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Why we must support Alternative Media

Alternative Media, MWC NewsMainstream Media lie shamelessly. The Australian taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (the ABC, Australia's equivalent of the UK BBC) has an appalling record of untruth involving censorship, self-censorship, lying by commission and lying by omission but in an act of surely extraordinary hubris and denial has set up an ABC Fact-checking Unit to publicly expose untruths in the media. The pro-war, pro-Zionist, US lackey, anti-science, spin-driven, neoliberal Gillard Labor Australian Government has allocated $10 million for the ABC Fact-checking Unit in addition to the over $1 billion annual operating budget for the ABC.

At his own expense and in the public interest, humanitarian Australian scientist Dr. Gideon Polya has created an alternative "ABC Fact-checking Unit" to help the $10 million ABC Fact -checking Unit do its job by exposing and documenting numerous false assertions by Australian public figures, Australian media, by the taxpayer-funded  ABC, and by other Australian taxpayer-funded media such as the multicultural Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) and the universities-backed, academic-based web magazine The  Conversation (see “ABC Fact-checking Unit & incorrect reportage by the ABC (Australia’s BBC)”).

Lying is communicating untruths by various means, and is accomplished by the ABC and other Mainstream media in the Western Murdochracies, Lobbyocracies and Corporatocracies by means such as (1) censorship (blocking or removing the comments of others), (2) self-censorship (active non-reportage for whatever political reason), (3) lying by commission (reporting untruth) and (4) lying by omission (deliberate non-reportage of the truth).

Of course the ABC is not alone in such lying which is the entrenched norm  for Mainstream media in the Western Murdochracies, Lobbyocracies and Corporatocracies in which Big Money buys politicians, parties, polices, public perception of reality, votes and political power.

Thus for details of media-derived  censorship  by the global Murdoch media empire, Australian Fairfax media, the Australian ABC, the UK BBC,  and the Australian universities-backed web magazine The Conversation in Neocon American- and Zionist Imperialist-perverted and subverted Murdochracy, Lobbyocracy and Corporatocracy Australia and elsewhere in the West Google  “Boycott Murdoch media” ; “Censorship by the BBC”; “Censorship by The Conversation”; “Mainstream media censorship”; “Mainstream media lying”; “Censorship by The Age”; “Censorship by ABC Late Night Live” and "Censorship by ABC Saturday Extra".

One supposes that the ABC Fact-checking Unit will confine itself to "untruths by commission", thereby violating its brief by not exposing other major areas of falsehood (censorship, self-censorship and lying by omission) and consequently egregiously deceiving the public into believing that a fearless ABC Fact-checking Unit will be protecting the nation from untruth. The "untruths by commission" to which the ABC will confine itself fall into the following 2 categories:

(1) Statements that are quantitatively incorrect or arguable (e.g. the ABC has reported that the Iraq War was associated with "the deaths of more than 4,400 US troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis" (see "Iraqis voice happiness over US troop withdrawal", ABC News, 23 October 2011 )  whereas it is estimated from the data of top medical epidemiologists and UN demographers that Iraqi deaths from violence (1.5 million) and from violently-imposed deprivation (1.2 million) total 2.7 million for the period 2003-2011) (see Just Foreign Policy, "Iraq Deaths" and "Iraqi Holocaust, Iraqi Genocide" ); and

(2) Statements that are qualitatively incorrect, including false statements that could nevertheless be regarded as "rhetorical" (e.g. (a) the frequent assertion that “Israel is a democracy” is utterly false because democracy-by-genocide Apartheid Israel determines that of 12 million Palestinians only 6.7%, the adults of 1.6 million Palestinian Israelis, are able to vote for the government ruling all of Palestine and 50% of Palestinians are forbidden to even step foot in their own country (see “Palestinian Genocide”) and a search of the entire ABC site for the term “mad monk” yields 104 results whereas it is clear that Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott to whom this rhetorical abuse refers is neither a monk nor mad.

I am writing a book with the provisional titles of "ABC Censorship" and "Censorship by the ABC" (needless to say it has failed to interest any publisher in look-the-other-way Murdochracy, Lobbyocracy and Corporatocracy Australia0 and my research in this area has provided a wealth of data about censorship by the ABC, lack of reportage by the ABC or of incorrect statements reported by the ABC. Extensive use is made of ABC search devices for "ABC News" (that reveals massive ABC censorship) and for "the entire ABC site" (that reveals huge ABC censorship that has been partly circumvented by the ABC audience posting comments on ABC websites, although the members of the ABC audience are also subject to appalling censorship in this regard (e.g. Google “Censorship by ABC Late Night Live” and "Censorship by ABC Saturday Extra").  My repeated complaints about sidelining, blocking, censoring and egregious defamation applied to anti-racist Jewish opinion by the ABC and by the universities-backed, academic-based and ABC-linked web magazine The Conversation (Google   “Censorship by The Conversation”) have been ignored and such complaints sent to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the ABC Complaints have been dismissed.

In my alternative ABC Fact-checking Unit website “ABC Fact-checking Unit & incorrect reportage by the ABC (Australia’s BBC)” the items of incorrect reportage by the ABC are listed alphabetically by topic or surname.  Space does not permit detailed analysis of ABC mal-reportage but 4 examples below should suffice to give an idea of the flavor of Australian ABC false reportage.

By way of prior explanation, Australia is ruled by a Minority Labor Government headed by PM Kevin Rudd who recently replaced PM Julia Gillard as Labor PM (she having replaced him as Labor PM on 24 June 2010 in a US-approved, foreign mining company-backed, pro-Zionist-led Coup, Kevin Rudd not having served 3 years as PM since his massive electoral victory in November 2007). The Liberal-National Party Coalition Opposition is led by Catholic conservative Tony Abbott who has been crudely and falsely labeled a “misogynist” by a desperate Gillard Labor Government playing the gender card in the face of looming electoral defeat (see Gideon Polya,“100 reasons why Australians must reject Gillard Labor”, Countercurrents, 24 June 2013 ). The re-installation of PM Kevin Rudd has restored Labor’s fortunes - he is now nearly twice as popular as Opposition Leader Tony Abbot, and Labor and the Coalition are now neck-and-neck in the polls. However Labor and the Coalition have very similar climate change inaction policies of a derisory “5% off 2000 greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by 2020” coupled with unlimited coal, gas and iron ore exports (making Australia one of the world’s worst annual per capita GHG polluters) and a science-ignoring policy (shared by US President Barack Obama) of a coal to gas transition. In addition to being pro-coal, pro-gas and anti-environment, both Labor and the Coalition are pro-war, pro-Zionist, neoliberal and slavishly pro-American.

Both Labor and the Coalition seem to believe that the ABC is biased toward their political opponents. Thus many on the almost non-existent Left believe with good justification that the Coalition PM John Howard stacked the ABC Board with right-wing appointees and thus shifted it to the Right. Conversely, Tasmanian Coalition Senator Eric Abetz: “Be it the ABC’s reporting on Israel, or indeed, in my home State of Tasmania, its coverage of the forestry debate, its bias has been there for all to see. Award winning programs exposed as breaching fundamental ethics, misreporting and containing bias – are apparently just one-offs. And the fact that the bias always seems to be in one direction, that is Green/Left, is we are told not indicative of any culture of bias. A recent university study in the Australian Journalism Review found that, albeit, in a small sample, 41 per cent of ABC journalists said they would vote for the Greens, 32 per cent for Labor and 15 per cent for the Coalition” (“Our ABC? The Actual Bias Corporation? Or, the Apprehended Bias Corporation?” Address to the 2013 Mainstream Policy Forum, Sydney, 18 June 2013 ). A middle view is that the ABC maintains a “balance” between the extreme right wing Murdoch media (that has 70% of newspaper readership in Australia) and the more progressive but still conservative Fairfax media of the Melbourne Age, the Sydney Morning Herald.

Below are but 4 examples of mal-reportage by the ABC, Australia’s BBC (taken from “ABC Fact-checking Unit & incorrect reportage by the ABC (Australia’s BBC)” :

Abbott, Tony (Tony Abbott is the Leader of the Opposition). A search of the entire ABC site for the term “mad monk” yields 104 results whereas it is clear that Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott to whom this rhetorical abuse refers is neither a monk nor mad. A search of the entire ABC sites for the phrase “Abbot is a misogynist” yields 15 results whereas it is clear that Tony Abbott is not a misogynist.

ABC Fact-checking Unit. One supposes that the ABC Fact-checking Unit will confine itself to "untruths by commission", thereby violating its brief by not exposing other major areas of falsehood (censorship, self-censorship, and lying by omission) and consequently deceiving the public (see this site, "ABC Fact-checking Unit & incorrect reportage by the ABC (Australia's BBC)").

“Gas is cleaner than coal” (incorrect assertion). Gas burning produces less of toxic pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO ), nitrogen oxides (NOx),  particulate matter (PM), and sulphur dioxide (SO2) than coal burning and vastly less  radioactivity and heavy metals   than coal burning (see Gideon Polya, Expert Witness testimony to stop gas-fired power plant installation”, Countercurrents, 14 June 2013). Further, burning 1 tonne CH4, the major constituent of natural gas, yields 2.75 tonnes CO2 whereas burning carbon, C, the major constituent of coal, yields 3.67 tonnes CO2. CO2 emissions (in pounds per Btu of energy input) are 117,000 for gas, 164,000 for oil and 208,000 for coal (see “Gas is dirty energy” and Natural gas.org, “Natural gas and the environment”).

However methane (CH4) is about 85% of natural gas which  leaks (2-8% in the US depending upon the source, from conventional gas to coal seam gas (CSG)-derived and fracking-derived gas) and methane (CH4) .has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) 105 times that of CO2 on a 20 year time frame and taking aerosol  impacts into account (see (see Section F, “2011 climate change course”), this meaning that depending upon the leakage, gas burning for power can be dirtier greenhouse gas (GHG)-wise than burning coal (see “Gas is dirty energy”). Indeed the ABC quotes Professor Hultman, from the school of public policy at the University of Maryland, saying that using the "most extreme assumptions", coal seam gas is actually dirtier than coal over a 20-year time frame (see Wendy Carlisle, “CSG worries hinge on timing of climate change”, ABC News, 10 December 2012 and Wendy Carlisle, “The missing emissions”, Background Briefing, 9 December 2012). However:

(1) the ABC quotes Queensland Conservation Council spokesman Toby Hutcheon incorrectly stating that “Gas is cleaner than coal” (see “China gas deal to add $14 b to Queensland economy”, ABC News, 2013);

(2) the ABC quotes Coal Seam Gas (CSG) promoter Tom Fontaine, the managing director of Ormil Energy, stating incorrectly that “"Gas is cleaner than coal” (see”CSG boss unfazed by critics”, ABC News, 22 August 2011);

(3) ABC Darwin incorrectly asserts that “gas is cleaner than coal” (ABC Darwin, “Why solar doesn’t pay in Australia’s sunniest territory”, 3 March 2011);

(4) the ABC “Behind the News” has Catherine Ellis incorrectly stating “Another idea is to use more natural gas and less coal because gas is cleaner” (ABC Behind the News< “Fossil fuels”, 29 May 2007);

(5) the ABC quotes Darren Stevenson incorrectly stating that “We think that it’s climate friendly in the sense that the emissions from this [gas] are half from a coal power station” and the Narrator incorrectly stating “the gas is cleaner” (ABC, “Coal Gas”, Catalyst, and 22 October 2009);

(6) the ABC Late Night Live states “At the weekend the gas industry began a campaign to get itself exempted from the carbon tax on the basis that gas is cleaner than coal” (“Senator Christine Milne on the carbon tax”, AVC Late Night Live, 11 April 2011) ;

(7) the ABC Q&A program broadcasts the PM Julia Gillard incorrectly stating “The Federal Government doesn’t go around building power stations but what we will do is send the price signal which means we move from dirtier generation to cleaner generation. Gas is cleaner generation, absolutely” (see ABC TV Q&A, “Julia Gillard joins Q&A”, 11 July 2011);

(8) the ABC  censored  out science -informed comments about gas NOT being “cleaner” by a 5-decade career scientist, Dr. Gideon Polya, who subsequently  posted the following comment that survived the ABC censor(s): “My carefully researched and documented comment about deficient and incorrect reportage about climate change was CENSORED by the ABC, possibly for mentioning (1) climate change denialism of the Murdoch media in particular in Western Murdochracies (see John Pilger), Lobbyocracies and Corporatocracies (see Professor Brian Ellis' "Social Humanism") in which Big Money buys politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality and votes, and (2) misleading advertising by Shell on SBS TV asserting that burning gas is cleaner greenhouse gas (GHG)-wise than burning coal (depending upon the gas leakage rate it can be far dirtier) and that Brazilian biofuel derives from renewable resources (ethanol from sugar cane actually carries a huge carbon debt). I hope that the cessation of these ads was due to my detailed letter of complaint sent to MPs, SBS and other media (Google "Doha climate change inaction", "Are we doomed" and "2011 climate change course")” (see ABC Late Night Live”, Climate, science and denial”, 27 December 2012 ); and

(9) non-scientist economist Professor  Ross Garnaut is regularly  used by the ABC as an expert on climate change, including his incorrect assertions about gas being cleaner reported thus by the ABC: “Professor Garnaut says initially polluting but trade-exposed businesses which face overseas competition should be compensated - such as the steel or aluminum industries. But he conceded the high-polluting electricity generators of the La Trobe Valley would be hit hard by the tax - but should seize other opportunities and move to gas-fired generation. "Those regions happen to be very good regions for building the lower emissions generation capacity," he said. "As the relative importance of coal declines, the relative importance of gas will rise. “If you're going to put in a new gas-fired power station somewhere that has all the infrastructure of the La Trobe Valley is a very good place for that."(see ABC News, “Garnaut backs $20-$30 carbon price”, 17 March 2011). 

"Israel is a democracy" (an egregiously false assertion). The frequent assertion by the ABC and SBS (Australia's taxpayer-funded multicultural broadcaster) that “Israel is a democracy” is utterly false because democracy-by-genocide Apartheid Israel determines that (a) of about 12 million Palestinians only 6.7%, the adults of 1.6 million Palestinian Israelis, are able to vote for the government ruling all of Palestine i.e. ruling 5.8 million Indigenous Palestinians (including 1.6 million Palestinian Israelis living under Apartheid laws and  4.2 million Occupied Palestinians with zero human rights) , 0.4 million non-Indigenous, non- Jewish Israelis, and a minority of 5.8 million Jewish Israelis (ranging from atheists  to anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews ) and (b) 50% of about 12 million Palestinians are forbidden to even step foot in their own country (Google “Palestinian Genocide” ).

Indeed one notes that the Aung San Suu Kyi's National Democracy League has only 42/664 = 6.3% of the seats in the 2 Houses of the Myanmar Parliament despite overwhelming popular support confirmed in the recent by-elections in which Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won 40 of the 45 seats contested (see Gideon Polya, “Comparing Burma and Apartheid Israel”, MWC News, 4 April 2012).

However the ABC has repeatedly broadcast this false claim that "Israel is a democracy" as documented below.

(1) the ABC reports this false claim by Apartheid Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asserting that “Israel is a democracy and does not threaten anyone. The only thing we have tried to do is to live without threats of terror, but we've never threatened anyone with annihilation. And can you say this in the same level while Iran is aspiring to have nuclear weapons, like America, like France, like Israel and Russia” (David Hardaker, “”Israeli PM admits to nuclear weapons”,  ABC AM, 12 December 2006);

(2) the ABC quotes this false claim by Jewish Israeli atheist Yoram Kaniuk saying “Politically Israel is a democracy but I think that my case now will make a crack and it will open because people are waiting to separate the Jewish religion from the Jewish people” (Anne Barker, “Israeli court separates church from state”, The World Today, 11 October 2011); 

(3) the ABC quotes this false claim by former PM John Howard (responsible for the illegal, war criminal Australian invasion of Iraq that led to 2.5 million Iraqi deaths) stating: “I do take issue with you in comparing the regime in Iraq with the Government of Israel. Israel is a democracy. Whatever may be said about Israel, Israel has elections, Israel has courts, Israel has a vigorous free press” (see Catherine McGrath, “Parliamentary debate on Iraq heats up”, ABC PM, 18 September 2002); 

(4) the ABC quotes this false claim by Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, on the Fox News Network: “Israel is a democracy. Israel has the ability and the right to investigate itself - not to be investigated by any international board. I don't think the United States would want an international enquiry into its military activities in Afghanistan for example” (see Brendan Trembath, “Israel rejects call for international inquiry”, ABC The World Today, 7 June 2010): 

(5) the ABC quotes this false claim by Yuval Rabin (son of assassinated Apartheid Israel PM Yitzhak Rabin) saying “Israel is a democracy and people have to be voted in or elected based on their own abilities and merits, and not in any way leverage my father's memory to their benefit” (see .Eleanor Hall, “Rabin’s promise of peace remembered, ten year on”, ABC The World Today, 22 November 2005);

(6) the ABC quotes this false claim by extreme right wing Murdoch Empire journalist Greg Sheridan: “Israel is a struggling democracy which makes mistakes, including moral mistakes, and deserves to be called on them but no country in the world is subject to this attack at the root of its legitimacy that it should not exist. I spent a lot of time in the Middle East, a lot of time in Muslim countries. There is no country in the Middle East which better observes human rights of all its citizens than Israel” (see ABC TV, Q&A, “Protests and Palestine”, 17 December 2012); 

(7) the ABC quotes this false claim by the war–criminal Apartheid Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: “Israel is a democracy. Israel doesn't threaten any country with anything” (David Hardaker, “Israeli nuclear whistleblower demands freedom”, ABC AM, 13 December 2006);

(8) the ABC quotes this false claim by extreme right wing US President, war criminal and mass murderer George W Bush in a speech to the traitorous, genocidal racist American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC): "Unfolding violence in the Gaza strip is troubling… The US is strongly committed and I am strongly committed to the security of Israel as a vibrant Jewish state. Israel is a democracy and a friend and have every right to defend itself from terror” (see ABC News, “Israelis sweep through Gaza camp”, 19 May 2004);

(9) the ABC quotes this false claim by an egregiously lying spokesman for the Apartheid Israeli Foreign Ministry (noting that an anagram for ISRAEL is e-LIARS) saying that Apartheid Israel is "a democracy in which human rights is at the very heart of the body politique” (ABC News, “UN envoy accuses Israel of stifling human rights”, 12 October 2005);

(10) the ABC quotes this false claim by extreme right-wing, pro-Zionist propagandist Daniel Pipes in the following exchange: “HANIFA DEEN: I don't see Israel as a model of democracy for what's happened recently. No, I do not see that at all. But I think that through a whole process of education, through a whole spontaneous process of social media, people moving backwards and forwards before their countries, people just got fed up with issues, domestic issues, unemployment, rising costs et cetera, and, yes, looking around and saying "It can improve. We can do better," and that is the hope and optimism that they've brought with them. But I really don't believe that Israel was the ideal model or a model of democracy for those countries. DANIEL PIPES: Among the liberals it certainly is. Among the people in Tahrir Square, the model of Israel: economic growth, creativity, musical achievement, military prowess, this is a very powerful model. HANIFA DEEN: It sounds like bit of a fairytale to me” (ABC TV Q&A, “Israel, Islam and insurgents”, 22 August 2011); and

(11)  the ABC quotes this incorrect claim by Australian Zionist Ted Lapkin (Director of Policy Analysis at the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council and media consultant for the Jewish National Fund of Australia): “Israel is a democracy; it provides democratic rights to all its citizens” (see “Apartheid Israel?” ABC Religion Report, 8 June 2005).

Summary

This article provides just a glimpse of incorrect reportage by the over $1 billion per year, taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (the ABC, Australia’s equivalent the BBC). The presstitutes of the ABC are probably no better or worse than those of other Mainstream media in the Western Murdochracies, Lobbyocracies and Corporatocracies which should be subject to similar forensic analysis to that provided by .my “ABC Fact-checking Unit & incorrect reportage by the ABC (Australia’s BBC)” website. Attributed to great British orator Edmund Burke is the aphorism “Evil happens when good men do nothing” but one should paraphrase this to “Evil happens when good men know nothing”.

Australians must demand that their lying ABC is brought to account e.g. through formal public exposure by public inquiries and targeted budget cuts. Globally, decent people who care for Humanity and the Biosphere should (a) inform everyone they can; (b) urge and apply boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against  lying, neoliberal Mainstream media, and (c) support decent Alternative media e.g. Alternet,  Bellaciao, Countercurrents, Democracy Now, Green Left Weekly, Indymedia, Information  Clearing House, Media Lens, Media With Conscience News (MWC News), New Matilda, Prison Planet, State of Nature, Sulekha, and many more in the English-speaking and non-English-speaking worlds. Please tell everyone you can.

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