Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: If this was ever funny, it's not any more

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  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thanks Russell! Imagine if Bill English and the rest of his colleagues were tested regularly to see if he'd consumed alcohol in the last month?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2120 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen,

    Part of the problem has been the self inflicted degradation of the MSM. For the past two decades the news media has shifted from researched serious news to fluff. Because fluff sells.

    That's business and the MSM is business so we can hardly criticise them.

    But that has meant that most folks treat much of the MSM as if it was junk entertainment. If you're going to spend 5 minutes of the 6 pm news on Richie McCaw's wedding then how can I be expected to take any story about Trump and more seriously.

    And no not-all-media. But enough that a significant number of folks are only too happy to accept that media stories about corruption in the white house are simply more junk media.

    Especially if it confirms their biases.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • TracyMac, in reply to Sacha,

    That's exactly right re the "fake news" mantra - early on there was a tweet or two from Trump on the theme of "I'm not fake news YOU'RE fake news nyah nyah".

    Within a week or so of that was a speech (I caught the excerpts on Full Frontal - Sam Bee is fantastic), where Trump was chanting "fake news" with the cadence of "Brutus is an honorable man". That's when it was obvious it was a coordinated strategy.

    The technique goes all the way back to the co-option of the leftie joke about "political correctness" - redefine term X for your own purposes and beat the opposition over the head with it. Term X originated with that opposition, so there is already a link in the public's minds - the attackers just need to reverse the polarity of the meaning and rely on ignorance, lack of critical thinking and lack of fact-finding.

    But this example was indeed very slick and very quick - "fake news" just starts to hit the public consciousness, and it's turned around within a month.

    It has blatantly become a propaganda war, and the left is losing. Do I think we should tell gratuitous lies like they do? No. But how do you make truth "sexier" than lies that align with a large chunk of the public's confirmation bias AND actually provide positive answers for some of the underlying actual concerns.

    No-one much beyond real nutbag racists and Winnie would give much of a shit about immigration, for example, if it wasn't associated with resource contention - e.g. the rise in marginal, poorly-paid employment, the lack of affordable housing, etc.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report

  • Ken Double,

    In the midst of panicking about this I've nurtured a theory that this is a generational issue. Boomers have piled onto social media in recent years without the curatorial education kids get at school these days, or indeed the native understanding of how the internet works that comes with being born to it. They're not accustomed to seeing complete horseshit in published form. It certainly seems that it's older people falling prey to this stuff.

    Remember the old FMCG TV commercials with Madge and Mrs Marsh and phony diagrams making ridiculous claims about shampoo efficacy? There's research showing it worked on a certain generation who were accustomed to taking information at face value while TV literate GenX saw through it. That's why it's not around anymore. Pick up a copy of People's Friend (seriously, pick up a copy of People's Friend. It's awesome!) and it's chock full of hyperbolic claims with pseudo-scientific long copy arguments no 35 year old could stay awake for.

    My guess is this crap will work briefly until the susceptible die off and the survivors readjust their signal to noise ratio detection equipment.

    It always helps to go browse an old copy of the Hidden Persuaders. It's full of panic about subliminal advertising and bleeding edge mind rotting techniques that seem quaint now. I think it'll be all right in the long run. Subs to the New York Times are up substantially thanks to Sunbed Mussolini.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2012 • 119 posts Report

  • andin, in reply to Ken Double,

    yeah well how educated people are certainly has some effect, dont know about your theory tho'

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ken Double,

    Mrs Marsh and phony diagrams making ridiculous claims...

    All the late Mrs Marsh did was spruik Colgate Fluorigard by dipping a stick of chalk in ink before snapping it in half and displaying the results to a bunch of dutifully credulous Australian GenXers.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report

  • Ken Double, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    That woman was a passive aggressive nightmare. Those poor kids were so traumatised they had to weaponise irony and invent Silverchair just to remain psychically intact.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2012 • 119 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic,

    Robert Mercer is facing mutiny in his own ranks over his sponsorship of hate propaganda and the new ratfuck machine. Even the freaking Koch Bros think he's off the deep end. I'd be happy just to see the whole rotten lot go Second Amendment on each other.

    Short of doing something which could give the Trump regime an excuse to pull a Reichstag crackdown, maybe the best way to take down hate-sponsors like Mercer is the same way Al Capone got taken down - tax evasion charges. The journos who did the spade-work on the Panama Papers would be ideal to assist any leakers involved.

    Oh, and if anyone on social media plays the "George Soros pays snowflake protesters!" card, an equal and opposite response about Mercer would be in order.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Ken Double,

    Those poor kids were so traumatised they had to weaponise irony and invent Silverchair just to remain psychically intact.

    ...and as Madge pointed out - 'you know you're soaking in it!'
    We are all still soaking in it, - literally and metaphorically...

    I also think The Go-Betweens were a better psychic panacea for the senses...
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • izogi, in reply to Adam H,

    I have noticed that English appears to be clumsily but probably successfully using some Trump techniques - today he dropped in some baseless comment about drug testing... the other day it was half a billion dollars for more coppers (because crime must be, like, out of control man). I recall that such methods are especially effective on older brains.

    If he is then he's not pioneering the technique in his government. Key and several of his Ministers were doing plenty of that previously. The way he utterly spoke directly a the public through the centre of media during the 2014 election, when there were a series of highly critical (yet non-simple) questions about his conduct, is a prime example. So far many of those questions about him and his government have still gone unanswered, and they'll probably now be ignored because at the time when it mattered, enough people were convinced that everything was fine.

    Politicians have probably been doing this to some degree for ages, but it's intensified. People don't need to rely on traditional media for their info any more, because they can so easily subscribe to politicians and their apologists directly. Are your views challenged? No problem -- just fund someone to explain to you why you're right. Hell, find a support group of like-minded people and you'll never need to challenge your views again. Concerned about water? Fed Farmers will agree with you that dairy farming's environmentally okay. Forest & Bird will agree with you that it isn't. To get the reasoning of either is trivial.

    Conway was rightfully mocked when she justified Spicer's lies in January by calling them "alternative facts", but to appreciate the mocking it's necessary to realise that the entire concept of an "alternative fact" is stupid. Not everyone realises that, so for many people, as long as they're hearing the term "alternative fact", it creates an excuse to believe something which they might desperately want to believe, even though it's an outright lie.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report

  • mark taslov,

    "Fake words":

    “I think propaganda needs to return to common parlance,” says Michael J. Socolow, a professor of journalism and communications at the University of Maine. “We have so many euphemisms today for propaganda. We have ‘native advertising,’ ‘sponsored content,’ ‘public diplomacy,’ ‘fake news,’ and ‘post-truth’ content: They’re all variations on propaganda, what they identified in the 1920s and 1930s.”

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report

  • Evan Yates, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Imagine if Bill English and the rest of his colleagues were tested regularly to see if he’d consumed alcohol in the last month?

    Alcohol is processed out of the system by your liver relatively quickly and effectively. Other substances stay longer and that is why the testing can pick it up later on. It is the difference between "Are you a drug user? " and "Are you currently under the influence?"

    Hamiltron, Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Nov 2006 • 197 posts Report

  • Joy Clark, in reply to Russell Brown,

    my sentiments exactly
    what else going to become meaningless under this dicktatorship?

    Whanganui • Since Mar 2017 • 1 posts Report

  • mark taslov, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    supporting repealing our health and safety laws

    I’ve found reference to an exemption but nothing about a repeal, links welcome Rich. I wonder how much more dangerous a Pike River recovery would be compared to other activities our military might engage in.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report

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