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TV & Radio

Nov 22, 2011

Flannery: Hadley concocted story on my waterside home

Of all the responses to Robert Manne's Quarterly Essay on The Australian it is the letter from Tim Flannery published in the latest edition that adds the juiciest grist to the mill.

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Of all the responses to Robert Manne’s Quarterly Essay on The Australian — a defence from Weekend Oz editor Nick Cater, more criticism from Jay Rosen, Ian Lowe, Rodney Tiffen, Jack Waterford and Mark Latham — it is the letter from Tim Flannery published in the latest edition (in bookshops and online this month) that adds the juiciest grist to the mill.

The environmental activist reveals for the first time how he was set up by radio shock jock Ray Hadley, who fuelled a fierce campaign from News Limited papers against the Australian of the Year.

In July, Hadley took a call on his 2GB program from “David” proclaiming to be a neighbour of Flannery’s. Flannery owned a waterfront home, the caller said, detailing its precise location and highlighting his apparent hypocrisy on sea level rises.

The story took off: Andrew Bolt took to his blog with further details of the house (including a Google map) and its value, The Daily Telegraph went to print with a story, and after promising an “intelligent article” on the issue of sea level rises, Flannery claims, The Australian‘s Ean Higgins wrote a piece rehashing the Hadley revelations.

Flannery did his own investigation. He found an address for “David” and made a house call. Flannery writes:

“His stammering voice was so unlike the smart-alec tone I’d heard on the radio that at first I thought I had the wrong person. But he soon admitted that he knew Ray Hadley. In fact, he worked for him.

“David then stated emphatically that he had not called Ray Hadley at all. Instead Hadley had asked him to appear on the show, and had called him. David said that Hadley had sought him out after learning that I lived nearby. The story, and all of the supposed ‘facts’ that David was to raise during the interview, had, according to David, been assembled beforehand by Hadley and his team … David stated: ‘You’re on the other side of the fence [regarding climate change] … they hate you … they’re out to get you.'”

As Flannery pointed out to any journalist who asked, his house in fact sits above the most radical projections of sea level rises.

He launched legal action against The Oz and won a withdrawal of the article, publication of a page-three apology and $5000 in legal costs. He writes:

“The experience has taught me several things about the hate media in Australia. First, as they seek to slur those they hate, they do not hesitate to manufacture a story if one does not exist. Second, as the story is picked up by other opinionists, they are prone to weave ever more scandalous fictional tidbits from the blogosphere into the story. Third, in their efforts to obtain an interview some journalists will lie and ignore the truth when it’s inconvenient to them.”

Crikey left a message on Hadley’s phone while he was on air this morning which has so far not be returned.

Jason Whittaker Whittaker —

Jason Whittaker Whittaker

The Mandarin managing editor and former Crikey editor

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87 thoughts on “Flannery: Hadley concocted story on my waterside home

  1. Brown Bob

    Oh dear oh dear. It appears that a few phlegm-frothed, sub-moronic cretins let their hatred of shock jocks get the better of them. Couldn’t wait to put the boot in and now here you all are standing in front of everyone with your pants around your ankles.


    Sucks to be you ha ha. I think what we need is an inquiry into the left wing hate media in this country.

    I wonder why people are so ready to support a person willing to fabricate stories about someone else? Hmmm what other pearls of wisdom can Panasonic Tim can share with us? Anyone know what his views are on climate change?

  2. Ray James

    Media Watch contacted Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) about the lack of balanced representation of climate science. ACMA said it couldn’t take action on codes of practice breaches if no one complains. And so far no one has complained about this issue. So let’s all complain!

    Talkback shows (believe it or not) fall into the ACMA definition of a current affairs program, which means they are subject to codes of practice that aim to provide a balance of viewpoints on issues of public importance, and separate factual material from commentary (read codes below).

    Talkshow hosts such as these below have often breached code of practice 2.3 (a) and (b) when dealing with representation of climate change science:
    2GB: Alan Jones, Chris Smith; 2UE: Jason Morrison, David Oldfield, Michael Smith; MTR: Steve Price; 6PR: Howard Sattler; 5AA: Leon Byner; 4BC: Gary Hardgrave; 6PR: Paul Murray

    What should we all do?
    1. Send a letter of complaint to the radio station. Most stations have an online feedback form you can use. In the letter you need to say something like ‘I am complaining that there has been a breach of the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice 2010. See the example letter, which you can copy. If you have the time (and the nerve), listen to programs and make a complaint about a specific example. If not, a general complaint is fine.
    2. Wait to receive a response. If you don’t get one within 60 days or you think it’s a poor one, submit a complaint to ACMA.
    3. File a letter of complaint to ACMA

    I know it seems onerous but considering the amount of people who listen to these programs, it is important they don’t consider themselves above their broadcasting responsibilities.

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