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Both sides reporting in the time of Trump

Written By: - Date published: 10:08 am, January 24th, 2021 - 85 comments
Categories: climate change, Donald Trump, Media, poverty, racism, spin, us politics - Tags:

You would think that after the Trump years the media would be turning away from the reporting of “both sides” of an issue and in many cases they are.  For instance Stuff have pledged not to reproduce climate change denial statements, the science is now far too clear.  Also it has apologised for decades of racist reporting and pledged to do better.

But such a progressive approach has not affected all media.  As an example John Roughan at the Herald still holds out for a “fairer” means of reporting and defends a system that allowed Trump to flourish.

From a recent article:

Questions that arise in the minds of many readers, I suspect, do not appear to have been asked, perhaps because they imply scepticism that is no longer respectable on these topics.

Some media outlets have openly committed themselves to a certain view of subjects such as climate change, declaring the science is “settled” and closing their columns to contrary opinions. A New Zealand media company recently repented of all previous coverage of Māori by papers in its stable, finding it racist.

If the world is not to suffer more populist disasters, possibly even an encore for Donald Trump, news media have to find an open mind again.

It is not totally unreasonable to doubt that a 2-degree rise in global temperature over the course of a century would be an unmitigated disaster. It is not anti-scientific to examine the published figures for Covid-19 deaths, notice the demographic proportions and wonder if they warrant a response as drastic as lockdowns.

It is not simply “racist” to think non-Western immigration could undermine your culture. I don’t share that view but I can understand it. It’s a fear that needs to be addressed, not suppressed. Racism has more to do with fear than hate. The word needlessly antagonises people and makes them afraid to speak their mind unless they’re among friends.

If American Democrats and the country’s respected newspapers and television networks really would like to bridge their country’s cultural divides, rather than simply saying they do, they need to come halfway over the bridge. They need to overcome their aversion to certain views and respect the fact that a lot of people, about half the population, think that way.

This request for “balance” and “listening to both sides” is a bit rich.  And arguably it allowed Trump to happen and cause immense damage.

In the early days of Trump’s presidency, egged on by his supporters, he trashed the US’s response to climate change, insulted vast swathes of the planet and displayed a calculated sense of cruelty that was astounding, even by pre election Trump standards.

And you just have to look at Fox News currently to see the level of delusion in its reporting.  Denials from Republicans that they assisted the rioters even though there are digital records, calls for investigations into China’s role in the spread of Covid, a whole series of attacks on Biden for everything from releasing detained immigrants to wearing a Rolex watch.  The attacks are relentless and reminiscent of Kremlin style propaganda.

Roughan’s view is that there is graduated incremental change between the views of one side and the other.  The problem is however there is often a chasm.  How do you find common ground between a progressive and a Q Anon follower.

The difficulty with allowing these corporate sponsored views, such as a 2 degree change in temperatures will not be a disaster is that it stymies the collective will to do something about it.  Read LPrent’s chilling post on what is happening in the Arctic if you still think that there is a debate to be had about the severity of the threat of climate change.

The problem is not the lack of a public debate.  The problem has been that Trump and his ilk have branded any world view inconsistent to their own as fake news and has attacked the media at every opportunity.  A worryingly significant number of Americans bought into this and still believe it, and still believe despite overwhelming proof to the contrary that Trump won the election.

There is no common ground with these people and there are many pressing problems.  The world’s leaders including Biden and Ardern need to knuckle down and work on solutions, whether for climate change, Covid 19, poverty  or the still worrying level of racism.

By all means where there is a debate to be held let’s have it.  But wanting to engage with a group of people whose leader told potentially 30,573 lies while POTUS seems to be a waste of time at a point of our history where time has never been more important.

85 comments on “Both sides reporting in the time of Trump ”

  1. dv 1

    Yes well said.

  2. Anne 2

    If American Democrats and the country’s respected newspapers and television networks really would like to bridge their country’s cultural divides, rather than simply saying they do, they need to come halfway over the bridge. They need to overcome their aversion to certain views and respect the fact that a lot of people, about half the population, think that way.

    This is a good example why I no longer read John Roughan and his band of like-minded conservatives thinkers. Their responses to controversial issues is always the same – so simplistic they end up representing a major part of the problem. They seem incapable of registering the fact when one side represents reality and truth and the other side delusion and lies then there is no chance of a 'reconciliation of views". It matters not how many people fall on the side of delusion and unreality, this fact doesn't change.

    CC is a case in point. The main reason we are approaching an apocalyptic scenario is because a bunch of pseudo-scientists with cockeyed ideological beliefs (who should have no place in rational debates of any kind) were for years given equal media time to the massive majority (97%) of real climate scientists by clickbait hunting media channels world-wide.

    Much of the blame lies fairly and squarely on their shoulders for allowing the skewing of a profoundly important topic to be relegated to a sham spectacle for the entertainment of the masses.

  3. Maurice 3

    So the "sides" have changed … but nothing else has?

    Trump has gone but still lives rent free in so many heads.

    • roblogic 3.1

      Unfortunately Trumpism and QAnon thinking is still alive and well, Agent Orange won 75 million votes and still has multiple media platforms to spread delusions and hate.

  4. Tricledrown 4

    Stuff needs to stop putting up taxpayers union, nz initiative opinion as independent .

    They are the business round table and ACT party propaganda arms.

    If stuff wants to be independent it should put up opposing views

    Then show what the truth is and half truths and propaganda.

  5. Adrian Thornton 5

    I have no idea what you are talking about MS, Liberal media is just as bad and just as guilty for creating and entrenching political polarization as Right wing media…name me one time over the last four years when Liberal media ran a positive story on Trump (except when was dropping bombs, of course. Liberal media seem to always like that). MSM have pretty much completed the project..

    Pew research state that 95% of MSNBC viewers are Dem (or Dem leaning), 93& of Fox viewers or Rep (or Rep leaning)…so I don’t know where you get your “reporting of “both sides” of an issue from, unless of course the issues crosses over with the media outlets corporate advertisers and/or billionaire owners.


    “The attacks are relentless and reminiscent of Kremlin style propaganda.”…. Kremlin style propaganda are you fucking serious, I thought you were smarter than that, I mean seriously have you ever watched a Racheal Maddow show?, I can’t see any difference, both are puppet talking heads of their states…I am seriously surprised at your lack of nuance… if you can’t see the systemic rot on both sides of the decrepit aisle.

    “The problem has been that Trump and his ilk have branded any world view inconsistent to their own as fake news”…yet again this is exactly what Liberal media have being doing on steroids for the past four years…when was the last time any Liberal media source invited on a credible journalist to debate or even just give a counter narrative on Russiagate? (Matt Tihibi, Glen Greenwald or Aaron Mate’ ) …post a link, we would all very much like to see that discussion and debate….can’t find one…gee I wonder why that is?…you think this is the only example of Liberal media acting just like your bogyman right wing media, well I have got news for you pal..

    “How do you find common ground between a progressive and a Q Anon follower.”..” There is no common ground with these people”…holy shit man, I cannot believe you would say that, it is really looking like you are encased in some form of impenetrable bubble…try pricking it!

    Populist Right & Left Joining Forces Against Establishment

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Yup. I'm more or less with you on this Adrian.

      I'm no fan at all of the delusional illegitimate world view of some of Trump's supporters, which has to be ruled out of bounds. But that's not the same as delegitimising the entire conservative spectrum.

      The vast majority of ordinary Americans have barely changed their voting patterns at all, and hold to fairly centrist views. Any attempt by the Democrats or their allies to tell fully half the US electorate they have to shut up is going to end badly.

      • Adrian Thornton 5.1.1

        The only good thing to come out of this hysterical call to shut down free speech and de-platform voices they disagree with is it is yet another way to help separate free market Liberals from the progressive Left…seems like there has been quite a few of these obvious distinctions coming into play over the past four years.

        • RedLogix

          There is a solid majority of Americans who know that Biden won the election, that biology is real, that QAnon is a conspiracy theory, that COVID-19 isn’t just a seasonal flu, that skin colour doesn’t indicate your moral worth, and that abolishing the police is a bad idea.

          If Biden can engage that quiet majority without gratuitously denigrating the 74 million Americans who voted against him, perhaps he can get America to start coming together and stop agonising about Voldemort – who, as of today, is just a delusional, embittered man playing golf in Florida.

          • Adrian Thornton

            Well in theory he should find that easy, he has always struck me as more Republican than Dem, and his voting reflects that observation I believe.

            • RedLogix


              Oddly enough that reminds me of a John Michael Greer essay from a few years back where he convincingly made the argument that Trump was fundamentally more of a classic New York Democrat than a Republican. cheeky

              That we can both see how Trump and Biden are both at least somewhat displaced from our conventional understanding of what the Democrat and Republican parties stand for, may say more about the current fluidity of those parties than the two individuals themselves.

              • Adrian Thornton

                "may say more about the current fluidity of those parties than the two individuals themselves."

                I completely agree, I have been trying to make this point for years. The Dems and Republicans are just two of the same but more extreme versions of National and Labour here in New Zealand; all four are following the same economic ideology of Free Market liberalism, sure they have differences and play off each other, but not different at the heart of their economic vision and direction, just the same as Labour and the Tories in the UK..which is exactly why everyone on all sides freaked out when Corbyn came on the scene, he actually represented real ideological change unlike any of the above.

                David Graeber makes my point much clearer…

                • RedLogix

                  That went in a slightly different direction than I imagined – but yes I can understand your thinking there.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    Yeah I thought I would just drop that one there while I had the chance..It’s like my version of gorilla political warfare…sort of a death (or conversion) by a thousand tiny arrows type of thing.

              • NZJester

                At one point in US history there was a poler shift in both US parties. The Republicans used to be more left and the Democrats more right leaning. The current Republicans try to use that history as a shield. Abraham Lincolns policies as far from those of the Current Republicans and closer to those of the current democrats.

                It would be like if the Labour party became the party the right and National the party of the left and they used the history of the early Labour party policies as a shield.

                • RedLogix

                  Yes, that's exactly what I was alluding to.

                  Because their voting system precludes anything other than two major parties, each one is forced to be a patchwork coalition of a number of different voter blocs. Rather than representing fixed ideologies, it's better to think of them as brand vehicles whose portfolios can change quite radically over time.

                  For example the Republicans used to count the Catholic conservatives, the business community and the national security types as their core. Now they've all been kicked out, resigned in disgust or just plain marginalised in favour of a very large cohort of populists.

                  The unions used to be rusted onto the Democrats – this is no longer true.

                  These groups, and more, comprise some very hefty blocs who don't have a home to go to at the moment, and where they land up in the next 3 -5 years will determine the shape of US politics for another generation.

            • Ad

              If Biden were to respond to Republican Party leadership behaviour by being as hyper-partisan as Trump, what you would get is yet another binge-purge cycle of violent uprisings from left and right groups for a further political term.

              That never ends well.

    • mickysavage 5.2

      So because someone on the "left" is also saying something questionable they are all the same?

      We were having these debated 4 years ago when some on the left thought Trump was no worse than the Democrat alternative. Hopefully the past four years has proven this view was wrong.

      My proposition is quite simple, views completely removed from reality should not be given the benefit of media coverage as if there is something in what they claim.

      • Adrian Thornton 5.2.1

        " My proposition is quite simple, views completely removed from reality should not be given the benefit of media coverage as if there is something in what they claim."..and who exactly gets to decide this cut and dried empirical reality that you propose?

      • Adrian Thornton 5.2.2

        “We were having these debated 4 years ago when some on the left thought Trump was no worse than the Democrat alternative. Hopefully the past four years has proven this view was wrong.”

        I am not going to defend Trump, he was a revolting man and I am of course glad he has gone, but let’s at least try for a bit of truth and objectivity here shall we.

        So obviously he has been worse for Americans, but I think it would be pretty hard to argue that he has been worse for foreign countries that the USA consider her enemies, I mean if we were to boil it down to something as base as a foreign head count of death, injury and displacement though military action and/or support by the USA, I would hazard a guess that Trumps toll would be one of the if not the lowest in recent memory..if true doesn’t that count for something?

        And btw don’t bring up climate change; none of these free market Liberals have the capacity in their chosen doctrines that they adhere so closely to, to even begin to help the planet..acknowledging it doesn’t just make it go away as Ardern is finding out as we speak.

  6. R.P Mcmurphy 6

    trump lying and whining is not news. nor is anti science panegyrics.

  7. francesca 7

    The media needs to decide what its job is

    Is it to merely report, or is to inform it's readers fully about the issues

    CNN is just as rabid in much of its shows as Fox news, and much of what passes for news is opinion.Its all very magazine style , often partisan and very emotive, seeking to form and sway opinion.

    By the way , Navalny , that poster boy for western intervention in Russia, disapproves of Trump's twitter account being taken down

    And he's free to say what he likes from his prison cell it seems


    Anyone heard from Assange's cell in Belmarsh lately? or ever?

    • Adrian Thornton 7.1

      @ francesca +1 great point…

      "And he's free to say what he likes from his prison cell it seems

      Anyone heard from Assange's cell in Belmarsh lately? or ever?"

    • Stuart Munro 7.2

      And he's free to say what he likes from his prison cell it seems

      I'm sure the FSB would never dream of co-opting his twitter feed for their own purposes.

  8. Adrian Thornton 8

    Freedom of Speech for Views You Don't Like

  9. Snape 9


    Let’s say Trump had tweeted. without evidence, that you were guilty of some despicable crime – called you a child molester, for example. Viewed by 40 million. You would’ve received death threats. Perhaps been fired from your job or arrested.

    Still think the tweet should be protected by free speech?

    • mauī 9.1

      But what actually happened is Trump tweeted some pretty innocuous stuff to his supporters and that was deemed "inciting violence", and for that his freedom of speech was severely curtailed.

      • Incognito 9.1.1

        You cannot view this without viewing (and knowing) the context that led to his suspension from Twitter. By the sounds of it, you have no idea of the context whatsoever. So, let’s start informing ourselves, shall we?


        • mauī

          Thanks, that justification is as ridiculous as it reads. You seem to be ok with an Orwellian world where someone's simple statement might be interpreted as something dangerous to certain people, therefore it is not allowed.

          Are you also aware of the context around his previous tweets being removed/restricted because they contained "false information about the election". So you think this is more about potential violence or censorship? I think it's quite obvious what's at play here.

          • Incognito

            I think it's quite obvious what's at play here.

            Nope, nothing is “quite obvious” here, at least not to me. People who jump to conclusions before that have collected, analysed, and considered a vast amount of information from various sources are ignorant fools but think they know it all and better than others who have a different view based on the exact same cognitive short-cuts.

      • RedLogix 9.1.2

        I partially agree with what you're saying maui. There is not a clear cut case that Trump directly incited his supporters to 'invade the Capitol'.

        Which is why I much prefer to indict him on a charge of 'dereliction of duty'. Trump is no ordinary citizen or junior politician, and by the nature of the office he held there were extraordinary duties laid on him to protect the Constitution and the process of democracy. His catastrophic failure of judgement to challenge the legitimacy of the very democratic process he’s sworn to uphold- as POTUS – clearly precipitated the events of Jan 6th and this is why I believe his deplatforming and impeachment are justified.

    • RedLogix 9.2

      Nope – there is a clear boundary on that kind of speech covered by the laws on libel and slander. Blatant lies that are intended to damage a reputation or cause loss of income are not protected free speech.

      (A point that quite a few commenters here might want to contemplate. The internet is shifting ground on this as we type.)

  10. Snape 10


    “I thought you were smarter than that, I mean seriously have you ever watched a Racheal Maddow show?, I can’t see any difference, both are puppet talking heads of their states…I am seriously surprised at your lack of nuance… if you can’t see the systemic rot on both sides of the decrepit aisle.”

    Yeah, both sides are partisan, rabidly biased in their respective viewpoints. Rachael Maddow says 2 + 2 is 4. Shawn Hannity says 2 + 2 is 5

    That’s the difference.

    • Adrian Thornton 10.1

      No Snape you are quite wrong I'm afraid, most of what they both come out with is 5, however both of course sometimes make it equal 4.

      As I said to M.savage. you or any other Russiagater show us just one video were Maddow has on her show a credible journalist to debate or even just give a counter narrative on Russiagate? (Matt Tihibi, Glen Greenwald or Aaron Mate’ etc )…you show us that clip and I will concede this point to you, if you cannot, you concede to me that Maddow is nothing more than the liberal doppelganger of Shawn Hannity…sound fair?

      • The Al1en 10.1.1

        No, Thornton, it's your apparent impartiality that doesn't allow you to deconstruct fact from fiction.

        Fox and msnbc, from each side of the spectrum, but poles apart with regards to journalistic integrity.

        Sure you can crusade against Maddow's coverage of the russian influence in American elections as your 'proof', but I assure you from where I'm viewing, you're much more Tucker than a Rachael.

        • Adrian Thornton

          AAhhh The alien …“but poles apart with regards to journalistic integrity”….really? so in four years of endless reporting on Russiagate they invite not one credible sceptic on to their show to test their “journalistic integrity”that doesn’t sound like there is any integrity going on there all all that I can see or hear..so mate I’m sorry to inform you, but it seem it is you who cannot ‘deconstruct fact from fiction.’ …if not then take up my challenge…

          ..I now extend and even expand my challenge to you…I now include any main stream Liberal TV news source thathas invited any credible journalist on their channels to debate or even just give a counter narrative on Russiagate? (Matt Tihibi, Glen Greenwald or Aaron Mate’ etc )… you show us that clip from any main stream liberal TV show, and I will concede this point to you, if you cannot, you concede to me that Maddow is nothing more than the liberal doppelganger of Shawn Hannity…sound fair?

          • The Al1en

            No need to play games, Thornton. You can believe what you like about russian interference in American elections. You're also free to get your 'news' from those who make the opinions you support. If a free and fair media can’t change your mind, I’ve no chance.

            I like msnbc, it's like how I prefer the Mirror to the sun, the Guardian to the times. And like with the papers, I don't blindly follow what I read or hear. What I'll do is examine the info from a multitude of sources, including the one's you do, and work out for myself which are credible and those which aren't. I can't say that Maddow or her network do or don't have dissenting voices, but I do know they, for example, have never run fake election result stories or pushed Trump's nonsensical talk points on anti science, muslim immigration etc, so that for me is major division on integrity. To not be accepting of that isn't just myopic, it's dishonesty.

            It seems you climb a hill merely to die on it, while I ascend to get a better all round view.

            • Adrian Thornton

              This isn’t a game pal, I asked a simple question, can anyone of you russiagaters find an occasion where liberal main stream news had on just one serious dissenting voice during its four years of none stop hysteria, fear mongering and smoke screening, it’s seems that the answer to that simple question is no they have not…where is in the media I consume they do regularly have voices from both sides…..come on man, you’re a smart guy, what does that tell you? ?, I mean seriously you have pretty conceded that on certain issues main stream liberal media have little to no journalistic integrity, doesn’t that bother you at all?

              By the way I climb Te Mata Peak a couple of times a week on my ride home, I ascend this quite steep and relentless hill for four reasons , I like the challenge of the climb, I like view from the top, I earn the fast and exciting decent and it makes me stronger.


              • The Al1en

                an occasion where liberal main stream news had on just one serious dissenting voice during its four years of none stop hysteria, fear mongering and smoke screening, it’s seems that the answer to that simple question is no they have not

                On the eve of his memoir 'Permanent Record' being published, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden talked at length from Moscow with MSNBC's Brian Williams in an exclusive interview.

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Is that the best you can do?..Snowden (a real hero btw) was on a talking tour promoting his memoir, he keeps to that subject all through this interview (and it is a very good interview), so sorry this has nothing to do with what we are talking about..try again.

                  Though of course he has always shot down Russiagate when pressed. but only really from the sidelines.

                  • The Al1en

                    So Snowden on msnbc isn’t enough for you.
                    Okay. lol

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      You do know they made a Hollywood movie on him don’t you, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and directed by Oliver Stone..it would have be just weird if they didn’t interviewed him, and as I mentioned previously Snowden doesn’t really do Russiagate and also never mentioned it in that interview, and that was what we were talking about right?…so stay focused and try again .

                    • The Al1en

                      Try again – Hark at you.

                      How about you actually make the case you offered up that Maddow is the left equivalent of Hannity. Just because the show hasn't interviewed your acceptable sources, doesn't for one minute equate msnbc with fox. Maddow’s work on covid in the early days was spectacularly successful in highlighting the failures leading to unnecessary death – Something the fox and friends obviously didn’t.

                      I've already pointed out the integrity differences in the type of stories they cover, so, over to you.

                    • Morrissey

                      The trouble with Maddow is that her behaviour for the last four years has been so spectacularly ludicrous that she has no credibility left. You're correct in pointing out how she highlighted the failures of the Trump regime, but no one takes her seriously, so anything useful she does and says is discounted.


                    • The Al1en

                      As a loser of the liberal media war you may not want to read her reply to others like you

                      Bring it. Your hatred makes me stronger. Come on. Give me more. Give me more. I love it

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      “I’ve already pointed out the integrity differences in the type of stories they cover, so, over to you.”

                      Not so fast my slippery friend, now as you well know this is about Russiagate, you were set a task of finding just one voice of counter narrative or dissent on that particular subject…can you or can you not show us that one time when main stream liberal press allowed that to happen, that’s all I am asking..if you cannot find that just ONE time in FOUR YEARS of Russiagate, then how about you do the honourable thing and just concede the point and accept that main stream liberal press has no integrity on this subject.

                    • The Al1en

                      I think it's only fair you address the integrity issue as it’s central to any claim of Maddow being the opposite of Hannity.

                      Note I've posted your opinion setters haven't been on the show, and how it doesn't equate to being the same as fox news.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      “I think it’s only fair you address the integrity issue”…OK, I will.
                      So are you trying to tell us that a news channel can run what was for all intents and purposes one of its main stores for four straight years and never once have even one voice of dissent or allow any counter narrative at all over those 1460 days and you still somehow want us to believe it has more integrity than some other piece of shit new source, don’t you see that is a lack of integrity of the absolutely highest order. In other words they want you to believe everything they say without any form of debate or context and zero scrutiny..and strangely it seems that you do…wow, do you see how bizarre that is?

                      Abandon ship my friend…she’s going down fast.

                    • The Al1en

                      I recall interviews with politicians, prosecutors, journalists, security services and many others, but yeah, none of your select few, whose absence still doesn't prove msnbc and Maddow are the same as fox and Hannity.

                      Anyway, from my link earlier

                      But Maddow, whose new book was inspired by Putin’s motives for attacking US democracy, describes some of the criticism as dishonest and makes no apologies for being obsessive, especially since there is every prospect of Putin trying again this year. “Russia interfered in the 2016 election to try to elect Donald Trump, and Donald Trump got elected and he is weirdly and irreversibly supplicant toward Russia and Putin. Like, OK, I’m going to cover that,” she says. “I don’t care what anybody says about me. I don’t play requests and I don’t worry about the criticism. If we get something wrong, I’ll correct it, but, in the absence of that, the criticism for focusing on real news stories that bother people – that’s what I get paid to do.”

                      And for fun

                      In the wake of Barr’s summary of Mueller’s conclusions, a clutch of noisy Russiagate skeptics in the media, having argued for the past few years that the whole thing was a neo-McCarthyite hoax, now claim vindication on the say-so of the attorney general—a curious bit of deference to the nation’s top law enforcement official, doubly curious coming from the very journalists who’ve done so much to expose the perversions of our justice system. “The biggest thing this affair has uncovered so far is Donald Trump paying off a porn star,” writes Matt Taibbi, dismissing the entire scandal as hype. And Glenn Greenwald himself has described the media’s Russiagate coverage as “unhinged conspiratorial trash, distracting from real issues,” as if creeping international kleptocracy, elite self-dealing, and two-tiered justice weren’t real issues.

                      Back in 2011, Greenwald well understood the incentives within the media industry to protect the powerful instead of challenge them. In his book, he writes disgustedly about Iran-Contra conspirator Oliver North, who, rather than being professionally shunned, “was rewarded with a Fox News contract.” Pretty embarrassing for everyone involved.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      Have you noticed none of your Russiagate pals have come to your aid…no just crickets, that’s because they know in their hearts that I am right and they and you are wrong.

                      So in effect you offer us nothing,zilch, zero which is right because there is nothing to offer and no defending Maddow and her unhinged liberal media cohort’s outrageous lack of journalistic integrity…and then you have the gall to quote Maddow “. If we get something wrong, I’ll correct it, but, in the absence of that, the criticism for focusing on real news stories that bother people – that’s what I get paid to do.” …wtf, man, are you really that perverse, you cannot show that Maddow or anyone who pushed this Russiagate nonsense has ever allowed any serious debate, scrutiny or questioning of this whole fantasy and you quote us that line…how the fuck would you or anyone know whether she has got it right or wrong? when she has never had the strength of her convictions to allow her story to be tested…holy crap man you really are beyond help, believe any fantasy you want, facts looking you squarely in the eyes only meet with a blank stare …this discussion is over.

                    • Incognito []

                      …holy crap man you really are beyond help, believe any fantasy you want, facts looking you squarely in the eyes only meet with a blank stare …this discussion is over.

                      And on it went …

                      Do you guys feel you’re getting somewhere, anywhere, after all these years, having the same ‘discussions’?

                      If this were a relationship, a counsellor might suggest breaking up and separating, amicably and while there still is smidgen of (self-)respect left …

                    • The Al1en

                      Would it be churlish of me to remind you the credibility of your only back up? No matter, I'm sure the other three or four regular defence squad members will do you proud. lol

                      Look, on the russian electoral interference, there's clearly no point in trying to sway you from your position with arguments, no appealing to a better nature to look at the evidence with a critical eye, so that's always going to be a point of divergence.

                      The matter of whether msnbc is the equivalent of fox, however, is something you'll have to back up with more than 'they never interviewed my guys so it must be true'. I do believe Maddow isn't always on the money, and sure, sometimes she get it flat out wrong, but the point about journalistic integrity being at the same level across both networks is just bizarre. I can sift through the news cycle and work out who the more trustworthy sources are. I offer you the same quote I gave to a banned member not too long a ago.

                      Once you've decided that something's absolutely true, you've closed your mind on it, and a closed mind doesn't go anywhere. Question everything. That's what education's all about.

                      While we're on about trustworthy sources, integrity and stuff, can you link me to some of your comments criticising putin or russia?

                    • McFlock

                      no just crickets, that’s because they know in their hearts that I am right and they and you are wrong.


                      Silence doesn't indicate acceptance, dude.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Have you noticed none of your Russiagate pals have come to your aid…no just crickets, that’s because they know in their hearts that I am right and they and you are wrong.

                    No, it is because the desperate cries of the Putin-duped loons, as any Canadian could tell you, are best left to trail off into the gathering dusk.

                    LOON SOUND EFFECT IN HIGH QUALITY – YouTube

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      OK, then you explain to us all why in four years of Russiagating, not one main stream liberal media TV news source has had on even ONE counter narrative?…I mean talk about Stalinist type propaganda…but I guess that irony will sail gently above your head.

                      You see I am used to taking my information from sources that get involved in serious and heavy debates on the issues from all sides, thereby I get to see and understand the fact or not from as many angles as I can..whereas the sources you lot defend to the death are like something Gobbles would be proud of.

                    • McFlock

                      Adrian, I'm sure there's a four hour youtube video on it somewhere, knock yourself out.

                      I no longer give a damn what putinesca bullshit you believe, just don't go saying that someone ignoring you is the same as them agreeing with you.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      Just as I thought McFlock you have never heard or seen any counter narrative to your cold war Putin fantasy on any main stream liberal outlet…ever…I rest my case.

                      The lack of journalistic rigor you accept as normal and the straight out gullibility of you guys is quite astounding to me….no need to provide debate, context, oversight or scrutiny with you lot, you just swallow whatever bullshit narrative they feed you it seems…wish I had a Racheal Maddow mask and a used car lot, I would make a fortune…nah just kidding, I couldn't do that, but as we have all just seen, someone already is..figuratively speaking.,,I'd check for banana peels in the gearbox if I where you.


                    • McFlock

                      Just as I thought McFlock you have never heard or seen any counter narrative to your cold war Putin fantasy on any main stream liberal outlet…ever…I rest my case.

                      You're resting your case on a fantasy of what you think I would have bothered writing if I thought you could be reasoned with. Again.

                      btw, I don’t watch Maddow or much in the way of tv news at all.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    in four years of Russiagating, not one main stream liberal media TV news source has had on even ONE counter narrative?

                    Because there is nothing of substance to support that position – it would be mere supposition. There is ample evidence of Russian activity. The disinformatsia Russia can feed into its own news channels at the drop of a hat doesn't meet that most basic journalistic requirement – a factual basis. Journalism is not about he said she said, in which lies have equal standing with truth, but about matters of fact.

                    The official US position is along these lines:

                    The Russian government directed extensive activity, beginning in at least 2014 and carrying into at least 2017, against U.S. election infrastructure' at the state and local level.

                    That is fact.

                    And you aren't in a position to try to explain irony to me.

                    You, out of childish credulity routinely and at length promote the cause of a genocidal tyrant! Shame on you!

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      Do you also accept official US policy on Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Venezuela, Yemen etc etc?

                      No, shame on you for being so gullible that you are now promoting an unfounded culture of fear..maybe you should take the time to watch/rewatch this classic BBC documentary…

                      The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear is a BBC television documentary series by Adam Curtis.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Do you also accept official US policy on Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Venezuela, Yemen etc etc?

                      I do not – but even if I did it would not get you off the hook for mindlessly endorsing Putin.

                      That guy is very bad medicine – but instead of educating yourself about him you try to lecture us all from your position of ignorance.

                      Save your energy for folk even worse informed than yourself – it will get you nowhere with anyone else.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      When have I ever endorsed Putin? either paste up link where I have done so or retract that statement please.

                      This conversation nothing to do with Putin, it is only about the integrity of the news sources that are pushing a narrative and not allowing any debate, oversight, scrutiny what so ever over four long years, something you useful idiots seem to be completely happy with…fucking unbelievable, you guys defend the undefendable.

                      How do you explain that before Trump and this Russiagate smokescreen, only four years ago these same news sources used all the journalists that have problems with Russiagate regularly on their shows when their reporting supported their narratives at the time, but now won’t allow them on their shows ever…for fucks sake man turn on the critical thinking part of your brain.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    When have I ever endorsed Putin?

                    Every time you repeat his disinformatsia you endorse Putin. And that's nine tenths of your postings here.

                    You practically do nothing else.

                    Amend your shameful ignorance and stop being a pawn for the Chechen genocide.

  11. Ad 11

    As consumers (and indeed as political activists) we have no choice but to engage with the fact-free conspiracists, because the largely unregulated speech of social media smashes us with multiple orchestrated tsunami of fact-free narratives. They've won multiple elections against us precisely by exploiting gullibility – and are better at it currently than we are.

    The rise of Donald Trump was – more than any other global leader in the decade – due to his accurate instincts about what best injects energy into a sine curve of an algorithm. With that energy he and his supporters were able to rip away multiple democratic systems and the regulatory systems that enable democracy to be sustained. Engage in that fight we must.

    So possessing knowledge and truth is a vital aspect of democratic societies. Yet, fake news severely undermines diligent online news consumers’ ability to acquire knowledge, and it can impede their ability to assess the truth. They can turn on the senate building like it was World War Z.

    Until the key multinationals are severely regulated with public rules (rather than continuing to make up their own and discard as they see fit), then there will be massive suspicion from all sides of politics that those algorithms are tilted to assist their opponents.

    Biden essentially naming that epistemic crisis consistently in his opening speech is a great start. He's brave to do so. It will take many who have spread paranoia to be brought low if Biden's stance is to succeed.

    Apart from regulation ( which is necessary but insufficient), epistemic framing needs to becoming a pedagogical core of English teaching. Knowers need to understand the limits of their epistemological stances: sure, be critical of everyone else's lunacy, but interrogate your own as well.

    And of course, the epistemic lesson of Covid19 is about as perfect a fact-based response to political lies as one could wish for. Germs are telling more truth than Trump ever could.

  12. the NZ print media is, and has been so far right wing for decades. They currently whine about lack of support. big ,and small business support is no longer there to provide advertising support. Their favourite political party is fractured.

    This is the 21st century. The societal demographic has ethnically changed enormously in the last 50 years. Kiwis have become more cosmopolitan. Who cares about britain anymore? Ask any returning kiwis.

    Grumpy herald and (desperate to be published roughan print anything.)

    To be fair the boss of this domestic settlement subscribes to the dompost.

    The editorials, and opinions (not reporting) are so biased it is unreal.

    The "born to rule" and the "born to publish" should never have been twinned.

    That is capitalism for you.

    Editorial board and press rooms need to grow up.

    So does roughan (john key iconographer par excellence).

    • RedLogix 12.1

      the NZ print media is, and has been so far right wing for decades.

      The odd thing is that the right in NZ says the same thing – except they moan about how far left the media is.

      Now both sides cannot be correct at the same time, but they could be both wrong.

      • Gabby 12.1.1

        They do that to nudge the media further to the right and the more it works, the more they’ll do it.

        • McFlock

          Sure, "right wing" and "left wing" are usually shorthand for "to the right of my opinions" or "to the left of my opinions", and a fuckload of people on the fringes think they're "centre right" or "centre left". But ISTR the papers tended to have more columnists who talked about the stress of dealing with graffiti than they had columnists who mourned the kid who was chased down and killed over it. Not sure that would be bang in the middle of the political spectrum.

          • RedLogix

            The idea that anyone is 'bang in the middle of the political spectrum' is probably a bit of a myth, the vast majority of people are predominantly either liberal, socialist or conservative.

            The 'centre' is perhaps best thought of as that overlapping space where all three groups can recognise the political legitimacy of the other two.

            • McFlock

              Regardless, any industry that habitually asks the likes of Don Brash or hooten etc for commentary isn't likely to be centre, centre left, or left of centre: unless they also ask the likes of (tries to think of any far left columnists in mainstream newspapers)…

              • RedLogix

                I'd typed out a response but I wasn't happy with it and deleted it. As it happens I'm usually multitasking here and one of my subscribed YT channels popped this up. Initially it looked like a bit of irrelevant fun – but there is a neat 'twist' at the end which says what I wanted to say – only much better.

                • McFlock

                  I mean, the only reason the Ames illusion works is because it's such a rare and purposefully-contrived circumstance of perspective that it plays with adaptations the brain has developed to deal with the overwhelming majority of real-world information.

                  I'm not sure it's a realistic argument for uncertainty to the point of epistemological agnosticism.

                  • RedLogix

                    It's a metaphor, not a proof. You can see similar processes playing out at a moral and ideological level where different people see the same data, but attribute quite different meanings to it.

                    Understanding why seems quite interesting to me.

                    Motivated reasoning and confirmation bias will always play their role, and none of us are immune to them. But it goes even deeper. When a discussion has moral or ideological implications, people typically have an a priori point of view that they then use as an end point, at least on a subconscious level. They then go about gathering evidence – eagerly including that which supports their view – while ignoring the rest. This aversion to hearing opposing viewpoints is strong.

                    That’s why the analogy with the Ames illusion is relevant.

                    Here's a study that found that people will actually give up money to avoid exposing themselves to the other side of a debate – a response we might expect to see among zealous religious followers seeking to avoid being required to attend another sect’s services.

                    Perhaps, in these nominally secular debates, science and faith aren’t nearly so distinct as we often like to think.

                    • McFlock


                      Or perhaps the risk of reading bullshit without reward was greater than the undisclosed odds of an extra $. Perhaps examining acceptance of political opinions when one political wing of the society has already become a realm of "alternative facts" is closing the gate after the horse has bolted. Perhaps expecting a random sample of people to choose the economic optimum option is in itself fraught with difficulty.

                      But most of all, perhaps contrived constructions and situations are not particularly relevant to the actual accuracy of most people's perceptions in everyday life.

                      So yeah, your metaphor is very apt indeed.

      • Morrissey 12.1.2

        The odd thing is that the right in NZ says the same thing – except they moan about how far left the media is.

        In this case the right wing is, as so often, delusional. Have a look at any edition of the Herald, watch the television news tonight, listen to Radio New Zealand news through the day: if after that you claim with a straight face that the media are anything other than an outlet for business and government press releases—with a few honorable exceptions—then you have either a wicked sense of humour or you have been indulging in substances you would be well advised to shun.

        Now both sides cannot be correct at the same time, but they could be both wrong.

        You are suggesting that each side is equally credible and therefore they cancel each other out. That's a simplistic reductio ad absurdum if ever there was one.

        • RedLogix

          If you've gotten the world neatly parceled up into right wing people who're always banal and delusional, and left wing people who're always the righteous knights of purity and truth – then maybe you too have a very droll, and hitherto unsuspected, sense of humour.devil

  13. Adrian Thornton 13

    "There is no common ground with these people and there are many pressing problems"

    Radicalized Michigan Anarchist Seeks Unity With The Left.

  14. Corey Humm 14

    Every good Journo is taught that the left and the right are both full of crap and that it's their job to hold both sides to account and strip them of their gloss to show public can see politicians for what they are, journalists will never stop reporting both sides of the story because they hold both sides in contempt.

    The left doesn't have all the answers. The right doesn't have all the answers. Both sides much like religion though, believe they do, journalists are trained to see through that gloss

    Trump in a lot of ways was inevitable and while corporate media openly seized on every opportunity to talk about him cos trump brings in clicks and views and loads of cash to a industry that was dying prior to his candidacy (hence why cnn/msnbc are all trump all the time ) it's not media's fault for the rise of populism it's the political world's, the media held trump to account better than the Democrats, it's the politicans fault for so badly failing gigantic sections of society , anyone with a brain can see american politicians on both sides serve their masters not their constituents, the dissatisfaction with politics is real and it's global, hell it's here in NZ , political partisans rubbish concerns of people in the electorate all the time if it doesn’t mesh with their political dogma and actively mock and ridicule genuine concerns like money in politics , corporate donors and yes chinese govt influence on politicians. Trump merely seized on the failings of the political establishment and a dying media desperate for ratings , if politicians were doing their jobs and money and influence wasnt in politics people wouldn't be so angry and desperate that they would believe all this crazy crap. It's not journalists fault for holding both sides in contempt, it's the politicians for deservedly earning the contempt of journalists and the public.

    Bob Hawke said this was all inevitable because their hasn't been a great leader in the world in decades and this is what happens when there's no leadership.

  15. Snape 15


    Both sides might be full of crap, but not necessarily equally so. The 60 Minutes interviews should make that clear.

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