More Media Manipulation

One could rightly ask: Why bother doing media interviews if you know they are going to deceptively distort and twist your words to push their own agenda? Good question. It sure does happen – and often. But not always thankfully. It is important to seek to get truth out into the public arena, so it is worth trying, despite all the abuse and flak.

I did yet another TV interview yesterday, and it was a prime example of how the media creates news and distorts facts, just to push an agenda. Happens regularly of course, and I have experienced it firsthand many times over many years of doing such interviews.

Channel-Nine-LogoThis one was a Channel 9 interview for the evening news. It concerned comments made by an education advisor to the Federal Government about the possibility of bringing corporal punishment back to our schools, given the overwhelming issues we have today with discipline (or the lack thereof), violence, and other problems.

The person in question is Kevin Donnelly, an education expert, who said in a radio interview that only if wanted by the parents, school and community, and only as a last resort, there might be a place to return to some form of corporal punishment.

He did say those days are now long gone, and it was only a tangential and brief aspect of a larger interview. But of course the lamestream media picked up on it and made a big stink about it. The media thrives on controversy, and often they in fact create the controversy.

So anyway, I get a call from Ch. 9 asking me what I think, and if they could come around and do an interview. So they did. As usual, it went for around 15 minutes with around 8-10 questions. Then of course it goes back to the editing room, where anything and everything can happen.

And that was certainly the case here. My comments were ripped out of context, manipulated, and used to make me look like an ogre. But a bit of context here: I watched all three late afternoon and early evening newscasts on Ch. 9. All of them ran with the story, but without any of my comments.

On all of them, it was clear that Ch. 9 hated the very idea of corporal punishment in any form and in any place, and were seeking to demonise Donnelly and also Tony Abbott. Thus they brought in basically just critical voices, whether various “experts” or parents, etc.

They all decried any sort of smacking or physical discipline as “violence” and “torture”. They all were appalled at the very idea and the whole impression given in these “news” stories was that this man was evil, and so too is Abbott. Hey, any excuse will do for the lefty media to bash Abbott and the Liberals.

So after these newscasts I thought, “Oh well, another wasted interview”. But immediately following was the Ch. 9 show, A Current Affair. Evidently not content with all the Abbott bashing, they wanted to milk this story for all its worth.

And sure enough, it was more of the same, with more bashing of Donnelly, calling for his head, or at least resignation, and by implication, more Abbott bashing. And this time a few short sound bites by me appeared. Let me first mention what I actually said in my interview.

During the 12 or so minutes, I said a number of things. I said that while in principle I agreed with Donnelly, it would likely never get off the ground, because of political correctness, our litigious society, and so on. And I said that even if it did come back in a few schools, with parental consent and direction, it would not be a panacea.

I said the breakdown of the family is a major cause of problems with children, with an absent father unleashing a whole range of problems, including discipline problems. So I said that this was the real area we must deal with. Discipline begins in the home, and when it is not found there (often because a father is not found there) then we will hardly find it in our schools.

I was even asked about the cane, and I said the method used would be up to the school, teachers and parents, if they do go back to corporal punishment. I even twice mentioned a personal experience of when I was a rowdy teenager, goofing off in class.

A burly High School teacher took me out into the hallway, tapped my chest with his finger, and made it clear that he would not tolerate such disruptive behaviour. And that certainly worked. I was a perfect student for the rest of the term. So I said nothing about using the cane or a strap or anything like that in my interview.

And as far as I can tell, neither did Donnelly. So how did A Current Affair handle this story? Well, just like the three earlier news items, it focused almost exclusively on the cane. It showed pictures of it, talked about it, and had many graphics and video clips of poor kids being caned.

And in a diabolical, malicious fashion, the editors did their best to make it look like both of us fully favoured the cane, and were eager to see it restored. So they featured a biased section on poor little kiddies being caned, then cut to me, using one of my answers for a totally different question – the one in which I said, “Yes, in principle I agree…”

Those lousy sleazeballs! I never once said we should use the cane, but the editors made it look like I said just that I did. They deliberately and unethically manipulated my interview to push their own anti-smacking agenda! These guys know how to create their own version of reality – it can all nicely be done in the editors’ cutting room.

As to the actual debate about corporal punishment, one can legitimately question whether schools should use corporal punishment at all. But as both a Christian and a parent I am of course fully in support of loving discipline including at times a smack in the home – but I make that case elsewhere, eg: billmuehlenberg.com/…/the-case-for-corporal…/

So all this was yet another exercise in media manipulation: interview someone, hack his words to death in the editor’s room, make him say what you want him to say, and paint him as evil. Piece of cake – and it happens all the time.

But there was one very funny and ironic twist to all this: despite Ch. 9’s attempt to push their anti-smacking agenda, they had a poll on this issue, and Tracy Grimshaw referred to it at the end of the segment. The result: something like 74 per cent of all respondents said yes, bring back corporal punishment into the schools!

Tracy’s jaw dropped and she was clearly gobsmacked by these numbers, so they very quickly cut the graphic! And the vote now stands at over 3300 in favour with just 1600 opposed. You gotta laugh. These elites try so hard to ram their own PC leftist agenda down the throats of the masses, but the masses keep refusing to fall for it, and keep standing up for what they believe in anyway.

So all in all it was an interesting exercise. As I say, I have had many other similar such experiences. The mainstream media has long ago given up on reporting the news and dealing with facts. It now basically creates the news and manipulates the news, and appeals to emotions instead.

No wonder the rise of the alternative media has been so remarkable.

www.9news.com.au/national/2014/07/16/06/19/corporal-punishment-can-be-effective

The actual segment is now online: aca.ninemsn.com.au/article/8875601/bringing-back-the-school-strap

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24 Replies to “More Media Manipulation”

  1. I wouldn’t worry, Bill. I watched ACA and thought you looked very reasonable and credible. Anyone with half a brain would read between the lines and see that it was not balanced reporting.

  2. Th MSM being fair on an issue like this? Surely you must be living in another world to expect that to happen.

  3. Having seen the cane used for the 13 years of my schooling I’m dead against it. It was not used “lovingly” ever. what tosh. It was used vindictively, in anger out of retribution and cruely. It never brought good. It brought fear and not good fear but apprehensive terror. I stayed inside and read in primary school so I wouldn’t accidently do something wrong and get hit at lunch time. it represents a stupid barbaric practice and has no place in a civilised society.

  4. Thanks Clive. But of course to simply take your own personal experience and extrapolate it to every other case of corporal punishment in the world contributes basically zero to the actual debate. Do some teachers – like some parents – misuse their position of authority in the case of discipline? Of course. But that is not the issue, and to throw out all such discipline therefore is to simply throw the baby out with the bathwater. Not too helpful actually.

    But the truth is this post is not primarily about the merits of corporal punishment in schools – or anywhere. It is more to do with media manipulation and duplicity. So that is what I prefer to concentrate on here. And I have often made the case for corporal punishment elsewhere, so I am not about to rehash all the arguments again here.

  5. Bill,

    Have you thought about this…?

    Next time you are interviewed, take along a friend with a camera and have them film the entire interview. Then, if this sort of manipulation happens again, post a video response on YouTube. I believe that you are legally able to repost the television station’s story if it is for the purpose of analysis, and highlight at each point how they have manipulated you, interspersing your own recorded material where appropriate to show missing context or etc.

    Admittedly it would take a bit of effort (perhaps find a friend who can help with the editing), but if well done could be a hit and could severely embarrass the offending media outlet and put them on notice that they won’t get away with this sort of thing.

    As for whether they would allow it to be filmed in the first place, don’t tell them. They are masters of the hidden camera, so they can hardly complain.

  6. Thank Philip. Yes, the best way to avoid such manipulation is to do only live interviews. But many are taped and/or prerecorded. So yes, having some recorded evidence of what actually transpired is certainly a helpful option.

  7. Bill, I agree with you on the media manipulation, but I think an experience of the failing of a punishment system is a valid observation. If it fails once, if has failed. It demonstrates that the system was incapable of either fairness, protection of children or achieving stated results, and shows a systematic problem.

  8. Thanks Clive. But since when does one person’s personal experience determine the truth or otherwise about a matter? Both Donnelly and I also experienced corporal punishment in school. It was for both of us a positive experience, it led to good outcomes, and it preserved order and discipline in the classroom. And it was not “used vindictively, in anger out of retribution and cruely”. So if mere experience alone determines the truth about the issue, you are outnumbered 2 to 1, so you are wrong. But as I have been saying, experience alone proves nothing here. And as I also said, this post is mainly about how the media operates.

  9. They’d achieve a fair bit by just getting rid of the obsession with kids self-esteem and allowing kids to be shamed for their behaviour instead of resorting to corporal punishment. But in extreme cases I’m certainly not against it. Better some young thug get a strap then the torture his victims have to put up with.

  10. I actually had a different experience on Wednesday. Radio station 2GB rang me and asked if I would do a short interview half an hour later. They introduced me as someone who has written and spoken publically on corporal punishment (an exaggeration based apparently on one online comment) and although the interviewer wasn’t committing himself on the subject he was sympathetic and let me state my case without undue interruption. I didn’t hear the discussion that followed, but I assume they allowed a variety of views to be put. The fact that it was a live interview gave me comfort in the first place. It was on delay but they couldn’t edit it.

    So there is still hope of sometimes getting the message out without distortion. I don’t think I would agree to a pre-recorded interview as brave Bill did, but then I’m no Bill. Many years ago Gough Whitlam went through a stage where he would only do ABC interviews if they were live. Even a radical leftie wouldn’t trusty Auntie.

    The irony is that I almost never listen to commercial radio, mainly because they don’t usually play classical music!

  11. Clive, isn’t that the nature of sin, to abuse that good which has been given into our care? What needs to be established is if a thing is good in itself and on that evidence alone it should be either implemented or discarded and if it is implemented, knowing what human nature is like measures need to be put in place that will curb not possible, but inevitable abuse of that good thing.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  12. Hi Bill, you have probably been there, but I’m wondering if you have tried a complaint to ACMA or similar organisation?

  13. Thanks very much for that Bill; you are spot on with your critique. In the interview I actually said the days of physical punishment were long gone and ‘no’ to capital punishment. See my comment piece in the Herald Sun – it’s on my website. http://www.edstandards.com.au

  14. Thanks John. Yes one could try to go through all those convoluted processes, but I don’t believe they would do a hill of beans of any good sadly.

  15. Can’t you GoPro the interview yourself and post on Youtube so we can all see what a crock the MSM is?
    (Hide an audio recorder in you pocket maybe?)

  16. Thanks Tim. Yes that would be the wisest way to proceed. On a few occasions I have done that. When I did a major debate with a homosexual activist a few years ago a friend of mine videoed the entire debate.

  17. Bill, I’m really upset about this. It’s a horrible thing for the media to take advantage of you. You’re a decent person. A good Christian. They really oughtn’t be so underhand.

    It’s actually upset me a whole lot reading this. I am very unsettled now. I hope you’re ok. You are usually pretty resilient but I know that these things can hurt us.

    I know you mean well all the time. Please keep up the good work. I admire your efforts hugely.

  18. Thanks Toby. As I said in the article, this is not an isolated incident. It has happened to me plenty of times already. Is it unfair? Unjust? Malicious? Deceptive? Deplorable? To be condemned? Of course. But this is simply how the lamestream media operates far too often. So you gotta keep at it, seeking to get truth into the public arena, even though you know you will be abused and misused often in the process. Thanks for your concerns.

  19. As you say Bill, the real issue here is the manipulative media who “bang on” about truth and fairness, only to be the first to break the rules. Neil Mitchell is a master at sensational headlines … and don’t start me on so-called 3AW Talk Back. Any issue you want to raise, but you are asked what the subject matter is beforehand. Many times I have hung on only to be told, “sorry we are out of time”.

  20. Manipulation of the truth seems to be order of the day. If you ditch your moral compass – the truth can be what you want it to be – subjective – especially if it conforms with humanist agenda.

  21. Bill, please keep doing interviews. If you stop, they`ve won.
    I like the idea of having your own film and posting it on the web, and I`d like whoever interviews you to show your CultureWatch address to verify your qualifications. It does upset me too what they do, so be stronger than most and keep standing, leave the door open for them to keep calling on you.

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