Propaganda Analysis: The Disinformation Project’s Disinformation
by Vince McLeod
The authors lament that “disinformation ecologies” are winning the battle for the public’s trust. At no point do they consider the obvious explanation for this: that the alternative media tells fewer lies.
Today we look at the aptly named Disinformation Project’s latest hit piece. The Disinformation Project, which can be accurately considered Establishment media, serves the same purpose as the other Establishment media: to set the bounds of acceptable discussion, and to smear the enemies of the ruling class. To that end, they run hit pieces on those enemies.
This time, the target was the “disinformation ecology” surrounding Posie Parker’s recent visit to Auckland. This analysis will explain how The Disinformation Project, spearheaded by self-confessed Marxist Kate Hannah, uses such terms to smear the reputations of those who dare criticise the Labour Government.
This report begins with the cringe-inducingly self-righteous declaration that The Disinformation Project has a legitimate interest in “observing, collating, categorising, and analysing open source, publicly available data related to Covid-19 mis- and disinformation.” It’s like having a Ministry of Truth, but limited to the question of Covid-19.
Apparently, those who dissented from the Government’s Covid-19 narrative have now incorporated “more features of international far-right talking points – immigration, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA+ (and particularly trans rights), globalisation, nativism, loss of hegemony – alongside other, localised conspiratorial frames encompassing 1080 drops to co-governance.”
“Conspiratorialism” is a particular concern of theirs, for reasons not given. It’s just a way of smearing anyone who distrusts the Government as an unreasonably paranoid person. Andrew Little is fond of using the term “conspiracy theorist” to sully the reputation of anyone who thinks the Sixth Labour Government is lying about anything, and The Disinformation Project seems to have taken his lead.
In reality, anyone who doesn’t believe that any conspiracies are happening is stupid. Almost every historical event is preceded by multiple conspiracies. The settlement of New Zealand involved one conspiracy after another. Every war is conspiracy and counter-conspiracy until one side wins. The smarter someone is, the more conspiratorial they will be.
‘Transgressive transitions’ cites the theory of American social scientist Robert Putnam, but its authors don’t appear to be familiar with Putnam’s work as a whole. Putnam’s most cited work is titled ‘E Pluribus Unum‘, in which he established that “immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital”. This was one of the first studies to demonstrate a statistically significant, negative correlation between ethnic diversity and social trust.
Unfortunately for The Disinformation Project, the contention that ethnic diversity reduces social capital has been backed up by a meta-analysis of the science since Putnam’s article was written. So they find themselves mischaracterising concerns about immigration as an “international far-right talking point”, when such concerns are, in fact, backed up by mainstream science.
The Disinformation Project themselves spread disinformation – about nationalists, among others.
This report is notable for its obsessive belief in a “disinformation community”, which amounts to the same thing as their collective ideological enemies. These disinformation communities are primarily online spaces where people question the mainstream narrative. As Orwell put it: wrongthinkers.
Already by page four, the authoritarian sentiments of the report’s authors are evident, as they rant about “dangerous speech”. Anti-free speech rhetoric is common among the authoritarian left – it was, after all, leftists who got Clown World Chronicles banned from TradeMe. The authoritarian left in New Zealand, as in the Soviet Union, correctly perceives free speech as a major threat to their attempts at narrative control.
Also by page four, the authors manage to make clowns of themselves, linking anti-Covid sentiment to anti-Maori sentiment. Apparently, they were not aware that some 30-40% of the Parliament Lawn protesters at any one time were Maori. Neither were they aware that Maori mothers, understandably concerned about the effects of an improperly tested vaccine on their children, have been one of the core dissident groups from the beginning.
Grandly, The Disinformation Project declares that it “now studies a diverse and dynamic disinformation ecosystem, preoccupied with multiple and shifting ideological concerns” – i.e. the Deplorables, the bottom feeders, the Nazis. Anyone who questions the Government is now part of a disinformation ecosystem. The Disinformation Project – in their minds – are heroes fighting these trends on behalf of social cohesion.
The anti-white sentiments of the globalist leftist authors of this report are revealed when they make a determined effort to defend Marama Davidson for her racially abusive outburst to CounterSpin Media during the Posie Parker protests. They link to a propaganda piece from Establishment Left mouthpiece Radio New Zealand which defends Davidson and smears CounterSpin as “far-right”.
The authoritarian sentiments of the report’s authors are further revealed with their rant about Elon Musk that takes up most of page seven. This rant concludes with an accusation that Musk is guilty of “amplification of racism, and other harms” by engaging with accounts that promote, among other things, “disinformation”.
On page eight, this report claims that its observations are backed up by research from the Center for Countering Digital Hate. However, it has been noted elsewhere that the Center for Countering Digital Hate is a British Labour Party mouthpiece, with several of its high-ranking administrators also taking roles in the British Labour Party.
On page nine, the report’s authors further underline their authoritarian credentials by complaining that TeleGram is “unregulated”. Apparently the free speech approach of TeleGram has resulted in “a significant and immediate increase in the use of dangerous speech”. To the authoritarian left, it’s dangerous when people who are unregulated by the government presume to speak.
A multinational effort is being made to pressure TeleGram into banning political dissidents. Since 2021, some German politicians have demanded that TeleGram be banned if they do not submit to government censorship regarding permissible content matter. British political figures also spoke out against the platform. The anti-TeleGram rhetoric in The Disinformation Project’s report is just other example of this globalist anti-free speech trend.
The report then spends several pages crying about neo-Nazis. Again, we are left wondering if they are still talking about the same people as in the Parliament Lawn protests. The 30-40% Maori contingent were presumably not neo-Nazis, and neither were all the old hippie women who comprised at least another 25% of the protesters. So who are all these neo-Nazis? It’s never made clear. It’s just suggested that anyone anti-Establishment is a Nazi.
From there, the report spends a few pages complaining about dehumanising language – but there are few tropes more dehumanising that the one claiming that nationalism is inherently a philosophy of exclusion, and that anyone speaking for nationalism must be in favour of gas chambers full of Jews. This trope, typically pushed by the globalist authoritarian left, has had the effect of demonising and dehumanising all nationalists, as if to prefer one’s own kind was the preserve of bloodthirsty beasts.
Speaking of language, the language used in this report is usually of the bloated and pompous kind used by academics with little real-world experience. An example is the phrase “instrumentalization of stickers” where “use of stickers” would have conveyed the same information more efficiently.
It’s not obvious what purpose is served by complaining about sticker packs on TeleGram, as this report does at length. One suspects that The Disinformation Project is following the lead of America’s Anti-Defamation League, which catalogues every aspect of the online expression of people they hate and then links it somehow to far-right-wing extremism.
This is known elsewhere as the Censorship Industrial Complex. A similar concept to globohomo, the Censorship Industrial Complex refers to the alliance of Marxists and corporate whores who work together to silence true dissidents or freethinkers. The Disinformation Project is part of this complex, and their work (including this report) involves gaining support for the cancellation of their enemies.
Page fifteen suggests that it’s “dangerous speech” to say that Police protect pedos. But this is literally true. Jimmy Savile was reported to the British Child Protection Services four times, but in each instance the case was dropped, supposedly for a lack of evidence. British Police also covered up for Muslim grooming gangs, apparently in the belief that they were fighting racism.
Speaking the truth is now dangerous speech if it doesn’t suit The Agenda.
The report then spends several pages crying about GIFs and other memes, and how the spread of such memes can “formulate a norm-setting exercise”. Apparently there is such a thing called the “‘for the lulz’ tactic”, and this is nefariously used to advance extremist ends. In the New New Zealand, a sense of humour is grounds for suspicion of wrongthink.
The Disinformation Project monitors 126 FaceBook pages “associated with disinformation narrative production and promotion”. These are contrasted with 84 mainstream media pages, which presumably never produce or promote falsehoods. This shameless cheerleading for the mainstream media further reveals The Disinformation Project’s pro-Establishment bias.
Apparently the Posie Parker visit and protests caused a remarkable uptick in the volume of “hate speech” directed against minorities and other vulnerable groups in New Zealand cyberspace. Hence The Disinformation’s Project’s concern. Christian lobbyists appear to have been particularly incensed at the time of the Parker visit.
The report goes on to state that questioning the validity of trans people is tantamount to “genocidality”. This further reveals authoritarian intent – ‘Do what I tell you, else you’re a Nazi’.
On page 26, the authors start complaining about freethinkers on InstaGram. They discovered that “mis- and disinformation accounts studied on Instagram received higher engagement than accounts from mainstream media”, which is another way of saying that alternative media is more honest than the mainstream, and that this honesty drives the higher engagement.
Apparently there is a connection between the Parliament Lawn protesters and the pro-Parker protesters. This is cause for another neologism – “disinformation superspreaders”. This is a new term for high-ranking members of the alternative media who the Establishment would like to silence. The true connection between the Parliament Lawn protest and the Parker protest was that, in both cases, the Government lied about what was really going on. Hence, people flooded to the alternative media on both occasions.
To understand this is to understand the purpose of The Disinformation Project and even the mainstream media itself: to silence dissenters.
On page 29, the authors lament that “disinformation ecologies” are winning the battle for the public’s trust. At no point do they consider the obvious explanation for this: that the alternative media tells fewer lies. Moreover, much of the distrust of the mainstream media comes from their unwillingness to cover certain issues – issues that the alternative media has no problem covering.
Propaganda techniques that can be seen every day in the establishment media, such as “rage-baiting, performative outrage, emotional contagions, inflammatory presentations, aggrieved frames, and dangerous speech” are now “disinformation narrative techniques”, and we are asked to believe that only the alternative media performs them. To suggest that the establishment media does the same thing is to wrongthink.
The authors note on page 34 that the alternative media is not subject to the same decline of trust as the mainstream media. This is because the mainstream media does just as much rage-baiting, performative outrage and inflammatory presentation as the alternative media, if not more. People are no longer as gullible as in the 1950s, and have realised that media authorities are not moral authorities.
With a lack of irony befitting of the NKVD, the report goes on to complain of the “significant and growing implications for democracy and social cohesion” of people no longer trusting the mainstream media. What the authors of this report want is restrictions on the alternative media. But there wouldn’t even be an alternative media if the mainstream one didn’t tell lies and omit truths to suit the interests of their globalist owners.
The report repeats a delusion that is common among the New Zealand Left: that anti-Government, anti-authority or anti-the current thing sentiments are imported from America. They aren’t, and they don’t need to be. We’ve been part of the same global system as America for over 200 years. Anti-trans sentiments are growing because pro-trans sentiments are being pushed on people by globalists who intend to demoralise their subject populations.
On page 34, the report makes an obvious point: “It is possible that disinformation news, media, and information ecologies benefit from declining interest in mainstream journalism”. This is certainly true, but only if you replace “disinformation news, media and information ecologies” with ‘the alternative media’. If the mainstream anything goes bad – not just media – people will look for alternatives. The blame does not fall on the alternatives for providing a better product.
In the Conclusion section, this report rehashes Hillary Clinton’s long-debunked conspiracy theory that Russian propagandists are shaping the anti-Establishment sentiment in the West. Hilariously, it also warns of a “collective narcissism” among New Zealand’s alternative media, as if the camera-obsessed Hannah and Hattotuwa were any better.
The rest of the conclusion is spent in breathless hysteria trying to link all the anti-Establishment ideologies into one uber-conspiracy. Apparently “explicitly far-right content” has embedded itself in New Zealand cyberspace, and we have to stop it because it’s a threat to national security, as well as being a threat to social cohesion.
Ultimately, what The Disinformation Project is trying to do with this report is to build support for the banning or heavy restriction of all alternative narratives. To that end they demonise the alternative media, equating them with Nazis or other hated groups, in order to justify cancelling them. It’s shameless propagandising and disinformation-spreading, but that’s how the political establishment wages war against its domestic enemies today.
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