Jacinda Ardern to lashes out against ‘keyboard warriors’
Jacinda will feel most at home.
Guy Hatchard’s comments are below
Jacinda Ardern uses Harvard speech to lash ‘keyboard warriors’, attack disinformation
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has received an honorary degree from Harvard University and used her commencement speech to take aim at unhygienic “keyboard warriors”, disinformation and the role played by the big tech companies, while painting New Zealand as a progressive but imperfect nation.
Ardern, who gave the address on a warm and sunny spring morning in the Harvard Tercentenary Yard in Cambridge Massachusetts, titled her speech “Democracy, Disinformation and Kindness”. The prime minister delivered her speech near the end of a long ceremony, wearing a kākahu and red and black academic dress of Harvard University.
In the wake of the shootings in Uvalde, Texas, she received standing ovations at mentions of the gun reform and the decriminalisation of abortion, which is a hot political topic in the US since the leaked draft decision of the US Supreme Court arguing to overturn Roe vs Wade.
Littered with quaint New Zealand references to Hobbiton and knowing everyone in the country, Ardern said that democracy can be taken for granted and that people “wrongly” assume that “somehow, the strength of your democracy was like a marriage – the longer you’d been at it, the more likely it was to stick”.
While not mentioning any companies by name, Ardern built a case that there needed to be more transparency in how social media giants operate, how their algorithms work and what their responsibilities were.
Ardern took aim at what she called keyboard warriors. The prime minister, who receives a lot of abusive email and social media posts, outlined what comes to mind when she read abuse.
“In my mind, when I read something especially horrific on my feed, I imagine it’s written by a lone person, unacquainted with personal hygiene practices, dressed in a poorly fitted superhero costume – one that is baggy in all the wrong places.
“Keyboard warrior or not though, it’s still something that has been written by a human, and it’s something that has been read by one too.
In an approximately 25-minute speech which traversed the thoughts of her former high school history teacher, mistrust of experts, how MMP operates as well as the necessity of kindness, the overall theme was about how to keep democracy based on facts.
The comments were timely given recent events in the US, and Ardern’s own time as prime minister, in which she has dealt with the March 15 terror attack, which was livestreamed, and the conspiracy theory-fuelled occupation on the front lawn of Parliament in February and March.
Ardern also used the speech to push her progressive credentials. The biggest cheers from the crowd came after she mentioned how many women, Māori and rainbow members of Parliament there were.
Ardern pitched herself to the Harvard crowd as something of an outsider, pointing out that she grew up a left-wing woman in a conservative part of New Zealand.
“I was raised Mormon in a town where the main religions were Catholic, Anglican and Rugby.”
But it was the intersection of democracy, debate and social media that Ardern kept her focus on. Although not mentioned by name, Facebook, Twitter and Google were most likely targets as Ardern talked about their responsibilities.
“That means recognising the role they play in constantly curating and shaping the online environments that we’re in.
“We seek validation, confirmation, reinforcement. And increasingly with the help of algorithms, what we seek, we are served, sometimes before we even know we’re looking.”
She entreated “social media companies and other online providers to recognise their power and act on it”, highlighting the Christchurch Call to Action, a signature foreign policy to reduce disinformation and hate speech online.
“Let’s start with transparency in how algorithmic processes work and the outcomes they deliver. Let’s finish with a shared approach to responsible algorithms – because the time has come.”
In a swipe at many of the conspiracy theories kicking around in the wake of Covid-19, Ardern hewed back to the importance of facts.
“When facts are turned into fiction, and fiction turned into fact, you stop debating ideas and you start debating conspiracy.”
It was an emotional event with about 8000 students graduating, the first commencement held with all students present since before the pandemic in 2019.
Other honorary doctorates in the same ceremony were conferred to political and legal philosopher Martha Nussbaum, Ebola expert doctor Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, Harvard professor and social scientist William Julius Wilson and feminist author and political activist Gloria Steinem.
Guy Hatchard breaks it down here.
This morning Jacinda Ardern received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University, hitting out in her acceptance speech against keyboard warriors spreading disinformation:
“When facts are turned into fiction, and fiction turned into fact, you stop debating ideas and you start debating conspiracy.”
Was she echoing Orwell’s 1984?
“His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies…to repudiate morality while laying claim to it,…to believe that the Party was the guardian of democracy.”
Ardern continued with a sordid use of imagery worthy of Orwell:
“In my mind, when I read something especially horrific on my feed, I imagine it’s written by a lone person, unacquainted with personal hygiene practices, dressed in a poorly fitted superhero costume – one that is baggy in all the wrong places.”
I Have to Be Cruel to Be Kind
Ardern said her speech was about kindness, presumably that special brand of kindness that is hard to recognise. As Hamlet said after berating his mother “I have to be cruel to be kind”.
Was Ardern’s brand of kindness at work when she famously deleted in a single night 33,000 comments on her feed informing her of personal stories of the adverse effects of Covid vaccination?
Ardern might just as well have entitled her speech: “I have sat on my hands and refused to read my emails. I insist that other MPs do the same. I am the sole source of truth. The world needs this.”
The historical antecedents of the rejection of protestors, writers, and intellectuals as irrelevant, dirty, and dangerous spreaders of disease and disinformation certainly escaped Ardern and probably most Harvard graduates. The 1930s don’t feature much in modern curricula.
Ignorance is No Excuse
As all cause mortality rises, as another new study shows the immune system of the vaccinated exhibits dangerous antibody instability, as infections and hospitalisations among the vaccinated overtake the unvaccinated, we no longer need to speculate about where this is going.
History tells us that it will end badly for many. An outcome of which Ardern appears to be determined to remain ignorant and condemn as conspiracy without discussion—by government decree.
But of course, it is much worse than mere ignorance, as Sir Walter Scott said:
“OH WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE, WHEN FIRST WE PRACTICE TO DECEIVE.”
Master of Disinformation
Ardern is a master of disinformation, coercion, and suppression. Her continuing (but thankfully waning) popularity is a reflection of her practice of controlling the media through continuing large cash grants and revenue from saturation Covid vaccination advertising (aka old fashioned bribery).
As a result, New Zealanders are dying in greater numbers not only unaware that this may have anything to do with Covid vaccination but actually told by the government that it does not and cannot.
The cardiac wards are overflowing, but governments are not letting on. In the history of mass poisoning, there is no parallel in the world.
When Is a Crime Not a Crime?
When the government says so. This happens when the government and the medical profession not only cannot be held accountable for their actions but wilfully exploit this loophole to the full.
We have reached the apogee of the era of unaccountably disregarded consequences for which Ardern is the unapologetic international poster child.
Ardern’s Harvard speech reportedly generated emotional rapture. She received a standing ovation. What does that mean for our future and the future of the world?
Be safe, stand strong, and stick together.
P.S. We have recently launched a Weekly Digest – an email once a week that lists all the articles that Guy has published that week (article headline and a short description with a link to the full article). Use this link to subscribe to the Hatchard Report Weekly Digest
Jacinda appears with Stephen Colbert while Auckland is dealing with gun battles in Auckland 3 years after she took the guns off everyone except for
the criminal gangs.
Auckland gun crime: Public should ‘absolutely’ expect decrease – Minister
Police Minister Poto Williams has told Aucklanders they should “absolutely” expect a decrease in gun crime after gang attacks in recent days, and arrests have already been made.
Auckland has seen a spike in gun violence in recent days, with seven gun attacks on Tuesday night linked to gang tensions and another two shootings overnight on Wednesday.
National’s leader Christopher Luxon described them as among the most horrific New Zealand’s largest city had seen, saying it gave weight to the case for warrantless police search powers “to go after illegal guns, because illegal guns are what’s the problem here”.
Minister Williams was in Auckland this morning to announce $6m from the Proceeds of Crime Fund would be spent by police on installation of measures like bollards for retailers after a spike in ram raids.
She said police had already started to make arrests after this week’s shootings and the public should “absolutely” expect a decrease in this escalation in gun crime.
“That’s my assurance to the people of Auckland.”
She could not say to how many shootings could be expected over coming days and weeks, but “what I can speak to is conversations I’ve been having with police to say how deeply distressed I am that these are happening”.
Police were aware the tensions between the Killer Beez and Tribesmen gangs had been “simmering” for a while, she said, and were actively working across Auckland as well as Northland.
“It’s really unfortunate that this is playing out now across our city and Northland in this way, and I have expectations that the police will do their job not only to bring this to conclusion but they will be successful in the prosecutions that they take as well.”
She was confident police had the resources to get on top of the problem, helped by the government’s efforts to increase gun control measures after the terror attacks on Christchurch mosques in 2019 which she said had taken 10,000 weapons off the streets in three years.
Gun control has also been a hot topic for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is in the United States as part of a trade delegation.
Her visit has coincided with yet another school shooting in the US, the deadliest in a decade, with 19 primary school-aged children and two teachers shot dead in Texas.
American lawmakers including President Joe Biden are again under pressure to do something about gun laws, but that’s been tried before with little to show for it.
In New York yesterday, Ardern told The Late Show host Stephen Colbert, although New Zealand had made progress, the system was not perfect and there was still work to do.
She spent her morning in Washington DC today meeting with senators and representatives, and said her approach had been consistent with all of them.
“It’s not for me as the leader of a nation with different histories and experiences to tell other nations what they should or should not do, all I can do is reflect that New Zealand had its own horrific experience and that we made changes as a result.”
She repeated there was more work to be done on the issue in New Zealand however. One of the next steps is a gun register announced in 2019, but which will not be operational until next June.
Gun Control NZ co-founder Philippa Yasbek expected the register would help reduce gun crime in New Zealand.
“Once the register’s implemented we will see improvements, they won’t happen overnight but over time the number of firearms in the black market will definitely come down.”
The opposition has instead been pushing for greater police powers.
Along with Luxon’s call for warrantless searches, ACT spokesperson Nicole McKee – a former firearms owners’ spokesperson – put forward a member’s bill which would allow police to seize the assets of gang members found with an illegal gun.
It was voted down by the government last week.
“It was all there for the government and they rejected it, and in the last four days we’ve now had a total of 12 drive-by shootings in Auckland. It’s ridiculous – we’ve got to do something about this,” she said.
However, former minister National and police officer Chester Borrows, who now leads the government’s Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group, said there were smarter ways to increase police powers.
“I guess what a number of people are afraid of is, where increased powers are extended to the police they tend to be just the go-to default position, least line of resistance, rather than actually making sure that things are done in the correct way and in the way that we want it done within a civil society.”
He said the proposed register would be an easier way to investigate a shooting after it happened, but may not deter people from owning firearms.
This year’s Budget also set aside $208m over four years to establish a new Firearms Business Unit within police to oversee the register and other ongoing Arms Act legislative changes.
Here is her predecessor, Helen Clark
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has tested positive for COVID-19, the Ministry of Health says.
He is currently in Geneva, Switzerland for the World Health Assembly.
“Dr Bloomfield tested positive on Thursday and is now self-isolating in Geneva. This will mean a delay in his return to New Zealand. He is experiencing mild symptoms,” a Ministry of Health statement says.
“Dr Bloomfield was attending the Assembly with Health Minister Andrew Little, who left Geneva earlier this week. Both were following all appropriate health precautions.”