Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, October 18, 2004
The word around Auntie's Ultimo bunker is that Tony Jones is under pressure for his extraordinary Lateline attack on Minister Tony Abbott's religious practices.

You may recall Jones also implied directly that Cardinal Pell had conspired with Tony Abbott and Anglican bishops to attack Labor's education policies.

It turned out that Jones's evidence for these charges was actually evidence against them.

Jones's smears seem to me much greater offences than Andrew Gilligan's use of journalistic licence in his 'sexing-up' claims against the Blair government. For that Gilligan and his boss Greg Dyke were given the boot, and Dyke's boss, the Chairman of the Board, fell on his sword.

Just how likely it is that Jones will be required to take any action to expiate his offence is clear from Ramona Koval's interview with Greg Dyke yesterday. Dyke is promoting his book, in which he excuses Gilligan because he was only inventing at the time. Later information, according to Dyke, supported the Gilligan version and therefore he and his employers have been retrospectively justified for their deeds.

Dyke's first and arrogant reaction to his government's complaints was responsible in part for the damage the Gilligan incident caused the BBC, but his only criticism is for his Board.

The members of his Board were all representatives, ignorant of broadcasting and timeserving weaklings, according to Dyke. His interviewer, Koval, who swallowed the Dyke view whole, neglected to inform him on air that she is a member of the ABC Board, representing ABC staff.

Koval also neglected to address the question she failed to answer on air when one ABC Board member leaked confidential Board material to David Marr of Media Watch. That question was, did she do the leaking?

An honest answer might have reinforced Dyke's contempt for Boards of pubic institutions. I'm sure he would still appreciate Koval for her marketing assistance.

As Jones should appreciate Koval for using Auntie's resources to assert, at one remove, the right of ABC staff to act outrageously without answering for it.

Later. How badly Greg Dyke reacts to being sacked can be gauged from his response to being sacked from London Weekend Television. The scene: a visit to Nelson Mandela's former home on Robin Island. Read on:
"…my tears flowed quietly, tears for what had happened on this horrible island, but also tears for what had happened to me in those three days in January".
Via Biased BBC