If Media Watch exists to bring some accountability to journalists, then whose job is it to bring some accountability to Media Watch ? Mark Day, it seems. Day’s column in The Oz Media section last week had the tone of a Media Watch segment as it picked apart the performance of new presenter Liz Jackson. Read Day’s full column here – Get off the fence, Liz, and go crack a few skulls.

But a staunch defender of Media Watch has written into to debunk Day’s nit-picking with the following response:

Dear Crikey,

I think that Day’s article was ridiculous. Was he seriously criticising Liz Jackson and Media Watch for being too fair and balanced? It really says all that needs to be said about commentators and opinion writers in Australia nowadays that opinions aren’t worth expressing unless they’re loud, unreasoned and unfair.

To highlight the difference between Media Watch and his own work, Mark Day thoughtfully filled his column with errors:

He “corrected” Media Watch by pointing out that the AFP story on Charles, Camilla and the Queen’s death appeared in the online versions of the Herald Sun and Age . That’s what Media Watch said too.

He claimed the story was grammatically correct though it was (as the story highlighted) unclear and ambiguous. Both the Herald Sun and Age eventually corrected their wording.

On the Hunter Valley murder suicide he told readers it was “the understanding of police in the field” that the father was the killer. Where did Mark Day get that? The police told Media Watch that the location of the gun at the crime scene made it clear to police in the field that the father was not the killer.

The Daily Telegraph admits its story was based on what “a senior officer” said that other officers believed. The paper also admits that the senior officer gave this false information to another Tele journalist and the paper added it into the copy of the by-lined reporters.

It must be some sort of skull-cracking-caveman thing.


“Avid Media Watcher”

But not everyone at The Australian agrees with Day. In yesterday’s Oz Media section, Day’s fellow columnist Errol Simper, had a more sympathetic take on Jackson’s Media Watch , writing:

Presenting MW – even without Marr’s shadow – is a difficult, over-scrutinised job…

The scribe would suggest the best of Jackson is yet to come and that viewer patience will reap a reward.

Read his full column here – Jackson will find her voice. And you see the transcript of last Monday’s strong edition of Media Watchhere .

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Peter Fray
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