Give Bruce a break

Your critic of Bruce McAvaney needs a reality check. McAvaney must be
the most lucid and knowledgeable commentator in Australian television –
on any sport! Give me Bruce’s calm, informed style, to the
hysterical, screaming, we’re accustomed to on Channel Nine, everytime.

Rod Comish

CRIKEY: See Crikey on Bruce McAvaney’s commentary here

Who’s got the best performance poolside?

Bruce is sounding very flat. Which is extremely surprising
considering his past form. However, it is worth remembering that this
is his first Olympics calling swimming and he may still be finding his
comfort zone. Add to this is co-commentators. They are both
broadcasting novices.

Don Talbot is just plain boring. It seems nothing excites the
man. There were moves made to remove him from the team following
his poor performance at the Commonwealth Game of 2002 but somehow he

Perkins is a genuine media talent if used properly. He seems to
be used less than Talbot in the main box and is conducting pool side
interviews. Seven has position number 7 for these interviews and is
extremely unhappy with it. You can’t see the pool deck from
position 7, which makes Perkins at a considerable disadvantage.

Before leaving Bruce. Why was it necessary for Caroline Wilson to
go to Greece in order to write puff pieces about Bruce? She could
not have heard his opening ceremony or swimming commentary. In
typical Caroline mode she does not forget her mates.

The radio coverage has been very interesting with a very different team
on the ABC. No Tim Lane, no George and Benny at the boxing, no
Graham Dawson at the weight lifting. Despite this the coverage so
far has been excellent. The opening ceremony coverage had a warm and
friendly feel with Karen Tighe, Glen Mitchell and Peter Walsh. Indeed,
the absence of Tim Lane made it far less serious and more listenable.

On 2GB and SEN Ray Hadley is heading the coverage. Indeed it may
accurate to say he is the coverage. So far, Ray has called the
opening ceremony, swimming heats and finals and the men’s and women’s
cycling road races. Ray is very Sydney. He is also very
very good and really injected the excitement that Bruce lacked in his
swimming commentary. Ray is being assisted by Duncan Armstrong at
the pool and together with a small but highly skilled support team the
commercial coverage is equal if not better than the ABC’s.

Sport and Australia’s mixed up priorities

Our defence forces are stretched. Our health system is a joke. School
leavers after this year are going to have a HECS debt 5 or 6 times the
size of their first car loan. Our highways are substandard in a lot of
places where they shouldn’t be. In spite of all this we have the second
largest team at this years Olympics. Bigger than China or any country
in Europe. For the privilege of a few medals we have one of the highest
personal income rates in the world (most countries, including our
famous sporting rivals over the ditch, pay a bit over 30% tops – we pay
closer to 50%). In an election year I am amazed that tax and Government
spending is not getting the coverage it should be.

Brian Marshall

Bruce is a knob!

This is by no means a great insight, but the prick is only going to get
slower with age. The big Brewth is such a bloody letdown re
calling the swimming! He makes me sick.

It’s 2:53am, and the Aussies have a total of 6 gold (after Suzie &
Thorpie)… and this tool announces 20 seconds prior to the 100m women’s
backstroke that we only have 4 – the guy is a peanut for sure!

Seven’s Olympic Coverage

It’s easy to throw bricks, but am I alone in thinking this coverage is
lame and at times embarrassingly amateurish? Tony Squires looked like a
possum in the headlights playing it ‘straight’ in the studio. Talk
about flop sweat. While the soccer boys might be forgiven for
calling the opposing team Serbio-Montenegra (I know the Balkans is
complicated, but can’t find that place on the map) overall it’s just
too dumb. There is no attempt at intelligent analysis – sorry, a
few mumbling former athletes don’t cut it. Example- Thorpe meets Phelps
for the first time in a 200-metre semi. He wins, but what does this
mean in the overall game, and what about the slow times? Does it tell
us something about the pool conditions, Phelps psyche, Thorpie’s
attitude. And did it cost us in the relay final later in the night. And
where were the geniuses telling us to look out for the South Africans?

Overall, the format of having a single lonely body in the studio trying
to bluff their way through such a huge program just looks, well, cheap.
Is that all you get for your $70 million Seven? Compare it with the BBC
which uses the central studio as a lynch-pin for the location
reporting, calling in the big (and credible) names to discuss the
meaning of events—for Chrissake, we can, (and do) get the bare
statistics of times and places from the Web. We want the telly to
engage us emotionally, and frankly, Seven is just putting us to sleep.

The edited highlight packages have been lame, and usually cut the wrong
way. Where was the repeat of that delicious moment where Hackett told
Thorpe is was that close at the end of the 400m. They missed the
moment. And sense of immediacy, of being there, is being buried by the
need to cut to an ad break as fast as a Greek sprinter. I predict real
anger by the end of week one.

Let’s hope it improves, otherwise it will be back to the web and over to SBS’s less parochial secondary rights.

Square Eyes

Channel 7 – the commercial Olympics

Last night I watched with disbelief as Channel 7 played commercial
after commercial as Sara Carrigan’s medal ceremony for the women’s road
race came to its climax. They only crossed to the ceremony just at the
moment she was receiving her medal. Luckily, the whole thing was being
shown live and uninterrupted on SBS.

I would have found it hard to believe 7’s decision to stuff in as many
commercials as possible, and bugger the significance of the moment, had
it not been for its cynical coverage of the Rugby. The supposedly
“live” coverage of the second Wallabies/All Blacks match (with a super
saying “LIVE”) was in delay by at least 2 minutes at the start and
trailed further and further behind as they inserted more and more
commercials. After half time they were almost in sync. But by the end
of the match I knew the result – by listening to ABC Radio – a good two
minutes before it happened on the TV.

Live TV is live TV and this just stinks. What I hate more than the delay is the pretence that it’s live.

Of course 7 Sport is only as arrogant and as dismissive of their
viewers as 9 and 10. Both 9 and 10 show supposedly live sporting events
delayed – in the case of Formula 1 it can be delayed by hours.

As far as Bruce and his colleagues go, to say that they have some
excuse or other is not good enough. They are highly paid professionals
on the gig of a lifetime and what they are paid to do is their job and
deliver their viewers an energetic, upbeat, informative, professional –
above all professional – commentary. Some of their commentators can’t
read autocue properly. There are students at UTS that could do better.

Please, Bruce ought to be anywhere BUT his comfort zone. Being in his comfort zone is the problem!

Graham Giblin

Drugs: The forgotten war

I am sick of the Howard government being expedient with the truth and where this is taking our country.

The ‘war on drugs’ is just a thing of the past, now we have the ‘war on
terrorism.’ May be drugs from Afghanistan are not going to America and
Australia, so it is some one else’s problem. May be drugs issue is
unimportant to the coalition, because ‘druggies’ don’t vote!

Just like WMD’s one of Bush’s reasons for going into Iraq, one of the
reasons for the war in Afghanistan was, to halt the drug production.
Either he hadn’t been briefed that the drug lords were friends of
America or he hoped everyone would forget the ‘war on drugs’.

What has the ‘coalition of the willing’ done about the Opium crops in
Afghanistan? They can drop a smart bomb but can’t napalm huge fields of
poppies, in a country where their airforce flies unopposed.

Mark Minnis

Ego and election timing

Allow me to put in my two bob’s worth on when John Howard will ask
whatsisname to issue writs for the election! If Howard hangs in
until early December, will he then be the second longest serving
PM? I believe Howard was ready to go on August 8th, thus the
government advertising blitz, but then decided to wait a bit hoping
that Iron Mark would stuff it up completely.

Now it looks like Labor has a real chance of winning, so Howard has
decided to hang in there and beat the Silver Bodgie’s record before he
goes out in a blaze of smoke and ashes.

Yet another armchair expert!

De-Anne Kelly and danger

Just another thing on the De-Anne Kelly spray directed at the gang of
43. In particular the assertion that anybody that wasn’t in office at
the time of, or post 9/11 doesn’t know the scale of threat is at hand.
Well De-Anne, I can think back to a time when we were constantly under
threat. A time when the whole world could be turned into a cinder block
in the blinking of an eye. A time when two global superpowers stared
across Europe and the Atlantic through the scopes of their respective
nuclear weaponry. A time when we had a thing call “mutually assured
destruction”. Can you De-Anne?

Now sure there are terrorists out there, but how many people can they
possibly knock off in one go (not counting the Russian Mafia who
probably already have a couple of warheads & the equipment to
deliver them and in any case what’s the point, you can’t stand over or
sell drugs to corpses)? I’m sure the “doddering, daiquiri diplomats”
know what a threat looks like (they lived under the threat for 40
years), & are more than qualified to offer opinions on the
subject. Where as De-Anne Kelly? I would be surprised if
she’s ever attended any sort of security/intelligence brief in her
entire life. I mean really, who’d trust her with anything more
than your morning tea.


Boilermaker Bill on Governor Bashir

Old habits die hard in the NSW Right. Even the bastards writing
about them are sexist. How dare you print his piece about
governors which defines the current NSW governor largely by her
husband’s achievements. I notice that none of the male governors
mentioned is treated in the same fashion. Ms Bashir has had a
stellar career in the scientific field and if she was married to a
garbage collector would be an ornament to the gubernatorial office. Get
with it there at Crikey. Women are pissed off with such attitudes.

Lynne Rainford
Woy Woy

CRIKEY: Read Boilermaker Bill here: Heave-Ho, Jeeves

Does Tassie need a Governor?

On the question of whether a state needs a governor, there are some
constitutional duties for the governor but these could be done by a
retired judge or similar on a part time basis.

Its been claimed that state governors only exist to flatter the social
set, and its unfair to make the common masses pay for them

politicians seem to lack skill when choosing governors nowdays.

Not so with Henry Bolte back when he was premier of Victoria, his
governors were all extraverted characters who became media personalties
and no doubt helped his government to become more popular

Arthur Hawley

Babies and chequebooks

The Barbaro family should be applauded for taking the Cheque$News
people for a ride, but I do think that they have fallen short on
imagination. Surely, a baby snatched (on tape) by a Dingo could have
been worth a million $$$$s.

Tony O’Brien

CRIKEY: See Crikey’s Chequebook journalism list here

Why the chequebook rules

It maybe fairly simplicity to say that your television person who
writes about channel 7 & 9 chequebook journalism must know this is
what the viewers want.

Why are they tuning in? This is a more sticky question, who is running
who? The voyeur viewer or the commercial channels – I think the former
their lives are so shallow television viewing of others’ misfortunes
are a must. It’s a win, win situation really. The unfortunate receives
monetary compensation, the commercial channels get their viewers, the
advertisers are probably well than satisfied. What’s the gripe?

Deanna Navarro