Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Taxpayers' Union: still stupid, cynical and dishonest

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  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think it’s pretty clear that these people don’t give a shit what they say.

    I'd have thought that Williams may have learnt from Colin Craig's propensity to do the same - or is he dumb enough to just take the money and think it can't happen to him, that making stuff up has no consequences...
    isn't there a crime based on using electronic devices for improper ends - fearmongering and lying among them?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7068 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Sacha,

    Main problems are pressure on often junior journos to file stories fast - and lax, unethical oversight from editors and publishers.

    That combined with corporate PR divisions, certain lobby groups and "think tanks" like the TU having basically rearranged themselves for the express purpose of filling the gap and writing "news" for the journalists who are no longer well resourced to investigate and do it themselves. And if media doesn't publish it, just get your likely audience into a Facebook group and ensure they build most of their perspective directly from you.

    Sometimes I agree with arguments that purpose-built think tanks produce. From time to time there's useful and robust research that wouldn't ever have been carried out without someone who wanted to prove something. But the fact that so much of it is now merely getting verbosely regurgitated without context or challenge, sometimes by media that's not even well equipped to understand what it's reporting on (besides 'he said she said') is worrying.

    That "Ratepayers Report" collaboration between the Taxpayers Union and Fairfax in 2014 (now offline but here's a referencing article on Stuff and a TU press release) was disturbing to see from Fairfax.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 979 posts Report Reply

  • Timmy H, in reply to izogi,

    Speaking of facebook, my feed had a *sponsored* story from the Taxpayers' Union last night... one guess what it was.

    Seeing it had 100+ comments, I gleefully clicked in, expecting to see a group of savvy Kiwis politely pointing out to the TU that they were 'avoiding' the truth somewhat.

    Instead:

    hell no just search boys murdered by clinton and you will get untold links to so many deaths through his career and her support of the cover ups !!!

    why would you continue to give the NZ peoples money to a lying evil bitch who hopefully Trump will put in jail, the congress are pumped to get to the bottom of her actions, or is it the Bilderberg Group calling now that we have been sold out

    Not enough palms for my face.

    Since Feb 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    What I really don't understand is:
    Given the TPU and Mr Williams have been shown in the past to say things that turned out to be not true;
    and in some of those cases it appeared highly likely that they knew they weren't true when they said them

    WHY then would any media repeat anything from the TPU and Mr Williams?

    It seems like something prospective journalists would be told first day at work or even in the first lecture at Uni, "never, ever believe anything from the TPU" ... "yes, this will be in the exam."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4177 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    WHY then would any media repeat anything from the TPU and Mr Williams?

    For the same reason the Herald recently ran a piece by Bruce Logan, a proven plagiarist. They simply don't care. Professional standards? No, as long as the "news" is given to them, without work or cost, then their business requirements are satisfied.

    Their short-term requirements, at least ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1072 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Or presumably they were fed the story by the Israeli embassy, given the shoe horned in cheap shot at our recent security council resolution?

    Nah. No one had to be fed the story. It was announced years ago by MFAT and its partners.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21563 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I guess Jordan Williams doesn't fuck pigs then. Still, it would have been nice to hear him deny it.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2033 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton,

    The only problem with this post is that it ignores rule 97 of New Zealand politics: If Murray McCully were involved in organising a fund-raising sausage sizzle for his local hospice, he would find a way to find it corruptly. It may be the donation to the Clinton Foundation subsidiary is entirely legit despite this rule, but that would make it even more newsworthy given its uniqueness.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 176 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    The only problem with this post is that it ignores rule 97 of New Zealand politics: If Murray McCully were involved in organising a fund-raising sausage sizzle for his local hospice, he would find a way to find it corruptly.

    Of course, if rule 97 is in operation, the legitimacy of every cent of NZ's foreign aid is in question. So why don't we have any Taxpayer Union press releases about the Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project, or the Pacific Regional Navigation Initiative, or the Tonga Police Development Programme?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Sacha,

    It’s her editors, to be fair. That piece of copypasta crap

    She’d probably come off looking a little better if she wasn’t following both the Taxpayers’ Union and Jordan William’s Twitter accounts and hadn’t retweeted him a couple of months ago.

    I don’t want to bash a single journalist, though. This is really systemic.

    With due respect that does sound quite circular at a consumer level when there’s form.

    there’s a culture in state services of people taking sick days when they’re not sick.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to mark taslov,

    Attachment

    She’d probably come off looking a little better if she wasn’t following both the Taxpayers’ Union and Jordan William’s Twitter accounts and hadn’t retweeted him a couple of months ago.

    I don't know much of journalist at all beyond this story, but that doesn't seem fair to me.

    Surely many journalists would be following these organisations if they want to stay up-to-date with the crap-fest of statements (opinions may vary) that are being pushed out into the world, whether newsworthy or justified or not. Following someone on twitter doesn't imply agreeing with them or liking them, and of the 1,858 accounts she follows I'd be surprised if that has much to do with sympathy for many of them.

    The only retweet I can see from Jordan Williams is this earthquake photo tweet from 14th November 2014 that was retweeted 177 times and favourited 133 times. Is there something else?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 979 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to izogi,

    but that doesn’t seem fair to me.

    It doesn’t seem fair to you that I think she’d probably come off looking better? I’m no journalist so perception of my impartiality or lack of isn’t all that relevant.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to mark taslov,

    I just don't see how retweeting a popular earthquake photo posted by Jordan Williams should have much bearing on it either way.

    Maybe you're right that some people will think that looks bad. But with similar logic they probably also think it's suspicious if a political journalist talks to the PM or the leader of the opposition (depending on their sympathies). Given the work they're doing it's unfair to hold that against them.

    Not that this excuses regurgitating easily debunked Taxpayer Union rubbish as if it's newsworthy.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 979 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to izogi,

    If it were just the photo, or if it were just the one Twitter account and she hadn’t also shoehorned Jordan William's opinion into that IRD write up I wouldn’t have shared the observation. For me it’s mainly about questioning how accountable an individual journalist is and whether obviating them of responsibility helps address this systemic issue?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to izogi,

    Also Izogi, sorry for my slow editing there, I’m fairly sure I’d not completed my initial post when you responded, so the IRD link was not present. This may inform readings of the exchange: I’m a bit slow.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I have no issue with journalists using twitter or similar to source stories - I enjoy interacting with them in that space myself.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19081 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Sacha,

    I have no issue with journalists using twitter or similar to source stories

    Well neither, and many journalists reveal their political leanings in the way they frame narratives - some quite unashamedly. Acknowledging these tendencies isn't altogether unhelpful as a reading aid.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sacha,

    I have no issue with journalists using twitter or similar to source stories – I enjoy interacting with them in that space myself.

    mmmm twitter is a good fast indicator that there might be a story - but it has zero credibility.

    So sure you might use twitter to become aware that it's possible that a news story exists but after that then you need to find real credible sources, preferably multiple independent sources before you decide to disseminate it as news.

    But that wasn't the problem here, the problem here was taking a press release from a known unreliable source and publishing it. That's a journalism fail.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4177 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    ----

    And here we go. Jesus these people are cynical.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21563 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    mmmm twitter is a good fast indicator that there might be a story - but it has zero credibility.

    Exception: If your story is that the President-Elect of the USA is continuing to act unprofessionally.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 979 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to mark taslov,

    Yeah, no worries. I'm also not trying to stand up for the journalist. More just expressing that I think they should be judged more on their work than on Twitter relationships that are largely characteristic for people in their roles.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 979 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    TPU=

    Me. Me. Me. F*&k youse.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1576 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to izogi,

    judged more on their work than on Twitter relationships

    Absolutely. Exclusively on their work even. For me I guess it goes back to the Dirty Politics revelations. I did a reasonably thorough search yesterday and clearly didn’t come up with much, but that Williams’ taint is difficult enough to shake that any journalist or media group abetting him furthering his agenda – voluntarily or not – deserves full sunlight.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to izogi,

    Exception: If your story is that the President-Elect of the USA is continuing to act unprofessionally.

    If your story is "the president elect of USA did/said/believes XYZ" and here is the proof (that he did/said it on twitter/facebook/TV news interview)... then that is a valid news story...

    I hate all the (semi-recent) news articles on NZ Herald and Stuff that amount to "here's a praci of recent twitters about vaguely sensationalist...". something... might be a comment, an action, even a twitter post

    Apparently, someone slightly celebutard or newsworthy did, or said something slightly beyond the expected ... (maybe they made a racist comment, or wore an unusual collection of clothes, or farted) this is NOT the point of the "news article"... the point of the article is how people responded on social media to this "newsworthy event".

    The entire content of the "news article" is a commentary repeating what other non-entities have said on twitter (or similar) ABOUT the earlier comment/action.event..

    Why or how is this news?

    If someone newsworthy does something or says something newsworthy, good or bad, that may well be news, and I don't mind hearing about it or seeing it in my "trusted" news-feed, even if I don't personally find it of interest...

    But when the news article is "here's some reactions from twitter, after a newsworthy (or not?) event... from previously un-heard-of twitter users of no special importance or expertise"... well...

    1) meh!
    2) you've just reduced your standing in my regards as a news source worth trusting or following in the future...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 852 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    I tweeted to the TPU a year & a bit ago about their stance on 'holiday highways' and they promised a report on it in a month. We're still waiting.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5160 posts Report Reply

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