Journalist Margot Kingston has accused Alan Jones of engaging in a smear campaign against Al Jazeera, after he sided with Pauline Hanson in the aftermath of the media organisation’s How to Sell a Massacre documentary.
- Jones says at no time did Pauline Hanson accept money from the US gun lobby
- He says he is “concerned” about the credibility of Al Jazeera as “an arm of the Qatari Government”
- Jones says the ABC is “seemingly in bed” with Al Jazeera
In a heated exchange during the ABC’s Campaign Trail program last night, Jones and Kingston — formerly of the Sydney Morning Herald but now a citizen journalist — clashed over the broadcaster’s comments where he accused the state-backed broadcaster of being a front for the Qatari Government.
When Jones was asked if he believed Senator Hanson following her statement that her comments during the documentary were edited and the documentary was a “sting”, Jones said: “Yes, I do”.
“The statement was quite credible,” he said.
“[Pauline Hanson] made it quite clear, and I do believe her, that many overtures were made to her by this fellow [the undercover journalist Rodger Muller] allegedly on behalf of the National Rifle Association to go to America to address some sportsman’s conference,” he said.
“She also made it quite clear that she rejected those overtures but they kept coming, so she chose to send two of her own people over there.
“At no time did she accept money.”
Senator Hanson this week attacked the media for reporting the documentary, which showed her appearing to suggest the Port Arthur massacre was part of a government conspiracy.
The footage also showed senior One Nation figures discussing soliciting political donations from American gun lobbyists.
Senator Hanson’s chief of staff James Ashby and One Nation Queensland leader Steve Dickson were captured on secret recordings that revealed both men wanted millions of dollars in donations from the NRA and discussed softening the party’s policies on gun ownership.
Jones went on to criticise the Al Jazeera documentary and the ABC for screening it.
“I think it’s a bit rough that we start accepting the edicts, dictates and judgements of Al Jazeera, this is an arm of the Qatari Government [who] believe in public floggings and genital mutilation of women and so on,” he said.
“I’d be a bit concerned about any credibility they might have.
“[And] here is the national broadcaster, the ABC, seemingly in bed with this outfit, Al Jazeera, representing a government which has an awful record in relation to human rights and the treatment of women [and] we suddenly want to accept an authority on all of this.”
The comments spurred Kingston into action, describing them as an “amazing smear” on Al Jazeera.
“It was formed by senior journalists around the world, it complies with the BBC code of ethics,” she said.
“This was a genuine undercover investigation by an extremely senior journalist in which One Nation asked if he could help them get to the NRA and give donations.
“This sort of smear that you engage in all the time is ludicrous.
“I’ve called you out on your lies, and you can’t take it, simple.”
Host Brigid Glanville then brought in ABC political reporter Patricia Karvelas to break up the two sparring commentators, with Jones replying, “thank God for that”.
“Margot, I didn’t come across town tonight to listen to a lecture from you if you don’t mind,” he said.
“We’re invited here to discuss certain matters, we can actually do without you lecturing everyone here.”
Peter Charley, the Australian journalist behind the documentary, said yesterday he would release all of the footage collected over months of investigation that formed the two-part series.
He has also defended the project, and said James Ashby wanted to meet with the NRA and was not enticed to meet with them.
“I’d be absolutely delighted to release all [of the footage],” Charley said on Channel 7.
However, there has been no word on how or when this will take place.
Watch the Al Jazeera investigation on iview.