens to be articulate, rather than John being capable of insightful commentary one would not find elsewhere (a camp follower commentator in other words).

While working in Parliament I heard John had a reputation for berating press gallery journalists, pretty much 'doing his nut' if they didn't print the spin he wanted.

At 8:44 am, Blogger span said...

i always thought that segment of Nine to Noon was more Government vs Opposition, with Pagani and Hooton. Since Peter Harris replaced Pagani it has been more left/right.

I don't think Prog Blog is Pagani because it seems too unprofessional to me - the spelling mistakes, the poor layout etc. But then I don't think I ever spoke to him Back in T'Day.


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