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Stuff withdraws from X citing mis- and dis-information

In brief
  • Stuff’s aim is telling stories “that make Aotearoa New Zealand a better place”, which implies aligning with their partisan views. 
  • They cite “mis- and dis-information” on X, but don’t give examples other than vagaries about COVID and US elections. 
  • Perhaps the tide is going out on their preferred narratives and they’re disengaging from platforms where they’ll likely be challenged.

Stuff leaves X

On the day before the general election that would sweep the Ardern-Hipkins Labour government from power, Stuff and the publications’ associated brands including The Post, The Press and Waikato Times  announced their withdrawal from social media platform X (formerly Twitter).

On the surface it appears Stuff wants to be seen taking the high road by withdrawing from “that cesspit” X, but it’s just as likely they are not interested in a platform where their preferred narratives will likely be challenged. 

Stuff’s CEO Laura Maxwell
Stuff’s CEO Laura Maxwell
Image: LinkedIn/PMW

Stuff has left-wing bias and a documented dislike of X under Elon Musk

Stuff CEO Laura Maxwell quotes from the publication’s mission statement

“Our mission is to grow our business through trusted storytelling and experiences that make Aotearoa New Zealand a better place.”

Stuff is one of NZ’s most left-leaning mainstream media outlets. What’s meant by “make Aotearoa New Zealand a better place” is presumably aligning with their strong left-wing progressive views. 

They have been staunch advocates of co-governance, and seem to hold partisan views on the Treaty of Waitangi, transgender issues and other progressive left causes. 

They withdraw from X on the eve of an election where these Labour policies are being roundly rejected.

Maxwell says Stuff made the decision because:

“We are increasingly concerned about the volume of mis- and dis-information being shared on the platform, and the damaging behaviours we have observed, and experienced.”

Stuff did not cite any specific examples of “mis- and dis- information and damaging behaviours” other than vague allusions to “false claims about COVID-19, the COVID-19 vaccine and the 2020 US election gaining significant amplification”.

For what it’s worth, Stuff’s views on COVID are mostly one-sided. The publication produced the lampooned Fire and Fury. The documentary, produced with government financial assistance, paints an absurdly dark and paranoid picture of Wellington’s anti-vaccine mandate protesters. It has not aged well. 

Stuff alludes to actions X’s owner, Elon Musk, has taken to weaken the grip that far left activists have of the platform. These include cuts in moderation activity and replacing verified accounts with paid subscriptions. Nonetheless, user numbers remain high.

The discredited far-left activist outfit, The Disinformation Project is cited by Stuff in attacks against Musk for pulling X out of former PM Dame Jacinda Ardern’s Christchurch Call. “It’s now governed by hate, hurt and harm,” said Dr Sanjana Hottutawa of Musk’s takeover of the platform. Hottutawa is currently being sued for defamation for similar statements made against others.

Musk, for his part, didn’t comment on Stuff’s withdrawal, but congratulated National’s Prime Minister-elect Christopher Luxon on his election night victory.

“Congratulations and thank goodness!” he wrote on Luxon’s X page. 

Which version of NZ is better?

In our view, the mainstream media has overly influenced the less interested portion of the electorate, precisely because they are so focussed on their favoured view. We think Kiwis should decide for themselves. 

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