They lie to us with science and baffle us with BS

Science journalism, more than even the rest of the legacy media, is in a parlous state. Many so-called science journalists are nothing more than political activists farming content to feed their pre-formed conclusions. Too few seem to have any grounding at all in science that might enable them to make a critical analysis of the partisan doom-mongering regularly served up as alleged “science”.

Short of a grounding in the basics of scientific practice and a rudimentary grasp of maths (especially statistics), there are two books I would recommend to science journalists and the general public: Walter Gratzer’s The Undergrowth of Science, and statisticians Simon Briscoe and Hugh Aldersey-Williams’ Panicology.

Gratzer’s book punctures the conceit that science is never mistaken and that peer-reviewed research is infallible. It also shows how politics infects and distorts science, often with dreadful results. Panicology is a good field guide to understanding how bogus statistics are used to lie to us about pseudo-scientific bogey-men. quote.

Increasingly, in a crowded market for alarm, it becomes necessary to make the scares up. More and more headlines about medical or environmental panics are based on published scientific papers, but ones that are little more than lies laundered into respectability with a little statistical legerdemain. end quote.

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Audio: Judith Collins & David Seymour discuss Golriz Ghahraman

On Magic mornings with Sean Plunket yesterday, Sean led a discussion with Judith Collins and David Seymour about Seymour’s comment last week where he described Golriz Ghahraman as “a real menace to freedom in this country.”

They also discuss free speech and stories about police visits to people because allegedly of what they have said on social media.

Listen to the audio to find out what Judith and David agree on as well as their points of difference.

Golriz Ghahraman was invited to join the discussion but she declined.

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We see through the lies

Dear New Zealand Mainstream media

Please think about what you’re doing and stop giving a free pass to politicians and their enablers.

Politicians have always told lies, either to defend their party and prevent collateral damage or more often, to protect themselves and their public image. It is a journalist’s responsibility to expose the lies and report the truth. This is particularly important when the individuals involved are deceiving the public by using taxpayers’ funds to fulfil their own perception of public interest. 

It is not the MSM’s place to act as the publicity wing for one political party or belief.  Regardless of who you vote for, it is your job to provide balanced reporting of the facts (not opinions) to the public.  It is up to the public to make up their own minds.  This is what creates a strong democracy.  (Do you believe in democracy?)

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Was Ben Shapiro really destroyed?

When Ben Shapiro was interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Neil, the resulting spat quickly became the stuff of myth more than legend.
The shape of the myth-making depends largely on the viewer’s political leanings. Many conservatives improbably maintain that Shapiro triumphed, while the social media left have worked themselves into a largely fact-free ecstasy. “Ben Shapiro DESTROYED!”

Melanie Phillips is a leftist-turned-right (she defines herself as a liberal who has “been mugged by reality”) who attempts a more measured response. Mostly, she gets it right, but she, too, judges Shapiro far too harshly. It seems that, in this clash of cultures, Phillips’ Britishness just finds Shapiro’s east coast American brashness not at all tea and hockey sticks. quote.

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Only activism remains when journalism dies

By Dieuwe de Boer

Disclaimer: I haven’t watched Newshub’s “Because It Matters” show, as no one bothered to recommend it to me. I have, however, read a few articles on it and watched a few short related interviews. My interest in this series is due to Paddy wanting to interview me for it (don’t laugh too hard), and you can read about that in an article I wrote last week. Newshub also contacted other conservatives about being interviewed for what they claimed was a little series on ‘right-wing views’.

The main exposé seems to be aimed at one notorious neo-Nazi, Phil Arps. This is a bit short of the rampant white supremacy we were promised, but supposedly it’s just an appetiser. (Let’s hope they didn’t lead with their best, else this series will be a snooze.) Arps is quite a disturbed individual who left a pig’s head at a mosque several years ago and likes to talk about killing Jews and Muslims.

In an interview, Patrick Gower is almost reduced to tears when explaining how Arps only got an $800 fine for this and gloated about it on video. He complains there aren’t harsh penalties and special “hate crimes” for scum like Arps. I hate to break it to you Paddy, but the New Zealand legal system (it would be a crime to refer to it as “justice”) is a joke across the board. Criminals can get home detention for bloody murder. We’ve got rapists and paedophiles walking our streets. How often have you cried about that?

Patrick Gower isn’t too worried about the state of the ex-justice system, he’s just worried that his political enemies might not get the jail time he wants for them.

This is where we come to the main problem with Newshub’s series: it’s not about journalism, it’s just political activism designed to push for changes to our laws.

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Useless government 101: Diversion is your friend

Photoshopped image Credit: Boondecker

It’s nonsense to think that a social media platform practising self-monitoring will prevent future terrorist attacks. Any value Facebook had to Brenton Tarrant was in communicating the actual attack so restricting his Facebook content would have been too little too late to prevent the tragedy. It would not have prevented the subsequent synagogue shooting in Poway, California either, where that shooter promised live-streaming but, fortunately, the stream did not work.

At any rate, Zuckerberg promises an algorithm to screen out violent live footage. It’s not Zuckerberg’s job to protect the public, and whilst he’s sympathetic, he’s not stupid enough to hold unrealistic expectations. His absence at Paris sent a message that international security is not Facebook’s primary concern.

Ardern and her puppet master can jibe all they like about Trump not turning up either – or bothering to send a representative, but why should he? Trump already treats American safety as his personal responsibility, not to be blithely ignored at the first opportunity to make a difference. Quote.

Former prime minister Helen Clark says those who aren’t attending the “incredibly important” Christchurch call meeting in Paris are saying more about themselves than the summit itself.

Speaking to Stuff ahead of releasing a report on reducing social media harm from her new think tank, Clark said the call was a “huge deal” and “all the key players should be there.

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Rape allegations resurface days out from Australian election

Dirty tricks

What seemed just a month ago to be an assured Labor victory in the 2019 Australian election looks to be going right down to the wire. Indicating just how desperate the race is going to be is that the fight has suddenly got very, very dirty even by Australian standards. This is no Queensberry rules, gentlemen’s bout; this is bare-knuckle, eye-gouging, rolling-in-the-gutter stuff.

Labor went for the jugular yesterday, with a coordinated attack, dragging PM Scott Morrison’s religious beliefs into the campaign. But now Labor has been gazumped, not by the Coalition, but by a woman who claims to have been very wronged. quote.

Just three days before the federal election, a retired criminal barrister is asking Victoria Police to reopen an investigation into historical sexual assault allegations against Bill Shorten.

Kathy Sheriff made the allegations in 2014, claiming she was raped by Mr Shorten at a conference in 1986 when she was 16-years-old.

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The opposition is mostly asleep on hate speech

ACT leader David Seymour: “Usually opinions are met by other opinions, but under hate speech laws they are met by the power of the state. Citizens can only hope their opinions are in favour with the government.” Stuff. Image credit: ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

David Seymour is the only politician saying how hard it is to define hate speech; how unworkable it would be and open to abuses of power if brought into law. The silence from National ministers is deafening. Perhaps they, like Golriz Ghahraman, are confused.

Six weeks ago, Simon Bridges was balanced uncomfortably on the fence. Quote.

National Leader Simon Bridges is backing the Government’s plans to review New Zealand’s hate speech law but is warning against limiting free speech in the process.

“Where that line between free speech into that hateful and incitement of violence and the like is, is not easy.”” End of quote.

A newspaper

Bridges is heading in the right direction but needs to go further and actually admit that defining hate speech is more than “not easy” it is downright impossible.

But Seymour has a good grasp of the problem. Quote.

“When the Government makes it its role to start working out which opinions are right and which are wrong and which ones should be punished, that’s when you get into real difficulty,” he told RNZ.”

end of quote.
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Don’t you just hate it when your big scoop turns out to be FAKE news?

As we are all by now very much aware our New Zealand media are on the hunt for the hard to find, reclusive, tattooed, rare and endangered white Kiwi supremacist.

Whaleoil writer John Black went on a hunt for one back in April when he heard tales of them lurking at Auckland University, but he could find no sign.

As somebody once said, You should try everything once except incest and Morris dancing. (Who exactly said that we are unsure but when you reflect on how they knew to steer clear of the first of these, it’s probably for the best that they retain their anonymity). So when a chance arises not three kilometres from your place of residence to catch a glimpse of a creature of near mythic reputation, previously thought to be long extinct, you take it. I write of course of the sudden sighting of the fabled, extremely rare white supremacist within the bounds of our own Auckland University […]

John Black

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Things that make me go hmm

Small article, small photo: one page only
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