The ABC’s Four Corners program last night aired a program “Under the Radar” by reporter Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop. It’s focus was the Christchurch mosque massacre and the rise of right-wing extremism.
You expect a program like Four Corners to investigate the program’s topic thoroughly, interview a wide variety of subjects and to feature startling new revelations. Previous Four Corners programs have led to Prime Ministers calling Royal Commissions.
But Rubinsztein-Dunlop failed to report anything that had not already been said about the so called “far-right” and the Australian nationalist movement, that hadn’t already been said by other mainstream media outlets. It was to use a recent political phrase a big nothing burger
Rubinsztein-Dunlop interviewed people in Grafton, NSW where the killer Brenton Tarant was born as well locals from Christchurch. But when it came to focusing on the “far-right” that allegedly inspired the killer he only spoke with security and counter-terrorism “experts”.
The blame for the rise of “right-wing extremism” was put yet again on the internet. Right-wing extremism researcher Prof. Paul Spoonley said of the internet “In this case, white supremacists, extremist politics and the role of social and online media. It has been a disaster in terms of encouraging them and enabling them”.
Neil Fergus, an international security consultant labelled those who follow “white supremacy” or engage in “far-right extremism” as people who “have not achieved any particular success in terms of their professional or personal lives”.
Robert Evans from the Bellingcat online investigation website said of the global far-right the “internet has given them the ability to disseminate their propaganda to a wider audience and to organise in a way that would have been impossible in an earlier age because there’s just not enough of them in any one given city or area”.
Also interviewed was Matt Quinn who is described as a former white supremacist, now working as deradicalisation consultant, he described the rise of the “far-right” in Australia (he was fond of the phrase “you know” repeating it eight times):
“You know the far-right extremist groups you know, really did start coming out you know, with more confidence and online presence. You know, after and around the Lindt cafe and the federal election you know, especially with you know, Pauline Hanson, you know, people were supporting her , you know with the banning Muslim immigration.”
This led onto the episode’s segment on the Australian nationalist movement, including the United Patriots Front and its leader Blair Cottrell. It referenced the ABC Background Briefing report by Alex Mann which allegedly uncovered Facebook comments (we are told were verified but have not been published) from Brenton Tarant on the now deleted United Patriots Front Facebook page supporting Cottrell. Rubinsztein-Dunlop said in his narration “Tarrant praised the UPF’s then leader, neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell, as his ’emperor'”.
No active member of the Australian nationalist movement was directly contacted for comment for the 4 Corners episode. In fact, Alex Mann who did contact Cottrell for comment was harassed on Twitter for doing so because apparently that is platforming him where now the left want people like Cottrell unpersoned.
Speaking with self appointed “far-right” experts who all say the same thing that the threat of right wing extremism has massively underestimated with not enough law enforcement resources, Rubinsztein-Dunlop appears to have engaged in confirmation bias throughout the entire episode, and not produced any original journalism.
It is very telling that on his Twitter account Rubinsztein-Dunlop urges his followers to check out Antifa blogger Slackbastard’s website for further information on far-right extremism.
Everyone interested in keeping an eye on the spread of far right extremism in Australia should explore @slackbastard’s extensive work. This guy has been tirelessly gathering intel for years, while many of us had our heads in the sand #4Corners @4corners https://t.co/vHMDBi7lid— Sean R-Dunlop (@seanrubinsztein) March 25, 2019
The rest of his recent twitter feed is praise from various prominent leftist commentators about his episode last night, believing it to be more evidence of a growing and underestimated “far-right” threat. But all the episode exposed, yet again was that the mainstream media has failed to find any direct links between Tarant and the Australian nationalist movement.