Hard News by Russell Brown


Of swine and cows

In this week's Media7 we're looking at conspiracy theories – for which it has been a vintage media year. All the action right now is around swine flu and the vaccine against it. In the US, it's not just Glenn Beck stoking fear about the vaccine – it's the pot-smoking liberal atheist Bill Maher.

And here in New Zealand, Uncensored magazine is suggesting that the flu may well have been created in drug company labs, to drum up vaccine business. It's also a hot topic with crowd that gathers at former Act MP Muriel Newman's New Zealand Centre for Political Research: see Weaponised Swine Flu Debacle and Are Flu & Pandemic Vaccines To Be Trusted? And for that matter, New World Order Infowars Dispatch.

But bigger than anyone this year has been former Act vice president Trevor Loudon, whose tireless work uncovering the Communist conspiracy that has nurtured Barack Obama from childhood has made him the toast of the conservative Republican web.

To discuss those and many other theories – up to and including the New World Order – I'll be joined by Vicki Hyde of the Skeptics, Auckland University's Matthew Dentith, and self-professed conspiracy theorist Mikey Havoc of 95bFM.

We'll kick off the show with a look at coverage of the Crafar Farms failure. A business story? And environmental one? Animal welfare? In light of Close Up's sympathetic visit with Alan Crafar, are we still waving farmers on their merry way?

For that discussion, we'll be joined by Bernard Hickey, who did so much to break the story, and farmer and journalist Alan Emerson.

If you'd like to join us for the recording tomorrow, we'd need you at TVNZ from 5pm (and most certainly before 5.30). Click Reply and email me asap if you'd like to come along.


Rather than having a piss-up a with a blogger to prematurely celebrate a "political victory", the Maori Party might be well advised to look to the Act Party for lessons in how to exercise leverage as a minority support party. Because they got dicked, again. I certainly have sympathy for Maori Television: not much at all for those involved from the Maori Party.


Look! There's a discussion on the 2011 referendum on MMP! I'm guessing the thread should stay live till nearly then …


And finally, some video:

Glenn Beck being fair and balanced about the swine flu vaccine:

Bill Maher debates former Senate majority leader Bill Frist (a heart surgeon) on the vaccine:

A public health commercial from the 1976 swine flu scare:

That vaccine didn't work out so well.

And the trailer for this year's documentary New World Order, which looks at conspiracy theories and those who subscribe to them:

I've downloaded that movie (having posted encouraging comments on The Pirate Bay, the makers seem happy enough about that happening) and I'm rather looking forward to watching it.

You may know of other relevant videos. If so, just paste the whole URL (not the embed code) in the comment window.

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