Veteran Journalist Jane Hansen linked to Cyber-bullies in Latest Media Coverage on Universal Medicine

Journalist Jane Hansen - Internet Troll Esther RockettSENIOR News Ltd journalists appear to have knowingly aligned themselves with the author of a defamatory blog, Brisbane-based acupuncturist Esther Rockett, who has admitted to being depicted as a “windbag nuisance” by NSW public servants over a series of unfounded complaints made about Lismore-based complementary healing clinic Universal Medicine.

The wheels are in motion for yet another biased story on Universal Medicine, after Daily Telegraph journalist Jane Hansen contacted founder Serge Benhayon last week with a series of leading questions about the student run charity, The College of Universal Medicine.

Hansen, a former A Current Affair reporter who grew up in Mullumbimby in the 1970s and 80s, sought Mr Benhayon’s response to a complaint allegedly made to both the NSW Office of Fair Trading and the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing. 

There is evidence to suggest she is actively collaborating with both anti-Universal Medicine blogger Esther Rockett, who works actively with anti-UM ring leader Lance Martin.

Both have form in attracting mainstream media interest in their lies about UM, even putting their name to several documents detailing a litany of defamatory and insulting allegations against the Lismore-based business.

Martin was the seed for the initial media avalanche which kicked off in late 2012, after developing a relationship with Fairfax journalist Heath Aston, the Medical Observer’s Byron Kaye, and Good Weekend feature writer David Leser, who subsequently published stories about Benhayon fed chiefly by Martin and three other Bangalow men.

It was the sensationalistic Leser piece which in turn sparked Esther Rockett’s campaign against UM, underpinned by vitriolic blog posts and unfounded complaints to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.

Ms Rockett had attended three or four healing sessions and a seminar with Serge Benhayon nine years ago and had no complaints at the time, or since, until 2012.

But in late 2012 she began making a slew of baseless complaints to the HCCC while also harassing medical practitioners associated with Universal Medicine at their workplaces.

The connection between Hansen and Rockett/Martin became apparent in the line of questions Hansen put to Mr Benhayon - clearly inspired by the familiar (and false) Rockett/Martin narrative:

She asked:

“It is alleged UM preys on vulnerable women with female health problems..is there any truth to that?”

“UM has been described as a cult, what is your response to that?”

And would Benhayon “be making money” out of courses run by the College?

The College of Universal Medicine is described as a non-profit student-run educational institution, which offers courses run by UM-trained practitioners in men and women’s health and well-being, who volunteer their time.

The courses are written by students in their own fields of expertise, but inspired by the teachings of Universal Medicine.

Hansen’s line of questioning resembled previous journalistic efforts, which repeatedly described Universal Medicine as an “alleged cult”, giving every appearance of allowing a small group of hate campaigners a free run with the press as this aligned with her known bias.

This despite dozens of qualified professionals in their respective fields offering the media their own accounts of the good conduct and sound, practical philosophy of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

In a subsequent email exchange between Serge Benhayon and Ms Hansen, she revealed she was notified of the complaint – alleged to have been lodged by Lance Martin – by NSW Opposition Health Spokesman, Dr Andrew McDonald on June 12.

Some commentary: What matters is not that the complaint is baseless - that is a given, due to Rockett and Martin's track record with complaints they have made. The problem is that the media is able to speculate on the meaning of the complaint, and use it to bolster their story, before it is deemed illegitimate by Fair Trading or Liquor and Gaming.

Universal Medicine’s reputation - already affected by a litany of false articles from 2012 which remain online - is set to take another blow from sensationalism, forged with distortions and innuendo.

The Hansen article will give the media another opportunity to regurgitate a narrative of lies pushed by a small group of critics with an obvious agenda, a narrative that is alive and well thanks to previous dodgy efforts by scoop-hungry hacks.

Hansen, however, is in another realm of experience to those journalists, but sadly is stepping back to familiar territory from her days hustling for A Current Affair.

In his response to Hansen’s questions, Benhayon in turn questioned if Hansen was under the influence of Rockett or Martin.

He pointed out:

“If the accusations made by Lance Martin and his various mouthpieces are true, then why place so much effort into anonymity…”. (Martin and Rockett never used their real names online until they were exposed by Universal Medicine students).

See: http://universalmedicinefacts.com/lance-martin-exposed

He wrote: “My interests and my business is founded on the basis that we are not living as healthy as we naturally should, and our bodies are telling us so. The marvels of modern medicine, which I am a strong advocate of, are doing, as I term it, a marvelous job. But it is not enough, evidenced by the fact that just in one small part of the world alone, where I am currently (the UK) - [quoting figures from Cancer Research UK] '49,936 women and 349 men in the UK were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2011'.” 

“In 1999 I began presenting on the energetic fact that most of our malaise resulted from our lifestyle choices, and that it was important, as hard as it is, to deal with our hurts and not press on as we are usually told. Many clients have responded to these simple principles and are today enjoying the vibrancy and real joy and love in their lives.”

See: http://www.universalmedicine.net/before--after.html

In a second email, Mr Benhayon appealed to Hansen’s instinct for fairness, asking, “why would you be involved with a revengeful group when your past work carries the note of conviction?”.

Hansen responded: “We have simply asked you to put your case forward as is our charter and we have given you ample opportunity to do so only to be met with insults to my journalistic integrity.”

Journalistic integrity does not involve relying on obviously dubious sources for your narrative, Ms Hansen.

In a subsequent letter to the editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Charles Wilson also appealed for journalistic decency over sensationalism ahead of the article’s publish date, Sunday 22nd June.

“That your journalist should evidently see fit to rely on Esther Rockett as a source… is evidence for one of two things. Either it reflects that your journalist has not researched her sources, which is concerning itself. Alternatively, it reflects that your journalist has jettisoned any interest in balance and has joined Ms Rockett and is intending to use the pages of your newspaper as an extension of Ms Rockett's online campaign,” Wilson wrote.

He wrote that the conduct of Rockett represented: “the worst of the online world - anonymity, unconstrained behaviour, vile language - all of it dedicated to (in her language) 'bringing down' Universal Medicine and anyone associated with it, including the College”.

As previously mentioned, Rockett described herself as being depicted as “some sort of windbag nuisance” by the HCCC - apparently in reports to the NSW Health Minister in regard to her series of false complaints. This included her submission to a recent NSW parliamentary inquiry into misleading information about complementary health care, described as ‘self-serving’ by the government committee. This submission has not been referenced or published due to it not meeting the terms of reference.

Footnote: That inquiry was driven by well-known “evidence-based medicine” proponents Friends of Science in Medicine led by Emeritus Professor John Dwyer who has also promoted statements by Rockett as credible.

Their agenda aligns with Rockett’s, at least when it comes to UM (she is an acupuncturist). Dwyer, who has also made ill-informed comments about UM, has a pedigree for this - he has campaigned for years against the teaching of complementary therapies in universities.

Perhaps the most obvious breach of ethics in the lead-up to the story was this:

On Saturday, Rockett tweeted: “HEADS UP, DUCKIES! Universal Medicine article tomorrow in the Sunday Telegraph (Sydney)... Will UM answer the questions?”.

In the tweet she hyper-linked to a blog post in which she wrote: “Charlie Wilson has put on his barrister pants and has been huffing and puffing down the phone to a few folk.”

The content of the call has obviously made its way back to Rockett from someone in the Sunday Telegraph, a matter which would clearly amount to a serious and disturbing breach of journalistic ethics.

It’s an astounding revelation that a senior journalist at News Ltd would knowingly align herself with a woman whose conduct has prompted calls for the HCCC to class her as a “vexatious complainant” (after bombarding them with unsubstantiated complaints), who presides over a slanderous blog packed with cleverly written lies, and has misled the public about virtually every interaction she ever had with Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

No amount of presentation of the clear facts to either the editor of the Sunday Telegraph or Jane Hansen herself has encouraged them to think clearly about the story.

It would be fair to say that if Jane Hansen’s conduct so far represents the best Australia’s journalists can offer, then our media is indeed in peril, and in being in such a state, imperils us all.

Further Reading on the Universal Medicine Facts blog:

Jane Hansen's Revenge Trail Turns to Universal Medicine Facts