Trevor Best writes:

Hey, you guys are journalists. How
do you also expect us to believe that you have principles, such as you are
careful to praise yourselves for in today’s leading piece.

In the leader of 21 November, you
point out that Gough Whitlam was surprised to get his just desserts from Sir
John Kerr, and the Howard government has found that Donald McDonald, Graeme
Samuels, Donald McGauchie etc are principled people who behave

So what is your point then? The
system is working beautifully. But no, you try to beat up some controversy to
suit your own devious ends by quoting another hive of journalists, The Age,
where it was reported that Howard and Costello are “believed” to be furious at
McGauchie, and you say his duty is not to the government but to the
shareholders. (Do you seriously suggest that “the
government” is not a – by far the major – shareholder in

So, again, what is your point. Oh
now I see, it’s because you are delighted that the “ruling class” (which
excludes you, because you have none) is being frustrated.

Good work fellas, keep reciting
those principles. Where would we be if journalists didn’t do

Anonymous writes:
Fascinating to peek at Crikey’s editorial guidelines. What do the Crikey
directors have to dictate about spelling? Or Stephen Mayne’s crazed obsessive

Please not for attribution writes:
Correspondent Andrew Parker obviously hasn’t had any experience of
Singapore living. My first reaction, to the by-lined contribution
about the Singapore Government, even without reading it, was
“what a brave/foolhardy expat to put a name to any views possibly able
to be construed as criticism”. A close colleague with nearly a
decade’s experience working there told me enough to realise that it is
not a good idea to draw attention to one’s views if they demur or
dissent in any way about how the place is run. Only happy campers
are welcome. And for the Straits Times, one week was enough! It rivalled the banality of the English language “good news times” published in China 15 years ago.

Jack Robertson writes:

What a load of self-serving tosh Crikey spews about
anonymous sources. How indicative of the conveniently self-defined fantasy-land
that is modern journalism, too. It must be great to make up the information
rules of your own game to suit yourselves, and Crikey reveals a lot about which side of the insiders/outsiders divide
you really lie on by falling into line with those MSM heavyweights who’ve long
embraced the legitimate use of the anonymous source as a journalistic ‘given’ –
since that fake Woodward rendered it respectable during Watergate, no less. This
methodological ‘convention’ – AKA ‘media info-delusion’ – combined with other
equally self-serving info-delusions (the weird world of
‘on-the-record’/’background’/’off-the-record’ comments, for
example) – has done more damage to the
credibility of journalists than any other:

a) any wannabe Walkley-wanker stuck for a bit
of hard evidence or filler when writing up a story can simply invent a bespoke
source to suit;
b) even the best journos compromise themselves into
a lop-sided relationship when they guarantee a source a mask – anonymity is
the atmospheric info-fuel upon which spin/manipulation of the press thrives;

c) anyone can use an ‘anonymous source’ to smear
anyone they choose (‘a senior ministerial source told me he personally saw John
Howard shoot JFK’);
d) true or not, every anonymous source/story
not quickly validated via non-anonymous sources – and the majority of one-day
wonders/splashers are ‘speculative fire’, and quickly fizzle – damages the
credibility of all journalism, but especially that of the organ/journos involved
(post-Brogden, will anyone ever again believe anything in any newspaper with
which David Penberthy is associated?);
e) the increasing acceptance of ‘Deep Throat’ has
taught an entire generation of Watergate wannabes that the act of receiving a
phone call (or a leaked budget) is Magnificent Investigative Reporting;
f) finally, if you take a step back and consider
the big picture, the entire point of news journalism is to PUT THINGS
ON THE RECORD. A story, even if it IStrue, is in many ways not really
News UNTIL it can be supported via OTR evidence and statements.

To many Boomer journos bought up on the romance of
Watergate, f) may sound like a retrograde demand; to many po-mo fiends it may
read like a surrender to the epistemological Powers That Be. It’s neither. Good
journalism is a hard grind. It’s an act of sheer info-will to wrestle your
version of what happened into the public domain and win it broad acceptance –
especially if it raspberries in the face of the powerful and/or
previously-accepted orthodoxy, as it usually does. But that’s exactly why they
call it ‘News’: it’s something new that’s happened, and/or
a new way of looking at something new that’s happened. Get it?
Throwing an ‘anonymous’ source into the evidential mix supporting what
is ‘new’ may feel like a quick-fix in the short term, but for reasons a) to e)
it’s a flawed and self-destructive way to achieve that broad journalistic aim.
If you can’t convince a source to go public, then that should be a big red alarm
bell to your journo instincts, a serious qualifier you should make very clear to
that source, at least. If the source is genuine, it ought to be prepared to go
public. Alternatively, it clearly just doesn’t
want to win the information battle strongly enough – which is, after all, what
we are all engaged in now – and so you should not ‘artificially’ help it do

Thus: to all you
(chickenshit) anonymous ‘whistle-blowers’ out there, grow a frigging spine and
put your name to your public accusations, or just shut the f**k up and put up
with the scandal/injustice/corruption which is allegedly bugging you so much
that you simply have to lift up the phone and whisper it to some
pimply-faced Media Studies 101 grad on the other end (oh, but only if you can
stay Mr Anonymous). Time to make grown-up decisions, folks: is it really scandal
enough for you to put your name to its exposure? Or are you just another wannabe
Player With The Big Boys who’s a little disappointed that, at forty-seven and
counting, you haven’t had quite as much of a (legitimate) impact on your
professional field as you once dreamed you would, and so you want to f**k
someone who’s done a little better than you up a bit? You’re the former? Well,
that’s a start; and if going public might indeed
get you fired, or abused, or even physically attacked, well, welcome to reality
for most of us, sweethearts. Not getting ahead in gentile society as we know it
is one of the mournful prices you pay for genuinely believing that genteel
society as we know it (or parts there-of) sucks bad, and deserves to be exposed
as sucking bad. You don’t expect to Speak Truth
to Power – maybe even bring down a government or whatever – and get fricking
promoted, do you? Oh dear me. Do you
truly think Andrew Wilkie wasn’t aware of the professional price he was about to
pay when he decided to go public? Lance Collins? Mike Grafton? David Kelly in
the UK? Joe Wilson in the US? Even Mad Mark Latham? Meanwhile, every day in Iraq men and women are getting killed to ‘defend
civilised freedom’ . No ‘anonymous’ shield known to man can stop IED shrapnel.

And yet some of you pathetic, shiny-bum, would-be
Deep Throats are apparently too mediocre to put a name on a public statement?
Get f**ked and f**k off, I say to them,
Crikey. Sorry, but I’m not interested in what any Mr or Mrs Anonymous has to say
anymore, no matter how earth-shattering you or any other journos think it might
be. You want to make public statements? Put your name to them. The