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NZ Herald takes another shot at Chantelle Baker… and misses

In brief
  • The NZ Herald attacks independent news hound Chantelle Baker calling her a conspiracy theorist in an alternate reality.
  • The Herald cites only one specific instance, about Ardern and her vaccine mandates. That backfires as Baker’s position is very reasonable.
  • They rely on The Disinformation Project as an independent source even though TDP are obviously pushing an agenda.

The Herald has another go at Baker

Senior writer for the NZ Herald David Fisher wrote another long article attacking independent media personality Chantelle Baker. Toeing the line of libel, Fisher attempts to link Baker to the “alt-right” who live in an “alternate reality”, and calls her a conspiracy theorist. 

Fact-checking the fact-checkers

Under the heading Fact-Checking Conspiracies, Fisher writes “Baker relied on (a video clip of) Ardern saying covid vaccination would not be mandatory – which it was not.” But isn’t it reasonable for people to have interpreted Ardern as saying they wouldn’t be significantly coerced? 

No, soldiers didn’t hold people down and inject them. But does it have to go that far to consider it forced? That’s an extremely cynical and narrow definition of the meaning “mandatory”. What about losing your job and ultimately your home, which happened to some? Fisher was trying to throw a knockout punch with his example, but it looks more like an own goal where he is the one stretching credulity.

Also, Ardern acknowledged her policies amounted to mandatory vaccinations.

On the incredible pressure “no jab-no job” policies put on folks, Jo Moir of Newsroom said the PM and her colleagues were “hoping a new world where the unvaccinated are restricted to a life of only supermarkets and healthcare will tip the rest over the line.”

NZ Herald takes another shot at Chantelle Baker… and misses - Centrist
Why is NZ Herald relying on the slanted Disinformation Project?  Image of Dr Sanjana Hattotuwa – YouTube screenshot

Disinformation Project references

In order to attack Baker’s credibility, Fisher leans heavily on claims from The Disinformation Project, and on Paul Spoonly from its parent organisation, Te Pūnaha Matatini, which is funded by the Government.

The Disinformation Project is coming under increasing scrutiny from writers and researchers for its outlandish claims and questionable “research”. Bryce Edwards concluded “The Disinformation Project only concentrates on the misinformation and disinformation of fringe actors but never on that spread by authorities.”

When Fisher is trying to convince his audience that Chantelle Baker’s work isn’t legitimate, relying on flaky opinions of reckless, scare-mongering opportunists (as Edwards describes them in turn) isn’t the best way to support his argument.

Avi Yemeni on Twitter


Rebel News reporter Avi Yemeni pointed out the irony that Fisher damns Baker for making a career funding her views through her work, in an article behind NZ Herald’s paywall. Further, NZ Herald removed Baker’s age from the top of the story after Yemeni pointed out they had got that basic fact wrong.

Fisher’s article says “a ‘central function’ of journalism is verification”. How does that relate to his unsupported allegation Baker is making a career, and holidaying, out of her donations?

Fisher continues that principles of journalism include “ independence, holding power to account, allowing public criticism, and reporting news in a proportional way that makes the significant interesting”. That doesn’t include what is happening here, where NZ Herald sanctimoniously holds Baker to a higher standard than they hold themselves.

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