In
journalism there are reliable sources, sources, and people whose press
releases you bin immediately. The issue with Greenpeace is that what
Greenpeace operative Shane Rattenbury told the Age as it
happened, and what Greenpeace operatives have been asserting ever
since, does not accord with the visual record provided by both
Greenpeace and the Japanese whalers.

Their claim is that the
Japanese rammed Greenpeace. They say that the Nisshin Maru came
straight toward them from port and was about to “t-bone them”
(Rattenbury to the Age). That they turned to starboard (away is
how Rattenbury described it), but that the Japanese pursued them and
rammed their bow. The videos released by Greenpeace and by the Japanese
show this is not true. The Greenpeace ship quite clearly comes some
distance to hit the Japanese ship amidships. At no time does the
Japanese ship appear to be pursuing Greenpeace at all.

As
journalists, it is fair enough to give both sides of a story. But it is
not good journalism to give equal prominence to a story which the
documentary evidence available shows to be a fabrication. Greenpeace
appears to think that if they continue to assert their story often
enough, it will become the truth. Maybe it will work.

After all,
journalists aren’t very good at interpreting what happens at sea. Don’t
forget, last election it took them about three weeks to work out that
children weren’t thrown overboard into the Timor Sea.

Peter Fray

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