Truth Is Out Of Style

Posted: October 29, 2012 in HSU Saga, Media

There has been a lot of talk about the press lately, the manner in which it conducts itself, and the way it handles the responsibility of shaping both public perceptions and public debate. I myself have been known to have the occasional shouty rant on the subject.

Without becoming too shouty I thought that another post was warranted that looked at some aspects of the media that the public are annoyed by, and some of the reporting and investigative work that has gone into the main stream media’s coverage of the HSU.

The way a story is reported is extremely important, and when the reporting is perceived as biased or deceptive there is usually a public backlash. Julia Gillard’s famous misogynist speech directed at Tony Abbott was such a moment. Whether or not you agreed with her, there is no doubt whatsoever, that the speech received a lot of attention, most of it overwhelmingly positive.

The mainstream press though were overwhelmingly negative regarding the speech, despite this flying in the face of public opinion. When the public reacted to the coverage, the story quickly turned to the disgraceful sexist texts from Peter Slipper, although it turns out that the text everyone was complaining about actually came from Ashby, not Slipper. The story then became about which dictionary had the right definition of misogyny.

This is of course not the only time the Julia Gillard has suffered at the hands of the media. Who can forget the headline just before the last Federal Election, “Julia Gillard’s Price Promise”? This was splashed boldly across the front page of The Australian to show us all that Gillard had promised to price carbon and we should be scared. Who could forget? We all could it would seem, even the paper that printed it.

It would seem despite the media’s best efforts, Gillard made it over the line, and that headline was forgotten. When the price on carbon was legislated it was all about Gillard’s big apparent lie, based on one statement that emerged from a media interview that was selectively edited to suit the narrative.

It is not only Julia either, Abbott has also fallen victim to the media. Many of us remember the “Shit Happens” story that was such big news when it happened. Abbott uttered those immortal words on camera, and they were taken out of context and blown out of all proportion by Channel 7.

Despite the media making a sickening meal out of this, Abbott really has nobody to blame but himself for his reaction when asked for comment by Channel 7 after the story went crazy. Abbott showed us all how he would deal with trading partners and foreign dignitaries if things didn’t go his way.

People also question why the press seem to show so much contempt for social media. It’s quite simple really, social media is killing them, surely but not slowly. Information is becoming available, almost immediately via Twitter and YouTube and people can figure out for themselves how they want to interpret that information. For those who like to read about issues with a bit of opinion or slant to them, there are plenty of blogs like this one, or sites like Independent Australia or The Hoopla that are excellent reads. Most of these sites don’t have the arrogance of the main stream media, and if they lean to the left or right are usually quite open about it.

Another common occurrence we are seeing a lot these days, is the tiny retraction after a huge headline. It is disgraceful that we can see a massive story on the front page of a major newspaper and a tiny retraction the next day, or often several days later. We saw this happen a few months back with The Australian, and Julia Gillard’s time at Slater and Gordon. It should be compulsory that the retractions or corrections are printed in the same position and in the same font and size of the original article, not hidden where nobody will notice.

Last week many had serious questions over the relationship between the media and the police. This came about as a result of the police raid on the residence of Craig Thomson.

The police were greeted at their top secret raid by a vast array of journalists, including those from Fairfax, News Ltd, and a whopping satellite dish from Channel 7. Considering Thomson lives roughly two hours north of Sydney, it’s safe to say these journo’s didn’t just happen to be passing by.

Some of the press that were just passing Thomson’s residence

It does not take a rocket scientist to see the issue with the press knowing so far ahead. If this had been a raid on Kathy Jackson’s place it is likely that there would be no evidence left by the time the police arrived. One can only imagine the impact if the raid was on the premises of a armed gang or a serial killer.

Not only this, the reporting of the events were also quite deceptive also. Based on the media coverage most people would have assumed that the policed raided Thomson’s home and then his office. What you probably missed is that Craig Thomson allowed the police to go through his office (they had no warrant), and even offered, yes that’s right, offered a sample of his handwriting. Not quite the way it was being portrayed by most, but hey, never let the truth get in the way of a good story…

The media pack then moved on to Thomson’s office, in a busy Central Coast shopping district. One member of the public even had the sheer audacity to confront the media, and he had some interesting responses from a few in the media pack. He was kind enough to write a blog post about it and his wife also took some photos. It seems those on the central coast are growing rather tired of the attention and being told that their vote is tainted, the man who confronted the press was even applauded by other locals who were there at the time.

I thought I would share a funny story I heard first hand, that was based around journalist staking out, or stalking,  people of interest on the outskirts of Sydney. Apparently after the HSU story first broke, a senior journalist from The Australian, whose name I won’t mention, but it rhymes with Mr Piggins decided to approach these people of interest directly, with a camera man in tow.

Piggins was keen to get there early, maybe so he had time to squeeze in some breakfast on the way. After Mr Piggins had been calling and knocking all day while those inside ignored him, not in the mood to talk to a reporter after seeing their names splashed all over the papers. Eventually, one of the occupants of the house left for the shops to get something and drove past Mr Piggins by the side of the road looking all hot and flustered.

Now I’m not going to say Mr Piggins would have trouble seeing the light if it was right in front of him, however it seems he would indeed have trouble based on this story. You see, Mr Piggins showed up so early that it was still dark, and wanting to make sure no creatures sneaked up on him, he left his lights on.

Several hours later, Mr Piggins was discovering the new found reality that leaving the lights on uses power from the battery. He also made the gruesome discovery that the battery doesn’t charge itself, it actually requires the car to be running.

Mr Piggins was spotted sitting in his car at the side of the road biding his time until roadside assistance arrived, like a beached whale waiting to be rolled back in the water. What a spectacle it must have been.

One complaint I often hear about our journalists is they way that they request someone’s input or assistance with a story. A common practice is a message will come through on your mobile phone at 11am, after a series of missed calls by blocked numbers, that will say something like;

“Hi it’s (insert journo name here) I am doing a story on a paedophile ring in which you have been implicated by unnamed sources. My story will be saying you are the head of this paedophile ring and it will be going to my editor at 4pm for tomorrow’s front page. You have until 4pm to call me to refute this.”

Although the paedophile ring may be fictitious in this instance, the practice is the same, and it is a disgusting practice. Not all of the media do this I should point out, but I am aware of many who do.

Even if someone does return the call to refute it, they often selectively edit your responses to make you sound guilty, quote you out of context, or just say you hung up or refused to comment on some questions.

Earlier I spoke of the media getting on the high and mighty bandwagon over the meaning of the word misogyny. They don’t like to see words or a phrase redefined is the claim. However there seems to be an exception to this unwritten rule.

That exception is when it involves Craig Thomson.

I have not read anything in the media about the Civil Charges laid against Sophie Mirabella in regards to the late Colin Howard’s finances for instance, and I know one of the reasons for this, there is no such thing as Civil Charges.

Sophie Mirabella, all class…

Unfortunately Craig Thomson has some civil matters to address in court, so The Australian had to invent a new term “Civil Charges”, never mind that there is no such thing and it is not factually correct. Words like matters, or cases, or actions don’t seem to sound guilty enough for Thomson it would seem, so they just made up a new term.

I would have assumed in legal matters that facts may have been rather important? It seems not over at The Australian.

The rest of the media followed the lead of the seemingly imbecile journalist, and work experience editor over at The Australian that day. It seems that to the rest of the main stream media, that if The Australian says it, then everything you ever learnt at university should be disregarded, and you should just follow blindly.

Another thing that has puzzled many people, is why Kathy Jackson is so often the person the media go to for comment on HSU matters. This is a woman that is known to be majorly factional, has allegations against her regarding vast sums of members money that has seemingly gone to her, she faces allegations of influencing and destroying evidence in a federal investigation, and is currently under investigation by Victorian Police for numerous alleged offences (finally acknowledged by the ABC’s 7 30). Allowing someone with such a dark cloud hanging over her to have airtime to plug her factional allies in the upcoming HSU elections is an utter disgrace.

I’d have more faith in the longevity of a Kardashian marraige than anything that comes out of Jackson’s mouth.

In fact, last week on the Sunrise programme on Channel 7, Kathy Jackson appeared with Craig Thomson’s solicitor Chris McCardle, a link to the video is below.

http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/-/watch/30946154/craig-thomson-case/?cmp=twitter

Mr McCardle was given the impression that the format would be an open discussion, a kind of moderated debate between himself and Jackson. This had apparently been agreed to by Jackson beforehand. However upon arrival at the studio McCardle was told that the format was to change to that of two separate interviews. Jackson, it seems apparent when viewed, had a script memorised that she did not want to deviate from.

I was interested in asking why the format had been changed at the last minute, and whether it was at Jackson’s request. Despite several attempts to contact the producers of Sunrise, and leaving a detailed message for the producers, I am yet to receive a return phone call. Perhaps I should have used the MSM technique and threatened to smear them if they didn’t call me in the next two hours.

I have to admire the some of the investigative prowess of our main stream investigative journalists however. Their ability to uncover the details of the much talked about Black American Express Cards has been truly astounding.

These are the cards that were allegedly given by a supplier who held two of the Black Amex cards, while supplementary black cards were allegedly given to various union officials including Michael Williamson, and Craig Thomson. This forms the basis of the main stream press’s Secret Commission, allegations. So the story goes at any rate…

So, how admirable is the investigative work really? I decided to have a peek, it took about 10 minutes of my precious time.

The Black American Express Card is in fact called the Centurion, and it was actually released in 2003. Strangely, this is many years after the MSM’s claim that they were being used by way of secret commissions or kickbacks given to those within the HSU. The other interesting thing about these cards that I discovered, is that when they were introduced by American Express, available to the account holder were two cards and one secondary card , not quite the number of cards the press has being spread about. Another thing that I discovered is that any extra cards after the secondary card would be supplementary Platinum cards, not Black Centurion cards.

Is that Thompson with a P?

To say that changes the game slightly would be an understatement. How did I find out this information? You may well be thinking.

I phoned American Express, it was quite simple really. They are in the phone book and have quite helpful staff. It took me about 10 minutes.

You are now probably wondering where all of this information originally came from. Given our investigative journalists couldn’t have found evidence of cards that didn’t yet exist, one would assume it must have come from a delusional source, or a source who thinks facts are something you make up as you go along.

That source is none other than Kathy Jackson. Jackson is the one who kept bringing up these Black Amex cards in virtually every media interview. Given the ridiculous amount of spending we have seen on her union credit cards, she should be quite an expert on credit cards and their expenditure, although it was the members who paid her bills.

In my mind, and I could be wrong, the purpose of an investigative journalist is to investigate. In my mind the word “investigate” does not mean regurgitating the baseless allegations of a self proclaimed whistleblower, who is often more appropriately referred to as a turncoat. Especially, when that turncoat clearly doesn’t know what she is talking about. As I have pointed out, one phone call to American Express would have confirmed her story to be lies or mistakes. Even lazy journalism should at least warrant checking things out before going to press.

I won’t get into a list of names of those I admire in the main stream press, and whom I have an enormous amount of respect for. You know who you are and I would no doubt forget one of you if I attempted a list of names. There are however those within your profession that are bringing it down, and there are always innocent casualties.

Music and film are available free on the internet, most know how to find it, however the bulk of entertainment is still paid for because people respect the work that has gone into it. The same goes for news, people will still pay if they have respect for the product being sold. If you are printing crap, you should expect the same when it comes to a financial return.

As more and more journalists are being offered severance packages, or just being let go, it is too easy to point the finger and blame social media for the main stream media’s woes.

I would suggest looking a little closer to home for real answers.

Like maybe a mirror.

Comments
  1. Matt says:

    I often open up an article from google news only to close it after the first couple of sentences when I realise I’m reading the words of a complete and utter fuckwit. This happens a LOT with Australian newspapers, much less so with any foreign press, including the infamous UK tabloids.

    Now, these papers take that as a “hit”, and also place adds everywhere so when I click the mouse3 button on my stylus(scrolls the screen) in what I think is a blank area of the page, it actually opens up their stupid add, which gets immediately closed, with no goodwill towards either the paper or the advertiser.

    I always have a chuckle to myself when I think about how many other people like me click and leave these trash articles. We haven’t bought anything, nor watched any adds, yet the dumbasses are always telling us how strong their online readership is. They are so arrogant that they think fooling someone with an outrageous headline is the same as earning the respect and loyalty of a reader, who will then pay for content. Our gutter (mainstream) press (who treat us like imbeciles) can either wake the fuck up or be obliterated, and there will be no tears shed here. And I am actually someone who still likes a newspaper format, I just don’t appreciate it being used to serve me a steaming pile of horse shit.

  2. Pip says:

    Twitter… LOL….

    Mr Denmore ‏@MrDenmore

    If anyone has suffered a self-wedge after the Gillard speech, it’s the press gallery. Their news judgement undies are up around their necks.

    • Matt says:

      Hehe, some of the media quotes on this issue tweeted by MrDenmore:

      ‘Gillard missed the chance to appeal to the wider electorate rather than excite her feminist support base.” Geoff Kitney, the AFR, Oct 13

      @MrDenmore : ‘The desperate Labor government’s gender tack can only further damage its public standing.’ Chris Kenny, The Australian, Oct 13

      @MrDenmore : ‘The Twitter response (to Gillard speech) reveals a leftist, activist echo chamber and ignores the mainstream view’. The Australian, Oct 13
      ^Opinion piece, name NOT supplied, a growing trend of the press to publish anonymous rants.

      @MrDenmore : ‘In the end there will be a net gain of voters for the Coalition and a net fall in personal support for Gillard’. Denis Shanahan, Oct 13

      @MrDenmore : “Gillard online hero but offline zero. Analysts say positive tweets on her speech are unlikely to swing voters”. Lara Sinclair, The Australian, Oct 11

      Media watch episode #37 also did a nice round up of the event http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/program/27390

  3. scotto says:

    More good stuff from Wixxy.. laying out the bare facts and asking the questions that need asking. As an HSU member, can someone PLEASE tell me why the hell Jackson is being treated like the Virgin Mary by the press, including the ABC?

  4. Jo says:

    Great read & you confirmed why I stopped buying papers 12 months ago. Had this feeling that I was reading crap & I was never going to get the truth from any of them. Feel sorry for the good journalists out there as the bad have tainted them all.

  5. On Friday (28 October) I wrote a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald in response to an article by Andrew West published that morning. Not unexpectedly for any argument sympathetic to Craig Thomson, it was not accepted. Finding that West is employed by the ABC (rapidly becoming a Liberal Party propaganda outlet), I sent him a copy of my unpublished letter, prefaced by a comment to him. Here it is:
    Mr West

    After reading your article on Friday I sent a reply to the Herald “Letters”. Like almost all of the other letters sent to the Herald that present an alternative and well-informed insight into the allegations made against Craig Thomson, it was not published. I send it on to you in the hope that it may lead you to consider what the presumption of innocence principle means and why it is so important in our public life.
    Those of us who know Craig Thomson as an ethical and fully responsible individual take offence at Andrew West’s article, “Bipartisan ethos complicit in fall of Slipper and Thomson” (SMH 26/10/12). In order to illustrate his preconceived thesis about the social construction of human morality, West assumes without question that Craig Thomson is guilty of the allegations made against him. In describing Thomson as “the product of a culture of entitlement that metastasised in the Labor Party for 25 years”, West ignores the possibility that Thomson might be both acting autonomously and telling the truth in declaring himself innocent of the fraudulent charges brought against him by the discredited so-called “investigation” of the Health Services Union carried out by Fair Work Australia.

    Beginning with his deterministic theory of human behaviour, West goes on to “prove” his thesis by constructing Thomson as an automaton, a “product”, a man who cannot think for himself or show enough self-awareness to take responsibility for his own actions. What West really demonstrates in making his uninformed, intrusive and insensitive judgment is his complete ignorance of the character of the man he demeans. West knows nothing of Thomson’s upbringing and family life which contributed a great deal more than the asserted “culture of entitlement in the Labor Party” to the formation of the beliefs and values by which he lives. Craig Thomson is an individual, a man of personal integrity and responsibility, not a mechanical construction of West’s imagination who can be used to demonstrate an ill-informed thesis that is denied by the empirical evidence of his actions in his work and daily life.

    Andrew West obviously thinks himself capable of offering credible psychoanalytical judgments of people he has never met or even interviewed. In this he reminds me of the gratuitous, imperious and uninformed comments made by another religious commentator, Tim Costello, on a Q & A programme some time ago. Both of these publicly accredited ethical-theological pundits seem to have forgotten that part of the “Sermon on the Mount” recorded in the Gospel of St Matthew which warns us not to judge our neighbours before examining ourselves – in which case we will not judge at all (Matthew 7:1-5).

    • Matt says:

      I couldn’t see anything on wiki about her education, must have been edited. I can’t imagine how an ‘industrial relations’ degree that isn’t a law degree could be any help whatsoever. More pseudo professionals from the sociology department. What exactly are graduates supposed to be proficient at?

      There was this however:

      “In addition, Jackson has been involved in the financial services industry representing her members’ interests as a director of the Health Employees Superannuation Trust of Australia (HESTA), the country’s sixth largest industry fund by assets under management ($13 billion as at 2008). Jackson is also a member of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors and the AEW Advisory Board in the United States. AEW Capital Management manages real estate and other investments worth in excess of $50 billion”

      Gee, she also works in super? Another industry that attracts crooks who siphon off a luxury lifestyle from hard working peoples money. And property? Home prices are so affordable for low income earners. Being part of an industry that forever seeks to blow out affordability in favour of investors is despicable. Out of Ms Jacksons many hats, how often do we think she might be wearing the one that says “I care about outcomes for workers”.

      And some user reviews of Hesta
      http://newprod1.productreview.com.au/p/hesta-super-fund.html

      Jackson is a ghoulish vampire, sucking the life out of health workers while they work and when they retire.

      • Matt says:

        ^that was meant to be a reply to Chris. Excellent letter though Galileo, but I think it will fall on deaf ears. These hacks don’t think, they follow their ‘instincts’, which are honed to them, but just appear infantile to us. I guess that is what happens when people are hired to appeal to the lowest common denominator – the news trying to pick up the same audience that feeds on big brother and the kardashians.

  6. Chris says:

    Just who is protecting Teflon -Jackson? As reported Kathy attends every interview furnished with scripts. Her HR Nicholls diatribe , was written for her and delivered with the integrity you would expect from a privately schooled volvo-driving , Balwyn-sider. Somewhere between a portfolio of several homes, flash cars, private schools, union-paid junkets and hard earned piss-ups at he Linc Hotel she discovered unions needed “accountability” ?a bit rich from someone someone who ran the HSU like a family trust fund for many years . Jackson may have degree in industrial relations (as cited in her Wikipaedia entry ) , yet she lead a lifestyle that would make Donald Trump blush , $3500 Bvlgari earrings are a small price to pay for $270k salary package and those nasty little companies that double dipped .. yep the “corporate ASIC model” was very loosely interpreted by the Jacksons.

    Jackson and the shock-jocks who follow her “staged pressers” are the media propagandists that aim to”dumb us down” and obfuscate the real facts of what really occured in the HSU for a headline. There is much, much more to this then meets the eye, Wixxy’s post here and some other astute bloggers & tweeters have thankfully have dared to scratch the surface and the above post gives creedence to the real “cancer” of ignorance afflicting journalism today. Jackson has become a by-product of the mediocrity & spin dressed as “whistleblowing”.

    • Matt says:

      Bolano is tied to David Feeny. Feeney has success as a fundraiser and strategist, not as a policy maker or visionary. A power player, once dubbed one of the so-called ‘faceless men’ of labour.

  7. John O'Callaghan says:

    I cant believe i use to get the Australian and the Courier Mail delivered every Saturday,i would never miss the Insiders,Q n A, Lateline,7.30,and i started watching News 24,for about a week,until i realised it was a load of shit along with the rest of the crap shows and newspapers i just mentioned.

    Dont get me started on the SMH and almost every bloody excuse for a newspaper in this country,then chuck in the crap commercial television stations with their idiotic presenters and the gutless arse licking pathetic excuse for journalist they employ . Look at the response on line to Gillards speech in Parliament by people like you and me,ordinary people who possess the intelligence to work things out for ourselves and feel angry when these 3rd rate condescending hacks feel they they have to explain to us mere mortals the proper meaning and interpretation and context of the Prime Ministers speech.
    I will be the first to admit i am no genius,but i sure as hell know when i am been treated like an idiotic ill informed brainless twit by these egomaniacs and wanna be comedians. I believe their days are numbered,and they know it as well,and unless they come down a peg or two and change there ways,they will end up where all the trash eventually ends up.

  8. Matt says:

    wow, just how bad can the Australian get?

    Today we have:

    Gender wars give Tony Abbott poll comfort
    BY: DENNIS SHANAHAN, POLITICAL EDITOR From: The Australian October 30, 2012 12:00AM

    “THE opening salvo of Julia Gillard’s gender war has delivered a back-handed vindication for Tony Abbott and entrenched divisions between male and female, and Labor and Coalition voters

    The Prime Minister’s attack on the Opposition Leader over claims of sexism has not won emphatic support among women or younger voters most devoted to social media.”

    Who does this goose think he is kidding? And they expect someone will pay to read the rest? Unbelievable, even by the Australians standard.

  9. Jay says:

    Oh man, I cannot wait for the next few months. Thomson and McCardle are going to sue the pants off numerous people methinks. Journalists and I reckon a few Coalition politicians are going down in a huge way. This will truly be an excellent dish of cold revenge.

    *grabs popcorn*

  10. Marilyn says:

    So which media are supporting the dimwitted Katrina Hart?

  11. sue says:

    McLiarmont has a story in Fairfax today based on”Hart” being sued. She also had a mention of handwriting experts.
    Funny though that McLiarmont did not have a rerun of the story with picture of the “credit card slip from the brothel, the credit card statement and the ThomPson drivers licence”. I wonder why?

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