Australian politician’s idea of ‘fair and balanced reporting’

On 14 February 2018, Andrew Hastie, member for Canning and Chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Committee for Intelligence and Security, penned an opinion piece for The Australian titled ‘Iranian slander against Israel goes unchallenged on ABC.’1 The article relates to an interview the ABC’s Fran Kelly conducted with Mohammad Marandi, a Professor of North American Studies at the University of Tehran, on the Israeli airstrikes on Syria (occurred 11 Feb 2018).2 Hastie’s main point is to criticise the ABC for only interviewing Marandi on the topic, airing ‘no counter-argument,’ and failing to have ‘fair and balanced reporting.’3 Throughout the article Hastie makes it clear he is no fan of Marandi or Iran. Likewise, he makes it clear he is a fan of Australia’s close and growing relations with Israel, perhaps indicating he is not unbiased himself.

Read moreAustralian politician’s idea of ‘fair and balanced reporting’

Colonisation was not ‘a good thing’

There is currently a debate in Australia about holding Australia Day on 26 January, the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet – the first shipment of colonists and convicts from Great Britain, who founded the colony of New South Wales in 1788 – and whether Australia Day should be moved to another date.

Australia Day is supposed to be a day on which all Australians celebrate as a national community. However, 26 January marks the day the British began colonising an already inhabited land, and not all descendants of those indigenous people feel 26 January is a day to celebrate.

Although a recent poll found many Australians would not mind if the date changed,1 the defence of keeping the date as 26 January is led by the Murdoch media and its allies – most notably conservative politicians like former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

On 23 January 2018, Abbott made this statement regarding Australia Day:

I would argue that what happened on the January 26, 1788 was on balance for everyone, Aboriginal people included, a good thing because it brought Western civilisation to this country, it brought Australia into the modern world.

Australia was not brought into the modern world; European settlers from the other side of the globe forcefully and violently brought the modern world to Australia. Western civilisation, at that time based on a settler-colonial system which exploited indigenous populations in India, the Americas, Africa, and Asia, was forced onto the Aboriginal people, and where they resisted they were displaced or killed.

That Abbott and many in the media can dismiss those facts and their ramifications, and see the arrival of the British as ‘a good thing’ even for Aboriginals, surely displays their worldview, one predicated on the superiority, righteousness and infallibility of Western (and especially British) civilisation.

If Martians stole the Earth, imposed their law, banned our culture, called us miserable wretches and killed nearly every one of us, would we doubt they were invaders or celebrate the day they arrived? 2



Show 2 footnotes

  1. Stephanie Borys, Australia Day: Most Australians don’t mind what date it’s held, according to new poll, 18 Jan 2018,
  2. Simon Bevilacqua, Opinion: An uncomfortable truth, 19 January 2018,

Old and worn out: Sheridan’s points against recognising a Palestinian state

On 4 July 2017 The Australian published an opinion piece by Greg Sheridan (Foreign Editor) “Labor’s Palestinian shift wrong and bad politics, too.”1 The article targeted the proposed resolution by New South Wales Labor demanding federal Labor recognise a Palestinian state. Sheridan puts forth the argument this move is politically and perhaps morally wrong, citing several reasons why, which are all familiar Zionist talking points. Below I will rebut the points Sheridan uses to support his argument, showing it is he who is wrong on both accounts.

Read moreOld and worn out: Sheridan’s points against recognising a Palestinian state

Show 1 footnote

  1. Sheridan G, Labor’s Palestinian shift wrong and bad politics, The Australian, 4 July 2017,

Drowning in fake news on Syria

We are witnessing an unprecedented level of fake news and propaganda regarding the war on Syria.1 The level and pitch of fake stories has increased as the Syrian army overruns the rebels occupying East Aleppo. This likely reflects last ditch attempts from the rebels (and their State supporters) of eliciting the protection of the “international community” through shocking it into action.

It is obvious Western media is biased in this regard, unquestioningly repeating those and similar claims and disregarding reports from Syrian and Russian officials, even dismissing those as propaganda.2

Read moreDrowning in fake news on Syria

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Recent examples of fake news and propaganda include exaggerated levels of civilian population trapped in East Aleppo, massacres committed by the Syrian army, and women committing suicide to avoid being raped.
  2. For more examples see

Placing democracy in the too-hard basket

Democracy is proclaimed to be one of the great traditions of the Western world. It is a system often promulgated as a universal right, and is lauded as a building block for a modern nation.

However, at the Eurogroup Meeting on the 27th June 2015, the mask came off and the European elite revealed what they truly think of democracy.

Read morePlacing democracy in the too-hard basket

Dismantling the sectarian narrative

In recent years the media tend to portray conflicts in the Middle East along sectarian lines, Sunni vs Shia. Some examples:

  • Syria is explained by Sunni being sick of the ruling Alawi (which they portray as Shia)
  • Iraq as Sunni being fed up with the Shia government
  • The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran as religious conflict, Sunni vs Shia

When highlighting this apparent cause of conflict, the media often points to its origin, citing the early Muslims’ disagreement over Muhammad’s successor and the battle of Karbala. According to the narrative, the conflict started 1400 years ago and has been going ever since (it’s no wonder the Middle East is such a mess!). This portrayal is simplistic and ignores many other factors, including national/political, class, and neo- and post-colonialism.

Read moreDismantling the sectarian narrative

Yemen highlights double standards (did we expect anything else?)

The recent military action against Yemen by Saudi Arabia, which is supported by the USA, highlights the double standards the West applies to the countries of the Middle East (and the world in general). Below are some recent examples, from the point of view of the West or their regional allies and using Yemen as a comparison.

Read moreYemen highlights double standards (did we expect anything else?)

Arab nations to create joint military force: Audacity, irony, or sick joke?

Arab leaders at a summit in Egypt announced the formation of a unified military force to counter growing security threats from Yemen to Libya, and as regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iran engage in sectarian proxy wars.1

Audacity: forming a unified military force involving 10 countries, 100 aircraft, and 150,000 soldiers to counter security threats when for years the same countries sat on their hands while fellow Arab nations Syria and Iraq were being destroyed by armed conflicts.

Read moreArab nations to create joint military force: Audacity, irony, or sick joke?

Show 1 footnote

  1. Georgy M 2015, ‘Arab summit agrees on unified military force for crises’, Reuters, 29 March 2015,

Australia’s incremental steps to war: Part 2

On 11 October 2014 I wrote an article ‘Australia’s Incremental Steps to War,’ which analysed the Australian government’s gradual escalation to committing troops to fight Daesh in Iraq. I concluded with this:

The government’s expansion of Australia’s involvement in Iraq from humanitarian aid drops to the spectre of sending in soldiers has occurred incrementally. At each stage the government has refused to rule out further involvement… With further incremental advances, and without clear and defined goals, it is inevitable that Australian will become more involved.

Less than five months later Prime Minster Abbott has indeed further involved Australia in Iraq, by confirming the deployment of another 300 troops, to help train the Iraqi forces.

Read moreAustralia’s incremental steps to war: Part 2

The ideology of the American media is that it believes that it doesn’t have any ideology

By William Blum

After Brian Williams’ fall from grace, his former boss at NBC, Bob Wright, defended Williams by pointing to his favorable coverage of the military, saying: “He has been the strongest supporter of the military of any of the news players. He never comes back with negative stories, he wouldn’t question if we’re spending too much.”

This is a failure of today’s journalism. This is the exact type of question they should be asking. If journalists are not asking these questions, who is?

If nobody is, then the elite are allowed to do as they please.