Irresponsible journalism surfaces yet again

A Surat Basin News journalist has likened firearm owners to conspiracy theorists in an article entitled How a gun story stirred the pot on media distrust’. Jenna Thompson referenced another article she wrote in The Daily Examiner which published the number of registered firearms in the Clarence Valley region of New South Wales.

The article, ‘Which Clarence Valley postcodes have the most guns?’ drew extensive backlash from the general readership and licensed firearm owners on Facebook who thought they were being portrayed unfairly.

• The Daily Examiner article on registered firearms.

One comment by Facebook user Jacquie Polsen said “If guns are owned legally there is no problem. Stop trying to scare monger [sic]”. Ms Thompson responded with her opinion piece saying she was “disappointed” but “not surprised” by the comments. “During times of uncertainty or when major tragedies unfold, suspicion toward our publication inevitably bubbles up on social media,” she wrote.

The article then linked unrelated issues such as the bushfire crisis and referenced controversial celebrity chef Pete Evans. “Our 2019 bushfire stories were declared Greens, Labor, Liberal, even Communist propaganda depending which Facebook comment you read. Early local coverage of the coronavirus was shot down as scaremongering, while a handful of local tragedies were labelled ‘fake news’.”

The SSAA is bitterly disappointed in how poorly Ms Thompson has portrayed licensed firearm owners as LAFO’s have once again been vilified in the media. The Association respectfully requests Ms Thompson reconsider such damaging comments in the future.

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