The recent case of factless assertions at The Standard by Zetetic and Eddie has been detailed in previous posts. From reading Eddie’s responses it seems that he/she thinks it’s ok to smear as long as there’s no facts to prove the smear wrong. The latest smears have been proven wrong.
Will that stop Eddie and Zetetic? Unlikely. They have a bit of history, they’re recidivist bullshit artists. Eddie has posted since:
By: Eddie – Date published: 11:27 am, May 19th, 2012
This week, Minister for Talking Big and Not Delivering, Steven Joyce, had his second opinion piece in the Herald of the year and, naturally, it bore no relation to the ‘vision’ in the previous one, or any of the 5 point strategies or 8 point action plans he has produced to date.
Instead, it said ‘wouldn’t it be great if more international students came here?’. Problem is, his actions are driving them away. International student numbers plunged 7% last year. Why?
Because Joyce is cutting tertiary education.
Another accusation, without factual backing. Sure, international student numbers were down last year. Why? It didn’t take long for facts.
I agree that Joyce’s op-ed was ridiculous but the reason for the decline in export education last year was the Chch quakes.The 37% loss in Canterbury students could not be made up by growth elsewhere.
You can find the full stats at http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/excel_doc/0019/102592/Export-Education-Levy-Full-Year-2003-to-2011.xls
For quite some time, National has beem trying to claim credit for low interest rates…
An absurd claim in the headline – and another claim absent facts (and spellchecking).
And, of course, low interest rates don’t make buying a house more affordable.
They actually hinder people trying to save up a deposit because their savings get lower returns.
Another statement of apparent fact that is highly debatable. For a start, the interest can make a huge difference on mortgage affordability. And interest on savings is usually a very minor factor in raising a deposit.
So there seems to be a habit of making factless assertions, some are obviously wrong, some are proven wrong. Does this happen often? My guess (from observation recollection) is yes.
These factless and incorrect accusations and statements could be sloppiness, they could be ineptness, or they could be lying.
Do these factual indiscretions matter. Aren’t they just a couple of anonymous bloggers? Yes, they are anonymous, and they are bloggers. Many bloggers are anonymous, often with very good reasons for retaining anonymity – avoiding the personal attacks that identified bloggers get is one. Many bloggers are private individuals with businesses and jobs and families to protect.
There are quite a few political bloggers, with a wide variety of factualness, bullshit, and deleberate lying. What’s the problem with Eddie and Zetetic?
For a start, The Standard is not just another blog in a crowd.
As the most widely-read and influential leftwing blog in New Zealand, The Standard is a great platform to get yourself heard.
And – there could be a bigger lie. Or at least a hiding of the truth. And I think that matters.
Eddie and Zetetic appear to be doing more than personal blogging. There’s been claims they’re not actually people as such, but pseudonyms used by organisations. Even by parties. For example…
Footnote: We’ve put the name “Eddie” in inverted commas for good reason. There are several variants of Eddie, including Labour Party staffers. Merely suggesting that once copped us a six-month ban from The Standard; we didn’t name any names; just raised the possibility. We must have it a raw nerve. We don’t know who the current “Eddie” is, but if blogosphere chatter is to be believed, it could just be a Labour Party MP who gets in touble when he says things under his own name; we stress; could!
Zetetic and Eddie can’t be Labour MPs – The Standard has stressed a number of times that MPs must post their under their own identity. But is it possible either of Zetetic or Eddie is a proxy for MPs? That wouldn’t be difficult to do, or believe.
If Eddie or Zetetic are paid staffers I think it raises very important issues. Should parliamentary staffers be active in clandesdtine misinformation campaigns? I certainly don’t think it’s appropriate at all. They are supposed to be working for us, not sabotaging the democratic process. Some of this trying to be addressed with Holly Walkers’s Lobbying Disclosure Bill, but that would have to be drawn from the ballot – and agreed to by enough politicians.
Eddie and Zetetic certainly do seem to have strong political agendas that are weak on facts. If they are fronts for and sort of political organisation I think that matters.
I think it should matter to people in parties orn organisations that may use secret skulduggery. Because while that skuldugery may seem “justified” if it brings down the enemy without, what if it’s also used within?
Eddie posted Some good vision which has proven to be a controversial speech within Labour. Some have seen it as a leadership challenge, others have seen it as inspirational.
But just say something like this was part of a factional fight – would it be good for an anonymous “identity” used by one faction to be used to promote one side?
Political organisations should be open and honest about how they operate – shouldn’t they? To their members at least. And to all their MPs. And they should really be open and honest with the public too, if they want to earn votes.
Our MS Media ha been criticised lately. They will always be criticised by people not getting favourable cover, media reports can be ruthless. But at least when broadcast or print media publish something we know where it is coming from. We often know the name of who wrote it.
Blogs and other online social media are much easier to misuse, in relative secrecy. Anonymous abuse is widespread.
Use of the Internet for anonymous abuse of our democratic process and our parliamentary process should be very concerning aspect, if it were to happen. Or if it is happening.