Sunday, August 18, 2013

Exposing Australia's #Mediaocracy

We all know that US citizen Rupert Murdoch exerts an unhealthy influence on Australian media and politics. But Washington's pernicious influence on Australian media goes much deeper that that. This post exposes a few US stooges.

1. Sydney University's Malcolm Jorgensen

A recent article in The Conversation, "With Bradley Manning convicted, what now for Julian Assange?" is based on the clearly stated premise that "WikiLeaks seeks to end the power of governments to judge when national security decisions should be closed to public scrutiny."

This is simply not true. To quote Julian Assange:
"Yes, sometimes the State Department and other organizations have a responsibility to keep things secret for a limited period of time... As a publishing organization, we have a responsibility also, and our responsibility is to publish fairly and fearlessly and represent the whistle-blowers who bring us material. And it's all right for different bodies in society to have conflicting roles. That's what keeps all our different organizations honest."
When confronted with solid proof that he had completely misunderstood (or deliberately misrepresented?) the goals of WikiLeaks, Malcolm Jorgensen, the article's author, simply did not care.  Neither did The Conversation, which published the article, or The Delimiter, which re-published it (for attention-hungry sites like these, faux "controversy" generates hits from outraged readers, which helps pay the bills).

It comes as no surprise to learn that Jorgensen is a PhD Candidate in United States Foreign Policy and International Law at the University of Sydney. Or that Hugh Jorgensen (his brother, I would assume from their photos and mutual re-tweets) is a Research Associate with the G20 Studies Centre at the Lowy Institute, which specializes in peddling US talking points.

Now you might expect a Sydney Uni PhD candidate to be able to follow some basic logic and have at least a passing respect for facts. But clearly that's not the key to success in @MalcyJorgy's world. And clearly it doesn't matter to media organisations like Sky News, which give him a platform as a talk show "expert".

2. Fairfax Foreign News Editor Chris Zappone 

So what about a more respected media organisation like Fairfax newspapers, which regularly publishes ground-breaking WikiLeaks stories from Phillip Dorling? Let's look at this recent article by Fairfax foreign news editor Chris Zappone. While the first paragraph sounds positive, it is just setting up the inevitable smackdown:
"complications await a WikiLeaks Party Senate victory should it make a positive showing in Australia’s elections."
Zappone suggests there will be conflict with the Greens (despite no evidence of this) and the WikiLeaks Party will be  a "not-so-productive disruptor in Australia’s federal politics". He says Assange's plan to elicit leaks from other Senators "would be extremely messy" and the award-winning editor lacks a "grasp on bigger, non-technical political realities".

Finally, after conjuring standard US government concerns about "the tilting of power towards an authoritarian Asia... notably China with Russia as an enabler", Zappone concludes: 
"the prospect of converting Australia’s Senate into Assange’s playhouse should give even transparency-minded Australians serious pause." 
Interestingly, this fact-free thought-bubble article was not published in Fairfax (yes, they do have standards) but at an online news site known for underpaying writers. So do editors on the Fairfax foreign news desk need a little extra pocket-money these days? Or is this just another example of the kind of US-friendly propaganda required to pursue a career in Australian media?

I only ask because Mr Zappone does not seem to be very well informed. When the UK Foreign Minister, William Hague, visited Australia in January, I begged journalists like Zappone to confront him about Julian Assange's plight. Zappone's response?
"Assange isn't part of his portfolio."
Zappone later apologised for his mistake. But AFAIK Hague never faced a single question about Assange from the Australian media.

So.. stupid or evil? You decide.


For the benefit of commenters who think this is just a personalized rant, consider this: last week Foreign Minister Bob Carr lied live on Australian TV, falsely claiming (again) that there is no evidence of a US Grand Jury against WikiLeaks.

Nobody in the Australian media reported his lie, and my solicitations to various political media fact-checking sites were ignored.  We Aussies live in a mediaocracy, and it is not ALL Rupert Murdoch's fault.


Hilarious. Repeated requests for anyone in the Australian media to call out Bob Carr's lie were ignored. But when Julian Assange answers questions  a week later, @ABCFactcheck calls him out on a technicality. WikiLeaks provides evidence to show that Assange was actually correct, and the ABC just ignores it. Even ABC boss @AbcMarkScott has no response!

Turns out both editor & presenter are US trained media stooges. Editor Russell Skelton is a Fulbright scholar from Stanford University. Presenter John Barron is an associate of Sydney Uni's US Studies Center

Then I see my old friend @MalcyJorgy (also an associate of ) has posted this disgraceful Sky News interview with Stan Grant aout the Bradley Manning trial. A few highlowlights:
Jorgenson says: "The US has made it clear that there is an arguable case against Assange."

Grant asks: "What are the obligations on us, and those whistle-blowers as well, living in a Democracy?... Are [Manning, Assange and Snowden] putting at risk the democratic rights of the majority by leaking this kind of information?"

Jorgenson replies: "That's certainly one of the implications..."

Jorgenson then repeats his lie (see above) that Assange does not believe governments should ever keep any information secret, and repeats another lie from Australia's Attorney General Mark Dreyfus (that Manning and Snowden are not REAL whistle-blowers because everything they revealed was legal).

Stan Grant asks if Assange, Manning and Snowden are "putting the rest of us at risk?" Jorgenson says "there is a strong case to be made for that."

NOTE: SBS became much more US-friendly when Stan Grant replaced . Grant went from SBS to the World Bank then CNN. And to think that Stan is the son of an elder of the Wiradjui people. Poor fella my country...


  1. There is nothing here profound, or newsworthy or interesting. It is just you insulting people you don't like. Grow up.

  2. Any good points you might have here are lost in conspiracy theories and exaggeration.
    Eg: Being a Fulbright scholar makes you a US stooge... come on! Tell that to Cory Doctorow...
    Just because someone disagrees with you about Wikileaks does not automatically make them ethically compromised. They might just disagree, on their own terms, for their own reasons.
    You might consider them wrong. You might have good reasons for saying they're wrong. But then pretending that they're wrong because of some overreaching mind-control from Washington is just silly.

  3. @ Last Anonymous comment.

    Nice try at understating the extent of US influence in Oz but I am afraid that studying in the US is the classic means of nobbling foreigners and establishing agents of influence. The Anglophone establishment (including the Australian) is notoriously incestuous. However, the US is the dominant partner in it by far.

    The US historically established corrupt relations with Latin American military during the period of dictatorships in the 60s-80s via "training" (bribery and corruption) at the School of the Americas in US client state Panama. The Egyptian military too has annual "training" trips to the US including the current Führer al-Sisi. See this article by Patrick Cockburn in today's UK Independent which highlights this fact.

    Dubbing something a "conspiracy theorist" is a lazy way of attemtping to smear an opinion with which you disagree. As Snowden has demonstrated, there is a massive conspiracy against the public by the nosey-parker listening posts of the 5 Eyes Anglophone nations which makes the surveillance of the Gestapo and the Stasi look amateurish.

  4. You know.. it is really interesting, the two comments here.

    The first person says that, all you are doing is insulting someone.. when what you are fact checking someone. That one does not register to me.

    The second, is calling what you say as some kind of unrealistic conspiracy... Now, that one is one that I am familiar with! Saying someone, because of their ties with highly influential people, will more than likely support such people is not a "conspiracy theory"... but rather simply, how social structures work. To call that unrealistic, well is just ironic.

    Interesting post though, and at last you tried to give the media a chance to correct their biased reporting.

  5. It is true that being a Fulbright scholar doesn't make you a US stooge. But it's not hard to put two and two together is it? ABC Factcheck are not only attacking Assange on a minor technicality while ignoring Bob Carr's lies, they also ridiculously run up the flag for Obama.

    BTW there were three Iraqi brothers who once ran a US-friendly blog called "Iraq The Model". Neocon Paul Wolfowitz cited it as a sign of Iraqi support for the US invasion and two of the brothers even got flown to the White House to meet President Bush! The third brother split from the blog and started criticizing it, but quickly shut up. Why? Perhaps a trip to NYC and a 2 year Fulbright scholarship had something to do with it:

    So it goes...

  6. Try change your Internet Australiaconnection to have a high trust rate.