Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Somehow, when David Marr and his minders are trying to be nice to their colleagues it just makes their politics all the more obvious. Of course, with the media covering almost nothing else for a week, and an audience about as ready for the usual dose of selective righteousness as they are for an op-ed piece by Bashir the duck, what else could the crew do?

Welcome to Media Watch. Tonight we look at a remarkable week of journalism and break the habits of a lifetime to praise some very fine work. But there were some low points, lower even than Sky's dud call to wage war on Indonesia.

A perfect setting for some knife work on a favourite ABC target:

A little later over in the east, the commentators were already into it. Piers Akerman could see the blast coming and knew who to blame.

And he was spot on:

Piers Akerman: ‘There is a tragic inevitability about all of this. And I think that those people, from the Greens particularly, elements of the Labor Party who have said Australia was not a terrorist target, who have been down-pedalling the threats that obviously exist.’
Insiders, ABC TV, 14 October 2002

Piers was solving the problem just 8 hours after the blasts, at a point when hardly anything was known by anyone.

"Anyone" means the communards at the ABC; the Gastropod, Pastor Lane, and no doubt the minders at Media Watch. Fact is, ten days after the blast, and ten days before it, what Akerman was stating looks and looked bleeding obvious to all except the anti-US denialists.

But that's not all folks. Another favourite target, Mike Munro of A Current Affair, also gets an equally arbitrary serve. He is shown fishing for tears from a young prospective widow. Standard media practice, especially if you listen to Life Matters, watch Australian Story, or any of a dozen ABC news reports in the past week. And the woman clearly wants us to share her struggle to stay positive.

Puff up the cheeks, David, we're all feeling virtuous and looking for someone to dump on.

That interview wasn't live. It was packaged: pre-recorded torture to turn this woman's grief into television.

A travesty of critical jouralism.

We're still waiting for reports on the Ken Davidson plagiarisms, and the Philip Adams fake-up of his phone chat with Charles Krauthammer.

Don't pay your taxes until we get them.

Later: By the way, don't bother looking for the transcript of the Akerman interview on the Insiders Website. They've never heard of it. Not even on October 13.