The term “fake news” is receiving more prominence of late, possibly because of the aggressive stance taken by US president, Donald Trump in denouncing it via his Twitter account – his chosen method of releasing information to the general public, rather than brief mainstream media (MSM).
However health news has been acquiring an increasing content level of “fakery” both in print media and TV.
How often have you seen the promotion of a blockbuster medical research breakthrough delivered in prime time TV news presentations, only to find that this new breakthrough will take 10 years to deliver.
The other ploy is to deliver old research dressed up as new research which is really disguised advertising dressed up to relaunch an old product into the marketplace.
Pharmacy culture and processes are often negatively targeted by MSM, quite often by print media controlled by Rupert Murdoch in the form of the Daily Telegraph and the Australian.
A particular journalist that mostly writes for the Daily Telegraph (plus other Murdoch papers on occasions), called Sue Dunlevy, appears to have made it her mission to specialise in reportage about health that includes a great deal of negativity directed to community pharmacy.
For background purposes, Sue Dunlevy is the wife of Stephen Spencer, a man with strong Labour and media connections (Media Adviser to Federal Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Opposition Senate Leader Senator Penny Wong; Media Adviser to Federal Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King MP; Producer, Broadcast TV Journalist and Chief of Staff Press Gallery Parliament House Canberra for Network Ten; Political Editor and Bureau Chief for 2GB Macquarie National News; Speechwriter for ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel).
While working at Channel 10 Spencer was involved in a stoush with Tony Barry, the press secretary to Malcolm Turnbull when he was the opposition leader. It involved inflammatory material written by Dunlevy, and the incident led to the Telegraph website labelling Mr Barry as “Turnbull’s PR Pitbull”, and later an apology from Macolm Turnbull to the Channel 10 management for Barry’s aggressive behaviour.
Mr Barry is a one-time deputy director of the Victorian Liberal Party.
Mr Spencer was also Simon Crean’s press secretary when Mr Crean was opposition leader.
Dunlevy’s writing technique involves the deliberate introduction of bias because she rarely interviews the people she writes about, and absolutely disallows the basic professional and ethical process of the right of reply.
In her social media profile she describes herself as “Shy tweeting soccer mum. Also writes health and welfare stories for Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and other NEWS Ltd newspapers”.
It seems she can’t even get her own profile down accurately! Shy?
Just one example of a recent article published by News.com to illustrate why she is a prolific regurgitator of fake news, ran under the title “Chemists denying patients a $1 discount on prescription medicine” that commenced with the ant-pharmacy statement:
“YOU should be paying $1 less every time you get a prescription filled.
But greedy chemists are denying cash-strapped pensioners, chronically ill patients and families the government’s dollar discount on prescription medicines.
To make matters worse, the peak body representing pharmacy owners — the Pharmacy Guild — says it is opposed to the discount….”
You get the drift and if you are a pharmacist, or an “insider”, you do not need an explanation as to what is so unprofessional in the writings of this journalist.
All you need to know is that she appears to be the driver of the Murdoch Press in the fake health news department in Australia and New Zealand.
But other journalists working as media advisers to other organisations have close connections with MSM and often orchestrate media releases that support each other.
One such person is Mark Metherill who has links to the Skeptic network and is a spokesperson for the Consumer Health Forum (CHF).
In a recent article to the Guardian titled “Shrouded in secrecy: the Pharmacy Guild resists deeper scrutiny”
Metherill describes aspects of the King Review with no balance or right of reply for the Pharmacy Guild, and even states that the PGA itself describes pharmacists as “agents of government”.
Stephen King has that viewpoint but that is stretched as an actual “truth” by Metherill.
Mark Metherill has always been a strong and often inaccurate critic of pharmacy, and being currently embeded in the Consumer Health Forum is able to leak fake News with a Skeptic agenda.
I have no faith in the King Review nor do I view the CHF as a true forum of consumers – just a platform for organisations with a political agenda using CHF as a convenient “front”.
Rather than the profession of Pharmacy having to undergo a myriad of Reviews it might be more novel and informative to put the mainstream media into a Review investigation – or better still, a review of our federal and state politicians as to conflict of interest issues or how they are able to accumulate so many rental properties during their term in parliament.
Nationals senator Barry O’Sullivan owns 33 properties, Nationals MP David Gillespie owns 18 and Liberal Karen Andrews owns 10. The others in the top 10 are Nola Marino (9), Ian Goodenough (8), Dan Tehan (7), Dutton (7), Turnbull (6), Tony Pasin (6) and Labor’s Deb O’Neill (6).
Most don’t like talking about their portfolios, and that might prove an interesting Review compared to a mundane diversion like a Pharmacy Review.
Recently, an article crossed my desk referred to me by our editor which had been written by John Rappoport, a well respected US-based investigative journalist who had started life in some of the major MSM banners but became a freelancer as he realised how distorted MSM news media had become .
His article (in brown text colour below) illustrates ten methods used by MSM to manipulate their audience and when you analyse future news stories about pharmacy, if you measure them by the 10 points identified you will find how high they score in the fake news department.
i2P is recommending that pharmacy leadership groups come together and produce their own print media that publishes positive examples of pharmacist professionalism (to preserve the good reputation of hard working pharmacists).
It is galling that politicians and journalists who rank well below pharmacy in the honesty and ethics ratings should be in a position to create permanent and continuous damage.
We need to be able to effectively fight back!
Ten basic forms of fake news used by major media
– By Jon Rappoport
The basic purpose of these ten forms: the presentation of a false picture of reality.
You could find more forms, or divide these ten into sub-categories.
The ten basic forms are:
1. Direct lying about matters of fact. (This sometimes includes doubling down on lies already told, or telling a bigger lie after the first one.)
2. Leaving out vital information.
3. Limited hangout. (This is an admission of a crime or a mistake, which only partially reveals the whole truth. The idea is that by admitting a fraction of what really happened and burying the biggest revelations, people will be satisfied and go away, and the story will never be covered again.)
4. Shutting down the truth after publishing it—includes failing to follow up and investigate a story more deeply.
5. Not connecting dots between important pieces of data.
6. Censoring the truth, wherever it is found (or calling it “fake news”).
7. Using biased “experts” to present slanted or false “facts.”
8. Repeating a false story many times—this includes the echo-chamber effect, in which a number of outlets “bounce” the false story among themselves.
9. Claiming a reasonable and true consensus exists, when it doesn’t, when there are many important dissenters, who are shut out from offering their analysis.
10. Employing a panoply of effects (reputation of the media outlet, voice quality of the anchor, acting skills, dry mechanical language, studio lighting, overlay of electronic transmissions, etc.) to create an impression of elevated authority which is beyond challenge.
These are all traditional forms and methods.
Here’s an example of a big story that deployed all ten forms of fake news: the Swine Flu pandemic of 2009.
In the spring of 2009, the World Health Organization (elevated authority whose pronouncements are beyond challenge) announced that Swine Flu was a level-6 pandemic—its highest category of “danger.” In fact, there were only 20 confirmed cases at the time (direct lying about “danger”). And W.H.O. quietly changed the definition of “level-6” so widespread death and damage were no longer required (another aspect of direct lying).
The story was, of course, picked up by major media outlets all over the world (echo chamber effect, fake consensus, never connected dots re W.H.O. lies), and quite soon, Swine Flu case numbers rose into the thousands (direct lying, as we’ll soon see).
Medical experts were brought in to bolster the claims of danger (biased experts; important dissenters never given space to comment).
In the early fall of 2009, Sharyl Attkisson, then a star investigative reporter for CBS News, published a story on the CBS News website. She indicated that the CDC had secretly stopped counting the number of Swine Flu cases in America. No other major news outlet reported this fact (omitting vital information).
Attkisson discovered the reason the CDC had stopped counting: the overwhelming number of blood samples taken from the most likely Swine Flu patients were coming back from labs with: no trace of Swine Flu or any other kind of flu.
Therefore, a gigantic hoax was revealed. The pandemic was a dud, a fake.
Despite Attkisson’s efforts, CBS never followed up on her story (shutting down the truth after exposing it). Never probed the lying by the CDC (failure to connect dots). In a sense, CBS turned Attkisson’s story into a limited hangout—a further investigation would have uncovered acres of criminal behavior by both the CDC and the World Health Organization, to say nothing of the governments and media outlets that supported these lying agencies. The mainstream press essentially censored Attkisson’s revelations.
Then, about three weeks after CBS published Attkisson’s story, WebMD published a piece in which the CDC claimed that its own (lying) estimate of 10,000 or so cases of Swine Flu in the US was a gross understatement.
Truly, there were 22 MILLION cases of Swine Flu in the US (doubling-down on lying).
And that was that.
And these mainstream sources are currently shouting and bloviating about independent media spreading fake news.
I guess you could call that number 11: accusing their opponents of committing the crimes they are, in fact, committing.