September 30, 2003


Gareth Parker is right -- I could never have predicted that the ABC would urge Iraqi children to frolic on and around unexploded ordnance for the benefit of its cameras. I clearly underestimated the ABCís willingness to harm kids. Congratulations to Media Watch for airing the story, although itís hard to imagine host David Marr being this mild had he caught someone from a commercial network doing the same:

The leaking of the camera tapes is a harsh lesson for Gina Wilkinson, but no journalist should need to be told the appropriate way to film reports of this kind. Using kids in this way to get pictures is just not on.

A harsh lesson. Just not on. The big meanie! Anyway, letís see what Marr has to say next week about his close friend Alison Broinowski and her new career in fiction, reported below.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 30, 2003 09:23 AM

Oh but Tim she was just a little misguided that is all. He knows that her heart is in the right place, hence the rather mild admonishment. At least now the next time he savagely attacks Andrew Bolt (or you) we can measure the severity of his comments by his response to this outrage.

Seriously though it made me thoroughy sick - she should be sacked, end of story. Unbelievable!

Posted by: Rob at September 30, 2003 at 10:25 AM

Marr: `harsh lesson'.
Tulloh: `unacceptable behaviour' and an `error of judgment ' on Gina Wilkinson's part.
No, let us try: gravely immoral, which might even warrant criminal charges in view of the facts.

At the very least, a sacking offence with no separation payout including super.

What a disgrace, all round on Australian (not everyone's )Bolshevik Collective propaganda organ.

Posted by: d at September 30, 2003 at 10:55 AM

Until now I didn't realize just how immoral our bombing campaign was. I just didn't realize there would be all this unexploded ordinance that Western journalists would encourage children to play on. I guess it's a natural consequence of all wars.

Seriously, though, should we just start calling the journalists "baby-killers"? Jesus.

Posted by: scott h. at September 30, 2003 at 11:28 AM

You would have to think that it qualifies as child abuse. or a prize winning segment from 'Australias funniest home videos' if one of the rockets goes off...

Posted by: harry tuttle at September 30, 2003 at 12:03 PM

I almost said "unbelievable", but, sadly, it's not.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at September 30, 2003 at 12:11 PM

Try getting someone sacked from the ABC- it's easier to get rid of an Australian cricket captain. I have been trying to get unfunny pinhead Wil Anderson arseholed for continual breaches of the ABC charter, and the response is "we take the charter very seriously, but blah blah blah".
If nothing else, he should be shit-canned for lying on his application- I believe he wrote "comedian" in the column for occupation.
And yes, Wikinson should go, no question. Imagime if some squaddie was filmed allowing rug-monkeys to crawl all over some surface to air missiles (which were also armed); I doubt if the court-martial would be as meek as the Marrmoset.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 30, 2003 at 12:22 PM

What is a few endangered kids, when "journalists" can use them as props for advancing their careers.

Posted by: perfectsense at September 30, 2003 at 02:35 PM

Media Watch: "It's not surprising that The Australian, which barracked so enthusiastically for the war, is still fudging the facts, but we expected better from the ABC."

The story doesn't have a straight introduction, it has an introduction meant to diffuse focus by referring to the supposed inaccuracies of The Australian's reportage. In other words, despite
Wilkinson's obvious attempts to sensationalise this story, the ABC's coverage is nonetheless more reliable. Such misdirection is commonly employed by magicians and shell game operators.

ABC: "While it was known that the children regularly played there, the ABC regards the request to the children was an error of judgement."

A qualified statement that falls short of condemning Wilkinson's blatant endangerment of children in pursuit of a sensationalised story.

Our ABC.

Posted by: S Whiplash at September 30, 2003 at 03:27 PM

Actually, it's just a simple segue from the previous segment on the show.

But don't let the obvious spoil your rant.

The ABC exposed their own "sexing up". Surely an honourable thing to do? Credit where credit's due.

On ya - my ABC!

Posted by: Nemesis at September 30, 2003 at 06:52 PM

Sexing up? It could've been a blowing up. At least we now know what the ABC has to do to attract the attention of Media Watch -- it has to expose children to the possibility of violent death.

Media Watch sets the bar considerably lower for commercial networks. And why no demand for Wilkinson to be sacked, as would certainly be the case if a Nine or Seven reporter was caught doing this?

Posted by: tim at September 30, 2003 at 07:35 PM


Good to see you confirm that Media Watch is merely an outlet for the ABC line. Media Watch independent? Nah.

It's your ABC alright.

Posted by: ZsaZsa at September 30, 2003 at 07:42 PM

The real witch-hunt will be for the faceless schmuck who passed on the wilds.... the cameraman, soundie & editor must be feeling particularly nervous at the moment.

Posted by: gmc at September 30, 2003 at 08:22 PM

Well Gina got caught, serves her right. I can think of lots of my fellow journos who would have made em do more than two takes, as well. We're a bad and cynical lot, and the TV breed especially tend to create the reaility they want, regardless.

Media Watch, whom I know naught of, sound like wankers. I reckon Gina probably will get the sack if this gets around a bit more widely though.

Posted by: Dave F at September 30, 2003 at 09:13 PM

It is important to realize how common it is for the news media to simply make things up, embellish, quote out of context, attribute quotes of one person to another, or otherwise lie. I personally know of this happening -- in the case of a reporter with a major international newspaper.

Finally, have you ever noticed that, when you read an article on a subject you happen to know something about, the reporter usually screws it up and demonstrates that he knows nothing about which he is writing?

Posted by: Kevin Smith at October 1, 2003 at 12:26 AM

The bad and cynical doesnt surprise me. Its the abject laziness that blows my mind. I dont doubt that kids played around that missile or ones like it, but isnt journalism about capturing a moment? God forbid having to come back round a few times to get the story, especially when there a limbo contest at the Al Rashid later. So get those kids up there so we can get this shot.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at October 1, 2003 at 12:38 AM

Kevin Smith: Exactly correct! Whenever I read or see a newspaper or TV "story" about a subject I am familiar with or an event which I attended, I wonder a- how did the "reporter" get it so wrong or b- what event was the "reporter" covering? It doesn't matter whether it was the Pope's outdoor Mass in Boston in 1980 (I think), a mini-demonstration at the Pentagon in the mid-80s (while I was on AD) or the local reporter interviewing the Science Olympiad team I coach... They already know the story they want and you are just part of the scenery. And, of course, given that these "professionals" overwhelmingly conform to a particular set of social and political beliefs, it comes as no surprise that that's what comes out in the papers and TV day after day, night after night.
And why FOX news gives them such fits - not that they're more accurate, but that they do not conform to the majority media culture.
And THANK YOU, Kevin, for setting me off & wasting 20 mins of time I could have spent scooping filthy lucre into my sack!

Posted by: JAGCAP at October 1, 2003 at 01:14 AM

Wait, wasn't that a soviet/iraqi missile?

Posted by: Rosco at October 1, 2003 at 01:32 AM
Seriously though it made me thoroughy sick - she should be sacked, end of story. Unbelievable!
Sacked? SACKED?

She should be forced to juggle unexploded cluster bomblets on live TV until they blew up!

If the Iraqis there had chosen to beat her to a bloody pulp, I would most DEFINITELY have given them a pass on it.

Stupid, murderous, media slut.

Posted by: Emperor Misha I at October 1, 2003 at 01:58 AM

I don't know if this has been observed in Australia, but where I am (US of A) it has been observed more than once that liberals of a certain stripe, and those farther left, generally, love humanity but don't have much use for people. These Iraqi kids were only important to Ms. Wilkinson to help her make her "humanitarian" point, whatever it was. She had no interest in them or their loved ones as individuals.

Posted by: Marty at October 1, 2003 at 03:17 AM

Imagine a reporter wished to emphasize a point by having children handle a gun. A gun which would _probably_ not go off. Imagine, too, the reception of tape from Iraq of March in which children were encouraged to romp about live ordnance--oh, vile Ba'ath!

If the story is true as written, the woman should be dismissed for cause. And regardless of any legal/professional penalty, psychiatric examination is urgent for her own sake and that of potential others.

Not Suffer Gladly

Posted by: Not Suffer Gladly at October 1, 2003 at 07:02 AM