7.30 Report host “Red Kerry” O’Brien returned from his lengthy summer break
last night with a nifty new studio backdrop and a handy laptop on his desk –
presumably to play solitaire or send emails during a slow news day. Day One was
promising, with a long, rambling story about Schapelle Corby’s dad’s proximity
to a marijuana baron leading the
show.

But it was Melbourne reporter Mick Bunworth’s item about a troupe of wonder
kids who’ve just won a worldwide engineering competition with a model car that
reaches extraordinary speeds in no time at all that captured our interest. Nice
enough story, but there was a line from the reporter that stuck out, which comes
from the “for the benefit of the listeners, can you explain what that is?”
school of questioning.

It’s usually code for the interviewer being ignorant of the subject, but
not having the wit to say so. The official transcript goes like this:

MICK BUNWORTH: The boys designed their car using the same cutting-edge
software employed in the design of the newly-launched A380 Airbus. The car then
came to life via a computer-driven lathe.

LACHIE NUNN: It goes from
paper and measurements from angles and also, what exactly we want to achieve,
what’s going to be different from other cars, like, different principles,
aerodynamics.

ALEX NUNN: You need to think about streamlining, and we
took into account some physical principles like Bernoulli’s principle and
things.

MICK BUNWORTH: Can you – I mean, I know that, but the viewers
don’t, what is that principle?

ALEX NUNN: It’s to do with aerofoils and
pressure differences.

Oh dear, did he really say that? Looks like “the viewers are ignorant but
I’m not” line comes to the fore again in an ABC interview.

So we called Bunworth this morning and
asked him: “Can you state Bernoulli’s principle for our subscribers?”

His response? “I was
being facetious. It was tongue firmly in cheek, and I can send you over the tape
if you’d like to see it for yourself.” And the 7.30 Report‘s man was eager
to deflect any suggestion taking the p*ss out of the lads would dampen their
enthusiasm: “It would take a lot to shake the confidence of those young fellas,
they’re the world champs!”

For the record, Mick, Crikey’s resident physics guru, Wally
Flanker, defines Bernoulli’s principle thus: “When air speeds up its pressure
is reduced, and when the air slows down its pressure is increased,” or
equally “When the speed of a fluid increases, the pressure in the fluid decreases
(and vice-versa).”

Maybe, for the benefit of those viewers without Year 11 physics, Kerry
O’Brien should put that up on the 7.30 Report website via his handy new
laptop.

Peter Fray

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