CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Propaganda Masquerading as News

Jun 22, 2006

Once upon a time a person could buy a newspaper and be fairly confident that the news covered therein was more or less reliable, factual and impartially presented. That certainly is no longer the case, especially for certain newspapers.

Consider the case of one Australian broadsheet, the Melbourne Age. This paper is right up there with a few other contenders for Australia’s most left-wing, politically correct and biased paper in the country. There are many examples of this bias and agenda-pushing. Just one will suffice. The Age is notoriously pro-homosexual, with almost daily pro-homosexual reporting and opinion. Of course with many homosexual activists on staff, this is not surprising. Such is the blatant bias in this regard that one could quite accurately call this paper the Melbourne Gayge.

Consider one example of this totally lop-sided and prejudiced news coverage and reporting. The Australian Capital Territory decided on May 11 to legalise same-sex unions, which for all intents and purposes meant it had legalized same-sex marriage. This in spite of the fact that the Federal Government reaffirmed through legislation (passed by both houses) in August 2004 that marriage in Australia can only be between a man and a woman.

But on June 6 the Howard government signaled its intention to override the ACT legislation. And for good reason: the ACT law was just a sneaky attempt to bring in same-sex marriage, even though the Australian Parliament, and the overwhelming majority of Australians, stated that marriage is a heterosexual affair. (On the 15th of June the Government motion was passed, and the ACT law was struck down.)

Take then how the Age ran with this story over the next two weeks. I have clipped every article, opinion piece and letter on the subject from June 7 to June 18. (Good thing I only monitored 12 days’ worth – there was so much to clip, I was beginning to get sore hands!)

Take for example the articles run on the story. Altogether 16 different “news” articles were written on this topic during this 12 day period. That is well over one a day. Talk about a beat-up. Talk about going overboard on a story. One would have thought that there were other news items of merit worth covering during this period.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. In every one of the articles there was such an obvious one-sided agenda being pushed that there seemed to be no difference between these supposed news items and the paper’s editorials. For example, I simply lost count of the number of homosexual and lesbian activists that were quoted in these pieces. And how many pro-family voices were heard? Not one. Is this news reporting or propaganda?

There was one very short piece written about how religious leaders felt about Howard’s decision, so a few quick – and token – references were made to those from the other side of the debate, but that was it. Aside from that, these 16 articles were one mass promotion of the homosexual agenda. But it does not end there.

There were also three full opinion pieces on the subject. I guess in an effort to pretend that there was some balance taking place, one of the three pieces did argue for the no-case to same-sex marriage. But that is just 33 per cent. And when weighed against all the articles, letters and other items in favour of same-sex marriage, it made up barely a fraction of the space devoted to the issue.

And in typical Age fashion, the very next day the letters’ editor featured not one, but three letters attacking the no-case article, with not one letter supporting it.

Each of these opinion pieces, editorials and articles could in turn be analyzed at length. They are great examples of sloppy thinking, poor reasoning, question-begging, special-pleading, red herrings and moral obfuscation. But those evaluations must await another article.

But wait, there’s still more. There were no less than four major human interest pieces as well (scattered among the 16 news items). These featured homosexual and lesbian couples given free rein to state their case at length. Of course no heterosexual was allowed to feature as a personal story. And there were plenty of full-colour photos of happy, smiling, hugging homosexual and lesbian couples. Of course putting an emotive human face on the story always beats having to deal with the facts and the real heart of the issue. Just paint an emotional story using people who represent your cause, and you do not have to deal with hard things like truth, logic, facts or evidence.

And one lesbian couple got to tell their story not once, but twice (June 9, 14). Both times the couple’s story was adorned with large colour photos. And they got to speak at length of how terrible it was that their relationship could not be recognized as a marriage. Indeed, it featured all the emotive rhetoric about their love being denied, and so on. After wading though article after article like this I really began to believe that I was reading articles from the homosexual press. The Age pieces were absolutely identical to anything found there.

Moreover, a Saturday Age Insight section featured a front page story (which spilled over onto p. 2) with numerous photos, large splashes of colour, complete with a rainbow. Paragraph after paragraph of quotes from homosexuals were featured therein. Again, not one pro-family voice. Not one dissenting position, except for a few references to Prime Minister Howard or Attorney-General Ruddock.

There was of course the mandatory large editorial, shedding tears over this being a “matter of human rights” In it the editorial writers said, among other things, that the Howard Government had chosen to “politicize the issue”. Sorry, but it was the homosexual lobby that long ago decided to make a political issue of this. The Howard Government has simply responded to this attempt at social engineering by stating what most Australians know to be true: marriage is not whatever you make it to be. It is something that for millennia has meant one thing, and we are not about to let a group of noisy activists redefine it out of existence.

Oh yeah, one last thing. The Age also ran a cartoon on the subject, by Leunig. It was a masterful example at propaganda at its best. Using colour, photos and text, it effectively implied that heterosexuals were torturers, murderers and militants, and it is time we let peaceful homosexuals have rights to marriage and children. Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist, would have been proud of this effort.

Thus this was one giant tsunami of pro-gay propaganda. Like a tidal wave, every day the reader was inundated with one pro-homosexual assault after another. This simply was one of the most blatant and disgusting cases of media bias and agenda pushing I have encountered in the mainstream press. Somehow, however, I do not expect that ABC’s Media Watch will cover the story!

Bias Big Time

To get this scandal into some sort of perspective, just consider a slightly different contentious social issue and the way it might be treated by the Age. For example, consider the subject of young people and tobacco use. What if the Age ran 16 articles on this issue in 12 days, and had dozens of spokespersons from the tobacco industry giving their side of the story, but without one opposing voice? Would the reader think this to be news coverage or indoctrination?

And what if the paper offered lengthy human interest stories (complete with large photos of smiling people) featuring those who absolutely loved their tobacco, who found it quite beneficial and enjoyable, and complained about those who sought to discriminate against them by denying them of their right to smoke? And of course throw in a few opinion pieces, editorials, and cartoons, and you would have a good case for the Government to step in and seek to shut down this propaganda vehicle.

But the Age bias doesn’t end here. Consider also the letters pages. During this period an amazing 30 letters were published on this subject. Yet only 5 of those 30 were opposed to same-sex marriage. Now what do those numbers tell us? There are four options really.

One, these numbers tell us that a full 83 per cent of Australians (or at least Melbournians) are in favour of same-sex marriage. I tend to doubt that. Numerous polls and surveys have all shown that the majority of Australians are opposed to special rights for homosexuals.

Two, the letters’ editor is as biased as the rest of the paper’s staff. A good and fair letters’ editor will weigh up the letters he receives, and print a representative few of each. Are we really to believe that 83 per cent of the letters he received were in favour of same-sex marriage? Most unlikely.

But three, let’s concede point two. Maybe he did receive that many pro-gay letters, and that few letters in opposition. What might that tell us? Again, it probably does not tell us what the general public really thinks about the issue. It probably just tells us that a handful of homosexual activists and their supporters are much more active and dedicated to their cause than are others. After all, they do have a lot more time on their hands. Most heterosexual family members are busy just being family, and do not have time for political lobby work. But single homosexuals, who have higher than average income, have the time and wherewithal to bombard their favorite media outlets with their propaganda.

And four, it may well be that many opposed to the homosexual onslaught are just fed up with the bias of the Age  and have given up on it. They have written countless letters to the Age, only to see few if any printed. Many conservatives have simply given up writing to the Age, knowing that it is almost a lost cause, a wasted effort.

Conclusion

All in all this is one shameful example of the complete manipulation and distortion of a news item to serve ideological ends. The media in general and the Age in particular is over represented by homosexuals and/or those sympathetic to the homosexual cause. Thus a paper like the Age may never be able to present a balanced, objective and disinterested account of this issue. It is pushing an agenda, and pretending to do so in the guise of news reporting. But propaganda is still propaganda, and the Age should be ashamed of the way it is using its power to push an agenda that most people are quite uncomfortable with.

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3 Responses to Propaganda Masquerading as News

  • You’re right Bill, homosexual marriages in Australia has been given a platform by the media and they’ve allowed it to rear its ugly head for too long.
    The Age is a minority-pleasing paper that contributes to the disintergration of our Christian heritage and family values in this nation. It’s thanks to our government in power and to people like yourself Bill that promote the majority’s voice and allow it to be heard.
    I just want to say to The Age that rather than succumbing to kissing the feet of a few gay activists and equality mongers, why don’t you start focusing on articles and letters that promote the wider, more accepted views in our nation.

    Jessica Magno, Melbourne

  • Forty-five years ago I studied a Melbourne Uni 1 year course on Rhetoric. I think it was poorly taught. An Age journalist was in the course and I gained the impression that he also thought it was badly taught. My guess is that at the end of the course 40% of those who studied rhetoric did not have a grasp of what rhetoric is. Bill Muehlenberg’s investigative journalism in light of that course shows me that he knows only too well what rhetoric is.
    Bill introduced us in this article to the term Gayge. So often the scientific name for something encapsulates the nature of that thing. Just so ”Gayge” has encapsulated the nature of “the Age”. I really do hope that this article of Bill’s fixes the term “Gayge ” in the mind of the public. I eagerly await the social engineers’ condemnation of this article and their rhetorical attempt to shaft Bill. I do not expect that the opponents of Bill’s expose of the blatent propaganda in the ‘Gayge’ to have Bill’s gift of analysis.
    Stan Fishley, Melbourne 

  • You’re right Bill. The Age is RUBBISH. Soon their only readership will be anti marriage, anti family activists.

    Steve Simpson

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