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Media release: Reporter becomes the news

It should have been a routine media interview about Oranga Tamariki admitting in an OIA it was prepared to uplift kids who wanted to transition their gender against parents’ wishes. It ended with one news organisation wondering how they could be so confident the other is not a front for Vladimir Putin.

The extraordinary interview played out on The Platform where breakfast host Sean Plunket had invited Centrist managing editor Tameem Barakat on to discuss the Oranga Tamariki OIA revelation, but immediately diverted to an interview about who was funding the Centrist.

“Tameem refused to breach my personal privacy without discussing it with me first,” says Centrist backer Jim Grenon, “but had The Platform let us know they wanted to go there when they first invited us, it wouldn’t have been a problem.

“My involvement with the Centrist is a matter of public record through our filings with the Companies Office and some articles in both the NZ Herald and, indeed, our own publication last year. 

“Sean is a good broadcaster, and we appreciate what The Platform is trying to do. We are trying to do a similar thing.

“However, I accept that because some people may only recently have become aware of us, they might not know our backstory. Tameem Barakat and I are both originally from Canada but we have New Zealand family and we are both long term permanent residents here.

“Our kids have been educated here, and we are some of the 1 in 3 New Zealanders who were born overseas.

“We started as ‘News Essentials’ which is now part of Centrist, because we felt there was too much misrepresentation, double-speak and omission in politics and the more compliant elements of the legacy media. We wanted to cut-through the policy-wonk weasel words, buzz phrases and talking points and explain to the voting public what was really being said.

“In the last two years we’ve moved to an operational newsroom generating original content. We are ramping up at a time when many media are throwing up paywalls or going under.

“Yes it costs, but we have a business model we are working towards and we think independent voices in the media are an important public interest.

“So, Sean, in summary, we’re not working for the Russians, or the Atlas Network or George Soros. Although some of us migrated here from Canada, New Zealand is now our home. The Platform, despite our contretemps, remains a popular listening choice.”

Read more over at Centrist

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