Jim Wallace and media manipulation

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace claims media coverage of a controversial remark was due to "Twitter activists manipulating the media".

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  1. Here are some of the reactions on Twitter to Australian Christian Lobby boss Jim Wallace's appearance on TV show Sunrise this morning:

     
  2. Mr Wallace was on Sunrise talking about his decision to post a controversial comment on Twitter yesterday -- Anzac Day -- claiming that Australian soldiers had not fought for "gay marriage and Islam".

    He later deleted the comment, but it is still available to be viewed.
  3. Part of Mr Wallace's argument on Sunrise was that "Twitter activists" had blown the comment out of proportion and that this "small minority" were dictating mainstream media coverage.

    You can watch him speaking on Sunrise below:
  4. Jim Wallace on Sunrise
  5. Here is a transcript of the relevant comments:

    START QUOTE

    To be maligned by Twitter activists is not the end of the world. I think if you look at the blog sites on the articles that have covered this -- even though those articles have wrongly said that I slurred gays and Islamics -- I mean that's not the case -- nonetheless the people who blogged on there have been very supportive, some running to 60 per cent in support.

    The reality is this Twitter activist group -- are the same people who reduced Stephanie Rice from a national hero to a blubbering wreck in just a few days because of the inadvertent use of a word. And this is what has happened here.



    It was totally wrong of me to do it on that day.

    If you just accept that I've been on Twitter seriously for one week. And I obviously underestimated it. I underestimated the vitriol. When I look at the vitriol, the obscene language, of the comments on that Twitter then I've got to say that I think that people are responding to the wrong part of society and allowing our media comment to be diverted off on a tangent which is representative of very minor views, and by people who are manipulating the media through this Twitter.

    END QUOTE
  6. My story yesterday for news.com.au is no doubt part of the media coverage Mr Wallace is referring to.

    It also included the word "slur" in the headline.

    You can read it below:
  7. In that story I gave Mr Wallace about ten paragraphs -- the bulk of the piece -- in which to explain his comment.

    I only mentioned the reaction on Twitter once.

    To suggest that his Anzac Day comment was newsworthy only because "Twitter activists" pounced on it is ridiculous.

    But what if it was true?

    A story about hundreds of people on Twitter finding a particular comment made by a high-profile person to be offensive would be valid as well.

    People on Twitter wanting to have their voices heard would be no more "manipulating the media" than the Australian Christian Lobby issuing press releases on controversial topics each and every week.

    Which it does -- I know because I am signed up to the mailing list.

    In fact, on the ACL website, there's even a weekly wrap-up of media mentions.

    Here's an example:
  8. The ACL is no stranger to having its opinions voiced in the media -- even on topics for which it holds the "minority view", such as R18+ video games.

    But when other people's views are expressed?

    That's "manipulation".
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