Australia is facing its biggest story in a generation and already the media coverage is sparking plenty of debate.It is a bit disappointing to see Crikey having a go at the media for not jumping to conclusions. I hate the way that extraodinarily long bows are drawn by reporters who are expected to keep talking when there is no more to report. It seems from your coverage that the media for once did not do what you usually castigate them for – drawing unreasonable conclusions form the flimsiest of facts. I didn’t know anything about Bali until late Sunday as I did not see or hear any news that day. I was not impressed with this morning’s effort by Channel 9 buttonholing (nicest term I can find other words considered included badgering, dragooning, cajoling) a young Aussie woman just off the plane in Sydney who was completely unable to emotionally handle her experience and being asked to talk about it. Anyone with any sensitivity could have seen she was still shell-shocked – but we had to have pictures didn’t we! On top of that she was interviewed by a disembodied voice (female and caring of course) from the studio – not enough decency to have a conversation with her face to face! Looks like all the sensationalism is starting to wind up so well all be happy being fed opinion and guesswork instead of news.


Kick the mainstream up the butt

In response to your request for feedback on the Bali bombing and what role we would like Crikey to play, please accept my congratulations on the deserved kick up the arse you have given to most Australian media outlets. It really it amazing that we cannot get proper breaking news coverage on events occurring on our own doorstep that involve Australian lives.

Like you, in an attempt to get updating news on the attack, I was forced to go to the BBC website although Sunday night’s SKY News and SBS World News did provide good coverage albeit a little late. I’m very happy for Crikey to continue their role of embarrassing our media outlets in this manner and (unfortunately!) must agree with Hillary’s wrap up that this tragedy will only serve to provide Little Johnny with a golden opportunity to break out the Winston Churchill cigars (not that our wartime PM would ever make political capital out of people’s suffering of course!)

Thanks on behalf of us all on a very important job.

Regards, Rich B

Of course it was an attack on Australia


Listening to the news broadcasts last night only confirmed my view of the poor fare we are dished up. It’s hard to believe that this was not a direct attack against Australians – I’ve never been to Bali but even I know Kuta Beach is a favourite of Australian tourists. Yet only one station made any comment of the possible significance, and that was citing ‘an analyst’ who denied any direct link between the bombings and Australians as targets. Maybe that is so and the target was ‘westerners’, given the locations of the 2 other bombs, but in order to draw some conclusions we need to know who carried out (and who funded) these attacks. In any case the lack of any attempt to provide insight into why was appalling. Yes, its terrible for the families and those who were there but I don’t need to see the same pictures and hear the same stories over and over. I want more information and more discussion.

Before making a threat it is wise to appreciate the possible outcomes and know how you will back them up. If John Howard is going to make threats on our behalf we need to have a realistic view of the negative as well as the positive implications. The Bali bombings have brought home one possible consequence, what are the others? And how will Australia pay?

Crikey, please continue to highlight the gaps and help us all to demand more open and less single sided coverage.

Best wishes, Carolyn

Carleton was too aggressive

Agree with your summation of the media efforts to date – too slow, and missing the big point – it looks like more than a hundred young Australians have been killed. The politics and analysis can wait.

That said, I watched FoxTel last night and Terry did a good job, trying to summarise and update as best he could, handling the live telephone interviews of relatives and survivors with sensitivity while still getting good information.

I only saw the FoxTel version of Carleton on 60 mins with Howard – but from watching this, my view is Dick got it badly wrong ; strapping on the gloves with inflammatory and confrontational questions – this sort of stuff can wait, and is way out of line with over a hundred dead, people unaccounted for and many of the badly injured lives still in the balance. What was needed was an account of what’s been done for what is still a critical situation, and respectful acknowledgement of the terrible loss. If that meant giving Howard a free kick and Carleton not asking questions that do need to be asked, so be it. There is a time and place for confrontation – last night was not it.

Best, Anon

Sky News made a terrible start


Sky News’ coverage of Bali early on Sunday morning featured a live interview with “freelance cameraman” Mark Taylor, who appeared to have supplied a feed of footage captured shortly after the bombing. In the course of the interview Taylor made some interesting claims that, in the light of what we now know, are unbelievable. First, he said the explosion at the Sari Club “is not terrorism” but was caused by exploding cylinders of LPG gas, which he said was the only source of energy on the island. Then he said the car bomb outside the US Consulate “is not terrorism” but was just a car that hit a pole, 400-500 metres up the road. Moreover, the US Consulate was “just a small office…just a remote office…if you were thinking of making a terrorist statement, you wouldn’t choose something this small, a remote office”. How embarrassed must Sky News be? One thing for sure: if Mark Taylor ever gets another freelance gig, it will be images only without the mindlessly incorrect and naive commentary. What a fool.


Willesee flies high at Sky


good to see you tuned into Sky News Australia last night! The old pro willesee put in huge effort, at one stage on air live for three and a half hours. We carried nothing else. We pulled in extra staff, but still with limited resources we put in some hard yards trying to track down people on the ground editing around the gruesome Reuters and aptn pictures wasn’t easy, and a few ugly frames slipped through the net.

We managed to break a few good local yarns, ie speaking to Glynis Nunn about her critically injured daughter and the poor chap from the Bondi Dolphins who had lost his brother, and Dermot Brereton’s eye witness account.

We had McKinlay up a few times for analysis and the Sky News website was updated every half hour.

I for one was extremely suprised the networks didn’t break into normal programming, or at the very least extend 6pm bulletins to an hour and then put on a late night half hour.

Radio, which is in the box seat when it comes to covering fast breaking news, had an absolute shocker in my view.

Regards, Foxtel Supporter

News Radio did quite well

Dear Crikey,

I wanted to let you know that I think you have given News Radio short shrift.

News Radio had the story at least from 8am (not sure about earlier) but for the rest of the day they continued to have detailed coverage. Yes they did go back, from time to time, to the usual format, but that was probably because they had covered the Bali story constantly throughout the morning with constant updates, reports of reactions and expert opinion.

I was scouring the TV for something (anything!) all morning but kept returning to News Radio.

Some of the NR reports were from a special AM program, while I didn’t listen to other ABC radio, I imagined what a complete amature hour Australian news reporting would be without the ABC.


Where were the tough questions?

Hi Crikey

In relation to your comment: “Howard yesterday refused to acknowledge the obvious fact – that his government’s bellicose war talk has led to the deaths of scores of young Australians. Take his bizarre rationalisation that this could happen to any country – and that citizens of anti-war Germany had been killed in terrorism attacks, therefore the terrorists were undiscriminating in their targets. All the windy talk by Downer of leading the fight against terrorism has now been exposed as empty, dangerous and self-defeating rhetoric.”

My partner and I were driving most of the day, News Radio appeared to have the best coverage on radio, but NO ONE asked the question related to the quote above.

Are our journalists turning into a bunch of wimps?

Maybe we should rate journalists to prod them into action, a performance index ?


Shocked by Crikey’d death figure

Dear Crikey

I’m astonished at your report that over 100 Australians have died!! I’m still hearing a figure of 13 on radio coverage as at 9.20am on Monday.

Concur with your views on the shallowness of the analysis re the broader terrorist global agenda. This was the first question that came into my mind but virtually nothing on yesterday’s media was attending to it.

Whilst it is natural and right to focus on the human tragedy, as a nation we also have to be agile and vigilant in regard to the braoder picture.

Regards, Tim

Slow on the Bali casualties

Agree with your criticism of the slow coverage of the Bali casualities. At this stage, we have 13 Australians confirmed dead (unclear whether that includes the one who died on the flight out) and 9 teenagers killed in 2 road accidents in NSW. Has there in fact been more killed on Australian roads in the last week than in Bali? Where is the measured response to that?

But don’t praise the Straits Times as for a long time on Sunday they had a story that only a handful were killed.