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Andrew Dickens: Why PM's Peace Prize hype was a bit of fake news

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 14 Oct 2019, 12:12PM
There is no way the Prime Minister could have won this year's award. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Andrew Dickens: Why PM's Peace Prize hype was a bit of fake news

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 14 Oct 2019, 12:12PM

Last week it was announced that the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The man who brokered a peace deal to the 20 year war with Eritrea.  A man who changed the face of Ethiopia, all of a sudden half their cabinet are female, bans on opposition parties have been lifted and thousands of political prisoners freed. 

Most remarkably he achieved that in the first eight months of his leadership. He thoroughly deserves the honour.

Far more so than 16 year old Greta Thurnberg, who was also nominated. Greta has staged a remarkable protest but that is principally because her parents allowed her to protest everyday outside her country’s parliament. 

As a PR stunt it’s a good one, but it was just that, a stunt and it is failing to produce any positive change other than infuriating baby boomers.  If that’s all that it takes to win a Peace Prize then how about giving it to the Falun Gong protesters who spent nine months outside our offices because of something Kerre said.

Greta doesn’t infuriate me because you can’t be angry at people protesting.  It’s the free speech thing we love so much about democracy. But nor am I so impressed that I thought she should be in the running.

Now we know that Greta Thurnberg was nominated because her nominator went public.  But what about Jacinda Ardern who was also reportedly nominated?  I’ve always wondered about that because the Nobel committee never reveals nominees until 50 years after the award.  So who nominated the PM and blabbed? 

 The other peculiar thing is nominations close on the first day of February.  Any nominations after that are forwarded to the next year.  The mosque attacks were in March.  So what exactly was Jacinda Ardern being nominated for apart from being young, female, liberal and telegenic.

So where did this story come from? Time magazine featured her in a list of favourites to win the Peace Prize at the beginning of October and then a UK betting agency picked that up and installed her as fourth favourite. But you know I doubt she was even nominated and if she has been it will be for next year’s prize. Hopefully the 80,000 people who have signed a petition calling for her to get the award can wait a year.

Some people got very excited that this was a piece of fake news spread by the left to lift Jacinda Ardern’s poll figures. I don’t think so. I reckon it was a slap dash reckon written by a staff writer in a magazine who failed to do research, and other media followed their lead.

Meanwhile a poll came out last night and her poll figures dived nearly 10 per cent so if that was the plan then that didn’t work. Tova O’Brien stood on the Newshub set and breathlessly said the Jacinda magic was over. 

Well that’s a bit of a reckon too as her poll figures are now exactly the same as they were two years ago when the term Jacindamania was coined. But what is also true is that her popularity is lower than a couple of months ago because of a perception that the government she runs is out of their depth.

And that could be based on the reckons of commentators who have been saying that this is the worst government ever for the past two years of their existence. Fake News, Polls and Peace Prizes eh?

What I make of it all is to take everything with a grain of salt and make your own mind up based on facts. If you can find them.

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