“It is a capital mistake to theorise without data.” Sherlock Holmes, the creation of the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and still the most famous detective of fiction.
It is not surprising that nearly 20 days after after the verdict on Cardinal George Pell was announced, the Australian lobbyist Gerard Henderson keeps trying to cast doubt on the verdict. Henderson is a staunch defender of the Catholic Church and one who thinks he knows all about journalism – even though he is just a lobbyist who rallies to causes on the right of politics.
Henderson runs an organisation known as The Sydney Institute which he characterises as “a privately funded not-for-profit current affairs forum encouraging debate and discussion”. Two of the companies that supply those funds are the airline Qantas and the telco Telstra. There are other organisations that fund Henderson’s war against the left too.
Continue reading “Three weeks on, Pell supporters retain their blinkers”
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is a government-funded news organisation that is quite wrapped up in itself. It has radio, online and television news services and a lot of it is about the ABC itself.
TV outlets tend to promote their wares during breaks between programs; the ABC goes one better and treats many of its own programs as being worthy of being news items.
If these were major investigations or ground-breaking programs, then it would be fine. That is not the case; the most trivial program often merits a slot on the ABC News channel that runs around the clock.
Continue reading “The ABC is a good example of inefficiency in Australia”
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”
The Australian Financial Review claims to be one of the better newspapers in the country. But as is apparent from what follows, the paper lacks sub-editors who can spell or who have any knowledge of grammar.
Fairfax Media has an almighty big style guide, but the AFR seems to have thrown it out, along with any competent sub-editors.
All this is taken from a single article titled “Malcolm Turnbull wins support to water down race hate laws” on 21 March. Just imagine how many screw-ups there are in the entire paper. And the paper still complains it is losing readers. Guess why?
Continue reading “The AFR has lost its dictionary. And its style guide. And its subs”
The moment a Western journalist is treated in the Middle East in a manner that is deemed to be different to that in his own country, the West does tend to get rather heavy on the moralising and judgemental pronouncements.
Peter Greste, a journalist for Al Jazeera, the TV network that has revolutionised coverage of the Arab world, was given a sentence of seven years jail on what seem to be trumped up charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The Brotherhood came to power in elections in Egypt after the so-called Arab Spring had resulted in the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak who, at one stage, looked like having a permanent mortgage on leading the country, either on his own or through his descendants.
Continue reading “When the US bombed Al Jazeera, were journalists not prevented from doing their jobs?”
EMMA ALBERICI: Let’s talk about the economics shortly but I just want to stay for a moment on the politics.
What’s curious in this instance is that there appears to be little to no appetite in the US for a more aggressive military-style response from president Obama. Even the Republican John McCain, who led the push for some kind of US army assault in Georgia six or so years ago, is now urging caution? – The ABC’s Lateline programme on March 4, 2014.
RECENTLY there has been a great deal of debate in Australia over whether the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a government-funded entity, is biased towards the left or not.
There is a much more serious malady that affects the organisation and which is never raised: incompetent presenters.
Continue reading “ABC: incompetence is a bigger issue than bias”
THE explosion of online publishing has seen a breed that knows little or nothing about journalism assume posts as editors, writers, and so on.
But when one comes to such positions without understanding the finer points of the craft – as those who have either worked for, or been trained in, full-time publishing ventures do – the danger of overstepping one’s bounds is very real.
Writing is a tricky business: English is a highly ambiguous language. That is just the beginning of the area where one can sink.
Continue reading “Writing the occasional article doesn’t make one a journalist”
MEMBERS of the public are quite famous for lambasting journalists for not covering stories accurately or seemingly withholding facts from them.
If any form of corruption comes to light, the media is always blamed for not having exposed it earlier. The mainstream media, especially, takes an awful beating in this regard. Any little mistake — and they do make many — is leapt upon by righteous souls from the among the masses who make it their mission to blame each and every ill in society on the media.
But does this same public really want to know the truth? And when the truth is revealed, does the public act on it?
Continue reading “Does the public really want to know the truth?”
WHEN journalists criticise something repeatedly, those who read their offerings tend to conclude that the journalist in question has a dislike of the person or people at the heart of that issue – and that is the reason for the criticism.
But that is often not the case.
Irish journalist David Walsh was probably the only one of his tribe to be critical of Lance Armstrong when the American, on his return to professional racing after recovering from testicular cancer, won the Tour de France in 1999.
Walsh took the stand he did because he loved the sport. And he hated the idea that it was being ruined by people ingesting this drug or that and winning without deserving it.
Continue reading “Pursuing Armstrong: a journo’s tale of triumph”