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?
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 @ABCFactCheck 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 @USSC.
Then I see my old friend @MalcyJorgy (also an associate of @USSC) has posted this disgraceful Sky News interview with Stan Grant aout the Bradley Manning trial. A few
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 @MaryKostakidis. 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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Grant_%28journalist%29 … Poor fella my country...