Leaked Video Shows Daily Mail Australia Editor Instructing Staff to ‘Rubbish’ the Vaccine Hesitant

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A photo illustration showing a copy of the Daily Mail newspaper in a letterbox on July 12, 2021 in London, England. Editor for the Australia branch of the publication, Barclay Crawford, in a leaked video of a conference call instructed staff to “call out the ‘anti-vaxx weirdos’” and to forgo journalistic standards in favor of serving as an establishment narrative propaganda outlet by “rubbishing their ridiculous claims.”
A photo illustration showing a copy of the Daily Mail newspaper in a letterbox on July 12, 2021 in London, England. Editor for the Australia branch of the publication, Barclay Crawford, in a leaked video of a conference call instructed staff to “call out the ‘anti-vaxx weirdos’” and to forgo journalistic standards in favor of serving as an establishment narrative propaganda outlet by “rubbishing their ridiculous claims.” (Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

An editor for one of the largest English-language news media websites in Australia was caught on video encouraging his staff to deliberately angle their writing to diminish and discount what he called “anti-vaxx” views. 

The Australian branch of Canadian independent media outlet Rebel News published a leaked video on July 21 dated July 16 which appears to show Barclay Crawford, Editor for Daily Mail Australia, speaking in an online meeting centered around promoting COVID-19 vaccination.

The video opens with Crawford thanking those on the call who’ve “got it,” adding, “You’re all champions.”

Crawford, who worked for the English-language, South China Morning Post, as a senior reporter and news editor from 2005 to 2010, got straight to the point, saying he wanted his staff to “Keep trying to run stories that, ummm, call out the ‘anti-vaxx weirdos’.” 

His instructions to Daily Mail writers was to angle their pieces to, “Point out why we need to get it and why it’s important and why we don’t want Australia regressing to some, you know…the reason we why have medicine and medical science is for things like this and it’s amazing and should be celebrated and not run down.”

The Editor, speaking with a blue cotton mask around his ears but tucked under his chin, told staff he knows they see a lot of dissenting comments posted in their articles “From people who should know better.”

Crawford talked about how at “these conferences” they’ve been talking “about ‘anti-vaxxers’,” adding “It’s extraordinary how many intelligent, otherwise well educated people” are spreading what he called a “disease, really,” clearly referencing vaccine hesitancy.

He told his staff “So it’s important we keep on top of it.”

Going one step further, Crawford instructed Daily Mail writers to forgo the traditional journalist standard where one goes to the source and looks for both sides of a story, examining the facts, and speaking to the truth of the issue as the public’s fourth estate. Instead he asked staff to play the role of a propaganda outlet for the establishment pro-vaccine narrative, “Just remember with your stories, always, if we’re doing something that is airing ‘anti-vaxx views’ make sure we’re also dismissing them in the story.” 

“Is that the right way to put it?” he asked rhetorically. “Dismissing them. Make sure your stories are, umm, rubbishing their ridiculous claims.”

On June 4, 2020, Daily Mail Australia was was celebrated by Media Week for becoming “the number #1 commercial news site in Australia for the first time since entering the market in 2014,” boasting 11.34 million unique viewers per month.

According to the article, Crawford said, “We never talk down to our audience and we are always listening and catering to their needs.”

Meanwhile, managing director Peter Holder claimed “This result is a testament to the hard work of our editorial team, which has not missed a beat or angle during this unprecedented run of news.”

The article read, “Laws have been implemented which effectively criminalise journalism and whistleblowing, even when wrongdoing or important information about government decisions are exposed,” over the previous two decades.

“The laws introduced in the name of national security but then used to protect governments from oversight and embarrassment were a threat to the public’s genuine right to know.”

“Daily Mail Australia is a firm believer that open and accountable government is fundamental to living in a healthy democracy,” said Crawford.

True rubbish

A July 26 examination of the Daily Mail Australia website showed this policy appeared to be in full force. One tabloid-style article took a particularly trashy approach to promoting vaccine acceptance when it framed Australian talk show host Carrie Bickmore’s admission she developed a “unusual but harmless lump” on her breast after accepting the Pfizer injection as a “VERY interesting change to her top half after getting a Covid jab.”

“The lively discussion on Monday night’s program was sparked by reports that some women who had the Pfizer jab claimed their breasts have since grown due to swollen lymph nodes,” read the piece.

In another article piece, the tabloid ran a hit piece on citizens who participated in massive anti-lockdown protests across the country during the weekend of July 25 after enduring five weeks of full lockdown resulting from a minor handful of cases. The article was titled “Anti-lockdown loons plan ANOTHER protest after disgracing the nation…Police assemble biggest strike force in a decade to ‘hold these grubs to account’.”

Participants in the weekend protests drew aggressive condemnation from Australian government officials. They also endured threats of a full digital-surveillance backed investigation and calls for the public to snitch on friends, family, and co-workers who attended from police officials.

“Police had been monitoring encrypted messaging platform Telegram as early as May before the protests erupted,” the tabloid boasted of Australia’s implementation of Hong Kong 2019 anti-CCP-protest-style police surveillance.

“Plans for a rally then gained momentum on Facebook and Instagram where word began to circulate in fringe social media groups that are rife with conspiracy theories and anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination sentiment.”

“Some violently clashed with police, sparking ugly scenes that shocked the nation, with 63 protesters charged so far with various offences and more arrests are expected,” the piece quipped.

In another slur against Australians protesting for their basic rights to live in a free society, the rag ran a piece titled “While Adriana fought for her life, anti-lockdown protestors put everyone at risk just a suburb away” describing the fate of a 38-year-old Brazillian woman who showed a positive PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 on July 15 and died of thrombosis in her legs following a heart attack only nine days later. 

Her boyfriend and family were not permitted to be with her while she was ill and on her deathbed, and instead were forced to “say harrowing goodbyes to her through the window of a Sydney hospital hours before she died.” The article lamented how the woman supposedly could not receive a life saving SARS-CoV-2 injection until October, despite her best efforts before being hospitalized.

  • Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.