On 24 May 2010, I posted my 2nd report in regard to The Age and John Garnaut’s dodgy journalism case under the heading: “Media Accountability - The Age must say ‘Sorry’ to Australians”. As promised in the report, I then notify The Age Newsdesk, John Garnaut, Media Watch and Walkleys Foundation the following day (25 May 2010).
Interesting response from The Age and Media Watch
On 25 May 2010, The Age returned my e-mail with a message: “Deleted without being read”. Nine days later, ABC’s Media Watch also returned my e-mail with a message: “Deleted without being read”. The detail of the Age and Media Watch e-mails had been added at the Independent Media Center website at the end of the article under comment together with my remark about Media Watch behaviour.
I then lodged a complaint to ACMA and was told that the correct organisation to lodge the complaint is Australia Press Council. The following is part of the content of the Australian Press Council reply on the 3 June 2010:
Australia Press Council:
“I have reviewed your material. It does not appear to me that you have established any case at all that there has been a breach of the Council’s principles. The newspaper (and the bylined journalist) published material in 2008, some of which was supplemented by press agency reports. The May 15 article was not the only 2008 article written by John Garnaut or published in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald on the earthquake. There were a number of further articles. As the newspapers' correspondent in China, the journalist looked again at the site of the earthquake a year on and reported what he saw. He is entitled to do that. He is entitled to report what he saw and heard at the time – not all journalists present will have exactly the same experience.”
The fascinating thing is, 3 days after I received the Australian Press Council reply, I received a “read” receipt on 6 June 2010 from ABC Media Watch on my earlier e-mail to them dated 17 May 2010 under the subject title: “Will The Age issue a public apology over the shocking behaviour of The Age's journalist John Garnaut”.
I then received an e-mail from John Garnaut the next day (7 June 2010), using also my 17 May 2010 e-mail as a base for reply. This time, John Garnaut c.c. a copy of his e-mail to The Age Newsdesk and Carolyn JONES (Foreign Editor of The Age). The content is as follows:
Dear Wei Ling,
Here is a May 2008 report, setting out in more detail the circumstances that you said I invented a year later:
The witness in that story was engaged by me at the time.
To dispel another of your excited allegations, I do not have two names. Jophiel Bushnell works at the news desk in Melbourne and forwarded your complaint on to me.
I trust you will find some more fruitful conspiracies to spend your time on.
Note: Whether or not the timing of the response from Media Watch and The Age were mere coincident? I will leave it to readers own imagination. However, I would like readers to reader the content of John Garnaut latest e-mail attachment of his 17 May 2008 report. Please take special note on the key words or statement I highlighted by using bold and italic for later analysis.
The Content of John Garnaut 17 May 2008 report: ‘Taking a great leap for Wen’ :
(For the convenience of readers, I copy the content of John Garnaut report, setting out the so-called “more detail the circumstances that you said I invented a year later” as follows:)
Taking a great leap for Wen (The Age Newspaper)
May 17, 2008
SOME parts of China's Communist past are not so easy to remove, like the official performance culture, where great presentations are made for the benefit of leaders without consideration of the public they are supposed to serve.
On Wednesday afternoon in the disaster zone of Beichuan, thousands of troops were sitting around in trucks or loitering as survivors were wailing from underneath boulders and inside buildings.
Earlier that morning, a Chinese journalist had slipped past the road block in the back of a mini-van and watched Premier Wen Jiabao address a crowd of rescuers. At 10.11am he snapped a picture of a group of soldiers running and jostling between Wen and the state television cameras in an apparent rush to get to some emergency. But the soldiers were going nowhere in particular and certainly had no need to choose that route.
The reporter then climbed down the landslide to the devastated Beichuan city to find dozens of soldiers performing another show of purposeless action. "A crowd of soldiers was busily doing things in view of a video camera," says the reporter. "On the other side of the river bed, in the middle of the frame, there were three senior officials looking like they were directing things."
Five metres beyond the three officers lay the body of an earthquake victim. The reporter asked the most important-looking officer, seated in the middle, why he wasn't doing more to help the dead. "For the moment we can only rescue the living, we leave the dead," he replied.
Close to midday, the reporter heard sounds of a trapped survivor tapping on glass from inside an apartment building, and another person tapping on a door. He ran back to the officers to get their help. "Are you sure?" asked the officer.
The officer ordered a group of soldiers to stop their movie skit and "go and have a look" — rather than attempt any rescue. The soldiers climbed on top of a car to have a look, listened for a few minutes and returned to their pantomime.
Not far away, a group of men in army reserve uniforms were drinking beer looted from a smashed-up shop. They were stuffing snacks and drinks in their pockets and pairs of socks into their pants. A civilian started helping himself to rice from a shop but was stopped by a blue-uniformed man — who later helped himself to a brand new pair of sports shoes.
Later, the soldiers were still loitering and sticking out their hands for drinks we carried to the exhausted rescuers actually looking for survivors.
This week Chinese state media has shown almost continuous footage of heroic soldiers rushing around and pulling babies out from rubble. Until dusk on Wednesday in Beichuan, at least, they were just blocking the road.
Another Piece of Dodgy Journalism
On the outset, the above 17 May 2008 report (Taking a great leap for Wen) appear to be consistent with the content of the report of my initial complaint about John Garnaut’s report: ‘Journey through an earthquake’ (dated 9 May 2009), however, when you read my analysis in my subsequent e-mail to John Garnaut, The Age Newsdesk and Carolyn JONES and the content of John Garnaut reply, you will be able to form your own opinion if John Garnaut has just given me the link to another piece of dodgy material to be added into my list of complaint:
Below is the content of my e-mail reply to John Garnaut and The Age on 8 June 2010:
Thanks for your e-mail.
There are 15 videos and photo series on The Age website recording the on-site images of the 2008 Earth Quake in China. Three of them were produced under your name. This is the link: http://www.theage.com.au/multimedia/china_earthquake/index.html
My question is, why none of the 3 photo series produced under your name and the other 12 videos and photo series produced by someone else for The Age showing the following statements made by you on the 9th May 2009 under the heading: ‘Journey through an earthquake’? Your 3 dodgy statements were as follows:
a) On May 14 and 15, The Age watched People's Liberation Army soldiers loitering aimlessly and helping themselves to goods looted from shattered shops, while the cries of trapped citizens rang out from buildings nearby.
b) Of the tens of thousands of soldiers in Beichuan in the days after the quake, the only ones we saw raise a sweat were a dozen who jostled in front of Premier Wen as they rushed to an imaginary rescue for the benefit of the China Central Television camera
c) All of the rescues we witnessed were by local volunteers or orange-suited firefighters from far corners of the country. Thousands died who should have been saved. And yet CCTV has played endless slow-motion footage of heroic soldiers at the service of the common people. For many in the Communist Party, the tragedy was primarily a propaganda opportunity.
Please note that the date you mentioned in your above 3 statements were: “On May 14 and 15, The Age watched People’s Liberation Army….”, therefore, the description place you and The Age as the first hand witness to your report dated 9 May 2009. The issue here is why didn’t you report what you witnessed on the May 14 and 15, 2008 in your joint report with Francois Bougon to the Sydney Morning Herald on the 15th May 2008 under the heading: ‘Horror of entire towns flattened’?
In fact this is not the first time you made this kind of imaginary report. In my article: The Brutal Truth about Rio Tinto Bribery Case - What People Should Know?, there were a number of reports made exclusively by yourself also based purely on your imagination.
You need just to click on this link: http://www.outcastjournalist.com/index_the_brutal_truth_about_rio_tinto_bribery_case.htm, read under the sub-heading: ‘What can we learn from this case about our media culture, our law in practices and our politicians?’ Then go to point number ‘c) The rule of law in theory and in practices (China vs. Australia)’, and then point number ‘i) We keep making unfound speculation that Chinese leaderships are personally involved in the case,’
You will then find the links to the following 3 unfound speculative reports made by you (exclusively) “about Chinese top leadership directly involved in the Stern Hu’s case”:
- Sydney Morning Herald (13 July 2009) ’Chinese President backed Rio spy probe’
- Sydney Morning Herald (7 Nov 2009) ‘Exposed: the man controlling Stern Hu's fate’
- The Age (11 Feb 2010) ’China steps up Stern Hu bribe case’
When you read my article in full (The Brutal Truth about Rio Tinto Bribery Case - What People Should Know?) with a point to point analysis with supporting links and source references, it won’t be hard to come to a conclusion that all your above 3 reports about Chinese leader direct involvement in the Rio Tinto’s case are simply dodgy without any foundation to substantiate any of your statements.
When you read my article The Brutal Truth about Rio Tinto Bribery Case - What People Should Know?, click through all the reports named in my article, it won’t be hard to notice one thing: If it is a report jointly written by yourself and someone else, there are some truth in the report. However, when they were exclusively written by yourself (you only), we will notice one characteristic throughout your reports. That is, you are highly ambiguous with your sources and references.
This observation includes the report you have just provided me in this e-mail: (http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/taking-a-great-leap-for-wen/2008/05/16/1210765170782.html) under the heading ‘Taking a great leap for Wen’ dated 17 May 2008.
The questions here are, who was that Chinese Journalist named in your report? What is his name? When and where did you and him engaged in those conversation and under what circumstances did you all got to know each other? Since he told you so much of his account of what he witnessed in such great length and detail, including statement such as “At 10.11am he snapped a picture of a group of soldiers running...”, that mean you all knew each other quite well. Why don’t you buy the photos from him as it should worth owing those materials as they were the only evidence of People Liberation Army “loitering aimlessly and helping themselves to goods looted from shattered shops, while the cries of trapped citizens rang out from buildings nearby,”.
Given the hostile International (Western) environment against China, I believe that those evidence of “People's Liberation Army soldiers loitering aimlessly and helping themselves to goods looted from shattered shops” should worth a lot of money. As an experience journalist, don’t you have the instinct and urged to owe those evidence and make it an exclusive report with worldwide circulation? There are going to be a lot of money $$$ to be made, don’t you think so?
In addition, the Earthquake happened on 12 May 2010, the Chinese Premier was on board the plane on the way to the Quake zone within 2 hours of the event. He has been on the ground for 3 nights and 4 days as I may recalled. Perhaps this Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Sichuan_earthquake#Rescue_efforts) can help refresh your memory with the detail of the rescue efforts.
The following are just a small part of the direct quote from the Wikipedia website:
“Francis Marcus of the International Federation of the Red Cross praised China's rescue effort as "swift and very efficient" in Beijing on Tuesday. But he added the scale of the disaster was such that "we can't expect that the government can do everything and handle every aspect of the needs". The Economist noted that China reacted to the disaster "rapidly and with uncharacteristic openness"
“The Internet was extensively used for passing information to aid rescue and recovery in China. For example, the official news agency Xinhua set up an online rescue request center in order to find the blind spots of disaster recovery. After knowing that rescue helicopters had trouble landing into the epicenter area in Wenchuan, a student proposed a landing spot online and it was chosen as the first touchdown place for the helicopters. Volunteers also set up several websites to help store contact information for victims and evacuees. On May 31, a rescue helicopter carrying earthquake survivors and crew members crashed in fog and turbulence in Wenchuan county. No-one survived.
Rescue efforts performed by the Chinese government were praised by the critical western media, especially in comparison with Myanmar's blockage of foreign aid during Cyclone Nargis, as well as China's previous performance during the 1976 Tangshan earthquake. China's openness during the media covering of the Sichuan earthquake led a professor at the Peking University to say, “This is the first time [that] the Chinese media has lived up to international standards”. Los Angeles Times praised China's media coverage of the quake of being "democratic".
Therefore, by suggesting that, “For many in the Communist Party, the tragedy was primarily a propaganda opportunity,” is simply meant and irresponsible.
Important contradiction between your own report dated 9 May 2009 and 17 May 2008.
1) In your report on the 9 May 2009 ‘Journey through an earthquake’, you mentioned that:
“On May 14 and 15, The Age watched People’s Liberation Army….”, that mean, you personally witnessed People Liberation Army looting on May 14 and May 15, 2008.
But in your report (http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/taking-a-great-leap-for-wen/2008/05/16/1210765170782.html) under the heading ‘Taking a great leap for Wen’ dated 17 May 2008. The description wasn’t a first person account. It was through the eyes of an unnamed Chinese Journalist. So, why are you using the statement “The Age watched…..” in your 9 May 2009 report?
2) When you mentioned “Wednesday” in your 17 May 2008 report, I have just verify that that day was 14 May 2008. You have this statement that put yourself on the scene as a first hand witness: “Later, the soldiers were still loitering and sticking out their hands for drinks we carried to the exhausted rescuers actually looking for survivors.”
My questions are:
a) Have you “slipped past the road block” as well like the (unnamed) Chinese Journalist on Wednesday (14 May 2008)?
b) As a professional Journalist, I believe you did carry a camera with you, have you taken any picture of those scene you witnessed on 14 May 2008?
c) Can you tell us the date of the 3 photo series produced under your name on the Age website: http://www.theage.com.au/multimedia/china_earthquake/index.html
d) Again, why didn’t you report your story on the Sydney Morning Herald on the 15 May 2008?
e) By the way, who is the other person who witnessed the event of “Later, the soldiers were still loitering and sticking out their hands for drinks we carried to the exhausted rescuers actually looking for survivors.” Who is the other “We” that can support your account of the event?
For your info, Chinese PLA is actively involved in all kind of rescue effort throughout the country all year round. The Chinese people called them: 人民子弟兵 (people son and brother army). Long before the 2008 Earthquake, there were video on the YouTube comparing Chinese soldier and US soldier behaviour during a rescue mission (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD4CWrX9wMY&feature=related ).
The following are reports by some World Bank officers about the rescue and reconstruction effort for the 2008 earthquake:
This is Hong Kong media with images of some new home been built: http://news.ifeng.com/photo/news/detail_2010_05/10/1499463_0.shtml (In Chinese language)
This is a report by Hong Kong media about the 8th visit by premier Wen to the Quake zone: http://news.ifeng.com/mainland/200909/0927_17_1367548.shtml (In Chinese language)
This is UNICEF report:
Independent consultant report: http://www.odihpn.org/report.asp?id=3008
The following are just some video from Youtube:
[rediscover_china] Rebuilding Wenchuan After Earthquake 3/3
[rediscover_china] Rebuilding Wenchuan After Earthquake 2/3
[rediscover_china] Rebuilding Wenchuan After Earthquake 1/3
[rediscover_china] Qiang People Rebuild After Sichuan Earthquake 3/3
If I have the time, I will prepare a much longer list for you to read. You should note that I did not includes any reports from China media or CCTV, I wonder how a China Correspondent like yourself, cannot see what all other saw in Sichuan?
It seems to me that you are a very special and resourceful journalist, you seem to be able to see thing others don’t. Your observation of event seem to become normal when you joint report with someone else. However, when you are alone, you seem to be able to see what other don’t. For examples, statement such as:
In the last paragraph of your 17 May 2008 report: “This week Chinese state media has shown almost continuous footage of heroic soldiers rushing around and pulling babies out from rubble. Until dusk on Wednesday in Beichuan, at least, they were just blocking the road.” (Note: Are you trying to suggest that between 12 May to 14 May, the soldiers have done nothing to rescue the victims? The CCTV footage and your own photo series on the Age website are fake as well?)
And then on 9 May 2009: “All of the rescues we witnessed were by local volunteers or orange-suited firefighters from far corners of the country. Thousands died who should have been saved. And yet CCTV has played endless slow-motion footage of heroic soldiers at the service of the common people. For many in the Communist Party, the tragedy was primarily a propaganda opportunity.”
The fascinating issue here are: Why didn’t your own 3 photo series and the other 12 videos and photo series on the Age website: (http://www.theage.com.au/multimedia/china_earthquake/index.html ), telling the same story? In fact, those photos and videos are telling a normal story like everybody else.
Again, when you filed report on your own, just like my analysis in the Rio Tinto Bribery article, you are the only Journalist who produced 3 reports demonstrating that you are an insider to each and every of the Top Chinese leadership movement. I think your intelligence gathering ability is better than CIA and ASIO. It is a waste that you are not working for ASIO.
China is a huge country with 62 times the size of the Australia entire populations, there are many important thing a Chinese President have to attain to. It is not like Australia where the Prime Minister will personally involve himself in criticising Robin William over a “red neck” remark: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/kevin-rudd-hits-back-at-robin-williams-australian-jibe-on-us-talk-show/story-e6frf7jo-1225847893804.
I believe that, it is in your interest to admit your dodgy behaviour in your reports, say sorry to your readers and your editor and move on as a new person with honour, dedication and commitment for honest journalism. Unless, you are following your editor political line? Then they will continue to delete my e-mail without reading: Media Accountability—The Age must say ‘Sorry’ to Australians.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Wei Ling Chua
John Garnaut denied the content of his own work?
The following is the content of John Garnaut reply dated 8 June 2010. Please note that, this time he did not c.c. a copy to The Age Newsdesk and The Age Foreign Editor, Carolyn JONES.
It really is more simple than you think.
The Herald and Age buy stories from wire agencies, like Reuters and AP. Sometimes their stories get interwoven with mine by editors in Sydney or Melbourne and I don't even know that it has happened, so it might look like a jointly written story when it wasn't. For example, I have never heard of Francois Bougon. I reported what I saw, he reported what he saw, it is not surprising that we did not see exactly the same thing.
Unfortunately yours is a conspiratorial mind. You are determined that journalists like myself are simply elements of the "hostile international (western) environment", inventing stories from our imagination, to use your words. Nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps you believe that you know more about everything that I write about than I do, but perhaps you are not omniscient as you think. Perhaps it's been so long since you really connected with China that you have no idea how it works. Unfortunately I cannot spend more time reasoning with a fanatical anti-western 'patriot' who cannot be reasoned with. I have to get on with reporting China as I see it, with all its courage, colour and sometimes tragedy.
If I sent you the Beichuan photo that you asked for, I would hope that you might then find something more useful to spend your time on. But I suspect that you will invent another conspiracy - or, more likely, continue to recycle old conspiracies from the anti-CNN website as you have been doing - to hurl at me from your own website because it makes you feel important.
The following is the content of my reply to John Garnaut on 9 June 2010. (Note: A copy has been c.c. to the Ages Newsdesk and Carolyn JONES)
When you state that “I have never heard of Francois Bougon. I reported what I saw, he reported what he saw, it is not surprising that we did not see exactly the same thing,” are you trying to suggest now that the report on the Sydney Morning Herald on the 15 May 2008 (‘Horror of entire towns flattened’) with your name on it, is not your work? If that is the case, please tell us, the content of your original work? It must have been published somewhere else? Can you please show us the link?
By the way, please show me which part of my complaint against you are recycled from Anti-CNN website?
Please provide a link to support your statement.
You have to learn to support your statement and report with supporting evidence, not based on your imagination.
By the way, I always acknowledge my sources in my articles. For example, this article is sources from Anti-CNN website and I had acknowledged that: http://www.outcastjournalist.com/index_systemic_demonisation_of_china_by_western_media_3.htm
What I can tell you is that, I am not a frequent visitor to Anti-CNN website as most of their attention were focus on USA, France, Germany and British media. My focus in on Australia media, so I spend a lot of my time reading Australian Newspapers across the country to built my data base on a variety of issues that interest me. I prefer to analyse issues based on raw information, and my analysis are all original ideas based on tons of raw evidence and facts, and unlike you, I don’t use my imagination to write.
The originality of my articles are reflected on my website www.outcastjournalist.com under the heading ‘latest articles’. These articles includes this one (The Brutal Truth about Rio Tinto Bribery Case - What People Should Know?) which involved another 3 pieces of dodgy materials from you in regard to Chinese leader direct involvement in the Rio Tinto Bribery Case.
By the way, I am not a China citizen, my father was born in Indonesia and I was born in Singapore. China is not my country and there is no issue of being 'patriot'.
But, I can certainly assured you that I read and write good Chinese as they are my first language. I was born in the early 60s in Singapore, and at that time, most parent sent their children to Chinese school and I am from that generation. All my other younger brothers and sisters were in English school. My understanding of Chinese culture includes the ability to speak Mandarin and 3 other Dialects (I learn to speak Cantonese in Australia from my wife, a migrant from Hong Kong), and my knowledge of Chinese history and people are far more advance than you. By the way, I work in Hong Kong before.
I have no problem with honest journalism, but definitely angry with selective, partial, untruthful, bias and dishonest reports. If the media industry is honest and balance with their reports about other culture in particularly China, I would have nothing to complaint about.
I am not anti- Western, but I am certainly raged by the way the media industry in the West manipulated news and belittled other culture from time to time. I am also raged by the right wing politicians on-going engagement in wars and economic sanction across the world.
I believe that what I did right now, will contribute over time to the way Australians see the world. At least, this article ( Politician Fuels Racism - Are You “Mainstream” Australians?) attracted politicians response:
Click on this (Independent Media Center) to read the comment made by the founder of the Australia First Party.
I can assure you that most Australians who read my articles actually agree with my analysis. Many of my customers who knew me in person, continue to support me after reading some of those articles.
If you are honest in your report, there will be no problem with contradiction in your statements made at different time, and hence will not label me as “Anti- Western”.
If you have the photo showing PLA looting during the earthquake in 2008, I don’t believe you won’t try to sales it together with your imaginary reports (‘Journey through an earthquake’ and http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/taking-a-great-leap-for-wen/2008/05/16/1210765170782.html), and I believe that those photos will be on display on the Age website as well under one of the 3 photo series produced under your name: http://www.theage.com.au/multimedia/china_earthquake/index.html.
So, please stop making this kind of hollow statement: “If I sent you the Beichuan photo that you asked for, I would hope that you might then find something more useful to spend your time on. But I suspect that you will invent another conspiracy - or, more likely, continue to recycle old conspiracies from the anti-CNN website as you have been doing - to hurl at me from your own website because it makes you feel important.”
By the way, I don’t feel important by exposing your dodgy works. I made no money by doing that. In fact, my investment of $1095 to Morris Journalism Academy, and the time I invested in getting myself accredited by INS and ANFS, and my human right to enjoying the benefits derived from my membership with ANFS and INS have been deprived by INS, ANFS and *Morris Journalism Academy for more than a year already as a result of my honest attitude toward Journalism.
So, please be responsible in your statement when you try to hurl at me.
Chua, Wei Ling
(*Author note: technically Morris Journalism Academy even though also owe by Joseph Morris, I should not includes it in the list of organisation that deprived my human right to enjoy my membership with ANFS and INS)
The Age has been asked to make Apology to the 3 pieces of dodgy materials published by them
On the 11 June 2010, I sent the following e-mail to The Age Newsdesk and Carolyn JONES:
Dear Ms. Carolyn Jones, and The Age Newsdesk,
Thanks for acknowledging receipt of my last 2 e-mail replied to Mr. John Garnaut.
I believe that after reading:
- The content of my two recent e-mail replied to your journalist, Mr. John Garnaut on the 8 June 2010 and 9 June 2010; and
- The content of John Garnaut own e-mail dated 7 Jun 2010 and 8 June 2010; and
- The content of my previous article: Media Accountability—The Age must say ‘Sorry’ to Australians (24 May 2010)
The Age must have realised that a number of articles published by the Age were dodgy in nature and the accuracy of the information are highly questionable.
I believe that, The Age, as a responsible major newspaper in Australia has the responsibility to explain to the Australians readers what action will the Age take to ratify the misleading and untruthful information circulated by the Ages newspaper on 3 occasions listed as follows:
- ‘Journey through an earthquake’ by John Garnaut dated 9 May 2009.
- ‘Taking a great leap for Wen’ by John Garnaut’ dated 17 May 2008.
- ‘China steps up Stern Hu bribe case’ by John Garnaut dated 11 Feb 2010.
I hope that The Age will also address the issue of what action The Age is going to take to ensure that no such dodgy materials been published in the future.
For the sack of building a better world through accurate information; and for the benefit of Australia to built a better relationship with the world largest population and foster a mutually beneficiary and respectable friendship with our biggest trading partner – China, I hope that the Age will response to my request for an apology to the Australian readers for publishing the above 3 dodgy materials.
Hope to hear from the Age soon.
Wei Ling Chua
Do you think The Age is going to undertake the responsibility as a reliable major newspaper in Australia to say ‘SORRY’ to the Australian readers for the 3 pieces of dodgy materials they published?
Again, an e-mail with the link to this article at Independent Media Center website will be sent to the respective parties for a response.
Written on 14 June 2010 by Outcast Journalist
- Media Accountability—The Age must say ‘Sorry’ to Australians
- Can we trust our Media? The Shocking Behaviour of The Age Journalist’s John Garnaut