Tim Blair


New Criterion



Thursday, December 09, 2004
Who watches Auntie's Media Watchers? Why, the Watchers themselves, of course. And they really love what they see.
At times, I've got on and I've been furious. I've been lofty. I've been continuously hilariously funny, of course.
That's the tagline David Marr gives himself for his three years' work pontificating from the Media Watch chair.

Let's not be too concerned about a Presenter's self-praise. Narcissism is, after all, the second qualification for the job.

The first qualification for an Auntie Presenter is sharing uncritically the tanticular world-view, and never, ever reflecting on that foundational fact. You can see that from the Media Watch mission statement as Marr and minder McEvoy present it.

Like any good leftists, Marr's Media Watch was concerned with root causes, not just performances.
One of the things that we wanted to do, which I think is a slight shift, has been to go into a bit more detail about the kinds of structural reasons for shitty journalism. That it's not necessarily the individual failings of an individual journalist.
And so the policies of owners like Murdoch and Packer are treated at length. At the same time the policies of the Auntie commune are sadly neglected.

The shenanigans of the Golden Tonsils and the Platinum Parrott as they maximise their wealth on the backs of their listeners, these appear as regularly as your favourite plods in The Bill. The gruesome corruptions of Auntie's own Phillip Adams, a root cause if ever I saw one, are treated, when once they had to be, with the deference and delicacy of George Pell reviewing the Pope's wisdom.

The evident ideology of other Presenters and minders - and if you don't know what I'm referring to you've just arrived at ABCWatch - are as invisible on Media Watch as infidelity in Mecca.

And if you don't think that's a serious derogation of the role of journalism in our battered old democracy then I don't know why you're here.

Marr and McEvoy neglected to remind us of the occasion a learned judge found their smearing of a journalist with a commercial television channel to be "illogical, unfair and unreasonable", but I'll remind you.

And then there was the time Media Watch failed to notice the most egregious and potentially damaging case of news spinning by an organ of the Australian media - the ABC as it happens - apparently designed to damage Australian-Indonesian relations.

I could go on, but that would be boring. In any case you have access to Google.

The last word to he who is used to having it:
I've done exactly what my mother told me not to do when I began. She said, "Dear, you'll be very good at this job so long as you don't show off." I've showed off outrageously ...

I can't say I feel grateful.