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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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ArsTechnica, the Daily Mirror of tech news?

9 August 2018

When we think of "fake news" we almost always refer to the mainstream news outlets which have increasingly focused on sensationalising stories in search of extra clicks and ad revenue.

Long-gone are the days when you could trust what you read in the broadsheet newspaper that was delivered every morning or evening to your door.

With the change in medium has come a change in format -- from researched, factual reporting to tabloid hysteria.

But the tech media is still okay... right?

Well if what I read today on ArsTechnica is anything to go by, no -- they're now just as bad.

ArsTechnica has become a popular source of tech and tech-sci news, going from a small startup to a full-fledged member of the media within a few short years, thanks mainly to a buy-out by Conde Nast, a publisher which is also parent to names such as Vogue, GQ, The NewYorker and other well-recognised titles.

Sadly, although it was started with good intent and with a view to balanced, investigative reporting, it seems that even Ars is now just another source of hysterical fluff.

How do I know this?

Well take this story published today.

As I read through this story I began thinking "wow, this thing is horrible".

Asexual reproduction and the ability to "suck animals dry" causing death by exsanguination is bad enough but the use of phrases such as "the tick's explosive spread and bloody blitzes" would make any tabloid proud.

That was after being warned that this tick has the "potential" (although it hasn't done it) to transmit "an emerging virus that kills up to 30 percent of victims".

Oh my gawd... the end is nigh... right?

At this stage I began to think "thank goodness we don't have that evil little creature here in Godzone, think of the effect it would have on our sheep, beef and dairy industries, surely they'd be ravaged overnight.

But then I read further down the page and discovered that (GASP!) we DO have it here in New Zealand. According to the article:

"They’re also an established invasive pest of cattle in New Zealand, parts of Australia, and several Pacific islands"

What the?

Hell, I've been bitten on a number of occasions by ticks and chances are that at least one or more of those bites was from one of these nasty little "replicator" creatures.

How am I still alive?

And why hasn't our fair land been over-run with a brown tide of these nasties -- because that's exactly what the article suggests will happen.

So let's add ArsTechnica to the list of sites which are now considered works of fiction rather than fact.

Is *anyone* still publishing well-researched, fact-based news these days?

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