Media Watch is back to its nitpicky best, focusing on petty mistakes instead of real issues. Ooh, let’s all laugh at the silly thing this journo did. Har har har.
Last night, a tweet by freelance tech journo Adam Turner calling Tony Abbott an arsehole and a cocksucker was considered more important than this tweet by ABC radio’s Geoff Hutchison: Tony, why are you frightened of intercourse with Julia? Is it because we will be watching and measuring?
Turner does not interview politicians, so while his tweet is on the rude side – if you’re bothered by such things, which I’m clearly not, given my penchant for swearing – it’s not really a big deal. Hutchison does interview politicians, and although his tweet was minor, he works for the ABC where opinions are not allowed. Unless you’re writing for The Drum. It’s kinda like a bathhouse – the only place you’re allowed to be nude in public.
Now, including quote attribution from the transcript, Media Watch used 302 words on Turner, yet only 180 on Hutchison. Why?
But the main focus of Media Watch was Matthew Newton. As it went on and on, and on and on, recapping Newton’s life, I wondered where the hell they were going with it. As it turned out, not really anywhere. Eventually we got to this:
Now it may help you to know that New Idea is published by Pacific Magazines, which is part of the Seven Media Group.
Could that be why Newton got such soft treatment? Could it also be why there was no mention of that assault charge?
Holy crap, New Idea does a puff piece on a celebrity and doesn’t ask hard questions? You’re shitting me? How can we let them get away with that? ManFriend, hand me my protest shoes!
Now, I’m a big fan of naming and shaming arseholes who hit women. But there needs to be a point at which journos stop rehashing someone’s past in every single article. (I’m still waiting for the Daily Telegraph to mention Candice Falzon without the words “that photo” and a gratuitous link. Or any news outlet to mention Cheryl Kernot without also mentioning an affair she had in the 90s.) Three years ago, Newton was convicted of assaulting his then-girlfriend Brooke Satchwell, but the conviction was quashed. So, does it need to be mentioned in every single article on Newton? This is not a defence of Newton – because I don’t believe his actions can be defended – it is simply asking where that point is that journos let people move on. Had the “offending” New Idea article been written after Newton’s alleged assault on partner Rachael Taylor and failed to mention the assault, then it would be Media Watch-worthy, but it wasn’t, so the segment simply amounts to snark. As a viewer and journo, I expect more than that.
Mind you, it was a massive case of the pot calling the kettle black. A few weeks ago Jonathan Holmes conducted a fauxview with Mark Scott that was just a plug for ABC News24. No hard questions there:
Jonathan Holmes: Well that, but some people say that the problem is you’ve been so keen to save money in order to create the new things that you want to do, that you’ve actually been pushing these technologies too fast.
Mark Scott: And that’s a criticism that we consider. We don’t think we have pushed it too fast. This is a big change in technology and work processes. Our staff have worked very hard on it. I think we’ve got a good result in that for the same amount of taxpayers’ money, we’ve been able to give a new 24 hour news service.