4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News

4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News
4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News Led by John "Cueball" Mackenzie

24 November 2012

MOORE vs BLAKE vs MOORE

 Hidden away on page 14 of today's Cairns Post is a sad little report on two sad little men.

The once popular Cairns Blog and the blogger, Michael Moore, were taken to court by former Cairns councillor Alan Blake on Blake's civil charge of defamation.  With the case ending with a whimper instead of a bang, it's hard to feel sorry for either of these men.

Alan Blake over the years has grown to be unpopular with the voters in his division, ultimately leading to his trouncing by Richie Bates earlier this year.  Unsustained charges brought to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) dogged him most of the last term along with his continued and vocal unhappiness with Mayor Val Schier and council direction.  It's hard to see what actual damage Blake sustained by being a continual target of the Cairns Blog.  I guess left for him to prove to the magistrate.


BLOGGER MICHAEL MOORE GENEROUSLY SIGNS
AN AUTOGRAPH FOR FAN JULIA GILLARD
DURING HER VISIT TO CAIRNS
Kiwi Michael Moore on the other hand is not very likable either, and he's had various positions in Cairns that didn't work out for him.  Self-listed as a "Freelance Journalist and PR strategist" on his Linked In page, the Cairns Blog was started while he was employed at a high-profile and non-political public service entity.  Apparently they weren't keen on the negative attention.  The Cairns Blog then roared into high gear, and Moore fancied himself a journalist - showing up with camera or recorder in hand to this or that function around town, demanded to be listed as a "journalist" with the Cairns Council CEO.  He even boasted that he had "forced the resignation" of CRC management staff.  

At some point however Moore's attention to Blake began to take on a shrill tone, with "stories" devoted mostly to what seemed to many as overly personal intrusions into Blake's life.  Stories even looked to be ginned up out of nothing more than councillor travel plans.  Many readers however were shocked when photos said to be of the councillor's car parked at an inopportune location looked to many like stalking, with one reader pointing out that the time on a photo looked to be doctored.  The court action by Blake followed.

Some serious issues were at stake in this case, as Moore pointed out along the way.  The "new media", journalistic freedom, and the right to criticise those who put themselves in the public eye - all deserved a hearing.  And as many writers to the Cairns Post are finding out, even just penning a letter to the editor can generate attacks from others in the community - part of the to-and-fro of the political process.

But in a puzzlement to many, Michael Moore just couldn't seem to "man up" for the court case.  For someone with intellect and writing ability, he clearly had several avenues of defense as even Justice Jim Henry pointed out.  Honest opinion and qualified privilege to discuss those in politics were thought by at least one legal practitioner (ours) to have been successful defence.  There is wide case law on the subject.  Additionally, the courts have always embraced "no harm, no foul" if a complaint is lodged and the offending story retracted by the publication with an apology.

However Moore essentially never showed up to mount a defence.   

And it's like Woody Allen says - 90% of life is just showing up.  


41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the best outcome here is that the magistrate finds in favour of Blake (by default) and awards damages of one dollar.

Anonymous said...

Pot calling the Kettle black, but fuck i love this site its the best laugh i get every day. Its like taking drugs.

Anonymous said...

Hey check your solar power switches as some people are turning the switches off... I know several friends who have not received any power rebate. Newman is gone.... The end if the LNP us close and the news will mean the Govenor will dissolve parliament.

Miss Chief said...

Karma at its best. Watch the Kiwi whimper back to NZ. Good riddance.

ruby said...

I think you are being a bit harsh on Mike Moore, HBW. He was the very first to start a political blog in a city starved of alternate media. He exposed the "Cash for Comment" debacle, and the complicity of some of the Councillors. That was excellent journalism. He did show courage in taking up the cudgels against the vindictive bullying campaign waged against our first ever female Mayor. Moreover, he did pave the way so to speak for other local political blogs to emerge.

Anonymous said...

And not forgetting, he also shone a light on the corruption within Cairns community radio.

Anonymous said...

Ruby, I agree with you. Mike Moore was a pioneer of sorts and should be given credit for that. The Cairns Blog was a first in this area despite all it's limitations. Not strange they wanted to shut him up. Compensation of 350 k has been awarded by the way.I am however disappointed that Mike chose not to defend himself. He could have won the caseand humiliated the complainant in the process.

Anonymous said...

Yes anon 06.37 Mike spent time and effort in an attempt to wake up the community to the disgraceful rorting of public funds by those operating the local Community Radio -no-one has ever been charged over the $100,000 plus that disappeared into someones pocket. I am sad that Mike has been forced to go through this and as Ruby said -he was the first to bring alternate news and views to the Cairns public with his Blog. Make no mistake HBW - everyone who operates alternate media in Cairns could suffer the same fate.

CBD Warrior said...

Anon 7:31, yes the Community Radio saga deserved attention, but it would seem it was a dead-end. I still don't think we know what was going on there, but it was like fighting over an old broken down Holden. And it always seemed like a vendetta was being run, not an investigation. And while I share your observation that alternative media right around Australia is under attack, there's been nothing on HBW approaching the vindictiveness and personal acrimony necessary to support a legal action. I see it as "second generation" alternative media - still looking under the rocks that the ComPost ignores, but clearly without the kind of detritus that could generate legal action.

Tony Hillier said...

I too am disappointed that Michael failed to grasp the opportunity court provided, but applaud the work he did in the aforementioned cases. It takes intestinal fortitude to stick your neck out in the public arena (apologies for the mixed metaphor).

Alternative media outlets are needed now like never before, but to earn respect and a following they first need to adhere to old school journalistic principles and get their facts right.

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked that compensation of $350,000 has been awarded to Blake. What Val Schier had to endure was much much worse. Just comparing the two, where is the justice?

Anonymous said...

CBD Warrior, I suspect you are wrong about the risks of legal action against HBW. As for the Community Radio station, this was a story that needed pursuing and still does. The broken down Holden is still broken, even if it's not broke.

ruby said...

Anonymous 07.31, when we think of Mackenzie and how he bans people with different viewpoints from appearing on his program, how he will not allow any other politicians other than LNP politicians, there will always be a need for alternate media. One good thing abut facing dictatorial control is that some people will always not only oppose it but find ways to oppose it. It is one of the greatest strengths in our democracy. This blog for example started because of Mackenzie's dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

CBD Warrior I have to disagree with your summation re the Radio station -why did two members of the police force (and around 25 others) who took an active part in program presentation, resign in disgust at the goings on at the station as revealed by Cairns Blog? They were both mindful of their status as policemen and did not want to be involved in an organisation that was proven to be less than honest with public money.
The Cairns community deserves a decent Community Radio and for the amount of money given to the station we should expect more. Mike worked tirelessly on this and should be given credit for at least trying to make a difference.

JOHN MACKENZIE'S HILLBILLY WATCH said...

We understand that the court has not awarded any damages in this case yet. The $350k figure is from Alan Blake's solicitors. We are advised that the second prong in any defamation case (after proving the defamation) is proving damages. This is where most cases founder.

Anonymous said...

Quite right HBW, readers of this blog are mis-reading the article. Hopefully a wise magistrate will see this for what it is; vexatious, and award, at most, token damages with each party meeting there own legal costs. That should then be a warning to others who think they can lawyer up to prevent healthy debate.

Anonymous said...

Ever heard the saying cant get blood out of a stone? Bet my arse Mr Moore doesnt have two cents to his name. Blake will be the loser in all this as he will have to pay his lawyers and barrister. End score Moore $0.00 Blake minus $50,000 or more, BLAKE IS A LOSER AND JUST PROVED IT.

Anonymous said...

I used to like reading CairnsBlog until Moore asked Brian (Damage) Law to write for him.

Mick said...

Agreed anon 10:06. When it became the B. Law blog It became as one eyed as a Mckenzie show with its usual band of commenters such as Forsberg and Morgan.

Bryan Law said...

Mike tried his best to run a defence in this matter, and received very little support. Robert Pyne put in a lot of effort, but was insufficiently equipped in defamation which is a very technical area of law. Others offered moral support, but there was never the financial aid to engage competent Counsel. Alan Blake has probably spent $50,000 or so on legal fees, and my guess is he'll never get that money back - but he has achieved his goal, which was to silence and punish a critical voice. One only has to look at this blog, whose publishers choose a strategy of anonymity (most commenters the same) to know the quality of democratic debate in Cairns has been severely damaged. Please remember too that a key leader in this strategy was Kevin Byrne who, as Mayor, used ratepayers money to threaten suit against dozens of critics - even against Bob Norman at one time. Who will stand now that Mike has fallen?

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected on the damages claim. Most likely it will be just a pyrrhic victory for Blake then. In my personal, honest opinion and without any prejudice or intent to cause harm or personal injury: what a pathetic little man ! pity mike chose not to fight the grub though. Oh dear, did I say grub ? is that defamatory ? I meant worm of course...

Anonymous said...


I am not a fan of that blog. I have noted his investigations are shallow and lack true understanding. Add his partnership with Bryan Law I start to see blogs requiring some form of regulation. Garbage.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure spending $50K on legal fees whilst simultaneously being given the heave-ho by an ungrateful electorate IS achieving his goal. When this legal action was commenced, Blake thought he was in the ascendancy with grand visions of achieving mayor - with his dysfunctional mate Freebody the local member for Cairns - see http://alanblakeformayor.biz/ - it's hilarious stuff.
With hindsight, I'm sure he would prefer to slip off into post-councillor irrelevancy with the money. As the discarded has-been that he now is, it's doubtful that CairnsBlog, (or HBW) will waste any space commenting on him (unless he is stupid enough to stand for public office again). So what has he achieved?

Vi L. Schumm said...

The quality of a blog depends on its 'commenters' as well as its managers. No blog is perfect but recent events confirm how important they are. While I often disagree with him, Brian Law is just as entitled to contribute as anyone else. There is no point in a one-sided blog, just as there is no point in a (totally) one-sided talkback program.

Anonymous said...

Mike's biggest investigation was on the Community Radio. only someone from Arona would call it "shallow and lacking true understanding". No-one with half a brain could call it shallow unless they had something to hide, anon 1606. Forget Bryan Law he was but a bystander.

Anonymous said...

Anan 17:20. Did not read that one but the snorkler left alone out in the middle of the ocean story was crap. He was left on a beach with a boat present and is sight of lifeguards. Aboethr story was equally stupid.

http://alanblakeformayor.biz/ Was started by Bryan Law? Moron.

Anonymous said...

"The quality of a blog depends on its commenters, as well as its managers."
Well said Vi L. Schumm.
We do get the odd post or two which I feel goes over the top, where posters vent their spleen, but overall there is some very interesting stuff provided by the various people.

ruby said...

Blake cannot surely blame Mike Moore alone for losing his Council seat. The sheer malevolence of Mackenzie cannot be under-estimated. He played his part in the "divide and conquer" strategy, buttering and flattering up Cochrane, thus then pitting a woman against another woman and then threw all his support behind Manning. Cochrane's team was doomed to fail.

Jethro said...

Very astute observation there, ruby. Yes, the machiavellian tactics of "divide and conquer" were used with the previous Council. Mackenzie played a key role in that. Nonetheless, Cochrane, Blake and co were very willing particiants in the game, too naive to realise it was all about ultimately getting the Unity Team into Council.

Destiny Prophet said...

But which blog is going to cover the mayoral candidate who believed a friend of Mark Zuckerberg who designed progammes for Facebook and pulled chicks at the Woolshed every night, would need to rent a room in his house, rather than a mansion?

KitchenSlut said...

I agree with what Tony Hillier said above and think you have been too tough on Mike.

In particular I think it should not be forgotten that the particular circumstances evolved from Blakes relationship with a prominent CRC media employee who was well known among the media milieu to be leaking like a fully open faucet to Gavin King!

Bazza said...

The whole cochrane running for mayor was a set up by the local sad non community minded, including mackenzie.
She was comissioned to keep upsetting the council decisions re the CEP until the state election so it could be stopped.
The outcome is, take some votes off Val Schier, remove the councillors that don't conform to their rip off control etc.
It seems that the reward is we will give a position in the hospital board (which she would know nothing about) and link up with norman who also is being rewarded for his loyality to the party and I doubt he would Know much either, it's just business which does not lend to community.
I recall byrne making accusations against Michael Moore on mackenzie
crap radio, so Michael Moore has been harassed by these morons, and I recognise that cairns blog was the start of awareness for us.
Hopefully there is option to appeal after whatever decision and somebody might be able to offer gratus legal representation.

Danny Kaye said...

Moore was warned by myself and others that he was in danger of going too far, libel and defamation was explained to him.

Cue Bryan Law.

From the time that fat freak opened his mouth about 'freedom of speech', and a blogger's right to basically ignore the law, Moore was doomed.

He was even warned not to listen to Bryan Law, but he thought he knew better.


Apart from that, the reason the blog went into decline was because Moore got too big for his boots.

Bryan Law was allowed to run riot, whilst replies to his attacks were refused, Law was also often able to 'reply' to comments that were never posted.

There are lessons there for HBW too, lose the respect of the people who make this blog work, and you too could sit there all day waiting for someone to reply.

Anonymous said...

I confess I was one of the regular contributors to CairnsBlog who left after feeling very threatened by Law. Ive made comments in HBW which others have disagreed with, but they have provided their reasons why and at no time have I felt personally abused or threatened. There are cordial and respectful ways of expressing disagreement, something which Law has yet to learn.

JOHN MACKENZIE'S HILLBILLY WATCH said...

The reason you haven't felt "abused or threatened" by other commenters is in part because we don't allow those comments to be published. Much of what got Cairns Blog in trouble was the sense of invincibility fostered by the blog. We've taken a more thoughtful approach, turning our back on unverifiable stories, vetting stories with a barrister (and contributor), and ensuring trolls don't get established. Of special interest are the comments sent that in two sentences would send us to slander hell if published - and likely sent to us as a "set up". Several traced to a former council candidate and party regular in the Edge HIll area. You're not dealing with chimps here. . .

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that HBW. Just as a matter of interest, how many extra hits are you getting post Val and Anna? Most people are pretty secretive about commenting on your site -I only know the ID of two! But I am sure you must be outranking the CP by now.

Anonymous said...

There would be more people posting comments on Hillbilly Watch than on the Cairns Post online site where posters just get continuously abused by the likes of Crockford and co.

Anonymous said...

Crackpot, the Spewing Frog, Silverbeet and the repulsive Koah Troll have all been quiet lately. Maybe the CP has finally clamped down on those vile sociopaths. Boydy Boydy Boyd must have run out of apologies for the LNP which is rtearing itself aprt already and has finally shut up too. After 8 months of incompetence QLD's credit rating has been downgraded AGAIN. They can't blame it on the previous government anymore, so come in Gavin Spinmeister, what happened ?

Mick said...

That's if you are lucky enough to have your comments published in the first place!

Anonymous said...


Must admit I will never again post on Facebook,CP or Cairns Blog due to real name issue. The abuse from the riff raff rednecks idiots simply not worth it. Not about politics about childish bullying. Mainly LNP, by far the worse, no policy just dirt collectors but all parties have some nasty supporters who are totally incapable of replying to the content without getting nasty. Until they can provide an adult environment no way will I even read the trash Blog and Post dish up. HBW best right now.

Anonymous said...

The Koah troll had a letter published in The Cairns Post the other day in which he was very critical of King.