From last night’s Media Watch on ABC, “Today Tonight’s false facts fuel fear“:

With the government’s policy in chaos, a hundred and thirty-eight more asylum-seekers arrived at Christmas island over the weekend. But why is it such a huge political issue?

Partly, at least, because many Australians believe that boat-people are being treated far too generously.

If you’ve just watched Sarah Ferguson’s 4 Corners report on the effects of detention, you might find that hard to believe. But far more people watch Seven’s Today Tonight. And get a very different picture.

According to TT, asylum-seekers and refugees live in luxury, costing the taxpayer squillions…

Among other outrages in its dishonest and misleading report (click through to see Media Watch‘s full story), Today Tonight tried to turn the fact that after being accepted as a genuine refugee, someone is entitled to NewStart like any other Australian resident ($400 a fortnight) into a claim that refugees get twice that and then getting a response from ordinary Australians they’ve lied to about it.

Pensioner deceived by TT:

Pensioners would be disgusted if they knew. I’m sure they don’t know what’s going on with all these boat people and what this government’s giving them.

Pensioner after finding out that the “$400/week” figure is a lie:

[The reporter] showed me on his phone the video of that bloke saying he got $400 a week. Now that just got me very angry. …

I didn’t know he was getting $400 a fortnight. I think that’s very sad and Channel 7 should not do that…I would have preferred to have been told the truth.

As Jonathan Holmes noted, wouldn’t we all.

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