In the first three weeks of June last year, the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson presented a three-part saga on the channel’s Four Corners program, which the ABC claimed was the “story of the century”.
It was a rehashing of all the claims against US President Donald Trump, which the American TV stations had gone over with a fine-toothed comb but which Ferguson seemed convinced still had something to chew over.
At the time, a special counsel, former FBI chief Robert Mueller, was conducting an investigation into claims that Trump colluded with Russia to win the presidential election.
Continue reading “Whatever happened to the ABC’s story of the century?”
How do you evaluate a book before buying? If it were from a traditional bookshop, then one scans some pages at least. The art master in my secondary school told his students of a method he had: read page 15 or 16, then flip to page 150 and read that. If the book interests you, then buy it.
But when it’s online buying, what happens? Not every book you buy is from a known author and many online booksellers do not offer the chance to flip through even a few pages. At times, this ends with the buyer getting a dud.
One book I bought recently proved to be a dud. I am interested in the outcome of the civil war in Sri Lanka where I grew up. Given that, I picked up the first book about the ending of the war, written in 2011 by Australian Gordon Weiss, a former UN official. This is an excellent account of the whole conflict, one that also gives a considerable portion of the history of the island and the events that led to the rise of tensions between the Sinhalese and the Tamils.
Continue reading “The Rise and Fall of the Tamil Tigers is a third-rate book. Don’t waste your money buying it”
Over the weekend, the Australian federal election ended in a manner that was the exact opposite of that expected by the public if one were to go by the opinion polls – Newspoll and Ipsos – that ran in the major media outlets. Both predicted a win for Labor. The result, as you are well aware, could not have been more different.
But surprisingly there were some people who were aware that the polling was not correct and kept mum about it. [Watch this video from 11:29].
ABC journalist Patricia Karvelas mentioned during election coverage on the network that she had been told of internal polling by the Labor Party that indicated that the reality was different. Karvelas said on the Insiders program on Sunday that Labor sources had told her of internal polling that indicated that things in Queensland were quite different to what was being reported in public.
Continue reading “Journalists Savva and Karvelas knew the polling was wrong. Yet they kept quiet. Why?”
Nineteen days before it marks a decade since the end of the civil war between Sinhalese and Tamils, Sri Lanka is again in turmoil following a co-ordinated series of bombings by Islamic terrorists on Easter Sunday, nine days ago.
The Sri Lankan authorities appear to have become quite lackadaisical in their attitude towards security on the island, given that so many people could be killed in what appears to be a well-organised bombing campaign with simultaneous blasts in different parts of the country, all aimed at Christians celebrating Easter.
Continue reading “Sri Lanka faces more bloodshed ahead unless govt acts”
Kashmir has been a flashpoint in Indo-Pakistan relations since the two countries were formed in 1947 and was recently in the news, when a terrorist from Pakistan killed 40 members of the Indian Central Police Force.
The two countries are both nuclear powers and apparently had to be pulled back from the brink by the Americans for a second time, the first being in 1999.
There is a great deal of misinformation around the Kashmir issue and that’s why this piece is written, more for my own remembrance than anything else. If you keep hearing lies and have no chance to hear the truth, one tends to believe the lie.
Continue reading “Kashmir is a problem that will never be solved”
Thursday, September 13, marked 25 years since Israel took the (then) radical step of recognising the Palestine Liberation Organisation in a Norway-brokered deal that many thought would ultimately lead to a two-state solution in the Middle East and bring an end to one of the most bitter feuds between nations.
Alas, it was not to be. Twenty-five years on, what remains of land that could have been a Palestinian homeland is bantustans, and things seem to be going from bad to worse. With the US recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it is now inconceivable that Tel Aviv will ever countenance giving up part of the city to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
It brings back memories for me, as it was the biggest news event that I have managed in nearly 40 years as a journalist in three countries. In 1993, I was deputy chief sub-editor at the Khaleej Times in Dubai, and that September I was producing the daily editions as the chief sub-editor, my good mate T.K. Achuthan, was on leave.
Continue reading “Twenty-five years after Oslo, there is nothing to show for it”
Over the last three weeks, viewers of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Four Corners program have been treated to what is the ultimate waste of time: a recapping of all that has gone on in the United States during the investigation into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential campaign.
There was nothing new in the nearly three hours of programming on what is the ABC’s prime investigative program. It only served as a vanity outlet for Sarah Ferguson, rated as one of the network’s better reporters, but after this, and her unnecessary Hillary Clinton interview, she appears to be someone who is interested only in big-noting herself.
Exactly why Ferguson and a crew spent what must be between four to six weeks in the US, London and Moscow to put to air material that has been beaten to death by the US and other Western media is a mystery. Had Ferguson managed to unearth one nugget of information that has gone unnoticed so far, one would not be inclined to complain.
Continue reading “Recycling Trump: Old news passed off as investigative reporting”
Barnaby Joyce has come (no pun intended) and Barnaby Joyce has gone, but one issue that is intimately connected with the circus that surrounded him for the last three weeks has yet to be subjected to any scrutiny.
And that is the highly incestuous relationship that exists between Australian journalists and politicians and often results in news being concealed from the public.
The Australian media examined the scandal around Deputy Prime Minister Joyce from many angles, ever since a picture of his pregnant mistress, Vikki Campion, appeared on the front page of the The Daily Telegraph on February 14.
Continue reading “Joyce affair: incestuous relationship between pollies and journos needs some exposure”
The year that ends today was remarkable for one thing on the media front that has gone largely unnoticed: the fall from grace of one of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s brightest stars who has long been a standard-setter at the country’s national broadcaster.
Sarah Ferguson was the journalist’s journalist, seemingly a woman of fierce integrity, and one who pandered to neither left nor right. When she sat in for Leigh Sales, the host of 7.30, the main current affairs programme, for six months while Sales was on a maternity leave break, the programme seemed to come to life as she attacked politicians with vigour and fearlessness.
There was bite in her speech, there was knowledge, there was surprise aplenty. Apart from the stint on 7.30, she brought depth and understanding to a long programme on the way the Labor Party tore itself to bits while in government for six years from 2007, a memorable TV saga.
Continue reading “All your gods have feet of clay: Sarah Ferguson’s fall from grace”
In a recent interview with Newsweek after the release of her film, Risk, the Oscar-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras asks “What is the motivation of the source?” as part of a reply to a question about a decision on what is newsworthy.
That should tell an observant reader one thing: Poitras may be 53, but she it still very naive. Every leak that ends up on the front or other pages of a publication, or on the TV screen, emanates from someone with an axe to grind.
Perhaps one is looking for a business advantage and leaks some details about a rival. Or else, one may be from one political faction and looking to gain an advantage over a rival faction.
Continue reading “All your gods have feet of clay: even at 53, some people don’t know that”