Sunday, 25 October 2020

Murdoch Royal Commission Petition

Why sign the Murdoch Royal Commission Petition when it's unlikely any action will be taken by the current Liberal National Coalition Government?

We know the government won't act in good faith on this petition despite it gaining over 360,000 thousand signatures in just over 2 weeks and not closing till 4th November.

It's pointless, right?

Not really:

International reports

What the Murdoch Royal Commission petition has already done is create news in and of itself. Some from the mainstream media in Australia, Murdoch's Sway on Politics warrants a Royal Commission - and also internationally (New York Times & Straits Times) and amongst many of our Independent Media outlets including articles by highly regarded former NewsCorp journalists

According to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the Murdoch media empire has become "... a protection racket" (2 min video here)

You know that News Corp is no longer interested in reporting facts. It operates like a mafia syndicate with a well-funded protection racket for politicians who back its commercial interests and espouse hard-right ideology on issues like climate change.

You also know that many of Murdoch’s critics, while roaring in private, have been bullied into public silence. They live in fear of joining the mounting number in business, politics and media who have been subjected to an onslaught of lies, innuendo and personal smear. Crikey & here 

has NewsCorp evolved into something new, something we don’t have a name for yet, more like a propaganda outlet camouflaged .... weaponising freedom of the press to defend the corporation.

The Murdoch Royal Commission Petition has promoted discussion amongst diverse groups from across the political spectrum from the disinterested to the passionate. Many may not have been aware of News Corp's reach across Australia and the impact this ONE media empire has by owning the bulk of the print media in Australia.

It's created a sense of togetherness against a common adversary. One who's hell bent on undermining not just our society by creating doubt, insecurity & division, but that erodes trust in science, and supports increasingly right wing views:

Rupert and his minions get to reshape the narrative with relentless far-right monotony, drowning out climate science, crushing progress and stomping on compassion. Independent Australia

Is News Corp really that bad?

Eric Beecher a former editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and editor-in-chief of Herald and Weekly Times (owned by News Corp) has this to say:

When I once asked a senior cabinet minister in a recent federal government to explain how media power in Australia operates in the world of politics, this is how he answered: “A cabinet colleague of mine recently told me he’d had a call from [the head of a large media company] who said that one of his editors had put together all this personal information on him, but he was calling the minister just to let him know that he had instructed the editor under no circumstances was the personal information ever to be published.”

That’s how freedom of the press works in Australia, the politician explained, without a hint of joy. 


Media power lurks like a prowler in the dark. You can sense its danger, feel its presence, identify its victims. But rarely if ever does it show its full face in the light.

That’s because media power is a weapon built primarily on fear. 

The petition helps shine a light on the power, and on the danger it presents to those who stand against it, and how it debases our country.

One voice may seem weak, but banded together, our voices join together and reach others via new media like TikTok

News Corp’s other major markets — the US and the UK — have long moved on. Early last year, The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan, speaking of News’ sister organisation Fox, spelled out what has since become the orthodoxy:

… everyone ought to see [Fox] for what it is: not a normal news organisation with inevitable screw-ups, flaws and commercial interests, which sometimes fail to serve the public interest. Instead, it’s a shameless propaganda outfit, which makes billions of dollars a year as it chips away at the core democratic values we ought to hold dear: truth, accountability and the rule of law.

Earlier this year, James Murdoch resigned from the News Corp board citing “disagreements over certain editorial content.” This past weekend, in an interview with The New York Times, he went further talking of hidden agendas and disinformation.

Not surprisingly, News Corp hasn't mentioned that James Murdoch left the board, leaving those who rely on NC in the dark.

This is especially relevant given the reach of News Corp in Australia. Even if you don't purchase any of their media, it's sending messages of disinformation & framing events in favour of their chosen narrative. This is seen at news-stands, servos, supermarket checkouts & cafes. It's next to impossible to avoid.

So, apart from Kevin Rudd, and a few hundred thousand Australians, who else has signed the petition?

What next?

Remember to confirm the link in the email you receive after signing!

Support Independent media (we've got a great variety!) learn about Media Manipulation Tactics and share both the petition and independent media alternatives with community groups.

Petitioning Parliament House

In Australia the right of petitioning Parliament remains a fundamental right of the citizen. It is the only means by which the individual can directly place grievances before the Parliament. 

An important effect of the petitioning process is that Members and the Government are informed, in a formal and public way, of the views of sections of the community on public issues. Even if no action is immediately taken on a petition, it and others like it may assist in the creation of a climate of opinion which can influence or result in action. (my italics)

Interesting articles:

Who's funding Bad Science?

Is News Corp a news company?

Murdoch's sway on politics warrants royal commission

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Melbourne Lockdown, ocean exploration & mutineers

What's it like to be a marine technician?

This isn't a question you'd expect to be relevant to being in lockdown in Melbourne during the global covid pandemic.

Or is it?

Bear with me.

Colleen Peters is a Marine Technician on the RV Ocean Explorer. She recently spoke with  *Amelia, not only about pathways to become a Marine Technician but also about the role of the captain, morale of crew & passengers, the importance of collaboration, working together, skills, dealing with people's needs and wants, as well as many fascinating aspects of her varied role.

She also spoke about the vital role the captain of a ship plays, where the crew rely on their skills as far more than a navigator to bring everyone home safely.

You can listen to Avid Research STEM interviews here & on Apple & Spotify 

Listening to this episode made me realise there are similarities between being at sea during a massive storm, and Melbourne Lockdown during a GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

"the responsibility that the captain has in not just to get the job done, but it's to bring everybody home safe, it's a much different responsibility and it's to be very well respected"

Being in lockdown feels a bit like it sounds like after being too long at sea. You tend to go a bit stir crazy. We're confined to a limited radius from home, and while we can definitely venture further than our 'cabin' - we can walk, shop, post letters and go out for coffee and order take-away foods - many of us are missing family and friends who live further away. Others are antsy, frustrated and bored.

Our captain (Victoria's Premier, Daniel Andrews) is in some ways similar to the captain of a ship in a violently raging sea, and along with other countries around the globe, our ship has been blown off course.

Waaaaay off course.

There are no charts for this expedition and we rely on the skill of the captain, navigator, and crew to find the safest course to a new and different harbour to what was anticipated in 2019. This takes resolve and courage in the face of dissenting voices far away. 

There are rocks ahead.

We see other ships, far larger than ours foundering on jagged rocks during this frightening storm. 

Bodies pile up on a rocky island, while others swirl in the maelstrom, decomposing as we watch, helpless to assist. Desperate crew and passengers struggle to keep ships afloat while some captains shout indistinct or conflicting commands.

One captain & crew are carousing in his goldleaf cabin, denying there's anything amis while we watch in horror at the imminent wreckage. Will some of it create hazards for others at sea?

Meanwhile the violent storm rages on.

Focused on the job at hand, our captain commands "Heave to" to reduce the potential to join the devastation he sees around.

To weather a storm of such global magnitude takes nerves of steel, a calm demeanour, clear directions and responsible crew and passengers. It's incumbent on all to pull together in our response to this global covid crisis.

"We don't see the complexity of what's going on out of our sight."

Finding a relatively safe course through this uncharted territory is like deciphering a massive puzzle that's written in a different language, where unknowns are slowly revealed over MONTHS. Mistakes are made before new, more accurate information comes to hand.

The storm rages on with increased violence.

Over many weeks of Melbourne Lockdown, the encouraging result of the decision to heave to become clear. We appear to be safe!

However, while the captain has been focused on our collective safety, and found a relatively safe place to drop anchor while the storm increases with violence overhead, a dangerous plot has been hatched.

A mutiny is planned.

Poisonous letters are distributed to tired & vulnerable passengers. The easily led, the confused, the overly trusting, are encouraged to defy the captain's orders.

Far from making these saboteurs walk the plank, the captain treats them with civility and patience. Questions: repetitive, distracting questions which are unhelpful to fellow passengers, and increase their fear and distress, are fired at the captain daily & for MONTHS.

Draining questions. Pointless questions. Gotcha Questions. Questions that distract, deflect, obstruct, undermine & confuse the messages of safety which bring security & the sense of  "We're in this together, We can do it!" 

The storm rages on.

Thousands upon thousands of deaths. Untold numbers of young and previously healthy young people with life changing health problems due to #LongCovid . Overwhelmed medical facilities. Bodies piled on decks waiting for burial. Families, watching, waiting, grief-struck.

Passengers on other ships look to our captain & the difficult decisions he's made with envy. Other captains look here for direction.

The storm increases with ferocity.

Far from making sure everyone is doing their bit to ensure survival & encouraging passengers to doing do their part for everyone's benefit, the mutineers continue to undermine with destructive glee.

They DEMAND that the captain resigns.

Our mutineers have no chart. No idea how to read the language of the storm. No experience with GLOBAL storms of this magnitude, which come with terrifying gusts, then appear to abate. (No experience either with landlubber Australian bushfires which this captain prepared for and steered us through, saving countless lives, stock & propertyThese hints of abating are presented with supreme confidence as "The threat is over! Heaving to and dropping anchor were an overreaction by an incompetent, wimpy captain."

'Weigh anchor NOW' the mutineers command. 'We've had enough. We want our old life back. Take us back to the past!' little realising, or not prepared to acknowledge, that the whole world has changed. The dusty old charts, preserving the structure & order of their privileged past are redundant.

Missives are printed, funded by a foreign media mogul who's been involved with the foundering of other notable ships & resulting in the installation of his preferred captain.

Yet reputable people are expressing increased concern about the impact such power & influence has on our countries, our communities, families and environment; about what we're encouraged to believe & what's ignored or dismissed:

Here, here and here and an excellent article from Independent Australia as well as James Murdoch speaking out against News Corp which former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd discusses in this 2 minute video here:

Yet midst the fear of the still frighteningly raging storm, our sorrow for what's been lost and fear of an unpredictable future, as well as anger at the mutineers, a tiny glimmer of light shines across the turbulent waters, there's something we CAN do. Former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd explains some of the issues and why we need a #MurdochRoyalCommission


Murdoch Royal Commission link:

Remember to look at the list of Independent Media and perhaps choose a couple to subscribe to and become familiar with Media Manipulation Tactics to cut through the bs.

The storm rages on, and our safety looks promising ...


(*disclaimer - Amelia is my daughter. I spent 10 years as a secondary school Career Counsellor and much of the rest of my working life in tertiary education and as a private career counsellor. I'm incredibly proud of her interviews & podcasts, not only from the professional aspect, but for the wealth of valuable career & life information they contain.) 

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

How does the media manipulate our views?

Media Manipulation Tactics.
Politicians and the media are trained to influence the way we think. This thread looks at how they do that.
Keep an eye out for when politicians, commentators and journalists use these manipulative tactics. We encourage you to post the relevant meme in the comments of the media post using a particular tactic.
Discussing media framing with your friends, family & community groups is a great way of refining your ability to identify when a politician or media outlet is pushing a particular narrative.

These tiles can be particularly useful to help our trusting friends, the gullible and easily influenced to be aware of tactics used to influence us all.

Our media is supposed to hold our politicians to account. But who holds the media to account?
We do.

Media Manipulation
Manufactured outrage

Media Manipulation
Tactical Framing
                                         How will a bill affect us?                                         
Who will be impacted? 
What are the consequences?

    Media Manipulation
Is one group ALWAYS right and another ALWAYS wrong?

                                                            Media Manipulation 
                                                    Slippery Slope
Who obstructs change? Why?
What's in it for them?

Media Manipulation
Fear Mongering

Fear is a powerful motivator
& can be used to inhibit change
(stay with the known, change is scary)

Media Manipulation
Democratic Symbolism

Lack of accountability
Who is held to account?
Who is presented as above reproach?
What happens when you look at different media?
(2019/20 Bushfires)

Media Manipulation
Attack the Messenger!

Avoiding the issue by deflection
or name calling

Media Manipulation
False Neutrality

Who is being interviewed?
What is their affiliation?
Are we informed?

Media manipulation
Leading Questions

Basically telling us what to think.
But sneakily ... of course
Is there any other way?

Media Manipulation

Watch out for pointless, repetitive questions
or statements
which have already been answered.

Media Manipulation

Occasionally of some human interest, but usually irrelevant.

Media Manipulation
The Middle Ground Fallacy

When "balance" is anything but.

Media manipulation
Democratic Backsliding

Chipping away bit by bit
and then ... kapowie

Media Manipulation

Distraction, irrelevancies & diversions
They're everywhere.

Media Manipulation
Alternative Narrative

Deliberately muddying the water
to create confusion, doubt & overload.

Media Manipulation
Security Theatre

Simplistic 'answers' to complex issues.
Slogans, sound bites & quick fixes.
"If it's too good to be true, it's too good to be true"


Workshop potential

These tiles would be excellent workshop material for groups such as Community groups, church groups, U3A, Knitting Nannas & interested in fairness, democracy, climate change, renewable energy, ethics. 

It's also an opportunity to discuss media concentration in Australia and how that affects what's reported, how it's reported, who's interviewed (or not) and what's missing. What are their links to the media outlet? Who benefits? Who is silenced? Why? How are photos cropped to frame perception?

Discussion points: Look at how the words in headlines are carefully selected to create an emotional response. This doesn't necessarily reflect the tone of the article but are chosen so that passers by will see them at supermarket checkouts, servos and in cafes. Drip feed negativity has an impact.

Independent media 

and media bias

Compare murdoch media coverage of the 2019/20 bushfires, with a variety of other reports. What's the same? What's different? When did it become the norm to undermine science? Who undermines? Who benefits? What is the result in our communities?

Spoiler. This article has a lot of the answers.

And there's this: 

Thanks to Access Disrupt for allowing me to share these informative tiles. 



Friday, 17 January 2020

List of Australian Independent Media

Do you remember the feeling when you were a child and someone took away a tattered possibly dangerous toy, a favourite book or said "You're a big kid now, you don't need that any more"?

The wise person in your life would have immediately replaced the removed item with something more interesting. The gap caused by the loss or habit was filled & satisfied!

The same with media. When we discover that particular groups no longer support our needs, values or morals, it's time to change AND replace it with more diverse options.
Australian Independent Media!
Thanks to the Gosford Anglican Church
for the reminder that our brains need to be nurtured
 along with our bodies!
I have an A4 sheet with Australian Independent Media which I cut up and give to
people who have little idea of the good range of options we have!
You can also tuck them under the sugar bowl at cafes, put them in msm papers
and leave them in all sorts of places where people can see the great range of 

choices we have! 

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Why has Australia's mainstream media consistently supported the current government?

9 years ago

The Australian Labor Party, with Julia Gillard as leader, had a comprehensive range of policies which would have strengthened communities and our environment prior to the current bushfire crisis.

Policies included
technology - an effective and efficient NBN
and effective action to address climate change 

Meanwhile a brutal campaign was run by the then opposition (current coalition of Liberal & National Parties which now govern Australia (aka LNP or Coalition)) supported by our extremely concentrated media landscape and influential voices that didn't support these policies.

Peta Credlin admits the climate change policy under Julia Gillard's Labor government was never a carbon tax, but the coalition used that label to stir up brutal retail politics.Credlin, the former chief of staff to Tony Abbott when he was prime minister and now a political commentator for Sky News, said the coalition made it a "carbon tax" and a fight about the hip pocket rather than the environment."That was brutal retail politics, and it took Abbott six months to cut through and when he did cut through Gillard was gone," she told Sky News on Sunday.
In addition, the then opposition leader, Tony Abbott pledged that there'd be 

pledges all broken by his and subsequent coalition governments. None of this has been in the best interests of citizens. 

The impact of lack of media diversity, and partisan media, painting the coalition as unquestioningly positive, while Labor's policies were irresponsible, has had a devastating impact as we now see with the terrifying bushfires. 

Lack of action since 2003
More here about the impact of the government's policies and decisions going back to the 2003  A Nation Charred: Report on the inquiry into bushfires 

There are links related to defunding research, avoiding recommendations, cutting staff against advice, delaying or ignoring requests for meetings. 

The polices, obstruction or lack of action have had a negative impact on: firefighters from volunteers to professionals in various departments, efficient and effective response to the scale and intensity of the fires, citizens (loss of life & trauma), jobs, farming, agriculture, water, birds, animals, health, insects, trees, koalas, roos, and will continue to impact the timeliness and efficiency of recovery of individuals and communities.

Questions to ponder
Why was, and is, some media so keen to present one political group as good and the others as irresponsible

Why don't they discuss the impact of policy, or lack of it, on citizens & our environment?

Why do they mock valid concerns about climate change?

Who are they mates with?

How do they benefit?

Soundbites are no substitute for policy

Slogans are no substitute for policy

Outsourcing decision making to the media isn't smart

Australian Govt bushfire response FACT CHECK

A selection of FACTS related to the current bushfires in Australia. Fact Check by the Climate Council.
The requests for assistance in the lead up to the fire season were not solely concerned with defence force allocations. Groups such as the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) clearly requested additional funding for national aerial firefighting equipment well before this bushfire crisis. By the time the Prime Minister finally decided to provide funding for this equipment, four months had passed and 2.7 million hectares had already burned.
Over 30 years ago
in 1985, the Liberal Party’s David Connolly suggested the Federal Government should expand its role and show leadership in managing bushfires.
Government inaction & obstruction is familiar

More information on government policy and decisions that have had a negative impact on citizens and our environment is here: 

Is the scale of the Australian Bushfires related to government policy?

There are articles about funding cuts, obstruction, deflection & avoidance.

Inaction has been systemic over many years including not adopting the recommendations from the 2003 report:


Friday, 10 January 2020

Why was Australia so underprepared for the bushfires?

Australia's media ownership
Although there have been some changes to Australia's media landscape since 2016, it's helpful to get an understanding about how we ended up critically underprepared for the current fires.
Market research firm IBISWorld noted in June 2016 that:
The industry’s four largest players, News Australia, Fairfax Media, Seven West Media and APN News and Media, are estimated to account for over 90% of industry revenue in 2015-16. The Australian media landscape is one of the most concentrated in the world. An extremely small number of firms, most notably News Australia and Fairfax Media, publish content that reaches the large majority of Australians.

TV and radio

A June 2016 report on Australian free-to-air TV broadcasting by market research firm IBISWorld said:
The industry displays a high market share concentration … Australian media and broadcasting industries are highly concentrated in comparison with the rest of the world.
News Corp owns controlling stakes in Foxtel – which has a monopoly in the pay TV market – and Sky News, which is carried by Foxtel.

Tragically for Australia, we're now experiencing the outcome the our lack of diversity in mainstream media.

Few articles alerted readers to the advice which was ignored, recommendations obstructed, & lack of preventative action taken, or about the impact of defunding research and gutting the public service.

Australian mainstream news media has been described as a political propaganda entity
The dominant narrative is that the Coalition or LNP (the Liberals & Nationals combined) are the only party worthy of our vote.
(NOTE: Australian Liberals are US conservatives & UK Tories)
It sounds unreal to say that News Corp is not a media organisation. It sounds outrĂ© to say that it is instead a political propaganda entity of a kind perhaps not seen since the 19th century, one that has climbed to its pedestal through regulatory capture, governmental favours and menace
These fires are NOT normal but you wouldn't know that if you only see headlines in the dominant msm.

These fires were predicted, but you wouldn't know that if your media diet doesn't include Independent Media.
New Scientist:
In 2008, a report commissioned by the Australian government predicted that from about 2020, global warming would cause Australia’s fire seasons to start earlier, end later and be more intense. “We knew this was going to happen”.
Yet, despite this and the 2003 Report "A Nation Charred: Report on the inquiry into bushfires"
"the Australian government has acted almost as if nothing unusual is happening. In November, deputy prime minister Michael McCormack told ABC Radio that “we’ve had fires in Australia since time began”. He dismissed the role of climate change in the current fires as the “ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital-city greenies”.
Meanwhile the Guardian reports:
“We know it’s getting drier, we know it’s getting ... er, you know, situations in parts are getting very warm,” McCormack said, before indicating the government was taking sensible action on climate change – which was the kind of action that didn’t inconvenience anyone, and particularly not the coal industry.
The deputy prime minister also thought /climate protestors in Melbourne, were getting “way too much publicity; they crave for that, they yearn for that”. These people, he asserted, were “inner-city raving lunatics”.

Is the scale of the bushfires in Australia related to government policy?
For some of the government decisions, obstruction and inaction which have had an impact on the current devastation see this thread collated by Kara Schlegl. 

For yearsexperts have repeatedly warned federal governments about the impacts of climate change denial, deforestation, urbanisation, and the impending bushfires.

Yet the government was reluctant to even support the most basic of preventative measures - and the murdoch media encouraged Australians to vote for them with a devastatingly effective "kill bill" campaign.

Breaking news
Finance manager resigns over NewsCorp dangerous and damaging misinformation
"I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate change denial and lies. The reporting I have witnessed in The AustralianThe Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun is not only irresponsible, but dangerous and damaging to our communities and beautiful planet that needs us more than ever to acknowledge the destruction we have caused and start doing something about it." 

A selection of murdoch media
thanks to @slpng_giants_oz


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