Peters blames ‘alt-right’ and NZ First member bewilderment for criticism of UN compact on migration

Winston Peters goes into irony overdrive in a grumpy interview blaming others of dog whistle politics over the UN migration accord.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister has blamed “a campaign strategy by the alt-right” to discredit his and the Government’s support of the accord – see Government to sign controversial UN Migration Compact – and agrees (or doesn’t disagree) that NZ First party members are bewildered.

And he criticises anyone who doesn’t align with his views on the accord – including taking swipes at interviewer Mike Yardley and Australia.

Newstalk ZB: Peters blames ‘alt-right’ for UN migration pact criticism

Winston Peters says the UN Migration Compact has been misrepresented by people spouting nonsense who want to lie to the public.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister says uninformed people and the “alt-right” are intentionally misleading about the true nature of the agreement.

He says the legal advice is very clear that it’s not legally binding, and won’t override our immigration laws and he is entirely comfortable with adopting it.

Peters told Mike Yardley it’s an agreement in principle about how we reduce harmful, illegal migration and how to stop trafficking.

“We have decided as a matter of principal it wouldn’t be a bad idea to sign up to the agreement. Just because there have been people dog whistling false information on this, that doesn’t mean we will sway.”

Winston Peters says he is comfortable with the compact, despite the outcry from many people, especially NZ First members, who believe the agreement will sign away the country’s sovereignty.

He says the compact doesn’t blur the lines between legal and illegal migration, and they are not legally bound to the document.

“We are trying to stop the awful human trafficking of people, and the corruption of people. These are dreadful things which are happening around the world.

You have a campaign strategy by the alt-right to try and spread misinformation on this, it is just not true.”

There is audio of the interview at the Newstalk ZB link. It concludes:

Mike Yardley: Are you receiving lot’s of congratulatory messages from your party faithful?

Winston Peters: No.

Mike Yardley: Are you surprised?

Winston Peters: No.

Mike Yardley: Are they bewildered?

Winston Peters: (I think he says or meant to say) Well guess why? Because you’ve had a group of, a campaign strategy by the alt-right in particular, and it is the alt-right in this case…

Mike Yardley: Is Paul Spoonley alt-right Winston?

Winston Peters: Oh well actually Mr Spoonley is a sociologist from Massey University, and doesn’t understand the law, so he can opine all he likes…

Mike Yardley: Is Chris Trotter alt-right?

Winston Peters: No he’s not alt-right, and if Chris Trotter is talking about the political consequences of sometimes having to do something called principle.

There is a lot of criticism of Winston’s support of the accord on the NZ First Facebook page: Response to Winston Peters support of UN Migration Compact

He is also being slammed at Kiwiblog (in General Debate comments), and Whale Oil, in the absence of pro Winston activist Cameron Slater, has gone into anti-Winston overdrive:

That may be the closest thing to the alt-right in New Zealand.

Peters really doesn’t sound comfortable being on the receiving end of criticism from the demographic that in the past he has often appealed to for support.

Fake news, elections, Facebook

Attention continues on how fake news is being used in political campaigns, how fake news helped win the US presidential election for Donald Trump, and how Facebook is a significant  part of spreading false news.

Gizmodo: Facebook’s Fight Against Fake News Was Undercut by Fear of Conservative Backlash

It’s no secret that Facebook has a fake news problem. Critics have accused the social network of allowing false and hoax news stories to run rampant, with some suggesting that Facebook contributed to Donald Trump’s election by letting hyper-partisan websites spread false and misleading information.

Mark Zuckerberg has addressed the issue twice since Election Day, most notably in a carefully worded statement that reads: “Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics.”

Still, it’s hard to visit Facebook without seeing phony headlines like “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide” or “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement” promoted by no-name news sites like the Denver Guardian and Ending The Fed.

Gizmodo has learned that the company is, in fact, concerned about the issue, and has been having a high-level internal debate since May about how the network approaches its role as the largest news distributor in the US.

According to two sources with direct knowledge of the company’s decision-making, Facebook executives conducted a wide-ranging review of products and policies earlier this year, with the goal of eliminating any appearance of political bias.

One source said high-ranking officials were briefed on a planned News Feed update that would have identified fake or hoax news stories, but disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people’s feeds. According to the source, the update was shelved and never released to the public. It’s unclear if the update had other deficiencies that caused it to be scrubbed.

“They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous citing fear of retribution from the company. The source added, “there was a lot of fear about upsetting conservatives after Trending Topics,” and that “a lot of product decisions got caught up in that.”

on Facebook:

1. Facebook is a perfect example for why government regulation is important.

2. The incentives are all wrong here:
  a) Users are happy with fake news
  b) FB is happy making billions
  c) Advertisers are happy with clicks

3. The fake news literally makes everyone involved happy–from producers and distributors to advertisers and users.

4. In this way, it’s not unlike, say, heroin, which also makes everyone in the chain happy–until someone dies. And that’s why it’s illegal.

I don’t know how government regulation will help prevent fake news being fed via other countries.

Guardian: Click and elect: how fake news helped Donald Trump win a real election

We are fully ensconced in the post-truth world. The greatest editor this paper ever had, CP Scott, had it that “facts are sacred”. CP Scott, by the way, apparently used to have this thing where he brushed his teeth a certain way so the flecks of toothpaste would make a rude shape as they hit the bathroom mirror.

Zuckerberg has said: “Personally, I think the idea that fake news – of which it’s a small amount of content – influenced the election is a pretty crazy idea.”

The influence of verifiably false content on Facebook cannot be regarded as “small” when it garners millions of shares. And yes, it runs deep. The less truthful a piece is, the more it is shared.

In Zuckerberg’s follow-up statement, he seems to have shot himself in the foot, by saying it was “extremely unlikely” fake news on Facebook had an impact on the election, but also boasting that Facebook was responsible for 2 million people registering to vote. So which is it, Zuck? Does Facebook have influence or not?

Where do these stories originate? Well, some are created by teenagers in Macedonia. Wait, that one isn’t a joke – non-partisan kids looking for cash just catering to demand. Many more come from people we now term the “alt-right”, who cook up stories on boards such as 8chan, 4chan and social media, and are then co-opted either by genuine right-leaning sites or shill sites, and are then shared again on social media by accounts with Pepe the Frog or eggs as their avatars. It’s a bit like the water cycle, but if the water cycle were diarrhoea.

‘Alt-right’ is a sanitising term. Perhaps Alt[-wrong or Alt-deliberately-wrong would be more appropriate.

Some of these stories are frankly ridiculous (myth busted: Hillary Clinton is not the leader of an underground paedophile ring), and cater to an increasing number of conspiracy theorists. But others are relatively benign if wildly inaccurate. They have still begun on message boards created by the same people who – and I will not sugarcoat this – refer to people who are not white as “shit-skins”.

A better term for many of the alt-right, therefore, might be “far-right”. For “alt-right” is an ambiguous term and encompasses many forms. Sure, they are internet-savvy millennials who reject mainstream conservatives and despise Paul Ryan. But they’re also far-right lurkers who probably bid on Nazi memorabilia and have moved from white supremacist sites such as Stormfront. Then there’s the Russian faction; online commenters bought in bulk. And on social media, there are the bots and sockpuppet accounts to inflict automated insult to injury.

But let’s be clear: the internet alt-right is more successful as an In Real Life political force than the online left.

And that success is why it will be hard to combat.

Just like old media seem to put clickbait ahead of accuracy, and Facebook is driven by revenue, political activists are driven by a desire to win, and if they win with fake news they will keep peddling fake news.

And they will get better at disguising it as legitimate news, and they will get better at spreading it before it can get busted as fake.

The Internet was a great new hope for spreading information and communication to the masses, but it is becoming a means of duping the masses on an unprecedented scale.

This will evolve and change – for better and for worse.

Alt-middlish

I usually don’t care much for political labels, because politics is much more complex than petty pigeon-holing allows (at least from my point of view).

Even the simplistic left and right have acquired different slants.

The alt-right label is getting a bit of attention with it’s association with Donald Trump in the US. Even it is fairly loosely defined.

The alt-right is a segment of right-wing ideologies that reject mainstream conservatism in the United States. It is largely Internet-based and found on websites such as 4chan and 8chan, where anonymous members create and use Internet memes to express themselves. It is difficult to tell how much of what people write is serious, and how much is intended to provoke outrage. The alt-right uses social media likeTwitter and Breitbart News to convey their message.

Generally alt-right postings support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and oppose immigration, multiculturalism and political correctness.

The alt-right has no formal ideology, although various sources and alt-right figures have stated that white nationalism is fundamental. It has also been associated with white supremacism, anti-Islamism, antifeminism, antisemitism, ethno-nationalism, right-wing populism, nativism, traditionalism, and the neoreactionary movement. The alt-right is an umbrella term. The movement has been associated with multiple ideologies from anarcho-capitalists, American Nationalism, neo-monarchists to men’s rights advocates and people who oppose mainstream conservatism.

– Wikipedia

Alt-left seems less prominent, although there have been attempts to connect it with Hillary Clinton.

ATLEFT.COM simply describes themselves as “The left wing of the AltRight”, which is pretty pointless.

From Quora – Is alt-left an operative concept in US politics in a similar sense of alt-right?

There is indeed an Alt Left movement but it is quite small. In fact, it is much smaller than the Alt Right. The Alt Left could possibly be seen as “the left wing of the Alt Right.” The original Alt Leftists were Leftists and progressives on the Alt Right who felt very uncomfortable and out of place there for many reasons, mostly because in many ways, these people ARE Leftwingers, despite their presence on the Alt Right. They finally broke away from the Alt Right and formed an Alt Left.

The Alt Left has been described in many ways. “It’s the Alt Right, except they like Mao more than they like Hitler,” is not a bad description.

The Alt Left is where the Left and Right meet at the bottom of the circle if you envision politics as circular instead of linear.

Most Alt Lefties supported Bernie Sanders, but Sanders would probably not like the Alt Left much. Now most of them will vote for Hillary even though they hate her. A few are voting for Trump.

The Alt Left has all sorts of wings but some commonalities seem to be a negative view of the Cultural Left ranging from annoyance to contempt alongside explicitly leftwing economics. So they are Left on economics, but somewhat Right on culture.

This sounds all over the place.

I’ve sometimes thought of myself as centre-ish but that’s often misunderstood. I am not in the centre of every issue, nor do I have no strong opinions or political convictions as some seem to think a non-lefty or non-righty must be.

I see myself as a bit ‘alternative’ in politics. I certainly don’t feel like I belong to any particular political faction or label. I like to challenge those who have fixed positions and think they are staunchly right or left.

In political debate and in how I like to run Your NZ I often (not always) I stand in the middle of those with fixed ideas, considering the merits and the negatives of both sides.

Sometimes I agree more with leftish positions, sometimes more with rightish positions, but I can’t define when I might lean one way or the other, or might have a neutral-ish opinion, or a mix.

I don’t see why it’s not ok to have, for example, a conservative approach to socialism, or think that a social conscience is an important aspect of decent capitalism.

Centre and centrist seem too positional to me so I’m going off those terms for my own way of looking at things.

So for today at least I’m tending more towards alt-middlish – when I’m not agreeing with more polarised positions.

At least this doesn’t paint me into any political corners.