34 Comments
Aug 27, 2020Liked by David Farrier

Anyone else just like hanging out in the comments section on this site? So many intelligent sane responses. I come here to remind myself that there are still small corners of the Internet where the craziness is kept at bay. Either this site is moderated by a genius who never sleeps. Or David Farrier is the pied piper for the level headed and well grounded. 😀

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I’m here! (usually!)

I like it here, too. Good people. It seems rare to have a smart, fun comments session and I’m very glad of this surprise!

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Aug 28, 2020Liked by David Farrier

Yes! It’s an oasis of sanity.

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Aug 28, 2020Liked by David Farrier

Listened again and I still disagree. All I can talk about is what I'm seeing. I know polls sound so much more scientific but didn't polls say Trump would lose the election? Someone attempted to recruit me via a direct Instagram DM. No one has ever done that before. They targeted me specifically because if a comment I made on an Instagram thread. I then got passed on to another person who bombarded me with chat, links to scientific papers etc for four days, 24 hrs per day. She continously tried to get my other social media account names. I spent a week in these groups. The vast majority were Australians and New Zealanders. There are groups that meet in person every fortnight. While his view on Trump as hero because he's an outsider was an interesting idea. Can you tell me why Jacinda is shown as a demon on these sites? No mention of the opposition being heros. Judith Collins is not saving children from tunnels. Just constant hate against our PM. The friends I know that have become theorists were not conspiracy theorists before. They did not believe strange things before. I am convinced it is growing in this part of the world. And our media reporting was only a response to what we were telling them about the problem. To suggest they blew this up for clicks is really annoying. If anything they were slow to respond. I have no doubt this is a problem. And I have no doubt it is having an affect on compliance during the lockdowns. It will effect how many people would accept a vaccination. And I believe it will have an affect on the election although it may not be enough to affect the outcome. Perhaps we need some polls done here? And finally it is not easy to talk to a friend about conspiracy theories. By the time you engage they have been saturated with information, documentaries, scientific studies etc. They think they are educated and you need educating. This is a rant but I feel strongly about this subject and I'd love you to do another podcast with an "expert" who has a different view. Is there someone in NZ researching this phenomenon?

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I think it would be good to talk to someone exploring online trends - polling is fundamentally flawed for things like this I think. Also - Joe is a contrarian type of guy, a libertarian - I think he leans so heavily into this it almost makes his stuff harder to swallow! He has some good points but I think misses some tricks — I feel the 5G stuff for instance exists and would not exist otherwise without Facebook. It’s a lockdown in NZ - where else would these beliefs take seed?!

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The only possible place to hear a conspiracy theory during full lockdown is the supermarket. I can confirm the produce manager told me all of the North Island was going to Level 3 following Auckland. I thought "I guess supermarkets might get a heads up from the government so they can guard the toilet paper." He also said they only have Chinese garlic. Could garlic host Covid? I told him I'd take my chances. And post Americool I was astounded to see the frozen vegetable bags nearly all gone. Brave shoppers indeed. 😀

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Sep 4, 2020Liked by David Farrier

I've also had conspiracy theories thrown at me from the supermarket. Two grown-ass men shouting "MASKS ARE A HOAX!" at strangers while i queued to get inside was quite a lot for 6:45 in the morning...

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Aug 27, 2020Liked by David Farrier

It feels a little disingenuous to say bernie sanders is spreading conspiracy theories about the 1% when there is excellently researched work like Jane Mayer's Dark Money that demonstrates how right wing billionaires have made a concerted (and successful!) effort to move their awful political views from fringe to mainstream

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I hear ya, Lisa. I linked to an article in the transcript that covers a little of what he was referring to - but look, I'm as liberal as they come. I'd vote for Bernie in a second. I wish he was an option (if I wasn't a New Zealander, and could vote, and Bernie was still in the running!). Joe is a libertarian, and likes to take jibes at both sides.

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Aug 27, 2020Liked by David Farrier

I do make a conscious effort to consume media from a range of perspectives, including from those I disagree with, but I do feel like that politico article is setting out a bit of a straw man argument in this case. It seems like the 'both sides' approach some people take is just a bit of a stretch on one end, you know?

Ps. I would have voted Warren tbh

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Aug 27, 2020Liked by David Farrier

Ah. I should have figured out he was a libertarian based on his self-presumptuous arrogance.

Very good interview and his take on things is making me rethink some too, but he lost me a little with how confident he was in his contrarian opinion. He seemed to pull the Bernie argument and the Christ argument out like he had them locked and loaded in his back pocket for when he feels like being edgy.

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Aug 27, 2020Liked by David Farrier

I thought that about the antifa comparison he made too! But I guess antifa and qanon have some similarities in that they're both loose groupings of people with common beliefs and no centralised leadership. Just fascism is a real thing and trump saving the world from globalist pedophiles isn't. Which is again kind of the false equivalence issue that I have a problem with

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Aug 27, 2020Liked by David Farrier

Well put.

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I am very late listening to this ep (I'm up to date on the newsletter David, I promise!) and came here to say largely what I'm glad has already been said: this guy was thoroughly unconvincing on most points.

As others have pointed out, polling isn't the be-all end-all (e.g. I imagine many conspiracy-minded folks would steer clear of such a thing), his pointing at Bernie being a conspiracy theorist is easily disprovable and just dumb, and his claim that Facebook has zero effect is absolutely absurd if you know the slightest bit about Facebook's monetisation model.

Glad others felt he was smug/condescending as well. He seems to be revelling in being one of very few contrarian voices. In other words, he's a classic libertarian. What a shame the press tends to seek out extremes when covering a story, in my opinion this dude needs to be ignored with extreme prejudice.

Keep up the great work, David!

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Aug 26, 2020Liked by David Farrier

Hi David. Thanks great read. I think i do agree with him to some extent, but i also think these conspiracy theories seem to be being taken up by more people than previously. Anecdotes I know, but friends now convinced vax-ing is bad when before they may have only been a little cautious etc etc. It does seem that influencers like Pete Williams, Billy TK etc are a very big part of this, probably more than social. But I was wondering what the wording of his poll was. If I had been asked, say, 8 months ago what QAnon was or what I thought about it, I would not have known what it was. But I certainly had heard various conspiracy theories so the responses could have been a little skewed like that? Anyway as you say I'll take a little hope from this!

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Aug 26, 2020Liked by David Farrier

Really interesting read thanks! Made me wonder if I have been having some confirmation bias with regard to the prevalence on these uhm very alternative views. Thanks David!

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I am still figuring his one out. I feel that polling has some inherent flaws - and that it misses certain nuances we are seeing in the online world. I really dug Joe though - he's a libertarian, I think - and likes to give shit both ways. He was incredibly fun to talk to.

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Aug 26, 2020Liked by David Farrier

"Were you born yesterday? Do you have amnesia?" 🤣 what an awesome dude. Thanks David, this was such great article ❤

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He is very passionate. Very. Thanks Beck!

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Aug 26, 2020Liked by David Farrier

Polls aside I know that I now have several friends spouting conspiracy theories for the first time. These are people I know well. They did not hold these beliefs until recently. They may have been "open minded" etc. But what they now believe is new. I myself have never had their beliefs. After allowing myself to be "recruited" and spending only one week as a member of various conspiracy groups I myself was starting to have concerns. If someone like me, who has never thought of these things before, who went in aiming to learn to how to combat it, can be turned, I'd say this is a problem. I was starting to rave about a future technocracy and making plans to smash my phone and live off the land. I know our observations can be wrong. But so can polls. Hand on heart I believe I'm right - this is a growing problem in Australasia and it risks damaging the fabric of society. Also ... how do we know this go isn't working for the other side. 😀 Joking.

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Aug 26, 2020Liked by David Farrier

*Edit - I mean't guy not go.

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Spelling mistakes are allowed! I do think polling has flaws - just the nature of calling people up and the type of person that picks up. It doesn't line up with my lived experiences. But his polls are compelling (linked in the transcript) and worth getting stuck into.

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I also wonder whether the US experience is different from ours. These theories have been circulating there for longer - and therefore may have plateaued among the population - and so the polls show no growth. But also US citizens (this is a generalisation) are more likely to believe things that perhaps New Zealanders don't. For instance the theory of evolution is quite widely accepted in NZ, whereas creationism is quite strong in the US. I don't think I should say anymore because it may cause offence but essentially I'm implying that Americans are more open to ideas that may not have a very scientific basis. Eek, I'm thinking I should stop now before I really put my foot in it. :)

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Sep 4, 2020Liked by David Farrier

Would be very interested to hear what Joe thinks about the latest Daily Cos/Civiqs poll that found 56% of Republicans believed the qanon theory to be partly or mostly true...

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Agreed!

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Aug 27, 2020Liked by David Farrier

I feel a little less exhausted and a little less defeated after listening to this. Thanks x

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Aug 26, 2020Liked by David Farrier

Probably the most interesting interview / podcast I have listened to this year. Boom- new paid subscriber.

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Steve - that means a lot. I want to keep them to the point, conversational, and no excessive bells and whistles. Appreciate the support.

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Man. This made me think a lot. Part of me still thinks social media is a disease, but Joe is absolutely correct in that we need to bring back critical thinking classes to schools. I feel like critical thinking has become a lost art. Thank you, David and Joe.

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Facebook and Instagram are media/marketing platforms – I fail to see how anyone could outright discredit their worth when it comes to spreading unfounded theories and misinformation. They make money by influencing people FFS! They help spread theories like wildfire – and the faster you can do it the more people you infect. If social media wasn’t the problem then FB/twitter taking down qanon accounts, groups and hashtags was …. not needed?

Would be interesting to see how the polling was done.

Anyway – some links.

www.callingbullshit.org/

From Kanopy –

www.kanopy.com/product/under-silver-lake

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Interesting read. He's right, when he says people have been having these sort of conspiracy conversations before social media came along, but we just didn't hear them if we weren't part of that conversation. Now we get to see them all over FB, Twitter, Insta. I think, if we choose to say Social Media is the problem about these theories gaining traffic, then we should all be using the same SM to put the opposite views in the hope that more people will tune into that. Lets get real, the crazies are always going to attract other crazies.

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I have to say I found this challenged a lot of my own perceptions, which is never a bad thing. That said, polling can be problematic but I agree with Joe that the media in general have a lot to answer for when it comes to spreading knowledge of conspiracy theories, if not the actual theories themselves. I wonder how many people only started looking into QAnon after constantly hearing / reading about the whole conspiracy thing in their daily newspaper / TV broadcast? (Pick me!) and then thought “Humm seems like there might be something in that” (happily not me) Back in the mists of time NEWS was something folk sat down to watch after dinner or read in their morning newspaper, either way the source was considered to be reasonably credible and “official” (British tabloids notwithstanding) These days News media is a 24/7 free-for-all available on a plethora of platforms, credible to questionable and flavoured with a range of biases to suit. Joe is correct that people have always talked and always shared theories, but those conversations never went “viral” by lunchtime. It’s the speed at which this stuff can travel now that makes it really problematic, and I don’t think that really happened before Social Media. I don’t know, maybe Joe’s right and it’s not getting to more people, just different people?

Ok, that’s a lot. I’ll stop now!

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And, I definitely feel like we are all screaming into the void at this rate. 😂😂 I still feel like some people on Facebook are shouting their opinions, like it will change other people's minds. I believe what I believe/choose not to talk about politics/COVID on Facebook because 1) It's no fun and 2) It's not like I can change people's minds anyway. I loved Joe's outlook on things and he gave me a bit of hope, which is something I haven't had a whole lot of lately.

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