Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Uncle was beginning think that by actually reading the Alston dossier on AM's biassed reporting of Iraq he was demonstrating the defects of intelligence and character with which Auntie reproaches him daily.

Not true, Your Honour!

Someone else has done it too. Gerald Stone, the robustness of whose sanity is attested to by a long career working for Kerry Packer, including time in charge of the Bulletin, and as boss producer of 60 Minutes, reads the dossier and finds that "Perpetual sneer and dripping sarcasm justify attack on ABC's impartiality."

There's a big difference, however, between sceptic and septic: the toxic sneer that infects some reports to the point where an audience can no longer separate fact from prejudicial innuendo. As a former senior producer and editor, I must say I didn't find Alston's dossier of 68 alleged offences as far-fetched as some of my colleagues

I noted at least 20 instances where, as an ABC news executive, I would have called AM staff members to task for making smug and gratuitous comments blatant enough to bring the program's impartiality into question.

If Auntie's Board accepts a kinder judgement on the AM crew than Stone's you'll know it's a whitewash.