Monday, May 10, 2010

Have we reached saturation point?

If it's not obvious enough, consider all the 2010 Federal Budget leaks that have been announced through the Murdoch Press. (Heard the ABC reporting on a budget leak being reported in the Fairfax Press recently?)

Last night [10/5/10], the ABC's 'Media Watch' reported:

... Hedley Thomas is a Queenslander. Melbourne journalists, including some of The Australian's, have been reporting on the Victoria Police, its factions, and politics, and deep pockets of corruption, for years.

It seems they've all been getting it wrong - or at least, missed a major story.

But on Thursday Michael Strong, the director of the OPI, hit back in an interview with the ABC's Jon Faine...

Michael Strong: Can I say something on, about the story on the front page of the Australian and the one yesterday and the one the day before and the one we believe is coming tomorrow and the one we believe is coming on Saturday. The Australian is running a campaign against the OPI at the moment. What they are not disclosing is that they're also suing us Jon. They're trying to stop us reporting to parliament and giving information to the DPP about what we say is criminal conduct. That case is starting in the Federal Court tomorrow and I can say no more about it because I am bound hand and foot by injunctions.

— ABC Radio 774, Mornings with Jon Faine, 6th May, 2010

Well, we can say this much, because we've already reported on it. The Australian will be back in Federal Court this week, arguing that the OPI should be prevented, permanently, from publishing a report into the leaking to its reporter Cameron Stewart of the details of a major anti-terrorist investigation.

The OPI's draft report, we know from court documents,

... contains matters critical of the conduct of the applicants that adversely affects the business and commercial reputation of the first applicant...

— Federal Court documents, 15th March, 2010

...which is the owner of The Australian newspaper.

Nationwide News Pty Ltd is arguing that in investigating the conduct of The Australian, the OPI exceeded its legal powers.

Whether or not Hedley Thomas's stories are in the public interest depends on how accurate they prove to be. But right now, they're certainly in The Australian's. You'd have thought, in the acres of print it's devoted to the OPI last week, that somewhere it would have found the space to disclose that.

I think its readers have a Right to Know. ...
Of course they do.

But that has never been the way Murdoch works.

And next time someone parrots the "Dr Haneef affair Walkley award" line, ask them about the faked photoshopped front page picture of the Dr and his wife in front of the Gold Coast's Q1 tower with it's snide insinuations. Also ask them about Murdoch's full-on support of the Howard government's demonisation of this innocent man.

Take every opportunity to counter the notion that any of these outlets have any authority.

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