Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Start with your conclusion

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  • BenWilson,

    Much better for the Highway61, Hells Angels, Black Power, Headhunters and other sundry gangs to control it, without paying tax.

    And that's just the retailers. It's also better that opium growth is in the hands of Afghanistani warlords and their serfs and the distribution stays with the Triads. Then George Soros can't make millions from harm reduction, which horrifyingly doesn't always entail abstinence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I know the Oxford Dic falls on that side too, but I've always preferred Cambridge.

    I believe Cambridge also uses the -ize suffix as its standard - i.e. look in a Cambridge Dictionary and you'll find modernise spelled m-o-d-e-r-n-i-z-e with "(UK usually modernise)" written after it.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2996 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Oh, the article is ripe with emotive flourishes to push the 'drugs are bad, m'kay' message, but the best bit is Wishart trying to assert both that the Dutch Ambassador is a cannabis user and that it doesn't lead to reduced aggression ("The same line was run 10 years ago by an angry Joris Vos, Dutch ambassador to the US..." p. 32).

    Throughout the piece he assumes that positive correlation means causation because he wants cannabis to be linked to aggressive behaviour. Given that he really only cites reports that show that drug use and crime (in general, mind, not necessarily crimes of aggreesion) are correlated to some third factor (which, as predicted, is socio-economic) he has to pull out the big guns, to whit, anecdotal evidence. For example, because the police associate crime with drugs, then it must be the case that drugs cause crime. Even though this goes against the studies, because the police say it, it must be true.

    (There's also some wonderful contradictions in the piece; Wishart praises the Reagan-era 'Just say no' campaign, but similar recent (read: Labour-initiated) attempts in Aotearoa/Te Wai Pounamu are taken to be ineffectual due to their liberal nature.)

    He loves to cite newspaper summaries of reports, quite often from newspapers which have a history of perverting the reports to get a good story. For example, the doyen of the crazy-right, Melanie Phillips (she who 'broke' the Birther conspiracy theory in the UK) makes an appearance as if she is some kind of relevant authority.

    The best bit of the article, though, is the almost completely non-sequiter of 'So how, then, does this tie in with billionaire George Soros?' Now, at the time this wasn't a question on my lip but, thanks to Wishart's exemplary prose style and knack for a plot twist, I found myself needing to know.

    And what an answer it turned out to be. Soro's stated aim of minimising harm when it comes to drug use is really a cover for his want to control the drug supply itself. Nowhere is there evidence for this claim; Wishart just asserts that a financier like Soros wants to control the drug supply.

    That, my friends, is the tip of the 'Secret Bankers ruling the world' conspiracy theory. It's a classic for a reason, although the reason has been lost to history.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I totally understand how hard it is to get the facts right especially if it is outside your field of expertise. And I understand that journalists will almost always be outside their field of expertise. It doesn't make me less grumpy about it.

    It's not all on journalists. Readers also have some responsibilities, so far as engaging their brains is concerned.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Ben: As I once said to a Truther, I'd love it if some of the secret masters starting paying me for all of this. I could really do with an iPhone.

    Or even just takeways once a week.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    That, my friends, is the tip of the 'Secret Bankers ruling the world' conspiracy theory. It's a classic for a reason, although the reason has been lost to history.

    It might even be true. But "Secret Bankers want Prohibition to End so they can take Legal Control of the Drug Supply", is a uniquely Wishartian twist.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I don't know why Wishart doesn't just make shit up from whole cloth and attribute it to scientists who didn't say it. After all, it's good enough for the Sunday Times.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    As I was saying to mate George the other day, fisking Wishart's article isn't worth the time. Wishart has done some very poor fact checking relating to the event hosted by me - when he called me up, I said I could send him everything and anything he wanted - I said I had nothing to hide, but surprisingly he wasn't interested.

    (for the record, everything about the "Soros-funded" event is published on our website http://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/healthy-drug-law/international-drug-policy-symposium)

    Instead, he seemed to have a thing for my mate Soros, and facts weren't going to get in the way of that story.

    Public consultation begins on the drug law review this month - I think those who read the Law Commission's discussion document will be hard pressed to see where Mr Soros' alleged influence lies.

    Again, for the record, Soros' Open Society Institute gave us a grant of $20,000 - if George hadn't f***ed around with the money markets that would have exchanged as NZ$40,000 instead of $35,000!

    In the words of PM Key:

    Mr Key said he did not mind that Mr Soros' money was being used, because the Government "just simply does not support the decriminalisation of marijuana".

    "I don't really care whether its George Soros or Mickey Mouse that supports the conference, I'm not going to be changing my position on that," Mr Key said.

    Ross Bell
    Executive Director
    NZ Drug Foundation

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 90 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Actually, if we're going to allow Wishart his fantasy that financiers run the world, if Mickey Mouse(/Disney) backed legalisation, I think it would happen.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 90 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I haven't read the mag, but how exactly does Cameron Slater risk the clink? Did our name suppression laws change?

    Meh, don't want to de-rail the thread this early, but I'm reliably informed that Martin Scorsese has just cast Mel Gibson to headline The Last Martyrdom of Cameron Slater.

    I totally understand how hard it is to get the facts right especially if it is outside your field of expertise. And I understand that journalists will almost always be outside their field of expertise.

    You've got a point, as far as it goes: Most journalists are generalists, but it's also Journalism 101 that if you're assigned a round you make that round your field of expertise. No credible news outlet would hire an economics correspondent who thinks a 90 day bank bill is what the Finance Minister does on his holidays, so why am I going to cut their health reporters any more slack? You get the byline, you do the job.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11864 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    when he called me up, I said I could send him everything and anything he wanted - I said I had nothing to hide, but surprisingly he wasn't interested.

    Lord forbid he should actually receive any facts that might spoil his story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Every time I encounter Investigate in magazine racks, I reverse the cover or attempt to conceal it behind other mags. Adolescent, I know, but one must make such gestures to combat the enemies of democracy.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2285 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I don't know why Wishart doesn't just make shit up from whole cloth and attribute it to scientists who didn't say it. After all, it's good enough for the Sunday Times.

    Well, we are talking about the same paper that science editor Neville Hodgkinson became the respectable face of AIDS denial -- while, of course, nobody involved, least of all proprietor Rupert Murdoch, was going to have to live with the human consequences of their cocktail of junk science and paranoia.

    According to one study, over three hundred thousand dead South Africans have.

    As far as I'm concerned, Hodgkinson and his ilk should be in prison as an accessory to crimes against humanity.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11864 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Every time I encounter Investigate in magazine racks, I reverse the cover or attempt to conceal it behind other mags. Adolescent, I know, but one must make such gestures to combat the enemies of democracy.

    LOL, that's adolescent all right. But I think it might work better if you put it right at the front in the porno mag section.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Are we about to see a rerun with this on Closeup last night?

    Gardasil

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1491 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Ben: As I once said to a Truther, I'd love it if some of the secret masters starting paying me for all of this. I could really do with an iPhone.

    Or even just takeways once a week.

    You're playing the long con, I see.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Even though this goes against the studies, because the police say it, it must be true.

    Remember daddy knows best

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    If I had a joke about 'long cons' and 'pizza,' I would be making it now. Someone make it for me, please.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Remember daddy knows best

    I now have a vision of Wishart producing an audiobook version of one of his many tomes, specially read out for children.

    (Actually, I met someone the other day who works for the Foundation for the Blind and performs the audio recordings of 'Investigate.' I really want to know what kind of voice he uses, say, to record Wishart's editorials.)

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Are we about to see a rerun with this on Closeup last night?
    Gardasil

    Um, yikes.

    The SMC has a response from Helen Petousis-Harris, Director of Research at the Immunisation Advisory Centre and Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland:

    “Based on what we know about Gardasil vaccine and other vaccines we would be very surprised if Jasmine’s death was vaccine-related. The symptoms that we are aware of are not suggestive of a vaccine reaction however some of the symptoms she describes are consistent with other medical conditions associated with sudden death in young people.”

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    As far as I'm concerned, Hodgkinson and his ilk should be in prison as an accessory to crimes against humanity.

    Totally agree, Craig. 'His ilk' includes ratbag quack Matthias Rath. The chapter from Ben Goldacre's book Bad Science on Rath is available from here as a free download. Highly recommended.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 653 posts Report Reply

  • Alien Lizard (anag),

    ...who works for the Foundation for the Blind and performs the audio recordings of 'Investigate.'

    would that then make it a double blind experiment?

    The Arrrgh Complex • Since Jan 2010 • 158 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    (Actually, I met someone the other day who works for the Foundation for the Blind and performs the audio recordings of 'Investigate.'

    A bit obvious to suggest "the blind leading the....'?

    But I think it might work better if you put it right at the front in the porno mag section.

    Good idea. What do such mags look like? ;-)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2285 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    audio recordings of 'Investigate'

    Genuinely accessible web content is essential so discussions like this can counteract dross like that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

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