Crikey’s crypto-crime correspondents, the Kooka Bros, are forever
receiving bullets in the mail. Today, they send a couple in the
media’s direction:
Today’s revelation that corrupt cops are seeking to silence Victoria
Police corruption investigators puts the spotlight firmly back on the media’s role in the Gangland War.

The Australian’s tyro police reporter Paddy Murphy teamed up with
well-connected intelligence analyst Cameron Stewart to blow the
lid on death threats to members of the Ceja taskforce. Read their
compelling piece here.

The Oz’s Melbourne editor, the feisty Carmel Egan, followed up by
ringing ABC radio shock jock Jon Faine to ram home the point that the
ABC and the Oz were the only mainstream media following Crikey’s lead
and investigating the role of corrupt police in Melbourne’s gang war.

Faine had a good chinwag with Egan, during which she managed to slam
the Age, her tabloid stablemate the Hun, police commissioner Nixon and
Purana taskforce chief, assistant commissioner Simon Overland.

The ABC’s AM program and Murphy received praise from Egan for their
attempts in recent months to uncover links between the unending spate
of killings and deep-rooted police corruption. Could it really be
that only after Murphy left the Age for the freedom of the Murdoch press he was able to investigate the role of crooked cops?

The Age and the Hun have been receiving most of the “authorized” gang
war news. On Wednesday, Hun editor Peter Blunden blew a gasket when
Age hound John Silvester scooped them with the arrest in Geelong of
veteran contract killer Keithy Faure:

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/05/19/1084917654072.html

We are drawing absolutely no connection between the Age’s great run
of underworld arrest scoops and the arrival of former Age hack Steve
Linnell as head of police media. Linnell, incidentally, originally
hails from Geelong, and learned his trade at the elbow of big brother,
Garry, now shaping as the Bulletin’s best editor ever.
Your Kooka Bros, of course, have long warned about the problems that
happen when journos grow too close to cops and robbers. Our report on
Lewis Moran’s funeral back in early April contained a shot across
the bows of Hun racing editor Shane Templeton:

“Shameless Shane has disgraced himself and his profession this week
by lending his unabashed support to Lewis’s legacy. Last Thursday, he
used his own paper to write a sycophantic eulogy to his old mate –
ignoring Moran’s role as a drug baron and underworld kingpin.

“And today, the Hun’s chief racing hack quoted from the Bible to
justify Lewis’s conduct, and through it, defend his own public role.”

Naturally, racing hacks schmoozing with crime bosses is at the lower
end of the trough. More worrying is the perception that senior journos
may be – with the
connivance of police authorities who should know better – less than
enthusiastic in investigating corrupt cops. Journos should not
confuse doing the ethical thing and protecting their sources, with
protecting and fostering crooked cops.

Of course, this is a long way from ludicrous conspiracy theories
like
linking the Lebanese ethnicity of Premiers and billionaire drug tsars
with an inability by police to catch the gangsters at the top. But in
the dimly lit Melbourne mean streets, the Kookas will be
following up this issue closely, and nipping at well-shod heels
whenever necessary.

Stay brave, stay armed, and stay tuned.

Hate mail and death threats please to [email protected]

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

What a year. Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW