Tim Blair


New Criterion



Thursday, February 27, 2003

Just as Other-People's-Media Watch presenter David Marr was gearing up to reveal to us the cause of Auntie's peculiar invention of Indonesian government policy, along comes his boss Russell Balding and tries to steal his lunch.

The litany of errors contained in Mr Akerman's column of last week (18/02) was
compounded this week through the wholly inaccurate claim that the ABC "was
forced to apologise for fabricating a news story which had the potential to
damage Australia's relationship with Indonesia".

When ABC News management identified the error they moved to rectify it. The
Corporation was not "forced" to apologise. It chose this course of action
because it was the proper thing to do.

Nor was the story "fabricated". It was a mistake and the ABC was not reluctant
to admit to it
splashes his leak to Crikey.

Russell, your invention sure was a mistake, but it is still an invention. How did it come about?

Auntie's flacks are spreading the rumour that it was all Jakarta reporter Jim Middleton's fault. He just didn't make himself clear.

Well, Middleton can speak - or leak - for himself, but speaking for Uncle, who heard the item, the disjunction between the rubric inserted in Sydney and the story from Jakarta, was so wide that there was room for Russell Balding's credibility gap.

So we're left with the question: how and why does Auntie's national TV news service invent news that is not even credible?

Still some work for David Marr.