Daily Telegraph Editor Malcolm Dreaneen responds to blog post of David Farrier.
On Saturday 11 December I read a blog post by David Farrier entitled ‘Bad News: the anatomy of dodgy news’.
Ostensibly the article was supposed to be a hit-piece on me and my fledgling news website Daily Telegraph New Zealand.
Instead, all it did was expose Farrier as a mediocre racial profiler and hypocrite.
In addition to defaming me to his 175,000 Twitter followers (more on that later) he made a point of naming my father, who has nothing to do with Daily Telegraph. Worse, Farrier did this in the full knowledge my father had been in hospital for five days due to a serious medical condition. Knowing that Farrier might suspect I was fabricating an excuse to delay responding to his email, I immediately emailed to explain I was currently focused on my father’s rapidly worsening health – and even went so far as to provide him with my father’s name and the hospital for verification purposes.
Prior to Farrier publishing his blog post we exchanged additional emails. In cherry-picking sections from those communications, Farrier deliberately left out others that provided important context. His intention was to mislead his readers into believing I was a certain type of person, namely the media’s stereotypical ‘anti-vaxxer’ and far right nutter. Farrier’s selective editing is clear to see from the exchange published in full at the end of this article. Readers can see I went to some lengths to explain the dangers of labelling me an ‘anti-vaxxer’.
Ignoring this, he instead subjected me to a disgusting and bigoted process of racial profiling.
If you’re a person of colour like I am, or an ethnic minority, you should be outraged. Farrier identifies as bisexual, and should know about prejudice, bigotry and the dangers of stereotyping people. But that’s exactly what he subjected me to. In public.
His fatal mistake was to assume I’m an old, white, conservative, redneck, Trumper-dude.
If he’d done his research he would know I am Polynesian – a Tongan.
You see Farrier assumed from my name that I am white. His false assumption is based on a racist view that Pacific Islanders can’t possibly have ‘European’ names, they can only have ‘coconut’ names.
That Farrier intended the issue to become one of race is undeniable. Look no further than his use of an ‘old white dude’ photo, attributed directly to the ‘Daily Telegraph NZ’s YouTube channel’. The Alt Tag for that image reads ‘A white man with a face that you’d sort of expect as this point.’
Sprinkled throughout his post are references to QAnon and Alex Jones – far-right Trumper conspiracy havens. As a mainstream shill, his intention is to reinforce the media’s narrative that because I dissent, I am therefore an ‘anti-vaxxer’, a white far-right nutter who watches Alex Jones and reads QAnon.
Before publishing his hit piece, my email proves that Farrier was fully aware I have been a Labour supporter all my life and, in most respects, supported Jacinda Ardern.
He also ignored my advice to consult a lawyer before publishing. Likewise my warning not to use the term ‘anti-vax’ – a term the legacy media increasingly ‘charge’ with racial connotations, each time a Trump flag is waved at a demonstration.
Farrier’s assumption that I was a white Trumper reveals what he really thinks about men of colour. He assumes we are unintelligent sheep, too stupid to think for ourselves, and will blindly follow what the government tells us to do. It insinuates that men of colour don’t have the necessary skills or intelligence to develop and operate a successful news website. Not only is this incredibility insulting it is reminiscent of a time, a generation ago, when Pacific Islanders were the subject of systemic racism, redressed only recently by the New Zealand government’s Dawn Raid apology.
Back to the white male photo he used, Farrier referenced my ‘YouTube channel’ of ‘two million followers’ and captioned the image: ‘A screenshot of one of Daily Telegraph NZ’s YouTube videos.’
There’s a small problem with this. I’ve never had a YouTube channel. Nor does Daily Telegraph NZ have one. I don’t know who operates those channels, and neither I nor Daily Telegraph have any connection with them.
He said there were ‘zero names’ behind Daily Telegraph. While that was true when Farrier first contacted me, I updated the ‘About’ page on Thursday 9 December at 9.43pm (two days before his post) to include my name. This meant that claim was false at the time he published his blog. As you will see in the full emails, my father’s worsening health meant I had good reason to withhold personal details.
I don’t know about you, readers, but I’d be interested to hear what you think in the comments – if I was doing a hit-piece on someone, and I knew their father was gravely ill in hospital and possibly on their deathbed, I would hold off for a while out of respect for the ill and dying. If our roles were reversed, I know I would have sent Farrier an email along the lines of ‘Hope he gets better.’
If nothing else comes from me writing this, it is to expose Farrier as the sort of person who knowingly attacked someone he’d never met (me), in the full knowledge that person’s father lay near death in hospital.
Farrier incorrectly stated my father owned the Daily Telegraph website (on Twitter), and the effect of this has been devastating. Just hours before Farrier published his post, Dad was diagnosed with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. This followed weeks of suffering excruciating, unexplained pain that arose immediately after he had his second Pfizer jab.
So thanks David, for deliberately and maliciously causing my father additional unnecessary suffering.
The damage also extends to threatening and entirely unwarranted comments from trolls made about my father on Daily Telegraph, which couldn’t be deleted for five days until a site-wide upgrade was complete. And there’s the huge cost to Dad’s reputation with likely flow-on damage for his business as hundreds of people suddenly check out who he is on LinkedIn – again, matters I took time to explain to Farrier in my emails with him.
His post claims the dailytelegraph.co.nz domain name ‘points’ to a company called Monotapu Marketing Limited, which in turn points to a man named ‘Malcolm Joseph Dreaneen’. This is false. The company was closed down and removed from the Companies Register in 2018. To my knowledge, ‘Malcolm Joseph Dreaneen’ doesn’t exist. The domain name is mine, as I explained to Farrier in my email.
There are two versions of Farrier’s post – one that he tweeted out and which was included in the Twitter card image, and one that he posted on his blog. The one he tweeted has my Dad’s name on it, while the one he posted has my name on it. It was another amateurish mistake, but the damage has been done. The Twitter card image, which is still up five days after his post, is visible to all his followers and any member of the public who visits his Twitter feed, and those who have received retweets.
So far, I have established that Farrier:
- Falsely claimed that I had a YouTube channel with two million followers.
- Falsely claimed that Daily Telegraph NZ has a YouTube channel.
- Falsely claimed that an image of a white male was from a Daily Telegraph NZ YouTube video.
- Falsely claimed that there were ‘zero’ people behind Daily Telegraph at the time he published his hit-piece.
- Claimed that Daily Telegraph was related to a fictitious company called Monotapu Marketing Ltd, whose director was a fictitious person named ‘Malcolm Joseph Dreaneen’.
- Subjected me to racial profiling in which my cultural identity was portrayed falsely.
- Wrongfully named and tweeted my gravely ill father’s name, hours after his cancer diagnosis.
These lies are serious. I warned Farrier twice that he should seek legal advice before publishing. He called them ‘vague legal threats’. But they weren’t vague at all – in fact I told him what to do – just take my email with his proposed blog post and give them to a lawyer to read first. Pretty simple really. I was actually trying to help him but instead he mocked it, just for some ‘likes’ and ‘shares’.
Quite apart from the issue of defamation (of both myself and my father), there are also criminal issues of digital harm in respect of my father, compliance with Twitter’s user policies and likely other legal implications.
What a train-wreck. And he accuses Daily Telegraph of spreading fake news and conspiracy theories!
This brings me to my final point.
Farrier’s Masterpiece of Muppetry ends with an analysis of a recent case of fake news spreading on Twitter in respect of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. Farrier states, ‘Daily Telegraph plays into this type of thinking because they know it’ll lead to likes and shares.’
Having baselessly accused Daily Telegraph of this, he then proceeds to do exactly that – tweet out a blog post containing multiple falsehoods just to get shares and likes. Hypocrisy.
The difference however is that the Maxwell tweet was about media coverage of the trial and was victimless. Unfortunately, Farrier’s one wasn’t.
Full Text of Farrier Emails
I received one email from Farrier, and I sent him two.
Email received from Farrier, 08/12/21 @ 17.02:
I am working on a story about your disinformation site DailyTelegraph.co.nz – I will be naming you and what you do – and wanting to know if you had any comment to add on what you are doing.
Email to Farrier, 08/12/21 @ 23.07:
thanks for your email. I hardly check this email account, so would be grateful if you could send me future correspondence to email@example.com. Yes I would like to provide comment, but ask for a little bit of time. My father is currently in North Shore hospital for ongoing complications following his 2nd Pfizer jab, and has been for the last 3 days. His name is Michael Dreaneen and you can confirm this if needed. I look forward to continuing this conversation soon, and will reply to you shortly.
Email to Farrier, 09/12/21 @ 7.06pm:
first things first.
In your ‘hit-piece’ please don’t refer to me as an ‘anti-vaxxer’. I am pro-vaccine. I am fully immunised. My son, who turns two next week is fully immunised (about 20 injections already in his short life). I gladly took a tetanus boost the last time I travelled overseas on doctor’s orders. I have no problem with people taking the mRNA injection for COVID if they choose to, with proper informed consent.
I don’t have a problem wearing masks, maintaining the bubble, social distancing, scanning QR codes. I don’t even have a problem with proposed digital central currency, Three Waters, or a Chinese social credit system for NZ and all the other things the government has rushed through parliament the last few weeks that has caused many to speak out. I have voted Labour all my life, but never again. In fact I convinced my family, all National supporters, to vote for Jacinda because I told them she would make New Zealand a better place. You can imagine I’m getting a bit of a ribbing for that now.
All I am is an ‘anti-MRNA mandate’, and it would be accurate to refer to me as such in your hit-piece.
Nor would it be accurate to label Daily Telegraph an ‘anti-vax’ or ‘anti-vaxxer’ website. There is no article on the website which is against or discourages the use of any of the vaccines on the current NZ Childhood Immunisation Schedule, or that has been authorised for use in the normal manner, outside of Emergency regulations.
Daily Telegraph contains some anti-MRNA mandate material, but not exclusively. If you look you will find some articles that are of this nature, albeit at small number, but I have also published a number of government press releases on COVID. It’s far more balance than what MSM gives to alternative viewpoints and experts.
My lawyers and I would take a very dim view of any label of ‘anti-vax’ or ‘anti-vaxxer’ being applied to myself personally or to the website, especially after you have just been notified of the above.
That is not to say some users of Daily Telegraph may be ‘hardcore anti-vaxxers’, some may also be pro-vaccine and anti-mRNA mandate. There’s no way to tell the proportion/split. I am sure on a daily basis all other news websites have visitors that are ‘hardcore anti-vaxxers’.
No comments are deleted – Daily Telegraph welcomes free speech and all points of view. You will find commenters on both sides of the argument of any story in the comments section of articles.
2. Naming me
In your initial email you said you will be ‘naming me’. If you think that intimidates me, or that I want to keep my name secret or anonymous, you are mistaken.
I would have gladly put my name to the website from the beginning, and you need to understand a little context as to why that has not happened.
I work for a family business my father has built up over 30 years. The PM’s mandates have, like many others, split our family down the middle. Both my parents are double-jabbed. My brother and I have not been jabbed.
I have owned the domain name ‘dailytelegraph.co.nz’ on and off for many years, and toyed with the idea of starting an independent news website, long before COVID. The appearance of the COVID crisis has brought that idea back into focus. When Jacinda Ardern mandated the mRNA injection despite promising many times previously that no one would suffer any consequences for refusing to take it, that was the last straw for me. When I told my father that I wanted to start a news website, after a few days thinking about it, he was supportive but concerned that this would negatively affect his business because about 80% of the work for him is government contracts, with obvious flow-on effects for his post-jab health. He asked me not to put my name to it at this stage, and we’ll talk further about it in the new year, after he got better (we hoped). You see, my father’s health deteriorated rapidly the day he received his second jab. After waiting weeks in pain for various tests and scans, he was admitted to hospital for the last three days. We are waiting for various test results. Today is his fourth day in hospital. The outlook is bleak, but we remain hopeful.
The fact my dad asked me not to put my name to the website for now is indicative of the climate of fear in our country, that people feel they cannot speak out freely about issues important to them without fear of repercussions for them, their business or family. The fear has infected even those (ie. my father), who don’t speak out and follow the government’s advice.
I published Daily Telegraph for the first time in late October. The aim was to just slowly build content ‘under the radar’ while my connection with the family business could be sorted according to the wishes of my father. I could never have predicted the web site would have got so big so fast. From zero to 60,000 visitors a day in the space of 7 weeks. No one could have predicted that.
With numbers like that I knew legacy media would start to attack me and the website, so receiving your email was entirely predictable, and ‘on cue’.
I am sure the future of journalism will see the rise of ‘citizenry’ journalists and outlets, independent of the mainstream. The phenomenon has started and gaining traction overseas, and has yet to have a real impact here, but that’s the way it’s going to go. Whether it will replace legacy mainstream media entirely is unlikely, who knows. But the space will have new players in the months/years to come, whether Daily Telegraph or others, and I know that does not sit comfortably with your bosses who want to control all information the public receives, and be paid handsomely for it.
What Daily Telegraph shows is that a small group of dedicated citizens with laptops and internet connections can easily do your job and create similar engaging content to that of the Herald or Stuff, and command audiences bigger than companies with enormous resources, powerful connections and money. No wonder your bosses have ordered a hit job on me.
Disinformation is a subjective term. What you believe is disinformation may not be what another person believes is disinformation. You could get 100 scientists and doctors to back up Ashley Bloomfield, while I could get 100 that would disagree with him.
The crux of the ‘disinformation’ issue is that the media are not doing their job properly. They are not abiding by their own Code of Ethics to provide balanced and fair reporting. If they had, websites like Daily Telegraph would not exist. It’s a basic issue that mainstream media are not or refusing to acknowledge and accept.
The fact I can make such an immediate impact, with no Facebook, with Google censorship and suppression, with zero followers on Twitter and Telegram, from a laptop in my lounge, is proof that there’s something seriously wrong with the way the legacy mainstream media operates and reports.
Here’s my take on these problems. The media are not holding power to account. They are silencing and ridiculing dissent, even the scientific dissent. They are not being fair or balanced in reporting important issues. Basic, balanced and fair investigations into such matters as testing contamination and efficacy, accuracy of numbers, accuracy of reported deaths, adverse reactions, alleged deaths from the mRNA injection, providing a voice for those who have suffered as a result of the mRNA injection and mandates are not being done. This is not me telling you what to do, it’s what is expected in your own Media Council Code of Ethics.
As to the site content for Daily Telegraph: 80% is syndicated word for word from RT News or Sputnik News. 10% is expert opinion from doctors, scientists, psychologists – you can read their names and qualifications. 5% is simply transcriptions of video or tweets from YouTube, Telegram or Twitter publicly available and presumably published in accordance with the terms and conditions of those platforms. I accept there will be borderline articles and headlines, as with any news organisation. Comments are free and open for readers to put the record straight, as many have done. I assume you will focus on this small number of articles, ignoring the 95+% other articles.
It’s not as if MSM don’t publish disinformation on major issues, such as China, geopolitics, Russia, or any country which doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the West. One example for instance: the Accusation of chemical gas attack in Douma against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. For weeks MSM claimed Assad was responsible for the chemical attack, with videos and photos. We now know the OPCW investigative process was corrupted, and the findings widely reported in MSM for weeks, if not months, were untrue, see: https://thegrayzone.com/tag/opcw/. To my knowledge no media outlet in NZ has published a retraction to that fake news.
Or how about the MSM reporting the successful assassination of a key ISIS figure in Afghanistan recently, only to learn later they had actually killed an innocent man and 7 children? Even with your resources and staff you spread inaccurate news, so don’t expect Daily Telegraph to be perfect either.
The media also are doing a disservice by engaging in ‘disinformation by omission’. Last week the Lancet, the world’s most authoritative medical publication concluded that treating vaccinated and unvaccinated differently for public health purposes was ‘grossly negligent’. In other words, vaccine passports, mandates, banning of unvaccinated etc is a complete and utter dereliction of duty, see: https://dailytelegraph.co.nz/news/mass-vaccination-fails-to-halt-covid-transmission-rates-the-lancet-2/ (and sources linked there).
This should have been front page news in New Zealand. It should not fall upon websites like Daily Telegraph, to disseminate this critical information.
I accept, given the constraints on time to fact check, there will be some stories on Daily Telegraph, and indeed the Herald and Stuff that may not be accurate, or are later proved to be incorrect. If there are any stories in particular you’d like to take issue with me on this point, please point them out. I’m happy to consider, retract or amend.
In closing I look forward to new visitors arriving to Daily Telegraph as a result of your hit piece. They will see with their own eyes a refreshing, different perspective on such topical subjects as American politics, the Jeffrey Epstein trial, Venezuela, UK politics, the Chinese moon landings space programme, cryptocurrency and a whole host of other topics the site provides information on. I know from the many hundreds of messages and emails I have received over the last two weeks and other analytics, that I have the support of a great many New Zealanders from all walks of life. That gives me immense strength and determination.
I do advise you have your lawyers check any article you write about me or Daily Telegraph, together with this email. Any whiff of a defamatory, unsubstantiated or misleading comment will be actioned. I spent 13 years as a litigator and miss the ‘argey bargey’ of the bar from time to time.