It was a victory for sport over global terror last night, as the
networks massaged our sporting obsession in the face of the compelling
and important developments in London. While ABC TV went with extended
coverage of the terror attacks via the 7:30 Report, dropping scheduled programs until 8:30, Nine went with The Footy Show and Seven went with an inconsequential one day cricket match between Australia and England.

On TV, The networks generally reacted at differing speed to last
night’s disaster, which unfolded just as evening bulletins were going
to air. Ten Seven and SBS dropped the ball.

Ten, TV’s “reality” network, went with regular programming until after
10pm, then took up late night live coverage coordinated from its Sydney
news desk. Nine and the ABC interruped scheduled programs earlier to
take the UK Sky and CNN coverage respectively. Seven crossed to Sky
News UK, but went back to an inconsequential one day match between
Australia and England. SBS went with its live tour de France coverage,
but viewers seeking information on the terror atack were then greeted
with the test pattern.

Highlight of the coverage came on Seven, who hit paydirt by
interviewing Trent Longden, an Australian in London who survived the
Bali bombings, and gave an emotional and graphic description of the
bomb that destroyed the bus near Russell Square. ‘AM’ also
interviewed him this morning, with similar results.

Peter Fray

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