I was watching an article on A Current Affair tonight. And i remembered why exactly i never bother much with the news - it is appalling. I don't mean in terms of content; the world is always going to be full of people shooting each other, blowing each other up, stealing warships, blah blah blah and i'm sure it would do us some good to know how many people disembarked international boats and took up residence on our soil today. But when i was watching television tonight, i was appalled to see such biased crap.
The article was about the Scientology convention being held on Hamilton Island. The issue was that the Scientologists had hired the entire island, and didn't want the channel 9 news team to be allowed onto the island. Naturally, channel 9 felt that they had to try their luck anyway. They booked tickets. However, when the Scientologists found out, they asked the Hamilton Island PR people not to allow it. HIPR made many calls and sent numerous emails, text messages, etc informing the crew that they had been informed that there was no intent to visit the island for a vacation, and that they were not welcome in an investigative capacity. They said that if the crew arrived on the island, they would be politely asked to leave. Of course, the crew went anyway. And were asked to turn around and leave, upon arrival. Surprise, surprise.
The article claimed that this was 'unbelievable'. The way that it was presented, and the arrogant tone of the presenter, who clearly believed that Scientology was a despicable cult that was corrupting people, coupled with ominous music, the camera shooting from inside a bag, and from stupid angles like between aeroplane seats, added up to an impression that there was something underhand going on, that there was a conspiracy - and that the Scientologists were actually doing something wrong. Politician Nick Zenophon came on to say that it was appalling and unacceptable, blah blah blah.
Here are the facs that they skimmed over; Hamilton Island is a PRIVATE island. It is not public property. That, in itself, gives the HIPR team the power to decide who is and isn't allowed on the island. The channel 9 news team has no right to go there. And yet they swaggered around as if deprived of a basic human right. Furthermore, if the Scientologists had hired the island for a conference, then they should have some say over who else stays there - they didn't hire the conference rooms, they hired the ISLAND. If the conference had been made up of an international delegation of politicians, and they had refused publicity until such a time as they choose to release a statement, there would have been no talk of an 'unacceptable' conspiracy. If they knew that there was a camera crew headed towards them, with the express idea of uncovering something shady, and making bad publicity for them, why would they ever be allowed on the island? There was never any intention to present an unbiased report of the conference.
I was appalled by this piece. It was so biased that i could really place no reliance on the few facts that they did present. The tone of the piece was anti-Scientology from start to finish. I am not saying that i agree with the Scientology doctrine, but this was not an issue of their beliefs. This was not a case of a religious suicide pact, or a discovery that they had been practicing polygamy, or any other dastardly act. They were merely holding a conference, and didn't want to be interrupted by people whose sole aim was to discredit them. It was an issue of rights - did the channel 9 crew have a right to visit the private island for investigative purposes? No.
So really, they created an article about nothing, making their 'point' to suit their own personal beliefs, rather than representing the facts accurately and relevantly. I'm appalled that an apparently reputable news show would be so biased. I'm actually furious that the Australian public, many of whom will accept this article on face-value, have been presented with such rubbish.
I'd be interested to know if anyone else saw this article, or has something to say on the matter...
If you want to see the article, click here for the link to the video clip.