By Paul Collits.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and RMIT University might well be a match made in heaven. Or, more likely, hell. These two Covid State acolyte institutions, beyond-woke corporates both, true believers in the climate hysteria and, ironically, servants of Big Pharma, have teamed up to form a fact checking outfit.
This ABC-RMIT scam, the so-called “Fact Check”, consists of seven elements:
- It is essentially ideological, that is, it only selectively and very carefully investigates certain viewpoints on certain issues deemed to be counter to its own priorities;
- Its principal purpose is narrative maintenance;
- Its method is to cherry pick what it takes to be soft targets and weakly stated arguments, so avoiding the heavy hitters among its opponents, many of whom have published counter-narratives in peer reviewed journals;
- Its activities are wrapped in the language of “fact checking”, which in turn is given life by the allegation of “fake news” that is abroad;
- It receives cover for its activities by virtue of the (farcical) veneer of university “independence” and scholarship;
- It draws upon a plentiful and easily accessible band of tame, on-side academics to bolster the case studies;
- It rubbishes opposing viewpoints (with a veneer of scholarship) as but one tactic among several in the overall exercise, the other tactics being to ignore or to silence such viewpoints (through censorship, de-platforming, cancel culture, shadow banning, bullying, threats and so on).
This is very, very clever stuff. It is also thinly disguised propaganda. Using methods of which Joseph Goebbels, the CIA and Edward Bernays, the godfather of marketing, would be proud. Redolent of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.
These two Covid State activists were out of the blocks pretty smartly – in March 2020, in fact. Almost as if they were ready for the “pandemic”. Knew it was coming, even. And realised its potential for furthering their shared agendas. Perhaps they were tipped off by Brett Sutton’s sister-in-law, Jane Halton, Australia’s pandemicist-in-chief, who attended Bill Gates’ October 2019 pandemic planning “hypothetical” (Event 201). The Covid State, is, after all, highly inter-connected. (A little like the Get Pell team which is now revving up again).
Here is the stated rationale for the ABC-RMIT Fact Check machine:
With the world in the grip of an unprecedented health crisis, RMIT ABC Fact Check is launching CoronaCheck to ensure that the information we share is accurate and fact-based.
Unprecedented? I think not, as almost anyone apart from Professor Pantsdown, Neil Ferguson, and Anthony Fauci now recognises. Indeed, some of us recognised it from the start.
We are not in the midst of a health crisis, and we never were. We have been in the midst of an economic and liberal-democratic crisis brought about by a cabal of committed and focused globalists, useful idiot politicians here and abroad, committed medical fascism practitioners embedded in government bureaucracies, corporates, universities and media, and clueless punters who love nothing more than a pretend crisis and the excitement it generates in their otherwise dull lives. Not to mention the fresh opportunities for virtue signalling and lording it over the deplorables and dissidents.
That an institution supposedly dedicated to rigour in research could make such a claim only weeks into WuFlu is breathtaking. It suggests RMIT and the ABC were dusting off their ideological weaponry for the next opportunity to advance the cause of what CJ Hopkins calls “GloboCap”, and what we know simply to be the ruling class elite.
Sitting astride this very peculiar collaboration with our ABC is RMIT’s FactLab:
RMIT FactLab is a research hub dedicated to debunking misinformation online and developing critical awareness about its origins and spread. The hub also conducts original research into the digital news ecosystem.
RMIT FactLab is devoted to social media verification, research and education. It brings together the best of quality journalism and academic excellence to build awareness of the damaging impact of bad information. With misinformation on the rise worldwide, it is engaged in building tools and strategies to combat the viral spread of misleading and false information on social media platforms.
RMIT FactLab also works hand in hand with RMIT ABC Fact Check, a partnership between RMIT University and the ABC which focuses on fact-checking claims by public figures.
(I should disclose that I spent some years working at RMIT, years that I will never get back. I should also mention that I have previously taken to task my former colleague, David Hayward, for his (probably willful, and certainly sloppy) mis-statements – putting it kindly – about Covid vaccinations and related matters).
Fact-checking Covid claims seems to be a preoccupation of both RMIT and of the ABC. In their latest investigation, they are picking on, of all people, the NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, for his reported recent, off-the-cuff claims about the relative seriousness of Covid and influenza. Here is what he said:
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has warned this winter’s strain of influenza can be more severe than Covid 19 – as he calls for Australia to review the seven-day pandemic isolation rule.
During an interview with 2GB’s Ben Fordham on Monday, Mr Perrottet argued the current strain of influenza was ‘more severe than the current strains of Covid’ but, under the country’s health rules, Australians must self-isolate for seven days after infection with the virus.
So, the claim was the current flu is worse than the current (Omicron) Covid strain. A seemingly reasonable thing to have said, in support of a quite reasonable policy action to have taken. That the ABC and RMIT sought to challenge Perrottet says three things.
First, these anything-but-scholarly-and-intellectually-robust institutions will go to any lengths to keep the fear campaign over Covid lapping along. It simply cannot be allowed to be walked back by the useful Covid idiots that run the country, but who, collectively, sense growing public ennui over the CCP virus. Despite the persistently high cases, hospitalisations and deaths. Among a highly vaccinated population, it needs to be said (over and over again). In short, the tough rules should never be loosened, even marginally. They should be tightened! This is all part of an attempt by the medical industrial complex to bring back the masks and the distancing and, no doubt, the lockdowns. Alas, for them, the useful idiots are in election or pre-election mode, and plan to stay that way. We even have a unity ticket now between non-natural allies Perrottet and Mr Lockdown himself, Daniel Andrews.
Second, RMIT and the ABC are paid-up members of the Covid State, and all that it connotes. Public duty over individual self-concern. Coercion over choice. Big government over freedom. The establishment over Covid dissidents, outliers like (to them) the abominable Christensen and Craig Kelly, and, as they no doubt would have it “conspiracy theorists”. The surveillance state over individual rights. Social credit to come, no doubt. Scientism turbo-charged. Use of the Covid State methods to enact climate clampdowns. The corporate ideologies of the ABC and of RMIT align splendidly with the current iteration of the administrative state and of the emerging globalist clerisy. They want us all to “build back better” and to embrace the new normal. They are fully on-board with the medical Reich. They cheer on the silencing and canceling of heterodox views, the censorship practiced daily by social media companies. Indeed, RMIT has partnered with the parent company of Facebook and Instagram (Meta) to join in the censorship, the lying about and the bullying of opponents. Remember, this is a university doing this. The ABC and RMIT are, clearly, two institutions (among many, alas) that wish to embrace Rahm Emanuel’s strategy of never letting a crisis go to waste.
And third, RMIT and the ABC have always been, and remain, fundamentally committed to activist journalism. To describe what they are doing as “fact checking” is to stretch the meaning of that phrase way beyond what it will bear.
Some recent examples of the things that RMIT chooses to fact-check give the ideological game away:
Survey suggests short-term link between vaccines and periods, but no need for alarm.
Nothing to see here, then. Despite masses of evidence to the contrary, from all over the planet. Speaking of the planet, then there is the “unprecedented” climate “emergency” that has attracted the snoops at RMIT:
No, polar bear numbers haven’t exploded.
It is safe to keep lamenting the decline of polar bear numbers, due, ahem, to global warming and melting icecaps.
Then there was this:
Mark Latham says 13,699 NSW teachers are not allowed to teach because of vaccine mandates. Verdict: Mr Latham’s claim is misleading.
Oh, then there is Safe Schools:
Safe Schools program does not require primary school kids to discuss explicit sexual matters with parents.
No, nothing to worry about there. Dangerous Covid jabs? Nope, all is safe and fit-for-purpose:
Former AFL stars wrongly suggest heart issues going ‘through the roof’ due to COVID jabs.
The causes of the current global inflation?
Facebook posts claiming the war in Ukraine “is not the reason” for higher petrol prices are false.
Protecting the Covid narrative, indirectly. Clever stuff. Excess deaths and vaccines?
COVID-19 vaccinations have not caused excess deaths among American millennials.
We simply must not let the obvious connections between the two seep into the public consciousness.
I imagine readers are getting the drift?
I am guessing that the good fact checkers of the RMIT-ABC industrial complex are not going to be investigating, say, the increase in suicides as a result of lockdowns under Daniel Andrews, or the decline in fertility and increase in stillbirths following vaccinations, unless, of course, it was to debunk any claims along these lines, or the impact of lockdowns on the educational progress of children, or the impact of abortion on the wellbeing of women who have had “terminations”, or the extent of patriarchy and sex abuse in remote Indigenous communities, or the veracity of Tim Flannery’s prediction some years back that the dams would never fill again. No, I do not think the RMIT fact-checkers and their ABC mates ever venture from their ideological lane. The old left – the good old left, you might say – used to rail against the capitalist state and the capitalist media for the things left off the agenda as well as the bias in choosing things to report. Now, we have alleged scholars and researchers at mainline universities committing the same sins that the old left correctly abhorred. Debunking misinformation, they claim. Mostly, they are taking on straw men. Sorry, straw persons. Or attributing claims to ideological opponents that the latter never made. Apart from the utter arrogance of the language used – as if complex scientific and social phenomena and inherently controversial debates can simply be reduced to “misinformation” to be “debunked” – we should be alarmed by the very nature of this task.
Here is another headline from one of RMIT FactLab’s recent “investigations”, again germane to the Covid State: No, Bill Gates does not plan to depopulate the earth with vaccinations.
What on earth is RMIT doing defending Bill Gates? And defending him, specifically, against the quite plausible claim that this vaccine guru and son-of-a-eugenicist who has publicly endorsed a 15 per cent reduction in the world’s population aspires to using vaccinations to reduce the earth’s population? Who champions vaccines that do not work as claimed, are not needed by most people (the young and the healthy) and are dangerous, indeed, lethal, for many who take the jab. Experimental vaccines that have been linked to tens of thousands of deaths and whose rollout has coincided with an uptick in excess non-Covid deaths in many countries.
Fact-check that, RMIT!
There are two reasons for this otherwise bizarre defence of a gazillionaire by an institution direct from central socialist casting. One, RMIT is totally on board with pro-vaxx stances. And two, RMIT, like every second university and media organisation in the world, is a recipient of Gates’ financial largesse. Most Australian university-based medical research institutes, including many whose “experts” are routinely wheeled out to defend this or that Covid State policy, have received funding from Gates. Often for vaccines research.
This is what Gates funded RMIT to do: To test whether infant footprints captured by low-tech mobile phone cameras could provide a biometric identification system for use in immunization programs.
Good grief. Where to start in being alarmed about what is going on, under the radar, in Australian medical research and plans for a bio-digital future?
Some years back, Gates set out to create and fund a “decade of vaccines”. He has just about doubled his wealth over this time while actively contributing, nay, leading, the global charge to vaccinate the whole planet. His ultimate dream. Talk about win-win.
That two Australian, publicly funded institutions explicitly set up to seek the truth and to do it in robust ways are behaving like out-of-control schoolchildren should cause alarm among taxpayers, to say the very least. This is a case of grotesque mission creep, on our dime. By ignoring the really big stories of our time, they are merely engaged in narrative protection on behalf of their favourite victim groups and causes. It is all a travesty of the scholarship to which our universities once aspired.
The Conservative Woman’s Laura Perrins describes the British Broadcasting Corporation as a “vaccine propaganda machine” and its approach to the subject as “patronising, selective and abusive”. She might have been describing the ABC’s approach on this and many other subjects. That an Australian university should get into bed with such an outfit, whose attitudes and methods are known to all, bespeaks a worldview that brings shame on all of our higher education institutions. This is nothing but a blatant attempt at propaganda by two institutions that once upon a time would each have had a modicum of intellectual curiosity, and been outraged and appalled by this kind of behaviour and by what they have become. Not only that, there is the utter irony. That two bastions of leftist ideology would be reduced to defending billionaires against society’s “excluded”? Once, they prided themselves on speaking “truth to power”. Today, the activities of the media and the academy side with the powerful and abandon truth. Indeed, they seek to crush the truth.
Clever, yes. Noble and principled, no.
However, rather than simply lamenting what has become the expected behaviour of these two scions of the new left establishment, those on the right of politics and culture and in the sensible centre should be marching in the streets and demanding a royal commission into the role in the last two years of the legacy media, including the public broadcaster, and its Covid State allies in the academy in destroying freedom, rights, social relations, the polis and the economy through its policies of what Matt Desmet calls “mass formation”.
As The Brownstone Institute notes in relation to the American media:
The media, both traditional and social media, had an outsized role during the pandemic in pushing the US government’s Covid response and defending the resulting coercive measures, including lockdowns, school closures, mask and vaccine mandates, while ignoring collateral damage and treating skeptics of these measures as having bad motivations. Their result was a one-sided, often factually misleading or unsubstantiated narrative on important issues concerning science, economics, and health, for the better part of two years.
This has had a chilling effect on information flows and journalism, and it dramatically distorted public understanding in many areas from science to health to economics to the proper role of media in a free society. A consequence of this shift in the ethos of the media, trust has declined dramatically to only 16% of the total population with trust in papers and only 11% with trust in TV, with partisan differences in the way people answer pollsters.
In addition, cancellation and censorship have been institutionalized in legacy media culture in a way that has been injurious to the free exchange of ideas as well and public health messaging in general.
To which we might well add to this tawdry outcome the degrading in culture of the academy.
Perhaps RMIT might fact-check the secular decline in trust in the media. This once august institution might then learn why we are not that impressed by its recent efforts. As with other institutions of higher education, RMIT’s original purpose was to build knowledge in our society, to “cultivate minds” as per its original motto, dating from 1887. “Perita manus, mens exculta”. RMIT’s fall from excellence has been precipitate, and this cute, cheap trick of creating a FactLab provides further, compelling evidence of the nature and steepness of the decline.
The saddest thing of all is that few other Australian universities are any better. They have been allies-in-chief of the tyrannical regimes across this wide brown land, regimes that have crushed our nation since the outbreak of what Alex Berenson has called “pandemia”, in early 2020. Institutions in search of the truth and seeking to defend both freedom of speech and the rights of the powerless would have a lifetime of awful primary material through which to sift, if they so chose. Instead, they prefer charades, circuses and panto.
Paul Collits has worked in regional economic development analysis, policy and practice for more than 20 years in universities. His career has included research and analysis for governments at national, state and local levels. He publishes widely and has been one of Australia’s standouts during the Covid era, emerging as one of the most forceful, cogent and prolific writers of these benighted times. You can follow his work on Substack here.