The Disinformation Project Missing Information

The Disinformation Project’s Missing Information

The Disinformation Project’s Missing Information

Do you remember the significant opposition to the treatment of women’s safety campaigner Posie Parker in Albert Park when she was assaulted, shouted down and hounded out of a public meeting with police protection by a mob, and the horrific scene of a male punching an elderly woman in the face?

These pictures tell the story don’t they …

But according to the Disinformation Project, the hate and aggression weren’t from the people doing the assaulting or holding the threatening and highly offensive signs.

The hate and aggression was from… the victims. Yep go figure.

Last Friday, the Disinformation Project who specialise in reports oozing with disinformation….. released a report which argued that hate TOWARDS New Zealand’s trans community has increased ‘substantially’, – despite all the images we (and the rest of the world) were horrified to see on that day in Albert Park recently.

Before we look at the report, who are the Disinformation Project?

It was set up in February 2020 for the purpose of combating what the WHO called the infodemic of misinformation around the COVID pandemic – you know, some of that misinformation that has now been shown to be true.

Their website says “The Disinformation Project is an independent research group studying misinformation and disinformation in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

It’s a group of “disinformation researchers” who don’t seem to have much academic background in the field of disinformation. For example, the director has a Master of Arts (2004) from Waikato University in 19th-century American literary culture. Her principal research area is the historiography of the history of science, with a focus on the cultures and subcultures of science, gender in science history, and narrative and complexity, and is a PhD candidate through Victoria University in Wellington. Lots of red flags there, in my view.

In fact, in 2017, she wrote an open letter to the Vide-Chancellor of Waikato University asking that he reconsider his approach to understanding the Faculty of Arts and Social Science.

“When I use theoretical approaches to understand the world, it is my graduate class in theory, taught across the faculty, in which we explored the critical theoretical advances of the twentieth and early twenty-first century; where I first really understood Marxism, feminism, postcolonial theory. These are tools I use everyday in my work, and in the construction of my identity.

She’s obviously not the feminism that Posie Parker and many other women want to discuss.

The Disinformation Project sells its analysis services to social media companies and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC). Yes the PM’s office pays for the information. The DPMC contract didn’t last long, and The Disinformation Project has also recently been cut adrift from the University of Auckland. Nobody seems to want them. Here’s why.

They released a report at the beginning of 2022 which said:

“The most recent Covid-19 outbreak and the vaccine are highly visible, potent symbols used to push various far-right and conservative ideologies around issues such as… ‘free speech’; faith (Christian evangelical or Pentecostal); abortion; euthanasia; cannabis law reform; families and family structure; LGBTQIA+ rights, including conversion therapy; immigration; race; and gender.”

Wow! What a shocking list of despicables eh.

Apparently advocating these pro-family pro-life & moral issues is all about “disinformation”. Opposing the government’s agenda is considered “misinformation” or disinformation.

So that gives you a pretty clear picture of their worldview.

The other amusing thing is that there’s another definition to add!!!

Misinformation: “false information that people didn’t create with the intent to hurt others”

Disinformation: “false information created with the intention of harming a person, group, or organisation, or even a company”

Malinformation: “true information used with ill intent”

So even TRUE information is bad!!

Now before I share their conclusion, I had a chuckle at this paragraph in their report on the Parliamentary protest.

“The Parliament Protest has and will impact on Aotearoa New Zealand’s political and social norms. The divergent perceptions of the protest by protestors themselves and the subsequent splintering of narratives around provenance, purpose, presentation and pertinent productions have profound implications for social cohesion, and the way difference is negotiated, online and offline.”

Well, apart from the brilliant alliteration in that paragraph, what does it actually say??!!!!

At the end of last year – at the same time as the government was making noises about hate speech laws, the government state broadcaster TVNZ coincidentally featured a documentary called “Web of Chaos” funded by you – via NZ on Air.  A deep dive into the world of disinformation, exploring why it’s spreading at pace throughout Aotearoa and the world, with specialists warning of striking consequences for social cohesion and democracy.”

And it featured people from the Disinformation Project

I was in hysterics watching it. An explanation of how they draw certain people – gullible people who then become conspiracy theorists and purveyors of disinformation

Now, to the women watching, please note – according to the experts, if you’re a trad wife (I looked that up – its “a woman who prefers to take a traditional role in marriage, including the beliefs that a woman does not lose anything by “choosing” to stay at home and by doing so can support their family needs better”.), if you’re a trad wife, white, christian, into cooking with your children, on Instagram or Pinterest, interior design, knitting, children’s clothing, healthy food for children – then you’re being drawn into white nationalist ideas. You are the problem.

Have a watch.

“A beautiful fair skinned blond or red head child with braiding and flowers, just – step – back” says Kate Hannah.

So last week, this new report came out regarding the visit of Posie Parker. Entitled “Transgressive transitions; Transphobia, community building, and community bridging within Aotearoa New Zealand’s disinformation ecologies March-April 2023” it has a warning on the front page

“Content warning: Explicit language, threats, misogyny, racism, violence.”

But it’s not referring to these images, explicit language, violence and misogyny towards Posie Parker. No sirree.

According to the 1News report

“Online forums with international influence are filled with increasingly more harmful content, with the tone becoming far more violent than in the past. The Disinformation Project’s Kate Hannah told Breakfast the research comes after members of the trans community expressed concern over a rise in hate following the visit of British anti-trans speaker Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker.

“We heard from trans community members that they had experienced a rise in hate and harm after the visit of Posie Parker,” Hannah said.

…She said the language used would be classed as ‘genocidal’. That’s a language that denies the right of a group of people to exist.” This kind of content is coming from known neo-Nazi and disinformation groups in New Zealand, but also from overseas too.

….”There are now channels and ways in which international disinformation actors are manipulating New Zealand communities through the use of a variety of features that are known features of, for example, Russian propaganda techniques,”

Ah yes – if you can mention Nazi and mention Russian, excellent. The Disinformation Project are using all the buzz words.

Now here’s the interesting thing. Because of YOU, we got a mention in this report. Actually, quite a large mention.

We did three McBlog episodes on the Posie Parker event – an interview with Ani O’Brien from the Free Speech Union who was at the event to support Posie Parker, coverage from the international media which was showing NZ in a terrible light because of how Posie Parker was treated, and an analysis of Green MP Marama Davidson’s ‘cis white male cause all violence’ comments immediately after the event which drew widespread condemnation from both sides of the political aisle.

Let me show you a short excerpt from the one about Marama Davidson

A phrase like cis white male is all about gender theory – the use of “cis” and the intersectionality of critical theory – cis white males are the oppressor. Classic 101 gender and critical theory.

Here’s what the Disinformation Project said about that McBlog:

“We observed significant production of anger via the use of the angry face response emoji, with the most anger registered on posts published by a long-standing Christian lobby group….. The post by the Christian lobby group which received high levels of anger in response was one which framed Green Party MP Marama Davidson and associated her with ‘Critical Race Theory’ and ‘Gender Ideology’…. The greatest sadness registered is across a different set of accounts, and posts, led by the post made on the Christian lobby group’s Page.”

Yep – apparently the Disinformation Project troll through social media pages looking for the angry face emoji.

Solid research, team.

But then they refer to both the Marama Davidson McBlog and also the interview with Ani Obrien who was at the event. She feared for her life at the protest – she feared for Posie Parkers and yet this was a group of people who had simply gathered to talk about women’s rights and safety

Have a watch

THE Disinformation project said

“The most shared posts in the review period, across Facebook Pages with admins solely or primary based in the country were two posts made by the Christian lobby group, one on the Parker rally and counter protest, and the other about Green MP and co-leader, the Honourable Marama Davidson. Both posts questioned the existence of trans people, which as described by the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention, is a feature of genocidality.”

Here’s the meaning of genocide.

The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.

Genocide. Yep – talking about gender theory and critical theory and people speaking up for women’s rights – are now a form of Genocide. The report actually says The gender critical movement is genocidal.”

And they accuse us of disinformation!

But here’s the best bit in the report. Probably the only accurate part. And it’s thanks to you – so take a bow.

“…the top-shared post published by the Christian lobby group was shared 3.2 times more than a post by 1News, in fifth place.

“Video content follows a similar pattern: within the 20 most viewed videos featuring the term searched within the period studied, one posted by the Christian lobby group received nearly three times as many views as a post by Newshub.

“…. posts published by a Christian lobby group were in the top ten of interactions. The established and well-known Christian lobby group which had the most shared posts (see fig above) and the most viewed video content also benefited from large numbers of interaction, with three posts garnering over 9,000 interactions, the most for a single organisation or producer within the top 10 most interacted with posts.

Well, thank you! Move over 1News and Newshub. There’s a new show in town. It’s called McBlog! 😊

But here’s the hilarious bit:

“This particular video [the interview with Ani O’Brien], which received over 10,000 views, provides a key example of the advantages to producers of community bridging, as the content saw a lesbian anti-trans activist in discussion with the leader of the Christian lobby group, enabling audience expansion for both speakers, and effectively bridging radical trans exclusionary women’s movements internationally into existing conservative Christian communities, and vice versa, focused on a common belief in the denial of transgender identities and the right to exist for transgender peoples.”

Hilarious! Ani who I interviewed is lesbian. And? When we don’t engage with the LGBT community, we’re criticised. But then when we do, we’re criticised.

As I mentioned earlier, TVNZ Breakfast were all over this report – they loved it – and had the Disinformation Project’s Kate Hannah on.

Unfortunately, (and rather ironically) the producers didn’t get the memo, and during the explanation of all this ‘hate towards New Zealand’s trans community’, they showed footage of Albert Park and the so-called ‘victims’ actually bullying (and assaulting) a woman out of a public place. The contradiction between what the Disinformation Project were saying and what actually occurred was blatantly obvious. Thanks TVNZ.

All of NZ saw this footage on the day it actually happened at Albert Park and were rightly outraged.

The Disinformation Project were obviously out of the country on that day. Or are choosing not to see it because it doesn’t fit their narrative. Probably both. They have no credibility.

And you may say – oh Bob is just annoyed because the DP doesn’t like Family First.

Listen to what left wing commentator Bryce Edwards from Victoria university said just last month:

“Hattotuwa and Hannah have managed to gain a great deal of media coverage about their social media research, largely because they make quite extraordinary and colourful statements about what is going on online and it makes for good stories…. Some of the claims come across as hysterical, but it’s hard to tell because no real evidence is given to back them up…

“…the Disinformation Project does a disservice to democracy and the fight against disinformation when they scaremonger in an opportunistic way…. The risk is that we actually make the problem worse if we tackle such sensitive issues so poorly.”

Broadcaster Chris Lynch said:

“This kind of propaganda is dangerous. It creates a false narrative that casts legitimate dissent and criticism as hate speech and attempts to silence those who hold differing views. By labelling critics as ‘transphobic’ or ‘bigoted’, his comments serve to stifle open and honest discourse while simultaneously inflaming tensions and further polarising society.”

Commentator Thomas Cranmer who some of you will know said the claims about genocide were “absurd” and “outlandish”, and only serve “to highlight that the Disinformation Project lacks any perspective or objectivity”.

The problem for the Disinformation Project is that within possibly some very valid facts and research, there is a clear underlying narrative and ideology which clouds their judgement.

They clearly disagree with a morally conservative or traditional worldview. They’re made that very very obvious. That’s why the media love them.

And that’s why you should treat The Disinformation Project’s commentary as disinformation 101 itself.

By Bob McCoskrie

Scroll to Top