Where conspiracy stories begin

Cartoon credit: SonovaMin

The MSM have attempted to assert their ‘authority’ over the news landscape in the wake of the grisly murders, desperate to muscle out alternative providers. They are competing in a war for page views that the mainstream has been slowly, steadily losing so far this century. They have been beaten, time and time again, by the guerilla forces of blogs, social media, small self-published entities and dedicated, well informed special-interest sites.

Possibly the threatened group of corporate entities view this dreadful opportunity, manufactured in the wrecked mind of the criminally and mercilessly insane, as the best opportunity to re-group and re-assert; perhaps their very own muster’s last stand.

The first casualty when war comes is truth

Hiram Johnson, 1917.

Using their considerable force of numbers and resources they have thrown their pitch to remain centre stage, leveraging the awful act to their advantage in saturating us with screeds of stories. They have been unable to resist the inevitable beating up on their individually tiny, but numerous, competitors, most definitely including this site. Whaleoil is on the menu for the big cats.

Blinded by their own sense of superiority, they have this week taken several opportunities to take pot-shots, perfectly willing to unleash both barrels, in demonising ‘online’ alternatives while failing to notice that, when taking aim, they necessarily have one eye closed.

They have no awareness of the failings that drove their considerable audiences away, which, among the largest dissatisfactions of the MSM refugees, includes the invisible, intangible, but hugely powerful repellant: Lack of Trust.

So it was with some interest, but distaste, that I digested Stuff’s offering:

“Christchurch terror attack: mistruths and conspiracy theories” which predictably began “Since the horrific terror attack in Christchurch on Friday, several rumours and mistruths have spread widely online.” Offering us real evidence of: “Rumour: A ‘Good guy with a gun’ stopped the shooter? and saying:

?This rumour has spread based on early inaccurate reports about Abdul Aziz? It has been amplified in particular by gun advocates in the US, who have long argued that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a “good guy with a gun”?This – and the rumour about Parker – show that often the misinformation that spreads the fastest is politically useful for someone somewhere else in the world.”

We have to ask – are you sure about that statement, Stuff? Because the primary source for that rumour was your bestie, and possibly soon your new owner, NZME. It was reported by the trained and skilled staff of the Herald:

“Second shooting at mosque in Linwood”
?A second shooting happened at a mosque in the Linwood area of the city. One Friday prayer goer returned fire with a rifle or shotgun. Witnesses said they heard multiple gunshots around 1.45pm. A well known Muslim local chased the shooters and fired two shots at them as they sped off. He was heard telling police officers he was firing in ‘self defence’.”

That?s several specifics in one short paragraph: ?well known?, ?rifle or shotgun?, ?two shots?, told police ?he was firing in self defence?. It would be a bold and hugely irresponsible reporter indeed who invented such snippets and stitched them together in a sentence for publication during a time of real emergency.

The paragraph relating to the story of the armed ?well known Muslim local? firing shots curiously disappeared down the memory hole over the weekend following the shootings with no correction, explanation or clarification appended to the story.

And that, dear readers, is where conspiracy stories begin, with mysterious deletions; and in the absence of explanation the curious are free to draw their own conclusion, or ask their own questions. Was it deleted because it didn?t fit a particular narrative; or was it never a rumour but a simple, if inconvenient, truth?

Blame the ?online? cohort as much as Stuff may wish, they cannot change the fact that the story emanated from a ?responsible?, ?trustworthy? news source every bit and equally as ?reliable? as their own.

Another deletion arousing curiosity comes from Stuff itself, a story containing a reference to the very mosque where the abomination took place, entitled ?A Kiwi lad?s death by drone?, which now results in a ?404? Page not found, but which was up for nearly five years until its removal in very recent days. Very recent. (A screenshot of it is below.)

Once again, the press are free to remove, retract or correct a story, any story, but ethically they are required to explain deletion or retraction. Because not doing so invites speculation. Was the story disappeared for containing this sentence regarding the dead jihadi? quote.

Jones was killed alongside Australian Christopher Havard, whose parents said he was introduced to radical Islam at the Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch. end quote.

Or perhaps the following unambiguous and specific statement from the screenshot story: quote.

[…] a man who attended a convert?s weekend at the mosque 10 years ago said a visiting speaker from Indonesia talked about violent jihad and plenty shared his views. ?Most of the men were angry with the moral weakness of New Zealand. I would say they were radical.? end quote.

Curious indeed. There is many a legitimate question to be asked about the Dreadful Case of Disappearing Stories, and Al-Noor mosque, but don?t expect the mainstream media to provide any answers anytime soon. Meantime, back to those conspiracy stories, y?know, all that rubbish you read online?honestly, some of it you couldn?t make up, it?s so bizarre.