Countering Paul Buchanan’s disinformation about me

As Lew from Kiwipolitico wisely said earlier today, “the best remedy for bad speech is more speech.” He said this in response to some bizarre claims Dr. Paul Buchanan (who prefers not to be known by his academic title, so I shan’t mention it again), one of the authors at said blog and the man behind “Buchanan Strategic Advisors,” has made about me. I am talking about this particular comment thread and specifically this particular comment (Update: Buchanan has deleted the offensive comments now, so these links are merely historical):

Good bye Matthew:

Your sense of importance is inversely proportional to your intellectual worth (oh, and BTW, I know your supervisors and lets just say that…the examiners shall decide).

Although the version he originally wrote (which, unluckily for him, was sent out by e-mail as soon as he entered it) was slightly different:

Good bye Matthew:

Your sense of importance is inversely proportional to your intellectual worth (oh, and BTW, I know your supervisors, who agree with me).

Now, what Buchanan has claimed here (in both versions) is simply not true.

Let me emphasise that: Buchanan is spreading false information about me.

Neither of my supervisors know him and they have definitely never discussed my PhD with him (as one of them said, the fact that she has never met him or had contact with him effectively precludes her discussing my work with him). Paul Buchanan has either confused me with someone else or he is lying. Normally I’d extend the principle of charity and assume that he’s been foolish, but given the invective of his earlier comments in that thread, I’m inclined to believe that he thought he could lie about having spoken with my supervisors and get away with it. Luckily for me (and not so luckily for him) I have a very good relationship with both of my supervisors and speak with them regularly.

It was very easy to verify that Paul Buchanan was not telling the truth.

I’m making a point about this here on my blog (sorry, foreign readers, who don’t know who Paul Buchanan is) for the sheer fact that Buchanan has blocked me from commenting in the thread and thus my only recourse is to signal here that Buchanan is passing himself off as someone who knows about my project (and its academic merit) when, in fact, he does not.

As to why he has taken against me… Well, I don’t rightly know. I have some theories but I’m not going to make matters worse by speculating openly as to why he thinks heaping abuse upon me is in anyway justified. Indeed, if he wasn’t against robust debate I’d be discussing this with him over at his blog.


QoT says:

I believe the time-honoured phrase “what a dick, au” is appropriate here.

Okay, that’s a great avatar pic. The mighty Shodan herself.

But yes, cock.

Steve Parkes says:

I’ve read some bizarre reactions in comments sections on blogs, and that carry on over at kiwipolitico ranks right up there. Especially as the person who most lost the plot was one of the blog’s contributors.

I used to demolish you guys as a matter of course and am happy to do so now.

Dr. Buchanan presumably demolished “you guys” by banning responses.

I, for one, would like to know when this demolishing went on and who was the subject, because no one I’ve spoken to seems to know him. They just know of him (with regards to his much publicised dismissal from UoA).

Giovanni says:

As to why he has taken against me… Well, I don’t rightly know.

Nothing to do with you, the man clearly has issues. That he felt he needed to belittle you by concocting such an easily refutable lie speaks to that, as does his final response to Lew. Interesting behaviour too, from a person who had such problems with students supposedly lying to him.

That said, you’ve been treated abysmally and that can’t have been pleasant – you have all my sympathy.

Someone seems to not only have deleted the offending comments but modified some of the others so Buchanan does not look so filled with the invective he has been dissing out.

Steve Parkes says:

Those “There is a new comment” email notifications are so handy, aren’t they.

Especially when lots of people you know received them.

Giovanni says:

“Someone seems to not only have deleted the offending comments but modified some of the others so Buchanan does not look so filled with the invective he has been dissing out.”

Yes. “Someone”.

Well, I’m assuming it’s Buchanan but it might be an internet goblin causing havoc.

Kadin says:

I think Lew might have deleted them. He seemed to be pretty unhappy with what Buchanan was saying.

According to Lew, Paul deleted and modified some of his comments because he accepted that they were out of line. He hasn’t actually had the grace to apologise about them, so I think I can take it that he hasn’t ceased in his campaign of unwarranted hatred against me.

Pablo says:

This was a funny read. You come in an threadjack a post of mine at KP, I get irritated at your comments, respond in hard terms, then start winding you up about your degree and all of a sudden it is “disinformation.” Others jump in and continue some feud with you that I was unawares of. All very strange, and quite silly.

I was sorry to offend Lew when he started criticizing me and upon reflection deleted the comments he was offended by. I still think that he over-reacted to my criticising you for ruining the thread with tangents of no consequence. But all that is water under the bridge.

I have nothing against you personally and do not much care about your degree or claims to being a public intellectual. What I do take offense to is trolling, which is what you were doing in that thread. That too, is now water under the bridge.

Good luck with your conspiracy studies. It is not something I am conversant with.

Paul. You weren’t “winding me up.” You lied about knowing my supervisors and suggested that they had talked to you about my work. Both my supervisors think your behaviour was terrible and if you were still a lecturer at Auckland you would be facing disciplinary action for that comment.

Also, since you obviously haven’t read the comments on that thread, I do not claim to be a public intellectual, Russell Brown is the person who claims I am a public intellectual. I still consider myself to be a mere student.

Pablo says:


I am glad you recognise your proper status. Now you need to understand that I can say anything I want on the blog (much as someone using a blog post to label my comments on KP as “disinformation” is within his rights to do so), particularly if taking the piss in a hard way. Your supervisors should focus their efforts on supporting the union because it looks like they are going to be punching time clocks if the VC has his way. Or perhaps they are managerial toadies brown-nosing the bosses.

Best that we move on to more productive things.

I like how you assume anyone who is critical of you is a scab.

QoT says:

I find it fascinating that Buchanan refers to your mild and fair pointing out of Dr Mutu’s correct title as “threadjacking”. Because it’s not like putting down women by according them less than their full status is a bullshit move or anything.

I’m eternally reminded of a quote from the Herald many years back, along the lines of “”I hate it when people don’t call me Dr Smith. I have worked very hard for that title,” Miss Smith said.”

In a post about putting down Margaret Mutu, denying her the title “Dr” was part and parcel of demeaning her arguments, and pointing that out is only “threadjacking” if the author is a tad defensive about his sexism.


I’ve looked through some earlier discussions of the whole “PhD/Dr.” thing over at Kiwipolitico and Buchanan’s argument seems to be that in America holders of PhDs do not get referred to as being “Doctors.” Given, however, that he blogs at Kiwipolitico and taught at a New Zealand university, you’d think that he’d be aware that in New Zealand (and Australia and the UK) holders of PhDs are referred to as “Dr.”

Scott says:

I’m sorry you had a rough time of it Matthew. What a pity that Paul Buchanan went silly in that post and the comments under it – he seems to have ruined what was developing into a nice blog by antagonising not only regular commenters but his own co-posters. It’s surely about time he moved on with his life an put the U of A thing behind him. He could always take a lead from EP Thompson, who felt his departure from university life in middle age as a liberation, and got down to the business of writing books…