“Tony Abbott Worst PM in History” lacks Irony: Paul Sheehan lacks grip on reality!

Paul Sheehan devoted two columns to a Facebook group called, “Tony Abbott Worst PM in Australian History.”

Now, I’ve always thought that there are certain opinion writers who set out to make themselves controversial in much the same way that shock jocks work. There’s no point in saying something reasonable; controversy and angry argument sells. If the topic is about doctors prescribing too many drugs because of kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies, we don’t want people who’ll rationally discuss both sides, we want someone who believes in alternative medicine against a representative from a multinational drug company. So I had mixed feelings about giving Paul Sheehan any attention at all.

But there was one thing that gnawed away at me. It’s a concept that I think is worth fighting for. The idea that everyone has a right to participate in the democratic process. Paul Sheehan wrote: “But, otherwise, this site is fake on every level. It is the work a single social activist troll, which means unemployed, who shall remain nameless at this point.”

I am reminded of the late Lionel Murphy, who, when presiding over court case where it was stated that the defendant was a “well-known agitator”, made the wonderful statement: “Mr Neal, is entitled to be an agitator.” The idea that the site was “a fake” because it was the work of someone unemployed, or because they were an activist is part of an argument that I’m sure we’ll here a lot of over the next three years. We’ll be told no-one is really opposed, it’s just the greenies or the unions or the usual suspects or professional demonstators. (“Where does one apply to be a professional demonstrator? – I’d like to get paid!)

So, I set about to get the other side of the story. Who was this unemployed male who acting alone, but who had enough money to pay for likes? Mm. Straight away something doesn’t make sense. So I decided to get more information.

In order to keep their identity from the right wing nutters, I asked I suggested that I call the creator of the page, “Trevor”. She was ok with this, but thought a more feminine name would suit her. So I suggested that I call her, “Carrie”.

So, would you like to comment on Paul Sheehan’s article?

Despite what Sheehan has concluded, I am, in fact NOT a male. I am in fact, a single white female in my early 40’s. I don’t fit into any of the stereotypes scribbler Sheehan has described. I work full time and have done so for 30 years (I started work at 13). I am a member of a union and have been for most of my life.

Well, Paul Sheehan isn’t a journalist so I guess he didn’t have time to check his facts. Wait, is he a journalist? Ah, doesn’t matter, I’ve got a deadline.

When did you set up the Facebook page?

I actually set up the page back in March 2013 and had hoped I wouldn’t have to use it. I activated it on the night of the federal election. Within 12 hours the page received 150,000 likes (not one of them paid for). 

What do you want to achieve?

At first I just wanted the page to be a piss take on “Julia Gillard – Worst PM” and really only expected a few hundred likes, mostly from my friends. Now that it has exploded,  I want to be able to offer a “safe haven” (as best I can) for people to be able to post their anger and frustration about Abbott and his government without the standard hate filled vitriolic responses one usually receives on “pro” Abbott pages. 

I noticed a post where you said that any racist comments would be removed and the people making them banned from the site. Are there any other rules about who can comment and what they can say? 

There are no rules as such and to be honest, for a page with our numbers, it is very hard to police.  I do not allow racism as I absolutely abhor it.  I make no apology for singling that out but we do also monitor sexist comments and hate filled speech.  I have also asked our moderators to delete any comments they see that contain any references to assassinating Abbott.  I have 9 moderators and they are all real life friends with the exception of 3 who are Facebook friends of friends. 

I suppose that you read the Paul Sheehan article. Any comments?

Sheehan’s opinion is not one I have ever valued. He is unashamedly Liberal biased.  I don’t have any time for Murdoch’s minions and long for the day when journalists with integrity return to the fore. Sheehan may think the content of the page is fake but therein lays the true irony.  Much of what we post comes from the media outlets he works for.

I’m not sure how people having the ability to post what they like on a Facebook page is a display of closed mindedness. On the contrary. Isn’t it our democratic right to form our own opinions and share our thoughts and ideas? Our members have had enough of the en masse brain washing that has occurred for the best part of the last 5 or 6 years via our one sided mainstream media.  They are looking for an alternative voice which is why pages like ours are so popular.  It is why people are turning to AIMN, Independent Australia and The Guardian for unbiased reporting.  Or at least, the other side of the debate. Balance.

And as for his charge that you a buying “likes”?

I’m sorry to disappoint Sheehan but not one of our likes is fake. Yes we have some members who use fake profiles but they are usually Liberal trolls too ashamed to post under their real names with their real pictures. We flick them pretty quick.  I know it would be convenient to Sheehan for our page to be bolstered by fake likes but the reality is, we didn’t need to buy our members.  Unlike of course Tony Abbott with his unusual overnight number explosions on Twitter and Facebook.  Yes it is most inconvenient that Abbott is just not well liked. Not well liked at all.

It seems to me that many of the accusations from Paul Sheehan were easily verifable. He, for example, suggests that the group’s number of Facebook likes is “bogus”. He gives no reason for such a conclusion, and  it seems he’s either misinformed or just being provocative in the hope of gaining attention. Rather sad really, when someone with a column in a widely read newspaper feels that the most important subject that they can discuss is their inability to believe that there are 166,000 people who are opposed to Abbott. Personally, I believe – and I think my beliefs are just as good as yours, Paul – that the figure 166,000 is rather low. I could cite evidence, but that’s not what an opinion piece is about, is it, Mr Sheehan?



Categories: Rossleigh

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50 replies

  1. (“Where does one apply to be a professional demonstrator? – I’d like to get paid!)
    You could try asking Tony Abbott – I believe we were paying him when he stood in front of the ‘ditch the witch banner’.

  2. Thanks, Peter F.
    My other thought was Alan Jones when he stood in front of the Convoy of No Consequence.

  3. I’m always perplexed that Sheehan is still published. Considering the whole “Unique Water” fiasco, you’d think he’d have been finished up long ago and deposited on the odious fringe alongside Larry Pickering.

    http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s1335453.htm

  4. I loved the reference to journalists with intergrity. The look on Laurie’s face when it was suggested he and news corp journalists lacked integrity and any freedom of the press due to control by employers like rupert and 9 was priceless and his reply hollow in the face of rupert’s et al indignant display and bleating during labor’s media bills in march. Sad that Labor leadership ‘crap’ is still going between two men who dumped a PM because she was a woman rather than dumping a lemon and attacking a misogynist in 2010.

  5. I honestly think she ought to have written to Sheehan’s editor and demanded a retraction and/or apology, but I guess the letter would have gone to the wrong place is she thinks he’s a Murdoch man. Sheehan is a man whose retirement ought to have happened half a lifetime ago. Let’s face it, he’s a teeny bit batshit.

  6. Paul Sheehan….what else need be said. Except that Sheehan is of absolutely no consequence in the world of true journalism. he is no better than a hooker….or perhaps a hooker is better than him. A hooker after all does an honest job for an honest dollar….unlike that mega fraud and Liberal toadie, Paul Sheehan whose idea of truth and fact in journalism is fairly closely aligned to any number of repressive regimes around the world.
    The other thing I find disturbing about all of this is the right’s tendency to pour venom and scorn on anyone who’s ideas do not coincide with theirs. Play the man not the ball is their regular creed.Democracy? Fffffft.

  7. We really have to thank Paul Sheehan for making us aware of this facebook page. It gave me an opportunity to get to know about it and to join in. It certainly is a page well worth visiting. Thanks Michael for picking up on this.

  8. very few journalist left with true integrity…sad indeed but again they suffer with the worst incurable disease in our society GREED…..but there is also still some left……and if Murdoch was not in control quite a few would come back to being human beings and reporting what is truth and being able to report how they see TRUTH

  9. Actually Ross the inaccuracies/lies are worse than you have stated. For a few years I have been a member of a fb page called “Tony Abbott Will Never Be Prime Minister” which, after the election, changed its name to “Don’t blame me I didn’t vote for Tony Abbott”. It is a wonderful page which provides excerpts and links to articles from a very broad range (including those published here) and encourages informed debate, engaging many people in politics for the first time. Sheehan mixed up different pages. This was how the story was covered on the fb page. I would encourage people to visit the page and form their own judgement

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dont-blame-me-I-didnt-vote-for-Tony-Abbott/274330505796

    1. Paul Sheehan wrote a piece in the SMH today (Sept 23), which refers to this FB page. It is factually inaccurate in every reference to our page. He said:

    “‘Tony Abbott – Worst PM in Australian History” does have a real community of supporters who make real comments. But, otherwise, this site is fake on every level. It is the work a single social activist troll, which means unemployed, who shall remain nameless at this point.

    “He first set up a Facebook page, ”Tony Abbott Will Never Be Prime Minister”. Miraculously, the number of ”likes” for the page grew exponentially even though the growth was wildly out of proportion to the number of comments, which were a trickle. The growth then suddenly stopped. When the troll’s prediction that Abbott would never be prime minister did not pan out, he simply rebadged the page and Abbott became the worst prime minister in history before he had even been sworn in.”

    The facts 1. Our page was set up in Jan 2010 and steadily built members. 2. It was run by a HE and a SHE. 3. We have had thousands of comments per week over that 3.5 years. 4. Growth never stopped. 5. We did not rename ourselves as he claims. First, he has the name wrong. Second, FB pages are not “simply re-badged, it takes take several weeks to get approval from FB. 6. B1 was not operating alone, and is NOT a “social activist troll, which means unemployed”.

    2. PLEASE NOTE: The SMH has edited the Sheehan article which contains inaccuracies about THIS Fb page. The hard copy has the original text. We are now pushing for a published correction/ apology.

    3. (Sept 26) “Fakes, Trolls and Counterfeit Politics”

    Page members may recall the scurrilous rant of Paul Sheehan in the SMH last Monday (titled as above). Mr Sheehan made various claims about this page, its members and admins- all false. No attempt had been made to authenticate this information.

    We approached the SMH regarding this, and the on-line version was quickly edited. However, the hard copy remained. Our complaints led to the offer of either a 150 word letter OR a correction published by the paper.

    A few problems with that. It insisted that any letter contain a name and address. B2 was willing to allow name to be published, but we found the address part very unreasonable. The correction was to be buried at the bottom of page 2, and had conditions attached that were not acceptable. We knocked back both offers.

    All pretty poor form, seems these papers can publish whatever they like and yet those who have been the subject of falsehoods must agree to a resolution which is inadequate or in this case, exposes individuals to risk.

    So we will post our response here instead.

    LETTER TO MR PAUL SHEEHAN/SMH:

    We refer to story by Paul Sheehan “Fakes, Trolls and Counterfeit Politics” (23rd September). We are the administrators of Facebook site “Don’t Blame Me, I didn’t Vote for Tony Abbott” (previously named Tony Abbott Will Never Be Prime Minister”’). Mr Sheehan authored information about our site which was, in ALL respects false. This is ironic given the title of his story, and raises questions regarding the veracity of other information contained in the piece.

    The purpose of his story appears to be to attack social media. It is, sadly, true that new media attracts, under the veil of anonymity, a breed of abusive keyboard warriors. However, Mr Sheehan appears to overlook the insulting and false nature of his own claims which are, frankly, little better.

    Our site is closely moderated and aims to provide a forum for discussion of issues, policy and politics- no more, no less. Social media is not going anywhere Mr Sheehan. Lift your game.”

  10. If ‘fake’ is Sheehan’s area of expertise he should start by looking in the mirror.

  11. Their wounds need attending to – Where is the salt when you need it – Bugger

  12. What are people doing using their time responding to raving loopies whose idea of truth is the blatant lie? What could be gained by this? Why take on the burden of reforming a pathology and malignancy beyond redemption?
    We have a Government from the fascist fringe. Let’s get it out of power, by informing that “swinging” proportion of the electorate how misinformed and misled they were to vote for these fiends. Entering into contests with deranged columnists will not help.

  13. “But there was one thing that gnawed away at me. It’s a concept that I think is worth fighting for. The idea that everyone has a right to participate in the democratic process.”

    Yes, Ross, This is indeed a concept for which it is worth fighting and I applaud you for this underlying thesis in your article.

    This is important to me for it seems that “participation” is seen as fulfilled by possession of the franchise, i.e. – that you can vote – fulfills the democratic requirement of participation.

    This was, of course, never true. From the very beginning of the Westminster system, the most privileged were automatically allotted parliamentary seats – indeed a whole house to themselves – and the lower house was commonly filled by people who had purchased votes to see themselves “elected”.

    Effectively, it is no different in modern democracies. Obama’s campaign cost more than any other in history at a price of over 1 billion dollars. Most US presidents have come from a handful of families. Australia is little different, being still tied to the absurdity of a hereditary monarchy; having governor’s general with powers to dismiss a government; and the ability of wealthy individuals or organisations to manipulate the media and levels of advertising and political air-space so as to create a view of society that they believe will benefit their interests, regardless of whether it actually corresponds with the truth.

    For true strength, therefore, it seems to me that democracy needs much more than “a right to participation”. I would suggest that it needs a “desire to participate”; “a populace knowledgeable about the political process”; “an equitable opportunity for all points of view to be heard”; and “an electoral process that results in a parliamentary membership that, as closely as practicable, reflects the voter support for particular political viewpoints.”

    Yes, I know – that is a far cry and perhaps a tenuous and idealistic vision that has only a slim chance of coming into being. However, it seems to me to reflect the fundamental issue within your article – one much more important than the behaviour and rhetoric of any particular individual who chooses to contribute to the debasement of democracy by deceit. Had the recent election been undertaken in a democratic environment such as I have suggested truly defines the concept, then the outcome would have been very different, even if not one vote had changed; though it is hard to imagine that votes would have been directed in the same way had all political views had access to equitable airing.

  14. Unfortunately People Like Paul Sheehan Andrew Bolt, And A few others Unworthy of Mention And throw in The Shock Jocks who are a breed to themselves, Are Paid By their Bosses, Murdoch being the Most Notorious To Inform Us Lesser lights How wonderful and Safe we are Now that Tony Abbott and his Gang are running the Show, As we all Know Abbott Led a Charmed Life with No scrutiny whatever during the Election Campaign And Have no fear that Routine will Continue WHY has there Been No Questions asked about The Turn Back the Boats Threat, I haven’t seen any Newspaper report about Abbotts Back flip ,Retreat, Bootlicking , Toe sucking Solution, Not a word, IF he had somehow Miraculously Plucked up some Courage to even Ask And Got a Positive Outcome It would Have been all over the Media , This Man Has No Shame, Claiming to Be the Infrastructure PM When In fact a lot of Major Projects are already Underway, as it takes years of Planning to Prepare a Project before the First Sod can be Turned,, In Other words His Latest Bluster about the New Connection Road through Sydney Wont Be Started for many Years,, More BS, Now watch out for Joe Hockey Telling us There Is In Fact No Budget Emergency After All, Sites Like this One Are Our Only way to Get our Points Of view out there, Let People Like Sheehan Complain, I Say SOD EM

  15. Sheehan was for sure “Riled” and got upset over the attacks and hate of Abbott. I was pleased to see him annoyed and serves him right for his bias

  16. Contrast the fair dinkum Facebook efforts by this dedicated woman to the behaviour of a Murdoch media “journalist” which Bob Brown has called out on his Facebook post shown below:

    [Bob Brown
    last Thursday
    A story by Lanai Scarr in the Murdoch media was brought to my attention this afternoon. It is untrue. This untrustworthy journalist, who has never enquired of me about mining in the Tarkine, global warming or the state of the planet, somehow got my home phone number yesterday morning to pepper me, with questions about good friends of mine, including Christine Milne and Ben Oquist.
    This I refused to do with a repeated ‘no comment’. Her construction that this derogates from my longterm high regard for Christine is fabricated and false.
    I am retired and have a modest right to confine my political commentary these days. But that modesty does not forbid any courteous request that I comment further on either Mr Murdoch or his servant Ms Scarr.
    Bob Brown]

  17. Date of the Bob Brown’s comment I posted was 27 September.

  18. There are professional agitators, social activist trolls in the MSM, Twitter and Facebook: Rupert Murdoch, Col Allan, Miranda Devine, Gerard Henderson, Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, Chris Kenny, Andrew Bolt, Janet Albrechtsen, Dennis Shanahan, Piers Akerman … who have I missed? Oh, yes, Paul Sheehan.

  19. love to read a reply here from your friend Sheehan….it would be priceless

  20. It’s kind of amusing and sad that the MSM can publish falsehoods and things yet to be fact checked.
    It’s no longer news but opinion.

    The more of this they publish, the less the rest is worth, degrading their brand.

    Yet despite this they rake in money as people quite happily buy it.

    I don’t mind reading AIMN though, it’s free and of higher quality overall.

  21. Paul Sheehan who ????? a nobody

  22. Great article, good to see the other side is starting to get done coverage to bring some balance back. Shame the mainstream publications are still largely ignoring it.

  23. While it is good that someone is moderating the Murdoch Media and reporting it on this page this is the only site we should be finding out what is written because the sooner the majority boycott the Murdoch Media the sooner it goes down the gurgler and fools of the ilk of Sheehan and his cronies will be out on the streets where they belong.

  24. The only ‘fakes’ I see around here are Sheehan and Abbott

  25. Sheehan writes a column, gets paid, expects people to make comments about HIS point of view he’s written about! I’m laughing…he wishes he would get 160,000 likes but struggles to get a small handful so attacks these facebook pages out of envy! Strange though how he plays ‘selective journalism’ & ignored the Julia Gillard hate pages or doesn’t write about that hateful Larry Pickering
    In fact, he’s done a great favour to alert his readers that there’s an ALTERNATIVE….hehehe
    Free advertising guys….your numbers are on the increase thanks to Sheehan 🙂

  26. I found a blog by someone the other night that was anti- climate change and was filled with hate and anger at Professor Tim Flannery and Dr David Suzuki. They were carrying on about Suzuki’s appearance on ABC Q&A the other night. They were swearing a lot using the F bomb and C Bomb and making a lot of cracks about different brands of motorcycles etc and telling Dr Suzuki to F off. I decided to make a comment on their blog. I proceeded to tell them to F off you bunch of uneducated trolls etc and then posted it. It was up for a while on the screen after I posted it with “this has to be moderated first”. When I came back 10 minutes later it was not longer there. It is obvious to me that you are allowed swear on the blog but only if you agree with them and don’t call them uneducated.

  27. Just for the sake of accuracy I’d like point out again that Sheehan does not work for Murdoch. He’s a Fairfax columnist

  28. I’m proud to say I’m a follower of that page and my “like” is very real indeed, because I firmly believe the page time is 100% accurate.

    History will show Abbott to have been the most dangerous and divisive of Prime Ministers this country has ever seen and his government malignant in their agenda to dismantle our democracy, our hard won rights, to strip our assets and to despoil our environment.

    The right-wing love dishing it out but can’t tolerate any criticism in return.

  29. Just saw some of Scott Morrison, giving a press release on TA’s trip to Indonesia, and the outcome for asylum seekers. It looked very much like he was reading verbatim from a prepared statement. The question it raised in my mind was, just how much centralised control is in store during this term? Who wrote the release and just who is pulling what strings. Given the lack of transparency prior to the election, the centralisd vetting of media releases, the lack of accountability placed on the LNP prior to the election, by MSM, how much danger are we in of having some sort of dictatorship which will not accept scrutiny or responsibility? .

  30. Pretty easy to compare the obvious truths in this organisation to the plain fabrications coming out of the Murdoch Bile Factory.

  31. Hmmm. maybe TA will no be our worst Prime Minister but weak lackey Tony Abbott and worst dictator (still to be properly determined>

  32. I believe she did ask for a retraction. They changed the online version but made no apology for the paper version.

  33. Imagine if the media was ranked like a ‘My School’s’ website, based on accuracy of reporting, research, bias, choice, etc so that people could make a decision about where to invest their money & time. Where would any of the Murdoch press rate? Which ‘journalists’ wouldn’t achieve their performance based pay? Free press? Not even close.

  34. The Murdoch press is indeed execrable. That said, isn’t Sheehan a typist for Fairfax?

  35. Reblogged this on The Kettle Press and commented:
    Isn’t it fascinating when they (the opposite believers) seek you out just to attack you for having your own opinion? Not only that, they make wild and unsubstantiated claims as if they only are the purveyors of truth and knowledge. I have been called a bleeding heart more than once through my life, because I care about others and about animals. My response, these days, is ‘Thank you, it’s kind of you to notice, but please explain why you think it’s a bad thing to care outside myself or my circle?’ I’m still waiting for an answer.

  36. Typical reporter Shane
    Who felt nothing for any ones pain
    Good/Bad News the sick twit
    Would write some bullshit
    But just for financial gain.

  37. The Libs elected by Media and luck
    After 3 days were coming unstuck
    With their Policies planned
    Getting right out of hand
    Caused by all Abbott’s lying the Shmuck.

  38. Tony Abbott raves on and on
    About his record he claims is spot on
    So before your sucked in
    With his political spin
    Read: PHONEYTONYABBOTT.COM

  39. Big thank you to Carrie for starting and maintaining the face book page. I really enjoy it. Thanks also to Ross for once again arming us with facts and solid arguments. – Great article and interview Rossleigh.

  40. To gain power was Abbott’s great itch
    And as PM mollycoddle the rich
    But he’ll wake up one morn
    And realise he’s a pawn
    And will always be Murdoch’s bitch.

    With most of the Media on side
    Abbott can afford to look snide
    As they do him the favour
    To heap shit onto Labour
    They’ll do anything for Murdoch’s Bride.

    Murdoch’s Media use all their means
    To gloss over Abbott’s pipe dreams
    In an effort to paint
    The rogue as a saint
    And support all his uncosted schemes

  41. You surely can’t polish a turd, but thanks to journ’os like Sheehan,you can roll it in glitter

  42. People like Sheehan are all too eager to attack dissenting views on alternative media sites through the rags they work for, but never have the guts to front up and justify their arguments.

    dave the brickie,
    Under all that glitter it’s still a turd.

  43. I rather lost faith in Paul Sheehan’s judgement many years ago when he got involved in promoting a panacea called unique water or ‘magic water’ – Google Paul Sheehan and magic water and you will find plenty of information. Needless to say, the water was not magic. To my mind, Sheehan has once again had the wool pulled over his eyes, this time by ‘magic Abbott, the invisible PM’. Sheehan is a gullible and biased writer and I believe the Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax) keeps him for ‘balance’ (so-called)

  44. Of course Abbott is the worst Australian PM in history – he achieved that feat by moving from the worst Federal Opposition Leader in history….he’s had years of demonstrating that he will almost always go to the lowest common denominator. He will do nothing for the environment other than trash it, as he will the NBN and countless other services. We face at least three years of the most useless greedy and morally corrupt Federal Government in Australia’s history.

  45. Just visited the FB page, if not for this article and the fact that Paul Sheehan is a tool I wouldn’t have any interest at all in even looking at a place like that, they now have my “like” and a few comments. I hope they likes by the thousand

  46. “There is little doubt that with the new role and responsibility of being PM, Abbott is changing his tune. Not just on the issue of asylum-seekers but also when confronting debt, economic news, the need for infrastructure development and, perhaps next, in terms of his willingness to compromise to secure Senate support for Coalition policies. ”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/jakarta-friendly-abbott-is-chutzpah-on-steroids/story-fn53lw5p-1226733105296#

  47. Only 160,000 opposed to Abbott? Sheehan can’t believe that? Did he see the primary vote results of the election and how many people went against Abbott?

  48. The sooner the last bastions of the mainstream-media go broke and disappear (I’m talking about you, Fairfax and News Corp), the better for everybody.

    The output of Paul Sheehan and his ilk is utterly worthless; actually, it’s worse… it has negative worth. It’s toxic. Why the readers of such garbage don’t realise that it’s just propaganda for the media-owners’ business interests is beyond me.

    In order to save journalism as a craft, current so-called journalism must die.

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