Posts by Dennis Frank

  • Hard News: The fake news problem,

    Good question, but it applies to anything reported as news, doesn't it? Ultimately, we all form our own subjective opinions of each report we hear or see. In this instance, faith in the medium is a factor: folks are more likely to believe a BBC report than most other media reports due to high standards of reportage over a very long period of time.

    Another consideration is the fact that it's an in-depth report. Very long. A feature article. It goes into the psyche of the guy, fills out the context for the reader, in terms of his history and background, social niche. As someone who had a career making news & current affairs stories, I can assure you that time is so valuable to any reporter that they shift from one story to another constantly. Large media orgs are very intensive in their process.

    To get a long feature like this published you don't just have the reporter deciding the story needs to be long to tell it fully, their editor needs to agree. The editor deletes any bits deemed insignificant or irrelevant. Usually the next one up the hierarchy to assess it is a producer (tv news) or editor-in-chief, then sometimes with contraversial stories an exec producer will make a decision to authorise publication (or not). So it has survived passage through several filters to achieve publication.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem,

    The BBC has an excellent report on one of the pioneers of fake news. The guy has become so successful that he’s actually earning a living from it! “Once his stories go viral, the Facebook comments burst forth. And that’s when Christopher Blair the fake news writer becomes Christopher Blair the crusading left-wing troll.” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_godfather_of_fake_news

    Christopher Blair is “a committed liberal Democrat”. “Blair spent more than two decades as a construction worker, a trade that took a toll on his body. In the late 2000s, when the Great Recession hit and his industry slumped, he started looking for another source of income in liberal political blogging.”

    “He loved to write and found that he had a flair for making words come alive. He began a blog, the first of many. He found it liberating being able to say what he wanted – arguing in favour of a range of positions on the left-hand side of American politics. But although it was fun and a few people started reading, blogging didn’t pay. And so he tried another tactic. He began to write fabricated tales that looked like real news headlines… once his fake news started to get clicks, he was able to use Google’s advertising platform to convert page views into money. In 2014, he quit his day job.”

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Drugs and the road forward,

    Also essential for this topic is factoring in the therapeutic benefits of other plants, and it's encouraging that the psychedelic adventurers of the sixties & seventies are being followed by younger folk:

    "Zoe Helene grew up in New Zealand... Helene first took ayahuasca in 2008, on her first wedding anniversary. She's married to Chris Kilham, who goes by the moniker 'Medicine Hunter' and travels the globe researching medicinal plant use and working with companies to market them in the west. Helene is a part-owner of the business, and makes most of her income from royalties made on plants like maca and ginseng."

    "In the decade since first taking the drug, she has travelled once or twice a year to Peru, for ayahuasca ceremonies (they are usually led by indigenous Shipibo shaman, and typically there is singing, chanting and drumming as journeyers are in the throes of their psychedelic experiences). Why? "People like to say healing, and healing is definitely part of it, but I don't like to cram everything under healing as a category," Helene says. "I really think self-liberation is a big one, especially for women." This is where the feminism seems to come into it. On her website, Helene says she believes women are under-represented in the field of psychedelics, and it's her mission to change that."
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/in-depth/369236/the-woman-who-says-psychedelic-medicine-cured-her-ptsd

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Getting serious about the…,

    Ole fella interviewed here: https://www.thecannabist.co/2016/10/28/willie-nelson-reflects-on-cannabis/66254/ "a legalization activist, a social warrior and now a ganjapreneur via his own Willie’s Reserve pot brand, and he still gets high regularly at age 83."

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Getting serious about the…,

    The conference proposals for the two referendum questions seem suitable, well-phrased, easily understood, simple, direct, concise, well done all involved!

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Lost Men, in reply to mark taslov,

    Ah but I didn't actually do so. Read it again. Asserting something is vastly different than raising the question. You must be aware of that. Perhaps you were misrepresenting me inadvertently?? So easy to be seduced into subjective reactions and lose the connection with what folks are actually saying.

    The sociopathic tendency of leftists to demonise rightists via lying about what they say or believe is a blight on politics. To me it isn't just unethical, it's immoral. And I'm not even on the political right. Just prefer fairness for all.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Lost Men, in reply to steven crawford,

    People will make of it what they will, Steven. Not my problem. What's your problem?? Have you no insight into the spiritual dimension of the world? Do you deny that it exists? Many do. Nothing wrong with that, of course...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Lost Men, in reply to mark taslov,

    To be honest, differentiating sex & gender is not something I've thought much about - although I see why it would be ultra-important for some. And a vital part of identity politics. My own relevant personal experience is merely having a strong sense of having been female in my incarnation prior to this one.

    Also, one of my astrologer friends from the eighties became an alternative therapist and she uses a hi-tech diagnostic system that supposedly reads relevant past lives as context for current life situations (along with more than a dozen various organic or biophysical functions). Yeah, as a physics graduate my sceptical side reserves judgment, but a lifetime of investigating alternative belief systems keeps my mind open. Anyway, on five different occasions in recent years it has referred to a different past incarnation as female - my friend says such a consistent pattern hasn't happened to any of her other clients. Various different foreign ethnic contexts in different periods of history. How it rationalised relevance was in each case quite illuminating, so my inner bullshit detector gave it cautious approval...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Lost Men, in reply to mark taslov,

    Mark, I gather that you have taken what I wrote quite personally. Since I didn't frame it so, I'm puzzled about that. I take the point that we all have attitudes and opinions deriving from our cultural niche & developmental trajectory, and I'm not aware of any bias against those I'm unfamiliar with.

    I realise it may be just a question of temperament, and some folk get more emotional about social commentary & political analysis than others. I'm considerably more dispassionate nowadays. I was extremely angry & hostile as I entered adulthood long ago. I've been in victim sub-groups - I understand how they generate beliefs that shape our world-view.

    So nowadays I accept that all we can really do is our best, to find common ground where possible, and build consensus on that. Human nature drives us to try and persuade others at times that our view is better than theirs - I try to avoid that but if it seems that I'm doing it then I must accept that others can misinterpret my intent in those instances. Best to then just agree to disagree rather than argue particular points, I feel. So I'll just offer the observation that the meeting of minds only happens when people are ready, willing and able, and the time is right for it.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Midterms, in reply to BenWilson,

    There aren't many on the political right whose opinions I bother to check out. Not easy recalling anyone past George Will capable of incisive insights. Wikipedia: "<i>The Wall Street Journal<i/> called him "perhaps the most powerful journalist in America"." He left the Republicans in 2016 due to disgust with Trump. Here's his view in the Washington Post (columnist 44 years):

    "Tuesday was, on balance, deflating to Democrats, who learned - or perhaps not - that despising this president, although understandable, is insufficient. His comportment cost his congressional party only slightly more than half the carnage that President Barack Obama’s party suffered in the middle of his first term."

    "The GOP depressingly ends 2018 more ideologically homogenous than it has been for 11 decades. Hitherto, it has been divided between Theodore Roosevelt progressives and William Howard Taft conservatives; between Robert Taft conservatives and Thomas Dewey moderates; between Nelson Rockefeller liberals and Barry Goldwater libertarians. In today’s monochrome GOP — color it orange, for the coiffure of its Dear Leader — postures range all the way from sycophancy to adoration."

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 256 posts Report Reply

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