A Facebook ranting teenager that relied on his upstanding parents for money and transport was arrested on the 8th of May 2015 on terrorism charges. Explosive devices were found. I was shocked by the extensive coverage, and this is a follow up to my previous article (“The Timing of the Additional $450 Million To Fight Local Jihardists”). To recap:
The Herald Sun – under the section “Law & Order” had this headline (Sunday May 10, 2015):
Mother’s Day plot: Lives saved when teenager’s alleged attack foiled, police say
“AN event was the target of an alleged bomb plot foiled following a raid in Melbourne’s north.
Acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright this afternoon said it was believed several improvised explosive devices found at the home were to be used in the near future.
A 17-year-old boy has been arrested and charged.
“We do believe that the young man intended to explode a device at an event over the coming days,” he said. ETC”
What event? And the police said “over the coming days”.
This was the front page of the Sunday Herald Sun.
In the newspaper version, the articles starts off by saying:
“A TEEN accused of plotting a deadly Mother’s Day terror attack allegedly hid his home-made bombs from his parents.
Terrifying details of the alleged plan have been revealed after three pipe bombs powerful enough to cause a catastrophe….” ETC. (my emphasis)
All this, one day before the announcement of another $450 million for anti-terror purposes.
By the way, catastrophe is usually reserved for
Is this reportage (don’t bother ticking the relevant box):
❑ A Lie,
❑ The Truth, or
❑ An Exaggeration?
I have said many times before in various articles that “we are drowning in lies and deception.”
In The Age’s online video (here), the Ass. Commissioner Robert Hill states that “three suspicious items” were found and “material associated with the making of explosive devices”. These items were then “rendered safe”.
I called and wrote to the Victorian Police (Media Unit) requesting answers to some questions. They declind to answer the questions as the matter is before the court. I modified my questions and called. The email response was…
“I cannot be any clearer – this matter is before the court. The “refined” questions you ask relate to a matter that is currently before the court. Therefore we will not be making comment as sub judice applies. As I said to you on the phone, you are welcome to attend court and listen to the evidence presented.”
I emailed a third time with the simple question:
“…referring to the raid on the 17 year old: Did the police supply any evidence or information to the media that said or implied that the alleged attack was to disrupt Mothers Day?
No reply. I know they are busy.
I refer to The Australian Federal Police press release (9/5/15) states:
“It will be alleged the teenager was undertaking preparations for planning a terrorist act in Australia.
Victoria Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Robert Hill said the operation has contained an imminent threat to our community safety.”
On the phone the Media Unit Supervisor said that I should attend the court to obtain the answers to my questions. But as far as I believe, this will either be illegal or impossible as the public and the media will potentially be barred from the courtroom. Dep Comm Mike Phelan explained (here) that because of the teen’s age, the court will be closed. This was the report in the newspaper on 10 May.
Thus, how DO we then learn what is actually happening – if 1) The Victorian Police media Unit will not answer questions, and 2) The media is locked out of the courtroom.
I think the Hill and Phelan are trying to put a balanced version of the facts to the public, but the actual (important) details are withheld from the public.
The other problem is that media outlets like The Herald Sun seem to “create” the facts. They forge a reality to their own design. This ranting teenager could have been planning a “terrorist act”, but like budding Hollywood screenplay writers, The Herald Sun headlines and scripts read like a B grade action thriller – with lots of hypotheticals, exaggerations and possibly plain lies.
It is shocking.
The five full pages (1-5) in the Sunday Herald Sun declared the Mother’s Day Bomb Plot and even saluted the 30,000 “brave” runners defying the terrorist threat (which was over).
This is Rupert Murdoch’s killer bees story on steroids. (To remind people, Murdoch orchestrated a false killer bee story in the US to boost paper sales).
But why are the police not correcting this – if this is not accurate?
What is the truth? We have no idea.
Then right after a week end of fear mongering, Canberra announces $450 million MORE to fight terror – of which a portion of that will go towards watching you.
Did The Herald Sun blow this out of proportion just to sell papers? Was the media orchestrated to ease the budget blow? Is this designed and manipulated?
I have now made a complaint to the Australian Press Council (APC) over the Sunday Herald Sun’s Mother’s Day coverage. In their Statement of Principles, the APC website states:
“Publications are free to publish as they wish by reporting facts and expressing opinions, provided they take reasonable steps to comply with the following Principles and the Council’s other Standards of Practice:
Accuracy and clarity
1. Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion. (my emphasis)
You can also complain about inaccurate or misleading reporting at the APC here.