Media disinformation and negativity against non-Western cultures in Australia is a terminal disease spreading into the bloodstream of the mainstream media industry in Australia. The following incident demonstrated how easy it is to demonise a Chinese restaurant in Melbourne through the manipulation of news using the techniques of factual omission, misleading heading, misleading bullet-point-highlight, misleading bold-highlight and the editorialising of content using a series of subjective and strong wordings to sell the personal opinion of the journalist or editor as news.
How did Murdoch’s Newspapers demonise a Chinese Restaurant in Melbourne?
Can you tell the problem with the following report by the Herald Sun?
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St Kilda Chinese restaurant food bill handed to man in ambulance
By Jessica Craven From: Herald Sun April 26, 2011 7:21PM
· Man suffered seizure while dining at Chinese restaurant
· Man given bill as he was being loaded into ambulance
· Restaurant manager said someone had to pay for meal
A CHINESE restaurant that slapped a customer with the bill as he was being loaded into an ambulance has defended its actions.
Onlookers called paramedics when the man fell to the ground suffering an apparent seizure while enjoying dumplings with his friend at Shifu Dumpling Express in Acland St, St Kilda, at about 4.30pm today.
As the man was being loaded into the ambulance and his friend was climbing in to join him, a waiter came and handed the friend the bill.
Bella, who did not want her surname used, said she was disgusted at the restaurant's actions.
"I was so incredulous that it had happened,'' she said.
"It wasn't the most expensive restaurant in town, it's a dumpling house and their bill would not have been more than $30.
"It was just so inappropriate, I will never go there again.''
Manager Kevin Tian was remorseless about the gaffe and said he did not regret the money grab.
"My opinion is that they ate in our restaurant, they have to pay,'' he said.
An Ambulance Victoria spokesman confirmed a man in his 30s was taken to the Alfred Hospital in a stable condition.
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The exact copy of the content of the above Herald Sun story was reported nation-wide by News Limited, Courier Mail, Daily Telegraph, Perth Now, Adelaide Now and The Australian just to name a few.
I personally find this story is particularly biased, vicious, unfair, inconsiderate, misleading and possibly racist. The reasons as follow:
1) The name of the restaurant and location has been clearly identified and the story may affect the restaurant’s business;
2) The news heading, bullet-point-highlight and bold-highlight of the story are misleading. They gave people an impression that the restaurant handed bill to a injured customer loaded into the ambulance, but the fact is, the bill was handed to the friend of the injured man who had eaten the dumplings and tried to walk away with a free meal, perhaps.
3) The report then exclusively cited a few negative comments by Bella (without surname) who was “disgusted at the restaurant's actions,” and claimed that the value of the meal would have being less than $30 and then said, “I will never go there again.”
The Herald Sun’s “Journalist” then editorialising the restaurant manager responded with this statement: “Manager Kevin Tian was remorseless about the gaffe and said he did not regret the money grab,” followed by ending the story with, “An Ambulance Victoria spokesman confirmed a man in his 30s was taken to the Alfred Hospital in a stable condition”. (Author note: this statement has again reminded readers the story is about a bill being handled to an injured man in the ambulance.)
Whether or not Bella is a real person or imaginary person in this report, the way this “journalist” reported the story with a misleading heading, bullet-point-highlight and bold-highlight and editorialising the manager’s reply with the use of three subjective and strong words: “remorseless”, “the gaffe” and “money grab” tell a lot about the quality of journalism in this country. The fact that it has became a nation-wide story with exactly the same content being published word by word by those major states and national newspapers tell us the kind of editorial standard in this country as well. In fact, to be fair to the “Journalist”, the News heading, bullet-point highlight and bold highlight may be done by an editor or sub-editor.
The overall impression I had with this report is that, the friend of the injured man has the right not to pay for the meal in the restaurant; and that the restaurant as a business entity with an overhead to maintain such as rent, wages and outgoing expenses does not deserve the right for payment to their products and services even if the owner of the restaurant may need the money to pay his mortgage, feed his family, finance his children’s education and may be struggling to stay in business due to the current economic climate.
What information has being deliberately omitted by the Murdoch’s newspapers?
As a result of my suspicion of the accuracy of the above report, I search the Internet for related story and find that Nine MSN reported the same story with a bit of extra information - the whole picture is now clear to me: that is, Bella is the lady whom the Chinese restaurant handed the bill to. This is exactly how Nine MSN reported:
“As he was getting into the ambulance, and his friend climbed in to join him, a waiter came out and handed her the bill. The man's companion, Bella, who did not want her surname used, said the restaurant's actions "were just so inappropriate."I was so incredulous that it had happened,'' she said. ''It wasn't the most expensive restaurant in town, it's a dumpling house and their bill would not have been more than $30''. However, restaurant manager Kevin Tian told the newspaper he did not think it was inappropriate. ''My opinion is that they ate in our restaurant, they have to pay,'' he said.”
The fact that Nine MSN claimed in their report that their source of the news is from the Courier Mail indicted that all the above named Murdoch’s Newspapers have no reason to publish the above news in such distorting manner. This is the second paragraph of Nine MSN report:
“Paramedics were called to the restaurant when the unidentified man fell to the ground after suffering an apparent seizure at St Kilda's Sifu Dumpling Express on Tuesday afternoon, the Courier Mail reports.”
By comparing the content of the Nine MSN and those other reports, it is not hard for us to draw a conclusion that: Nine MSN has being truthful with the story whereas Herald Sun (the original source of the report) deliberately failed to disclose who Bella really is. They went to the extent to editorialising the restaurant manager’s reply with highly subjective and strong wording such as “remorseless”, “the gaffe” and “money grab” with the intention to demonise the Chinese restaurant. The rest of Murdoch’s Newspapers including the Courier Mail, despite knowing the truth, simply copied Herald Sun report word by word. Why?
I believe that, unnecessary on-going negativity against minorities in this country by our media has definitely contributed to racism in Australia. Why can’t those elites in the Australian media industry find peace in their little brains without smearing against other cultures or countries?
The following are my earlier articles on media fuels racism in Australia:
· Evidences of Australia Media fuelling Racism against Minorities
· Another case of media fuelled racism in Australia
· Why are the Australian media and politicians totally silent on the latest ABS crime figures? (This article come with a series of examples showing how our media smearing against non-Western countries whenever our criminals committed crimes there and was prosecuted under their laws.)
May the world find peace with each other with a socially more responsible media industry. Can we trust the current media culture in Australia?
Written on 24 June 2011
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