Wednesday 27 May 2009

Sick news day, Cairns style

Jennifer Elliot's cover story in today's Cairns Post deserves serious examination.
In case you weren’t aware, the Post is owned by Murdoch’s News Corporation - a corporation that is incapable of telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
In increasingly common circumstances, there is no difference between News Ltd journalists and wild animals, acting without morals or ethics, yet it’s the very accusation they throw at independents writers and Bloggers, that serve no master, other than the reader and the pure pursuit of truth.

This is a media corporation that will print anything if it brings in a quick buck, and hang the consequences for ordinary, innocent human beings.

Last week, I posted some jokes from the Cairns Roast asking the question: what is the difference between a journalist and a bucket of shit (answer: the bucket).

Given the public odium in which journalism is held nowadays, it’s not surprising that News Ltd, like other mainstream media, are dying a slow, miserable death. And that is a death to be applauded and encouraged. The single desire to boost circulation, was the reason behind today's Post to make a complex legal battle over a family child molestation case, in today’s front-page story.
The Post’s coverage of the Frederick Martens story is beyond excuse, let alone explanation. It is sickening. It stands as an example of the perversion of the mainstream media’s values and lack of any ethics.

The Cairns Post has sensationalised a human tragedy in a most calculated way, and presented it in a blatantly and deliberately one-sided form. The Post knows that the young women involved in this case will never present their side of the story, except as witnesses in a court case, if they are lucky.

The Cairns Post knows that these women are probably so traumatised and fearful after their experience of our legal system that it is safe for its journalists to write what they like with total impunity.

The Post also knows that the young the Papua New Guinean women involved are never going to be in a position to protest against its cheap and mercenary commercial use of the case to further its own financial interests.

The Post has not attempted to provide any balance whatsoever in its coverage of the case. It knows that it doesn't need to, and has ruthlessly exploited that fact. It has assiduously and unquestioningly followed the script of a public relations campaign devised and implemented by one side of this awful story.

This is gutless, gutter journalism at its worst. The journalist and editor Andrew Webster should be ashamed.


Jude Johnston said...

Mike, perhaps the "Human Tragedy" is that a man has been incarcerated for some years on the basis of evidence that the Courts have found to be unreliable.

Pat Macquarie of Cairns said...

And maybe the laws of sub judice prevent the Post from publishing any comment on the actual crime itself while the matter is still before the courts.
The fact that the guy has been released on bail is legally reportable, and so is the fact that his appeal is based on the premise he did not touch her, but the vicitm's claims are not legally reportable, except when they are aired in court.
Basic Journalism 101, Michael.

Unknown said...

Let’s not forget the ABC. ABC Radio Far North has long had a very bad reputation for bias. It’s long-time morning host Pat Morrish was a former Liberal candidate. Bureau Chief (now on secondment in PNG) Ken Orr was a National Party flunkey. Current morning host Fiona Sewell is well-known for her Liberal National Party apologia – and has in fact employed former Liberal candidate Charlie McKillop as her producer. As an example of her willingness to promote her own political friends, we need look no further than this morning, when she gave free rein to CRC Gang of Four Cr Margaret Cochrane to bag her progressive opponents. Needless to say there was no opportunity provided for her opponents to respond.

Unknown said...

Good heavens, Jude Johnston! The courts have found no such thing. The courts have decided that there is possibly new evidence that should be heard. I ask again, whatever happened to balance and fairness, and respect for the truth? And I state once again that this horrifying case should not be exploited as a circulation-builder by the Cainrns Post. And as for Pat Macquarie, great, fantastic, the slimebags that pass for journalists in this town in his/her view should be free to have a field day at the expense of the young women in the case, who cannot put their point of view in public.

Jude Johnston said...

Unda, yeah I probably was a bit "emotional" in my comment, you are correct, it is new evidence that needs to be heard rather than my interpretation. However, I for one have become rather tired of hearing that all men must be treated as peadophiles with no benefit of the doubt until they go through the Court System. I would suggest you read "A City Possessed" a high profile case of alledged sexual abuse of children in a Council run Creche in Christchurch, (NZ). While all the creche workers women and 1 man were initially charged with peadophilia or child abuse, only the man was found guilty. Those other Creche workers had their lives ruined, the children were interogated for hours at a time, a detective on the case slept with more than one of the "witnesses" mothers. The man was found guilty and spent 10 years in prison. He refused to attend therapy and counselling and thereby not get parole, because he was innocent. He did the time, and interestingly enough, he was unharmed by fellow inmates. We wonder why there are no men going into early childhood or teaching careers. What male would when there is a perception that "it is better to put an innocnet man in prison than let a guilty one go free".

Unknown said...

OK, your points are well made. But the argument you are raising is not my argument. My argument is that it is bad enough for the media to run one side of any case. But to do so with such a horrific case with all its consequences is utterly beyond the pale. And to do so, purely to boost your circulation through sensationalism, in the full knowledge that you can get away with it even worse, if that is possible.

Pat Morrish said...

Hello Mike

For the record:
Re: Unda's comments.
I have never stood as a candidate for the Liberal Party...nor have I been asked by the iberal Party to do so.
I was approached twice about standing for a councillor position on Cairns City Council some time ago. On both occasions I declined.

Pat Morrish

Unknown said...

I thought she stood. I was wrong and I apologise.

Capt said...

Hi Mike, I am a new reader to your blogs. Regarding the Fred Martens case that you have mentioned being one sided, "this is not the case at all" This case was fabricated from the inception, the x-partner located in PNG regarding a child custody case etc etc & to have this family man out of the way, hence in prison!
This was not a fair trial at all back in 2006, for this man, when the crucial evidence was always available in PNG, Martens Passport was taken from him back in 2004, how was he meant to gather this evidence when he could not leave the shores of Australia.
Read further stories at his website, myspace capt fred martens.
Regards Capt.