Media Analysis

Twitter conspiracy and Belinda Jones for Fadden: 'Real-life' according to Nine's kids

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An SMH article disparaged Belinda "Bee" Jones running as an Independent for the Seat of Fadden, citing a Twitter conspiracy involving (from Left) PR GUY, Belinda Jones and Dr Victoria Fielding (Image by Dan Jensen)

It’s telling that the right-wing mainstream media can manage to turn everything that doesn’t fit its narrative into a Twitter conspiracy and almost always, one involving Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, with whom they have an ongoing and creepy – bordering on unhinged – angry preoccupation.

Fixated Persons Unit, anyone?

Today, IA's Dave Donovan sent a letter to Nine's Sydney Morning Herald about an article that appeared in its "CBD" column on Monday (5 June).

I am the founder and publisher of Independent Australia, the so-called “free left-wing publication” derided by the Sydney Morning Herald’s CBD column in its appalling hatchet job of Belinda Jones, on Monday (5 June).


According to the gentlemen writing the column, Belinda Jones is part of the “Dan Stan”, a left-wing Twitter conspiracy, which these two gentlemen appear to suggest extends as far as the Gold Coast, in Queensland.


To support this odd contention, they claim that Belinda Jones, a valued, paid columnist for Independent Australia over a number of years has, simply because she has posted 151,000 tweets, no right to stand in the by-election for the seat of Fadden, a seat vacated by Stuart Robert, the repeatedly disgraced corrupt LNP current member.


These two gentlemen, whose bona fides I have little doubt scarce hold a candle to Ms Jones’, further mocked her candidature by suggesting she was a mere “retail worker” and a “grandmother”.


What neither of these journalists made plain in their stultified aching schoolboy prose, is that Belinda Jones completed her studies and worked for years as a school teacher and then a small business owner, among many other ground roots jobs, all while raising three children as a single parent. Or that she has deep ties to the community and has far more in common with the electorate of Fadden than the vacating Liberal MP — a private school boy from Rockhampton, who went to officer’s training in Canberra for college and has spent his entire career leeching off the public purse.


As for Independent Australia being “free”, implying a cheap throwaway rag, well, we do not have a paywall, unlike the Sydney Morning Herald, but we do offer a subscription service and we are not owned by a hedge fund via Channel Nine or run by a former Coalition MP.


I am sure Belinda Jones will speak more about all these issues during her campaign.


If you wish to respond to this email, we will endeavour to include your reply in our online article scheduled for publication tomorrow morning.

Dave’s letter was penned in response to the following “column” by Kishor Napier-Raman and David Estcourt:

(Source: SMH 5 June 2023)

The above is a typical example, dripping with condescension and contempt for the Twitter community, the Victorian Premier (though quite how he is related to a by-election in Fadden escapes us), independent media and, in this case, a grandmother, Belinda Jones, exercising her democratic right to run for public office.

Napier-Raman and Estcourt, whose Linkedin bios appear to suggest “real-life” experience amounting to university degrees and cushy media positions gained in a grand total of 30 years each (approximately) on this planet, start out with this:

'We wondered what would happen to the likes of PRGuy and Victoria Fielding once lockdowns ended, and they were forced to put down their iPads and reintegrate with society.’

Dr Victoria Fielding, in fact, has somehow managed 'to put down her iPad' long enough to earn a PhD in media and communications (completed during COVID), hold down a full-time job as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Adelaide, as well as to contribute a fortnightly column to IA. Oh, she is also a mother of two young children and a member of the Labor Party. In her spare time, Vic likes to play hockey — seems pretty well 'integrated into society' from this vantage point.

However, Dr Fielding did not bother listing her credentials when IA approached her for comment, dismissing Napier-Raman and David Estcourt’s comments with:

“These people need to get their facts straight. I had a huge following on Twitter before the pandemic. …Oh, and go Bee!”

Similarly, Jeremy Maluta, AKA PRGuy, told IA:

‘If journalists could channel the angst and disdain they have for the everyday Australians raising concerns about media integrity into reporting truthfully and accurately, they probably wouldn't find us so “very irritating”.’

We concur, Jeremy. In fact, we have been reporting on this very disconnect between the mainstream media cabal and “real-life” Australians for many years.

Napier-Raman and Estcourt continued, warming to their Twitter conspiracy theory with this (IA emphasis):

'Now, one of their most prominent is attempting to put the truism that “Twitter isn’t real life” to the test.

Belinda Jones, known online as Bee, built a large following as a #DanStan and has put her hand up to run as an independent candidate for Fadden, the seat vacated by permanently embattled former Coalition Minister Stuart Robert.'

To whom does the “prominent” Belinda Jones actually belong, we wonder? Is it the fantastical Twitter world, imagined by former Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, in which she singled out Twitter users, where they come from and how many times they Tweet, and referred to them as “part of a Russian Twitter jungle backed by a Labor-union fake news anti-Coalition cyber-manipulation campaign”?

Or is it the "15 people who Tweet", which Insiders host David Speers demeaned in his behind-the-scenes admission that Twitter is a "horrible, horrible place"

Regardless, it's a bit of a stretch, as Dave Donovan points out above, to suggest this "left-wing" Twitter "conspiracy", which exists only to worship Dan Andrews, extends as far as the Gold Coast, where Belinda Jones resides, or Adelaide, where Dr Victoria Fielding is based. 

That bizarre fictional plot aside, what real-life experience do these two Nine employees, scarcely 30 years of age, really have?

Let’s compare this with Bee, now a grandmother, who has struggled to bring up three children as a single mother and, without the benefit of connections, educated herself and juggled childrearing with a variety of real-life jobs, including educating many children in her teaching career, taxi-driving, working in retail, managing to contribute to this publication, finding time to forge a loyal following on social media based on her intelligent and considered political commentary, and now standing as an Independent candidate in the Seat of Fadden, neglected for years by its former inhabitant, Stuart “Robodebt” Robert. Possibly, Bee achieved most of this even before these two learnt to use crayons.

The pair conclude their mockery with:

‘Jones, who did not respond to CBD’s requests for comment, is a Gold Coast grandmother, a casual retail worker, and an occasional writer for free left-wing news outlet Independent Australia. Somewhere among that she’s found time to do more than 151,000 tweets. We’re sure she’s just what the good electors of Fadden are after.’

Interestingly, Ms Jones was hard at work at her casual retail job when these meticulous sleuths sent her a list of questions with just five hours to respond but nonetheless, did find time to reply – though the SMH online article has not been amended to correct the record with her answers (which can be read HERE.)

Bee told IA:

The SMH article about me on Monday was factually incorrect. I rose to prominence on Twitter from as early as 2017 and began writing for IA in 2018. I have been holding politicians and mainstream media to account since then, often showing them up with my in-depth, fact-based investigations, so it's expected behaviour for them to have a go at me.


It must be embarrassing to have a hard-working Grandma beat them at their own game.

We don’t know what if any ‘real life’ experience Kishor Napier-Raman and David Estcourt may or may not have, as they did not respond to our request for comment at the time of publication. But even if their lived experience is considerable, what right do they have to belittle real people and insinuate they should not exercise their fundamental democratic right to run for election because they Tweet too much?

And judging by the response she has so far experienced on the election trail, we are sure Belinda Jones 'is just what the good electors of Fadden are after’.

This is an abridged version of an editorial originally published in the IA weekly newsletter. Subscribe now to read the full version online in the IA members-only area.

You can follow IA managing editor Michelle Pini on Twitter @vmp9Follow Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

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