Herald Sun gives shooters the bird


The Herald Sun has provided its final response to the CFCV after it raised concerns with the paper after it published several articles which avoided giving the shooting community a voice.

The response was nothing short of treating you, your club and shooting mates with utter contempt.

We want to stop them from doing this and need your help – so we’ve come up with a strategy to deal with it.

The 12 articles

Between March and August this year, the Herald Sun ran 12 articles covering inaccurate claims of firearm thefts and supporting a campaign to have the Adler shotgun banned.

Two of the Adler articles focused on the victims of the Port Arthur tragedy, so we can understand why comments from shooting interests were not needed. However they were placed right next to other articles pushing for the ban, so they were clearly written and placed to support the paper’s position on the Adler.

The articles provided dozens of quotes from the anti-gun lobby, but only one comment from shooting interests.

In May, we wrote to the Herald Sun seeking ‘fairness’ in its coverage of shooting related matters under it’s Code of Conduct.  We raised concerns that it had not complied with the following provisions of its Code:

1.2  Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced.

1.4  Try always to tell all sides of the story in any kind of dispute. Every effort must be made to contact all relevant parties.

1.5  Do not knowingly withhold or suppress essential facts

We were firm, but polite, leaving the door open for them if they needed any help with future stories relating to firearms.  All they had to do was call.

The Herald Sun failed to keep its promise

The Herald Sun offered us the opportunity to put our view to its readers through a “prominent” letter to the editor of an agreed length.

It was a lame offering, but one we took up anyway.

Suffice to say, the paper failed to keep it’s promise: It cut our letter to around half the agreed word count and buried among all the other letters.  Sure, it got published, but their definition of an agreement must be different to ours.

The Managing Director’s role

Along the way we discovered the paper’s Managing Director, Peter Blunden, is also on the board of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation (AMF) which ran the petition the paper was supporting.

This helped explain why there were so many articles pushing just the one view.  Yet none of them disclosed Mr Blunden’s connection with it.  We would have thought that was a significant issue of integrity and openness.

One last attempt

The 12th article, which appeared in late August, was a renewed call by the AMF to ban the Adler.  This time the paper did call us for comment, so we spoke with them for a good 15 minutes.

Yet the article they published, like the others, only contained comment from the AMF – so once again, we wrote to the Herald Sun about its reporting.

The response we got was:

“I simply don’t agree with your analysis or conclusions. We will continue to report in a fair and accurate manner…”

They ignored everything we said – and gave us the middle finger.

So to summarise:

  1. The Herald Sun ran a string of articles where it failed to report “all sides of the story”;
  2. They denied they did this, but kept on doing it;
  3. They never intended to declare their link to the AMF; and
  4. The paper has no intention of honouring its agreements or acting in good faith.

So where to from here?

We’re not done with the Herald Sun yet.

They will continue on this path until the NFA review has been completed.  They will continue to push the view of the AMF, while avoiding debate with, or input from, the Victorian shooting community.

Last month we approved a long term strategy to deal with the Herald Sun’s behaviour.  Around the time this blog is posted, we’ll be sending out a media release, parliamentary briefing note and shortly after, a video.  We’ll repeat the cycle every time the paper decides to repeat it’s behaviour.

Will it work?  Maybe, maybe not.  However we’ll give it a red-hot go and hope you’ll get behind us on this.

What you can do

Whenever you see an article any NewsCorp publication which fails to report views from our side of the debate, put a letter to the editor in.

Keep it short and get straight to the point. The shorter and punchier, the better.   Or send them a letter now by clicking here.

If you subscribe to the Herald Sun, ask yourself if you need to keep it.  If you cut your subscription, make sure you tell them why.

It’s important they understand that they won’t gain any subscribers for being anti-gun, but stand to lose many who are pro-gun.  This is where we can use our numbers.

We’ll let you know what responses we get, when we get them.  Click here to make sure you get our updates on this, and other news affecting your sport!

We’re running a poll!

We’ve set up a poll asking shooters if they have cancelled their subscription. If you have or have had a Herald Sun subscription, check out poll out by clicking here.

Leave a comment ?


  1. After reading your stories on every gun related matter this year, I am finding it hard to believe anything you print anymore. If you continue to refuse to tell both sides of the story and start printing facts I will not only not be reading your papers but will informing all my work colleagues of your poor performance. Time to start acting like professionals not a propaganda machine.

  2. Thanks Jim – but you sent this to us rather than to the Herald Sun! You can send them a message at: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/letter-to-the-editor

  3. I’d love to know if we have a combined firearms council of western Australia. If so can you please point me in their direction so I can help in any way I can.

    Thanks in advance!

  4. Who reads the Herald Sun anyway! It’s dying a slow death…

  5. Two other things you can do about the Herald Sun’s biased and shoddy reporting of the facts – 1: Report them to the Press Council and 2: Tell ABCs Media Watch the whole story. I’m sure one or both of these things will see some positive action!

  6. Great work
    Keep them accountable

  7. Further,
    I’ll be stopping our subscription to receive 2 papers daily

  8. Find out a list of everyone that sponsors the Herald Sun and contact them. you will withdraw your support/purchasing from any and all sponsors, until the Herald Sun is reigned into line. Period!

  9. Have you reported it to the media watchdog? I would’ve thought that would be the next step

  10. We tried the MediaWatch route but to no avail. We did consider the Press Council but even if you win, you end up with a playing card sized article on page 7. It’s a pity MediaWatch wouldn’t run it as that show has a huge audience. Oh well!

  11. Malcolm. Both were considered. We courted MediaWatch but to no avail. Believe me – we tried, over several emails, a couple of phone calls and with two different staff there. We considered the Press Council but didn’t think it was worth it even if you win (as you end up with a small article on page 7..) Also if we lost the case that could have been damaging to our cause which we think is the right one. You can lose cases like that on technicalities.

  12. Hi Jake. None that we know of. At the moment we’re focusing on Victoria but only because there’s enough work here to keep us busy. Going national is an option and i suspect we’ll need to have internal discussions about that in the next few months if / when we start regaining some traction locally. Believe me, I know you need a CFC out west!

  13. Ashley Tillotson

    Why is there no legal action if there is evidence of this then why is it that nothing is being done about it

  14. Give them and Rupert Murdoch no business advertising. Use other platforms. I have already being telling television stations, NO and why.

  15. A suggestion: if shooters bought shares in NWS we could go over Blunden’s head and apply pressure from above as shareholders: owners of the company and Blunden’s ultimate employer.

    It’s a shareholder issue: Blunden works for newscorp not the Allanah and Madeline Foundation. He is doing AMF work on Newscorp time using Newscorp resources. His conduct undermines the integrity of the paper, public trust in the paper, and if it were causing people to boycott the paper’s advertisers (hint hint) it’s a serious matter.

  16. Hello.
    Your bias views of guns and misinformation has resulted in me not subscribing to your paper a few of my mates have stop reading too.

    You always publish stories that are anti-gun or scaremongering with port arthur instead of giving honest farmers, hunters, sports and recreational shooters an honest voice you rather cheap scaremongering tactics.

    Please let us speak out and give us a voice.
    You will not gain any extra people by one sided bias stories. Sincerely *****.

  17. Josh,
    Are you aware that Newscorp CEO is Mr Anti-gun himself Rupert Murdoch ?

  18. Hey Sly

    You sent this to us! you might like to send it to the paper at: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/letter-to-the-editor


  19. Ashley

    … because I’m not sure they’ve broken any laws. It’s not illegal to be unreasonable or unfair. They didn’t defame us either – as they never said anything about us.


  20. My letter to H/S. Only reason I did not cancel is my wife does the crossword, so it is going to take a little convincing.

    I have been a long time subscriber and still am currently. No. 305****.
    I believe that you post biased articles and comments against legal firearm holders and do not report fairly on this issue.
    I advise that I will watch with interest any further articles and reports and if necessary will cancel my subscriptions.

  21. No worries Azza. I completely understand. Ironically I might have to take out a subscription to keep an eye on them! We don’t get it at work any more and sometimes I don’t know about articles unless someone tells me! However you’ve done well and even if they only get a dozen people raising the issue with them, they’ll know that they’re losing more support than they’re gaining by doing this. Regards Neil

  22. Nothing has changed, their reporting leaves a lot to desire!

  23. Journalists are cowards, always have been and always will be. Sure, there is no censorship in Australia but journalists on autopilot know exactly what to write to please the editor, to please the advertisers, to keep their jobs. Self-censorship at it’s best. Stop listening to the mainstream media if you are interested in an unbiased opinion.

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