New Zealand’s ‘Russian Edits Scandal’ — How a National Broadcaster Demonized the Truth

Mick Hall tells the wrenching tale of Radio New Zealand accusing him of spreading Russian propaganda while he documented facts on the Ukraine crisis in his work for the broadcaster.

Radio New Zealand House, Wellington. (Dabbelju, Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

By Mick Hall
in Whangarei, New Zealand
Special to Consortium News

In this tumultuous time of war and global conflict, where pervasive propaganda campaigns mask geopolitical machinations of the powerful and serve their interests, mainstream journalists’ ability to counter these campaigns have never been more limited.

Gone are the days when John Pilger was able to have a story attacking George W. Bush and Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq on the front page of the British tabloid, the Daily Mirror.

We live in a time of state surveillance and creeping restrictions on freedom of speech, where whistleblowers are criminalised and publishers like Julian Assange face persecution and life imprisonment.

Self-censorship is strictly adhered to by media outlets as narratives are shaped by a technocratic elite. Mainstream stories are packaged with a kind of hermeneutic seal, keeping out vital context that would allow readers to interpret the meaning of events happening in the world.

Yet so much is currently taking place of profound importance that the public needs to know about. For those of us living in New Zealand and the wider Pacific region, these matters include the potential of being caught up in a proxy war with China at the behest of its peer rival, the United States, with all the horror that would involve.

‘Rules-Based’ Domination

For a long time, the U.S. has dominated the global economy using its petrodollar, instruments of economic coercion like sanctions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, as well as C.I.A. interference in nations’ internal affairs, including the fermentation of opposition groups and violent coups.

As a last resort, it has exercised raw military might, invading countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, or directed its will through NATO, bombing Serbia and Libya in the interests of its corporate state.

Contemporary history shows at the core of its so-called “rules-based international order” lies a very destructive neo-colonial system of domination, one that pays lip service to democratic values and institutions only when corporate schemes for profit are not being threatened.

It is in the interests of democratic participation and accountability that citizens of countries aligned with U.S. power understand this, so they can hold their governments to account for foreign policy positions.

They should also understand that this unipolar power, exercised by the U.S. since the fall of the Soviet Union, is being challenged by an emerging multipolarity, particularly through the growing strength of trading bloc BRICS.

BRICS’ New Development Bank headquarters in Shanghai. (Donnie28, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Nations are breaking free from the U.S.-dominated global system, trading in their own currencies, and seeking greater economic sovereignty to avoid sanctions, the predatory practices of Western financial institutions. BRICS leaders have stated an intent to build an alternative, more equitable and just global framework for trade and co-operation.

Current U.S. foreign policy strategies that push proxy war as a means of ‘containing’ those nations leading this charge towards multipolarity, namely Russia and China, pose an unprecedented danger of nuclear exchange and the annihilation of life on Earth.

Within Western mainstream media, striving to present a contextual framework for world news stories that reflect these overarching realities is an onerous task and one fraught with risk. I’m very much aware of the price journalists face for attempting to do so.

In June, I was publicly cast as a Russian propagandist by my employer Radio New Zealand (RNZ) and thrown to the wolves over my subediting of a Reuters story on the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine.

The gross mischaracterisation created a scandal and widespread hysteria amid speculation that the national broadcaster — New Zealand’s most trusted source of news — had been infiltrated by a Russian agent. It led to weeks of intense national and international media coverage. It also left me jobless, with a 20-year career in tatters. Others around the world are being smeared in a similar fashion.

Edits ‘Pro-Kremlin Garbage’

I had worked on the RNZ digital team since September 2018. Part of my job involved selecting and processing news stories from international wires for website publication. I had approached such copy critically, finding that Reuters copy on occasions blatantly leaned towards a U.S. State Department position, while BBC copy reflected a U.K. government bias.

In both cases it led to unbalanced and distorted stories. Addressing political or cultural bias usually involved deleting or reframing the paragraph that carried it, or adding counter-factual context to achieve greater balance.

Reuters building entrance in New York City, 2007. (Eternalsleeper and Broadbeer, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

As the Ukraine war kicked off, instances of such bias and imbalance increased, as did what I saw as a journalistic duty to remove it.

On June 8 a story on the Russian-Ukraine conflict I had subedited and then published was flagged on Twitter by New York-based lawyer and media commentator Luppe B. Luppen. He claimed it presented a propagandised version of events during the Maidan protests of 2014 and contacted Reuters.

The original paragraph had read:

“The conflict in eastern Ukraine began in 2014 after a pro-Russian president was toppled in Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution and Russia annexed Crimea, with Russian-backed separatist forces fighting Ukraine’s armed forces.”

The edited version instead stated:

“The conflict in Ukraine began in 2014 after a pro-Russian elected government was toppled during Ukraine’s violent Maidan colour revolution. Russia annexed Crimea after a referendum, as the new pro-Western government suppressed ethnic Russians in eastern and southern Ukraine, sending in its armed forces to the Donbas.”

When adding references in news copy to the Maidan coup that ousted the then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, I would have usually attributed the position to Russia as a matter of prudence. On this occasion, I didn’t. Leaving in the Reuters reporter’s byline didn’t help my case and it would be used to push the false idea my editing was surreptitious ‘tampering’, even though this was an isolated error.

My immediate boss approached me after Reuters sent an email to RNZ pointing to a breach of contract over the edited story. She emphasised the matter was “really, really serious” as I’d changed the intended meaning of the story. I took responsibility for the changes and accepted paid leave while an investigation took place, alongside the implementation of an external strategy to minimise reputational damage to the company.

In my mind, I was guilty of procedural errors and believed I may be looking at a verbal or written warning after explaining to furious bosses the reasons for the copy edits. Instead, that evening an audit of my work spanning five years was launched after RNZ informed the public it was investigating how “Russian propaganda” had been inserted into its international wires online content.

The late U.S. Sen. John McCain addressing crowds in Maidan square, Kiev, Dec. 15, 2013. (Mr.Rosewater, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

In framing the matter this way, the RNZ leadership maximised reputational damage to its organisation, as well as to myself. International coverage of the unfolding “Russian edits scandal” really took off after RNZ CEO Paul Thompson increased the maelstrom by calling the edits “pro-Kremlin garbage.”

A Political Show Trial

The broadcaster began publishing a list of other stories it found “inappropriately” edited and in breach of its editorial standards.

Three days after being put on leave, the audit had identified 16 stories of concern, prompting right-wing politicians to demand a government inquiry. Instead, the RNZ board of directors set up an independent review panel to determine what had gone wrong, re-establish public trust and ensure such “breaches” could never happen again.

The active audit was published at the top of the RNZ website, ostensibly to reassure the public and demonstrate transparency. It in effect became a type of political show trial. I felt the pressure every time it was updated with new stories, complete with editorial notes at the bottom of each. But the audit also betrayed where RNZ management stood ideologically — firmly and explicitly behind a skewed Anglo-American worldview.

It would eventually flag 49 world news stories out of a total of 1319 world stories checked. Less than half relating to Russia and Ukraine. The audit demonstrated that, when it came to Palestinian rights, class struggles and coups in Latin America, U.S. provocations against China involving Taiwan, Julian Assange’s plight, and even U.K. workers’ right to strike, no deviation from U.S. State Department or Westminster positions would be tolerated.

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My own original stories were also put under the microscope. In July 2022 I’d written a story “NZ entering Ukraine conflict ‘at whim of govt’ – former Labour general-secretary,” featuring ex-senior politicians, who said the New Zealand government was risking nuclear catastrophe by giving material support to the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine at the expense of diplomacy.

It was removed from the website and screened for Russian bias, before being republished without a byline and with a note incorrectly telling readers an earlier version of the story had lacked balance.


Amid public scrutiny, which also included disinformation experts being invited on national media platforms to comment on foreign interference in relation to my work, as well as online threats and speculation over my motives, I resigned.

Coming to terms with the loss of a job with a young family was one thing. The circumstances of the loss was causing much more immediate anxiety.

With New Zealand part of the Five Eyes Western intelligence apparatus, I expected the security services would be knocking on my door. Isolated and feeling vulnerable, I began to catastrophize, believing there was a chance I could be removed from the country and estranged from my Kiwi children. As an Irish national I had resided in the country since 2009.

In times of crisis, I’d always prayed for help and this time was no exception.

Rendering of the “Five Eyes” intelligence network that includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., the U.S. (@GDJ, Openclipart)

People Begin Rallying

I stopped reading media reports as the toxic groupthink of my former colleagues became too taxing to process. I also ignored media requests. Instead, my energy went into writing up a 14,000-word substantive statement as part of plans to meet with the review panel, which was now seeking to interview RNZ staff, as well as myself.

As I did so, light began breaking through the darkness. People who understood what was going on began to reach out. A reformed Ukrainian nationalist got in contact and offered to assist, thankful for what he said I had helped point to — the plight of his fellow countrymen who were being cynically used, many unwillingly, as cannon fodder to forward U.S. strategic interests.

Award-winning cartoonist Malcolm Evans, an outspoken critic of Israel’s occupation of Palestine who had himself been ousted from The New Zealand Herald decades before, suggested I ring lawyer Deborah Manning. I did so. The power differential between RNZ and myself troubled Manning enough that she offered to guide me through the inquiry process, alongside her colleague Simon Lamain, on a pro-bono basis.

Manning had gained a high public profile after her prolonged, but successful battle against the imprisonment and persecution of Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui after he arrived in New Zealand in 2002, accused by intelligence agencies of being a terrorist.

She also represented Afghan villagers during a 2019 government inquiry following a raid by members of New Zealand’s special forces in 2010 that left five dead and 15 wounded. Manning had proven herself a formidable advocate.

My sense of isolation lessened further after a supportive call from investigative journalist Nicky Hager, co-author of Hit & Run, a book detailing that NZ Special Air Service (SAS) Afghan operation. He assured me time would attest to the fact that RNZ had called it wrong.

Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs and University of Chicago Professor John J Mearsheimer, alongside other highly regarded scholars and political scientists, agreed to write letters of support to the review panel. Both men took a keen interest in the unfolding drama.

In his letter to the review panel, Sachs wrote:

“It may be that the RNZ leadership is simply trying to keep in step with official U.S. and U.K. policies, rather than to help its readers and listeners to understand the dramatic events of our time…

The claim that the edits are pro-Russian propaganda is nonsense. The edits add depth of historical context and understanding, and open minds to a deeper inquiry.”

Commenting on various elements of context I’d added to the Ukraine stories, Mearsheimer wrote:

“I think that his characterization of the Azov battalion and how it was portrayed in the West before the recent war is correct. I think his views on how Russian leaders thought about NATO enlargement and how that helped cause the war is correct. I think his identification of American involvement in the events on the Maidan and his description of it as both a color revolution and a coup is correct…

Someday, historians are going to look back at this period in amazement, wondering how the West allowed itself to engage in such an all-encompassing and vicious propaganda campaign – that is so at odds with the truth as well as liberal values. Hopefully, RNZ will correct its mistake with Mr. Hall, so those historians do not point to this incident as prime evidence of how the West lost its mind.”

Facing the Panel

Buoyed by the fact I was in good company I prepared to meet the review panel, my statement outlining the circumstances of the wires copy editing now completed.

Seated inside the ground floor of a soulless, nondescript corporate hotel in central Auckland, I nervously scanned the faces of those descending the staircase to the cold marble foyer next to our lounges, where immigrant staff served coffee, hoping to identify the person I thought might bring the group of three to the inquiry’s interview room.

Manning stood up as Willie Akel, a media law expert and the panel chairman, suddenly appeared a few metres away, greeting us with a smile and handshakes. A tall, studious-looking man in his early 60s, Akel had a history of battling for corporate media freedoms. He would be the most personable of the panel, yet the most importunate during intense cross-examinations that would take place over two days.

It became clear from my initial meeting with the three-person panel that I would not convince them that all my Russia-Ukraine edits were accurate or appropriate.

The panel did not intend to assess all stories flagged by RNZ but wanted to look at a sample to establish that inappropriate editing had indeed taken place. In my view, exchanges that followed pointed to an inability to discuss the Ukraine conflict without deference to Western orthodoxies, an implicit bias that trumped empirical evidence.

One story discussed was “UN again trying to evacuate civilians from Ukraine’s Mariupol,” published on May 6, 2022. It included a comment from an Azov Regiment commander, after which I had added: “The Azov Battalion was widely regarded before the Russian invasion by Western media as a neo-Nazi military unit.” [Related: ROBERT PARRY: When Western Media Saw Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis]

A march of Azov veterans and supporters in Kiev, 2019. (Goo3, Wikimedia Commons)

A panel member argued it had been inappropriate to add the line without also giving further balancing context, namely, that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had brought the Azov private militia into Ukraine’s regular army and in doing so had “reigned” the group in.

I pointed out that even Reuter’s own commentator Josh Cohen had said Azov’s inclusion within Ukraine’s interior ministry did not necessarily mean this and that the group continued to push its neo-Nazi ideology through non-profit activities and children’s camps.

In its subsequent report, the panel found the line’s “uncritical and unexplained inclusion” had unbalanced the story without attribution to Russia and more balancing context added. It noted a “contested and complex debate about the origins of the battalion some years earlier and the extent to which they were and still are influenced by neo-Nazi elements.”

It remains unclear why the panel believed the line needed to be attributed to Russia, while offering a Ukrainian counter position would have only amounted to adding false balance, in the absence of any real evidence Azov had renounced its fascism.

One-sided, Politically Coloured and Unbalanced’

The panel’s main scrutiny was directed at reporting, as uncontested fact, the Maidan events as a U.S.-backed coup that had sparked a civil war and had led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea after a referendum.

I argued that, although I had not attributed this context to the Russian position – alongside Reuter’s ‘Maidan Revolution’ U.S.-aligned narrative which I had instead removed – in mitigation the paragraph did not contain misinformation. It contained key historical antecedents to the Russian invasion.

Yanukovych was removed from office by a Parliamentary vote that the Ukrainian constitution did not allow, a move backed by the U.S. He had in any case already left Kiev the day before amid violence and threat of arrest, or worse.

The panel continued to listen intently, but with palpable scepticism, as I mentioned the intercepted phone conversion [LISTEN] between the State Department’s Victoria Nuland and diplomat Geoffrey Pyatt, where the two U.S. officials discuss who should make up the next administration, several weeks before Yanukovych was driven from power.

Oct. 8, 2014: Pyatt and Nuland at a Ukrainian State Border Guard Service Base in Kiev. (U.S. Embassy Kyiv, Flickr)

I referred to academic Ivan Katchanoski’s Revelations from Ukraine’s Maidan Massacre Trial and Investigation and Ukraine-Russia War Origins, a peer-reviewed study that presented compelling evidence snipers positioned in hotels controlled by far-right groups killed dozens of protesters and police during a false flag operation at Maidan Square, putting pressure on Yanukovych after he was accused of ordering the shootings.

[Related: The Buried Maidan Massacre and Its Misrepresentation by the West]

None of it mattered much. In its report, the panel found the edits to the June 8 story flagged by the New York commentator were “one-sided, politically coloured and unbalanced.” The finding came as no surprise.

I maintain this instead accurately describes Reuter’s original copy, not the version I edited. The logic used by the panel seemed to dictate that anything contested by the Western powers cannot be stated as fact, regardless of the evidence.

Inquiry Scathing of RNZ for Causing Alarm

On the other hand, the panel did show commendable fairness. It found many of the stories flagged by RNZ’s audit had not been edited inappropriately. It also took on board my reasons for not “referring up” to management when making the edits – that my managers lacked expertise in world news and that I had been siloed in a dysfunctional editorial system. They were scathing of the organisation’s structural inadequacies.

The report found no evidence I set out to introduce misinformation or disinformation, “never mind run a Russian propaganda campaign.” It was also highly critical of RNZ management for alarming the public. It found language used by the broadcaster “unhelpful in maintaining public trust” in that “listeners and others may have believed the editing had been a deliberate and orchestrated exercise in propaganda.”

The report stated: “We consider that had RNZ’s own language about the incident been more restrained, the resulting coverage might have been too.”

In response, RNZ board chairman Jim Mathers promised to implement its recommendations, which included a major restructure, improved editorial systems and the establishment of an editorial “standards” enforcer.

There were signs that RNZ was not happy with the findings over my editing. Its flagship programme Morning Report wheeled out a belligerent mainstream media figure to reassert the discredited view the edits were in fact pro-Kremlin garbage, while an RNZ manager falsely reported that the review panel had “said the ‘rogue actor’ would not have gotten away with it had RNZ’s systems and oversights been up to scratch”. The report explicitly rejected the suggestion I was a “rogue actor.”

Frightened, Compliant Censorship’

The panel’s inquiry gave me some closure, while putting to bed New Zealand’s fears of Russian disinformation. I was thankful for that.

But it did not address the deeper systemic malaise within RNZ and the wider corporate media ‘eco-system’. Although it questioned the veracity of the RNZ’s audit, it did not see it for what it was. That was left to veteran journalist John Pilger, who called it “frightened, compliant censorship.” That assessment was echoed by others, including Joe Lauria at Consortium News and Max Blumenthal at The Grayzone.

Should we expect it any other way, given the societal role critics like Noam Chomsky assign to media – a place where stenographers to power, gatekeepers of what can be considered reasonable discourse, shape public opinion?

My attitude had always been at the very least that we should be held to our promise of balance, fairness and accuracy and be pushed to express a preferential option for peace and justice in international news reporting. I believed approaching international news copy critically to address potential issues of bias and accuracy to be an integral part of the editorial process at any public news service.

Unfortunately, the review panel’s position seemed to align with RNZ’s view stated during the inquiry process – that international wire copy should be treated as sacrosanct.

Yet, when Associated Press journalist James La Porta last November used an unnamed “senior U.S. intelligence official” to falsely point the finger at Russia after a Ukrainian rocket crossed into NATO country Poland killing two people, he demonstrated the dangers of this position. There are numerous other examples.

Just because a story is written and edited within a well-resourced, professional international news organisation does not mean it is accurate or balanced, particularly as war rages and that organisation’s country is a party to it.

RNZ’s new editorial standards enforcer will presumably oversee an uncritical publication of this copy, conflating editorial standards with narrative control. In my view, it will not be to benefit a public that RNZ’s charter states the broadcaster is duty-bound to supply with “comprehensive, independent, accurate, impartial, and balanced regional, national and international news and current affairs.”

Most seriously, this position will not benefit informed, much-needed debate about the supposed ‘threat’ of China, as the spectre of proxy war looms ever more clearly over Asia-Pacific.

In the words of imprisoned publisher and journalist Julian Assange, if wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by the truth. It is incumbent on journalists that they get this truth out and that wider society offers them support and protection to do so.

However, given the structural restraints on journalists and the apparent chill factor around questioning narratives of power at present, it will remain difficult to do so within New Zealand’s mainstream media.

Mick Hall is an independent journalist based in New Zealand. He is a former digital journalist at Radio New Zealand (RNZ) and former Australian Associated Press (AAP) staffer, having also written investigative stories for various newspapers, including the New Zealand Herald.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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46 comments for “New Zealand’s ‘Russian Edits Scandal’ — How a National Broadcaster Demonized the Truth

  1. Philip Reed
    October 9, 2023 at 12:31

    Attention all Kiwis here….Aotearoa? Please help this poor Canadian with the origins and meaning of this self description.
    Thanks in advance.

    • D'Esterre
      October 9, 2023 at 21:10

      Philip Reed: it’s New Zealand (NZ) still. The word “Aotearoa” means – more or less – “land of the long white cloud”. It’s attributed to the early Polynesian explorer Kupe, who is believed to have discovered this country. The first settlers were Polynesians: settlement dates from the 14th century or thereabouts. This is backed up by archaeological evidence.

      Pre-European Maori had no word for NZ as a whole: the North Island was “te Ika a Maui” (Maui’s fish, a reference to a creation myth), while the South Island was “te Wai Pounamu” (the river of greenstone, which is to be found in abundance in parts of the island). When “Aotearoa” was used by the indigenes, it referred only to the North Island, or perhaps even more specifically, to Great Barrier Island (the Barrier, as it’s popularly known locally). That’s what I was taught by my Maori teacher, when I learned the Maori language in the 1970s.

      Beginning in about the 1990s, “Aotearoa” began to be more widely used by some Maori. It has also been pushed along by public service agencies, governments and organisations adopting it for the Maori version of their names. Though it’s worth noting that RNZ hasn’t yet changed its name. This may be because it isn’t happy with the resulting acronym. Or because it knows that its audience would object.

      Many years ago, I had no objection to the name change, or its adoption in the double-barrelled “Aotearoa/New Zealand. Now, however, it comes freighted with an unwelcome and unwanted dose of ethno-nationalism: an aspect of fascism, as I’m sure many people here are aware.

      Speaking personally, I’m nowadays sticking with “New Zealand”.

  2. vinnieoh
    October 9, 2023 at 11:01

    No wonder the wealthy west wants to retire to NZ:

    “Where seldom is heard
    A discouraging word
    And the skies are not cloudy all day”

    Home, home for deranged…

  3. Tony
    October 9, 2023 at 08:17

    Similarly, attempts were made to oust Thomas Noguchi from his role as L A Coroner for stating that Robert Kennedy had actually been shot from behind and at very close range. This contradicted the official narrative that Sirhan Sirhan was the assassin.

    Noguchi managed, eventually, to win but Sirhan remains in prison despite his innocence.

  4. Rudy Haugeneder
    October 9, 2023 at 01:59

    I fully understand. It is so sad and, unfortunately, getting worse with even once somewhat okay news outfits like Al Jazeera now getting worse by the moment. Fortunately, in the latter case, Middle East Eye offers good balance to counter often horrid journalism. CN does so in America and Canada, as does the Real News Network, among a slowly growing list of alternative news organizations that promote information balance, but which still have very little impact among the public that, generally speaking, doesn’t care about what is truly happening. Sad.

  5. Realist
    October 9, 2023 at 01:49

    I think that the Bill of Rights under our American constitution has become adequately corrupted over the years to justify a major re-write. I suggest, in the interests of accuracy, the following statements be incorporated into the document so no one can say they feel defrauded by their government.

    I especially don’t want the citizenry to miss any of these critical features:

    1. Corporations are people will all the rights and privileges of voting citizens but none of the responsibilities.

    2. Money is free speech. (It is also muscle and intimidation, which any good citizen will see the need for in defense of his personal values.)

    3. Free speech encompasses the prerogative of the government and its political actors to lie and produce false narratives on any issue of relevance to the public.

    4. None of the anti-trust or anti-monopoly legislation applies to the entire telecommunications industry, in that this may tend to impede or inconvenience the largest, most powerful corporations from advancing their agendas and imposing their will upon the populace.

    5. The Congress hereby cedes its sole right under the constitution to declare, fund and manage wars against foreign powers exclusively to the executive branch. The most important function of the president thus becomes her or his role as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The rest is mostly superfluous glad-handing anyway.

    6. With respect to all fiscal policy at the national level, encompassing both expenditures and revenue raising, both the executive and the legislature cede any and all prerogatives to the non-governmental (NGO) central bank known as the Federal Reserve Bank under the direction of its current officers, the Rothschild family. The national government, including both the executive and the legislature, shall not attempt to impose any orders or directives upon the Central Bank without its expressed permission.

    7. The raising of funds through taxes, fees or any other devices to ensure the health and stability of the Central Bank shall not be impeded by an act of any branch of the national government, by any ballot initiative or by any court decree.

    8. The requirements of the US military forces and their civilian suppliers in the private sector shall not be impeded in any way by any branch of the national government. The national military and its suppliers shall be the sole determinants of all relevant spending and procurement, and shall not be impeded by any branch of the national government.

    9. The nature of the national currency and the regulation of its circulation within both domestic and foreign markets shall be decided solely by the Central Bank. The right of any individual citizen or non-citizen to possess and spend such currency, whether in the form of cash or strictly ledger entries, will be solely at the discretion of the Central Bank. The objectives to protect our natural environment and mitigate the substantiated ongoing climate crisis will be the impetus to soon replace all cash and cash transactions with a paperless entity to be known as the “digital dollar,” backed by the full trust of the Central Bank and the collective responsibility of the American people. The utility of said system will become self-evident with respect to smooth, instant and paperless law enforcement and behavioral compliance by the masses to facilitate our national goals, now and in the future. As any property may be expressed in universally fungible digital dollars, an instant accounting of one’s property holdings and net worth becomes quick and easy should a governmental or Central Bank adjustment to the holdings of any private citizen become necessary.

    10. A robust standing army being essential to protecting America’s many rights and freedoms in an increasingly hostile world, the national government is hereby given the right to allow unlimited immigration into this country with the understanding that the migrants, if qualified, will serve obligatory five-year terms in one of the six American armed forces (Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, Space Force). All state national guards will hence be dismissed and disbanded.

    11. As a corollary to Constitutional Right #10, the American industrial sector is granted the same right to import unlimited immigrant labor and the granting of “green cards,” especially in emergencies such as employee strikes or skilled labor shortages, including biomedical, scientific, and high tech disciplines, perhaps occurring from domestic educational deficiencies.

    I am sure these are all on the “wish lists” of our globalist keepers. Perhaps I missed some critical areas so, feel free to add to the list.

  6. Peter McLuskie
    October 8, 2023 at 23:14

    Thank you Mike. You are a true Kiwi hero who alerted people to the truth. So sad that there are not more journalists like you here in Aotearoa.

  7. robert e williamson jr
    October 8, 2023 at 15:12

    Thank you for caring and acting in a very responsible manner. Stay strong you are not alone.

    Thanks CN

    BTW, I did lose my wallet.

  8. Paul Merrell
    October 8, 2023 at 15:08

    Mick, having lived through something similar, I can guarantee that a few years from now you will be glad you lived through this. It happened. It’s part of you now, and it’s an opportunity to experiment with your livelihood.

    • Mick Hall
      October 8, 2023 at 18:26

      I think you’re right Paul, thank you for your reassuring comments.

  9. Greg Grant
    October 8, 2023 at 14:32

    Wow this was tough to read. I’m curious how somebody with Mick Hall’s perspective could ever land that editor position to begin with in such a corporately obedient outlet.

    How does one measure hypocrisy? If there is such a metric, Radio New Zealand is certainly topping the scale.

    One day when the dust has settled the world will look back on this and see who was on the wrong side of history.

  10. D'Esterre
    October 8, 2023 at 06:59

    Many thanks to you, Mick, for this article.

    I now know the gist of the review panel’s report; I haven’t bothered with RNZ news for some years, so hadn’t visited the website to read it. I was aware that one member of the panel was a former journalist, so I’d hoped for better. I might have known….

    “…an inability to discuss the Ukraine conflict without deference to Western orthodoxies, an implicit bias that trumped empirical evidence.”

    This has been the problem all along with Western reportage of the Ukraine situation. Regrettably, RNZ has been no better.

    Having extended family connections to the Ukraine and Russia, we took a keen interest in events there during the 2014 US-backed putsch in Kiev. A family member watched a live, without-commentary feed from the Maidan itself. I saw some of that as well., including the “snipers”, and who was being shot. This was a very hard watch for us: for obvious reasons, it cut deep.

    What was even worse was the way it was reported by the usual suspects. We found that NZers had – for the most part – uncritically accepted US/UK propaganda, and could not conceive of a countervailing perspective. I used to argue with commenters online: I don’t so much now. It isn’t worth the effort. We’ve continued to follow events there, getting our news and reportage from sources other than the MSM.

    When the story about RNZ first broke, we found it darkly hilarious that it was hysterical about the possibility of “Russian propaganda” being inserted into its reports. What did it think it was reporting already, if not propaganda? Just Western.

    In my view, RNZ has never been the broadcaster of record that it believes itself to be. Many years ago, Michael Field observed that this country has had no tradition of journalists specialising in international affairs. He was correct. We’re very poorly -served over the current geopolitical situation in the western Pacific, and in respect of China. Many of us do not wish to be dragged into conflict with our largest trading partner, at the behest of the US.

    Mick, I wish you all the very best for the future. I hope that you will be able to find enough work as a journalist to keep yourself and your family. These are dark times in NZ: God knows we need journalists prepared to report the truth.

    • Philip Reed
      October 9, 2023 at 11:45

      I find your comments reflective of my own experience here in Canada especially with regard to our national broadcaster CBC and affiliated “ private” news broadcasters CTV and Global. Both subsidized by the Government as are the majority of Canadian MSM outlets. The echo chamber is deafening to be sure. Unlike you I have no family or other connections to Ukraine and Russia other than a lifelong interest in international current affairs. I’m 72 so that interest runs deep.
      After the dissolution of the Soviet Union I naively assumed it would ring in a new era of cooperation and real detente.
      It didn’t take long however to realize that the US and UK axis and it’s fellow travellers the five eyes saw this as an opportunity for unipolar dominance and a chance to humiliate Russia in particular.The results of that mindset are with us now in full bloom.
      Like you I used to also “ debate” on comment sections with those who are fully immersed in the MSM narratives, but like you have largely given it up as a waste of my time. Especially when CBC would arbitrarily deactivate reasoned counter arguments as “ in violation of community guidelines “, whilst allowing the most vile and untruthful Russophobic comments you could imagine. Thank goodness,as you say, for people like Mick and the intrepid people at CN and a host of others who operate outside the silos of the captured MSM.

    • Mick Hall
      October 9, 2023 at 15:41

      I agree with everything you said. Hopefully we can become a country more versed in international affairs. Thank you for your kind words.

  11. Burke W Hunter
    October 8, 2023 at 02:06

    Dear Mick thank you as usual. As a New Zealander I was profoundly disgusted when you were attacked for writing sane facts that are not allowed in our media, alas. We in Aotearoa, are in a sorry state in terms of our foreign policy. 5 Eyes, that we are part of, and all the the spin that Russia and China are out to colonise the world. Sadly the dominant media is colonising our minds. In this article you give a comprehensive picture of many of the big themes playing out in the world right now. There are other great journalists in the world at your side, just not in the mass media that is so dominated by US and UK thinking. And we have an election now. I’m afraid hard days are here and ahead for us. I wish Mick it was personally possible to communicate with you as I wanted to as soon as this media disaster of RadioNZ happened both to you and on behalf of us all in our country. All the best Kia Kaha

    • Mick Hall
      October 9, 2023 at 15:39

      Thank you brother, that means a lot.

  12. Daryl Rush
    October 7, 2023 at 23:11

    Disinformation has become the norm. We in the US have come to lose all ability to discern. We now live in a world of big brothers, one democrats war mongers, and republicans for no reason other than contrarian against spending on Ukraine war. Though if they get in, it could go either way.
    Our so-called world order and constitutionalism has become increasing unhinged and arbitrary.
    It is scary to see other countries blindly swallowing our madness hook and sinker.
    We are the worlds bully, toadyism will unfortunately encourage our madnesss.

    • John Ressler
      October 8, 2023 at 20:26

      Regarding Republicans being contrary to spending more on Ukraine – even a broken clock is correct two times each day. On the desire to not send more money for this conflict the R’s are correct. The provoked war should have never happened to begin with. The UN at the urging of the US pushing the NATO limits eastward, are the cause of this conflict.

  13. David Otness
    October 7, 2023 at 22:33

    One more gut punch in this era of Legacy of Lies. The never-sleeping forces of darkness continue to claw their way into the halls of power, gripping with white knuckles, and suppression of truth is their primary means of dominating the field.
    Such a profound battle of mind control versus open inquiry for truth we are in here.
    I’m not saying this next statement gratuitously, but it is no coincidence that the intersecting lines of the illustrated Five Eyes’ reach pass directly over (through) Israel and its Mossad as the connections between the UK and Australia / New Zealand are depicted. Quite correctly so.

  14. Jeff Harrison
    October 7, 2023 at 21:25

    Scary. I can only invoke the words of the immortal Frank Zappa.
    It can’t happen here,
    I’m telling you, my dear,
    It can’t happen here.

  15. Elial
    October 7, 2023 at 20:14

    Here, hear Mick! The truth shall prevail and your name written among the stars.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    • Mick Hall
      October 9, 2023 at 15:42

      Thank you.

  16. chris keene
    October 7, 2023 at 19:24

    Thanks mick for standing up for the truth. As a kiwi and avid rnz listener I was appalled at the rnz coverage turning nothing into a scandal. Keep fighting the good fight. Kia kaha

  17. October 7, 2023 at 18:33

    The likes of Mick Hall, Nicky Hager, Darius Shahtahmasebi, and Kim Dotcom should inspire all Kiwis and other denizens of the world by their efforts to further a more pluralistic, adversarial, and honest information ecosystem.

  18. October 7, 2023 at 18:27

    Dear Mick

    Congratulations on your stand. You are not alone. You – and all principled journalists – belong to a Fifth Estate, which will not be suppressed or defeated, be assured.


    • Mick Hall
      October 9, 2023 at 15:42

      Thank you John, that means a lot.

  19. October 7, 2023 at 18:17

    Add my plaudits and my deep appreciation to you for your principle and spine, to those of your other readers. These are indeed troubled / troubling times and it seems next-to-impossible to break through the flood of propaganda, which, combined with censorship is resulting in near total narrative control throughout the Washington-led Empire. I’ll admit: its breadth and scale and success are breathtaking. I’ve certainly never seen anything like it- and that comes from about 5 decades of being a cultural and political dissident, activist and organizer. But I won’t give up and i pray that neither will you.

    • Mick Hall
      October 9, 2023 at 15:43

      We won’t give up. Thank you Roger.

  20. Susan Siens
    October 7, 2023 at 17:06

    Excellent coverage of your debacle. That said, the U.S. is probably planning on using Australian troops as proxy soldiers in a war with China. Will the U.S. do the same with New Zealanders?

    • D'Esterre
      October 8, 2023 at 07:06

      Susan Siens: “Will the U.S. do the same with New Zealanders?”

      Not my offspring, uncle Sam!

      This neatly illustrates how very poorly the geopolitical situation regarding China is being reported on in NZ. We here need journalists who specialise in international affairs: we do not have them.

  21. Litchfield
    October 7, 2023 at 16:04

    The changes Hall made to Reuters copy were not “copy editing.”

    They were substantive changes.

    It doesn’t matter whether the additions were “correct” or not. They should have been within brackets and followed by “—ed.].

    Surely the contract between RNZ and Reuters specifies exactly what kind of changes can be made to Reuters stories.

    I feel badly for Hall, and I agree with his positions regarding the issues.
    However, I don’t agree with his idea that he could just add material to a news service story without getting an OK from his boss. Reuters stories are not raw material for someone to massage at will, regardless of what many might feel to be Reuters’s deficiencies
    If Hall had been making these types of changes since 2018 and no one ever called him out on it and clarified his job description, that shows that Hall’s immediate superior did not check over Hall’s editing. This would be standard procedure in any large news organization.
    Hall seems to have thought that a copyeditor is a kind of reporter.
    As a life-long professional freelance editor ( after five years in Time Inc. copy rooms), I cannot imagine how Hall came to think it was OK to make these types of additions to Reuters stories.

    As far as I can tell from this story, the problem lies with Hall’s immediate superior for not training Hall properly and not monitoring his work.

    • Caliman
      October 8, 2023 at 11:23

      I agree Litchfield. I also agree with the author’s general viewpoint, but I think that wire stories should be reported as written other than corrections fir gross error, clearly identified. After all, the original report is somebody’s work and was presumably edited and approved as reported.

      The less AP, Reuters, etc. are used, the better … they are almost completely tools of empire right now.

        October 8, 2023 at 16:13

        Take a look at a newspaper and you’ll see a byline that says something like “Staff and wire services.” And that means the wires are rewritten to suit the newspaper. In this way wire copy is raw material for a newspaper. Most newspapers don’t give bylines to the wire reporters.

    • Philip Reed
      October 9, 2023 at 12:15

      Whenever I read a news copy in Canadian MSM outlets such as CBC that is from Thomson Reuters or AP , especially when it involves reporting on Ukraine/Russia I fully expect it to be filled with boilerplate phrases and entrenched narratives.
      That’s just a given. We’re all aware of the handbooks disseminated to its journalists and reporters with regards to the way to state and phrase their reporting.
      So with that in mind I simply decode the story and extract the raw information as needed.
      And yes, as to your conclusions, his immediate supervisor is the one that needed the boot. Then again he could have been in silent approval of Micks’ edits. That’s the background we’re not privy to in this particular article .

    • Mick Hall
      October 9, 2023 at 16:15

      I suggest you read the review panel report. My immediate superior hadn’t seen any Reuters contract, neither had I. There were multiple systemic failures by RNZ and that was the responsibility of RNZ leadership team, not my immediate manager. No more scapegoats. The report found many examples of the ‘inappropriately’ edited stories the RNZ audit flagged were in fact edited in a way that should not have caused concern. There were two examples were I had not attributed additions to a Russian position. There were two instances of Reuters reporters’ names been inadvertently left in copy that had been edited, out of over 1300 audited… I added context where it was needed, and removed inaccuracy and cultural or political bias that distorted fact. I changed references to Palestinian ‘militants’ to ‘resistance fighters’, references to Assange being an “anti-establishment hero” to “journalist”, references to the “Russian invasion” causing an energy price crisis to “anti-Russian sanctions after the invasion” helping to cause the energy price crisis. I changed headlines to more accurately reflect content of stories. These are legitimate types of editing, although in some newsrooms these could cause problems to individual chief sub-editors/world news bureau chiefs, depending on their politics. I had also presented a business plan to management about establishing a role of digital world journalist, a staffer who would write explainer pieces on world news developments. This would have been another, more comprehensive means of addressing misleading international wires copy narrative. It was rejected.

  22. John Manning
    October 7, 2023 at 15:15

    Because we share an Irish heritage Mr Hall will probably recognise the following quote ”
    “That which is believed by almost everyone, almost everywhere, is almost certain to be untrue.” (De Velera)
    The truth within the quote is due to the media.

  23. Andrew Nichols
    October 7, 2023 at 15:09

    No Aotearoa “media” organisation has given Mick Hall any airtime at all to give his side of the story. It really is that bad in the NZ mediascape. A straitjacket of self censorship in propaganda

  24. Dr C Dassos
    October 7, 2023 at 14:06

    To all investigative journalists- keep telling the truth please. Do not fear the retribution from the overseers that manage information for the sole benefit, political, economic or geographical. They are the ones who fear you more than ever. Your conscience is your strength.

  25. Anaisanesse
    October 7, 2023 at 12:54

    Thanks for this article. When we see in the MSM( I live in France) that every attack causing civilian deaths in Ukraine is immediately attributed to Russia ?? purposely doing this. Ukrainian sources are the only ones cited, no evidence or effort to investigate is made, and the story is taken up by all the news agencies, often eventually to be refuted,but too late-the Western acceptable view is the only one we get.

    • John Manning
      October 7, 2023 at 15:26

      There is a purpose behind this reporting. While the Ukraine has fired enough missiles and artillery shells to exhaust the weapons stocks of all 30 NATO countries none of these munitions are reported to have landed. While many have been sold on the international arms market most have actually been fired within Ukraine. And that was a condition of supply. All weapons had to be used to attack targets within Ukraine. The reason no one is allowed to report the damage this has caused to Ukraine is that it would clearly identify the objective of NATO. ie. The destruction of Ukraine. This is the purpose of “Biden’s war”.

  26. John K Leslie
    October 7, 2023 at 12:39

    A sad read, though we shouldn’t be surprised. New Zealand, like Canada, is a country of no consequence on the world stage. This article could have been written by a Canadian journalist working for the CBC. New Zealand may be isolated from the rest of the world but it’s citizens are no less knowledgeable about world affairs than Canadians. Both countries suffer from suppressed information, with an ignorant populace.

  27. tawharanui
    October 7, 2023 at 11:43

    Thank you Mick for writing this piece, and for standing up for real journalism at a time when the entire Western mainstream media has gone entirely mad. Radio New Zealand is utterly shameless. They make a mockery of their own charter. They have made the entire New Zealand legacy media and the “establishment” in general a laughing stock in all countries outside of the US imperial sphere of influence. As an expatriate New Zealander living in Asia for more than 25 years, I am saddened by what has become of the country where I grew up. I am aghast and outraged by the comments of our former prime minister at the UN General Assembly on the subject of “misinformation” and free speech. The level of narrative control at this moment is unprecedented as far as I can tell, and puts lie to the finger pointing at other societies that we have been constantly told are “totalitarian”. Projection really is a thing to behold. At any rate, I wish you the best for the future, and hope that you might find freelance work at one or more of the outlets I have come to rely on in the past year or three, i.e. Consortium News, The Gray Zone and… oh, after that there’s really only Substack and assorted blogs, as well as the proscribed media of those countries we dare not mention. As a footnote, let me say that I will always remember the tenacious efforts of Keith Locke, Rodney Harrison and Deborah Manning in fighting the powers that be for justice for Ahmed Zaoui. I happened to read a short piece about Zaoui’s detention at Paremoremo shortly after his arrival in December 2002, and remember the almost immediate and total media black that ensued for many months. And the then Labour government’s kowtowing to the US, UK and French security services, and their bad-faith actions that stretched on for years. Sadly, I just read that Zaoui has just been detained by the Algerian authorities a couple of days ago… kia kaha

    • Mick Hall
      October 9, 2023 at 16:41

      Thank you for your kind words Tawharanui.

  28. Paul Citro
    October 7, 2023 at 10:32

    Russian disinformation! Russian disinformation! Close your eyes, stop your ears! Bury your head completely in the sand!

  29. forceOfHabit
    October 7, 2023 at 10:30

    Hats off to you Mick for your clear sighted devotion to accurate, informative, responsible journalism. I hope you land on your feet somewhere that respects and nurtures that commitment.

    • Mick Hall
      October 9, 2023 at 16:41

      Thank you.

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