The Media is the Massage

Why is the media so mistrusted? That’s not a question much raised at journalism schools or debated on the ABC’s The Drum. The mistrust is because the left-leaning media dispenses such muck that only fools give it any credibility. Read on and I’ll document that statement– understatement, really — using as case studies the giant global news wholesalers such as Agence France Press (AFP) and Associated Press (AP), and the New York Times, flagship of America’s progressive newspapers.

In Australia reporters are the second-least trusted of 30 occupations, ahead of politicians but behind delivery drivers. That’s according to a Readers Digest poll last year. Among 46 countries, the US media is the least trusted (29 per cent), according to a Reuters Institute poll last year. Australians who trust the media were 43 per cent, which is less than in Poland, Croatia and South Africa. Within the US, last October’s Gallup Poll assessed trust in media at 36 per cent, the second-lowest on record. Only 11 per cent of Republicans – who comprise half the population – trust the media, and only 10 per cent of Americans trust the media’s reporting on COVID.[1]

The normal focus is on mastheads like the New York Times and Washington Post – and here The Australian, Age and Sydney Morning Herald (SMH). But such a narrow focus detracts from the less obvious role of news wholesalers AFP, AP, Reuters and Bloomberg. Without them your morning paper or online bulletin would be half empty.

In days gone by the wire services’ watchword was political and ideological neutrality. Playing such a straight bat made them unremarkable. But now AFP, Reuters and Bloomberg have literally signed the climate pledge and partnered with 460 other media groups at Covering Climate Now (CCN). That “partnership” involves hyping warming and cancelling whatever doesn’t fit the narrative. And AP, in a jaw-dropping breach of journalistic ethics, this month began hiring 20 climate-crazed reporters using an $US8 million gift from five green/Left billionaire philanthropies. From now on we’ll be reading the best AP climate news that can be bought with activists’ money. Here’s a snapshot of the agencies’ reach:

AFP: This world’s oldest news wholesaler (186 years) has 1700 journalists operating in 150 countries. It’s independent but gets about 40% of its funding from French government subsidies.

AP: A 175-year-old New York-based non-profit group of US newspapers and broadcasters, with 3300 workers wholesaling and sharing news with 1300 print and broadcast outlets in 99 countries.

Bloomberg: The Manhattan-based, 40-year-old,  privately-owned business conglomerate with 20,000 employees globally. It was co-founded by Michael Bloomberg, who is now now worth $US70 billion. Print and broadcast media are just one leg of its operations, with financial software the mainstay.

Thomson Reuters: 170-year-old London/Canada-based news wholesaler running 3100 reporters and photo-journalists worldwide and reaching 1 billion readers.

Taking AFP specifically, its impartiality statutes include (emphasis added)

♦ Agence France-Presse may under no circumstances take account of influences or considerations liable to compromise the exactitude or the objectivity of the information it provides; it may under no circumstances fall under the control, either de facto or de jure, of any ideological, political or economic grouping;

♦ Agence France-Presse must… provide French and foreign users with exact, impartial and trustworthy information.

By partnering with Covering Climate Now, AFP has trashed those ethics. CCN’s founders view fossil fuel executives as criminals against humanity. They also want to “revoke the social licences” of “deniers” in the same way tobacco companies were shafted last century.[2] CCN pushes absurdities like a billion “climate refugees” by 2050.

I’ll get back shortly to AFP and its malign influence on our local media, including Murdoch flagship The Australian. AFP’s lapse is small beer compared with the grotesquerie of rival AP taking that $US8 million handout from the likes of Rupert’s green/woke spawn, James Murdoch, and his wife, Kathryn. [3] Young James’ political sympathies can be easily discerned from Open Secrets’ register of his generous donations to Hillary Clinton and Democrat state committees far and wide.

Julie Pace, AP senior vice-president and executive editor, explains the alliance with CCN: “This far-reaching initiative will transform how we cover the climate story.” The converse would involve the Institute of Public Affairs and Pauline Hanson giving $A11 million to The Australian to hire 20 conservative journalists to report on The Greens’s electoral campaigning. Obviously, AP’s bought-and-paid-for climate team won’t be writing anything critical about warmist dogma or dodgy people manipulating temperature data at the IPCC or NASA.

AP explained candidly that, among other motives, it needed the money:

The announcement illustrates how philanthropy has swiftly become an important new funding source for journalism — at the AP and elsewhere — at a time when the industry’s financial outlook has been otherwise bleak.

Concern about conflict of interest is out the window, as AP admits without blushing

For many years, journalists and philanthropists were more wary of each other. News organizations were concerned about maintaining independence and, until the past two decades, financially secure enough not to need help

 AP hails other newspapers and mastheads for also accepting foundations’ tainted money for their journalism.

Here’s some detail about AP’s five generous donors

Hewlett Foundation: Assets $US13 billion. Awarded the Climate Works lobby a massive $US460 million in 2008, and an ongoing stream of further grants. Opposes fossil fuels and coal and gas developments.

Rockefeller Foundation: Founded in 1913 by the oil barons (of all people). Assets at least $US4 billion. Many worthwhile medical and education projects, but its track record also includes a wartime study that infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis and, before that, the funding of a German eugenics laboratory frequented by Dr Josef Mengele en route to his human experimenting at Auschwitz. 

Quadrivium: About $US20 million in assets. Co-founder and president Kathryn Murdoch, wife of co-founder James Murdoch. Her net worth is said to be $US2 billion. She also works for Hillary Clinton’s Clinton Climate Initiative. Quadrivium’s viewpoint:

Climate change threatens the security and stability of our country and our world. We recognize that communications around this threat have been politicized and we are working with organizations that are capable of reaching a majority of the public, regardless of country or political tribe. We are helping to expand the successful Climate Matters program which uses meteorologists as trusted messengers of the links between extreme weather and climate change.

Walton Family Foundation: Assets of about $US7b. Climate activists on agriculture and water resources.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Assets $US29b. Supports and mentors medical researchers and scientists. Not much obvious climate preoccupation but its research emphasises the controversial alleged link between warming and the spread of malaria.

New York-based climate communicator Marc Morano juxtaposes AP’s acceptance of the $US8 million with the Code of Ethics of the US Society of Professional Journalists, and writes:

SPJ Code of Ethics: “Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for access to news.”

Reality Check: The AP will NOT ‘be wary of sources offering information for favors or money,’ but instead, it will be seeking even money from additional donors for a job well done promoting climate hysteria.

SPJ: “Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.”

Reality Check: Instead of ‘denying favored treatment’ to ‘donors,’ the AP will be dishing out ‘favored treatment’ not only to its current funders of the news but to any other potential donors who could help expand their ‘climate’ reporting.

SPJ: “Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.”

Reality Check: The AP will now be subservient and timid ‘about holding those with power accountable’, especially those who gave them untold millions to promote climate propaganda

The $US8 million to AP would also batter down Australia’s MEAA (journalists) Code of Ethics

5/ Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism.

6/ Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.

7/ Do your utmost to ensure disclosure of any direct or indirect payment made for … stories.

I trust that all AP climate stories recycled by the Australian media will include a footnote: “This reporting funded or influenced by money from green/Left foundations”.

Rupert Murdoch’s daily broadsheet, The Australian, had been a beacon of sanity against the billion-dollar ABC, the SMH and Age, Malcolm Turnbull-created Guardian Australia, university-and-tax- funded The Conversation and Murdoch’s online leftists at Within The Australian there have been obvious pushes by woke elements towards a green-Leftism, until now without much success. The Australian continues to run commentaries by the unfashionable climate analyst Bjorn Lomborg, by long-term Labor apparatchik Graham Richardson and all politics in between. The good work of its environment reporter Graham Lloyd airs material that both fits and doesn’t fit the warmist agenda. But The Australian is coming to resemble a cold-store apple – healthy on the outside but starting to rot within. The rot’s coming from propaganda and drivel in its AFP feed from “global coordinator for climate change”, Marlowe Hood, who has laughably self-titled himself “Senior Editor, Future of the Planet”. He tells us he was “born at 314 ppm (when CO2 was 314 parts per million) and is now a “herald of the Anthropocene.” Ta-da!
The Australian has run more than 20 Hood pieces, nearly all falsely dubbed by its sub-editors as “Breaking News”. They have headlines like “Acceleration of global warming ‘code red’ for humanity“and “Climate cataclysms set stage for key UN science report.”

Marlowe Hood has done nicely from his climate shrieking. Last year he applied for and won 100,000 Euros ($A160,000 ) cash from green/Left Spanish foundation BBVA. Blurbing the prize, BBVA extolled Hood as “one of the foremost environmental journalists and communicators of his generation”.[4] Qualified in Chinese (that’s it, but), Hood praised to BBVA the “largely unheralded but quietly influential” climate reporting by agencies like AFP. Agencies, he kids himself, are not just news-breakers but “impartial arbiters that set the tone and steer the global narrative.”

His submission for the 100,000 Euros says he was at an Oxford conference in 2009 on (supposed) impacts of a (supposed) 4degC warming. “And suddenly the reality of global warming and the human misery it will trail in its wake hit me in the gut and left me gasping for air,” he hyperventilated. In preacher mode, he told BBVA how “Humanity is standing at the crossroads [of a “sixth mass extinction”, no less] and doesn’t have long to decide which path we will be taking.”

In a soliloquy of self-delusion, he asked himself if his journalism is “the best way to wield influence, since an agency’s job is to deliver news, not opinion.” He yearns “to explicitly denounce what I know to be harmful or wrong, and to champion what I think is the right course of action” but manages (he says) to restrain himself. He boasts how his activism earns him under-the-table scoops from the UN-based catastrophe spruikers:

These stories are not only directly accessible to tens of millions of people through AFP’s media clients, they are also read by other journalists who take their cue from top level agency reporting.

As for his teaching duties to 100 young journos a year,

He asks what he describes as the question for anyone interested in environmental communication: ‘How do you scare people enough to take it seriously, and at the same time show them that there are solutions and hope, so they don’t just throw their hands up in despair? It’s all about striking that balance.[5]

I nearly choked over Hood’s latest “news” piece in The Australian, Feb 14. The propaganda, almost beyond satire, is illustrated with a nameless city cocooned in lush green parks and dappled skies lit by the sun’s rays. But the artists change it to a hellscape of broiling heat, fires and parched cracked earth thanks to the evil of carbon dioxide emissions.  The Australian‘s  sub-editors have grabbed the illustration from the range of Goebbels-standard  propaganda pics on offer at Shutterstock including dying polar bears on ice floes, drought-stricken deathscapes and wind turbines glowing in heavenly pastel landscapes.

Hood’s story, based on leaks from his alarmist pals, says the IPCC is going to release another “harrowing” Summary for Policymakers on February 28, more of the doom that UN people have claimed is just around the corner, every few years since 1990. Hood parades a litany of fake facts:

Species extinction, ecosystem collapse, mosquito-borne disease, deadly heat, water shortages, and reduced crop yields are already measurably worse due to global heating.

Just in the past year, the world has seen a cascade of unprecedented floods, heatwaves and bushfires across four continents.

All these impacts will accelerate in the coming decades even if the carbon pollution driving climate change is rapidly brought to heel, the IPCC report is likely to warn.

Is “global heating” really making “reduced crop yields measurably worse”?. In fact there’s been slight global cooling in the past five years, as measured officially by satellites and from the surface. On February 2, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimated last year’s world cereal production at yet another record of 2793 million tonnes, with a graph showing the rising trend from 2012. Yields for virtually every major crop have been on that rising trend during 60 years’ worth of global warming. Closer to home, Australia has just had its coolest year since 2012, according to the Meteorology Bureau, and in 60 years Australian cereal yields have more than doubled.

Hood drives his truck through AFP’s guidelines for proper sourcing within its news articles. His piece in The Australian includes the bland, “experts and advocates say”. But AFP Protocols stress:

Analysts should be clearly identified, along with the organization for whom they work and their area of expertise… Anonymous analysts lack credibility and must not be quoted…AFP is a global news agency and we should seek out analysts who offer conflicting points of view and not be content with analysts who follow a particular narrative.

Hood’s “news” piece looks even more stupid considering the IPCC summary he’s blurbing is not finalised and its authors are continuously changing the draft. Moreover, Hood is just another mouthpiece for the orchestrated campaign by activist scientists and lobbyists to hype the impending Summary. Verify this by looking at other tame journalists’ output, like AP’s science writer Seth Borenstein’s version headed: “Scientists and governments meet to finalise UN report on ‘nightmare’ impacts of global warming“. Borenstein is at least more frank in sourcing his garbage to an activist group, writing:

The IPCC’s horrifying evidence of escalating climate impacts is set to show a nightmare painted in the dry language of science,” Teresa Anderson, who heads climate justice issues at ActionAid International, said in a statement.

If you think the agencies’ output is on the nose, you’ll gag at the stench from once-eminent mastheads like the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times and Chicago Tribune. The NYT took $US100,000 a month from the Communist Party of China, via the CCP’s “China Daily” mouthpiece, for the decade to early 2020 to run pages of advertorials like “China Watch: Diaoyu Islands Belong to China.”[6]

The NYT, the progressives’ “paper of record”, takes pride in its archives stretching back to the 1850s pre-Civil War. But when caught out getting paid for CCP material, it furtively deleted those 200-plus pseudo-news pieces from its archives. The slimy deals with the CCP were exposed only when Republicans in Congress forced China Daily to properly disclose its US influence-peddling since 2016.

The NYT was further hostage to the CCP over its heavy investments in China a decade ago. This might (or might not) have influenced its determined efforts in early 2020 to discredit and smear as ‘racists’ and tinfoil-hatters those suggesting COVID leaked from the Wuhan laboratory part-funded by Dr Fauci’s team.[7] In turn, China Daily sometimes played back the NYT hit-pieces to its own domestic audience.

Murdoch-owned Fox News demolished left-liberal rivals  MSNBC and CNN in early February, out-rating their combined offerings among both total day and primetime viewers for the 25th straight week. The dismal-ratings fate of left-liberal US cable channels demonstrates that media shills can’t fool all the people all the time. 

All up, Xi Jinping’s men needed to pay a paltry $US20 million to get their messages to the US public via the cream of America’s progressive newspapers. Was Trump wrong to say this media is “the enemy of the people”? And are we wrong to so distrust the media?

Tony Thomas’ 2021 essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher Connor Court


[1] Overall, just seven percent of U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” and 29 percent “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in newspapers, television and radio news reporting.

[2] CCN: “As journalists, we must write about climate change with the same clarity of the scientists who have been sounding the alarms for decades. Platforming those scientists’ detractors in an effort to “balance” our stories not only misleads the public, it is inaccurate. Where climate denialism cannot be avoided — when it comes from the highest levels of government, for example — responsible journalistic framing makes clear that it is counterfactual, if not rooted in bad faith.”

[3] The AP illustrated its announcement with a supposedly endangered polar bear pic beloved by propagandists since Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth fakery.

[4] For a long list of six- to seven-figure personal cash rewards to climate spruikers, see here.

[5] Hood is channelling the late climate scientist Stephen Schneider, who memorably asked,

On the one hand we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but, which means that we must include all the doubts, caveats, ifs and buts.

On the other hand … we have to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

[6] One 2019 NYT video ad promoted Xinjiang tourism by depicting the oppressed Uyghur people as content under Chinese rule.

[7] In an early 2020 article the Times stigmatised the lab leak as a “fringe theory”. Its reporter claimed on Twitter that it was “the kind of conspiracy once reserved for the tinfoil hatters”.

13 thoughts on “The Media is the Massage

  • ianl says:

    Thank you Tony Thomas for the detailed tracking of these dangerous charlatans. You are right – someone like me simply cannot overcome nauseous distaste in keeping up to date with it.

    However, I do not think I am wrong in noting that Canada is become the clearest example of the pathway we are being herded along (if one can herd a line, as it were).

    It’s clearly not about the rona now. Even Bill Gates says outright that our natural immune system has proved more effective against omicron than all the vaccines he can develop for sale. Quelle surprise. Yet still the mass of people are bashed down – literally.

    This is quite obviously building to a forced devolution in living standards, to save the planet of course. If you object, your bank accounts will be frozen (yes, our Big Four will be quite willing horses there). If you stand in the street to protest, an entitled THUG will clobber you with State-supplied state-of-the-art armoury. We are here. Now.

  • Ceres says:

    Great stuff Tony with your comprehensive listings.
    Once upon a time we all bought a newspaper and when that all faded away the MS media giants needed funding. With few exceptions their backers are leftie activists as you have outlined and he who pays the piper calls the tune.
    A lot of us turn to independent internet news and blogs because the rubbish spruiked as honest, reliable reporting wouldn’t pass muster with a primary school kid. I’ve noticed that even the few outnumbered conservative journalists who get a column feel the pressure to thrown in muted support occasionally for the nuttiness, presumably to keep getting paid.

  • Claude James says:

    Yes, excelent compilation.
    And the severely anti-empircal energy-wokeism of the likes of high-wealth “leaders” like Andrew Forrest and Cannon-Brookes will not only turn out the lights, it will halt the transports systems.
    So forget about eating, and the alcohol will cease arriving too.
    Oh, and the ADF will just have to march, swim, or flap its arms to get anywhere.
    Idiocy, in the name of Virtue.

  • Biggles says:

    A first-rate piece, Tony. I am surprised you have time to sleep, so prodigious is your output.
    Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate, said; No matter how beautiful your theory, no matter how clever you are, if it doesn’t fit with experiment, it’s wrong. Melburnians; how many 40 deg C days have you experienced this summer? Could your answer be ‘zero’ because of global warming, or is it possible that the Earth is cooling due to the current Grand Solar Minimum?

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    If the media had maintained even the smallest of integrity concerning the scam that is climate change and if their reporters had once asked an expert about the failure of their past predictions we may not have closures of coal fired power stations. Real journalists might have seen the connection between increased CO2 and increased crops. They may have bothered to check the satellite record or Ryan Maue’s data on accumulated cyclone energy which would dispel the notion that cyclones/hurricanes are getting stronger and more frequent. The modern journalist cannot read and cannot research so is but a stenographer recording the statements of some second rate so called scientist applying for another grant. Not only has journalism been debased but it has allowed science itself to be debased. We know journalists tell lies, are ignorant of the most basic facts and we know that climate science is also unbelievable so I am surprised that more responsible scientists are not coming forward to debunk the charlatans and grant junkies to preserve their own reputations. Fortunately as the old MSM commits Hari Kari and disappears into irrelevance a new generation of online reporters and photo journalists bring raw information to your screens. It is through them alone that we have seen the excesses of Trudeau’s storm troopers just as we saw Andrews enforcers harassing the elderly and pregnant. It is also through them that we can follow the failures of the vaccines and the profiteering of big pharma.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Yep, spot on Tony. It’s a religion with a well funded climate theocracy at the media helm of it.
    Excellent delving into the financial chicanery and hysterical denunciations that they make with it.
    Chilling to see it put into a practice run in Canada with Covid, all ready for the coming planetary economic devolution.

  • lbloveday says:

    I’d not read The Australian’s article by Marlowe Hood; still haven’t but I did scan the comments and that was encouraging as almost all commenters derided the article, with the standout exception being “GuyM” who contributed 9% of accepted comments, totalling 24 “likes” for his/her 23 comments, all of which were, in my opinion, nonsense.

  • Stephen Due says:

    The ongoing success of the climate hoax is merely more evidence that the human race is just as gullible as ever. Now we have the pandemic hoax to add icing to the cake. My solution in both cases is online access to videos of lectures by people with intellect and expertise, who are also patently honest and without conflicts of interest. One of the joys of the pandemic has been having the opportunity to watch online presentations by wonderful speakers like John Ioannidis and Peter McCullough. These are experts whose commitment to truth shines brightly through the darkness that has descended on the legacy media, including, sadly, the elite medical journals.

  • DougD says:

    Thanks again Tony. You don’t need suggestions from me for what to write about but could you ( or some other Q reader) help with information about where I can find something on the extent to which, and how, renewables are subsidised in Australia.

  • Tony Thomas says:

    HI Doug, ALan Moran, energy analyst, has useful renewables subsidy data in this chapter of his book

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Remove electricity from any large city, or even a portion of that city, and people will start to die. Ambulances won’t get to emergencies as traffic light systems fail. Electronic gates and lifts will fail and trap people in large unit blocks and offices and some schools. Hospitals will move to emergency power but be greatly affected in how they cope, as equipment will fail, especially mid-procedure if the failure is sudden. Rescue operations will be in overdrive to release trapped people and maintain their own staffing levels, and if the halt is long enough then major transport systems will fail. Retail outlets and large retail centres will be affected from the start.
    Do this regularly to a population and see how you fare politically. Although people will tolerate a lot. I think it was Ian Plimer who commented that people really will have to start to die in urban centres for the message about economic devolution to be truly driven home. We’ve already seen how easy it is to disrupt the supply chains on which our economy depends. Devolution would be nothing but a disaster, for employment, wealth creation and a good living situation for all.
    It may not even be quick. The slow-boiling frog analogy applies.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Off-topic, but my latest rejected comment in the Oz:
    “Mr Bramston, your constant harping about republican issues is almost as bad as the dreaded Red Bandanna Man’s. It matters not one whit whether the Queen or the Governor-General is Australia’s Head of State. Constitutional Monarchists, the only adults in the argument, understand that for all practical purposes the Governor-General fulfils the role except when Her Majesty is actually present in Australia, and sometimes even then.
    Your arguments are petty and irrelevant, but keep it up. The more you and the likes of FitzSimons show the childish side of the Republican movement, the more secure our present system of government remains.”

  • Mike O'Ceirin says:

    I am very concerned about the fakery around climate change but over the years I have become more concerned about what I see as a much wider issue. Every aspect of Western civilisation appears to be under attack, can it be that it comes from so many quarters be a coincidence. From the quarter of activism related to sex comes an attack on the law itself. Racial politics comes from the indigenous they do not just wish for a better deal they wish to discredit Western civilisation as worthless . Gender politics again does not want an adjustment it argues that white males are the problem and need to be gone. The area I specialised in with my website is entirely about the capability of renewables. It deals entirely with factual information that it has online. It shows the key to renewables being successful or not is the availability of electricity storage. I give it a fail we will not be able to stabilise renewable energy such that they can replace our existing fossil fuel electricity supply. So, the question that comes to my mind surely, I am not the only one that realises this. There has to be many in the environmental movement who are quite aware that such efforts are futile. A much more reasonable explanation for their actions is that it is not about climate change at all. Renewable energy I view these days as a weapon. All I see is the actions we are beset with favour our civilisation’s destruction. Renewable energy completely destabilises our electricity system without redemption. Whether they are doing this covertly or not it certainly gives advantage to countries such as China and Russia. In Australia there are so many things that are the same. There is a strong push in our media to condemn settlement and how damaging that was to the indigenous but criticism of the track record on human rights is greatly suppressed if it concerns a Communist or socialist country. The Western world is destroying itself and the puppet masters are about to take over and it is principally our media who betray us.

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