The media are finally losing interest in the Dotcom saga. It’s no longer generating daily headlines and the journalistic wolf pack has moved on.But here’s the thing: the public was never that interested anyway. To use the fashionable jargon, it was a classic Beltway issue (the Beltway being the highway that encircles Washington DC, and hence a metaphor for any issue that excites political obsessives but leaves ordinary citizens wondering what all the fuss is about).
What made the Dotcom affair particularly riveting for political junkies was that it implicated normally secretive security agencies – a rare treat. Better still, it exposed them to embarrassment and ridicule.Combine the scent of a wounded prime minister’s blood with the spectacle of panic and discomfort among the "spook" community, to use another term much loved by reporters, and you have what might crudely be called a political journalist’s wet dream.
But even if the public had cared much in the first place, which I doubt, they would have very quickly lost interest as the tangle of allegations became ever more intricate.This is not to say the media should have ignored the affair, especially when a government security agency had flagrantly disregarded the law. But its significance in the eyes of the public was probably greatly over-estimated.
Still, there are rich pickings there for anyone interesting in scripting a political farce. It might be something for my fellow Dominion Post columnist, the parodist Dave Armstrong, to pursue when he’s not tending his basil plants.