SBS news is searing, while ABC looks a bit wobbly. Last night’s episode of Dateline demonstrated once again why it’s the best current affairs show on Australian television, with a searing expose of the role Australian troops are playing in civilian casualties in the country.

Of most interest was some of the footage used — that gathered by an ABC TV reporter and crew embedded with Australian troops, who managed to catch excitingly boys’ own footage of Oz troops getting caught in a firefight and then calling in an airstrike.

As SBS noted, no investigation was done of who the airstrike actually hit. Instead, both The 7.30 Report and Lateline played the footage without comment or debate, and framed it as a story about Aussie ‘diggers’, turning it into state propaganda. It was followed a week or so later, by a weak and un-forensic interview of NATO head Jaap de Hoop Skeffer by Leigh Sales, in which the Dutch general was allowed to get away with a series of minute-long press releases interspersed by little more than feeder questions.

Paradoxically, while SBS’s general output went through the floor, its news and current affairs section has pushed on, while the ABC’s news section increasingly shows signs of the wobbles. — Guy Rundle

An easy ride for Gyngell. The latest easy-over interview with Nine Network Chief Executive David Gyngell was in The Australian ‘s Media Section this morning. Gyngell did his usual trick of claiming that Nine and he will do something if something doesn’t happen, but you can be bet that when Nine’s new digital channel doesn’t beat the share that Ten’s OneHD network is getting (41 minutes of viewing each day and a 1% share), Gyngell won’t resign, as he claimed he would in The Australian story today.

Gyngell has money in the buyout pot at PBL Media and wouldn’t give that up: The Australian failed to point that out; nor did the article point out how Nine’s share has sunk especially in news and current affairs and across all major demos this year. Sydney has been especially tough. And seeing that PBL Media balances at the end of June, you would have thought there might have been some inquiry and mention of trading results, even a mention of Gyngell refusing to discuss them.

It was the second easy once-over interview with a PBL Media boss in The Australian in two days. Saturday we saw Ian Law, the CEO and the bank presently gutting ACP Magazines as sales of its magazines slide remorselessly. It was also a report long on words and short on details and questions about the trading position of PBL Media, ACP magazines and the Nine Network. — Glenn Dyer

Hollywood Gossip gets catty. Is the TODAY show’s Hollywood Gossip, Richard Reid, just a little bitter about not being sent with Dickie Wilkins to cover Michael Jackson’s funeral?

FBi radio saved. FBi Radio, the Sydney community radio station which launched a PR campaign to get Richard Branson to donate $1million, has been saved after donors contributed $350,000 to the struggling station. — B & T

Busting the box’s big myths. Network television, like printed newspapers, was supposed to be dead by now… Now that we have the audience data for the first half of 2009, we’re in a position to do a postmortem on the still-kicking corpse. Let’s address some conventional wisdoms. — Who We Are, The Sun-Herald

Meat ad pairs up Neill with ape. Meat and Livestock Australia will launch a major campaign next week promoting red meat as a vital contributor to brain health. The new campaign … brings back Sam Neill as the red meat spokesman, this time teamed with an orang-utan named Dennis. — The Australian

Push to free Anglo-Greek journalist jailed in Iran intensifies. Vigorous efforts are being made to secure the release of an Anglo-Greek journalist imprisoned in Iran since 17 June following erroneous reports yesterday that he was “hours away” from being freed. — Guardian

One month of interrupted news. What if you were reading your morning newspaper and a car drove by and ripped it off you or a sheep pops up and shoots a champagne cork in your face or a Transformer sets fire to the page? Have a look at the homepages of the major Australian news sites during June…

Another Advertising W-nker

The Punch , Crikey and the who gives a f-ck factor. Crikey has been wasting space on thepunch and vice versa when the majority of readers really wouldn’t care. — Talking Digital

Journalistic ideals, human values. In 2005, while I was Washington editor of the Knight Ridder newspapers, our Jerusalem correspondent, Dion Nissenbaum, and a British photographer were abducted in Gaza by armed thugs. Fearing for their lives, I asked news organizations not to report it — and none did. Fortunately, the journalists were freed within hours, not months. Had I been in Keller’s shoes, I would have done what he did for Rohde and his companions. — Clark Hoyt, New York Times

Grading the celebrity faculty of YouTube’s online journalism school. Snarky adjunct that I am (I actually teach J-stuff at the night school of a nearby university) I hereby issue report cards to some of the more illustrious profs of YouTube U. — Lewis Grossblogger, True/Slant

Vogue dips into the discount racks. [Vogue] has gone budget-conscious in its July issue, promising a “Steal of the Month,” and a section with all items under $500. — New York Times