Jan 16, 2018

Channel Seven’s Summer of Nazis raises national security fears

The Seven Network giving airtime to far-right extremists makes the job of security agencies more difficult, at a time of a growing threat from neo-Nazi groups.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The Seven Network's extraordinary attempt to mainstream Nazi views by giving an uncritical platform to convicted criminal Blair Cottrell, leader of the far-right group United Patriots Front, has prompted concerns about the undermining of national security as intelligence agencies deal with the growing threat of neo-Nazi violence.

Seven's "news" report on Sunday, in which Cottrell was allowed to freely opine about the alleged "African gangs" issue in Melbourne as a legitimate Neighbourhood Watch-style community group, prompted widespread condemnation and social media derision, with the hashtag #7summerofnazis trending heavily.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

22 thoughts on “Channel Seven’s Summer of Nazis raises national security fears

  1. klewso

    But think of 7 – in their quest for selling air time ads off the back of controversy.
    They open this uncritical, incurious, unquestioning (as opposed to their querulous sceptical views on other matters) Pandor’a Box, that emboldens those of similar, if latent, mind that wouldn’t normally act out their dreams, to think such ideas are mainlining society, so they go ahead and “live the dream” :- 7 has another story?
    Not their “fault”?

    1. [email protected]

      Irresponsible, imbalanced “journalism” (a term I use for the sake of convenience) that will do exactly as you say. That someone is given a platform to spout nonsense and untruths, in our current societal mentality, to many, equates to fact and then they do as you say and blindly follow. Too lazy to employ any critical thought and investigate any counter to this person’s flimsy rationales.

  2. leon knight

    Well sadly the ABC is not so innocent either – I can’t believe how many times they replay video footage of the youth violence in Melbourne – that feeds into the community fear, and emboldens the armed militia mentality of those hateful “patriotic” groups.
    Shame on our Auntie too, and they can’t use odious revenue raising as an excuse, only trying to keep Turnbull, Dutton and Fifield out of their annual funding.

    1. Bill Hilliger

      Aunty is trying so hard to emulate Channels 7, 9 and 10. And according to many former Aunty followers they are getting more successful at alienating their former supporters. SBS anyone?

    2. [email protected]

      And guess who are on the ABC’s board? The presenters and some of the journalists are there because they do the bidding of the right wingers on the board. The others, are gone, now. The LNP just love what they’ve done to our national broadcaster. Not always in the power of those at the coalface to dictate content.

  3. JQ

    I would have thought the usual principle here would have been to give Cottrell sufficient rope with which to hang himself. If the journalists (lolz) involved did not ask sufficiently probing questions, then it’s fair to state they failed to provide even a modicum of journalistic integrity.

    Having not watched the segment, I hesitate to comment further, however consider the following: these people are out there. Is censoring or de-platforming their viewpoint going to eradicate it? I think not, and I would argue there is sufficient evidence to assert the opposite – that driving these views underground allows them to fester and propagate.
    Having a sophisticated discussion about why such views are unacceptable, and by offering alternatives – both to their contributing factors and to viable solutions – is precisely the corrective that is necessary.

    Shielding people from dangerous ideas does not make them “safer”; it enfeebles them. We need to be exposed to these ideas so that we can counter them forthrightly and effectively. Ideas are “mainstreamed” through a process of mass acceptance. Reckon Cottrell and his ilk have the capacity to convince Australians of the purity of their positions? Well, if the current level of political/media debate is anything to go by…

    1. AR

      Agree that they should not be ignored and that, allowed to run off at the mouth, that inevitably they will piss off & alienate more people than they attract.
      Oxygen is the best disinfectant.

      1. rhwombat

        Sunshine…but I take your point.

        1. AR

          Perhaps I was too arch – litotes and all.
          Let’s settle on exposure to ridicule.

    2. [email protected]

      It’s interesting because I saw Cotterill on a panel that included 2 other more moderate versions of himself, 2 Muslim Australian women, and an Australian academic who had conducted research about multiculturalism. Cotterill constantly interrupted the other panelists (as they sometimes did to him) but he constantly complained about the interruption with his reciprocal behaviour’s irony apparently lost on him. He denied the facts offered from the methodologically sound, longitudinal research conducted by the academic and distorted facts about Islam when arguing with the 2 Muslim people. Yet, I watched this on a right wing Youtube channel that crowed about how he “destroys a panel of Muslims” So, it seems that the message is not getting through and many right wing thinkers are not thinking at all when it seemed (at least to me) that Cotterill presented as a domineering and dismissive figure, touting snapshots of Islam in order to serve his purpose but easily dismantled – if only he had not kept interrupting.

    3. [email protected]

      I agree. Give him the space to speak but have calm and reasonable opponents or his followers will feel their/his position is validated.

  4. mikeb

    I didn’t see the news bulletin but I assume there were no opposing views?

  5. Draco Houston

    After watching 7 news for your nightly dose of culture wars and puff pieces on neo-nazis stay tuned for a marathon of cop shows.

  6. John Hall

    Hey, the Press also reported the crap from Turnbull & Dutton show who tried to win a few votes in Victoria from the Loony Tunes Alt Right. I expect most Victorians saw right through the ex Qld cops pathetic racism – shame on Turball though, his nose must need reducing surgery every night.

  7. AR

    So often when BK writes about something other than Canberra conniptions he shows that he has little, if any, understanding of the real world.
    His constant resorting to knee jerk nasturtium casting, name calling and tired clichés is very unedifying and utterly devoid of useful content.
    Cobblers & lasts spring to mind.

  8. Culture Warrior

    This coming on top of the platform given to Hanson suggests that there are elements at 7 actively promoting fascism. Time to boycott their advertisers.

    1. Tom Jones

      They are also actively promoting sexism via their behaviour in pursuing a victim of sexual harassment.
      For two weeks of the year they have tennis so it is strange that it is during this period that they decide to go with uncritical promotion of criminals. But uncritical promotion did help Trump and the Hansonites get elected. There may be a plan to create news of fear and hate to help ratings.

  9. Itsarort

    Perhaps if these young Sudanese people sold some serious drugs, bought a Harley and donned some colours, maybe they’d automatically be less visible – a lot noisier of course, but less visible…

  10. [email protected]

    Convicted arsonist, stalker, admitted user of anabolic steroids, proudly admits on social media that he uses fear and intimidation with women and when watched on media forums; interrupts all other commenters, complains when the same is done to him, denies facts, distorts other facts and provides inaccurate information to support his own arguments. I think he is a greater threat to public safety than the people he demonises.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details