In yet another cynical betrayal of the basic practices of sound journalism, The Age has been making baseless accusations against Reignite Democracy Australia. Rather than attempting to be objective and neutral, the newspaper is using some of the most slanderous methods of gutter politics. They regularly fail to approach RDA for comment, a basic journalism courtesy, even though the admin staff and Monica are available to do so at short notice.
RDA does not make a habit of acknowledging professional troll groups and their baseless accusation, however, The Age’s constant smear campaign must be addressed to protect the integrity and mission of this grassroots organisation.
Let’s start with our denials, just for the record. RDA is not racist, it does not support white supremacism, it does not support violence in any form, it is not anti-Semitic and it is not full of ‘grifters’ (whatever that means).
Rather, RDA is a legitimate organisation intent on mounting a clear and ethically defensible campaign using non-violent free speech in order to preserve our nation’s democratic and legal fabric. Far from being a fringe operation, RDA is merely doing whatever it can to empower and unite its community in order to protect individual and collective liberty. We are arguing for legal and moral standards that should be self-evident in any healthy democracy.
We advocate for the rule of law, our political leaders do not. For example, the Privacy Act of 1988 stipulates that it is a crime to coerce someone to divulge their personal health data (punishable with heavy jail terms). Yet across the country restaurant and cafe owners are demanding to know people’s vaccination status. Employers are insisting on knowing their staff’s vaccination status otherwise they will sack them. Staff are expecting to enforce illegal policies on their fellow citizens, resulting in mental and emotional trauma for many. It seems as though we no longer live in a country that respects its own laws.
The Biosecurity Act of 2015 stipulates that quarantining should only be applied to individuals, not to a whole society. This, too, is Federal law, yet it has been ignored. To protest against this is to be demonised by media slanderers at The Age and other media as being an “anti-vaxxer” or a “conspiracy theorist”. The unreflecting media is cheering on this lawlessness.
Coercing people into being involved in an unproven drug trial – the vaccines are not approved because there has been nowhere near enough time to properly test them – is against both the Nuremberg Code and the Helsinki Accord. Yet the RDA’s campaigns against these clearly unethical measures are attacked by the media as the work of “vaccine deniers”, and “extremists”. The Nuremberg Code was established to stop the Nazi outrages happening again. So who are the neo-Nazis here? The media is pointing their fingers in the wrong direction.
The tricks employed by journalists to smear RDA are easy to dismantle. One is guilt by association, such as when The Age implied that because someone who helped us with computer issues had certain views then it can be assumed that the RDA held the exact same views (this was paraded as ‘investigative journalism’; ‘bigoted, intolerant nonsense’ might have been a better description).
The implication is obviously absurd, but just to make the point how many people have exactly the same political views as their colleagues, or even know what they are?
Another trick is to use labels like ‘extremist’ and ‘fringe’ as if they actually mean something. These smears were paraded in a cynical, nonsensical Sunday Morning Herald piece by Martin McKenzie-Murray, which not only used the same guilt by association techniques but introduced the completely fabricated claim that what the RDA says publicly somehow differs from what the RDA believes behind closed doors. In other words, he pushed a ridiculous conspiracy theory.
That was not all. In a breathtaking display of arrogance, McKenzie-Murray said that RDA supporters, many of whom are obviously average voters, are suburban “normies” who have been radicalised. In McKenzie-Murray’s world, because they have had the temerity to express political views that do not align with the political elites with whom he associates, they must have been duped somehow. Note the extraordinarily patronising tone when he describes “otherwise average and apolitical people variously frustrated, depressed or anxious about the pandemic.” His pretense of feeling sympathy for these inferior types speaks for itself.
Similar rubbish was prosecuted by Oscar Kaspi-Crutchett in The Age. He tied himself in knots in order to see something not there. His trick is to draw inferences from what is not said, then to claim that the silence is damning.
First, this alleged journalist acknowledges that RDA has a “relatively moderate approach” although he does think it “spreads disinformation” (how exactly he is in a position to pontificate on medical issues is not explained).
Then, in a gymnastic maneuver, he attributes RDA’s big following to the activity of shadowy neo-Nazis and anti-Semites – all without evidence, of course. Next step is to argue there is a hidden agenda. He acknowledges, patronisingly and absurdly that “on the surface, RDA appears a legitimate, if misguided, political association representing a small but dedicated constituency of vaccine-hesitant Australians.” But then he sees the whole thing as a subterfuge, arguing that the RDA is sending a secret message to those who want to deny the Holocaust and who are anti-Semitic. Even though, according to Kaspi-Crutchett, “both the RDA and the UAP have denounced political violence and urged protestors to be peaceful.”
So who exactly is the extremist and conspiracy theorist here? And where is the evidence of RDA ever supporting such views? None is offered, of course. Like much of the media coverage, this article is delusional. If RDA was to say that the sun rises in the east Kaspi-Crutchett would conclude that the RDA really believes it rises in the West and is only saying that to hide its racist views.
Monica Smit wrote this reply to an Age Journalist, Rachel Dexter, who published an article last Sunday. Of course, these comments were not published within the article.
“In any large movement or group, there will always be varying opinions on how to approach or handle situations. It is impossible for any large group, with hundreds of thousands of followers, to monitor every single member and comment. All we can do from the top is to always share messages of hope, peace, love, and unity. We can onlytrust that our followers take on that attitude within their own lives and communities.
Many of our followers have been threatened, bullied, and alienated by those who disagree with them. Many of them have lost their jobs and are unsure how they’ll feed their families. This is a tough time for all of us, no matter what ‘side’ you are on. But at the end of the day, we are all humans and we want to live our lives in peace. Someone should tell that to the so-called journalists at The Age as they continue to push fear porn and exploit social divisions.”
The attacks on RDA and Monica Smit will continue. Our resolution has not, and will never, falter. RDA is here to stay, and we will always advocate for your rights as affectively as we can.