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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A ‘serious policy discussion’ for ABC TV’s Q&A

 

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Last week’s visit by  Prime Minister Tony Abbott to a US warship off Sydney where he told visiting American sailors their navy was a “comforting presence” in Australia should provoke a public conversation.

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Anzac Day, Propaganda, and the Making of Endless Wars

 

Screen shot 2015-04-15 at 5.42.51 PMAnzac Day will soon be upon us and publicity surrounding the centenary has reached fever pitch. But what is really going on?

Last wednesday, I attended a forum Anzac Day: Past, Present and Future   held at the Camberwell Civic Centre where Professors Joe Camilleri and Marilyn Lake were joined by Ted Baillieu, Serdar Baycan, Neil Smith and Claire Chisholm in an ABC-style Q&A discussion on the history and future of Anzac Day. (more…)

Free speech – not on vaccination it seems!

A SOCIAL media campaign is in progress to stop an American anti-vaccination campaigner running a series of lectures in Australia in March. Following on from the success of a campaign which resulted in the cancellation of the misogynist Julien Blanc’s visa, pro-vaccination activists are calling on the immigration department to have Dr Sherri Tenpenny’s visa cancelled because she speaks about the harms associated with vaccines.

Screen shot 2015-01-11 at 11.44.26 AMDr Sherri Tenpenny has planned to deliver six seminars around Australia in March and to be joined by Norma Erickson who runs Sanevax an organisation which promotes only Safe, Affordable, Necessary & Effective vaccines and vaccination practices through education and information. A homoeopathic practitioner from Victoria, Isaac Golden, who promotes the use of natural medicines to prevent disease is also scheduled to speak at the seminars. Unfortunately the seminars are now in jeopardy as most of the venues where her presentations were to be held have cancelled.

Tenpenny, who runs an alternative medicines clinic in Ohio, has written a book called Saying No To Vaccines and regularly lectures on the dangers of immunisation. Tenpenny says that she wrote her book because parents needed a tool that did their homework for them. She says that the evidence is there to support their decision to not vaccinate; you just have to do a little work to find it. ‘Everyone seems to be so afraid of “bugs” and their potential ability to make us sick. But the reality is that we swim in “bugs” every day and we are not dropping over like flies.. The only “bugs” we seem to obsess over are associated with vaccines. Only two generations ago, measles, mumps and chickenpox were normal experiences of childhood. Why we have complete fear of these infections is media and money driven and unfounded.’

And the Australian mainstream media perpetuates this fear and supports the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the vaccines when it fails to support Dr Tenpenny’s tour.  Her ideas are so sensible:

If the focus of Public Health was on sleep, exercise, clean water and safe, non-GMO food, we would have a healthy society without vaccines but we would not have billion dollar industries employing millions of people to keep us “healthy.” The fact is, we are a very UNhealthy society with vaccines, so the Public health and argument that we must vaccinate ‘for greater good’ is a failure.

Our hospitals are full of unhealthy adults and children despite all the vaccines, antibiotics and other medical interventions. Many people are living longer yet more debilitated lives, needing expensive medical management. Sherri Tenpenny and her fellow speakers just might be able to teach us how to live healthier lives and they should be given their right to speak.

 

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!

 

 

 

In search of cerebral content

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What happened to the opinion page? Remember The Age  when it was a broadsheet and there were three or more opinion pieces in the middle pages that bordered the letters to the editor. These were lengthy pieces of analysis  on topics relating to current public debate. Usually 800-1000 words of worthy content  engaging the reader and leading to enjoyable swapping of ideas and information among family and friends later in the day. Of course there are still opinion pieces  in The Age but these are poor replacements, and badly positioned so as not to be  easily seen and rarely read.

And as for ABC radio: Jonathan Holmes former host on ABC TV’s ‘Media Watch’ and now a columnist at The Age recently wrote about content in this digital era lamenting the fact that on Radio National, long-form, specialist journalism is being down-sized in favour of the radio equivalent of fast food. This is sad for those of us who like to read and listen to programs that make us think and not just designed to dumb us down.

Article%20Lead%20-%20narrow6376523111ysdvimage_related_articleLeadNarrow_353x0_11ypkf_png1417557002488_jpg-300x0And it’s not just radio, TV and newsprint that are changing for the worse, it’s the cinema too. Reflecting on her 28 years presenting ‘The Movie Show’, retiring presenter Margaret Pomeranz says: the big change has been how much money has come to dominate the industry, with studios bankrolling sequels but not taking risks on smaller films.

And then there’s the publishing industry – same problem, different product. This time it’s books and the wonderful ideas within that are at risk from technology giants such as Google, Amazon and Apple .

The blurb for  Bibliodiversity: A Manifesto for Independent Publishing written by Susan Hawthorne reads:  In a globalised world, megacorp publishing is all about numbers, about sameness, about following a formula based on the latest megasuccess. Each book is expected to pay for itself and all the externalities of publishing such as offices and CEO salaries. It means that books which take off slowly but have long lives, the books that change social 269norms, are less likely to be published.

Independent publishers such as Susan Hawthorne of Spinifex Press are seeking another way. A way of engagement with society and methods that reflect something important about the locale or the niche they inhabit. In  Bibliodiversity Hawthorne writes that Independent and small publishers are like rare plants that pop up among the larger growth but add something different, perhaps they feed the soil, bring colour or scent into the world.

We need to cherish our remaining newspapers, our beleaguered ABC , and nurture our book and movie industries from which we gain so much.  And in the words of author P.D James who died last week: Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.

And hang on to the dwindling hope that good content sees the light of day in a world where money, not thought, rules.

Write what you need to write!

P.D. James on writing:
Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 4.39.11 PM“Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.” (more…)

54 women killed by partners so far this year – but have we counted the children?

I posted a story of yet another murder of a woman by her partner along with the message that every week in Australia, one woman is killed by a current or former partner. A comment posted in response read: Have we counted the children?

Screen shot 2014-09-24 at 7.11.39 PMTragically there have been some really shocking murders of children by their fathers: one that comes too readily to mind was the public filicide of Luke Batty by his father at a cricket ground earlier this year. The 11-year-old boy was killed in front of horrified onlookers after a cricket training session. His father was then shot by police and died soon after.

Screen shot 2014-08-30 at 1.00.37 PMAnd who can possibly forget the case of Robert Farquharson, the man who drove his three young sons into a dam on Father’s day September 2005, leaving them to drown. I remember watching the news that night and it was fairly clear right from the first reporting that this was no accident and that Farquharson had chosen to take his sons’ lives. But if you want to find out why men kill their children you won’t find the answer in This House of Grief, Helen Garner’s latest bookEven so, her story is a gripping  account of the long days spent in the court until the final verdict was reached, pronouncing Farquarson ‘three times guilty’.

But why did he kill his children?

Men who kill their children do so to punish the mother, experts say, with the final act of revenge often punctuating a history of domestic violence. The most recent figures from the Australian Institute of Criminology show there were 22 cases of filicide nationwide between 2008 and 2010. No to Violence acting chief executive Rodney Vlais said it was common for men to develop a victim mentality before killing their children. “They feel they have been hard done by when, in fact, this is not usually the case. It’s more often a sense of entitlement and privilege that they have. Men can feel so aggrieved in their own warped sense of being the victim that they will punish their partner through killing their children.” Farquarson was a desperate man in the months before he took his sons’ lives. Prior to the murders, the emotionally immature father was finding life very difficult having recently separated from his wife Cindy who was now living with a new partner. To his psychologist he admitted contemplating suicide and was urged to keep taking his anti-depressants but follow – up consultation was not attended. And the tragedy he caused was unfathomable, inexplicable and shocking.

Screen shot 2014-09-24 at 7.08.26 PMAnd then there are the men who kill their whole family. At the beginning of the month we heard the gruesome news that a farmer Geoff Hunt, had killed his wife Kim, 41, and their three children before turning a gun on himself at the family’s property near Wagga Wagga in the Riverina. While we don’t know why this crazed and desperate man killed his wife and children and then committed suicide, surely the sensible course of action would have been to get some help, not kill. In the days that followed the tragedy, the press described Hunt as a loving family man who was under some strain.  You couldn’t get a better bloke. The most gentle, considerate bloke… a pillar of society.

Author and journalist Nina Funnell takes issue with the media description of this man who has just killed his family and writes that if a man walked into a classroom and shoots the teacher and the students and then himself, this is called a massacre and he’s called a murderer. And yet when a man such as Hunt shoots his own children and his wife and then himself, the press paint him as  a loving family man who was under some strain.

Language matters. Destroy the Joint are running a campaign to end violence against women (actually that should be written as male violence). We need to use the correct language and in this case name the person who commits the violence – that is the male of the species. So far this year there have been 54 murders of women by their male partners or ex partners – this is more than one murder a week. It is usual to refer to male violence in the home as domestic violence but this avoids naming the perpetrator, so yes, I agree with Funnell that language really matters and so does the killing of women which has to stop. No more murders of women and children by angry men who can’t cope when women leave them or things get too tough. It has to stop.

Congratulations Catalyst!

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Following the broadcast of Catalyst’s two-part special on cholesterol and statins there has been a flurry of irate Australian doctors and other professionals discrediting the program and its presenter Maryanne Demasi.

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Media silent over payouts to victims of Gardasil

Picture 3 You can be excused for not knowing that the U.S. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has recently paid out nearly $6 million in claims to victims of controversial HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine because our mainstream media is not doing its job. (more…)

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