Spinning a lazy yarn: the media ‘forgets’ to report the real Elise Chapman petition story

Have you heard about the Elise Chapman petition?

And I’m not talking about the one to have Elise Chapman removed as a councillor at the City of Greater Bendigo because she had the impertinence to express her concerns about female genital mutilation and oppose the mega-mosque in Bendigo.

Everyone knows about that petition.

That’s because we were getting a running update from the media about its progress late last week. Every time a new signature was digitally scrawled on the bottom of the screen it seemed that another article was feverously rushed out to keep us in the loop.

It all appears to have started with The Age. It published an article at an unknown time last Friday, titled Push to remove Bendigo councillor Elise Chapman who tweeted mutilated genitals. Nino Bucci and Rania Spooner, along with Kieren Iles, informed us that:

“More than 400 people had signed a change.org petition calling for the removal of City of Greater Bendigo Councillor Elise Chapman on Friday morning.”

Then came news.com.au. It ran a story last Friday at 1:36 pm, titled Bendigo councillor Elise Chapman under fire for bigoted anti-mosque tweet. This journalistic masterpiece was penned by Andrew Jefferson and informed us that:

“Nearly 800 people have signed a change.org petition calling for the removal of Bendigo councillor Elise Chapman, an outspoken critic of the proposed mosque, who tweeted an image depicting female genital mutilation.”

Not long afterwards, Yahoo7 News got in on the action. An article was published at 3:35 pm, carrying the headline Bendigo councillor mosque tweet sparks outrage, letting us know that:

“The outcry prompted an online petition calling for Chapman to be removed from council. The petition has so far attracted 500 signatures.”

I don’t know who wrote this piece. But whoever did didn’t pick up the real story. According to the facts presented in these stories, the number of anti-Elise Chapman petitioners dropped from 800 to 500 between 1:36 pm and 3:35 pm. Now that is interesting.

Of course, such a situation could not go unreported by Auntie ABC. At 5:13 pm, journalists Peter Leneghan and Larissa Romensky filed a report with the banner, Bendigo councillor’s genital mutilation tweet sparks online petition. It really wasn’t much news at all because it didn’t add anything to the story:

“At the time of writing an online petition demanding her removal from office had 500 supporters…”

Just ten minutes later, at 5:23 pm, the local Bendigo media got in on the act. Hannah Carrodus’ piece, Community reacts to councillor’s tweet, was published. It stated:

“A petition calling on the council to remove Ms Chapman from office had garnered 841 supporters by 4pm on Friday.”

Then, for some reason that is beyond my comprehension, Yahoo7 News published a new article. But it was actually written by someone at the ABC. At 6:49 pm, under the headline, Bendigo councillor Elise Chapman tweets genital mutilation image to mosque supporter, we were given the latest breathless update:

“The outcry led to set up an online petition calling for Cr Chapman to be removed from council.

The petition already has 500 signatures.”

Again with the up and down number of petitioners.

After sifting through info provided, one can discern the story. At some stage before Friday morning a petition to remove Councillor Elise Chapman was launched. By Friday morning it had 400 signatures. And, by Friday evening, the number of people who had signed the petition had swelled enormously to 841, hence the breathless media coverage.

Obviously, therefore, everyone hates Elise Chapman because she is a bigot. At least, that’s the impression you get from the ‘reporting’.

The other thing that stands out is that when it comes to the currency of journalism, timeliness, the ABC lags behind. I suppose you would expect that from the taxpayer-funded media outlet.

The good news is that I can give you an update on the exact number of petitioners up in arms over Elise Chapman. As at 12:14 pm Queensland time on 2 March 2015, there are now 2,020 signatures calling for Elise Chapman’s head.

Unfortunately, you won’t find this number in any new updates on this story. For some ‘strange’ reason, there just aren’t any.

Actually, I am being sarcastic. The reason isn’t strange. It’s obvious why the media has dropped this story like a hot potato. And it goes back to my question at the start of this article: have you heard about the Elise Chapman petition?

There is actually another petition floating around cyberspace. It’s the other Elise Chapman petition. The pro-Elise Chapman petition.

And it is filled with the signatures of people who want her to stay and to keep up what they see as great work. Not that you would know this from reading any of the articles from the big media outlets.

This petition doesn’t have 400 signatures. Nor does it have 500 signatures. It doesn’t even have 841 signatures. In fact, it doesn’t have 2,007 signatures either. As at 12:14 pm Queensland time today, it has 3,832 signatures.

Headline story

That’s almost double the number of signatures on the anti-Elise petition. Considering that it received widespread coverage in major media outlets when it got to the magic mark of 400 names, one can only imagine that the pro-Elise petition should be a major story today.

But, coincidentally, at about the same time that the pro-Elise petition surpassed the anti-Elise petition in size, all Elise Chapman reporting just stopped.

So the big story about the big Elise Chapman petition has not been told. This petition has not received a mention anywhere, except in the local Bendigo media. And, even then, it was only mentioned in passing at the end of another Elise-Chapman-is-a-heinous-bigot-that-everyone-hates article. Interestingly, when that story was published, the anti-Elise petition still had the weight of numbers.

There are two morals to this story.

Firstly, the media is running an agenda when it comes to Islam and the culture that goes with it. This agenda isn’t hidden. It’s blatant. The ‘pro-Islam’ petition will be given coverage, while the ‘bigoted, anti-Islam’ petition will be ignored.

That’s the media for you: telling the news like it isn’t.

Secondly, Australians don’t buy the media’s spin. This is obvious when you consider the facts: the petition given national media coverage to remove Elise Chapman now has just a tick over 2,000 signatures, while the petition hidden by the media is approaching the 4,000 mark.

But there’s more.

The anti-Elise petition had a head start. And it was made much easier to find for those who may have been inclined to sign it. It was given a free national publicity boost by the major media outlets.

In contrast, the pro-Elise petition had to play catch-up. And the pro-Elise kind of people out there reading the mainstream media would not even know that it has been launched. It’s a bit hard to get the signatures of supporters if they are unaware that their support is being sought.

The good news is that word has gotten out that Elise needs back up. The many Facebook groups that reflect the views of concerned Australians and websites like this one are able to fill the gap of a biased media running an agenda against anyone like Elise Chapman.

That should fill us all with hope. We aren’t alone, we aren’t outnumbered and we aren’t silenced (yet). So we can still make a difference.

If you would like to sign the petition to support Elise Chapman, you can find it here.

*****

As you may know, serial litigant and Anti-Free Speech activist Gary Burns is using legal terrorism to shut down this website. He’s lodged a huge volume of complaints with the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board. In each case, I could be fined up to $100,000 and forced to apologise for my beliefs. If I don’t, I could be jailed for contempt.

You can read more about the abusive behaviour of Gary Burns and this entire saga here.

I intend to fight. But it will be expensive to win and a loss will impact every one of us. There will be a new target if this page is forced to shut down.

I would appreciate any financial assistance that you may be able to provide. Details and the progress to date are shown below:

Family Values Action A/c (legal fighting fund)

  • BSB: 084 134
  • A/c No: 39 446 4501
  • Goal: $150,000 (22% achieved)

Gaynor Family Support A/c (keeps this website going and feeds my family while I fight)

  • BSB: 084 134
  • A/c No: 84 082 9276

Payal: Click here.

Cheque/Money Order: Please email for postal details (personal@bernardgaynor.com.au)

Update 1 Mar

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of seven children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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