Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A voice of reason and authority

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  • Idiot Savant,

    So what we want to do is write a book about crockpot conspiracy theories.

    What, throw a bunch of conspiacy ingrediants - Templars, Masons, the Illuminati, UFOs, Bermuda Triangle and the Goldfish Fanciers - in and let them simmer for a while?

    I'm not sure that that's any different from any ordinary conspiracy theory. And as Umberto Eco pointed out, it always tastes the same: like holy blood in a holy grail.

    (ObFnord)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Wishart seems to be determined to turn himself in a local version of Robert Maxwell -- who had something like a hundred defamation suits against journalists and media outlets in train when he died. Not anything to be proud of.

    Or Conrad Black, who's doing time for wire fraud and obstructing justice.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Ah, Conspiracy Theories...

    Wishart's oeuvre, which started with the (somewhat) reasonable assertion of criminal conspiracy in "The Paradise Conspiracy", seems to have spiraled out of control. Like a lot of advocates of rejected knowledge, he seems to either completely misunderstand Peer Review (which is the charitable interpretation) or resent the fact that he cannot pass muster under Peer Review (which would be a fairly uncharitable thing to say, although it would explain his record of self-publication).

    Given that Conspiracy Theories are my research area I keep up t date with Wishart's 'thinking' on these matters and his method, if you will, is typical for self-taught experts; rather than develop an argument you just cite 'facts' until such time that your opponent stops responding to them (thus declaring victory) or cite variants on a theme so that your opponent spends so much time on one strand of your argument that you can assure your fans that the opponent cannot reply to your other arguments. That's a fairly common technique amongst Climate Change Skeptics and Intelligent Design advocates (and Wishart is both). It's also pretty hard to argue against, because if you insist that the debate proceed in a polite and civil way, with arguments, responses, and so forth, someone like Wishart will throw a tantrum. And if you do the same... Well, you're obviously wrong.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Sokolich,

    On Wishart - does anyone have an actual measure of how many people actually buy into his complete conspiracy theory insanity? He continually says he's a bestseller, but I'm vaguely convinced that it's a scam - somewhat like the way scientologists were instructed to buy up many many copies of Battlefield Earth so L Ron Hubbard looked like a bestseller.

    How many books and magazines does the man actually sell?

    Eddie, I can't speak for his magazine but unfortunately Carol is correct about his books, way too many. I see the book sales each week that Neilsen tracks and I'm sorry to say that this book sold quite a few thousand (at least 2,000 in the first two or three weeks from memory). It has started to fade on the chart now but it outsold Gareth Morgan's Poles Apart by quite a margin. I think his Absolute Power book also performed well sales-wise which maybe more understandable with all the Helen-haters out there. Obviously there are a lot of enviroment-haters out there also.

    Since Oct 2008 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    The other common thing conspiracy theorists do (and I've had a couple of "Birthers" and "911 Truthers" take exception to some of the stuff posted on my blog) is criticise you for not reading their "evidence": "You have no right to criticise because you haven't even read [insert crazy tract name]" is their standard attack method.

    And, if you're like me, you haven't done any more than glance at their "arguments", because you don't need that stuff in your head.

    In the case of Wishart, I've no intention of giving him any of my money, and I'd rather put my head in a deep frier than be subjected to any of his theories.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    And, if you're like me, you haven't done any more than glance at their "arguments", because you don't need that stuff in your head.

    What is interesting is what happens when you actually do go read their evidence and respond accordingly. When Martin Doutré and Jon Myklejon were complaining about the bad press they were getting on the Scoop Review of Books No to Nazi Pseudo-History I went through and looked at the actual arguments they presented and refuted them one by one. The response, to me, was deafening silence, even though they continued to rebuke the other contributers to comments section.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Excuse the link problem: here it is without PA's weird URL mark-up: http://books.scoop.co.nz/2008/11/18/no-to-nazi-pseudo-history-an-open-letter/

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Excuse the link problem: here it is without PA's weird URL mark-up:

    It's not weird, really. Just don't leave in spaces, and use the "|" character as indicated, not the "/".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Ah, Conspiracy Theories...

    Done right, they're an art form.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    That's just confused me more. The last / in the URL should become a |? Or do I add, as I thought I did, a | to the end of the URL?

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    PS Credit to Danyl of the DimPost for the above.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Just to come back to the AGS vs. Kelston skirmish, anyone else pick this up from the the Herald?

    A person who attended the weekend game claims Auckland Grammar supporters triggered the problem by shouting racial taunts.

    Povi Masima said: "A small group of AGS old boys who were drinking were hurling racial taunts which seemed a bit stupid since there were a number of Polynesian boys in the AGS team. Their taunting reflected badly on AGS and only contributed to the melee at the end of the game."

    I thought "Povi Masima" was Samoan for Salt Beef.

    Methinks some young fellow is pissing himself laughing right now, having hoodwinked some whitebread reporter...

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The Duct Season is open, liver little...

    Did you mean that: the Bible is a zero sum game?

    Was that a deliberate misprint.
    Did you mean that: the Bible is
    a Zeno sum game?

    Reductio ad absurdum

    yrs paradoxically
    Ian Genie (aka Rubber Soul)
    something's afoot in the djinn trap...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    That's just confused me more. The last / in the URL should become a |? Or do I add, as I thought I did, a | to the end of the URL?

    No, the vertical line "|" goes between the url and the text. It's in the instructions to the left of the post window but I admit it's maybe not easy to see.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I thought "Povi Masima" was Samoan for Salt Beef.

    Methinks some young fellow is pissing himself laughing right now, having hoodwinked some whitebread reporter...

    That's certainly how it looks. I'm surprised that got through. The joys of outsourced subbing, perhaps?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Well, chalk it up to some typo on my part; I thought I added a | after the /. Let's make this a vote for being able to edit (for some window of time) comments.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    They might be violent boofheads, but at least they are eloquent violent boofheads! "Contributed to the melée" indeed.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Eddie, I can't speak for his magazine but unfortunately Carol is correct about his books, way too many. I see the book sales each week that Neilsen tracks and I'm sorry to say that this book sold quite a few thousand (at least 2,000 in the first two or three weeks from memory).

    I interviewed Wishart, Jonathan Eisen and a few others for a Press feature on conspiracies nearly two months ago (not online, unfortunately). In terms of numbers: Eisen claimed that 5000 to 6000 copies of Uncensored are sold every quarter in NZ and a similar number in Australia. Wishart says that between 6500 and 9000 of Investigate are sold monthly. Neither magazine is audited which is why I had to ask.

    As for Air Con, Wishart said it had sold 13,000 copies in six weeks, not just in New Zealand. It's definitely true that it sold better than Gareth Morgan and John McCrystal's Poles Apart which must have been annoying for Random House.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Sofie's we.

    Oh sorry how remiss of wee me. The collective we, being NZ, the other we being those of us able to type on wee keyboards and discuss the planet without having to worry about a wee glass of water or where it ultimately ends up,and whether or not we can wee. Does that help Andin?;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Or Conrad Black, who's doing time for wire fraud and obstructing justice.

    To be fair to Lord Black, Maxwell was a particularly nasty and persistent example of the genus litigius press baronis. And while Murdoch and his employees (deservedly or not) get a lot of stick around these parts -- and may not have been purely disinterested seekers after truth -- at least someone was asking WTF was going on with the Mirror Groups pension funds, and were in a position to push back against harassment and intimidation via writ.

    Methinks some young fellow is pissing himself laughing right now, having hoodwinked some whitebread reporter...

    Not quite so funny if our jester was stirring the shit with false allegations of racist abuse.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    Apologies if its been posted previously, but here's as simple and effective an explanation as any I've heard that it would be a bit stupid not to take climate change seriously .....

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Those numbers, Philip, are somewhat scary and reassuring; it's terrible to think that many people might be reading those magazines and yet it's good to know that it isn't a massively large part of the reading population.

    Any chance to see the article you wrote (he askes especially as one of the people interviewed)?

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Then after SOLO's response to the PM's Science Advisor we all have to be really polite for a bit.

    I looked up SOLO's website because I didn't know who they were initially. I see it's the old NZ Libertarian lot, under the web-name Sense of Life Objectivists, that press release having been written by SOLO contributor Greg Davis.

    I had a look at some of the other blogs, and whoa! is Lyndsay Perigo in a snot...

    ...I still get berated for being true to myself on it [his website]. For being disgusted by someone who "suspends" (i.e. betrays) his principles to root for Obama, arguably the most evil man on the planet right now;

    Yep, one could make that argument, I suppose. It's convincing, if you're the sort to find Greg's arguments against Gluckman convincing: "Expert advice, my arse."

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    The collective we, being NZ, the other we being those of us able to type on wee keyboards and discuss the planet without having to worry about a wee glass of water or where it ultimately ends up,and whether or not we can wee.

    We are amused.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'd love to live on any planet where Obama is the most evil person alive. Sounds sweet...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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