Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Previewing News Yet To Happen

Are you happy that this country is being run by a foreign corporation?:

From 'Crikey!'s' 'Pure Poison' blog:

In the wee hours of this morning four men were arrested during a series of police raids around Melbourne. These terrorism-related raids seem to have been reported by The Australian some three hours before they even occurred.

It’s still unclear how The Australian came to know about the raids in advance, although if they knew that the raids weren’t scheduled until a certain time then they would surely be aware that running the story before that time could jeopardise the operation.

There is a symbiotic relationship between the police and the media: the police want their success publicised so the public can rest assured that in matters of terrorism “they” are doing “something”, and the media want immediate access to all the details of big, juicy stories like terrorism arrests to attract eyeballs to ads.

A generous reading of the balls-up might be that The Oz made a grave but genuine error in its production process. A cynical reading might be that it deliberately broke embargo (imposed by the information source or self-imposed by the editorial team) for scoop value. But when something like this occurs, putting at serious risk the very success that the cops want to brag about, surely the nature of that symbiotic relationship must be questioned.

This has got to stop.

1 comment:

  1. There's been some interesting discussion on Larvatus Prodeo about this:

    Isn’t this all a bit timely, coming just after McClelland going on about new, tougher anti-terror laws?

    ... WHY exactly would Lebanese/Somali immigrants, possibly not yet armed, be plotting to stage a suicide attack on a low-security, not-very-strategic barracks in a country that has only the most minimal relevance to either Lebanon or Somalia? And discuss it LOTS in earshot of their ASIO tails?

    And why would ASIO/AFP/whoever make damn sure that Limited News’s national flagship, the Opposition Orifice, got leaked the juicy details well ahead of any action taken?

    The whole thing sounds like a stage-managed, made-up collage of buzzwords and charades, to spook the impressionable into screaming for TOUGHER ANTI-TERROR LAWS!!!!

    Screw that. Let’s have some common sense, please.

    OK, Tough-On-Terror Fans.

    Let’s give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that this round-up is completely kosher and justified.

    In which case, the main Tough New Power that the security services need is not the power to unaccountably harrass civilians for gathering, demonstrating, writing stuff, taking photographs, having dangerously dark skin, wearing weird clothes, speaking unAustralian, looking at the wrong WWW sites or all those other scary things. No. The most important Tough New Power for the security services is:

    Learning to keep your own bloody lips buttoned until after the operation has gone off OK.

    The leakage to the OO makes this look severely like a contrived media stunt. I small many rancid old fish, and am looking forward to hearing more about what was really going down.