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Cathy O’Leary and Light for Riley peddling fake news again

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Tabloid reporter Cathy O’Leary (left) and Greg and Catherine Hughes (right)

Many of you will have already seen an article called Anti-vax trolls attack The Light for Riley immunisation social media site, which was published in the West Australian earlier this week.

Cathy O’Leary, the Medical Editor of The West Australian, and author of the article, is one of a stable of journalists that have been recruited by mandatory vaccination groups to promote their agenda, with great effect, since 2009.  In an appalling opinion piece published earlier this year, she argued that citizens with concerns about vaccination (whom she described as anti-vaccination) should have no say in laws which will adversely affect them.

You can read more in Myths & Methods of Mandatory Vaccinationists.

Light for Riley Facebook page was not hijacked

In her fake news article, O’Leary goes to great lengths to paint a picture of an orchestrated troll attack, when this couldn’t be further from the truth.  A Facebook post, which she refers to as a “shout-out to an anti-vaccination group to “go crazy on this shit” was originally made in a private, members only Facebook group called Anti-Vaccination Australia (AVA).  There was no suggestion by the poster for people to post comments on the Light For Riley Facebook page, and the only way that the Hughes and O’Leary could have seen this post is if they were members of the group.  Perhaps their good mate Reasonable Hank (Peter Tierney), who stalks members of private, members only mother’s groups, using female pseudonyms, shared the post with them.

Regardless, surely people are entitled to vent in their own forums, without being accused of trolling.

Despite O’Leary’s attempt to portray an orchestrated troll attack, only a single post stating “Go have a miscarriage” was provided in the article.  This single post was purportedly made by a Slovenian national, who is not, and has never been a member of AVA.

The Hughes were deeply disturbed but not straight away apparently

In the article, the Hughes said “the comments were deeply disturbing”, yet for some strange reason, the miscarriage post was not taken down until at least two and half hours after it was first detected.

In the picture below, are two screenshots of the post.  The top one, which was provided in the O’Leary article, shows the screenshot was taken three hours after it was posted, at which time, it had received 12 reactions.  The bottom one, which was tweeted by Light for Riley on 02 April, shows the screenshot was taken a mere 27 minutes after it was posted, at which time it had received only four reactions.

Screenshot from the article (top) and Light for Riley tweet (bottom)

The obvious question arises as to why the Hughes (or other admins) would have left the “deeply disturbing” post up for so long after it was first detected.  The AVN is regularly targeted by pro-vaccine trolls posting disturbing comments, including death threats, but we remove them immediately, and block the offenders.  Why didn’t the Hughes?


The answer would seem obvious – the whole thing was orchestrated to make so-called anti-vaxxers look bad, and to whip up their ignorant followers into a frenzy.

To sum up:

1. There was no coordinated attack on the the Light for Riley Facebook page.

2. There was a single offensive post by a Slovenian national, not connected with the Anti-Vaccination Australia Facebook group.

3. Greg and Catherine Hughes did not find this single post deeply disturbing, otherwise they would have removed it immediately, instead of leaving the post up for hours after first seeing it.

4. Cathy O’Leary and the Hughes are morally bankrupt.

Greg and Catherine Hughes – you should be ashamed of yourselves.  You are not honouring your child.  Please get over your obvious obsession with vaccine choice advocates.  We are not to blame for your misfortune, and would never advocate trolling your forums, unlike your associates from  Stop the AVN, who regularly troll ours.

This type of fake news is sooooo 2015 – it’s time for you to move on.

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