Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Unbiased? HA!

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.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I live on Hamilton Island (have done so for 9 + years) & completely agree. I have to clarify however, the Scientology conference was just that, a conference ie they did not hire the whole island.. that would probably cost millions! (to take over ALL facilities for sole use by one group? we can cater for over 6000 people! Never mind the 6 + interstate flights per day and busy marina!) Anyway, as a conference with paying guests, Hamilton Island has a responsibility towards its existing guests the number of which would - I'm guessing at least 300-400 pax (an average conference number) clearly outnumber the 3 sent by A Current Affair, regardless if they had booked/paid/whatever. A Current Affair is clearly a very lowest common denominator program, if they had wished to infiltrate a Scientology conference, there are far cleverer ways of doing it, than a beat up about what Hamilton Island did when they found out hostile media crews were planning to visit. ACA has only further tarnished their reputation, if they were serious they probably would have been allowed to interview! We here on the island agree with the actions of management in protecting our guests & staff. HI management would have done the same for any other guest group/conference (we have our fair share of celebrity visits/weddings & media is carefully controlled). Besides, the owners have an agreement with Channel 7!

Bella said...

hi, thanks for that, it was really informative - and further backed up the opinion i already had that aca were clueless. im glad you gave me the chance to find out a little more about what actually happened, rather than having to rely on that dodgy news story!
lucky you, getting to live on HI all year round!

allison said...

I don't know if it's too late to comment on this..seeing as it's been almost a year, but I watched the link on the blog. It seems like something in a Will Ferell or Steve Carell movie. Try to uncover some dirt on people who aren'teven trying to hide anything. I like the point you made about the sketchy camera angles, the one in between the seats especially. Don't want any scientologists eavesdropping! This was funny to watch. I've never seen newsreporters try so earnestly to be secret agents before.

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