The beginning of 2019 has not been good for Australia’s mainstream media and the public’s trust in it. This began with their blatant misreporting and slander leading up to, during, and after the Political Meeting at St Kilda Beach over African Crime organised by local nationalist figures on January 5.
The media was universal in telling us it was a rally organised by racist and Nazis and that Senator Fraser Anning should have been ashamed to be attending such a rally.
This chorus of media condemnation included the so called “conservative” News Corp media, their supposed “conservative” commentators Rita Panahi, Chris Kenny and Paul Murray all condemned the St Kilda Meeting and Anning.
It should also be remembered that News Corp Australia through Australian reporter Rick Morton was responsible for numerous fake news stories about the Proud Boys last year which contributed to founder Gavin McInnes being denied a visa to tour Australia.
The Unshackled was one of the few media outlets in Australia which exposed the fake news from St Kilda and called out the mainstream media’s lies. Now News Corp has decided to name the Unshackled as a fake news outlet in an ‘exclusive’ pay-walled article ‘Fake Facebook sites spreading political lies‘ by Claire Bickers, one of their National Political Reporters.
The example that the article uses as an example of “fake news” spreading on social media is the attack on patriot activist Ricky Turner on Australia Day when he raised the Australian flag at Flinders Street station at the Invasion Day protests. Turner and another activist Garry Hume were taken away and detained by police before the protest mob became more enraged.
The Unshackled was named in this article because we spoke exclusively with Ricky Turner after the incident occurred where he recalls how it unfolded. You can watch for yourselves below.
News Corp based their assertion this attack was “fake news” because footage of the incident shared on social media described Turner being “lynched” and “bashed”.
News Corp spoke to political marketing expert Andrew Hughes who agreed this was a clear case of fake news “I would expect to see this as a playground for both domestic and foreign actors to see what extent they can appropriate and adapt these tactics to the Australian context.”
Of course the describing of the attack as “lynching” is hyperbole. But we have posted the original viral video of the attack below and ask the viewer to ponder what would have happened to Turner if police weren’t there to drag him away from the mob.
This alleged incident of fake news spreading on social media is the basis of the article’s thesis that Facebook and the government need to crack down on fake news in the 2019 Australian election cycle.
The Labor Party is reported to be urging Facebook to establish a dedicated rapid response team to deal with complaints of fake news. Its Shadow Communications spokesperson Michelle Rowland commented that “Fake news is a significant threat to the health of our democracy and we all must be vigilant” and that “We expect major digital platforms to be doing all they can to combat misinformation.”
It is worth noting on Wednesday federal Labor MP Tim Watts interacted with Antifa blogger slackbastard to decry that the Unshackled was listed on Google News.
In an indication this appears to be a bipartisan assault on online news and speech Federal Special Minister of State Alex Hawke, who is responsible for overseeing the operation of Australia’s electoral system is quoted as confirming that the Australian Electoral Commission is in discussions with Facebook about strengthening political advertising transparency for Australia ahead of the election.
The article later cites an analysis by Storyful, which is described as a social intelligence and news agency. But what is not mentioned is that Storyful is
a subsidiary of News Corp which offers social news monitoring and reputation risk management services for corporate clients. NewsCorp is quoting itself as a source.
Storyful deems the Facebook pages “Fair Suck Of The Sav, Mate”, “Australia — ‘Love it, or Leave”, “Save Australia” “Respect Australia Rally – National“, and “Aussie Angels Against Sharia” or right wing “news” site The Unshackled as “fertile ground” for fake news and misinformation during the election.
Storyful also appears alarmed in the surge in Fraser Anning’s social media presence, despite all the media attacks “with his page receiving triple the number of “interactions” from punters than One Nation leader Pauline Hanson in January”.
The article seems to imply and endorse that these Facebook pages and the Unshackled’s free speech needs to be limited by both Facebook and government authorities for the supposed crime of spreading “fake news” even though the article cites one disproved example.
It is quite ironic that News Corp has published an article calling for more regulation of free speech and the free press, given that during the Gillard Government they decried their attempt to regulate the press with their proposed News Media Council.
But News Corp, like the rest of the mainstream media feels under threat from the rising alt-media community in Australia who have put their reporting under renewed scrutiny. The public is becoming more awake to mainstream media misinformation, and in the age of social media news consumers are able to call out fake news when they see it.
The mainstream media is feeling this pressure on its bottom line as well. Nine Entertainment Co and Fairfax Media merged at the end of last year to ensure their survival. BuzzFeed Australia as part of the organisations global job cuts, cut 11 jobs in its Australian newsroom.
The Unshackled has been encouraged by our own surge in readership in the new year, and we take News Corp Australia calling us “fake news” as a sign we are cutting through. Unlike them we haven’t put up a paywall, wanting our journalism to reach as many people as possible.
We are not intimidated by this slander, and will continue to report news the mainstream media does not like and call out who is the real fake news.