When it comes to reporting news about the Internet, the media hasn’t progressed very far from the days of gloomy Time magazine covers and articles on how your child is building bombs using lemons and baking soda. Tonight’s 7:30 Report on Australia’s Clean Feed proposal might suggest the ABC hasn’t moved at all.

Internet Monster

It used all the same tactics that fear-the-web stories like to splash across screen: Flashing ‘XXX’ banners that haven’t been used since 1995, women with large breasts and obscenely red hair, porn sites, and more flashing XXX banners.

Blended together with sound bites of concerned parents and Michael Flood, ABC produced Australia’s most poorly investigated Net piece since Today Tonight’s story on the Internet dating sites out to steal your heart and money.

To top it off, Journo Mark Bannerman used this cracker of a closer for his report:

…Michael Flood has some bad news. There is effectively a monster loose in suburbia.

Make the Internet appear to be a human threat (or maybe that’s a monster threat?) and you strike fear into the hearts of twice as many parents.

Lock your doors folks. Not because of the Internet monster, but because someone else is trying to look after your kids for you.

Watch the report on this site or read the 7:30 Report transcript: Govt moves to improve porn filter.

– Mike

Update 1:03PM/ March 6: Bob Bain points out that even Kerry O’Brien’s introduction to the report contains inaccuracies:

KERRY O’BRIEN: Under current state laws it’s illegal to walk into a shop and buy an X-rated video, yet anyone able to log on to the Internet has access to a veritable avalanche of pornographic images.

It is in fact NOT illegal to walk into a shop and purchase an X-Rated film. It is illegal to sell it. Purchasing or owning an X-Rated film is not illegal in any Australian State.

Update 4:20 PM/ March 7: Michael Flood has informed me that the comment ‘a monster loose in suburbia’ was not his. It was created by the narrator. The fact Mark Bannerman preceded the phrase with Michael Flood has some bad news, lead me to believe it was a comment made by Mr Flood.

Michael Flood said he did state that porn is having an increasing, and negative influence in young men?s peer cultures, something he stands by. As a result this blog post has been updated to reflect the new information.