Paul Ramadge, the editor of The Age, has some explaining to do. He isn’t doing it. What does it take these days to get a Fairfax editor — or anybody from Fairfax — to come forward and tell us what they are doing, and why?

This morning in The Australian former Age editor Michael Gawenda criticises his old paper for a failure of journalism, both because it published an anti-Semitic column by writer Michael Backman last Saturday, but also because it has failed to explain itself subsequently.

Instead, on page two yesterday, the paper carried a strange apology saying the column was published “in error”, almost as though it was a matter of a production stuff up.

Meanwhile the newsroom is tense and upset over the affair –and fearful that blame will be laid where it doesn’t belong.

For the full background on this story, including what the Jewish lobby did, how the column was published and what I think about it, read my blog.

But surely what is needed now is some frankness. The Age needs to explain what went wrong, and articulate where it sees the boundary between publishing legitimate, if controversial views, and unacceptable racism.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey