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The Hard Truth about David Fisher

The Trials, the Tribulations, the Torment. One Man Has Had a Box Seat through It All. But as a Journalist, Sometimes Getting Too Close Can Distort How You See Things When They’re in Plain Sight

IN THE high-stakes world of investigative journalism, David Fisher is arguably one of the most trusted names.

It’s a trust earned, not bought – built around principles which put the public interest above all else, even in those rare situations where impartiality and objectivity are compromised by self interest. That has propelled Fisher into a role in New Zealand society, which comes with great power, but also enormous responsibility.

It is a role we assume he takes as seriously as breathing. His countless awards at least tend to suggest that! Why wouldn’t they? 

After all, giving a voice to the voiceless, and holding power to account is a very serious business.

The byline ‘David Fisher’ may just be two words, just a name, but no two words mean more to any story. It is the foundation which holds the story together and tells the reader this structure is solid and dependable… not some house of cards that will fall as soon as a cold wind blows through.

Good journalists like Fisher understand innately the importance of transparency and objectivity to any story. An investigative journalist must collect, and treat evidence the same way a detective does at a murder scene. One slip, one miscalculation, one piece of sloppiness or inattention to detail and it’s OJ all over again. It’s what separates a David Fisher story from a company press release.

For anyone who has followed the Whaleoil saga publicly, the name David Fisher will be a familiar one.

He’s had season tickets from the very beginning, watching up close as the drama has unfolded, and the casualties have piled up.

Fisher’s job was to make sense of it all and tell us why this should matter when we possibly thought it shouldn’t.

His other job was to ensure he always kept at arms length, but sometimes when you are at arms length for so long with someone, as Fisher has been in this case with Matthew Blomfield, it can appear to outsiders that you are actually holding hands.

Fisher and Slater never progressed to anything remotely like holding hands which made the challenges of reporting this story much more difficult.

Seven letters with two syllables, no matter how unambiguous the meaning might be, was Slater’s response to all things David Fisher – an illustration of the contempt he had for him, and the honest held belief that his words, even in a paper the size of the NZ Herald were of no consequence or value to his view of the world – and Blomfield.

Did Blomfield beat the blogger at his own game? Almost certainly… but not yet, despite the claims made by Fisher and the NZ Herald, as Blomfield V Slater is far from being done. (Spring, as always is across all aspects). 

Every time it was the same old song. Blomfield on vocals. Fisher on drums.

What began as a tangled and elaborate drama soon became a shoot-em-up western where good and evil was no longer a million shades of grey, but just black and white. Just the right colour for the newspaper headlines where this story lived for so long.

Enter Marc Spring. He never wanted to be part of the main act. He was a backup singer at best. A backup singer, though, with a big hit that deserved airplay. Which meant dealing with David Fisher who, as we know, was on drums.

But even though Spring has a hit song – a song about an underdog who beat the odds to eventually win the fight of his life – that was no guarantee he’d get it on Fisher’s playlist.

We are, of course, referring to Spring’s defamation win as a lay litigant against Whale Oil author Margie Thomson and publishers Potton and Burton. (Spring also beat Craig Mason conclusively this year as a lay litigant) 

The Whale Oil book had accused Spring of being behind the murder-for-hire plot in 2014 on Blomfield. It was a scurrilous, and highly defamatory accusation with not a shred of evidence to support it. The settlement for an undisclosed amount was also a declaration that in this book ‘they told lies’. And if they told this lie, what other lies did they tell? Spring says “plenty” 

The lid had been lifted on Pandora’s Box, and who better than to take a good hard look around than David Fisher. One of the most trusted names in investigative journalism. Remember the guy who put public interest above all else, even in those rare situations where impartiality and objectivity we’re compromised by self interest. That the guy. Yes!

Well, now it’s time for the hard truth about David Fisher.

Here he was not that guy…

Why would he not play the hit song? He may not have appreciated the melody. Perhaps he didn’t like the lyrics. But a hit is always a hit. This is how, and we are sorry David, if you find any of this embarrassing because your embarrassment pales in comparison to the disappointment we are feeling right now about you, and the institution that you represent.

David isn’t from the Cam Slater school of two word, seven letter email responses, but what we got from him was equally as offensive as he was effectively saying to us that our victory against this great lie and everything it represented was an invisible hollow one that meant nothing.

The great lie would endure over our truth and that was that.

This is not the first time David has done this. We have email after email where our voice – the voice of truth, copies of evidence, court judgements – has been ignored, and you as readers are let down.

Has David been seduced by one side, intimidated by what he now knows to be the truth, or is he compromised by self-interest?

“Either way David you have done let yourself down. You know it, I know it – and everyone who reads this now knows it,” said Spring.

“When is a lie more powerful than the truth? When it is ignored like it has been here by David. Think about that as your legacy because it’s one that you cannot escape.”

WUM – Shayne Currie

Spring goes on to say “I have sent Fisher, his bosses Shayne Currie, Murray Kirkness, hell even the entire NZME Board copies of evidence that proves my version of events, yet they just refuse to run a story based on the facts, or the truth… It just does not suit the bullshit narrative the Herald has run”…  “The mainstream media (MSM) should be ashamed of themselves, the Herald should be embarrassed of themselves – so much for fair, balanced, and transparent media, let alone the arrogant replies I get to conclusive evidence” 

Murray Kirkness


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