When journalists stalk a child, episode 2

And so here we are again, the MSM stalking a child simply to get a photo and breathlessly report their every move. Just like they did in August with Madeleine Pulver.

At dailytelegraph.com.au, they’ve gone for “we can’t identify the family, but we’ll pretend they’re hiding something”:

Daily Telegraph and the Bali boy

Daily Telegraph and the Bali boy

At news.com.au they’re at least being honest about how they’re going to hound the family:

News.com.au and the Bali boy

News.com.au announces they have started trial by media

At heraldsun.com.au they don’t seem to understand that you can be remorseful about doing something illegal and dislike the media at the same time:

Herald Sun and the Bali boy

Herald Sun and the Bali boy

Both heraldsun.com.au and news.com.au are running the same Daily Telegraph story by Clementine Cuneo and Neil Keene, so I’m not going to link to it on their sites: Bali boy’s deal or no deal? Why the secrecy if no media deal signed?

THEY claim they haven’t signed a lucrative media deal with a television network, so why all the secrecy?

You realise that they don’t have to speak to the media, right? That despite being judgemental, you’re not actually judges in a courtroom? You do know this, right? Right?

As the Bali drug boy and his father finally arrived home from their ordeal they went to extraordinary lengths to dodge local reporters – from ducking out a side door at the airport and taking a bush trek home, to wrapping their house in hessian to keep out prying eyes.

You know, I’m not convinced they’ve realised that the prying eyes are theirs and theirs alone. It’s just like when journalists stood outside the Pulver house and earnestly reported that the family had asked for their privacy to be respected, as though the problem was the general public camped out on their front lawn with cameras ready to shove in their faces. And they do this every time someone asks for privacy, cluelessly reporting that request for privacy as a news update.

But even that didn’t stop the 14-year-old – who told an Indonesian court 10 days ago he was remorseful and ashamed of his recent behaviour – from goading the waiting media by whistling, sniggering and gesturing from behind the shielded windows.

Good on him. I’m sure he knows they can’t show his face, so all they can do is take photos of the outside of his home. Which is why dailytelegraph.com.au is running a 20 photo gallery of the outside of his home.

The car drove straight to their newly covered-up Morisset Park home on the Central Coast, where they trekked through bushland and neighbouring properties to get to their home, rather than driving in the driveway. The boy’s older brother had been seen the night before tacking up sheets of hessian.

Seen by journalists the night before. Which means they’ve been camped outside the house for at least two days. No wonder the family “trekked through bushland and neighbouring properties to get to their home”.

But once the family grew tired of their games the father called the police.

You will never outsmart the media, you hear? We will mock you on our websites even though the vast majority of our audience won’t know who you are and so our taunts are essentially useless. So, take that, Bali boy family!

Two officers arrived about 3pm and spoke with the father. “He said he wants you all charged and dragged away,” police said. After ensuring the media were on public property, the police left.

The police moved the journalists off the family’s property and they still report it without any sense that they might be the problem.

The thing about this kind of stalking, ahem, reporting, is that it’s completely useless. They can’t show his face because he’s a minor. They can’t show the faces of his family because that will identify him. So there are two reasons why so many journalists are in front of the family’s home:

1. No editors have actually thought about why they’re doing it. They’ve just sent journos there to rabidly slobber at the family.

2. It’s to show Channel 9 that they can be there too. (Going on unconfirmed media reports that the family may have done a deal with Channel 9. Ah, I love unconfirmed media reports – nothing more than journalists whipping each other into a frenzy in order to have something to report. When’s the last time an unconfirmed media report turned out to be true?)

Which means journalists are hounding a family who have been shitting themselves that their kid will spend years in an overseas jail, simply because he did something dumb in Bali, just so they can get a photo of people whose faces they can’t show, in order to try to fuck up Channel 9’s exclusive. When we all know that if the family has done a deal with Channel 9, they’ll all report the story when it’s aired anyway. Just like they always do.

49 responses to “When journalists stalk a child, episode 2

  1. As a reader from Victoria, may I ask;

    Has the Tellie always been this shit?

  2. I still remember the glorious frontline episode where the team tried for ages to get inside the house of such a family before suddenly deciding at the last minute to use the same camera footage to deplore the ‘feeding frenzy’ of the ‘media’.

    The lack of self-awareness is astounding. I love the implications that people who become well-known (for reasons beyond their control) have a public duty to speak to the for-profit media.

    • And if they speak to one media outlet but not them all, the others will run the “profiting from their ordeal” line.

    • That was a fantastic episode, “The Siege” and unfortunately, one that didn’t have to fall too far into hyperbole to ridicule the situation. It was based on actual events on a farm near Grafton in April 1993. A reporter from ‘A Current Affair’ asked one of the kids if “they [had] enjoyed the adventure”, which is a line I think they actually used in the script of Frontline.

      At work, the only internet we can access is news.com, the articles and comments provide a great laugh sometimes. It’s lovely to get home to sites like this one and hear the response.

      • Thank you, mustarrd, and welcome to the News with Nipples. What kind of cruel and unusual punishment is making News.com.au the only thing you can access?

        • My friend summed it up nicely, when I prefaced a story with:

          [ME] “So, I was reading news.com at work the other day, because it’s all they’ll let us access at work..”
          [MY FRIEND] ” Why?”
          [ME] “I don’t know, some security thing to make sure we’re not wasting time surfing the net”
          [MY FRIEND] “No, I mean, why even bother going to the site? Wouldn’t you just be better off staring at the bricks?”

          With these kind of articles, my friend may be onto something..

  3. As someone who went to school in Morisset, may I just contribute that, if they are having to spend whole days there, I understand why the media are sounding cranky and bitter, and if he has to spend his whole youth there, I understand why the boy needed to get high.

    That is all.

  4. This is so angry-making. That child would be dealing with trauma right now and he’s going to be crucified for not showing the correct level of shame and remorse. Young people are seen as delinquents non-deserving of basic human rights. I’m sure any one of those reporters would have expressed shame and remorse in order to get out of that gaol. Interesting how the media can use a story to support the status quo. While he was still locked up in Bali it was all about those nasty Indos and their uncivilised laws. Now it’s all about promoting the old “youth gone wild” trope because children and young people need to be kept in their place.

    • The whole thing just reeks of “don’t wanna talk to us, huh? Then we’ll make your life hell”.

      And the “nasty Indonesians for locking up a child” line was revolting, considering the number of Indonesian children Australia has locked up. Pathetic.

  5. they don’t seem to understand that you can be remorseful about doing something illegal and dislike the media at the same time

    That’s been my reaction to media scrums ever since I first realised that they happened (during the Lindy Chamberlain days), and realised that first they attacked her for running her own messages rather than following their scripts about grieving mothers, and then in later years they attacked her for no longer wanting to talk to them at all.

    I wouldn’t give a media scrum the time of day for anything to do with my family.

  6. The tabloid press is always running the Tough on Crime line, but with the other hand, they make criminals (or, in this case, clueless twits who get into trouble and whose clueless-twitty behaviour shouldn’t be presented to other young clueless twits as an excellent adventure), into celebrities with chequebook journalism and ACA/TDT interviews. One hand, of course, knows quite well what the other hand is doing – it’s a cynical playoff of social anxiety.

    • And who can blame people for agreeing to the money? It also gives them an opportunity to tell the story from their point of view, rather than through the screaming headlines of journalists.

  7. Pingback: Elsewhere – When journalists stalk a child, episode 2 | Pure Poison

  8. Do we mention the hypocrisy of journos camping out on public land being employed by the same news organisations that decry the “Occupy” movement?

  9. http://www.smh.com.au/national/pay-back-blondie-a-tale-of-two-against-one-20090809-ee8l.html

    Once a stalker always a stalker….Interesting though a convicted criminal through stalking…Knows her stuff old Clementine

    • That was seriously disturbing. I cannot begin to fathom how someone could be motivated (or bothered) to carry out a tirade against another person over an arguement. Weird

    • The behaviour Cuneo got up to was disturbing and criminal. She got a 12 month good behaviour bond.

      It does seem strange that you would send a convicted stalker such as Cuneo out to cover something involving children, but hey the Tele is a strange newspaper.

      • Why is it strange? Her conviction was for stalking an adult, not a child.

        • How about this: the conviction doesn’t just raise questions about her judgement, it answers them in the negative.

          • How about this: why don’t you answer my question? Breaking one law doesn’t make you unfit for being around children.

            • How about this: I did. Why so defensive of Cuneo? She’s clearly a pretty nasty piece of work.

              • No Bill Posters, you did not answer the question. I am not defending Cuneo. But I am suspicious of your motives. You don’t normally hang out here. You are using an anonymous name to suggest that someone convicted of a crime against an adult is unfit to interview a child, which is a pretty ridiculous suggestion. The two have nothing to do with each other.

      • Covering a story involving children isn’t the same as working with children. Everyone who works with children undergos a working with children check to rule out any convictions for offences against children. Are you publicly implying that this person has been convicted of a child-related offence? You might want to be careful about doing that sort of thing.

  10. Very sad. If this media frenzy keeps up its pace, it’s probably only a matter of time before they crack and publish his image, just like Channel 9 did with the “St Kilda Schoolgirl”.

  11. Surely as a professional journalist (hell, even as a relatively normal -functioning adult) you’d feel a bit frustrated and embarassed to realise you’ve studied long and hard at university for however many years merely to end up stalking a 14 year old boy and camping out on suburban front lawns? There’s got to be at least someone who’s currently having to report on this garb, sitting there thinking to themselves “This is f-cking ridiculous’?

    • I’d like to hope so. But journalists suffer from group think – if everyone else is chasing this story, then we need to as well. Plus, it’s simply about getting the story, regardless of what the story is. I was once told to get out the yellow pages and start calling all the businesses in a town where a couple of children had drowned, to get people to comment on the accident and say whether they knew the kids. I thought it was a revolting thing to do, and so only pretended to be making calls. Within minutes of news of the tsunami that hit Somoa in 2009, I was told to call resorts and other businesses near beaches to get stories of people’s loved ones being swept away, tying up the phone lines as people were trying to call for help. Disgusting. Let local journalists get those stories. I was never a very good journalist.

      Megan, welcome to the News with Nipples.

  12. It’s the straight faced sincerity of “the family have asked for their privacy, let’s stick cameras up their noses and possibly in their underpants” that gets me. One of my friends is doing her Masters of Journalism at the moment and these are the stories I highlight for her, so she knows what NOT to do.

  13. Did the victim of Clementine Cuneo have children? Does anyone know more details of the victim? If she was a mother with children would the crimes be against the family?

  14. Sorry the Victim that Clementine Cuneo stalked and was convicted of.

  15. Let’s not forget that News Ltd named the boy and published his photo when they first broke the story. These hooligans spat on their own code of conduct, mooned the Act that automatically suppresses the identity of a minor charged with offences and splashed him all over the country. Then they pull this shit? The fucking gall is breathtaking …

  16. Y’know some days I actually am surprised.
    Depressing.

  17. They’re at it again this arvo. “MAN SAYS RUDE WORD!” is leading news sites right around the country. Biggest story of the day. Jesus fucking wept …
    Aren’t you glad you don’t work in an online “newsroom”?

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