Connect with us

Uncategorized

New Zealand election TV debate: fears inclusion of fringe party may ‘legitimise conspiracy theories’

Published

on

[ad_1]

A fringe political party in New Zealand that has not featured in pre-election polling, and whose co-leader has been decried for spreading conspiracy theories about Covid-19, has been included in the roster for a televised debate on TVNZ, a state-owned broadcaster.

The invitation to Advance NZ has prompted concerns the debate could legitimise conspiracy theories in a country where online misinformation has not gained the same traction as overseas.

It normalises questions that are not really questions, or ideas that have no traction, said Kate Hannah, a cultural historian and research fellow in the physics department at the University of Auckland.

Advance NZ was invited because one of its co-leaders, Jami-Lee Ross, is a current MP one of TVNZs criteria for the event. Ross, who entered parliament as a lawmaker for the centre-right National party, one of the two major parties, has been an independent since a bitter split with National in 2018.

He joined forces with a new fringe group, the New Zealand Public party led by Billy Te Kahika, a businessman and blues musician to form Advance NZ in July. The group has become known for Te Kahikas views on Covid-19, 5G, the United Nations, and conspiracy theories about New Zealand and global leadership.

New Zealands electoral system means the party would either have to win at least 5% of the vote, or a constituency seat, to be represented in parliament. Analysts told the Guardian that neither outcome was likely.

Their political prospects are terrible, said David Cormack, the co-founder of a public relations firm and a former head of policy and communications for the left-leaning Green party. I dont think they have any chance of getting in, debate or not.

But concerns went beyond politics. The inclusion of Advance NZ and its conspiracy theory-driven views in the debate creates this idea that if the medias talking about it, they probably know more about it than I do, therefore its real, said Hannah.

In New Zealand, conspiracy theorist views such as so-called QAnon beliefs have not gained the traction that they have in countries such as Australia where researchers recently found such views had a growing following.

It was not known how many people held such views in New Zealand, said M Dentith, a teaching fellow at the University of Waikato who studies conspiracy theories. But its never really emerged into our political scene until very recently, they said.

It might be the case that these conspiracy theories arent a big threat, they added, referring to Te Kahikas views on Covid-19. Except that if only a few people believe them, there are quite drastic health consequences.

Research conducted by Hannah, Dentith and their colleagues, published this month, found that social media mentions of conspiracy theories had not increased since the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in New Zealand. But mentions of conspiracies in the mainstream media had grown, Hannah said, giving the impression that the views were more widespread than they are.

The framing of the TVNZ debate, she added, has to be really, really profoundly careful to acknowledge those things.

Commentators said it would set a poor precedent to exclude the leaders of sitting political parties from debates based on their views. Cormack, the political analyst, said the countrys political debate had been small-c conservative and extremist parties had not gained political footholds as One Nation has done in Australia.

While Advance NZ has not featured in pre-election polls, it has an online following; the partys Facebook page has 30,000 likes. Te Kahika makes regular, at times rambling, video updates on the platform; with his mild manner, reference to te ao Mori the worldview of New Zealands Indigenous people and anti-colonial views, the party has a distinctly New Zealand flavour.

In June, David Icke, the British conspiracy theorist, praised Te Kahika and his party on his Twitter account and website.

A video the party posted on Facebook in July in which it falsely claimed that the military would enter homes to enforce New Zealands Covid-19 rules was shared more than 1,000 times.

New Zealands speaker ordered Ross to remove another video in August because it contained footage from parliament, which cannot be used in political advertising without permission from those depicted. The clip took a government minister out of context to falsely claim Covid-19 vaccinations would be compulsory for all New Zealanders.

The video remains online and has more than 200,000 views.

The other party that has been the beneficiary of TVNZs debate rules is the Mori party, an Indigenous rights group that did not win any seats at the 2017 election following four terms in parliament. It has been included because it had lawmakers in office during the last two parliamentary terms, after its leaders challenged an earlier ruling excluding them.

The debate will be held on 8 October, ahead of the election on 17 October.

[ad_2]

Uncategorized

Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

Published

on

Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

[ad_1]

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

[ad_2]

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

Published

on

HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

[ad_1]

HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

[ad_2]

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

Published

on

unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

[ad_1]

My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

[ad_2]

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Zox News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by WordPress.