n ik on Tue, 5 Feb 2002 20:52:50 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Gutter Journalism Hoax Exposed - Australia



Media Release  :  5 Feb 02 (for immediate release), Australia

Gutter Journalism Hoax Exposed

Last night the big guns of Tabloid TV fell victim to their own sleazy
set-up tactics.

Both Channel 9's A Current Affair and 7's Today Tonight ran competing
stories on the fictional group the "Dole Army". They claimed to expose
gangs of jobless militants inhabiting Melbourne's drains, surfacing only
to scavenge food from bins - and organising through the internet.

Today Tonight reporter Norm Beaman's introductory voiceover began:  "if it
wasn't true, it would almost be comical".  It wasn't true and the joke's
on you, Norm.

These ridiculous stories of sewer-dwellers would have more accurately
described the journalists themselves.

"We approached them with the exactly the kind of story they love and they
lapped it up like dogs," said the Dole Army's Emma Goldman.  "They enjoy
nothing more than victimising the poor and unemployed.  We did it to
avenge the Paxtons."

"We also wanted to publicise our website, www.dolearmy.org" added Kool
Keith. "And it's worked - the website has received literally thousands of
hits since the stories went to air last night.  That's thousands of
unemployed people now better equipped to deal with the inhuman Centrelink
bureaucracy - and we'd like to thank these TV shows for helping us get the
message out.  Not to mention the $1000 Today Tonight payed us which will
help keep the Dole Army website alive."

The shamelessly ratings-driven bully tactics of these two programs are
well known --  A Current Affair were publicly embarrassed by their hatchet
job on the Paxton kids, the Robert Bogucki 'banana chunder blunder' and,
most tragically, by Benny Mendoza, a repairman who committed suicide after
ACA accused him of poor workmanship.

Mike Munro is not known for his honesty but the following closing comment
surprised even us: "let me assure you that we did not pay anyone from that
charming and courageous pack back in the Dole Army."  We'll give Mike the
benefit of the doubt and assume the producers neglected to mention the 30
blank digital videotapes (worth $360)  they gave us in exchange for a
video of masked figures pretending to play Cluedo in a tunnel, and the
$2000 they offered us to deny Today Tonight a chance at a follow-up story.

Today Tonight is also no stranger to the invented story paraded as fact
the infamous 'Majorca Skase Chase' report was mocked up in the theatrical
district of Barcelona.  True to form while shooting the Dole Army expose,
the TT crew happily colluded in setting up a fake drain dwelling in an
above-ground brick factory.

"There are bludgers who are in work and there are bludgers who make
millions of dollars. There are people who don't want to work. The reality
is we can't put everyone in work.  There wouldn't be a percentage point
difference in the unemployment figures if every person desperately wanted
to work, unless you're going to get down to sub-third-world wages.  Why do
journalists dish out this crap? It's pathetic." (Former MP Phil Cleary, in
reference to the ACA/Paxton saga).


we do not lack communication, on the contrary we have too much of it. 
we lack creation. we lack resistance to the present.

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