Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sea Shepherd to Nine News MSN - Liars!

Wagging the Conservation Dog

Did SSCS fabricate a sperm whale rescue story for Nine News - MSN?

This week we highlighted what appeared to be a bald faced media fabrication sent out to Nine News - MSN by none other than Sea Shepherd’s National Director for Research, Vanessa Pearce. A SSCS organization title she now claims was never designated to her.

See Story

A person identifying herself as Ms.Pearce has come back to this blog refuting 90% of her story in the national news and the direct quotes in it (see blog comments). According to Sea Shepherds Ms.Pearce, Nine News - MSN reporter Sean Cusick misquoted much of her conversation to him in an interview she now claims she never gave to Mr.Cusick.

We have highlighted the actual quotes our blog and Sea Shepherds Ms.Pearce now agree are complete and absolute media fabrications about a whale rescue story in the national news that never happened:

Sea Shepherd members travelled on their ship Steve Irwin to a mass beaching of more than 50 sperm whales on the Tasmania's northwest coast on January 22 — but they were told their help wasn't needed despite carrying marine scientists and expert whale-saving equipment on board.

"When we arrived there on the Steve Irwin, we found about eight guys standing around with nothing but a bucket and a hose," Ms Pearce said. "We asked if we could help and they said, 'No thanks, we're fine'." The crew members claim to have witnessed one man dismembering a dead whale with a chainsaw just metres from another that was still alive, causing the live mammal even more distress and suffering.

We spoke in person with Executive Editor Hal Crawford from Nine News - MSN this evening. Clearly something was not right. Either his reporter made 90% of a story up in the national news as Ms.Pearce alludes, or Sea Shepherds Ms.Pearce is lying through her teeth again, backtracking on a national news story so fake, so egregious, that we felt the need to call it out in the first place.

Ms.Pearce is on record saying that Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin was actually on site of a mass sperm whale stranding 1 22.2009 with "whale saving equipment" and was "turned away" by park staff. The documented fact was the Steve Irwin was almost 1500 nautical miles away at the time. The illusion to this story is that many SSCS whale staff and even a "marine scientist" were on hand to save stranded sperm whales. In fact only three actual SSCS volunteers made the trek out to the stranding site for what turned out to be a quick photo op with dead whales.

No whale saving equipment, no marine scientists, and no flagship vessel Steve Irwin.

The story we highlighted this week shows how Sea Shepherd routinely fabricates news for it's own purposes, namely eco donations, from a well meaning public who are subjected to "seriously massaged and erroneous" major media output by SSCS both in terms of news articles and reality television shows like Whale Wars.

Executive Editor Hal Crawford of Nine News - MSN had this to say today. As we suspected MSN backs their reporter 100% and has thrown Ms.Pearce and SSCS under the proverbial bus:

We absolutely stand behind the story posted to Nine - MSN as being accurate. I stand by reporter Sean Cusick as having given a fair representation of the conversation between him and Ms.Pearce. There's no question that she did speak with Sean Cusick and what she said to him in an interview was accurately represented as she told it. We will not be taking the article down anytime soon, we have no reason to.


The simplest answer to this he said/she said is the most likely. Nine News - MSN had nothing to gain by fabricating a whale story filled with whale saving gear, the Steve Irwin, and marine biologists. Additionally MSN reporter Sean Cusick has nothing to gain by adding deep story fabrications such as SSCS organizational titles for Ms.Pearce calling her Sea Shepherd’s National Director for Research.

On the flip side for an eco org that constantly seeks donor money, and who have willfully fabricated many eco storylines from elements of Whale Wars to an attempted assassination claim and video last season, this national news piece is in line with their ongoing disinformation campaign. Wagging the Conservation Dog.

Your Money

Your money is important to the ongoing and unfortunately, global efforts, to roll back environmental disasters and unsustainable fisheries. Hundreds of NGO's are literally begging for donations to get serious and lasting work done. As we discovered first hand, donations to SSCS only Wag the Conservation Dog and do little to help move agendas forward or work with disparate groups for long term solutions.

SSCS has had 31 years to effect change. Fabricated eco news is the best they now have to offer the global eco movement in an attempt to capture your hard earned dollars.

If you want your donations to work, ensure whoever you donate to is transparent and can show metrics for success not just massaged eco news clips that cash in on the horror's of dead whales, seals, and sharks to fund more of the same.

Demand more from your eco org.


Capt Dave Richards said...

So you either believe SSCS or MSN.

I will go with MSN. This blog laid out a great bit of reporting. Seems like Sea Shepherd in unaware internally of what one side is saying to the media.

I am sure they are unhappy with this lie now it has been exposed. What about the Paul Watson bullet, is anyone follwoing up on that?

Shark Diver said...

Our response to SSCS Shannon and Ms.Pearce who are "spin posting" on the original blog post comment section.

No so fast Ms.Pearce Shannon et al.

As we pointed out in our follow up this week:


The simplest answer to this he said/she said is the most likely. Channel 9 - MSN had nothing to gain by fabricating a whale story filled with whale saving gear, the Steve Irwin, and marine biologists. Additionally MSN reporter Sean Cusick has nothing to gain by adding deep story fabrications such as SSCS organizational titles for Ms.Pearce calling her Sea Shepherd’s National Director for Research.

On the flip side for an eco org that constantly seeks donor money, and who have willfully fabricated many eco storylines from elements of Whale Wars to an attempted assassination claim and video last season, this national news piece is in line with their ongoing disinformation campaign.

Wagging the Conservation Dog.

Our point is simple. Your org has done little to effect real and lasting change and now "makes up media" for eco donations.

It is time someone pointed this out. We have.

Please stop the post spin and finger pointing and instead look inward. Make changes from within and rebuild SSCS into a credible org.

After 31 years your credibility is at an all time and sad low.

adam from nz said...


The great whale defenders caught with pants down how novel.

We parted company with SSCS when Whale Wars came out with watson claiming to be shot.Really bad move on his part and on the part of the entire org.

What gets me are all the SSCS minions, don't they see what is going on?

If you look on their website and the SSCS Board there's some seemingly smart people there.

Oh well, keep posting this was a great expose of the who rotted organization!

Jenna said...

Not to mention it was your blog that first pointed out the differences in the two stories about saving whales.

NOT Sea Shepherd.

One might think that Ms.Pearce and SSCS would have said something on the SS blog, or tried to get the story pulled if these "facts" were so wrong in the first place?

Hmmmmm. I wonder if they even know how crazy they are looking these days?

Ghost ships, faked whale saving gear indeed!

Anonymous said...

So wrong.

Shame on Vanessa Pearce and Sea Shepherd for pulling at the heartstrings of people who love whales and were REALLY saddened by the stranding of 50 sperm whales this year!

Shame on them for pretending to have the Steve Irwin there with whale saving gear and trained staff to help.

Shame on them for making our hard working park staff look like the evil ones for saying their help was not needed!

I am angry about this, I am disgusted at their duplicity, and I will NEVER donate to SSCS.

I will also ensure everyone knows about this and who they really are.

Anonymous said...


Great blog reporting and follow up guys.

SouthernFriedScientist said...

I've been really impressed with your reporting these last few weeks. Keep up the good work!

Sharky said...

Okay, I've waited a long time to weigh in on this one.

Through all of this, it is clear that the argument is going to divide up into two camps--pro-Sea Shepherd and not-so-pro Sea Shepherd. Capt Dave Richards has pointed this out.

Barring an admission from Sea Shepherd or MSN that one of them fabricated information, this thing is going to be he said she said.

Is it beyond Sea Shepherd to twist information or engage in misinformation...I don't think so. I think it is a strategy. Could they have deliberately distorted the truth on this one? Yes.

But, MSN could have also just as easily been phoning it in. No one is completely motive free. Why would MSN report goofy info? Because people like reading stories about Whales and Sea Shepherd and so it generates traffic. And traffic on the Internets does mean money.

Again, Shark Diver, let me repeat: I am not saying that Sea Shepherd did not distort info. I am only saying that MSN may not be guilt free either. It is also possible that they colluded.

I think you and I understand each others' position...so we don't need to talk it out. I am not trying to apologize for Sea Shepherd either, I just thought that I'd try to nuisance the discussion a bit. Black and White is so boring.

Rachael Webber said...

Disgraceful. How can SSCS even begin to think we'll now believe this was all a great misquote?

When the media is blind to SSCS eco lies they are fine with it. When someone like yourselves call them on it they turn on the same media and blame them!

Misquoted a flagship vessel, a whale saving team, whale saving equipment, and not to mention the fact the woman quoted was never actually there as she claimed.

What next?

Keep blogging guys you are actually on to something here.

Shark Diver said...

Bah! Sharky for crissake mate.

How many examples of miscreant and patently fake eco reportage do you need from SSCS!?

We could be here for hours.

If you want more of the same, whale kills, seal kills, shark kills, then by all means support these guys - heck I am sure they'll have an actual, verifiable eco win in what, another 31 years?

The numbers say they have to. I want change, and so it seems do many others who are bone tired of the same old from SSCS or any eco org that takes money for eco work and does nothing to effect that change.

Get past the faked media output Sharky, go for results.

Gills said...

If you send donations to an organisation and they don’t meet your standards, then, fair enough, make a complaint, but you so often let us know you’ve been hounding SSCS for a year… do us all a favour and move on!

I would argue that your negative assumptions are doing more harm to the cause than anything else.

You state: “Channel 9 - MSN had nothing to gain by fabricating a whale story filled with whale saving gear, the Steve Irwin, and marine biologists.” Seems like they’re getting some pretty good mileage on this, huh? Why on earth would SSCS claim they were there with the Steve Irwin when they have their own site and blog reporting, truthfully, that they were elsewhere. I suppose since you have such strong, negative opinions about SSCS that you’d never consider that the media is ever wrong or that they would ever distort the truth? This from a television production company? Do you honestly believe that the Exec Editor would NOT stand by his reporter?

I don’t for one minute believe either side is free of making the most of a situation. There are no Knights in shining armour. Whether there was a misquote or a balls-up from SSCS, really is immaterial. Bottom line is we need “hippie” NGO’s doing wonderful, peaceful protestation, we need the public to become involved, we need TV producers to “make” documentaries, we need Bloggers to talk the walk, we need governments and businesses to step up and make some bold changes, we need scientists to monitor and report, we need all the help we can get, and HELL YEAH, WE NEED SOME WARRIORS OUT THERE WALKING THE WALK, ‘coz at some point you need to draw a line in the sand and say…”NO MORE!”

If you saw your family and friends being murdered, raped, beaten up, how long would you BLOG about it or protest. Would you not get to a point where you say, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! This is our family and the evil has been going on long enough.

Shark Diver said...


We respect your take on this and many of the points you have a valid.

To counter your last point:

HELL YEAH, WE NEED SOME WARRIORS OUT THERE WALKING THE WALK, ‘coz at some point you need to draw a line in the sand and say…”NO MORE!”

We agree. But 31 years? 31 years of the same walk, same talk from an eco org that is sucking donors away from orgs doing great and lasting work?

There's a word for it cannibalization. We start by looking at our own efforts as the people who donate. We do not take for granted that things are being done we verify.

If we cannot hold out own eco movement accountable then we have lost. Looking at the antics of SSCS one comes to the conclusion that people have turned off already.

Brian said...

You guys need to keep going with this and do not stop. No one likes being held accountable, especially SSCS.

For years they traded on the fact that people like to throw money at problems and let others deal with it.

SSCS held out a big eco donor basket and said we'll do something!

After 34 years they have done little except repeat the same mistakes while holding out the same eco donor basket. Fill this now with your cash because we are doing something!

I read today the Farley Mowat is going to auction in Canada and SSCS is on the hook for 3.6 million in fines. If they do not pay those fines they will be barred from the country.

Great work guys! What a waste.

Paul Watson has run his course, it is time for change and as you guys are pointing out that changes come from pointing the finger at the most obvious problems with the movement.

Wagging the conservation dog ends now.

Capt Dave Richards said...

Wagging the conservation dog continues.

MSN took their version of the story down SSCS left theirs up and have now added a new whale saving story.

This time half the ship went to save whales, and SSCS sprung for a flight for the crew.

Big rescue of one lone pilot whale 4 days after the initial stranding even and BOY did they milk that rescue.

Way different than the original whale saving story and the three SSCS staffers who had to thumb a ride to get to the stranding site site, where was the flight money then?

They read this blog m'boy and you got them dancing in Hobart - racing around to save every whale they can get their hands on!

Shark Diver said...

Hey Capt Dave,

This blog is not about "making people dance" so let's take that off the table.

Our goal with SSCS is basic boots on the ground "awareness". The more people that become aware of the tactics and the poor metrics of the eco movement and those who "claim to be doing things about it" the better.

In the end it will be up to the public to make the final decision based on what facts we can pull out of SSCS if their money is doing the job they want it to. For us that realization was last year.

We are very aware that SSCS reads this blog on the highest levels and are unhappy that someone is paying attention to their media output not just swallowing the bait.

This is an unusual situation for them. They are used to loonies who hate them for being who they are.

They are fearful of anyone taking apart a media machine so in decline and used to throwing garbage around that little is truthful anymore.

When you devolve into faking being shot for Whale Wars cameras you have reached the bottom.

All we are doing is pointing that out.

They can always come back. We hope they do.

Bay Divers said...

O.R.C.A. - Oceanic Research and Conservation Action Force

Does anyone remember this eco org?
It was spawned by SSCS back in 2003 according to Paul Watson in a 2007 quote to a green magazine

"It means Oceanic Research and Conservation Action Force. It is what it says. Orcaforce is to Sea Shepherd what the Navy Seals are to the U.S. Navy. "

SSCS asked for donations to this new conservation org for a few years and it put up a few half hearted web links, then it vanished.

Although the name sounds impressive and it's mandate classic SSCS nothing came of this SSCS clone. Yet donor money went into it.

May I suggest wasted donor money.

Gills said...

Shark Diver,

LOL! I was waiting for you guys to lay into me.

I think I understand what you're getting at regarding the funds, however, that's the way of the world. Even if SSCS stopped operating tomorrow, you're still gonna be in the same boat [sorry :)], there is still going to be a million organizations out there scrapping for available funds. They all have and believe their own agendas are important and crucial to the "cause" and they are. Getting them all together and pooling their resources would definitely create an environment where serious changes would take place, but we know that'll never happen.

If SSCS is pulling large amounts of funding, then they must be doing something right.

I still believe we need more activity at that end of the scale. There are not enough of us that are physically "fighting" at the frontline.

We've been labelled and laughed at from the beginning. I'll chain myself to a rainforest tree and live with being ridiculed as a "tree-hugger".

We only have to look back in history and remember Chamberlain's Appeasement foreign policy to remember that having countries sign on to a policy is not enough. We have to, at times, go to war otherwise what's the point.

Your point: "Looking at the antics of SSCS one comes to the conclusion that people have turned off already." I can only say that my small dive club (about 60 of us) are behind SSCS all the way. In fact we are making it our mission this year to align ourselves with the local office here in South Africa, to see if we can support them further and to get involved.

To the rest of you, don't get me wrong, I don't condone lying, cheating, etc. I don't profess to be an expert on the history of SSCS. I'm quite sure there are actions they've undertaken I may not agree with, which can be said of all of us.

I do, however, believe they're fighting on my side.

I do believe their cause is just.

SSCS - my right arm is yours, and it's ready to swing!

Shark Diver said...


You sound a lot like us two years ago. Full of SSCS steam, go get 'em, quaint references to Nazi Empiric Ambitions, the whole thing.

War! Big Noises! Defenders!

I say go for it, get involved with SSCS, deeply. Get your money in there, lot's of it.

And keep shoveling, your cash will be burned as fast as you can stuff it in there on a things you never imagined like dock fines, hotel stays for lawyers, meals for crews going to court, flights for same.

I admire your passion for the planet and wish you could send your money to those who are making the real changes.

Eh, it's your money.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know if you have looked into another story that the SSCS is floating around. They claim that there was a bomb threat against the Steve Irwin on Tuesday, yet I cannot find any reference to this in any online newspaper in Australia. Given the number of stories about the Steve Irwin and SSCS in Australia these days it seems strange that none of the main stream media would cover a bomb threat. In the SSCS version of what happen they state that the police arrived and told them a bomb would explode in 10 minutes. The ship was evacuated. When there was no explosion the crew of the Steve Irwin searched the ship for a bomb!!! I would think that if there was a bomb threat the police would have a specialized group that would search for any explosives. Maybe this bomb threat was called in by the same guy that shot Watson last year.

Shark Diver said...

More interestingly the bomb threat story "broke" on a blog called Planet Save. Then two hours later it broke on the SSCS website.

How would this "bomb threat" break on a blog called Planet Save before SSCS website or major news outlets?

In fact where is the major news coverage?

Time for a phone call down to Taz...again, man our phone bills massive this month;)

Bob said...

It's not a case of if SSCS lied about this. That question is self evident, like arguing if they rammed Japans whale fleet this year or not after watching the videos.

The question you should be asking is do these lies help or hinder the movement? Does Japan suddenly stop whaling because of a lie or will they?

Lies in the eco movement are par for the course.

SSCS has made lying an exquisite art form and now they are getting trapped in those lies and that's the problem in my eyes.

Tom said...

For a shark blog u guys sure talk a lot of whale.

SSCS lies we all know that, well at least some of us know that. Lying for a reason is one thing if it will change things I agree with it.

Lying about a whale rescue?

Bullshit is what bullshit is and that there is grade A bullshit partner.

Hans said...

I hope you do not mind I reposted the same comment here too. I feel strongly about this.


What reporter, who valued keeping his job, would make up a quote like this one up on national news?

"They are socially advanced animals, so imagine the stress on a beached mammal with one of its pod being hacked to pieces alongside it. The end result is one of the most horrific sights I have seen and the carcasses are still there in a blood pool that runs over a kilometre."

You guys have exposed a massive fraud by SSCS. It kind of defies imagination, until you realize the whole fetid thing came from SSCS imagination.

Thanks for blogging about this.

Shark Diver said...

To All,

Thanks for posting this thread is now closed. We have reached the end if useful comments.

Stay tuned for updated on other posts.