ABC’s Media Watch bullies Northern Rivers newspaper into changing its headline

 

The Northern Star has been in the business of bringing news to the people of the Northern Rivers since 1876. It’s about us  page informs that it focuses strongly on readers, with stories told through the eyes, ears and mouths of local people. And that’s what it did when it ran ‘Teen left in wheelchair after Gardasil HPV vaccine ‘reaction’. However the story about teenager Olivia Odey now has a new headline ‘Teen’s nightmare battle with mystery illness’.

Some Background:

Olivia Odey became ill three years ago complaining of joint pain, along with tingling and numbness. She also suffered light sensitivity and heart palpitations. The young teenager couldn’t stand up and needed a wheelchair to get around. After 8 months of seeking help from our medical system which as usual in the case of vaccine injury was devoid of any clues, Olivia upon referral to a specialised pain doctor was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome and central neural sensitisation syndrome. Reporter  Alina Rylkor described the syndrome as ‘Her nervous system interpreted signals sent through her body as pain messages.’ After months of rehabilitation and pain management the teenager has now recovered.  Odey believes that her ill-health began shortly after she was given her Gardasil shot. “I definitely think there was a link, but there’s no way to prove it, Odey told The Northern Star, ” acknowledging that her reality was denied by her doctors.

This week Media Watch upheld the censorship that has seen the media continually ignore the suffering of thousands of girls and now boys who have become ill with similar symptoms to those experienced by Olivia. The Northern Star was doing its job of informing the public that all is not well in regard to Gardasil, Gardasil 9 and Cervarix.

Media Watch‘s segment was called Northern Star HPV headline wrong.   Presenter Paul Barry called the headline ‘scary and damaging’. The story of HPV vaccines is very scary and there’s plenty of damage but I don’t think that is what Barry meant. For that we have to fast forward to the statements made by Melbourne University virologist Dr David Hawkes who was asked his opinion of The Northern Star headline. It puts people at risk. Because what it does it puts them off vaccinations. It’s actually hurting our healthcare system,” said Hawkes.

We should not be surprised by the virologist’s position – that’s his job and the way he sees the world but I am surprised and alarmed at  the heavy handedness of Media Watch who approached The Northern Star with its criticism resulting in the paper agreeing to change the headline of the story to ‘Teen’s nightmare battle with mystery illness’.

How does the program get away with this? And why did The Northern Star agree? I wasn’t alone in my fury at what Media Watch had done. A comment from Jenna Finch from the Media Watch website summed it up:

Do some further research on HPV adverse events and you will see it’s not fabricated. Look at Colombia High Court’s recent decision and what’s going on in Denmark. A little broader view in this story would have restored my faith in your program but I’m back to realising you are simply a government puppet.

Dr Judy Wilyman author A critical analysis of the Australian Government’s rationale for its vaccination policy.’ puts out a rallying cry to us all that we cannot ignore:

It is time for all Australians to get involved in the vaccination debate as mandatory vaccination is now being forced on many adults in employment situations. The government has also implemented the Adult Immunisation Register to monitor and enforce adult compliance with the recommended schedule of 16 plus vaccines.   

Don’t expect Media Watch to cover this though.

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Deformed fish, sick kids, but for some it’s a ‘risk that’s worth it’

Four hundred and thirty-seven million hectares of Australia is covered by coal seam gas licences or applications, and 20 billion litres are needed every year for the coal seam gas industry, stated Sydney right-wing radio broadcaster Alan Jones when he appeared in Frackman, an Australian feature-length documentary film which follows the exploits of former construction worker turned anti-fracking activist, Dayne Pratzky responding to the expansion of the coal seam gas industry near Tara, Queensland. (more…)

Cheap berries – their true cost

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 3.27.26 PMAs fearful consumers rush to their freezers and toss out their bags of frozen berries in the wake of the current hepatitis A scare, it’s high time to take a good look at why these berries, dubbed ‘superfoods’ have become so popular and why such importation is problematic beyond the threat of hepatitis A.

Just call them the “blue dynamos,” writes Angela Haupt. ‘Blueberries’, she argues are packed with manganese, an energy-boosting mineral and vitamin K, which helps build bones. Haupt quotes research which suggests that a blueberry-rich diet improves motor skills and helps fight diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. The worried-well can scarcely resist getting their hands on their daily dose of these powerfully marketed commodities. In fact this summer, supermarkets have been using berries as a draw card into the fruit and vegetable section and industry leaders say demand is outstripping supply. But does the hype stand up to scrutiny?

Madonna loves coconut water, Michelle Obama rates sweet potatoes, and Gwyneth Paltrow can’t get enough of quinoa, writes Her research into the superiority or otherwise of ‘superfoods’ has led her to Susan Jebb, new professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford, who asserts: “Evidence that any one food has specific effects on long-term health is lacking and usually more to do with PR and celebrity endorsement than scientific evidence of the kind that would be required if a drug was to make such claims. She claims that superfoods aren’t unhealthy and are good to eat but they rarely live up to the hype. Doctor and science journalist Michael Mosley, thinks that  blackberries and blueberries are good for the brain, but he agrees that many superfoods are generally overrated. “The most important thing is a rainbow diet, lots of different colours on your plate so you are getting lots of different phytonutrients, he says. Also berries aren’t unique in containing high levels of beneficial phytonutrients. Other foods including berries, fruits, vegetables, and even black tea contain generous amounts of antioxidants, including vitamins and polyphenols.

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 3.17.44 PMWhen seeking good nutrition it’s important that food should be as fresh as possible, since the vitamin and mineral content tends to fall with storage. The answer is fresh local food-fruit and vegetables preferably grown in our local areas from organic seed. The other good piece of advice is to eat seasonal produce. When the berries are in season eat them and enjoy them. There are many other beautiful fruits in winter such as oranges and apples and a huge array of vegetables packed full of phytonutrients. We really don’t need to have mangoes and watermelon and berries all year round.

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 3.15.56 PMWe now know that a growing number of people have been diagnosed with hepatitis A after eating frozen berries imported from China. Latest reports are that thirteen people in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia have become ill. As hepatitis A is transmitted by the “faecal-oral” route, this means either that people have handled the berries with contaminated hands transmitting the virus, or the contamination may have occurred because the water used in the processing may have been contaminated with sewage.

This unfortunate episode highlights the absurdity of buying berries from China when we grow them in Australia. Australia recently became a net importer of processed food, this being aided by the high Australian dollar, high domestic overheads and wage costs.

Then there’s the food miles such imported food must travel. According to the food miles calculator the berries from China to Australia have travelled 5599 miles (9008km) as the crow flies. And there’s very little chance of this situation changing with the Australian government signing an increasing number of free trade agreements and with the potential for more food contamination. It is ironic that these unfortunate people seeking to eat healthy foods have become ill with hepatitis.

Why stop at poppies!

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It was common at the start of the 20th century to speak of ‘ Australian Ideals’. What are our values and ideals today? Perhaps those who so generously supported the 5000 Poppy campaign could use their goodwill to help Australia progress rather than feed its militaristic tendencies. And rather than answer the call to knit or crochet a poppy perhaps these resources could be spent on the many social problems of our time. Why stop at poppies! (more…)

Raw milk madness!

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The Herald Sun has reported that a three-year-old Mornington Peninsula child has died and four other young children have become seriously ill in recent weeks after drinking unpasteurised milk  sold in Victoria. The reports of this death and injuries were accompanied by screaming headlines in both large font and capital letters KILLER MILK, and the next day Cosmetic milk controversy: State in grip of toxic milk madness.

Let’s put this death into perspective. Was it the consumption of the raw milk that caused the child’s death? Was this a healthy child or was the child already unwell? Where are the mainstream stories that question this assertion?

Raw milk is sold in health food shops across the country as bath milk for cosmetic purposes although everyone knows that it’s really being bought to be consumed, not bathed in. The Herald Sun found the raw milk in health stores in Malvern, Carlton, Fitzroy, Balaclava, Thornbury, Elsternwick, Albert Park, Box Hill and Belgrave. As to the benefits of drinking raw milk: A new study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, has found that raw milk can actually help prevent colds, viruses and respiratory tract infections from forming in kids, as opposed to commercially processed milk which provides little or no health benefits.

The reporting of this story is a great example of over reacting, a classic case of media sensationalism done in the pathetic endeavour to sell more copy. And there are major ramifications: Already there are calls to ban the sale of raw milk. Even the Federal Government has weighed in and is saying it’ll crack down on the ‘killer’ bath milk and Daniel Andrews, the new Premier of Victoria says he’s not satisfied with the regulations surrounding the sale of raw milk.

Fortunately large numbers of raw milk drinkers have contacted the Herald Sun saying that they will continue to drink it because they believe that raw milk is healthier. And it is! Raw milk is unpasteurised milk straight from the organically pasture fed cow. Raw milk contains the delicate enzymes and essential bacteria which are destroyed with pasteurisation. It is the lack of these natural enzymes in pasteurised milk which makes it indigestible for many people.

For thousands of years, raw milk nourished and produced generations of strong, healthy humans. But now it’s illegal to sell nature’s real milk, the raw product and that is why raw milk  is being sold under pseudonyms such as Aphrodite’s bath milk or Cosmetic milk and found in health food stores  all over the country.

The story of why raw milk became illegal has its origins in the early years of the 19th century in USA which saw a rapid growth in the population with immigrants making their way to the cities. These new arrivals wished to access milk but with the cities a long way from the farms and lacking the transport and refrigeration this was no easy task. So they made do with the milk that was produced in the cities – a far from healthy product. Around this time the whisky industry was booming and the waste product of the distillery was swill or slop which was fed to cows that were conveniently housed next to the whisky distilleries. This waste product of the distilleries was obviously not a food that cows generally ate but it made the cows produce a lot of milk. These cows were sick, crowded, dirty, poorly nourished and forced to spend their short lives chained in one place, handled and milked by, often, very unwell people who poured the milk into dirty containers and sold it to the unsuspecting public. Very soon and not surprisingly the death rates of infants and children soared and it was generally recognised that there was a “milk problem”.

At this time microbiology was in its infancy. The belief in this new science which recognised germs and microbes as the cause of all illness, led to the call for pasteurisation, or heating, of milk to make it free of any potentially harmful bacteria, regardless of how it changed the quality of the milk. As the media and governmental spin continued, dairies found it easier to go with pasteurisation than to clean up their acts.

The mainstream media are once again negligent in their reporting of this young death and the alleged link to raw milk. Was this child healthy? Did he die from the consumption of raw milk? According to the vendors of raw milk in the municipality of Darebin there is no evidence that the very unwell child who died, died as a direct result of raw (bath) milk consumption.The milk that was tested found a toxin, not a bacteria. This toxin can be found in lots of other places.

Our food is increasingly processed and devoid of essential minerals and trace elements – goodness really. Pasteurisation of milk destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.

A ban on raw milk is a knee- jerk reaction to media hype and shouldn’t take place!

 

 

 

Constancy and tranquillity are trashed in our market-driven world

Are you sick of this market-driven world? You should be, writes George Monbiot.

These words speak to those of us who feel at odds with life.

I live across the road from a new housing development, the creation of which has disrupted my tranquil mornings, my peaceful days, and heightened my angst with ‘the self serving con of neoliberalism’ that Monbiot claims has eroded the human values the market was supposed to emancipate’. The 300 new dwellings have no gardens to speak of  and are cluttered so closely together that any semblance of privacy will be nigh impossible. Human values and common courtesy have no place in the rush to transform this once quiet green neighbourhood. Both young and mature gum trees have been sacrificed to this altar of greed where  bulldozers and excavators fire up at 7 and don’t stop until tea time. But it will be all worth it in the end, won’t it? Mass produced, shoddy dwellings for 1100 more residents – whatever it takes!

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On my nature strip I have a large tree – a constant feature and the provider of ample shade in the hot summer  months. Without consulting me, the construction company dug a deep hole  around the tree exposing its roots in order to access infrastructure. Calls to the company resulted in mere excuses that the work is delayed and the backfill of the tree is not imminent. Although the council arborist has assured me the tree will not suffer, I am not so sure and have taken photos of the tree in its splendour and again in its present state- with its roots dangerously exposed. Constancy and tranquillity are trashed in our market-driven world and as a result I am at odds with the world and not ashamed to say it.

My angst is common, for it is now recognised that we are witnessing a time in history when individuals, communities and countries are becoming increasingly stressed and vulnerable.  Writing for The Conversation Professor Joseph Camillleri  asks:  Is a vulnerable world teetering on the edge of a new Dark Age? And how do we explain the long list of financial, environmental and humanitarian emergencies, epidemics, small and larger conflicts, genocides, war crimes, terrorist attacks and military interventions? Why does the international community seem powerless to prevent any of this?

He explains that a new cold war is in the making amidst our costly military interventions in the middle east . But our unease about endless wars and the future of humanity are not shared by those whose dominant narrative is that of market fundamentalism. Many seek to do very nicely out of our intervention in Iraq once again. Stock prices for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman set all-time record highs last week as it became increasingly clear that President Obama was committed to a massive, sustained air war in Iraq and Syria. In fact, It’s nothing short of a windfall for these and other huge defense contractors, who’ve been getting itchy about federal budget pressures that threatened to slow the rate of increase in military spending.

Monbiot reminds us that : The market was meant to emancipate us, offering autonomy and freedom. Instead it has delivered atomisation and loneliness. I don’t envy my new neighbours who are buying into the housing development and taking out huge mortgages they can ill afford. Screen shot 2014-10-01 at 6.15.12 PMTheir massive houses are surrounded by concrete, they have no cooling gardens. There will be little time to walk in the park , most will spend the best years of their lives working at meaningless jobs that do little to foster humanity. It’s no wonder so many of us feel at odds with the world.

Monbiot offers reassurance as he writes:

So, if you don’t fit in, if you feel at odds with the world, if your identity is troubled and frayed, if you feel lost and ashamed – it could be because you have retained the human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud.

 

 

 

 

Every woman needs a safe home every night

 How do we stop violence against women? 
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This was the topic of a public meeting that I attended last week. 
The speakers were Trish O’Donohue, the CEO of Women’s Information, Support and Housing in the North, Phil Cleary, the  former independent federal MP & anti-violence campaigner, and Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance councillor for Moreland. (more…)

Is the future hyperlocal?

I  look forward to the delivery of my daily newspaper. The thud as the bundle of pages strikes the driveway or lands in the bushes  signals the dawning of a new day. But sadly this comfort will soon be gone. But does this really matter?

(more…)

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