Thursday 15 July 2010

'Pretty offensive stuff' says Cairns Post online editor

A "people's voice" campaign recently launched by the Cairns Post, has taken an ugly turn before it hardly got off the ground.

The innocuous campaign was touted with soliciting "the little things that annoy ratepayers."
  • "Your neighbourhood, your street, let's band together and get things done: tell us what needs to be fixed. City streets littered with graffiti, cigarette butts, chewing gum and rubbish and our suburbs with potholes, broken street lights and cracked footpaths. So now is the time for people power.

    The Cairns Post and today launch the People’s Voice campaign to help bring these things and others to the attention of relevant authorities. Tell us what needs to be fixed in your neighbourhood."
A question was published by the Post on their social networking Facebook page, to solicit responses for the 'people's voice' campaign.

"What is the biggest eyesore you've seen in Cairns?" was the question asked.

Contributions started to come in and within minutes, a number entered into the debate. However, comments were not monitored and went unnoticed. The discussion, that exceeded 80 comments, turned into an abusive and racially-charged war, and was allowed to continue unchecked for nearly 23 hours.

The new online editor for the Post, Simon Crerar, called the outburst "pretty offensive stuff." Crerar conceded that it is "certainly not comments we would allow on"

"The entire thread has been removed, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on Ken Bawden," he said, in reference to one of the more offence contributors that was allowed unfettered and repeat publication for more that 20 hours without any intervention by Cairns Post staff.
The irony is that the "biggest eyesore" in Cairns was the abhorrent comments allowed.

Simon Crerar, who commenced on 1st of June (at 8:59am), and relocated from the UK, manages the Post's website, Twitter and Facebook pages.

"All comments on are pre-moderated, so don’t go live until they have been read and approved," Simon Crerar told CairnsBlog. "Comments on our Facebook page are live as soon as they are posted and are thus post-moderated. This certainly creates challenges for a traditional news outlet operating in this sphere."

Well, there are simple ways for a "traditional news outlet" to deal with such "challenges" - have someone monitor them. I think there's around 100 staff at the Post, maybe more, yet here at CairnsBlog for instance, there's just me. I also have the voluntary services of a couple of additional moderators that can help out when I'm at Council meetings listening to Alan Blake receive punishment for being a naughty boy, or Sno Bonneau flogging off land with no consultation to his constituents.

The spew of hatred on the Post's Facebook page got way out of control, and simply took too long before it was dealt with. I accept dodgy comments ccan slip through. It's happened on here, however being the medium it is, it's easy and quick to deal with.

Only after I emailed Simon, he took action. I'm all for free speech, god help us, but this kind of stuff reflects badly on the publisher as much as it does the idiot who's posting the hate-filled comments. I put together a comment posting policy in 2007, and still try my best to follow that. I'm unsure what guidelines the Post has in place for public comments.

This isn't this first time our local paper has been caught out publishing reader's letters that breach standards of decency. Last year, a disgusting letter was published in their print edition. The writer suggested the Mayor should "be the first to meet a visiting cruise ship with swine flu passenger, or does her arthritis stop her from walking, reading and writing?"

Cairns Post editor Andrew Holman was also concerned about the unmonitored online outburst.
"I’m on to it. There’s no place for hatred, bigotry and racism," he told me.

The notorious Ken Bawden, who was at the centre on bigotry and racial vilification, will now be watched and probably banned from the Post's Facebook page if he continues to be inflammatory. If you know Ken, I think you should sit him down, with his mouth tapped shut, for a little lesson of respect and walking a mile in someone else's shoes.

The question remains why the Post allowed the comments to remain published for so long. And this isn't censorship in the vain of Conroy's infamous and now nearly defunct internet filter, it's about common decency and respect and tolerance.

A little too late.

Here's some of the more colourful statements that went un-noticed by the Cairns Post for 22 hours...

  • Ken Bawden "all the parkies who hassle everyone for money and cigs,,,they should be locked up..but thats right there black so cops do nothing!! If a white fella is caught in drunken state or drinking in public or loitering they have alcohol tipped out and told to move on or they arrested immediately...if a black fella does the same and begs and hassles everyone who walks past the cops do nothing about it..i thought it was supposed to be equality for all...what makes them so special apart from their skin colour?...these people need to be removed permanently from the streets..what sort of image is it sending tourists?? Did you know that japan actually warns tourists coming to cairns to stay away from " the black man" cos they may get wonder tourism is suffering."

  • Sandie' Parter the only eyesore at the moment is a person called ken bawden commenting on this page........AND YOU WHITE PEOPLE HAVE GOT THE NERVE TO TELL OTHER COUNTRIES YOU ARE'NT RACIST...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ken Bawden "sorry to say sandie but alot of people agree with what i said..a friend of mine works in drunk tank and 90% of people there are from lochart river...why is this?? cos there no grog up there!!! and i correct you on who made was around long before the white man of australia ..aboriginals fermented bush fruit to get high/drunk for centuries."

  • Ken Bawden lets get started on crime statistics...majority of crime done by atsi people..majority of robberies done by atsi people...and what is a common sight every night of the week on the streets of cairns...gangs of atsi kids as young as 8 years old do crime and vandalising things but what happens?...nothing cos of their skin colour. THIS IS FACT!!!! FIRST QUESTION ASKED WHEN THERE IS A CRIME/ROBBERY COMMITTED, WAS THE OFFENDER BLACK OR WHITE??`

  • Leigh Dall'Osto How bizarre that this simple question has amounted to nothing more than a race war. Frankly, there are more important things to worry about than how other people live. The difference between Aboriginal and Islander alcoholics and those of European descent is that white alcoholics drink at home and harm themselves and their families behind closed doors and Aboriginals are in public. The problem is not specific to one race, gender or age group. To say so is just foolish. What a load of drivel you are spouting. The problem is that years ago someone in their wisdom decided to throw money at people and expected that they would know exactly what to do with it but a lot of people were not raised with a knowledge of budgeting, health care and without basic ameneties so in reality, the only cure for what ails you Ken is Education, of you and them. Quality Education is the key to solving almost anything. Give people the confidence to think for themselves and they will often suprise you."

  • Doug John Sainsbury I'm not surprised the indigenous are a bit upset or angry at us whites ay. Their culture was something magical. So much respect for the land... Suddenly to be jammed into this machine industrial civilization, that seems to kill a hell-load of things, and breeds people to an extremely unmanageable number. We're not doing ourselves, or the planet, or life any good. Personally, I think that's worse than shooting someone point blank in the head - The futures in our hands, and here we are handing the next generation a society where you're brought up to be treated as profit cattle, and the most common form of inspiration is some idiot show on TV. Expect chaos mate. Expect chaos.

  • Sarah Parker Equality Ken, are not educated if you think the aborigines have been treated with equality! I haven't met anyone drinking bush fruit in my life time, generally they would have a beer or other alcoholic beverages bought from a bottle shop. They have never really been compensated,...look how long it took for a simple sorry! I don't know Ken,...compensation a monetory sorry for wiping out generations of people,....or retribution - maybe they could have white people hunting day where white people could be chased down out of their homes and their wives raped and their children thrown of cliffs etc. or perhaps you might like to move to Japan?!..where other like minded people like yourself must live! They might not be sitting under a tree but there are plenty of white men at this very moment sitting somewhere sucking back alcohol and using drugs (are they any different because they are behind clothes doors)?! Try not to refer to aborigines as eye soars I think that's pretty offensive!

  • Ken Bawden sick of people thinking these bums are allowed rights...they dont want to work, they sponge off the government and they rob and vandalise the community!!! i am all for cleaning up australia like what they xdid in cronulla!!! kick them bums out of here!!! if they true abos go live off the land and not on white man welfare and in white mans society!!! cant have it both ways!! bunch of bludging wankers and that also includes yellow and white skins who dont want to work and bludge off government!!! GET A JOB YOU LOW LIFE SCUM!!!! bums bums and more bums!!! cairns full of the fuckers!!! go back to the land they come from!! get out of white mans world and go have your traditional rights...they own so much land but trade it all for a flagon of wine!!! bludgers bludgers bludgers!!! sponge and rob who ever they want....true scum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IF YOU WANT MONEY...GET A FUCKING JOB!!!! GOVERNMENT DEPENDANT BUMS!! SHOULD HAVE LEGAL CULL...LIKE HOW THEY CONTROL FERRAL PIGS!!! MY FAVORITE SIMPSONS IS WHACKING DAY...LETS SUBSTITUTE SNAKES FOR BUMS..SAVE GOVERNMENT A FORTUNE IN WASTED WELFARE PAYMENTS!!!!

  • Louise Sorensen ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS/REFUGEES LIVING IN AUSTRALIA Weekly allowance $472.50Weekly Spouse allowance $472.50 Additional weekly hardship allowance$145.00 TOTAL YEARLY BENEFIT $56,680.00 thats how smart us white cunts are ken

  • Josh 'Harry' Emerton Whilst I agree with Ken on one point - that the streets need cleaningup, alcohol addicted aboriginals and that if I see a mugging etc in the paper, espec in Gordonvale (where I live) - more often than not its 'suspect is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander appearance and riding a bicycle' (probably my old bicycle) - I must also agree that racism is most definately a deterrant to both tourists and locals alike.Ken - no fucking way are you Mensa. You're a dumb, uneducated bogan. I probably won't find someone to disagree with me there.However - I'll through these out there.Ever heard of Ku Klux Knievel? Tried to jump 50 Negroes on a steamroller.Why do aborigines carry shit in their wallet? ID


  • Shelley Perkins Sooooo insecure Ken that you have to threaten strangers online??? Grow up and get a real life. By the way Ken you have just proved you are racist so find another site to spew your small minded rhetoric on. Goodbye.


...and the final comment...

  • Michael Moore Clearly no moderator on here, however that displays the level of intelligent debate over the question asked... "What is the biggest eyesore you've seen in Cairns?" looking more and more like the Cairns Post online forum...


Unknown said...

Mike, thanks for your interest.
With more than 2,300 fans on our Facebook page we’re attracting a huge number of comments each day. I’m in absolute agreement that we need to keep a very close eye on them, particularly during the hours when we are not in the office.

Leigh Dall'Osto said...

I note that with the racial tirade from Ken this week on's Facebook page you have used one of my comments in your article. Can I also add that I reported ALL of the revolting comments (anyone can do say, just flag it, then report it) and sincerely hope this person is filtered off the internet. Anyone would have been offended regardless of race and unfortunately he was allowed to continue for far too long. Whilst I do not believe in censorship, I also do not believe in anyone's 'right' to abuse an entire community. Thankyou Michael for emailing those with the power to halt the degenerated drivel. I would have done the same but was unsure where to direct it to. Here's hoping their site is much more closely monitored as a result.
Leigh Dall'Osto

Balaclava Rd Bandit said...

Pot: 'Hey Kettle your black', Kettle: 'Hey you are as well! Whats your point!'

Cheap shot Mike, as a long term listeners part time caller i've seen alot of slanderious and insulting stuff come through on your pages, alot of which is still there. How would you defend yourself if TCP did a story on your site?

Also, despite the fact that this Ken guy is obviously a racist moron, he is still entitled to express his opinions...such is the burden of democracy. The thing that stood out to me there is not the racist things he was saying, but the reubking he recived from the other people engaged in the discussion.

Everyone is entitled to their views, dont tell me you are advocating censorship? Dont we always criticise the media for sensoring people?? You can't have it both ways, can't complain that media censors to much, only to complain they dont censor enough??? i've confused and need a nap....

Syd Walker said...

"How would you defend yourself if TCP did a story on your site?"

Is it really true that the Cairns Post hasn't done a story on CairnsBlog in all these years?

Maybe it's understaffed?

Michael P Moore said...

Hi there "Balaclava Rd Bandit"... a title that befits you no doubt.

You ask how I would defend myself if TCP [The Cairns Post] did a story on your site..... well, they have. Not in recent months, but back in KB's era, when we had chain gangs and woman were still kept in the kitchen where they belong. Any "media" (I use that word loosely) as media has been so de constructed over recent years, the meaning and what was traditionally "media" has, and is still being reinvented, largely driven by "us" the consumers and readers.

You however make a grave mis-judgement, when you say that this racist nutter Ken (you call him a racist moron), is still entitled to express his opinions. He is. However I was criticising the Post for publishing his stuff. I also said, it wasn't about censorship when saying such things should be removed. There is a clear difference. It's about what we as a society accept is rational criticism and what is a racist rant. Any intelligent person can spot the difference. Why can't you?

Freedom to offend said...

Am I missing something here?

You get the Post to delete the comments because you feel they shouldn't be there, then you post them here?

What's the difference?

I have no desire to defend this guy, but since when was it taboo to mention the disproportionate amount of crime, per capita, committed by aboriginal and TI people?

Freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend.

Sarah Parker (via Facebook) said...

I hope Ken Bawden...heard the advise he was given! I think that did the right thing as quickly as was able.

Doug John Sainsbury (via Facebook) said...

Hahaha. I took part in that conversation as well. What a strange world we live in mate.

Michael P Moore said...

Looks like "Ken Bowden" and his profile has mysteriously vanished from Facebook!

Leigh Dall'Osto (via Facebook) said...

He's back, and writing nice things finally. I was part of that whole debarcle too, it was definately not one of my favourite debates I have taken part in online!!

Shanii Anne Gee (via Facebook) said...

It wasn't just that discussion about the Aboriginals where Ken was highly abusive, anything involving Ken turned into a fight and went off the subject of the post.

Unknown said...

The Cairns Post have recently published several offensive messages, ie letters and texts to the editor. they have been extremely derogatory towards women. Racism and sexism do not have a place in a modern society.

Alison Alloway said...

Well said Wiki. The facebook site, "Val Schier is a Crap Mayor" contains some hideous sexist comments. Not only sexist but redolent with violence. I don't know who the "moderators" are on that site, but I tried posting a comment relaying the AMCAs decision against radio station 4CA over the "Cash for Comment" skulduggery. It wasn't published of course which makes me more suspicious as to just who is controlling that site.

Michael P Moore said...

Maybe it was Kevin Byrne incognito?? ;-)

Leigh Dall'Osto (via Facebook) said...

Hahahaha!!!! If only there was one person who's opinions were this bizarre!! Unfortunately, there appears to be more.

Alison Alloway said...

I don't know who is controlling the site, Mike. Whoever has set it up did so purposely for demagoguery and they now have an army of mostly young, impressionable, easily manipulated kids as "fans". To be frank, some of the comments are threatening and very disturbing.
I have backed away from posting on the site myself after feeling very threatened, and after decades of taking part in political debates, I point out that that is the first time I have ever felt personally menaced!!!

Fat Fking Kev said...

Well I've contributed some common sense to the Val Schier is a crap Mayor page