The Age’s Adelaide correspondent Penelope Debelle has filed a story (offline- but republished below) on Eureka Street’s publication of forged letters designed to appear that they were written by convicted terrorist David Hicks.
The left-wing publication, that scandalised Melbourne earlier this year when it anonymised its parent company Chairman’s letters to the editor on his favourite political party, writes that VEXNEWS was “duped” by the incendiary and disturbing comments published on the Eureka Street website.
Of course, all readers of that well-regarded website were deceived by the comments as Debelle herself acknowledges:
In the course of several postings, the person went to great lengths to appropriate Hicks’ identity, dropping clues that seemed to confirm it was him including that he had “not passed year 12” and tacitly confirming his familiarity with Guantanamo Bay, where Hicks was held for almost six years by the US military.
Consider the situation if The Age was publishing letters to the editor from “David Hicks” from his “undisclosed location” on the subject of the “Zionist entity” and, as Debelle explained, “appropriating” the identity of the infamous Hicks.
Would all readers be entitled to think it was the David Hicks? Of course they would.
The accusation that VEXNEWS, respected academic Dr Phillip Mendes and federal MP Michael Danby were the only ones deceived is bizarre and demonstrably false. But we welcome this free publicity and will pursue other cross-promotional opportunities in the future.