Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Tale of Two Propaganda Wars

Corporate media scribblers never cease to amaze with their antics. Take the Sydney Morning Herald's Kirsty Needham for example.

The visit of "the saffron-robed superstar who has transcended his nation's cause to become an oracle for Western TV cameras searching for wisdom and truth in a modern age," aka the Dalai Lama, has prompted her to reflect - or should that be 'meditate'? - on the "laughable" contradiction between HH's popularity with the public and "the desire for most Australian politicians to officially fly under the radar on Tibet."  (China's Tibetan whispers hit Dalai Lama visit, The Sun-Herald, 16/6/13)

This, Needham tells us, is because "Beijing disapproves of official meetings or recognition of the Dalai Lama," and "federal and state parliaments, mindful of the trade relationship, comply."

Now as if this kind of craven compliance were not deplorable enough, Needham's exposed something more overt:

"[T]his weekend's visit to Sydney has prompted a new phase in the propaganda war from China that appears to have caught a number of Australia's politicians off guard. Taking a step beyond denying Australia from giving official recognition to the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government has gained Australian political endorsement of its censorship of Tibet."

What she's referring to is an exhibition of photographs on the subject of Tibet, which opened at Sydney's Darling Harbour just prior to the Dalai Lama's visit. Funny that! This, she points out, was sponsored by China Tibet Online, China's "biggest voice on the internet on the topic of Tibet."

"Photographs show state Liberal MP Daryl Maquire, chairman of the NSW Parliament's Asia-Pacific Friendship Group, opening the exhibition on behalf of Premier Barry O'Farrell a fortnight ago. Maguire also held a press conference for Chinese media at State Parliament. The website's editorial says: 'The images on show reflecting Tibetan people's religious freedom and daily life have dramatically enhanced Australian understanding of Tibet and rebutted the shameless lies made by a few Western politicians and the dalai clique'."

As you'd expect, Needham approached Maquire for a comment:

"Questioned on why he had opened the exhibition, Maguire said the NSW Parliament didn't get involved in foreign policy issues, which were a federal matter, and compared the Tibetan situation to the civil war in Syria. 'We don't side with one side or another', he said."

(Got that? The NSW Parliament didn't get involved in foreign policy issues. Hello? China aside, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll be aware that the NSW Parliament, under the regime of Baruch O'Farrell, has become such a hotbed of support for the state of Israel that I've been forced to refer to it as the 'NSW Knesset'. For first timers to this most bizarre metamorphosis, which no corporate media hack has ever seen fit to explore, just click on the 'Barry O'Farrell' label below, read, and be amazed.)

Needham righteously concludes that "by officially endorsing the show at its launch, the NSW Parliament has done exactly that [ie side with China]. The images have been used by the Chinese government in its propaganda war."

Now the reader may well feel inclined to sign off with a 'Good onya, Kirsty Needham, for striking a blow for oppressed Tibetans, unmasking China's shameless propaganda war in Australia, and naming Beijing's useful fools in the NSW Parliament', but there's another angle entirely to this story:

How is it that a journalist specialising in the coverage of state politics can blow the whistle on a low-key Chinese propaganda stunt endorsed by the O'Farrell government, yet show not the least interest in investigating (let alone blowing the whistle on) the blatant pro-Israel propaganda war being waged by useful fools on both sides of the political divide in the NSW Parliament?

Could the fact that Needham was rambammed* back in 2007, when deputy foreign editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, have something to do with it?

Upon her return from a NSW Jewish Board of Deputies 'Journalists Mission' to Israel, the Australian Jewish News reported her as saying that "she was impressed by the vibrant multiculturalism, community spirit and vigorous media debate in the country, and added that her visit to the Lebanese border and the town of Sderot had allowed her to witness the fear Israelis are forced to live with daily." (Journalists reassess Israel, 22/2/08)

Hm... sounds suspiciously like an endorsement to me!

[*On this phenomenon, see my constantly updated 30/3/09 post I've been to Israel too.]


Anonymous said...

You Needham we got em.

Anonymous said...

actually, Needham is the well-known author of a Walkley nominated book exposing China's censorship regime. she speaks Mandarin, has travelled to Tibet and also the restricted Xinjiang region to cover the plight of oppressed Muslim Uighurs there. she has been a constant critical voice of Chinese suppression of Tibetans and Uighurs.
She has never claimed to be an expert on Middle East issues and has never written on them. Get your facts straight.

MERC said...

So please explain why she accepted an Israeli propaganda tour in 2007 and mouthed pro-Israeli platitudes on her return.

And are you seriously telling me you have to be an expert on the Middle East to see the plight of oppressed Palestinians there? I'm no expert on Tibet or East Turkestan but I'm well aware of who's getting the rough end of the pineapple in that part of the world.