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NZ Herald links “Threat from Outer Space” to NZ News Essentials – Part 1

In brief
  • New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) writes a feature article on little old NZ News Essentials (NE) and the related Centrist publications.
  • The NZME article was gracious and showed some insight. It was even a fun/funny read.
  • The article also took a number of shots which will be addressed over the next few weeks.

News Essentials becomes the news

NZME’s Business Desk (BD) wrote a story about NZ News Essentials (NE) and the Centrist. This story also ran in the NZ Herald. NE and the Centrist would like to respond to this article, and will do so in a few parts – as the BD article was lengthy. This is part 1.

NZ Herald links "Threat from Outer Space” to NZ News Essentials - Part 1 - Centrist
NZ News Essentials and Centrist have gone from reporting the news to becoming the news!

Business Desk invited NE to provide information about ourselves and we declined because we weren’t interested in being profiled. We did not think much good could come of it, as we’re charting a course that often confronts theirs.

We see the NZ Herald as the premier broad content paper in NZ, but not as a publication that covers both sides of all the stories of importance for New Zealand voters. Examples of reporting that we think lacks balance include co-governance, climate science and the COVID response. 

The NZ Herald also seems to sometimes accept, without questioning, what we see as blatantly misleading government narrative. This includes 3 Waters and the IRD high net worth project. The Herald, BD, and other major media sources in New Zealand, inspired us to launch NE and the Centrist.

Regarding the BD article on us, we feel they did a commendable job. They dug up things to say about each of the 3 people they named as being connected to funding and ownership of these platforms – Jim Grenon, Tameem Barakat and Glenn Arthur. 

The article was reasonably balanced and even funny, including the title “The Curious case of NZ News Essentials: the buyout baron, the rapper and the anti-vaccine influencer”. Their listing of the nom de plumes previously used for NE, such as Sled Dog, and the name of the band Barakat was with, Threat from Outer Space, were amusing. The photos they chose were flattering.

Most of the BD story focussed on Grenon, Barakat and Arthur, and the little BD wrote about them did not, in our opinion, provide meaningful insight. They also mention that Chantelle Baker, who they present as someone known for her anti-mandate stance, but don’t try to castigate, has encouraged her followers to sign up to NE and the Centrist.

BD notes they don’t know of any actual journalist involved with NE and the Centrist, however it is they define that. With their limited insight, this is just a guess.

Now to the more interesting part, addressing what we disagree with. Unfortunately that will have to come in follow-up articles since we like to keep our stories under 500 words. We promise there will be a little more spice in the rest of our reply.

Link to The Curious Case of NZ News Essentials original article from 1 September 2023 on Business Desk (Paywall) here and the NZ Herald E-edition, p30, 4 September 2023 here

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