Murdoch broadsheet gives lesson in how not to report news

Murdoch’s Australian has spent the last months demonising NSW Greens Senator elect Lee Rhiannon. The main reason is her strong and principled support for sanctions against apartheid Israel and her progressive politics.

Today’s paper features a Labor party press release dressed up as a news story. Memo to reporters there; only quoting one political enemy of Rhiannon isn’t news; it’s propaganda:

Claims that NSW senator-elect Lee Rhiannon has been victimised because of her past links to socialism have been rubbished by NSW Labor upper house MP Luke Foley.

Sydney academic Wendy Bacon yesterday compared the public scrutiny of Ms Rhiannon over her support for a boycott of Israel to McCarthyism.

In an article on ABC website The Drum under the headline “The character assassination of Lee Rhiannon”, Professor Bacon said the high-profile Greens member had been subjected to unfair attention because of the political beliefs she and her parents held in the 1960s.

“Her sin: her family’s membership of the Socialist Party of Australia which continued to support the Soviet Union after its 1968 invasion of what was then Czechoslovakia. All of that happened more than 40 years ago,” wrote Professor Bacon, who is director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism.

“This attack smacks of McCarthyism.”.

But Mr Foley, who has been vocal in his criticism of Ms Rhiannon’s support for the campaign to boycott Israel, said Professor Bacon’s claims were simply untrue.

He said Ms Rhiannon was rightfully subjected to scrutiny over her support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, which had nothing to do with her political past.

“My criticisms of Lee Rhiannon are around her activities in the here and now,” Mr Foley said. “I think what is important here is the extremism of the Greens . . . and Lee Rhiannon is the most high-profile supporter in Australian politics of the BDS.”

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