Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Moral Obligation To Inquire

NEWSPAPERS are supposed to deliver news and today, just for once, the Silly manages to do just that. Stretching belief even further, the man breaking the scoop is none other that Butch Carlton, whose dirt on Defence Minister Stephen Smith's alleged machinations in the most recent chapters of the Skype Affair represents, if true, an iron-tight case for resignation or sacking. There is some background in an earlier post here and a bit more here, both of which Andrew Bolt comprehensively updates and interprets.

Well here is a minor but very interesting sidelight to the bigger story of Smith's apparent deceits: How will the Melbourne Press Club react to the latest news, which casts further doubt on the story that last year won a Walkley award for Channel Ten's Hugh Riminton and Matt Moran? Despite growing suspicions that the scandal-hungry Riminton cast himself as the willing and useful idiot in Smith's campaign to villify ADFA Commandant Kafer,  the Press Club yesterday included him in its list of finalists for its Graham Perkin Award. And, yes, it was for the same story about which so many doubts now hover.

Finko & Rickety have just devoted several hundred pages and an unknown sum of public money to an examination of the Australian press and its shortcomings, at least as they are perceived from quarters where hoax-enabler Margaret Simons and the like are regarded as pillars of truth. Shouldn't the MEAA, which administers the Walkleys, and now the Melbourne Press Club, be conducting inquiries to establish if Riminton and Moran's award and nomination are deserved?

A profession that cared about its reputation would not need persuading.


  1. The problem with Butch's otherwise plausible version of events is that if the final Kirkham report was consistent with Smith's public release, in that CDRE Kafer is exonerated, then there is no apparent reason why the final report, or at least those parts of it that deal with Kafer, shouldn't be released, Smith has nothing more to lose. If, on the other hand, Kirkham's final report remained critical of Kafer, then Smith can't now release it because it would make him look like he weakly doctored his public release under pressure from the Defence Chiefs, something no Defence Minister in a Labor Government would ever want to be seen to have done. The 'leak' was, as I've argued here before, a clumsy attempt to have a bet each way by Smith and/or his office.

    Butch's angle on this is intriguing, and one can't help wondering whether the researching, writing and marketing of his book on HMAS Perth has brought him into contact with naval types who might regard him as a useful 'agent of influence' in what appears to be a well organised pro-Kafer campaign. One might also suggest that Butch's rather surprising pro-military sentiments certainly won't hurt the sales of his book.

    Consuela Potez

  2. The Old and Unimproved DaveMarch 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    The Press Club will close ranks like any other 'Lords of Creation' clique, viz the Roman Senate, William the Conquerors' Normans, the VIsigoths in Hispania, etc.

  3. PhillipGeorge(c)2012March 17, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    KPMG with, question mark, undisclosed terms of reference and an undisclosed time frame to report in are independently auditing the process of investigation made by a quasi judicial body with "fairness" in their title, relating to alleged incidents of embezzlement dating back over 4 years ago and now you expect a hitherto autonomous body to investigate the fairness of their own actions, because they may have made a mistake?

    Prof, I have some fossils of the feathered mammal, porcus avianus to donate to the Melbourne Museum of Natural Decency - all I need is a benefactor to help fund a field trip - a lazy hundred thou would do - are you good for the money?

    But Prof - step back and consider "women in uniform" - a sky hooks classic.

    All this story is about it two men fighting it out over the integrity of a woman.

    And you people want to call this "news"?

    I pinched - I'm still awake.

  4. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.March 17, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Presumably hoax-enabler and low-flying 'journalist' Margaret Simons underwent some sort of selection process in order to hold the prestigious position she currently enjoys at the University of Melbourne. Given this, and her subsequent appointment, I doubt the profession of journalism does care much about its reputation, honourable Professor. Otherwise they would have rejected this hire out of hand: this woman defends (instigated?) a shoddy piece of journalistic work. Nothing more. It was not clever, it was not parody, and it was not comment. It was deliberate misrepresentation of facts to make a case, mingling real and fictitious information. This is just about the most unethical thing a journalist can do. Yet it is rewarded.

    The Walkleys are in danger of turning into a similar sort of reward.

  5. The press gallery will of course say it's all Abbott's fault!

    1. PhillipGeorge(c)2012March 17, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      If he didn't incite these sorts of incidents the troops would have all been doing macramé classes that evening. Abbott you should apologise.
      Women now need an army of their own to defend the more vulnerable parts of Australia.

  6. A grand military strategy Phillip.
    But may I propose going one step further and having the 'Womens Army' battalions segregated into the Left-Hand Lesbian Officers Corps, the PMT Brigade, the Fighting Hand-bag flotilla, etc.
    You get the picture.
    A much more diverse, multi cultural, Green military machine.
    Lets do it for the children (that these particular combatants might have had).
    One cheeky thought also crossed my mind with your 'defend the more vulnerable parts'- the shiny new womens army will need a proper army to defend its more vulnerable parts.
    Solves the unemployment problem right there.

  7. Why wouldn't Simons defend the "story"

    She has never fully disclosed just how or why she verballed the Bolta incorrectly, doing a Mordy and reading his intentions and state of mind all without his knowledge, on the say so of some long ago girlfriend who allegedly embellished her tale for gain or notoriety

    These "upper class' journos do NOT do either "sorry" or retractions for us lowly paying public bods, Prof!

  8. Smith refuses to apologies to Commodore Kafer. Smith refuses to release the final report.

    Smith must resign as Defence Minister, or the PM must sack him. Nothing less is satisfactory now.