Bob McCoskrie loves the Streisand Effect


via 3 News

Hayden Donnell at 3 News has noticed that Family First frequently boosts the publications or events they protest against due to the Streisand Effect.   He had an email exchange with Family First director Bob McCoskrie:

“Hi Hayden. The problem with your thesis is that you’re suggesting that if we just stay silent, the problem will go away.

Anything but!

It’s when these events happen that we can raise the concerns that so many have about, for example, the harms of porn and the pornography industry,” he wrote.

I put it to him that by raising those concerns, Family First was giving helpful publicity to the products and events that earn its ire.

“Yes – There’s always a balance on whether we should speak up or stay silent,” he wrote.

“At the end of the day we can either stay silent or speak up. We won’t stay silent.”

He conceded his protests can make the things he objects to more popular, but insisted the tradeoff was generally worth it.

Into The River would be widely read, but the protest was about “setting a precedent”, he said.

“We believe the censor was getting it wrong and has lowered the threshold to a dangerous level… That issue is far bigger than whether Ted Dawe gets a few extra reads.”

Meanwhile, Boobs on Bikes was about starting a conversation and warning porn-averse families to avoid Queen Street.

“There may be a few more watchers at the porn parade. But we set out to achieve a couple of things. Challenge the police and council on their stance to offensive parades. Fail :-) Warn families to avoid the area. Success. Get a discussion going in media about the harms of pornography and should we be exposing children to it. Success.”

Then McCoskrie remembered his own fight with the Charities Commission.

It deregistered Family First as a charity in 2013. McCoskrie’s legal team recently won a two-year court battle to overturn the decision.

The threat of being penalised paid off for the organisation, which saw an upswing in attention and support during its court battle. It turns out being on the receiving end of Family First-esque persecution has its benefits, even for Family First.

“I must admit that when the Charities Commission comes gunning for us, it’s great media :-),” McCoskrie wrote.

So it appears Family First don’t blunder into these things at all, and are quite aware that raising concern has frequently been commercially positive for whatever they are protesting against.

Which means that their perceived benefit isn’t so much to stop what they are drawing attention to, but to validate and increase support for their organisation.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.