Complaint against Mike Carlton dismissed

September 19, 2010 Agencies
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Judy Maynard took offence at two articles written by Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton on June 12 and 19 and registered a complaint with the Press Council. The complaint has been dismissed.

On June 12, Carlton described what he calls the Jewish Lobby as “a ferocious beast” which “lunges from its lair, fangs bare” and  that “the Israel lobby, worldwide, is orchestrated in jerusalem by a department in the Prime Minister’s”.

A week later, Carlton wrote that “the Jewish lobby spent much of last week assuring anybody who would listen that there is no such thing as a Jewish lobby”.

In the report published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Judy Maynard is said to have attempted to contact Carlton but received no reply. She backed that up with letters to the SMH which were not published.

The Herald reported that Maynard’s complaint stated that, “whereas Carlton had a right to to express his opinion but the items contained “anti-Semitic elements and bring opprobrium on Jews through the use of racial imagery”.

The Herald denied the allegations of anti-Semitism  and proffered evidence showing that many of the emails received by Carlton had content originating from a department in the Israeli government.

The Press Council acknowledged that Carlton’s columns were strongly critical and that some readers would have been offended but emphasised that causing offence does not, in itself, justify a complaint being upheld.

The Herald statement said that the newspaper was satisfied that balance had been provided through the publication of letters critical of Mr Carlton.

The Council, in dealing with the accuracy of Carlton’s assertions did not consider his reference to “a Jewish lobby” or “an Israel lobby” had been an assertion of fact about all critics of his views and ot did not consider that his claims of co-ordination on a more limited scale had been shown to be incorrect.

Judy Maynard, following the dismissal of her complaint, told J-Wire: “The focus of my complaint was very narrow: it was not about Israel, Gaza, or the existence of the Jewish lobby, but about the language used by Mike Carlton to describe Jews. Although the Press Council says the columns of June 12 and 19 related to the Gaza flotilla, they were actually an attack on his critics – whom he identified as Jews – some of whom had written rude and offensive emails.

My complaint centred on his depiction of Jews as savage fanged beasts, which I argued was a crude anti-Semitic caricature, not “colourful” as the SMH contended. I also said that Mr Carlton falsely asserted that all criticism emanated from a centralised foreign agency.

The Press Council’s statement, that I “complained about use of the term “Jewish lobby” as depicting advocates for that cause as being “sinister”, is plain wrong. Rather, I said “I do not claim there is no Jewish lobby”, but, given that members of many lobby groups coordinate their efforts, why does Mr Carlton “denounce the Jewish lobby, even to the extent of using language that depicts it as sinister.”

The APC found the complaint of anti-Semitism was not made out because the SMH had not placed “gratuitous emphasis on a particular ethnicity, religion or nationality” but I had not claimed this. My complaint was based on the use of “racist imagery, factually incorrect statements, and the resorting to anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jewish behaviour”.

I made it clear I was not opposing Mr Carlton’s right to express his opinion, but resorting to racism is another matter.”


3 Responses to “Complaint against Mike Carlton dismissed”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    Careful Rita: you could be accused of “racial imagery”.
    The mind boggles.

  2. Ian Grinblat says:

    This is not about Mike Carlton, but about the refusal of “intelligent’ people (presumably the members of the Press Counsil are intelligent) to look at antisemitism and denounce it as they would any racism.
    Judy’s complaint was indeed narrow although it might better be described as closely defined and the Press Council chose to extend the scope of the complaint and defend a “favourite “No, No,not Mike – he’s no antisemite.”
    Had Judy made a wider, more indefinite complaint, the result would have been no better – the press and public are quite unreasonably obsessed with Jews and Israel – “Is Julia soft on Israel?” “Should Julia’s partner work for a Jew?” etc, etc. Does anyone remembes the grilling given to Frank Lowy when he bought Channel 10? Given that in recent times many governments in NSW have been brought down by shock-jocks on purely domestic issues, was the intense interest in Lowy’s stance on Israel warranted?

  3. Rita Liddle says:

    Anybody still reads that clapped-out old wanna-be Lothario, Carlton? Even if he wasn’t a Jew-hater from way back, he has so little relevance these days that he has to kiss the bum of the only employer who will still have him and do their bidding.

    As to the “Press Council”: I wonder who sat on it when they were reaching one of their foregone conclusions…

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