IN Radio National’s hatchet job on Viscount Monckton, reporter Wendy Carlisle (below) makes much of her allegedly rough treatment at the hands of those attending the anti-carbon tax rally in Hyde Park. It is an audio verite moment, the note of peril in Carlisle’s voice adding much to the drama. Here is that section’s transcript:
Woman in the crowd [sound from the rally]: Are you from the ABC, dear?
Wendy Carlisle: Yes I am.
Woman in the crowd: Yes, I saw your ... You'll just ... from this. Yeah, enjoy.
Lord Christopher Monckton: ...and that is just four incidents in less than a week in which the ABC has shown its credentials as supporters of utilitarianism, socialism and of fascism.
[Crowd chants, 'ABC, ABC']
Wendy Carlisle: As Lord Monckton spoke, I stood in the crowd not far from the stage, my microphone held high to catch his words. My ABC ID badge was clearly visible and a young man in the crowd turned and started to point at me and mouth, 'A-B-C'. It was then that people started to deliberately push me.
Lord Christopher Monckton: ...not interested in giving people a fair go. So I do have a message for your Liberal and National coalition...
[Sound of crowd jostling and taunting Wendy Carlisle as Lord Monckton continues in the background]
Wendy Carlisle: I'm now being jostled by members of the crowd.
Man in crowd: Don't use force against her. Do not touch her! Excuse me, coercive force is the hallmark of...
Wendy Carlisle: I'm now being harassed by people in this crowd...
[Crowd applauds and cheers Lord Monckton]
Man in crowd: Leave this woman alone... Piss off!... Just leave this woman alone... She's free to stand here... She's free to be here...
Wendy Carlisle: I've actually never encountered this in a reporting job ever before.
So here are another couple of questions:
1/ Who was that white knight who lectured the crowd about “coercive force is the hallmark of….” and did he accompany Carlisle to the rally?
2/ Why was the quote truncated before his sympathies, pro or con the tax, were made clear?
From the broadcast audio, you get the impression that Mr White Knight is most likely an anti-taxer prepared to extend a sense of decency and fair play, even to ideological opponents. But if he is, say, Carlisle’s beau, that needs to be stated, since it would raise the possibility he might have been acting as both agent provocateur and supporting player in an orchestrated and deftly edited hit on Monckton and his supporters.
Prior to this, although omitted from the broadcast’s transcript, Carlisle can be heard begging sotto voce for space as she worms her way through the crowd to the apron of the stage. Why did she feel this re-positioning was needed? Her microphone was quite clearly picking up Monckton's every uttered word. And why did she feel the need to nestle in the bosom of the mob? A friend of the Billabong who attended the rally insists that a roped-off space directly in front of the stage was available to the press. So why did Carlisle, who says she was but feet from Monckton, not duck under the barrier and stand even closer to her subject?
One way to settle these points would be for the ABC to post the full, unedited tape of Carlisle’s afternoon amongst the Hyde Park barbarians, including any other exchanges with Mr White Knight.
The only (semi)comprehensible audio snatch from the crowd comes at the start of the above section, when an unnamed woman wishes Carlisle well, addresses her as “dear” and urges her to enjoy the afternoon. After that comes an apology from someone in the crowd and the exclamation “There, that’s better.” Is that really what thugs say when pushing women around?
That unedited tape could make for some fascinating listening.
A FURTHER THOUGHT: Wouldn’t it have been nice if some member of the crowd had captured Carlisle’s “scary moment” on video. Flip cameras are cheap, easy to operate and their footage is simplicity itself to upload. In the light of the ABC’s manipulative partisanship, having recourse to an independent view of its operatives’ actions would do much to settle those frequent accusations of bias.