We chronicle below some of the distortions by the media on issues relating to Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Party.
Howard's David Duke comment (June 1997):
Soon after Hanson's web pages went up the "feeding frenzy" of the mainstream media reached mammoth proportions when, in June, Prime Minister John Howard compared the popularity of Hanson and One Nation to that of David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.
Interesting that not long before Howard's comments to disgruntled graziers at Longreach in Queensland had parroted Ms Hanson's thoughts and comments in the letter to the Queensland Times on 6th January 1996. This letter saw her being disendorsed by the Liberal party as their Federal candidate for the seat of Oxley in the March 1996 elections. The letter and the resulting uproar, with Ms Hanson being branded a racist by the mainstream media, resulted in her winning the seat of Oxley as an Independent with the biggest voter backlash against a sitting federal (Labor) member in the whole country. For reasons "unknown" Howard escaped the media's "racist" tag following his affirmation of Ms Hanson's earlier stand through his public comments at Longreach.
In the months prior to Howard's David Duke comparison the mainstream media had tried every trick in the book to discredit Ms Hanson and her new party by accusing her of being the cause of:
and, of course the claim that,
or, One Nation falling apart at the seams,
In the meantime One Nation has continued to grow with over 300 branches now being established.
The Boswell statement to the Senate:
At about the time that Howard's "David Duke" comparison was aired a senior member of the Coalition's Senate team, Ron Boswell, claimed, in the Senate, that One Nation was "advertising" in an "extremist" right wing publication, The Strategy, a monthly paper which he alleged had links to the League of Rights.
The editor of The Strategy sent us a press release that included the following statement:
"One Nation has never asked us to place an advertisement for them or to run any articles about One Nation or Pauline Hanson. All adverts relating to One Nation, that have been used by this paper, have been put out as "media releases" for all or any publication to run. We felt that people generally deserved as much information as possible to make-up their own minds as to what they wanted."
Despite the wide attention given by the mainstream media to Boswell's comments absolutely no voice was given to that of The Strategy's editor Ray Platt in his denial.
In fact the role of the mainstream media became pivotal in the attempt by the Liberal and Labor parties to discredit the "new kid on the block".
This point is borne out by Platt's comments in his July edition of The Strategy.
The death threat allegation by a spokesman for the Chinese in Queensland:
In June 1997 the spokesman for the Queensland Chinese Community Voice (QCCV), Mr Lawrence Ma, went public with a letter which, it was claimed, had been written by an extreme right wing group called the Anglo Saxons and European Rights League.
The mainstream media gave this story wide publicity in the press and on television once again linking One Nation to extreme right wing groups.
Through GWB's earlier contact with Mr Ma we were able to get a fax copy of the letter which revealed a major flaw in his claim. The flaw was referred to the Federal Police who decided to investigate the source of the letter. The once vocal anti-Hanson QCCV suddenly became remarkably silent (see 9).
The exposure of an alleged flaw in the "story" was, once again, totally ignored by the mainstream media as was the National Crime Authority (NCA) report on the Chinese triads in Australia. The NCA report supporting Hanson's view about the formation of "little pockets" of Asia in Australia (like Cabramatta) where crime was allowed to flourish.
During the 1997 Parliamentary winter recess News Limited went onto the attack demanding that the Liberal and National Parties place Pauline Hanson's One Nation at the bottom of their "How to Vote" tickets at the next Federal election.
A misreported statement by Pauline Hanson in late August was the trigger for the television stations to not only pick up this line but to create a headline story perpetrating the lie that she had said "immigrants should be chosen on their religious backgrounds".
This statement was used as a link to justify the demand by Liberal Victorian State Premier Jeff Kennett, a very good friend of the Packer's that Hanson be put last on the "How to Vote" ticket. However, Kennet's attention was distracted by the Coalition ministry's delay in handing Packer the "streets of gold" - Fairfax and the resulting media turmoil. Neither Packer nor Kennett were impressed... but Packer's anger would, as usual, have the most dramatic impact.
The move to get the Coalition to put Hanson last on the "How to Vote" ticket was also made by the leader of the opposition ALP, Kim Beazley, in Parliament on the first day it resumed after the winter recess.
That night the television stations berated Pauline Hanson for something she had not done, charged her with something she had not said. The ethics in Australian reporting hit rock bottom at a time when at the same time a story of national significance about national radio broadcaster Triple J using Hanson's voice in a song to link her with paedophilia and homosexuality went unreported.
"They (journalists) shall use fair and honest means to obtain news, films, tapes and documents. Extract Australian Journalist Association (AJA) Code of Ethics
Some journalists will stoop to any depth to "get or make" a story.
This recorded incident of Sun Herald journalist Daniel Dasey's deception of Pauline Hanson's One Nation reveals how today's media operates - in total contravention of the AJA Code of Ethics to which they are supposed to be bound.
GWB staff, as editors of the daily on-line Australian News of the Day, wondered why the mainstream media had slanted their reporting. We had our own theories which were supported by a senior journalist at Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald.
Here is part of what Ms Kingston had to say (see link above):
|"Now when you have a man so powerful that he can buy Graeme Richardson to talk the Labor party around and Michael Kroger to talk the Liberal party around, and Howard and Costello and Alston jump to his every need no matter how irrational, no matter how transparently incoherent their arguments, we have a huge problem. And yes, personally I am very scared, personally, of Mr Packer taking over Fairfax."|
And Margo Kingston has every reason to fear Packer, the report "The dark side of Kerry Packer" gives a fascinating insight into the man who allegedly owes the Australian Tax Office over Au$140 million.
Packer's Channel Nine television network, spearheaded by Sixty Minutes has been particularly focused in attempts to try to discredit Ms Hanson. It is quite plausible to reason that this is because One Nation, if successful in gaining the balance of power after the next federal election, could "upset" the current cosy relationship that Margo Kingston refers to as One Nation's success would undermine the lobbyists current preferential relationship that they enjoy with key bureaucrats and politicians in Canberra. It is our belief that the negative reporting has little, if anything, to do with Ms Hanson's viewpoint.
The same comparisons can be made about the not-so-saintly Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation empire who use "the tax loopholes" to pay little or no tax.
In May 1997 Sixty Minutes secured an interview with Ms Hanson under blatantly false pretences. What was supposed to be a report based on "....initially Pauline Hanson was a phenomenon in Australian politics, today she is clearly a force to be reckoned with." turned into a programme with one intention in mind - to ridicule her.
In late July Channel Nine's Sixty Minutes programme used an Asian correspondent, Emily Lau, who they claimed "was one of the 100 most powerful women in the world" to try to berate and ridicule Ms Hanson. What they didn't tell Australia about the lady would have made a story in itself.
In fact the basis of the interview with well-placed Thais was, in itself, a complete and disgraceful scam. This is an extract from what the Bangkok Post says about Thai's approach to foreigners:
"A foreigner remains a foreigner regardless of how long he resides here or how fluently he learns to speak the language. Even if he acquires Thai citizenship, the local community withholds integration. He may have the customs and mores down pat, nevertheless he lacks the requisite prejudices."
However, while claiming that Emily Lau would take the wrappers off the damage that Pauline Hanson was doing to trade with Asia, no thought was given to the damage that the coverage given to Lau by Channel Nine would do to Australia's business links with China.
It is no surprise then that Pauline Hanson and many others in Australia considers Sixty Minutes "a dirty word".
It was at this point in time that GWB realised that the Internet should be used a tool to do more than just get Pauline Hanson's real message out to the mainstream Australian population. New on-line strategies had to be planned to attract the attention of journalists and editors in a manner that they could not disregard or "overlook" - even if we became the focus of their attack as a consequence.
This task was going to be harder than we realised... as facts don't count to a biased media.
In early July Pauline Hanson launched the Gold Coast branch of One Nation. The change in the face of the protesters since the launch of One Nation in Ipswich just over two months before was immediately apparent. An ugly mood bordering on violence - represented this changing face that had been reflected in a number of One Nation launches during this period of time.
This at a time when former Governor General and former Australian Labor Party MP for Pauline Hanson's seat of Oxley, Bill Hayden, claimed in an article in Ipswich's Queensland Times that Pauline Hanson had had a "dream run" (with the media) while Kim Beazley, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) leader, added his voice to the comment by Howard claiming that One Nation was attracting right wing radicals.
The comments by Beazley, echoed by his deputy Evans, were a trifle ironic as, following the Gold Coast launch GWB embarked on a comprehensive search on the Internet for links to the protesters and came up with the jackpot.