A reader writes - "you need to shut down your right wing propaganda machine" - his letter and my response here
Michael J wrote to me yesterday about my "right wing propaganda outlet", questioning the accuracy of what we publish and suggesting that I need to move to South Korea after I shut down this propaganda machine.
Michael's email is published in full at the bottom of this post. I thought it was worthwhile to put together a little of the history of the website - for Michael J but for all of us too.
Here's my response, emailed to Michael J this morning.
Thank you for writing about my website.
The story of www.michaelsmithnews.com started when I was a talkback host on radio 2UE in Sydney. On 1 August, 2011 I interviewed Craig Thomson MP - he admitted to me that he'd authorised the use of Health Services Union money to pay escort agency bills. You can read about that interview here:
That interview received wide publicity like this
As a result of the publicity I received notes from unionists advising me of all sorts of other scams. A few people wrote about the AWU and a scandal I'd never heard of involving a bloke called Bruce Wilson and his then girlfriend Julia Gillard. I researched that story for a while and found a former President of the AWU in Victoria Bob Kernohan. Mr Kernohan agreed to be interviewed and over a few days (with very expensive lawyers guiding what could go in and what couldn't) we pre-recorded a 30 minute interview that was approved by Fairfax's external defamation lawyers (Fairfax owned 2UE). The interview was heavily promoted across the weekend of 31 August 2011 and it was due to be aired after the midday news on Monday, 1 September 2011.
Ten minutes before midday I was contacted by Fairfax's senior management who instructed me not to play the pre-approved and promoted interview. One week later I was suspended from my on air role and told I could immediately go back on air if I signed an undertaking never to talk about The AWU Scandal again on air. I knew that Mr Kernohan was telling the truth and I promised him I'd help to tell his story to the Australian public. I refused to sign the undertaking Fairfax put to me and as a result I resigned from the company some weeks later over our editorial differences.
This video might help with some of the detals.
I continued to research the AWU Scandal after I left 2UE, collecting documents and interviewing people. The Wilson/Gillard'/Blewitt frauds took place from 1992 to 1995 and the cover-up then operated until 2012. It was clear a series of major frauds involving the AWU had taken place and that Julia Gillard's input was key to the success of the frauds and to the cover up.
Julia Gillard owed her Prime Ministership to the very union that was ripped off so heavily. You might recall that on the night of 23 June, 2010, then national secretary of the AWU Paul Howes appeared on the ABC's Latline program
Australian Workers Union National Secretary Paul Howes joins Lateline.
TranscriptTONY JONES, PRESENTER: One of the key moments of tonight's extraordinary developments was the announcement that the Australian Workers Union had lost confidence in Kevin Rudd and was backing a move to Julia Gillard.
I determined to get to the bottom of the relationship between Ms Gillard, the AWU Scandal and her ascension as the AWU's Prime Minister.
In August 2012 I set up the website www.michaelsmithnews.com to distribute all the documents I had and to seek out more information.
I pay all the bills associated with the site - my readers support me by donating to keep us going. I carried advertising for a short time but don't have any now.
I'm not associated with Rupert Murdoch or his businesses.
Whenever possible I link to or publish original documents so my readers can make up their own minds about what documents mean. I also encourage comments from all sides of the spectrum and in particular from people who are experts in specialist fields like the law, accountancy and the like.
The website is mine and the opinions it reflects are mine. It's not associated with or supported by any corporation or political party. It came about because of my experience of the abuse of political power while I was at 2UE and my promise to get to the bottom of The AWU Scandal.
The Trade Union Royal Commission, the Victoria Police, the Legal Services Board of Victoria and the WA Police are each conducting ongoing investigations into The AWU Scandal. I was the complainant to the Victoria Police, I understand that the detectives responsible for the AWU enquiry have forwarded a brief of evidence to the Office of Public Prosecutions which is currently deciding who will be charged over the crimes.
I'll continue to operate the site until those investigations have been completed - then who knows what's next.
Thank you for your note and please let me know if there's anything I can do for you.
Here's Michael J's note:
It was suggested I read your story on Shorten and the grilling he is getting at the Royal Commission. I read a bit but quickly realised that your media outlet is a right wing propaganda outlet. As such I question the accuracy of what you write.
Personally I am sick and tired of Rupert Murdoch propaganda publications. So is your media outlet funded by Murdoch or through subsidiaries?
I have today come across information that Tony Abbott is an ex Murdoch journalist. Is that correct?
If this Royal Commission is what I suspect it is then you and need to hang your head in shame and maybe move to a place you would fit in better: South Korea. Australia cannot afford to spend in the order of $100 million on a Royal Commission every time the Liberal Party and their well heeled supporter wants to gain political power, with the resultant financial rewards when repayment is exacted.
Unless my facts are wrong, and it does appear that they are not, you need to shut down your propaganda machine or else REPORT THE HONEST NEWS, not that which convinces ordinary voters to do what is bad for them. And whilst I am at it can you tell me where you have run the story linking this government to the coal industry, the mining industry and the big banks, ALL OF WHOM HAVE BEEN REWARDED BY THIS GOVERNMENT. In case you have not noticed taxpayers now subsidise the fossil fuel industries to the tune of $80 BILLION a year out of public coffers…..whilst the so called ‘free press’ does not report.
I wish we had laws to remove deceitful people who seek to ruin our nation from the nation. There is no place for people who call themselves Australians who plot against the nation for the benefit of big business vested interests. This is what the ‘traitor’ encompasses.