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NZ Herald links “Threat from Outer Space” to NZ News Essentials – Part 2

Experts on TV smoking cartoon

In brief

  • Business Desk (BD) suggests people linked to Centrist and NZ News Essentials are also linked to “misinformation”, but don’t give any examples.
  • BD decides a journalism (not content) “expert” should be consulted to help people decide if they can trust what they read. 
  • There is no substitute for sharpening your skills and then thinking for yourself.  

Shots fired

In Part 1 we finished by saying we were going to reply to some of the shots sent our way by the Business Desk (BD) article (also reprinted in the NZ Herald): The curious case of NZ News Essentials: the buyout baron, the rapper, and the anti-mandate influencer

Surprise, surprise, misinformation is the word of the day

NZ Herald links “Threat from Outer Space” to NZ News Essentials
Imagine our surprise to find we were linked to misinformation by the MSM!

To be fair, the article didn’t point to much specifically in the way of misinformation, in terms of what we, Centrist/NZ News Essentials (NE), produced. Instead, it was more by implication and the fact one portion of the BD article was titled “Misinformation”, though that section wasn’t true to its title.

To the extent the BD article is suggesting one should be leery of any information they adopt, we heartily agree. Indeed, the absence of information in the NZ news ecosystem, that one could be confident covered the issues well, was what inspired us to launch NE (as we say on the website). 

This includes the one sidedness of some stories, and complete silence on some views we think are important. Not saying something that should be said alters the meaning and is essentially “mis” or even “dis” information, by omission.

How does one ensure their sources are not mis/dis info?

BD talks about the risk the information may be bad, but doesn’t say you can become quite good at deciding for yourself by using what is between your ears. To help, don’t spend all your time absorbing information that is all slanted the same way (ie. the echo chamber). It’s worth seeing what others are saying that might not align with your main sources. Use your ability to reason, some healthy scepticism and worldly experience. 

An example of what not to do comes to mind from just the other day, ironically based on an article in BD. That article sprung from the hubbub about the infamous BlackRock and their announced intention to establish a green energy fund in NZ. Someone had access to only the start of this BD article, which said “BlackRock bought New Zealand last week in an off balance-sheet transaction slated for repackaging as the first sovereign nation-specific exchange-traded fund.” 

The article later explained it was joking but the portion visible to the public was enough to get some wondering. While only someone with limited knowledge of the relevant disciplines could be tempted to believe, we met just such a person who deferred to BD to that degree. To this person’s credit, they were suspicious enough to at least seek further confirmation.

What has BD done to impinge on NZ News Essentials credibility?  

They’ve suggested NE is aligned with people who, in BD’s (implicitly superior?) opinion, are suspect. And they’ve  consulted a journalism “expert” (from AUT). Experts are good for some things, but all too frequently the media approach in NZ seems to be to consult an expert about things that, at first blush, involve their expertise. However, the matter is really just a personal opinion that the reader should form themselves, but they are being encouraged to defer to the expert.

In our next instalment we will address why experts should not be used in that way and how not to get fooled.

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

Feature image by Paolo Massa

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