Monday, March 12, 2012

Media Botch

SOMEWHERE in a tear-stained corner of the Media Watch HQ a researcher is feeling bruised, battered and bitterly disappointed. That person also should be burdened with guilt, but as this is the ABC we are talking about, that emotion will be a non-starter, despite the drubbing Jen Marohasy has just dispensed.

Here is how we can assume it went down, going on what newsroom types have told the Professor is Media Watch's standard operating procedure. Late on Friday, Marohasy would have received a swag of questions from one of the altar boys who kneel before Jonathan Holmes’ pulpit. These always arrive on Fridays to catch the target unaware and, more important, to permit inadequate time to compile a comprehensive response. There would have been follow-up communications as well, all stressing that the show has a deadline and repeating the need to respond ASAP. By Monday, further attempts to respond would be rejected on the grounds that the show's shooting schedule was so far advanced no changes or amplifications could be included.

Marohasy’s crime is to have argued with great energy and much evidence that the Murray’s lower lakes are being stuffed by the gates which prevent seawater flooding in when drought reduces freshwater flows. Marohasy maintains the lakes and the ecology they support are better served by allowing them to become brackish from time to time. The tone of Media Watch’s question was accusatory, the implication being that Marohasy was in the pay of “irrigators and water-rights entrepreneurs” who wish to spread more Murray water on their upstream crops.

From this we can conclude that someone at the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, or some other group had worded up a mate at Media Watch and provided their version of the settled science about how the lakes have always been freshwater etc. As the catastropharian Robyn Williams is the ABC’s science editor, an empty test tube if ever there was one, it is safe to assume that familiarity with scientific methods and matters in the Media Watch compound is best measured with a microscope. Indeed, given the youth of what one gathers to be a typical Media Watch researcher it would be a surprise if an appreciation for science extended any further than a recognition of the need to drink more water while under the influence over Ecstasy.

Well Holmes’ crew picked the wrong woman. Marohasy puts down their questions like a vet with an old dog. Gently, calmly, but ever-so-firmly she answers them all. The exchange is now on her website.
She also contacted her lawyer and had her warn Media Watch to be very, very careful.

And guess what? Holmes junior league crusaders backed right off, dropped the story and ran away. The item will not be running tonight, although there is no guarantee the blunt tools in Holmes drawers will not go back to their green mates for fresh ammunition. Fools and fanatics, particularly the publicly funded varieties, are like that: they never know quite when to stop.

As for Media Watch, being forced to can the Marohasy hatchet job must have left a hole in tonight’s show, so Holmes could need something fresh and scandalous to justify a bit more of his pouting and smugging. Time is short, so why doesn't he hunt close to home?

Why not examine your own show’s methods, Jonathan? And while you are at, what about correcting the record in regard to the deletion of Milly Dowler’s voicemails, or is regret another of those sentiments unknown to ABC types?

How many weeks has it been now?



  1. "pouting and smugging"
    So cruel, so true

  2. I think the rise of the anti ABC Media-Watch blogs are having a dire effect on Jonathan Holmes' facial muscles. I have a noticed a severe reduction in smirking emanating from Mr Holmes over the last few weeks.
    (If only smirking could be linked to global warming - it could save the planet and the ABC could have reason to celebrate something!)

  3. They'll wheel out a standby piece on the
    Upper Tumbucnah-West Bugle doctoring images of
    bulls' pizzles in the fortnightly classifieds before they would mention that minor thing concerning
    the screws of the world.
    Besides, it's in the closer.

  4. That's it? That's the best example of media malpractice they can find? Seriously? What a joke. What an absolute disgrace.

  5. Jen doesn't even work for the media. This is witch hunting a private individual for the green cause. It is not Watching the Media.

  6. If Media Watch is so obsessed about the funding of individuals and organisations (particularly the ones who dare to disagree with ABC groupthink) perhaps Holmes could send his cadets in pursuit of Get Up, to try and even the score. I, for one, would be relieved to know, that this gaggle of Lefties pure as they are in word and deed, remains untainted by lucre funnelled in from a foreign power.

  7. My bet is they will go after Gina Rinehart, most of the rest of the media is doing so.

  8. Note the assumption that, if you question the environmentalism groupthink, you must be funded by environmental wreckers. If you question the funded establishment opinion on climate, you must be funded by Big Oil. If you question the current Australian government's policies on anything, you're part of a conspiracy being personally overseen by the evil lord himself, Rupert Murdoch. In all cases, there's no reason or logic involved, just simple-minded paranoia. From people with tertiary degrees. Scary. And they wonder why the reputation of academia is so damaged.

  9. I was taken to task by a troll at Blair's asking for evidence for my statement that the ABC had a track record of freezing out views they disagreed with. Had the hide to demand emails! As if. Just watching and listening to the ABC is all the evidence one needs. Unless you're a troll-shill for them. This story is right on target.

  10. Blogstrop

    Don't worry about birdbrain brizben, he doesn't visit at Blair's much as he dislikes becoming fricaseed troll.

  11. I also think they'll "go after" Rinehart. The trouble is, they might catch her, then what? It'd be like having a 20-foot saltie jump in the boat with you. Suddenly, everybody remembers an important appointment elsewhere...

  12. Thanks kae. It was unusual of Tim not to publish my further response. It's true though, you'd have to be a birdbrain not to notice what's in and what's not in their programming. I hope they never again reach the pinnacle exemplified by their evening with The Great Global Warming Swindle, but the current kerfuffle springs directly from that same mindset - " we know we are right and we'll run right over you to show the world the truth according to us."
    Last night they ran a story on air pollution, shot on location at Cape Grim, Tasmania. While anguishing about small amounts of chemicals showing up in the air samples, in the background was a host of landscape-polluting windmills, standing testimony to the one-eyed vision of right and wrong that the ABC continually indulges itself with, and inflicts on its audience.

    1. For scientists, they seemed quick to make unwarranted assumptions: one researcher, for instance, said that, since there was no land between Cape Grim and Africa, any pollution they found in the local air must obviously be representative of world-wide pollution levels. Hey, heard of ships, guys?

    2. And whale farts ...