Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Calling Out Mainstream Media News on the MH17 Incident - A Letter to the Walkley Foundation


The Herald Sun newpaper is nominated for two Walkley (journalism) Awards over their MH17 coverage. I had to send the Walkley people a letter. They are making a big mistake:

LETTER:

I was shocked to read in the Herald Sun that their paper had been nominated for two Walkley Awards for their coverage of the MH17 disaster.

The Herald Sun had some of the worst coverage of that incident I encountered in the mainstream press.

The problem was the high number of articles that simply repeated the western rhetoric concerning the disaster without offering a critical assessment of the incident. Good reporting would not have run so strongly with the rhetoric - especially if the journalists had been doing their jobs in covering the fighting in Ukraine and realised the level of propaganda associated with that conflict.

I particularly remember seeing headlines, and subheadings, that more or less claimed President Vladimir Putin had personally shot down the airliner.

Another notorious part of the coverage included claims that drunk rebels in the area were looting items from the wreckage - where a photo implied/stated that one of them was stealing a child's toy.

This Reuter's photo shows what was portrayed (I don't have a copy of the paper):

http://www.asiaone.com/sites/default/files/original_images/Jul2014/20140719-reuters-mh17looting.jpg

However, this video of the exact same incident clearly shows there is no looting occurring in this instance, where the rebel, who is surrounded by press, puts the toy solemnly back on the ground:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=504_1406035756

When it came to actual proof showing who shot down MH17 we have two main points of circumstantial evidence.

The first is a disputed audio recording, 'leaked' from Ukrainian Government sources, of rebels admitting they accidentally shot down the aircraft - which appears to be audio of different events spliced together:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URnpjl4eIus

At the very least the audio recording claim has been challenged and needs further investigation.

The second point of circumstantial evidence, 'leaked' again from the Ukraine Government (if I recall correctly), is video of a BUK missile launcher, missing a missile, being carried on the back of a truck that the Russians show was in Government controlled territory (see after the 17th minute on this clip) and therefore not the ‘murder weapon’:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6U85E6x0_U

Other than those two points of evidence all we have is rhetoric about what happened from NATO and the US, who had lied previously about events in Ukraine - for example, claiming 40,000 Russian troops were on the border, whereas none were present, during the time of the Crimean vote of independence.

(This is video from an NBC news crew on the Russia-Crimea border at the time when NATO claimed there were troops and tanks occupying the area: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tnNJkj7UIM)

In opposition to the 'Putin downed the airliner' rhetoric we have the Russian military claiming that there were active Ukraine Government BUK missile systems in the area and there were fighter aircraft shadowing the airliner (see the full clip, which I put up earlier http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6U85E6x0_U), the last point being corroborated by BBC Russia eyewitnesses:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVdwUdlswOY

Other western claims that Russian equipment had crossed the border to shoot down the airliner are completely unfounded. Russian equipment is used by both sides in the conflict and there is no evidence to suggest any additional elements entered the war in such a manner.

I strongly recommend you go over your assessment of the Herald Sun coverage of the MH17 shoot down and juxtapose the unchallenged rhetoric that the paper pushed on the public versus established facts - including considering what the motive would be if this was done deliberately by Russia.

The only two reasonable choices, in terms of guessing what occurred, is that either the aircraft (which was directed off course) was shot down accidentally by the rebels, or that it was deliberately shot down by the Ukrainian Government in order to vilify the rebels.

The reporting on the incident by the Herald Sun did not adequately convey those two possibilities and ran with the meme that the incident was a deliberate act of murder by the Russian Government.

The event could be cleared up if the US released their satellite images of the area which they have yet to do.

Other general points to consider about the context, where the mainstream media has failed miserably, is the fact there was a coup in Kiev, involving neonazis, that caused the east and southern regions of Ukraine to break away. The west supported the coup and has propagandised what happened, and subsequent events, in conjunction with the Ukraine Government. The coup is the root cause of the fighting, not any intervention from Moscow.

Much more critical thought needs to go into mainstream news coverage of the conflict that includes the MH17 shoot down.

Thanks for your time.
______________________________________

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, October 28th, 2014.]

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