Is Scout wilfully mediocre?

I’ll be completely upfront here: I haven’t visited the website of Scout, Mediaworks’ latest snackable content thingy. I don’t even know what its URL is. I tried googling it for all of two minutes before giving up and offering my condolences to Mediaworks’ SEO team.

My impressions of Scout have been entirely garnered from Twitter and the open mockery being cast its way by rival, and even fellow, media folk.

But seriously. Scout’s first scoop was ~exclusive footage~ of Mike Hosking vacuuming his own car?

There’s plenty to say and criticise about celebrity stalker culture, the invasiveness of media even into the lives of public figures, much less private, and a heck of a lot of questions about Rachel Glucina’s continued status as a “journalist” post-Dirty Politics and post-Ponytailgate.

My question is this: how can a gossip site based in New Zealand be so dull?

We’re a tiny nation. We tell each other jokes that we’ve all heard before about how interconnected we are. Three degrees of separation! Everyone knows everyone else’s dirt! And everyone knows that the person to go to with especially terrible dirt is Rachel Glucina (“John Key has her on speed dial”, remember?)

By rights, we should be swimming in the muckiest kind of tabloid filth and innuendo. Every segment of New Zealand society has its cache of open secrets – the wild, bizarre or downright shocking stories which everyone seems to know. It’s true of Wellington – god knows it’s true of the Thorndon Bubble – and I can’t imagine it’s any different in the Auckland socialite circles which normally get the spotlight thrown on them.

It defies belief that Rich Man Cleans Own Car was the best headline Rachel Glucina and her team could come up with. With her unquestioned expertise at getting the story no matter what, assisted by the phalanx of defamation lawyers who must be stationed by her desk, after throwing every sentence through a careful “some people even suggest that …” filter, Scout should be taking a celebrity, business, or political scalp daily.

But perhaps the code of silence prevails. Maybe it’s a matter of discretion. After all, you don’t know for certain that so-and-so did such-and-such, you just know that everyone knows it totally happened. And if everyone knows that … what do they also know about you?

I suppose I’m answering my own question: sharing – or rather, confirming – the scandalous things which we all “know” would be a form of mutually-assured destruction. There’d be an orgy, if you’ll pardon the horrible mental image, of revelations and backlashes and exposes and defamation suits to make Colin Craig think things had gotten a bit litigious. And within a week, tops, we as a nation would have had enough scandal to sate us for a century, and never again would we be titillated by the promise of vaguely-worded hints at the indiscretions of the rich and famous.

parks and rec lightbulb



For a bit of light amusement, there’s something beautiful about scrolling through Scout’s Twitter followers, so utterly devoid of real people that it ‘s like a 21st-century koan.

What do you reckon?

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