Channel Seven’s Talking Footy takes a beating in this edition of
Yoursay, along with several media outlets including, Fairfax and A
Current Affair. Meanwhile some people are still mulling over the
results of last weekend’s council elections. See what our contributors
had to say below:

Hello Colin Columnist

I have no history in this affair, only coming across it in today’s
crikey email, and have not much knowledge about whether the critics are
right or not. Nor do I particularly care whether a left or right
perspective is the ‘correct’ one.

However, there appears to be a certain amount of fixation on the
‘letter of what was said’ rather than the ‘spirit of what was said’, in
the criticism being put forward. I base this purely on the media
watch transcript – which (to my ignorant mind) appears to support
Sheridan’s general line of argument – if not the actual words used.

From the transcript on the Media Watch site, McCutcheon effectively
said that he didn’t agree (and didn’t know of anyone else who would
agree) that the war was over and had moved into peacekeeping
mode. I gather this was in response to Sheridan’s claim that
Spanish troops had only moved in during the peacekeeping phase.

It seems clear that McCutcheon dismissed Sheridan’s statement – and
without a huge amount of tact. Was McCutcheon’s tone ridiculing
in nature? I don’t know – didn’t hear it – but that could easily
explain the ‘ridiculous’ statement.

Best regards and keep the columns going.


CRIKEY: See Colin Columnist’s story on Greg Sheridan’s lame defence

The Passion hits the United Arab Emirates

MrMOB here – I used to send you some stuff critical of the AFL, but I
have recently relocated to the Middle East. Re your story on the
“6. Controversy of the Christ” causing disputes in the Muslim

While the Mullahs mull it over in Kuwait, Mad Mel’s movie has opened
here in the United Arab Emirates and was no.1 at the box office this
week, with people of all faiths queuing up: one interesting sight in
the line was a fully veiled woman standing behind another who was
wearing a tank-top: the Emirates are certainly a place of interesting
contrasts… (Of course, accusations that the film is virulently
anti-Semitic probably wasn’t much of a problem for the censors here,
given the UAE refuses to recognise Israel and won’t let you in if your
passport has a Israeli stamp in it.)

MrMOB in Abu Dhabi

Fairfax broadsheets interpret Iraq

Don’t you love the way the two Fairfax broadsheets handle Middle East
stories differently? A couple of years ago Brian Levitan who is the
president of the State Zionist Council of NSW highlighted the
differences between the versions of the same article as it appeared in
the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age. He was referring to Ross Dunn’s
reports from Jerusalem. He blamed the difference on the alleged
anti-Israel policies of the SMH. My Palestinian friends blamed the
pro-Israeli policies of the Age.

It seems as if the editorial line of the two papers on Iraq is also
expressed in the way Paul McGeough’s reports are treated. Take a look
at the last three paragraphs below. They were totally omitted from the
Age’s report.

Late in March, Falluja was put under the control of newly arrives US
marines, who vowed to pacify the region at the same time as their
military leaders repeated claims that they were on top of the
insurgency and entering a mop-up phase ahead of the June 30 hand over.

Amid running street battles, the marines have taken to sealing off the
entire city for days at a time, forcing thousands of motorists to
detour on rough tracks and training tanks and other weapons on
different parts of the town as they broadcast warnings to locals not to
give refuge to insurgents.

And the most telling of them all:

Some Western observers here are now concluding that the US is far from
quelling the resistance, that it does have a significant nationalist
element – as opposed to being foreign-driven – and also that
reconstruction may be impossible in such an environment.

Crikey readers can judge for themselves which newspaper is distorting
the journalist’s message. McGeough, however, gave us a clue when
accepting his Walkley Award for journalism leadership, and his
“exemplary” coverage of the Iraq war. He thanked everyone in the SMH
and no one from the Age.

The Maidstone media watcher

Sol Salbe

Has ACA lost its head?

I can’t believe that you have not mentioned a piece that aired on ACA
last night. Ray Martin was interviewing a guy who had part of
skull removed and was expecting to go into hospital to have it put back.

Live on national TV Ray told him that the health department had lost
the section of skull. The poor guy was shocked and understandably so.
I thought it was appalling.

Noel English

Talking Crap

I was hoping the new, freshly creased suits wouldn’t be indicative of
the ‘manufactured’ and strained nature of Tuesday night’s first episode
of ‘Talking Footy’ on Channel 7.

Besides David Parkin’s usual insightful comments, the rest of the show
was a severe letdown. Eddie must be licking his chops, not that he
needs to.

Tim Watson appeared irritatingly focused on anchoring the show and
therefore, unable to supply any meaningful commentary like we enjoyed
last year.

And just what was going on with Rex Hunt and Mal Brown squabbling in
the schoolyard like a couple of kids, timed to a stopwatch? Surely, Rex
doesn’t have to be embarrassed like this after losing his Sunday
morning 11am timeslot?

Excluding Leigh Matthews, the guests weren’t justified with (Wayne)
Campbell somewhat disinterested, probably because he turned up to only
contribute a few words.

To add insult to the injury, just when we’d infinitely forgotten him,
‘our’ favourite person, Steve Price, gave an AFL version of the ABC’s
‘Mediawatch’ as if it was uniquely original.

Back to those suits. Tim wearing the brown. And Craig Hutchison looking
like he was wearing an (oversized) one for the very first time,
reminiscent of David Byrne in Talking Heads’ infamous rock flim, ‘Stop
Making Sense’.

If we need to be reminded of professional sports presenting, tune into
Bruce McAvaney hosting the ‘Golden Slipper’ this Saturday. Do anything
Seven, even bring back Caro (Wilson)!

Mr G

Channel 7 can’t talk footy for …

I would like to complain bitterly about the new Talking Footy
Show. What a bunch of expressionless and inarticulate wankers
this poor channel has assembled to replace the stars of last
year. David Parkin can barely express himself in English and
trips over himself trying to put into words his parochial comments.

Victorians should get over themselves in their constant attacks on the
interstate clubs who have brought success to their tired league.

Neither Tim Watson or David Parkin should be featured as hosts and
unless presenters of the calibre of Caro and Macker are employed then
this show will be dead before the end of the season.

My advice to Channel 7 is to wake up and smell the bullshit.

John Arthur Daley

Foxtel, Rugby Union and the Six Nations tournament

Not that it matters all that much, except in the Eastern States, but
the arrogance of Foxtel towards Rugby union supporters at times seems
almost unbelievable.

1) Last weekend New South Wales’ own team, The NSW Waratahs were
playing away in NZ with only a one hour shortened replay planned for
11pm. This was later changed to Live on ‘Main Event’ at no
charge. (Is this an indication of future thinking?)

2) The European Six Nations Tournament is not shown in Australia at
all. There was NO way therefore to see world champions England being
beaten by Ireland at Twickenham or by France in Paris, as has both
happened this season. It is no surprise that both S Africa and New
Zealand have Six Nations coverage.

There are further, no plans for the Six Nations to be included in any digital package.

It appears that Foxtel, who has cornered the Super 12 market, does not
believe that the Rugby Union subscribers need/deserve/want Six Nations
or more probably do not think that, now that they have them signed on,
adding the premier Union package to their sports coverage, will bring
on additional subscribers. (in spite of their continual ranting about
how great their sports coverage is.)

All in all, as an Australian, I am embarrassed by the nature of Rugby
Union coverage and have difficulty in explaining it to overseas people.

Regards DON

Mayor votes in the UK

It’s not for a mayoral position, but Andrew Rosindell, the right-wing
UK Conservative MP for the seat of Romford (a part of Essex not very
dissimilar to Lindsay in Western Sydney), and who became famous for
campaigning at the last election with his late bulldog Spike dressed in
a union flag waistcoat, managed to beat the record at the council

At the 1998 election for the Chase Cross ward he managed to get an
astonishing 88% – the highest vote in London. It even beat the vote in
Belgravia – a part of London that makes Point Piper look poor!

Interestingly, he also achieved the biggest swing in the country to
take Romford from Labour at the 2001 election and has just been
appointed Vice Chairman (Campaigning) of the party in another sign that
Michael Howard is serious about taking the Tories to victory at the
next election.


Local elections and the independent vote

The story that hasn’t got much play in the coverage of the recent local
government elections in NSW is the demise of the genuine community
based independent individual. The changes in electoral rules to above
the line voting has meant that it is pretty much impossible for an
individual to be elected without being a member of a group. And with
above the line voting, anyone within a group has to campaign as a
group, otherwise they waste their marketing spend through confusion.

Whereas previously an individual with a name for themselves could get
elected, they now really need to be heading a group of like minded
individuals (hence the exponential increase in the number of candidates
at these elections.

People like Hilary Bray will no doubt rejoice as party politics become
more important in local government, but it does mean a reduction in
genuine local issues based democracy.

Jennifer Lang

CRIKEY: For some answers see what Antony Green had to say on the independents in his council election wrap

Clover’s Moore’s fertiliser

All this talk about the ‘new’ management at the Sydney Town Hall.
Leaving aside the poor ALP management of the amalgamation and the
election campaign, I’m intrigued: where’s the scrutiny of Clover’s

We had a brief reference to the no.2 guy and his pro-developer work,
but surely there’s more – like, who paid for the campaign? I remember
election night 1999(?), when Clover looked like getting the balance of
power – a friend who had worked in Darlinghurst for some years, said
‘Oh no! Now [prominent legal identity] will run the state.’

Hopefully soon the dirt will start to seep out.

Arnold Ziffel

Peter Fray

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