My letter to The Australian : With the missing sentence.

As it was seriously misleading, I responded to The Australian article attacking my piece on Lee Rhiannon with a short letter.

Dear Editor,

On 28/4/2010, The Australian published a story about a piece by me on the ABC’s opinion site The Drum (27/4/2011) about the Greens senator-elect Lee Rhiannon. Your report stated that I had “compared the public scrutiny of Ms Rhiannon over her support for a boycott of Israel to McCarthyism”. As readers who read my Drum piece will know, this is grossly misleading. As I explained at the beginning, my piece dealt with attacks on the politics and background of Ms Rhiannon which began before the NSW election and the public debate over the BDS. It was the attack on her past connections with socialism that I say smacks of McCarthyism. The only mention of the BDS was in the context of boycotts as being linked to a tradition of non-violent civil rights movements and Ghandi rather than authoritarian politics linked to Stalinism,

Wendy Bacon
Professor, University of Technology, Sydney

Note: I have included here the last sentence which was omitted in The Australian version. The word ‘grossly’ was also cut. I have also corrected a typo of my own -smacks with an ‘S”.

Do we conclude from the deletion of the last sentence in my short letter  that noone is allowed to publish any statement that could be perceived as positive regarding the BDS in The Australian?

The Australian attacks my defence of Lee Rhiannon

I was surprised to see The Australian’s James Madden responded to my article on Lee Rhiannon in the Drum with a news article.

He  quotes NSW Upper House Labor Party MLC as saying that my article was ‘rubbish’. Unfortunately the story misled readers into thinking that my article had compared attacks on Lee Rhiannon’s support of BDS to McCarthyism. In fact, the attacks began long before the BDS became a public issue this year and were based on her family’s association with the Communist and Socialist Parties of Australia.

Antony Loewenstein summed it up well on his blog: Murdoch Broadsheet gives lesson in how not to report the news:

Today’s paper features a Labor party press release dressed up as a news story. Memo to reporters there; only quoting one political enemy of Rhiannon isn’t news; it’s propaganda”