UN-FAIRFAX AN AFFRONT TO DECENT JOURNALISM
Chris Johnston of “The Age” is a sexually confused Angora goat breeder who haunts the lowlands of Werribee looking for pot smoking interviewees to progress the Left-wing culture of Fairfax.
Actually I have no evidence that he is a sexually confused Angora goat breeder at all. I made that bit up. He could be ‘tho, I definitely have no evidence that he isn’t, so I’ll go along with it, and anyway it sounds good?
Fifty years ago, when I worked for “The Age” you checked and double checked everything, if you couldn’t confirm it you left it out, and if ever you were wrong there was a humiliating correction. If it was in the paper it was right, you could depend on it and that imposed an awesome responsibility on journalists.
Facts, syntax, punctuation and grammar were once relied upon as gospel by schoolchildren and teachers alike.
Is it any wonder the mainstream media is on skid row?
So, pickeringpost.com contributor, Kirralee Smith’s introduction to Fairfax style journalism was a rude awakening for a country mum with a legitimate halal beef. She explains here:
“Sunday 28th December 2014 was either a very slow news day or halal certification rackets are finally getting the attention they deserve. Chris Johnston of The Age in Melbourne wrote a story called “Stewing over certifying halal” that was published in the print and online versions of The Age and Sun Herald.
“While it appeared in the “Extra” section of the print versions it was one of the top two trending stories online. And I use the word ‘story’ in the context of fiction and fairy tales.
“I gave Chris Johnston a very long and detailed interview over the phone quite a few weeks ago. I explained to him several times that I founded and direct Halal Choices – an online website and facebook page that aims to give Australian consumers accurate information about the halal certification status of products to give each person the ability to make an informed choice.
“Notice the word CHOICES. It was a deliberate decision to make that a part of our name. We believe most Australians are more than capable of making responsible choices but they need information to be able to do so.
“The catalyst for starting the website was that many companies, especially the big ones, like Cadbury, Nestle, Mars, Kelloggs and Sanitarium don’t respect the consumer enough to give them the choice. Close to 500 companies or brands on Australian supermarket shelves neglect to make plain and clear that they pay halal certification fees. It is not marked on the label and often it is quite difficult to find evidence on the website.
“Chris Johnston is described as a “Senior Writer” for The Age. I was under the impression that would mean experience, fairness and the reporting of facts. However Chris Johnston made a decision to write a piece of fiction about me.
“The opening statement of his story is, “Kirralie Smith is a permaculture farmer from northern NSW and a mother of three. She is also the public face of the virulent campaign to boycott halal food and products.”
“Well, he got my name right. And I do live in NSW.
“Calling me a permaculture farmer is ridiculous and I told him so several times. I have recently moved to a farm and we have aspirations to follow some permaculture principles. I made it clear that that part of my life has nothing to do with Halal Choices.
“I began Halal Choices in 2010. I moved to our farm 3 months ago! He was persistent in trying to get a photographer to my house to capture me farming. I refused, stating over and over again, that it had nothing to do with the report and no-one was coming to my house. He clearly had an agenda from the outset and was most unhappy I would not cooperate.
“Primarily I am a proud and happy wife and mother of three. That is who I am! I love my role as wife and mum and it is this that drives me to pursue Halal Choices for Australian consumers. I believe we all deserve the right to choose whether or not we want to participate with and fund Islamic religious practices. If you do, fine, it is your choice. But if you don’t, for whatever reason, you also should be able to choose. Islamic religious practices do not need to be imposed upon everyday Australians and we certainly don’t need to fund them.
“As for being ‘the public face of a virulent campaign to boycott halal food and products’ all Mr Johnston has done is prove his gross incompetence or deliberately deceptive agenda.
“There is a facebook page called “Boycott Halal in Australia.” I do not run it. I am not an admin. I don’t have any influence with the group other than they like or share some of my posts. I don’t represent or lead boycotts at all. I promote information and choices. Chris Johnston has been deliberately misleading in writing such a nasty, opinion based, harmful description of me in his opening paragraph and trying to pass it off as fact.
“But it says far more about him than it does about me.
“Even after asking him to correct this and apologise he changed a few words to make it more factual but the sentiment remains and no apology issued.
“The word virulent is especially nasty. It means, “(of a disease or poison) extremely severe or harmful in its effects.” In exposing his agenda to harm my reputation it confirms that the media is afraid of an intelligent and rational debate when it comes to giving accurate and extensive information about halal certification. It seems easier to try and stifle debate with petty name-calling and insults.
“He reports that I am concerned about the extra costs imposed on consumers. I explained to him that is certainly a factor BUT not our main concern. It is the deception and corruption which are much bigger factors. He omitted very key points as well as this. Yes halal certification has been linked to funding terrorism overseas and as yet there has been no thorough investigation into the Australian situation.
“What he omitted from my concerns is that nearly all the money raised goes to mosques in Australia, to build more mosques, Islamic schools and to support Islamic charities. Those pursuits need to be funded by the Islamic community, not every day Australians who are not even aware of it because the information is not on the label. We deserve a CHOICE!
“Mr Johnston reports that Fleurieu Milk lost their lucrative deal with Emirates as result of dropping halal certification. This is what many news agencies also reported in mid November. However, as of the 9th December Nick Hutchinson from Fleurieu said that the contract stills stands, it had not ceased at all.
“To his credit Chris Johnston did mention some of the corruption in the industry but was very careful not to target or demonise anyone else, even though I had passed on quite a few of the reports myself. I guess one house-wife, mother-of-three, aspiring-permaculture-farmer- villain is enough for any fairy tale about choices magically turning into boycotts.
“Be careful what you take in from the media. The apple might look bright and juicy but it could be laced with poison.”