Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Facts and lies in media reportage of the Greens

The Greens' four new senators feature in all three Sydney daily newspapers this morning, and as usual each paper has its slant.

The Daily Telegraph goes for fear "Green machine wants to change your world", The Australian has a fairly standard report with a lie at the end and the Sydney Morning Herald has a fairly standard report. This is as expected for each of those publications.

The Australian ends its report by claiming Lee Rhiannon "was a leading light of the Socialist Party of Australia". Really? What sort of leading light? Was she, for example, general secretary, president, editor of the newspaper, some other role?

I've been around the Sydney left for quite a while, and knew most of the "leading lights", or at least knew who they were, and I can't say I ever came across Lee Rhiannon in those circles, so perhaps The Australian should say just what sort of a leading light she was, and how long ago.

A lot of lies are being told about this matter. I saw Gerard Henderson on the Insiders one morning claiming Lee Rhiannon had been involved in the Communist Party "fairly recently". This was when the Communist Party had dissolved itself a good 20 years before. Henderson obviously had no idea what he was talking about, or was lying.

The Australian has form on telling a lie and then repeating that lie as fact after it has been contained in one of its reports, so we'll see how this "leading light" claim goes and whether it resurfaces as established fact on the basis of this so-called report.

A few weeks ago The Australian claimed Bob Brown had variously "carpeted" or "slapped down" Lee Rhiannon over the Israel boycott issue. In fact, Bob Brown has no right or power to carpet or slap down anyone in the Greens.

He is the leader of the federal parliamentary group, although there is disagreement in the Greens that such a position is needed.

The NSW Greens parliamentarians function quite well without such a position, although Cate Faehrmann appears to think that means the Greens are not political heavyweights. If ever there was a case in point, it's Faehrmann's lightweight "reflections", but fortunately some of the other NSW Greens MPs show better political judgment.

Closely examining reports of what Brown actually said, he had a telephone discussion with Lee Rhiannon, in which they no doubt disagreed. Brown supports Palestinian human rights, but not the international boycott campaign, while Rhiannon supports the boycott.

I've done some voluntary work for the Greens in a few election campaigns, and would be disappointed if there were no disagreements in the party. Disagreement and discussion is necessary and normal in politics, as John Faulkner has observed about the Labor Party in the past week or so.

In fact, I'd like to see more discussion and disagreement in the Greens as a contrast to the sterile farce the that the Labor Party has become.

See also:

Responding To Attacks On My Family And Political Background, Lee Rhiannon

The character assassination of Lee Rhiannon, Wendy Bacon