All those Murdoch critics of Media Watch should put this one in
their pipe and smoke it. Not only did presenter Liz Jackson rip into
ABC local radio management in Tasmania for pulling an interview with Gardening Australia presenter Peter Cundall, but the target of the attack was her own cousin, station manager Cath Hurley.

The issue was Cundall’s aggressive attack on logging giant Gunns and
the proposed $1.2 billion pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. Cundall has
long been a critic of Gunns, as any gardening fanatic ordinarily would
be. However, more than one million Australians heard Cundall rip into
Gunns for the first time when he appeared on Denton a couple of weeks
ago. This was then followed up in the mainstream national media, like The Australian.

When ABC local radio in Tasmania decided to do likewise, Jackson’s
cousin stepped in and pulled the interview with Drive presenter Trevor
Jackson. The detail is explained in the Media Watch transcript here.

ABC Tasmania morning presenter Tim Cox said a few eyebrows had been raised by
the leaking of the taped Cundall interview to Media Watch.

One issue for Jackson is why she didn’t disclose
that Cath Hurley was her cousin. Ok, it was a
criticism rather than praise, but surely any reference to a relative
should be disclosed, even if it’s just on the Media Watch website or in the
program’s credits.

Cox also said that he’d taken a few calls this morning and most were
critical of Hurley’s decision to pull the Cundall interview. Crikey can
see both sides of the argument, because Cundall is using his
ABC-generated public persona to make strong criticism on a hot topic in
Tasmania.

However, he’s also a legend and a prominent local in the Tamar Valley
and with the rest of the media giving him a run, on balance Hurley
should have let the interview go to air.

Peter Fray

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