Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The air time Auntie is devoting to the virtual (long may they remain so) hostages is astounding.

More than half of the 7.30 Report last night, large slabs of AM, PM and The World Today yesterday (more).

Every last Australian in Iraq is being hunted down, including those who would rather their wives or creditors didn't know they were there.

And still no confirmation, unless you count that pamphlet someone was handing out on a street north of Baghdad, where internet connections must be as slow as Telstra's.

Every scrap of information is being turned over, film clips of other hostages are being run and re-run (three times on the 7.30 Report alone) and Foreign Minister Downer has been permanently patched to the ABC newsroom.

So far the only real product has been the story, inferred by the AM host from Downer this morning, that the government has sent over a special forces unit to get the hostages, if they exist, away from their captors.

Let's hope the hostage-takers, if they exist, also lack access to radio and television.