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Open Mike 13/03/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 13th, 2017 - 89 comments
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89 comments on “Open Mike 13/03/2017 ”

  1. Andre 1

    Dirty politics. Using fake news and trolls to discourage Bernie supporters from voting Clinton. With obvious lessons on things to look out for in our coming campaigns.


    • adam 1.1

      The is no such thing as fake news, there is just propaganda. And people who supported h.r.c. and the democrat’s need to get over losing. To live in this world you are creating, just hurts people and their chance to resist.

      People will die because of this weakness deomcrats, at least 9 of these spineless flecks are going to vote to over turn health care. You could actually help stop that, rather than buy into utter b.s being peddled.

      Here is a link to democrats who are in fear of losing there seats. Take down there names and write them a email.


      • garibaldi 1.1.1

        Good on you Adam. It strikes me the Left are suffering the same bullshit ‘fake news’ paranoia as the Right are. You are correct…. it is all just another form of propaganda.

        • Andre

          Hey, adam and garibaldi, we’ve got our own election coming up later this year. The result will either be a fourth term for National, or a Labour/Green led government. Yes, it is essentially a binary.

          Your choice is to put your support to a Labour/Green led government (which will involve swallowing dead rats), support a fourth term Nat, or say you think they’re equally bad (which is the same as supporting Nats).

          If you want to change the government, it’s a good idea to look at what tactics were used successfully elsewhere, because it’s quite likely they will be used here too. To me, one of the biggest lessons is we’re now at the point in our cycle where it’s time to support the positives in Labour/Greens, rather than picking at and amplifying flaws.

          • adam

            Andre, so your saying that a obvious corrupt two party system, which has been rejected by New Zealand in favor of proportional representation. Is the model you want to work from?

            To Quote Mr Pepelo “Interesting…”

            The working class people rejected the democrates for a multitude of reason: corruption, being conservative, in bed with the corporations, lying and cheating – not some fantasy about Russia. But sure beat yourself up about false flags, I won’t stand in your way.

            • garibaldi

              Andre, I have never voted National and never will. However if you can’t see the bullshit that the Dems are pushing, and call it for what it is, then you are part of the problem.

            • Andre

              I’m saying that for the coming election here, the choice has narrowed to “do you want to change the government, or not?”. And that the current government, having successfully used dirty politics in the past and been shown a new selection of dirty politics techniques to use, will undoubtedly do so to retain power. Inducing lefties to criticise left candidates and share fake news and smears are techniques likely to be re-used here. Even if doesn’t flip voters, it still depresses turnout.

              It’s a sad commentary on our local politics that MMP has narrowed to the point that it has effectively become a binary again. But that’s the reality we have to deal with at the moment. If you think there’s a viable alternative, lay it out and explain it. I’ve asked Bill to explain his alternative vision and all I’ve seen are vague incoherent mutterings about “social democracy”. If you’ve got an alternative vision, I’m honestly interested.

              When it comes to reforming government, the government has already pulled a bait-and-trash MMP review, so I really doubt there’s any chance of meaningful improvement with the current lot. Whereas Lab/Greens have both been supportive of improving democracy through implementing suggestions from the MMP review, limited as they were. Yet another reason to swallow dead ratsfor the sake of changing the government.

              Unless Hone starts looking likely to win TTT AND Mana are polling above 1% (about 1.3% is needed for a second seat), then frankly a vote for Mana is wasted. No matter how moral someone may convince themselves it is. In practical terms Mana have had absolutely zero influence the last 2 years. Although because Hone had a good shot at winning TTT and Mana/IP were polling above 1%, I wouldn’t call it a wasted vote.

              Similarly, a vote for TOP is wasted unless TOP are polling above 4%. But even then, TOP have no commitment to changing the government. They just want to slightly change the flavour of whatever government forms. So from the point of view of changing the government, TOP will be a wasted vote.

              • Bill

                Hi Andre. Not quite sure what conversation you’re referring to when you write I’ve asked Bill to explain his alternative vision and all I’ve seen are vague incoherent mutterings about “social democracy”.

                It’s pretty simple stuff.

                Social democracy puts a tighter or shorter leash on capitalism/markets than liberalism does.

                In short, social democracy seeks to protect individuals from the more egregious affects of capitalism; to rein it in so that it serves society (ie – social democratic policies would seek equal or fair outcomes across populations).

                That sits in stark contrast to liberalism, that promotes the simple notion of an individual having access to equal opportunities in a world dominated by unfettered capitalism.

                You really find that too vague or just generally incoherent?

                And I should note, social democracy is not my alternative vision – I’m not a social democrat. My vision involves self governance through meaningful or substantive, non-hierarchical democratic institutions being developed and existing at the local or community level – ie, my vision revolves around a fully participatory democracy.

                • Andre

                  Sorry, that conversation looks to have dropped off my replies tab so I can’t find it easily.

                  In any case, what I’m interested in is the nuts and bolts of what kind of structures get set up to resolve conflicts over where resource comes from and gets allocated. The how and who of balancing the competing demands of infrastructure, welfare, health, education, conservation and so on.

                  I can stretch my mind to incremental improvements of what we’ve got now. Things like lowering thresholds for representation in parliament, adjusting tax rates and where they’re spent. I can even get my head around changes as big as introducing a UBI and funding it from new sources, such as carbon taxes and capital gains taxes.

                  But if you want my support for throwing out a big chunk of what we’ve got now in favour of something completely new, I’m going want a very detailed picture of what it is. Preferably with an established model elsewhere showing how it’s going to work.

                  Because for all the flaws in the systems we have now, they still work better than just about everything else I can point at. And the models I can think of that I’d like better, mostly Scandinavian states, are really just incremental changes from what we have here and now.

                  • Bill

                    There isn’t anything new about Social Democracy.

                    In NZ, just look to anything prior 1984. In the UK, look to pre-Thatcher. IN the US, pre-Reagan.

                    You want examples of social democratic policies in action today in the English speaking world? Then look at what the SNP does (free tertiary education, more or less free dental care, no prescription charges, no privatisation of the health service etc…ie, a raft of policies putting people first or of putting society before finance).

                    And that’s achieved by a government that cannot borrow money or raise tax thresh-holds in any meaningful way. It works with in proscribed powers of governance and within the constraints of a formulaic allocation of monies from a Westminster government wedded to liberalism and austerity.

                    Thinking about social democracy versus liberalism = merely thinking about priorities.

                    • Poission

                      We have come upon a very different age from any that preceded us. We have come upon an age when we do not do business in the way in which we used to do business,—when we do not carry on any of the operations of manufacture, sale, transportation, or communication as men used to carry them on. There is a sense in which in our day the individual has been submerged. In most parts of our country men work, not for themselves, not as partners in the old way in which they used to work, but generally as employees,—in a higher or lower grade,—of great corporations. There was a time when corporations played a very minor part in our business affairs, but now they play the chief part, and most men are the servants of corporations.

                      You know what happens when you are the servant of a corporation. You have in no instance access to the men who are really determining the policy of the corporation. If the corporation is doing the things that it ought not to do, you really have no voice in the matter and must obey the orders, and you have oftentimes with deep mortification to co-operate in the doing of things which you know are against the public interest. Your individuality is swallowed up in the individuality and purpose of a great organization.

                      It is true that, while most men are thus submerged in the corporation, a few, a very few, are exalted to a power which as individuals they could never have wielded. Through the great organizations of which they are the heads, a few are enabled to play a part unprecedented by anything in history in the control of the business operations of the country and in the determination of the happiness of great numbers of people.

                      Yesterday, and ever since history began, men were related to one another as individuals. To be sure there were the family, the Church, and the State, institutions which associated men in certain wide circles of relationship. But in the ordinary concerns of life, in the ordinary work, in the daily round, men dealt freely and directly with one another. To-day, the everyday relationships of men are largely with great impersonal concerns, with organizations, not with other individual men.

                      Now this is nothing short of a new social age, a new era of human relationships, a new stage-setting for the drama of life.

                      WOODROW WILSON 1913.


                    • Andre

                      Very few people I know (actually none that I know of IRL) have fond memories of the Muldoon years. Things like Supplementary Minimum Prices paid to very-well-off farmers, carless days and no weekend petrol, wage-and-price freeze (that was really only a wage freeze) and so on leave a bad taste. I suggest pointing to the specific aspects, such as near-free tertiary education, near-free medical care etc, if you want to get traction in a New Zealand audience.

                      All of those things can be achieved by increments from where we are now, by supporting and pressuring a sympathetic government. Look at how far Key was able to move things the other way, without scaring the populace.

                      Meanwhile, we do have people active in politics advocating those kinds of policies, such as Joe Carolan. If those policies are so popular, why don’t they get a bigger vote share?

                    • Bill

                      So no fond memories of being able to afford a house (either for rent or to buy)?

                      No fond memories of having a secure job – of penal rates – of vastly superior conditions than those endured today…?

                      No fond memories of going to the shops and actually being able to afford the stuff that was needed…?

                      No fond memories of actually getting hospital treatment when you needed it and not being required to have health insurance…?

                      No fond memories of going to university because going to university…?

                      Nah, you’re right. It was a hell zone of no margarine and no frothy wee flat whites….just like most of the rest of the world in the tasteless 70’s. And margarine and wee frothy flat whites are where it’s at.

                      Those things are the prize and the goal and the end point of the liberal medicine bottle marked “no gain without pain”. And my, such gains we have!!

      • Johan 1.1.2

        Adam, not surprising to find out that many anti-democrats want to sweep the dirt under the carpet, as if the filth perpetrated by the Republicans never took place nor isn’t taking place. I am not a fan of American politics, but I am astonished that a pervert, like Trump can rise to the position of President of the USA.

        • Robert Glennie

          I am not surprised that Trump became President.

          Hillary crashed Bernie so he couldn’t become Trump’s challenger. If he had manged, the result could have been very different and got people who would have otherwise never thought of voting, come out and do so.

          Hillary should not have even been the Democrat nominee.

          In conservative America, they talk about Republicans In Name Only (R.I.N.O.’s), who are thought to be too left leaning, or forgotten what a “true conservative” is.

          I would say in all honesty, then there must be D.I.N.O.’s too who are too sympathetic to the causes of the Republicans, or who have forgotten what a true socialist is.

      • Psycho Milt 1.1.3

        The is no such thing as fake news, there is just propaganda.

        What a steaming piece of po-mo bullshit. There’s a clear and significant difference between news agencies presenting actually-occurring events in ways you don’t like, and private interests paying people to flood opponents’ communication channels with made-up stories. Pretending there’s no difference helps only the left’s enemies, who have a lot of money to spend on fake news.

        • Bill

          Accusations that Iraqi soldiers were throwing babies from incubators onto the floor to die. Fake news or propaganda?

          Last hospital in Aleppo razed (lost count of the number of times that was reported as having happened). Fake news or propaganda?

          Last pediatrician in Aleppo killed. Fake news or propaganda?

          All of the above were stories that were pushed heavily by all major western news outlets and quite a few western NGOs (eg – Amnesty International or medecins sans frontieres). And all were used by western governments to justify actions or positions they were holding and as a way to sway public opinion or attitudes.

          • Psycho Milt

            I can’t believe this stuff can be genuinely that hard to figure out.

            Scenario 1:
            Kuwaitis who’ve fled the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait describe atrocities committed by the invaders, including the accusation that Iraqi soldiers had pulled babies from incubators. News media extensively report the unverifiable accusations as unverifiable accusations and people make up their own minds how much credence they’ll give them.

            Scenario 2:
            Republican black ops type makes up a story about tens of thousands of fraudulent Clinton votes found in a warehouse and publishes them on his web site, which presents itself as a newspaper site but isn’t one.

            Only one of the above is fake news. If people really do struggle to understand the difference, I suggest they hand in their computers as it would better if they steered clear of the web.

            • Bill

              Scenario 1. The daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US gave false testimony ie – made up a fucking story – before the US Congress and her entirely false story was corroborated by Amnesty International.

              And from the NYT of Dec 16 1990 (one snippet among many that you can find using “google is my advanced friend)

              In its last report, Amnesty International said that based on scores of interviews with refugees, it had found a “horrifying picture of widespread arrests, torture under interrogation, summary executions, and mass extrajudicial killings.”

              Few informed observers disagree. What is at issue, however, is the number of victims. 250 Executions Confirmed


              “Kuwait says seizure of hospital equipment caused many deaths”. Reuters News. September 6, 1992.
              “Iraq equipment removal killed patients – Kuwait.”. Reuters News. September 6, 1992.
              “Kuwaiti says Iraq plundered hospitals”. Associated Press. North Carolina: Charlotte Observer. September 7, 1990. p. A16.
              “Official: Hospitalized in Kuwait are left to die”. Associated Press. Chicago Tribune. September 7, 1990. p. 12.
              “Persian Gulf crisis – More about the Mideast”. Houston Chronicle. September 7, 1990. p. A18.
              “Kuwait Says Iraq Plundered Hospitals”. The San Francisco Chronicle (Associated Press). September 7, 1990. p. A21.
              “Released Hostages Tell of Kuwait Terror”. All Things Considered (Transcription of broadcast). National Public Radio. September 7, 1990. Total destruction everywhere, cars wrecked, burned, people thrown out of cars on the street you’re driving down; they just throw people over the street. They’re hitting children with the butts of the guns, taking infants out of incubators and taking the incubators.

              And for some strange reason you don’t appear to want to speak to the other two salient instances I brought up. Or are you getting around to them?

              I’m going to guess you won’t. And here’s the thing. Labeling some stuff as ‘fake news’ as opposed to propaganda means that propaganda that isn’t liked gets dismissed out of hand and propaganda that’s approved of slips uncritically under the radar. And that’s pernicious.

              • McFlock

                Personally, I think the distinction is that the incubator story was reported by organisations that could fairly be regarded as at least trying (although maybe lazily and with significant confirmation bias) to report an objective truth, whereas “fake news” systems dispense with any attempt to report the truth. And the distinction between fake news and propaganda is that propaganda is designed with a specific angle and frequently merely exagerrates the truth, whereas fake news is just intended to overload the synapses to produce a null response.

                That’s just my personal taxonomy of thumb. It’s all just different flavours of shit.

                • Bill

                  You telling me that Hill & Knowlton were attempting to report an objective truth?

                  If anything qualifies as ‘fake news’ it’s that utter fabrication Hill & Knowlton knowingly and cynically compiled and peddled. And given its fake news status, and the fact it was used to impact on opinion around an invasion of Iraq….well, your distinction for what separates ‘fake news’ from propaganda seem to fall over, no?

                  I agree everything’s shades of shit. But I think my point about the potentially pernicious impact of labeling some stuff as ‘fake news’ and other stuff as propaganda, stands.

                  • McFlock

                    No, it was propaganda from hill&knowlton that was probably reported in good faith by AI and the media (with the caveats and attributions milt has raised).

                    This is a phenomenon distinct from fake news like RT or breitbart or even large swathes of fox news, who flood people with oft-conflicting bullshit simply to overload individuals’ ability to make an informed decision.

                    The objective of propaganda is to mislead or persuade, whereas the objective of fake news is simply to induce information overload in the public sphere.

                    • Bill

                      Lets cut the fucking crap here McFlock. Propaganda is by definition false. There is no distinction between what you want to call fake news and what you’d rather call propaganda….except, it seems, that propaganda would be practiced by those sources you’d seek to be an apologist for (BBC, AI, CNN etc) and fake news would be practiced by those you seek to discount entirely (RT and other non-western news sources alongside a few right wing western news sources).

                      I mean ffs! RT “induces information over-load in the public sphere”??!!

                    • McFlock

                      No, it’s not always “false news”. It often takes the form of fake news, but it tries to form a single, coherent, plausible message. E.g. the incubator story reinforced other atrocity stories, some of which probably true, and the true fact of the actual invasion, in order to produce the coherent message of “Iraq = bad war criminals”

                      It also takes the form of true facts selectively reported in order to reinforce the intended message. The Churchill “gangster” photo with the thompson machine gun was a true depiction that was used by both sides in WW2 to reinforce their respective propaganda messages.

                      It can also take the form of simple opinion or editorial pieces with no assertion of fact: e.g. “keep calm and carry on” or even just the pictorial leaflets of porn on one side and a corpse on the other. The gist is there.

                      But “fake news” functions not by individual or even an over-arching message, but by producing an overwhelming number of conflicting messages. Propaganda tries to drive the car in one direction, fake news just tries to overheat the car’s engine until it seizes.

                      Look at RT’s coverage of the airliner shot down over the ukraine, up to and including obviously faked “satellite photos” of other jets in the area, conflicting statements about the possible antiair systems and their locations, and all sorts of shit about radar tracks. Each theory with its own headline and article, reported as reasonable no matter how outlandish. Just clickbait for morons.

                      That’s qualitatively different to say the BBC or CNN. They might have their own agenda, but at least it’s a coherent agenda, rather than just noise to drown everything else out.

                    • adam

                      Sorry McFlock but noise is just one part of propaganda, you and Psycho Milt want to limit propaganda to a fit your agenda.

                      Propaganda is “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view”

                      A point of view, includes overload, and putting people off.

                      I’m all for differing points of view, and think we should have it. Look the media you seem to being holding up is only three organisations, all corporate, and have one interest, profit.

                      So they do propaganda well. One example is just by omitting news. Standing rock is a good example, then MSNBC and their refusal to do anything positive about Bernie Sanders, instead showing trumps empty podium. They did it for hours. Still propaganda.

                      I’m glad you getting a handle on what is happening. But don’t think it’s not propaganda, that is the road to a very dangerous tribalism bubble.

                    • Bill

                      Look at RT’s coverage of the airliner shot down over the ukraine, up to and including obviously faked “satellite photos” of other jets in the area, conflicting statements about the possible antiair systems and their locations, and all sorts of shit about radar tracks. Each theory with its own headline and article, reported as reasonable no matter how outlandish. Just clickbait for morons.

                      I never really took much interest in that particular event, but all you say about it and use as a reason to condemn rt, applies equally to the framework of western coverage of Syria.

                      And the noise from the BBC, CNN et al is many decibels above anything rt can achieve. It’s like a solo artist playing against an orchestra…and both produce clickbait for morons. (But one obviously produces more readily available clickbait than the other though, aye?)

                    • McFlock

                      Alternatively, Adam, you’re redefining what a “view” is to include information overload (aka the complete absence of a view) in order to fit your false equivalence.

                      You think I’m only just getting a handle on things? I’d feel patronised if you weren’t such a monochromatic tool. Hell, not even monochrome: dot matrix. Thirty years out of date and with a worldview of thousands of unconnected black dots on white paper, no shades of grey.

                    • McFlock

                      I never really took much interest in that particular event, but all you say about it and use as a reason to condemn rt, applies equally to the framework of western coverage of Syria.

                      No, it doesn’t. Nowhere near equally. That’s a false equivalence.

                    • adam

                      My point was not to be condescending, and for that I apologies.

                      That said, you need to read what current people are writing about propaganda. It’s not new what you are trying to point forward, people said similar things about Berlusconi and his campaigns. Then a new wave came with the rise of Putin.

                      So I’m not living in the dark ages, as you wish I was. As I actually read about this quite often. And have for years.

                      Like I said, the problem trying to spin this to fit an agenda, is the road to tribalism.

                    • McFlock

                      “current people”. People with their own agenda? Or just more noise?

                      My approach isn’t particularly new, again I never claimed it was. What it does do is provide a distinction between two logically different approaches to public information warfare.

                      Let’s avoid attribution to particular networks or outlets, and just work on the distinction: is “information overload” as an objective fundamentally different from “attempting to persuade or dissuade people about a particular point of view”?

                      I think they are fundamentally different objectives and are characterised by different tactics.

                    • adam

                      I’m just like a word which actually has a use, and we can use it. That is not that useful when you can not get an agenda out of it.


                    • McFlock

                      But if you want just one word that envelopes two different things, then how do you refer to just one of those things?

                    • Bill

                      Let’s avoid attribution to particular networks or outlets, and just work on the distinction: is “information overload” as an objective fundamentally different from “attempting to persuade or dissuade people about a particular point of view”?

                      So by that definition – that ‘fake news’ is a process of ‘information overload’ – then arguably all of the sports news and the ‘girl shits on Dunedin street’ news and the endless hours of adverts that supposedly impart information, and the Hollywood gossip and the OMG! you’ll never believe what they did, said, happened next…and all of the misleading headlines and vacuous filler on websites and in newspapers and what not… all of that’s fake news.

                      Meanwhile, any spin (on say) a plane being shot down or on the situation in a war zone would be propaganda. And some of it will be quite slick and professional and some of it amateurish. But none of it ‘fake’ insofar as it’s all trying to sway opinion.

                    • McFlock

                      no bill, because although you might think it’s a pointless distraction, some people find sports interesting and want to know about it.

                      That’s real news, supplied in good faith to people who want it, even if it bores the fuck out of you or I.

                      Fake news in regards to sports would involve dozens fictional teams, injury reports, scores and fixtures all thrown in alongside maybe the occasional true report of a football match.

                      How was RT coverage of MH17 being shot down trying to “sway opinion”? What did they want us to believe – that it was a Ukrainian jet, an invented story, a spy plane, a Ukrainian SAM covered up by the US (who saw everything with their 100% radar coverage of the area), or a US “false flag” op? There was no attempt to persuade, just an attempt to overload.

                      The incubator story was part of an actual propaganda campaign where, even if the actors didn’t necessarily coordinate every piece of their material, the US, Kuwaitis, UK, and Saudis all had the basic message “Iraq bad, committing heinous atrocities, must be stopped or someone else is next”.

                    • Bill

                      As far as I’m aware the reporting around MH17 was “it were the Russians that wot did it” on one side of the coin and “it were Ukrainians that wot did it” on the other.

                      But like I said previously, I never paid much attention to any of it since I reckoned (rightly or wrongly) that it was going to be an endless blame game of ping-pong.

                      So I just applied some basic questions around motivation, likelihood and what not, came to a reasonable conclusion and moved on.

                      Yes, sports are of interest to some. And it’s why I used the word “arguably”. I mean, adverts are important to some (I lived with a person who got annoyed if ads were interrupted by people in a room).

                      So are we at the point where fake news is taken to be complete smash that no-one is interested in? If so, it’s completely irrelevant and therefore not a problem.

                      On the other hand, if people are giving some time and energy over to it, then it’s having an impact, and is therefore propaganda.

                      edit – a thousand made up stories around (say) HC impacts on how people perceive HC. There’s an agenda. Just as there was an agenda when the claim was made that German soldiers were bayoneting Belgium babies during WWI…or that babies were thrown from incubators…or that the queen is a lizard.

                      A story about a WW 2 plane being found on the moon – well, that’s in the realm of fake news. (An actual headline story from a UK paper back in the day)

                    • McFlock

                      RT’s approach was to provide conflicting stories, rather than a coherent “it wasn’t us” message.

                      So are we at the point where fake news is taken to be complete smash that no-one is interested in? If so, it’s completely irrelevant and therefore not a problem.

                      It’s noise, that’s the problem. That’s the entire problem. It drowns everything else out, either you create more noise refuting the more plausible stuff or you hope enough people notice that today’s noise is the exact opposite from the noise the same source was throwing out yesterday and will throw out tomorrow. And in the meantime, actual news has to compete for space against utter bullshit.

                      The goal of fake news is to stop people making an informed or considered decision, at all. The goal of propaganda is to get people to make the decision you want.

                    • Bill

                      Hmm. So the propaganda we’ve been fed for years and years about the middle east is predicated on having us make decisions around stuff in the middle east? And here was me thinking that most people I know just throw their hands in the air and announce how it’s all just “too hard”.

                      Much the same with regards Yugoslavia from memory. And was much the same with Northern Ireland too (from the perspective of broadcasts in the UK).

                      Seems all that propaganda was designed to prevent people coming to any kind of informed decision. But that can’t be right according to what you reckon propaganda is and how it differs from ‘fake news’.

                      Libyan troops filling up on Viagra in order to rape opponents to the government in Tripoli. That one was carried ‘everywhere’ and used to generate backing for a ‘no-fly zone’ in Libya. The story was obviously bullshit and noise that crowded out any sensible discussion on Libya (maybe in the same way that Brietbart stuff is noisy bullshit)….and it had an impact.

                      According to what you’ve been saying, the Viagra story should rightfully be seen as propaganda and yet the same type of stuff (coming from Brietbart or wherever and focused on the Democrats or whatever instead of Libya) should be considered ‘fake news’ as opposed to propaganda.

                      And this is straight back to one of my first points about this so-called difference between ‘fake news’ and propaganda. The ‘fake news’ tag gets reserved for specific outlets (lists have been drawn up and circulated by liberal media), meaning that everything those outlets produce becomes tarnished and at risk of instant dismissal regardless of the actual content…leaving the coast clear for ‘our’ propaganda.

                      And that’s pernicious, very dangerous and a damned good reason to run a propaganda campaign around this notion of ‘fake news’.

                    • McFlock

                      According to what you’ve been saying, the Viagra story should rightfully be seen as propaganda […]

                      Not necessarily.
                      The viagra story in the context of a campaign towards a coherent message would be propaganda.

                      The viagra story in the context of it being A) true and b)reported impartially would be news.

                      The viagra story from the same outlet that releases stories about how Libyan soldiers are all part of an abstinence cult, as well as stories about how no medicines are in Libya, and as well as stories that “Libyan” soldiers are all actors in southern Nevada, as well as stories that Libyan soldiers are all women because Libyan men run away, etc etc etc, that’s fake news. Regardless of outlet and regardless of whether one of those stories happens to be true. It’s just about noise, so nobody on the street decides that they have a strong enough onpinion on the matter to write a letter to the editor or their MP or boycott goods from XYZ.

                      You say the “fake news” tag is reserved for specific outlets to discredit the news from those outlets. I say specific outlets are fake news sources because their stories are completely unverifiable and usually contradictory, even if some of their stories are true. It’s impossible to verify or place any reliability on anything from those sources because there’s no distinction between opinion, fact and outright fabrication. To the point that even considering almost anything from those sources is a waste of time, you’ll find out the true stories from other sources sooner or later.

              • The daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US gave false testimony ie – made up a fucking story…

                And the news media reported it as a claim, just like they reported Trump claiming that Obama ordered Trump Tower’s phone’s tapped. That isn’t “fake news,” it’s just “news.”

                And from the NYT of Dec 16 1990…

                Er, yes. The NYT reported Amnesty International’s claims about widespread torture and murder, with the appropriate caveats. And of course, not completely irrelevant to the issue was the fact that widespread torture and murder did actually take place, and wasn’t made up by a party hack to put on his pretend newspaper site.

                And for some strange reason you don’t appear to want to speak to the other two salient instances I brought up.

                Well, no, because they’re just two more instances of the same thing: news media reporting claims from a war zone that can’t be independently verified, as claims from a war zone that can’t be independently verified, otherwise known as “reporting the news.”

                If you can find repeated and egregious instances of reputable news organisations deliberately making up stories and reporting them as news, you’ll have a case. Until then, fake news is something different from regular propaganda.

                • Bill

                  because they’re just two more instances of the same thing: news media reporting claims from a war zone that can’t be independently verified

                  Hmm. Except any western journalist from a major outlet could have interviewed Dr Zahar Buttal, Director of the Aleppo Medical Association with regards hospitals in east Aleppo and registered medical practitioners. But then that might have interfered with the ‘official’ narrative…which has been wholly informed by “opposition” voices.

                  Which is not surprising in light of How Britain funds the ‘propaganda war’ against Isis (and the Syrian government) in Syria

                  The British government is waging information warfare in Syria by funding media operations for some rebel fighting groups, in the foreign front of what David Cameron has called “the propaganda war” against Islamic State (and the Syrian Government)

                  The campaign aims to boost the reputation of what the government calls the “moderate armed opposition”, a complex and shifting alliance of armed factions.

                  Deciding which factions to support is risky for the government because many groups have become increasingly extremist as the five-year civil war grinds on.

                  Contractors hired by the Foreign Office but overseen by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) produce videos, photos, military reports, radio broadcasts, print products and social media posts branded with the logos of fighting groups, and effectively run a press office for opposition fighters

                  Bracketed text my expansion for the sake of accuracy 👿

                  edit. Oops. Forgot to respond to the first part of your reply above. You suggest that media reported the babies and what not as claims. Did you read the list of headlines provided? The word ‘claims’ or ‘alleges’ or any other such like simply doesn’t appear. Kuwaiti says and statement of fact as headline after statement of fact as headline…. 🙄

                  • … any western journalist from a major outlet could have interviewed Dr Zahar Buttal, Director of the Aleppo Medical Association…

                    Well, they could have, but claims from the government side also can’t be verified, and this particular regime mouthpiece wouldn’t have set foot in east Aleppo at least since the start of the siege, so wouldn’t have any current info to base his claims on. It would be like asking rebel forces for commentary on what was happening in west Aleppo.

                    Did you read the list of headlines provided? The word ‘claims’ or ‘alleges’ or any other such like simply doesn’t appear.

                    “Kuwait says” in a headline means the Kuwaiti government is claiming something.

                    • Bill

                      and this particular regime mouthpiece wouldn’t have set foot in east Aleppo at least since the start of the siege, so wouldn’t have any current info to base his claims on.

                      So the head of the medical association is a “regime mouthpiece”. What you base that allegation on? The fact he’s saying stuff that contradicts what the BBC and others reporting from ooutside of the country have reported as true?

                      And even if he didn’t set foot in east Aleppo, he does have the list of all existing hospitals and of all registered medical practitioners for Aleppo. And they can be checked.

                      It would have been an improvement on western reporting had they asked their mates they were embedded with what was going on (Channel 4 ran with Al Zenka for a production that they later removed from their site – linked)

                      Go to 2min and 45 secs and you’ll see Mahmoud Raslan. Now, if you don’t know who Mahmoud Raslan is, well he was the guy who took the ‘boy in the orange seat’ video that all western outlets ran with and who also gleefully filmed his mates (Al Zenki) beheading a 9 year old Palestinian boy.

                    • How do you think an authority figure got his position of authority under an authoritarian dictatorship, Bill?

                      I’m sure this particular one had info on all the registered medical practitioners in Aleppo at the time conflict started – how many of the ones in east Aleppo were still around in its later stages is anyone’s guess, as is the number of foreign volunteers. Likewise the hospitals – people in a city under continuous bombardment end up with makeshift hospitals and don’t concern themselves over-much about official documentation.

                    • Bill

                      See…this bullshit you appear to exhibit…of excusing anything and everything western media says or claims, because to not accept what they say would apparently mean taking a side is…fucking tragic.

                      Nice to see you slipping slightly from the official narrative there though. So now the hospitals may not have been hospitals in the sense claimed and the pediatrician may not have been a pediatrician after all. Jollity.

                    • Just like there’s a difference between propaganda and the more recent phenomenon of fake news, there’s a difference between taking a realistic view of news media organisations and “excusing anything and everything the western media claims.”

                • adam

                  So the New York Times never published anything on “WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION”

                  Brian Williams: “The helicopter I was riding in got hit with an RPG.”

                  “No sailors were harmed by Fukushima radiation.”

                  “Eating cholesterol in foods causes heart disease.” (sugar is the real enemy)

                  “The Dreyfus Affair”

                  Vietnam’s “Gulf of Tonkin”

                  Ronald Reagan and the ‘welfare queen’

                  The Greeks are lazy and don’t pay tax. (or other racist b.s they printed)

                  Sheesh Psycho Milt that is just off the top of my head, I’m sure with a bit of digging I could come up with hundreds more.

                  The media lie all the time, it sells papers and helps make profits. You seem to be under the illusion that they are good. Is that the case?

                  • Sure, you could go on – the list of irrelevant items is effectively infinite. The evidence requested was instances of reputable media organisations deliberately inventing false stories to serve a political purpose – what you’ve provided is examples of media organisations failing to uncover government lies, which is something else entirely.

                    • adam

                      That why Brian Williams was near the top of the list.

                    • adam

                      I’d also add most journalist knew the welfare queen lie and printed it anyway. Many on that list could fall into the same category. Again off the top of my head, without research.

                      I find it interesting you want to differentiate on propaganda. Maybe you should read what propaganda means. I’d say you a twisting it into to a narrow definition to fit your own narrative, rather than looking at as a whole.

                  • joe90

                    most journalist knew the welfare queen lie and printed it anyway.

                    Reagan’s campaign rhetoric reported as fact, really?.

        • adam

          So the English language is leaving you now Pscho Milt? Do you understand the definition of the word propaganda?

          I know Wikipedia, but the first sentence is telling.


          Fake news is a out and out propaganda term, put out there by Muppet’s who want to mislead people.

          Lies are not new, getting worked up over the latest propaganda term is also not new. Cutting through the lies and b.s, is difficult – but keeping an open mind and read a lot of different sources can help. Buying into your sides latest fetish, helps no one.

  2. Andre 2

    Pie on Trump’s first 50 days.

  3. FlashinthePan 3

    Good to see a new media player in election year.

    Jennings has found his feet – http://newsroom.co.nz/

      • grumpystilskin 3.1.1

        If you read the article it’s obvious that blame should be be on Palace Poultry, the supplier, not Countdown.

        • adam

          Just joining the dots – the last time this happened was at countdown.

          Countdown are a good Aussie company, who are good at passing the buck. So just calling it like I see it.

          • garibaldi

            In all honesty the whole free range market is untrustworthy.

            • adam

              It really does feel like that.

              I’m fast coming to the conclusion that being an ethical consumer, will not change anything. It’s just another lie.

              • aerobubble

                National are poor managers of the economy. Food retailer managers are poor sellers of goods. Going in a Tesco, etc you’d find something worth buying, NZ retail offerings are so contorted and rigged my cash goes elsewhere, its just poor management. Its always been this way, no. eight wire get something that works mentality. Good when your on the frontier but UK ruled the world eith four million people. Its like we keep digging whith a bunch of managers who just know how to did more debt.

              • Gsays

                Well depending on the fluidity of yr ethics, it could be argued that shopping at a supermarket is unethical.

  4. adam 4

    You know Britain gave that bastard Pinochet protection. The guy who killed people for their art.


  5. Carolyn_nth 5

    Hamish Rutherford on Stuff warns that NZ’s economy looks like it might be cooling.

    Both Westpac and UBS warn growth may have dropped as low as 0.5 per cent in the quarter, which would mark it as the weakest quarter of growth since the start of 2015.

    It would also suggest the economy was growing at around the pace of New Zealand’s annual population growth, currently about 2 per cent – a 40 year high.

    Meanwhile, Bernard Hickey on Newsroom says that the big Aussie banks are now restricting lending to property developers in NZ, meaning there will likely be a drop in the numbers of new residential properties being built in Auckland.

    The Government’s grand plan for a massive boom of apartment and townhouse building to solve Auckland’s housing crisis is quietly being picked apart by banking regulators on both sides of the Tasman.

    Apartment and section developers say banks have pulled back from lending to them in recent months and property buyers also face a squeeze on mortgages from the big four Australian-owned banks because banks are hitting limits set by regulators – both in Australia and New Zealand.

    • tc 5.1

      Nationals disaster ecomonics and unchecked tax haven property speculation seems to be running out of steam.

      JK’s no fool his timings impeccable.

    • Herodotus 5.2

      Meanwhile, Bernard Hickey on Newsroom says that the big Aussie banks are now restricting lending to property developers in NZ. What does he mean “now” this has been the position since the middle of last year, and the consequence of less credit ? The pace of development dramatically slows both in the creation of development land and the construction of dwellings. This has been happening since the end of last year, so no matter what any govt does without the 4 banks to fund there will be limited construction of houses. But leave it to the market to solve !!! eh
      By the time that the media was made aware of this was months after the banks had quietly implemented their policies. Ever wondered why the banks are so compliant with the Reserve Banks restrictions ?? So that they can reduce their risk in the sector.

    • Ad 5.3

      From the Standard and Poor report on New Zealand lending situation:

      “With banks reporting a tightening in lending standards for property development, it’s conceivable that new construction will slow, despite the rollout of the Auckland Unitary Plan, applying further upward pressure on house prices.”

      Our Reserve Bank will also shortly force banks to put more of their profits aside to assure against riskier lending. That will take higher profit margins. And you just know what that means ….

      Auckland has already seen a few developers pull out (eg the St James, Avondale, and Albany ones) even though they had the pre-sales to go. It was simply the Aussie banks saying NO.

      I sure don’t want a housing crash, or a credit crunch, or thousands more homeless, or existing rental landlords just creaming it.

      But the actions of our Australian-dominated banking system says that is where we are headed. There will be no more “show me the money!”

      The 2017 government has an almighty task on its hands. And it’s the biggie: a banking policy problem so big that will test the political independence of the RBA.

    • Grand plan?

      What grand plan?

      As far as I can honestly tell, if they have a plan at all it is a hodge podge mash of various ideas slapped together with a few more houses built here and there at the expense of environmental planning to glue the various bits of this bizarre looking mash together.

  6. Carolyn_nth 6

    On e-tangata, an interview with the Green Party candidate for New Lynn:

    “Leilani Tamu: Was John Key lying to us?”

    Before she gets to talk about JK’s lies, Leilani describes her journey from being a PI-Māori Aucklander, growing up in a Pākehā education system, through learning the Māori and Pacific history of the country and region, to working for MFAT and McCully.

    When Leilani and her husband hit hard times, he was driving a bus on minimum wage, and she saw a reality that was different from the brighter future John key was spinning.

    Then our landlord gave us notice and we couldn’t find a place to rent. And I had this sense of: My God! Here I am. I’ve got a degree. My husband has a degree. We work hard. We work long hours. We’re trying to do the best by our children. And yet, it feels like we’re going backwards.

    All around me I saw the same story. I saw struggle. All around my neighbourhood. My friends and colleagues. And everybody was saying the same thing. So I started to think: John Key has to be telling lies here. Because people are suffering and struggling. And yet he’s telling us, it’s fine. And there’s a big gap between what he’s saying and what I’m seeing.

    That’s when I decided to become political and put myself out there and walk the talk.

    • adam 6.1

      Great read Carolyn_nth, thanks for the link.

    • garibaldi 6.2

      .Good article and good on Leilani for getting active on the Left. One small point is that many thousands of us knew that Key was lying from day one and it is an indictment on how dumbed down we have become to the ravages of neoliberalism that the rest of NZ still can’t ( or don’t want to) see that.

      • Johan 6.2.1

        Shonkey proved himself to be morally corrupt, but a good snake-oil salesman, all for the love of money.

  7. fisiani 7

    OK Keyboard warriors. 177 days till the election. Labour want to be in a coalition with NZF and get Green Support. The MOU only lasts till Sept 23rd. Crazy strategy relying on Winston. I marvel at how easily the Left make assumptions of victory in the absence of any evidence. Do you not realise that National have planned the next 177 days carefully and that there will be a multiple carrots on offer. Labour’s best trick is to change leaders after June 23rd. Will it be Jacinda or Grant?

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    [lprent: As was pointed out below, this was a blatant attempt at diversion (I was somewhat busy today). Banned for 2 weeks. If I have to ban you again for anything similar, it will be until 1 month after the election. ]

    • McFlock 7.1

      Meanwhile, is Judith going to make a last tilt at putting “PM” on her CV before the election, or will she be satisfied spending three years as a caretaker opposition leader after blinglish disappears?

    • mauī 7.2

      I often hear Winston making statements supportive of the Government and how he could easily go into a coalition with National. Yeah right.

      You’re in deep do-doo.

    • Cinny 7.3

      How’s the fishing going today Fizzy? Nice day for it?

      • Johan 7.3.1

        Poor old, Act Party supporter, fisiani, goes on a lot of fishing expeditions, and seems to do very little catching, if any. His comments are meant to show there is conflict between Labour/Green and NZF, to me fisiani is just a sad comic.

    • DoublePlusGood 7.4

      If it’s a crazy strategy to be relying on Winston, that’s going to turn out badly for National, given they’ll need Winston to be in coalition with them.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 7.5

      @fizzy 8

      Blatant attempt to derail, without reference to the post topic.

  8. Tautoko Mangō Mata 8

    Protesters held a rally in front of Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel’s home Saturday in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, speaking out against the work by one of his companies that could track airline passengers and other immigrants.

    A small group of protesters were calling attention to a company he co-founded called Palantir.

    Theil is one of only a few Silicon Valley giants who supported Donald Trump for president.

    Former San Francisco City Supervisor Dave Campos says Palantir won a contract to do work for the Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement Agency. “They’ve received this contract, which will essentially create a data system that will allow, that will enable the mass deportation of millions of people,” Campos said.

    According to federal government, in 2014 Palantir was awarded a $41.6 million contract to create an ICE investigative case management system.


  9. Richard@Downsouth 9

    Completely off topic, but I saw this today… I wonder how many kiwis are affected by this… I know a few people who have had ‘weird’ power bills


    “The study involved several tests conducted on nine different brands of “smart” meters, also referred to in the industry as “static energy meters.” Researchers also used one electromechanical meter for reference… Experiments went on for six months, with individual tests lasting at least one week, and sometimes several weeks. Test results varied wildly, with some meters reporting errors way above their disclosed range, going from -32% to +582%..”

  10. greywarshark 10

    This old house is going and 17 units will be put in its place. Though that sounds positive the price for each will still be $700,000 so that volume and being on one location still can’t bring them within the reach of young hopefuls. Why can’t this be organised by the government. Low interest mortgages over 15 years or longer within the price range of a hard-working young couple. Come on Bill English take a laxative and get moving.


    “It is in such a bad way inside, it was inevitable [it would go],” she said. “It’ll be sad, but it’s served its purpose.”

    Yeoman Homes is the building contractor for the Ruakiwi Terraces project. Yeoman declined to name the owner of the property.
    Managing director Andrew Yeoman said the homes will be worth around $700,000 each and include three bedrooms, two bathrooms and either a single or double garage.

    Yeoman said the current house was investigated to see if it could be relocated, but it was too riddled with borer and rot to be able to be moved successfully.
    Some of the materials are going to be recycled, he said.

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