Thursday, 8 June 2017

Dear Stuff-Fairfax why did you refuse to post my comment? Part 3

What to say to The New Zealand Press Council response – “is there no obligation to accurately report the facts?”
Ever feel as though the media doesn't like one commenting on their well constructed and carefully tuned news pieces? The answer appears to be yes.
This essay continues the narrative around the New Zealand Press Council (NZPC) response to the Stuff (Fairfax) moderation of two comments I placed on their online articles 21 February and 5 March 2017.
The first part of the story is in this blog post:
The NZPC considered the matter at their Thursday 27 April meeting where they rejected my complaint after finding they had no jurisdiction to consider it. The second part of the series is here:
After I was forwarded the decision of the Council mid May I wrote the following post script to the Press Council and Executive Mary Major. Following the emailed comments, I bring my thoughts together under this heading;
'Catch 22 – structural brick walls that hide corruption.'
Here's dropbox link to pdf of original email:
Here's the text;
Hi Mary,
Thanks for the advice. I take it the decision will be uploaded to the Press Council website from Monday 22 May?
I accept the decision is final. I am disappointed with the specific decisions contained in paragraphs #10 and #18 of the Press Council decision.
[10] At the outset, we make it clear that the Stuff Terms and Conditions relating to online comment are a matter between Stuff and its readership. The Press Council has no jurisdiction over such terms and conditions. However, we do see those Terms and Conditions, particularly those relating to links to unchecked sites, to be a reasonable position for a publisher to take.
[18] We reiterate that the Terms and Conditions for online comment are a matter between the online publisher and its readership. It is not a matter for the Council, nor do we have any jurisdiction to interfere in it.
Thus we the public are bound to continue being provided with only an abstract or a misrepresentation of the full story from official news channels with which to inform the democracy.
I will consider your decision further carefully, as I strongly view the status quo represents a systemic break down or loophole in the process of checks and balances to ensure the press reports accurately - this is borne out in previous reporting about security crises leading to decisions to go to war.
If the press feel they can get away with misrepresenting the facts or only partially reporting matters without a credible check, they may feel justified in their continued 'poor practice', especially on the critical issues of whether the state elects for war or peace.
I draw your attention to the hammering the press have provided POTUS Trump and his decisions as President. However in the case of the Syria crisis, where the US identified that the Syrian Government had gassed it's people with Sarin gas in early April 2017 and then proceeded to bomb the Syrian Airfield in retaliation or as a method of discipline, the facts of who had released what, were less clear than the White House suggested.
Without any fact checking the Western International Press immediately closed ranks and praised the decision to bomb the evil Assad regime! So Trump is an automatic nut on all other decisions except when it comes to starting wars!
The following article explains my thinking and reasoning so I'll merely reproduce it here:
And here is MIT rocket scientist Theodore Postol's Counter to the White House 4 pager from April 2017:
Stuff reports were similar in tone. There's no hint that the Sarin gas attack might be the work of agents from one of the insurgent groups in Syria:
Which carried one out of context photo with no reference in the story. Was this the balance to the war party scream for blood?

As the world becomes more stressed from the growing perfect storm of constraints, environmental, social and population, economic, resources, food and toxic pollution the role of those who inform the population will become increasingly important.
We cannot allow ourselves to be sucked into more genocidal wars for empire!
I'm not concerned about the publication of 'my comments' so much as the principle of being able to counter the MSM's tendency to replicate fake news and provide it to the public as Gospel when it is the work of the 'devil of war.'
My whole argument and the references I provided were in relation to the willingness of the press to prostitute itself for 'the war party' - well done.
I believe the Press Council has lost its moral/ethical bearings with the decision on my complaint #2574, notwithstanding any jurisdictional technicality. Surely you are at liberty to make a statement on principles.
The effect of your decision is that you wash your hands - electing not to uphold the central philosophy which underpins press freedom, "the obligation to accurately report the facts."
This from the US - how to get truth into the media so that the public is informed where the media elect to not report or block where it suits their interest? This on FOX and it's story on Monsanto and its bovine growth hormones in the United States...
We are part of the US Western empire and the influence is pervasive. Look to how the FOX News chief shut down the story. Only in the US?
I suggest the NZ Press Council think deeply on the implications.
With respect greg
Greg Rzesniowiecki

Attached your decision #2574 
(Note for reader: There were a couple of attachments)
Catch 22 – structural brick walls that hide corruption
I face a similar problem attempting to extract information from the GCSB and NZSIS relating to the Iraq war. The GCSB (intelligence services) had told the Clarke Labour government in the lead to the 2003 Iraq War that there was no justification to go to war. I was given this information by the then Hon. Phil Goff in a Select Committee hearing in 2014, so on the parliament public record, thanks Phil. I asked the NZSIS and GCSB for the information in correspondence 25 December 2015. (NB. I'll write up the OIA saga in another blog piece to follow this. I write to record the act after I've allowed the process to run its course.)
They are still dodging the bullet as the implication is that the Western Coalition of the Willing waged war of Aggression, the worst crime. The matter is with the Chief Ombudsman Judge Peter Boshier, who has indicated in his provisional opinion (PO) in relation to one matter, that he will not support my complaint as the New Zealand government acts within the Official Information Act provision in that 6 (a) and (b) of the OIA. These effectively give cover where information might prejudice national or security interests or where the information is received from a protected source; 'an intelligence confidant likely the US National Security Agency (NSA) or CIA.' - Catch 22 again!
Here we appear constrained by some international treaty which presumes a lawful obligation – what of the larger prohibition in international law to stop war?
The fact of an agreement (UK-USA Intelligence Sharing treaty known as Echelon or Five Eyes) that we won't divulge privileged information that is 'evidence of the crime of Aggression,' is of more import than highlighting the crime and prosecuting those who committed the acts.
Here we approach law as a nonsense!
The only sense is to provide the means to repeatedly go to war – do the New Zealand Government agree knowingly and importantly willingly?
Which makes the NZ Government and those components of the State who are aware of the institutional implication complicit in the Crime of Aggression.
It is evident to me that the OIA is similar to the structure of the Press Council principles and rules for dealing with complaints.
It is framed as a method to structurally avoid exposing government processes to transparency particularly those central to the relationship with nation states including the US. The 5 Eyes intelligence sharing agreement is one such impediment as it requires that all transmissions are privileged information.
Catch 22 – key to unlock – “public interest for a secure and peaceful world of states”
Public interest for security ought be the definition of national security.
Public interest is not advanced where states wage aggressive war for profit; whether to gain territory, or for the commercial advantage of its corporations, including for resources or the rights to control resources and infrastructure. Where they do wage war, the universal public interest is destroyed particularly for those genocided or collaterally damaged in the business opportunities created in the waging of war – see US General Smedley Butler for the key to why we (humans and their institutions) still wage war, his speech; “War is a Racket.”
Wikipedia on Smedley Butler:
Audio essay on Smedley Butler by The Corbett Report is edited, webmastered, written, produced and hosted by James Corbett who has been living and working in Japan since 2004. He started The Corbett Report website in 2007 as an outlet for independent critical analysis of politics, society, history, and economics:
The war for profit (war is a racket thesis) is as strong today as it has ever been. The corruption is what gave us thee 9/11 event and the subsequent for profit wars.
The whole of my purpose herein, is to bring to light the corruption and institutional collaboration which checks or foils the public ability to identify the depravity of the state and its actions.
What happens where the information I seek is provided?
Where the state might object and state that it acts to protect the people from a terrible truth, "that independence from the US would be a dangerous choice" – it highlights the coercion that is factored and leveraged into the relations between states in this case between the US and NZ. What democracy? What noble global order?
To my mind it is preferable that the intelligence that the state collects on the depravity of other states is exploded into public light so we the people are able to digest the nature of the world.

This will then inform the democracy – and the result - new policy responses will be required to build an independent, sustainable and resilient state.
Values, science, common sense and policy outcomes
International affairs and geopolitics will remain the plaything of the powerful with ongoing tragic outcomes for people in developing nations of the Near East, North Africa and possibly in Central and South America. These are ill-equipped to counter the plots and insurgencies that run through their states.

The US is repeatedly striking in Yemen - both through the agency of proxies as well as supporting the Saudi Arabians, most recently with a contract for US$110billion worth of military contracts. The connection to monetary transactions in the 'for profit' munitions industry is evident for any with eyes to see.
The war front advances – it will consume the whole planet left unchecked.
Who will help us, help ourselves?

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Dear Fairfax why did you refuse to post my comment? Part 2 - The New Zealand Press Council response – "go to hell"

Ever feel as though the media doesn't like one commenting on their well constructed and carefully tuned news pieces? The answer appears to be yes.
This essay outlines the New Zealand Press Council (NZPC) response to the Stuff (Fairfax) moderation of two comments I placed on their online articles 21 February and 5 March 2017.
The first part of the story is in this blog post:

The Press Council process and 27 April Council meeting

The NZPC considered the matter at their Thursday 27 April meeting. Their executive Mary Major advised that there would be no decision for three weeks, and apologised that it is usual practice to have the decisions typed up and verified by two weeks. I was provided with a draft of their decision mid May and wrote a further note to the NZPC, though there was no acknowledgement of their receiving it or reading it.

As my earlier correspondence was received I assume the NZPC had the benefit of my thoughts on their decision.
The NZPC decision is available for online reading at the NZ Press Council website - they do not deal with the merits of my case at any point! The rule on matters of jurisdiction or their right to deal with the matter. They further and comment on the case without addressing the truth of my assertions:
The Press Council say a bit in the decision without addressing any of the content of my concern – the media misrepresenting reality and that they limit the ability of the public to assert alternative factual material to the narrative available from Stuff and NZ Government websites. Here's how they approached it;
1. Although somewhat long and discursive, the essential element of Mr Rzesniowiecki’s complaint is unfair moderation by Stuff relating to the posting of online comments submitted by Mr Rzesniowiecki, and their refusal to link to a number of external sites.
2. The Council has already rejected similar complaints from two complainants on the basis that the complaints are analogous to non-publication of letters to the editor. In those cases, no adjudication was issued. Given that this matter has the potential to lead to ongoing complaints, we have considered it appropriate in these circumstances to accept this complaint and set forth the views of the Press Council.

Jurisdiction versus Merit - deny jurisdiction then comment on merit - Process Denied

Here note that the Councils says they have no jurisdiction, however, “Given that this matter has the potential to lead to ongoing complaints, we have considered it appropriate in these circumstances to accept this complaint and set forth the views of the Press Council.” So despite having no jurisdiction to act or determine, in this instance they were compelled to make it clear that the NZ Press Council member news organisations are entitled to maintain what ever guidelines they determine. Then they go on to make a qualitative statement about the merits of a substantial element of the complaint in point 10 of their decision, “The Press Council has no jurisdiction over such terms and conditions. However, we do see those Terms and Conditions, particularly those relating to links to unchecked sites, to be a reasonable position for a publisher to take.” Here's the full decision component of the complaint report.
The Decision
10. At the outset, we make it clear that the Stuff Terms and Conditions relating to online comment are a matter between Stuff and its readership. The Press Council has no jurisdiction over such terms and conditions. However, we do see those Terms and Conditions, particularly those relating to links to unchecked sites, to be a reasonable position for a publisher to take.
11. The matter of letters to the editor is covered by Principle 5 which, where relevant, reads:
Letters for publication are the prerogative of editors who are to be guided by fairness, balance, and public interest. Abridgement is acceptable but should not distort meaning.
12. It is clear this means that whether or not a letter is published is within the prerogative of the editor. They are advised to be guided in doing this by the principle of accuracy, fairness and balance.
13. Mr Crewdson is correct to point out that as early as 1999 the principle was cited, and for some considerable time the Council has rejected complaints about non-publication of letters from the public.
14. In the decision cited by Mr Crewdson, Case 2470, the Council stated:
An editor can both decide which letters and opinion pieces to publish as well as when to close the curtain or close a discussion topic within his or her publication.
15. The critical question in this case is whether online content (sourced from the general public) can be seen as analogous to letters. We are satisfied it can.
16. As Mr Crewdson pointed out in his response, there are limits on what content will be published, both through editorial discretion and through adherence to the published Rules for Letters (in the case of newspapers), and the Terms and Conditions between the media online sites and their readership (in the case of websites). We consider it would be artificial to suggest that they are somehow different. Since the advent of newspapers, readers have had the opportunity to forward letters commenting on various topics to the newspaper for publication. Our Principle 5 makes it clear that the publication or non-publication of such letters is at the discretion of the editor. We see no difference between the invitations to the readership of online media content to comment on various matters that are published online and the traditional letters to the editor. The earlier form of letter was received by way of envelope and postage; the latter form of online content is received electronically. But that physical difference does not change the fact that both give readers the chance to comment. In that sense, we are satisfied that online comment is clearly analogous to the letters to the editor, and in the view of the Council should be subject to the same principle.
17. Accordingly, the Council is satisfied that online comments are analogous to letters to the editor, and their publication is at the prerogative of the editor, pursuant to Principle 5. Therefore, the complaint is not upheld.
18. We reiterate that the Terms and Conditions for online comment are a matter between the online publisher and its readership. It is not a matter for the Council, nor do we have any jurisdiction to interfere in it.
19. We note Mr Crewdson’s comments relating to the potential for a very significant increase in the work of the Press Council if this complaint was upheld. (Indeed he suggests to unmanageable levels). We have put those comments to one side. They are irrelevant to our consideration and the work load factor, on its own, would not have been a ground not to uphold the complaint.
20. In those circumstances, complaints about the non-publication of comments in online forums established by parties subject to the jurisdiction of the Press Council will not be accepted.
This is more interest. In clause 19 of the decision they state, “We note Mr Crewdson’s comments relating to the potential for a very significant increase in the work of the Press Council if this complaint was upheld. (Indeed he suggests to unmanageable levels). We have put those comments to one side. They are irrelevant to our consideration and the work load factor, on its own, would not have been a ground not to uphold the complaint."
OK the increased workload from a flood of new websites to fact check is not a concern of the Council. Their final decision follows;
"In those circumstances, complaints about the non-publication of comments in online forums established by parties subject to the jurisdiction of the Press Council will not be accepted."

NZ Press Council process

The NZ Press Council process is of note for the benefit of the reader the Press Council rules for a complaint require a complainant to waive any appeal rights, the decision of the Council is final. The Press Council principles are here, which establish what the Council takes into consideration when making a determination. The Principles are the guidelines which supposedly the news media industry in NZ follows:
On 9 April I received an email from Mary Major Executive at the Council;
I have attached the editor’s response to your complaint. As well as his response the editor has included the full correspondence between you and the editor over these complaints.
You now have the opportunity to provide the Press Council with a brief (around 200 words) comment on this response.
Patrick Crewdson's thoughts on behalf of Stuff are available to read online or download from dropbox:
My response to his comments is here:
And reprinted in whole below;
Wednesday 12 April 2017

Greg Rzesniowiecki
To: Press Council

Shifting paradigms in media thinking – what is truth and what is the role of the press?

Dear NZ Press Councillors,
To share information today requires savvy in relation to the market for ideas. That market is concentrated in the internet.
I'm not media savvy - I'm wordy in a sea of brevity – are my musings less worthy?
I was born in 1958 which makes me 58 now. I've got life skills and critical thinking capacities. I can build anything (carpentry, stone, mud brick), prune plantation and orchard trees, pick fruit and now analyse and decipher bullshit. I've done the former and now attempt to systemically do the latter – one attempt is the link I provided in my complaint:
Patrick Crewdson makes the point that I am free to offer the benefits of my critical thinking in my blog.
My blog reaches a couple of hundred folk including a few in nations afar, but nothing approaching Stuff's enormous reach – perhaps mass media means press freedom to circumscribe the discourse?
With Stuff utilising the latest news room technology they will have no difficulty separating fake news from more credibly sourced material - and without pulling the comment guideline bubble so tight that it effectively refuses material from without (rest of the world), and those within who are not part of the Fairfax/Stuff/NZ Government url club, “we allow only URLs we can trust.”
The 'Fake News' beat up is a convenience brought on by November's US Presidential election raffle. Stuff announced their altered comment guidelines as recent as my 58th birthday December 7 2016 – also Pearl Harbour WW2 anniversary is synchronicity (see 9/11 stuff below):
Intellectual snobs sneer at the views that don't mirror theirs, but the democratisation of media is one of the great positives of the internet age. Gone are the days when media gatekeepers controlled the conversation. Why should politicians, celebrities and media personalities be the only ones to have their voices heard?
And a little further down;
We believe genuine debate on the news of the day - thoughtful, constructive debate with a range of views - can help society. It's healthy to allow alternative viewpoints to be aired, not to mention democratic. The diversity of the comments section provides a partial antidote to the bubble effect of social media, where you see what you already think reflected back at you.
That so many media outlets were blindsided by Donald Trump's US election victory shows the danger of operating in an elitist cocoon, divorced from your audience. Comments help us stay connected and, importantly, accountable. When we make mistakes, our readers will let us know immediately. And when our journalists see the responses their stories generate they're reminded who we're really reporting for - our audience.
Ah! the Trump factor - 58th POTUS inauguration. As if Trump is a poorer representative than a host of past Emperors of the free world? Can anyone recall Bush's War on Terror, Clinton's intern predilection, or even Obama the drone assassin king?
And as every argument might be relative in this post truth world...
Press Council principle 5 can be applied to assist my case too, especially where the relevant 'comment guideline' is limiting in comparison to the above 'mission statement' intent, thereby rendering it unbalanced and odious to public interest for peace and genuine security:
Letters for publication are the prerogative of editors who are to be guided by fairness, balance, and public interest.
Moderation is no biggie - folks like me who Stuff might have already flagged as a 'toxic' (upset the paradigm) commentator, so perhaps we get an automatic flag? My score 6 comments out of 13 posted, is not great.
I imagine there wouldn't be much difference to the present resource requirement – given the internet of things (from 2014, first para for the guts):
In fact the benefit is - it requires the moderator to inform herself of the world outside the 'bubble paradigm'. And if the Fairfax defence to this suggestion is that the moderators are already informed - then why close the discourse down?
My point is made about the public's right to source and reference their 'factual' material from a variety of sources – 'On Liberty.'
It appears our Stuff/NZ Government url club is already establishing a bubble of public opinion to support another attack on a nation in someone else's war, this time Syria – what does the rest of the world offer?
The author of the Syria piece:
I've elsewhere listed some US military adventures – see the sourced link Patrick Crewdson holds up as a problem: Where's the inaccuracy?
On Syria our NZ propaganda club appears hell-bent on following the US military lead, whatever external intelligence/urls might reveal.
The murdering personnel with intersecting interests in the bankster-security-industrial-military-oil-(MSM)-government complex are always at it - ex US General Smedley Butler gave us the insight - his speech to thousands on his 1930s national tours, 'War is a Racket' maybe you've heard it?
Short audio recording of professional speaker reciting Smedley's speech:
Full audio recording of professional speaker reciting Smedley's speech:
Greg on a rainy day in Auckland...Please read this, my paper offered to the FADT select committee in relation to the TPP treaty examination process, "US - Aotearoa NZ Values - Do These Correlate?" covers US militarism and developments on the road to the (preordained) 9/11 event:
History appears to repeat, and one would think that with the acuity and science of investigative journalism in all its forms, the world would have had revealed to its awestruck masses, that 'War is a Racket'. However this simple fact is occulted - go figure...
Thank you for your careful and critical consideration of the recommendations in my complaint.

Out takes and conclusions - Independent Press and Press Council? or,

Manufactured narratives predetermined and institutionalised - Catch 22

I guess one lesson is that one cannot hope to win every battle merely because one thinks they know or hold the truth – or at least can prove logically a story more in keeping with the real world.
At the heart of my complaint is the problem of the 'overtone window' or bubble from which the mainstream media appears to accept acceptable (colludes with the narrative) opinion. The strategy of disallowing comments outside of the NZ Government and Stuff websites is in direct contradiction of Press Council Principles. This from the Principle's Preamble;
...An independent press plays a vital role in a democracy. The proper fullfilment of that role requires a fundamental responsibility to maintain high standards of accuracy, fairness and balance and public faith in those standards.
There is no more important principle in a democracy than freedom of expression. Freedom of expression and freedom of the media are inextricably bound. The print media is jealous in guarding freedom of expression, not just for publishers' sake but, more importantly, in the public interest. In dealing with complaints, the Council will give primary consideration to freedom of expression and the public interest.
Public interest is defined as involving a matter capable of affecting the people at large so that they might be legitimately interested in, or concerned about, what is going on, or what may happen to them or to others....”
I agree with all of the foregoing, however the rules governing Stuff's commenting guidelines are structurally not fit for the purpose if they are meant to reflect this principle.
So we get to a Catch 22 ( ) situation where there is no way through by way of institutional processes of complaint.

What to do about it? How to solve that puzzle  :)

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Dear Stuff/Fairfax why did you refuse to post my comment?

Ever feel as though the media doesn't like one commenting on their well constructed and carefully tuned news pieces?
My object
This essay outlines my case to the New Zealand Press Council in relation to the Stuff (Fairfax) moderation of two comments I placed on their online articles 21 February and 5 March 2017. I appreciate that Stuff is a money making business, with a responsibility to its shareholders, nevertheless we in the public sphere afford Fairfax and other NZ news media organisations a lot of support through the notion of 'Press Freedom', and the underpinning idea of 'Freedom of Expression.' My complaint seeks ultimately that Stuff's comment guidelines are amended to allow the commenting public a broader source of reference material in order to support their opinions when commenting on Stuff articles.
The history
I placed a comment on this article from Sunday 5th March about President Trump getting cranky with Obama for tapping his gold phone in Trump Tower, :
My comment was offered about midday Sunday 5 March. I took a screen shot of my comment to have evidence that I'd posted the comment. I waited and patiently carried on with other activity occasionally refreshing the target page to see how the moderators were treating my comment this time. About 40 minutes later a few comments appeared and when I was sure mine was missed I screen shot the comments with my computer clock in the screen to establish that comments had appeared posted after mine. It was clear mine was moderated out.
Prior experience of the Fairfax comment guidelines for your interest 21 February 2017
On a previous occasion in February I experienced similar censorship, and emailed the Fairfax editorial team to ascertain the story, the following Chris Trotter piece was the one I placed urls that breeched the sacred guidelines.
I had linked urls in the comment that were disallowed by the Stuff/Fairfax comments guidelines link here:
I want to link to an external site, why won’t you approve it?
We do not allow links to websites, with the exception of Stuff articles or Govt-owned domains. This is as much as to protect our readers from malicious / pornographic websites as it is to protect Fairfax Media NZ’s reputation.
Here's a dropbox link to a pdf. copy of my emailed complaint on that occasion 21 February 2017:
and here is the exchange with Fairfax's Angela Quigan referring me to their comments guidelines. I in my return email raise the issue of which urls might fit the criteria, asking on two occasions;
  1. Thanks for that Angela. Any government or merely NZ government?”
  2. P.S. Are you the one to approach regarding your comment guidelines? I request an opportunity to speak (in person or via an email exchange) with your editorial staff regarding limiting comment urls to Stuff and Government links?”
Back to Trump Obama and spying, and my 5th March comment rejected by Stuff moderators
So being a curious, concerned democrat and free speech advocate I emailed Stuff/Fairfax editorial staff at 1:00pm, to discover my transgression, seeing I had exercised caution and not placed any urls let alone disallowed urls, into the comment. Here's the text of my emailed complaint:
To: Angela Quigan <>, Patrick Crewdson <>
Hi Angela, Patrick, and Stuff,
Re my comment capture below - you've approved more since my was posted - what is the problem with mine please?
US President Donald Trump accuses Barack Obama of 'wire tapping' Trump Tower
My comment above was offered at about 12:02pm Sunday 5 March;
"The irony is delicious!
Next up POTUS Trump will tomorrow sign an Executive Order #666.666 to eliminate the NSA and CIA for illegal spying on himself and all USA citizens and residents!
That way Adrian Leason and friends who protested during the week outside the GCSB over Drone Assassinations have wasted their blood sacrifice.
God bless America – land of dreams and hopes - unfulfilled"
I was referring to the action by Catholic Workers Action, which was to protest Drone Assassination week in Pipitea Street Wellington outside the GCSB building, culminating in their blood sacrifice on Friday 3 March, a story Stuff had run:
I added below the two screen shots the following comment and question.
I just had another look at refreshed article at 12:57pm and two comments Lynners and Agrarian's have gone through. What's wrong with mine?
If you do not want me as a commentator on your offerings, just come out nice and clear and say that "we are banning greg rzesniowiecki" - that would be the truthful thing to do...
Be nice to gain a considered response thank you
Greg Rzesniowiecki
Here's a dropbox pdf of the first email with the screenshots embedded:
A Kathrin came back with a response at 13:50
Thanks for your email Greg, I'll take a look at this matter now.
I approached them again at 18:32,
Hi Kathrin,
I guess 'now' is an extended moment in space time.
What was the word, I've not seen the comment appear on the news article, so does that mean it was rejected by the moderator? If so what was the particular conflict with the commenting guidelines, do tell please?
I'd like to obtain an answer promptly in order to inform my next act to pursue fair freedom of speech - a principle that the news media promote as a valuable aid to the continuance of democracy. I support your freedom to report, in fact have been active for press freedom for some time, amongst my many political interests - you appear to be unwilling to reciprocate.
Best from greg.
Patrick Crewdson Editor, responded the next day 9:24 6 March:
Hi Greg,
Your comment was rejected for being off topic. You can see our terms and conditions for comments here:
Kind regards,
Patrick Crewdson
Then followed an exchange where I outlined my interest in and support for Fairfax to look objectively that my comment was no more off topic than any number of comments that escaped the moderator's scythe. I offered at 11:05 a couple of hours later;
Hello and thanks for getting back Patrick,
I've looked at your commenting guidelines previously as my comments more often than not are rejected by your thought police. Perhaps you might indicate how mine was more off topic than the other several hundred comments on that particular piece?
Your press complaint guidelines require that I explore the matter with you initially prior to addressing the concern to the Press Council.
Also on 22 Feb 2017 I asked your Angela, seeking information about your comment guidelines, "Thanks for that Angela. Any government or merely NZ government?" in respect to the Chris Trotter piece on "the deep state" 21 Feb 2017:
Angela had advised, "Your comment was rejected as it contained links to external sites.
"As per our terms and conditions, we do not allow links to sites other than Government-owned or Fairfax domains. This is as much to protect our readers from dodgy URLs as it is to protect Stuff's reputation.
"Feel free to resubmit your comment without including the links and it will be re-moderated by our editors."
I resubmitted the comment with a couple of stuff links and it was posted on the article.
Angela is obviously stumped how to answer my question, or alternatively didn't realise it was a serious inquiry.
Perhaps Patrick whilst I hold your attention, you are more up with the play and can provide an answer?
Does your comment guidelines limit which of the approximately 200 governments that exist plus the thousands of regional, state, and local governments are acceptable urls to your guidelines for use in comments, or is it merely the NZ government urls that fit your criteria?
I trust you agree it is of import to clarify this point.
Thanking you in advance.
Greg Rzesniowiecki
Which gained the following response from Patrick at 13:11 early that afternoon;
Hi Greg,
Our moderators deemed that your comment was off-topic. We publish thousands of comments every day, so I'm not willing to join you in a comparative analysis of other comments you consider were more off-topic than yours.
However, the fact that you say your comments "more often than not are rejected by your thought police" suggests to me that you're not in tune with our terms and conditions for comments.
If you'd like more of your comments to be approved, I'd suggest re-reading the Ts & Cs - including the frequently asked questions section at the bottom.
Regarding URLs in comments, we will accept links to NZ government sites.
If you're not satisfied with my response, you're welcome to contact the Press Council:
However, I think you'll find that - as with letters to the editor - the Press Council considers the decision on whether comments are published to be the sole prerogative of the publisher.
Kind regards,
Patrick Crewdson
Now I probably was a little provocative with my reference to the moderators as 'thought police' however in the theme of 'fake news' the role of news media as cheerleaders for empire's adventurism I felt I was on reasonable ground. Anyway I followed with this response an hour later 14:15;
Thanks for that Patrick,
My concern is that you create a bubble of reality which is difficult to penetrate with facts sourced from outside the bubble. Thus, if I were to advance a position in response to an assertion in one of your articles and the matter has no previous consideration, or has a bias due to a limited perspective, I am literally denied the opportunity to present referenced material including from my own researches or from NZ or other nation's tertiary and research institutions, say, for instance academic papers on an aspect of climate change.
Another example might be in relation to whether the Democratic National Convention either screwed the scrum, or allowed it to be screwed, in relation to the Democrat primaries. Under your comment guidelines the following study would be disallowed:
Further I hold an informed opinion in respect to matters relating to the deep state, including the collusion of the so-called mainstream media with large power i.e. government to occult and bend truth from the consuming masses.
That is very much the case in relation to the 9/11 event that gave us the war on terror and the chaos that is rampant US hegemony in a very frightened and insecure world today. I continue to press the criminal nature of that event by perpetrators associated with the US deep state, into our government and onto the pages of the news media whether that suits the sponsors' agenda or otherwise. See here for a taste:
One of my papers to the FADT Select Committee's TPP treaty examination, this one entitled, "US - Aotearoa NZ Values - Do These Correlate?" covers US militarism and developments on the road to the 9/11 event:
So to the comment about 'thought police' I offered it aware that it might get your goat, however, I've now offered my informed opinion as to why I feel it justified as far as your 'convenient facts bubble' created as a result of the logical implication and consequence of your comments guidelines.
I'm not an idiot, I know what's at work. In fact my political philosophy is liberal with a strong recognition for good governance. Before the pejorative 'conspiracy theorist' label is employed in the discussion I offer this essay that the 'thought police' at Stuff would deny me the ability to disseminate, Otago Professor of Philosophy, Charles Pigden's paper, "Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom Revisited"
From the abstract:
" Conspiracy theories should be neither believed nor investigated - that is the conventional wisdom. I argue that it is sometimes permissible both to investigate and to believe. Hence this is a dispute in the ethics of belief. I defend epistemic ‘oughts’ that apply in the first instance to belief-forming strategies that are partly under our control. I argue that the policy of systematically doubting or disbelieving conspiracy theories would be both a political disaster and the epistemic equivalent of self-mutilation, since it leads to the conclusion that history is bunk and the nightly news unbelievable. In fact (of course) the policy is not employed systematically but is only wheeled on to do down theories that the speaker happens to dislike. I develop a deductive argument from hard-to-deny premises that if you are not a ‘conspiracy theorist’ in my anodyne sense of the word then you are an ‘idiot’ in the Greek sense of the word, that is, someone so politically purblind as to have no opinions about either history or public affairs. The conventional wisdom can only be saved (if at all) if ‘conspiracy theory’ is given a slanted definition. I discuss some slanted definitions apparently presupposed by proponents of the conventional wisdom (including, amongst others, Tony Blair) and conclude that even with these definitions the conventional wisdom comes out as deeply unwise. I finish up with a little harmless fun at the expense of David Aaronvitch whose abilities as a rhetorician and a popular historian are not perhaps matched by a corresponding capacity for logical thought."
The key passage is highlighted for any idiots.
I'm not aware of what you might see your role or the role of the organisation you represent, however, I generally support the idea of a free press that holds power to account.
We might have diverse opinions on how that ought proceed, nevertheless, retaining a thought bubble impenetrable by a contrary or alternative fact because it is not already covered or addressed by your news organisation, or your mates in the NZ Government, is tantamount to blatant censorship - it is definitely the antithesis of a 'free and honest press!' That is my opinion and I've provided my logic in a transparent and upfront fashion, which is more than I sense from you who refuses to discuss the merits of your moderation of the article in question in relation to my simple piece of irony developed in my comment you refused.
Final word on the press and 9/11 is from Tony Rooke in relation to the BBC news reporting of World Trade Centre Tower 7, the BBC broadcast that it fell 30 minutes before it did! Prophetic, lucky or in the know? ;) Deep state what's it all about? And what's your role Patrick and Angela in keeping the lid on the deep state corruption? All fair questions in a democracy, don't you think? Or don't you?
For a look go to Tony Rooke UK Film-maker's 'Incontrovertible 9/11':
This movie is produced by Rooke who got off the charge of not paying his UK TV license fee because the BBC is supposed to report truth! His evidence made an impression on the old Bailey:
But that's not a link on Stuff or the NZ Government's website either - go figure!
With utmost respect and in the spirit of true critique,
There was nought back from Patrick for a day so I attempted another line of logic at 14:41 on Tuesday 7 March:
Dear Patrick and Angela,
hmmm..your silence indicates you accede to my premise or thesis.
A little additional consideration on whether my comment with the word 'ironic' in it was indeed "off topic."
Your friends at the Guardian and Australia's SBS are assisting in outing the role of reporters, news media and government in driving nations of people to war in this case the 2003 Iraq war (complicity to cause Aggression - hate speech - incitement to violence - false reporting is the least of the crimes - breach of journalistic ethics) go and murder people in places far from home, how many millions?
Here's the Aussie Iraq War dossier referenced in both reports, link is to a downloadable pdf:
Have you run this story as yet? Does that mean these 'reputable' sources or the Australian FOIA report would be unacceptable urls under your comment guidelines?
Please respond to my requests for answers, as your guidelines require I satisfy the matter with you before visiting the Press Council.
Cheers again from greg.
Which elicited this final return from Patrick Crewdson at 15:57:
Hi Greg,
I have answered your initial inquiry about your comment being rejected. I don't believe engaging further will be productive.
Kind regards,
Patrick Crewdson
The following dropbox provides the full thread of conversation for accuracy's sake:

Why bother critiquing the news media?
I assert it is every person's responsibility to be active and vigilant in the democracy. One significant source and vector in which the democracy informs itself is through the agency of the mainstream news media organisations via their journalism and reporting of the matters, issues and events that impact the state and the planet. To this effect news media organisations have had this to say about themselves and their role in the state apparatus;

The press and others on Freedom of the Press (an outline of the justification)
Fairfax journalism charter:
On media freedom from Australia from the MEAA (Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance):
Nick McKenzie who is the quoted Journalist:
Text from MEAA quote from Laurie Oakes which arose from his acceptance speech at the Walkley awards for journalism, full transcript here:
Laurie Oakes, one of Australia’s foremost political commentators and a Walkley Foundation Trustee, gave these remarks at the Melbourne Press Freedom Dinner on Sept. 25, 2015.
As concern over terrorism grew last year, Tony Abbott told us: “The delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift”. Well, the balance between press freedom and security certainly shifted. Tonight I want to make a number of points about that.
I want to argue that we in the Australian media have been somewhat apathetic on the press freedom front, not vigilant enough or as willing to fight as we should have been. I also want to say something about our new Prime Minister and his attitude. And finally, I want to talk about the need to bring the public along with us in the press freedom cause.
It was Indonesian troops who murdered the Balibo five 40 years ago, but the response of the Australian Government was shameful. It lied and covered up, feigning ignorance about what had happened to them.
Which connects to this RNZ report on World Press Freedom Day:
1. Across the Tasman, the journalists' union - The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) - published a report into the state of press freedom in Australia.
Criminalising the Truth, Suppressing the Right to Know said Australia now has a raft of national security laws that could criminalise legitimate journalism and prosecute whistleblowers.
Some government agencies could now trawl through journalists’ telecommunications data, and jail journalists for reporting matters deemed to be of national security, the report said.
2. When Fairfax Media political reporter Andrea Vance revealed dozens of New Zealanders were illegally spied upon by the GCSB, an investigation ordered by the prime minister’s office asked for details of her movements around Parliament and her phone calls from her office. Parliamentary Services handed it over.
She’s not the only journalist to have felt the heavy hand of a state agency intrusion, though some journalists pushed back in 2015.
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) reached a settlement with freelance foreign correspondent Jon Stephenson - and apologised to him - after he sued for defamation. A 2011 statement had effectively claimed part of an eye-opening Metro magazine report on what our troops were doing by Mr Stephenson had been made up.
When the case got to court, the NZDF admitted their press statement was wrong. The jury couldn’t agree on a verdict and the defamation trial was abandoned, but the NZDF only settled when another trial was imminent, with the risk of an award of significant damages. ( see Jon Stephenson's 'eyes wide shut': )
Which in a sense leads to the latest revelation by Stephenson and Nicky Hager, in their book 'Hit and Run' about alleged war crimes in Afghanistan in 2011 which is what my concerns are about – military adventurism and insufficient, inaccurate and or misleading public information being provided to justify the continuity of criminal militarism:
In August 2010, a New Zealand soldier died in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan. In retaliation, the New Zealand SAS led a raid on two isolated villages in search of the fighters they suspected were responsible.
They all knew the rules. Prior to firing weapons, their freshly issued orders said, ‘the commander approving the strike must determine that no civilians are present.’ If they could not assess whether civilians were present, firing was prohibited. But it all went horribly wrong.
None of the fighters were found but, by the end of the raid, 21 civilians were dead or wounded. Most were children or women, including a three-year-old girl who was killed. A dozen houses had been burnt or blown up. The operation was personally approved by the prime minister via phone from New Zealand. More missions against the group of fighters and more potential crimes of war followed, including the beating and torture of a prisoner. Afterwards no one took responsibility. The New Zealand military denied the facts and went to great lengths to cover things up.
This book is the story of those events. It is, at heart, about the meaning of honour; about who we want to be and what we believe in as New Zealanders.
I note that Fairfax is assertive in protecting press freedom as demonstrated in this article about Sky TV seeking to impose restrictive conditions on competitor news reporting at the Olympic Games:
Perhaps this piece might assist in illuminating the subject from my perspective. I'm not saying that my rights to freedom of expression have any bearing in the matter, more for the Stuff website to reflect its journalistic charter it must allow discovery of facts from a broad range of sources. Thus 'Press Freedom' is framed with ethical considerations:
From the philosopher's discourse the following extract has bearing in this matter;
Freedom of the press is quite a different kind of thing, since it pertains to a certain group of corporations (mass-media companies), rather than individuals. The key difference is that because corporations are not people their speech can have no intrinsic value (pace Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in Citizens United). Corporations, unlike individuals, are not sophisticated enough agents to have thoughts of their own that they burn to express to others, and so they cannot suffer from censorship as people do. Indeed, because corporations lack moral agency generally, their 'moral' rights can only be justified on utilitarian grounds: recognising corporate personality and property rights is a legal wheeze that makes the capitalist order function more efficiently, rather than a recognition of some underlying intrinsic moral claim. (For corporations to gain real moral rights, they would have to be designed in such a way that they can conduct morally sophisticated reasoning and give themselves a moral law. But that's a subject for another post.)
Instead, the justification for freedom of the press is purely instrumental. First these companies provide the medium through which freedom of speech is realised (outside of books, and nowadays the internet). Second is their political function in a democratic society. They have the capacity to enhance public reasoning by informing the public about the important issues of the day, and to incentivise political office holders to serve the public interest by providing a means for the voting public to observe what they get up to.
These are good reasons to care about the health of the press and to keep it free from government control. After all, they are the very same reasons autocracies censor the press so severely. Yet they only refer to the capacities of the mass media. Simply because a free press can support freedom of speech and democracy, and can threaten dictatorships, does not mean that it necessarily does so. For a mechanistic justification like this to be successful, the machine must be shown to work in practise as well as in theory. And we can see that in the real world media corporations with the power to serve the public interest often don't.
The wikipedia entry on the matter of Press Freedom:
Perhaps the following passage referenced from John Stuart Mill's essay is of most relevance;
John Stuart Mill in 1869 in his book On Liberty approached the problem of authority versus liberty from the viewpoint of a 19th-century utilitarian: The individual has the right of expressing himself so long as he does not harm other individuals. The good society is one in which the greatest number of persons enjoy the greatest possible amount of happiness. Applying these general principles of liberty to freedom of expression, Mill states that if we silence an opinion, we may silence the truth. The individual freedom of expression is therefore essential to the well-being of society. Mill wrote:
If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and one, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. [ On Liberty by John Stuart Mill ]
And this conference in 2007 - the link is to a book which is the record of an international conference; “New Media: The Press Freedom Dimension Challenges and Opportunities of New Media for Press Freedom” - to explore the emerging and rapidly evolving environment of press freedom created by the new electronic media.
It took place at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris 15-16 February 2007. With speakers from more than 30 countries, the discussions covered a wide range of topics from citizen journalism and freedom of expression, to the looming reality of censorship, as dictators, taking the cue from China, place blocks on the Internet and lock up people for expressing their views in cyberspace.
The conference was sponsored by the World Press Freedom Committee and co-sponsored by UNESCO and the World Association of Newspapers, in partnership with the other member groups of the Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organizations:
Committee to Protect Journalists, Commonwealth Press Union, Inter American Press Association,
International Association of Broadcasting, International Association of the Periodical Press,
International Press Institute, and North American Broadcasters Association.
who's concluding statement says;
To that end, civil society and all those engaged in news flows over the Internet and other new media must continue to be an integral part of the deliberations at every stage. The future of new and evolving forms of communication cannot be left to governments and technocrats alone.
The Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organizations calls for concerted effort to make preserving and extending the free flow of news and information in cyberspace and elsewhere an ongoing basic concern. News on the Internet and other new forms of communication is the same as news everywhere. New technology does not require any reconsideration of fundamental rights such as freedom of the press.
We call on those involved in deliberations on the future of new forms of communication to:
a) reject any proposal aimed at restricting news content or media operations,
b) work for inclusion of clear statements of unqualified support for press freedom on the Internet and other new forms of communication in any new agreements or declarations of principle on the subject, and
c) stipulate in any text that could be used restrictively a clear statement that the particular provision involved is not intended to limit freedom of expression or press freedom.
There must be press freedom in all the new spaces created for communication.

My conclusions and complaint
I assert that Fairfax's commenting guidelines on the Stuff news site are deliberately limiting:
I want to link to an external site, why won’t you approve it?
We do not allow links to websites, with the exception of Stuff articles or Govt-owned domains. This is as much as to protect our readers from malicious / pornographic websites as it is to protect Fairfax Media NZ’s reputation.
This condition is contrived to limit alternative narratives and in fact constitutes a serious breech of the public's 'right to know' which underpins the philosophy of press freedom.
Surely the press freedom is founded on the public's right to know? Without the public's right to know what is truth or what is being done in it's name by government and powerful interests, i.e. the New Zealand Defence Forces, the notion of Press Freedom is a nonsense.

Recommended action
1. I seek that the comment guidelines are broadened to allow urls other then merely Stuff/Fairfax and NZ Government websites.
2. I seek formal review as to why my comment was moderated and not run on the article; 'US President Donald Trump accuses Barack Obama of 'wire tapping' Trump Tower':
3. I seek that my comment is included in the list where the Press Council finds the comment is no more off topic than any other.
4. That the Stuff moderators act in future with impartiality in respect to all commentators and their comments.

Many thanks for your consideration,

Greg Rzesniowiecki