Margaretta Pos in Hobart writes:
Richard Flanagan should pull his head in. That sentence just about
sums up the response of Tasmanian journalists to Flanagan’s attack on
their professionalism last week during a speech last week in which he
also claimed that the media toadies up to the Lennon Government, which
in turn toadies to the state’s two major players, Gunns Ltd and Federal
A lot of journos are furious at the blanket condemnation but are
unwilling to go public. One of the few who would speak on the record is
Wayne Crawford, a Walkley winning senior journalist at The Mercury.
Crawford isn’t seething at Flanagan’s critique, but he doesn’t accept
him as an impartial judge of media performance. “I have great
admiration for Richard as a writer and a thinker,” he told Crikey. “But
someone who wears his heart on his sleeve as prominently as he does is
not really someone to set himself up as an authority on journalistic
Former ABC journalist Judy Tierney is one of the few senior players in
the Tasmanian media who agrees with Flanagan, saying too many journos
accept liberal doses of bullshit from government minders and
they, she says, have forgotten whatever journalistic ethics they once
had. Tierney spent 30 years with the ABC, as ABC Radio Morning
presenter, ABC TV 7.30 Report state presenter, then national reporter,
and Tasmanian correspondent for Australian Story.
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“Generally I have to agree with Richard,” she told Crikey. “While I do
truly believe we have a handful of probing and determined journalists
on the job, sadly too many so-called scribes get put off by bullying
and self-important government minders. I can’t remember voting for
these gate keepers who seem to think they can influence outcomes on
behalf of their ministers. Minders seem to forget they are merely the
conduit between the media and the parliamentarians who employ them.
Journalists need to be more forceful in their dealings with minders,
the numbers of which have burgeoned over the last eight years.”