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Dec 16, 2014

Keane: the day the Australian media lost its credibility

Yesterday's events in Sydney showed the media, for the most part, isn't up to the task of calm, well-informed coverage of terrorism events.

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There’s one phrase that guarantees anyone who uses it in relation to a tragic event is either a fool or the most vilely cynical manipulator: “the day Australia lost its innocence” — or yesterday’s variant, “the day Sydney lost its innocence”. The people inclined to use that phrase regularly deploy it in association with tragedies. The Bali bombings were, according to politicians and the media, “the day Australia lost its innocence”. But then, so was the Hilton bombing, and it was used about the string of gun massacres in the 1980s and 1990s that John Howard brought to an end with his gun laws. Australia losing its innocence has thus become a constantly repeated process, as if somehow we regain it between tragedies, only to be deprived of it next time.

That the media would be able to resist its use proved a forlorn hope, although the first mainstream media offender turned out to be Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News; Murdoch’s Sydney rag, in its repulsive “afternoon edition”, complete with commemorative wraparound (something to show the grandkids!), settled for the variant “the instant we changed forever”. But having erroneously described a mentally ill violent criminal, who had been a Shia for almost his entire life, as “IS takes 13 hostages” — a statement wrong in every possible way — the Telegraph had already set a new low, at least until its geriatric reactionary owner tweeted his delight at his employees’ caperings this morning.

Meantime, Fairfax, where the Financial Review also went with an Islamic State connection despite having longer to realise it didn’t exist, was today running the absurd typing of an American journalist who insisted yesterday was Australia’s “9/11 moment” — and 9/11 of course was famously the day America lost its innocence, a description that requires almost complete historical ignorance, or at least a healthy sense of sarcasm, for use.

The assumptions loaded into such “lost its innocence” statements merit entire theses; indeed, many have doubtless already been written. That Australia, established as a prison colony and forged in dispossession, genocide and gleeful participation in the long wars of imperialism throughout the 20th century, could be “innocent”; that it is such a fragile culture that a single moment of violence, however atypical, could comprehensively alter its very nature. There’s almost a sense of pride in it, the sort of pride that welcomed the casualties of Gallipoli as a proper “blooding” of the young nation, pride that Australia has now joined the big league of nations targeted by terrorists. It’s a sentiment that underpins the visible, fawning delight of much of the media that events in Sydney have merited global media coverage. The cultural cringe may have long been replaced with reflexive nationalism, but we still love it when them sophisticated furreners pay us attention.

“Terrorism experts were hastily summoned to explain what was happening, or not happening … Blatant inaccuracies were peddled. Sydney airspace had been shut down, outlets reported, when it hadn’t.”

But that was merely one of the cliches that journalists, hosts and commentators reached for yesterday. With a dearth of information from police about such basics as how many gunmen or hostages there were and nothing happening across the day, the rolling media coverage quickly surrendered to hackneyed phrases, rampant, ill-informed speculation and rumour-spreading, exactly like social media. Terrorism experts were hastily summoned to explain what was happening, or not happening, that this was a lone wolf or part of a bigger attack, that this had been carefully planned or badly bungled. Blatant inaccuracies were peddled. Sydney airspace had been shut down, outlets reported, when it hadn’t. A precautionary evacuation of the Opera House became an “incident” there, with suspicious packages being reported. The “National Art Gallery” had been evacuated, one journalist tweeted, possibly alarming the staff of Canberra’s National Gallery of Australia, the gallery with the nearest name to the apparently deserted, but fictional, institution.

And above all, there was the hysterical tone, the claim of a “city under siege”, as if Sydney had never witnessed such things before — events like the Hilton bombing (thank you, ASIO) or 1984’s bank hostage drama, in which Hakki Atahan emerged from a George Street bank surrounded by hostages, walking in close formation to a getaway car to begin a pursuit that ended in a shoot-out on the Spit Bridge.

Not all of the coverage was irresponsible, certainly. The Guardian’s live blog was sensibly circumspect and avoided the trap of recycling what other outlets were claiming as “unconfirmed reports”. Most outlets, including News Corporation, refused to disclose information communicated to them from the perpetrator via hostages, although that led to some bizarre tweets, in which journalists declared they knew information but would not be disclosing it at the request of police, and they hoped others wouldn’t either. The much-maligned Ray Hadley wisely rejected efforts by the perpetrator to go on air. But the identity of interests between the mass media and terrorists (assuming for a moment Man Monis was engaged in terrorism, despite having no explicit ideological agenda in his acts of violence yesterday) was on vivid display throughout the hours and hours of “rolling coverage” that sought to keep viewers and readers glued to their screens despite the lack of anything happening or new information.

In contrast, both Prime Minister Tony Abbott and NSW Premier Mike Baird conducted themselves entirely appropriately — calm, unwilling to engage in speculation, leader-like. Abbott correctly judged the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook release should proceed — having urged Australians to go about business as normal, the best way to encourage that was to show that the business of government would go on. It’s rare that the Prime Minister can provide a lesson in communication to the media, but he did so yesterday, in spades.

It wasn’t the day Australia lost its innocence, or changed forever. It was a day that much of Australia’s media again demonstrated it’s not up to the challenge of providing mature coverage of terrorism.

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54 thoughts on “Keane: the day the Australian media lost its credibility

  1. Dan B

    Blue moon rising, but I couldn’t agree with you more, BK.

  2. Donna Taylor

    Could NOT have said it better myself! Entirely correct.

    And the decision of Channel 10 to air this madman’s demands when no-one else had and without the approval of the cops? Well, let’s just say that the Exec producer that decided to do that should not hold their position anymore. I was disgusted that they would place priority on their ratings over human lives during an extremely fragile time.

  3. MAC TEZ

    Ken Lame-bleat , could it be that you can only enjoy the frightened fiction of David Hand and the incoherent mutterings of Norman H. Anything outside of your conservertive cocoon is naturally abhorrent to you. I doubt Gideon Polya would lose any sleep knowing he won’t get the Lame-bleat seal of approval.

  4. Ken Lambert

    Why is it that GideonPolya provokes my strong inclination to prefer hearing the rantings of Mr Monis?? Both of which I would liken to the growth of a third armpit.

  5. Kevin Herbert

    Note to Russell 40:

    do you understand what irony is?

  6. GideonPolya

    Australian Mainstream media have an appalling record of lying by omission and censorship. For details of media-derived censorship by the global Murdoch media empire, Australian Fairfax media, the Australian ABC, the UK BBC, and the Australian universities-backed web magazine The Conversation in Neocon American- and Zionist Imperialist-perverted and subverted Murdochracy, Lobbyocracy and Corporatocracy Australia and elsewhere in the West see “Boycott Murdoch media”: https://sites.google.com/site/boycottmurdochmedia/ ; “Censorship by the BBC”: https://sites.google.com/site/censorshipbythebbc/ ; “Censorship by The Conversation”: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/censorship-by ; “Mainstream media censorship”: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/home ; “Mainstream media lying”: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammedialying/ ; “Censorship by The Age”: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/censorship-by-the-age ; “Censorship by ABC Late Night Live”: https://sites.google.com/site/censorshipbyabclatenightlive/ , “Censorship by ABC Saturday Extra”: https://sites.google.com/site/censorshipbyabclatenightlive/censorship-by-abc-sat and “ABC fact-checking unit & incorrect reportage by the ABC (Australia’s BBC)”: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/abc-fact-checking-unit , “Censorship by The Guardian UK”: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/censorship-by-the-guardian-uk and “Censorship by The Guardian Australia”: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/home/censorship-by-the-guardian-a .

    My earlier comment having gone astray, allow me to succinctly repeat that after several days of Australian Mainstream media reporting non-stop but effectively saying nothing authoritative about the basis of the hostage atrocity, the Guardian Australia on Wednesday 17 December was able to report second-hand that the deranged hostage-taker wanted his position as an ISIS-supporting terrorist and his demands broadcast : “ Guardian Australia has spoken with family members and friends of several of the hostages held by Man Haron Monis inside the Lindt cafe in Martin Place, in Sydney’s CBD. Separately, they have described a terrifying and unpredictable 17-hour ordeal, where Monis forced hostages to film videos outlining his demands… [Monis wanted] a public declaration from the government that his was an act of terror committed on behalf of Islamic State [and wanted videos to this effect to be broadcast]… The videos were sent to media outlets. None put them to air while the siege was under way” (see Ben Doherty, “We’re not getting out of here”, Guardian 17 December 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/16/hostages-in-the-sydney-siege-were-not-getting-out-of-here ) .

    With 3 dead and half a dozen wounded, the authorities and their “expert negotiators” have evidently failed, but xenophobes, racists, anti-Arab anti-Semites, Islamophobes, the Abbott Coalition Government, warmongers, and those wanting further movement toward a Police State Australia will be huge beneficiaries of this failure. and this atrocity (Gideon Polya, “Terror Hysteria – Draconian New Australian Anti-Terrorism Laws Target Journalists, Muslims And Human Rights”, Countercurrents, 8 October, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya0810114.htm and Matthew Knott and Ben Grubb, “New security laws pave the way for “police state”, says Andrew Wilkie”, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 October 2014: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/new-national-security-laws-pave-way-for-police-state-says-andrew-wilkie-20141001-10ojxq.html ).

    Rational risk management for any society requires accurate, untrammelled reportage but try telling that to the “look-the-other-way” Yellow Press of White Australia.

  7. klewso

    Where would we be (let alone the media) without paranoia? And isn’t the wisdom of hind-sight a great thing?
    If only our concerns re road trauma, cigarettes and excess alcohol (for starters) were as easily manipulated, to even a tenth of that level of trepidation when it comes to the chances of being the victim of a “terrorist event”? But most of us still go out and take those odds (if to varying degrees) on a bad outcome from those sort of things every day?
    [Maybe we should paint all cars, and put cigarettes and alcohol in packaging, black with white “scribbling” on them?]
    How many of these marginalised refugees have we taken in over the years? “Dumped” in the midst of established communities without (or with minimal) consultation with the established society, and without a support network for either side, in case of “misunderstandings”, by successive governments – often campaigning on xenophobia at the same time? Without any regard for the feelings and perceptions of either side – some sort of “trial by fire”?

  8. Ross Peterson

    Typical knee jerk reaction that has a negative effect on some people. Have they covered, I’ll ride with you?

  9. drsmithy

    While waiting to get past the Martin Place area, there were thousands of frightened workers waiting for opportunities to escape. There were businesses facing economic ruin because of the disruption.

    Businesses facing economic ruin from a day’s lost trade ?

    Might be hard to pin that on the terr’ists.

  10. AR

    OneHand fapping – youforgot to praise Toxic as a strong Leader and exemplar, as per your usual script. Too much excitement?

  11. MAC TEZ

    I’ve often wondered what sort of person would want to speak to Ray Hadley. Thanks to Hilarious Hand for some comedy gold in the commentary too, you couldn’t possibly be serious could you Dave…”city in fear,everyone looking over thier shoulder” ?

  12. Ken Lambert

    Of course David Hand is right.

    BK is just doing his usual soft left number in trying to dare not speak the name of terrorism when Islam is involved.

    Monis was no doubt mentally unbalanced, and aped the terrorist from central casting, but deliberately using a similar looking black flag was to strike the fear of ISIS into the hostages and wider community.

    Despite the hyped media coverage the terror for the hostages was real enough, and the hostage deaths a truly tragic outcome with the police acting as only they could when shots were fired inside the cafe.

    I am never comfortable with the boganish media coverage, and hyperbolic expressions of public grief mawkishly fanned by the media. We witness a febrile and sickly parade of mourning by a generation only a miniscule number of which has ever been exposed to the wide spread anxiety and loss their ancestors of the WW2 and WW1 era suffered.

  13. Norman Hanscombe

    While waiting to get past the Martin Place area, there were thousands of frightened workers waiting for opportunities to escape. There were businesses facing economic ruin because of the disruption.
    If only Crikey’s acolyte posters had shown a willingness in the past to support the efforts of Australian Governments of all varieties in past years to improve our treatment of criminals such as this bogus imam to remain in or come to Australia, and then bring families after them.

  14. drsmithy

    We saw it ourselves. 4 TV channels gave it total coverage. The city is in shock today. People are looking over their shoulders. Everybody is afraid.

    300 people have died on the roads in NSW so far this year.

    Perhaps random lone gunmen is not what they need to be looking over their shoulder for.

  15. Russell

    Note to Kevin Herbert re: The Guardian. I also believe Americans don’t understand irony. Are you American?

  16. CarlitosM

    How about we acknowledge that most of Twitter and a whole lot of social media users were much more insightful and cluey than the supposed media “pros”. If they still have any significant role to play in modern Australian life, they certainly didn’t prove it yesterday.
    Just as the popular #NewsCorpse tag and this campaign calling for formal complaints against the Daily Telegraph shows:
    @easynowtiger: Obscene journalism. @CarlitosM: Pls RT! & fill! http://www.presscouncil.org.au/complaint-form @MikeCarlton01 @dailytelegraph http://twitter.com/mon_marsh/status/544580764617031680/photo/1

    The nickname “The Terrorgraph” as been well earned. That’s not something journalists and Media professionals would ever want to be dragged down into when needing society’s support AND paying customers!

  17. graybul

    What did this addled and desperate man want? Beyond national media coverage extending to a full seventeen hours of the world’s attention.

    In respect, and at a later time . . How, and why, those seventeen hours were employed, requires review!

  18. Kevin Herbert

    David Hand’s words sounds like he was about to orgasm over his own puerile, non sensical pronouncements.

    I’m betting David’s retired and doesn’t have a full day anymore.

    There’s always the bowls club David.

  19. Kevin Herbert

    Note to Russell:

    your comment that ” Naturally the Guardian was exemplary (as it always is!)” is naive & ill informed.

    The Guardian is UK State sponsored media…an apologist for the Iraq wars…..and a defender of Israel.

    Give us break.

  20. Patrick Brosnan

    David Hand engages in the same silliness as the MSM. He wants terrorism and so reduces it to a definition that would include just about anything down to drunken yobs yelling abuse on a Saturday night. Historically terrorism requires a concerted, sustained and motivated campaign carried out by an organised group. Think the IRA or the PLO or the ANC. This person was not part of a group and didn’t have any structure around him whatsoever.

  21. Wobbly

    “In contrast, both Prime Minister Tony Abbott and NSW Premier Mike Baird conducted themselves entirely appropriately — calm, unwilling to engage in speculation, leader-like. Abbott correctly judged the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook release should proceed — having urged Australians to go about business as normal, the best way to encourage that was to show that the business of government would go on. It’s rare that the Prime Minister can provide a lesson in communication to the media, but he did so yesterday, in spades.”

    Oh FFS Bernard of course Rabbot wanted MYEFO to come out when a major siege story would hide the steaming pile of shite that is the budget numbers. I bet if the numbers were surprisingly good they wouldn’t have been put out until there was clear air in the media.

    Can’t believe every part of the media – even you – is still blind to this deplorable and shameless use of media distraction!

  22. GF50

    BK: Nailed it, the endless repeat! terror, etc I was reduced to watching cartoons, as for the fear levels, hell was looking at the fear-monger Abbott, sheesh, the only concerns I have for the wellbeing of Australia is the LNP.
    The MSM lost credibility years ago, and now we have scream MSM speculation and gossip.

  23. Mike Smith

    “Vanilla Terrorism” ? What do you even mean by that, David Hand? Is it some kind of attempt to be clever about coffee flavourings? Because it really doesn’t seem to work in any metaphorical way.

  24. DF

    Worst media performance of the day was, unsurprisingly, by old Bootmouth Hockey once again. Mid-afternoon at his MYEFO briefing, when the siege was ongoing and much was unknown, Hockey responded to a question not with the calm measured tone of Abbott but with an aggressive macho tirade about “we will not be intimidated, we will not surrender, etc etc etc”, which could easily have inflamed the situation had the circumstances of the criminal (eg part of a group) been different. Abbott seems to have learned a lesson after being shirtfronted by experience. Hockey, who shed tears in Parliament in Opposition about child asylum seekers, is like a German brass band – all piss and wind.

  25. Mark Duffett

    Come on, Doug and Mark out west. What else could the flag signify if not a desire to be seen as affiliated with militant Islamism? Not to mention the gunman’s own words quoted above.

  26. Shaniq'ua Shardonn'ay

    I’d be hesitant to even term it terrorism. I’d call it a sexual predator who has been involved in domestic violence and has mental health issues using religion and the media to achieve ‘death by cop’. Not much different to this idiot http://www.vicpolicenews.com.au/news/5300-man-arrested-after-siege-in-altona-north.html.
    Same old same old…

  27. Alex

    Well said, Bernard!

  28. Venise Alstergren

    And our politicians can only talk in meaningless clichés. Tony Abbott’s astonishingly nonsensical soundbytes. “Australia has to be united!” Against what? A lone gunman? Ebola? Hiccups? Measles?

    Radio shock jocks salivate with shadenfreude. Also, I can hear it now, “The sons and daughters-and their children’s children-will have to walk in ANZAC day marches;” special medals with ribbons attached will be distributed.

    Australians love to celebrate death and catastrophe. Achievement is loathesome.

  29. Iskandar

    On 25 November ABC carried a story, including a banner headline on TV news, stating “Australian air strike kills 100 ISIS fighters”. Vice Admiral David Johnston gloated on this great feat of arms with almost orgasmic glee.

    My thoughts on watching this went something like: “Good work, flyboys, this good deed of yours has just condemned 100 Aussies, somewhere, somehow, under some circumstance, to reprisal attacks”. On 15 December, in Sydney, possibly the first of these came to be.

    Our sad excuse for a PM came out and said the obligatory “right things” for the circumstances, though could not avoid slipping at least once into his “Death Cult” inanity. He also said something to the effect that we all have to learn a lesson from this. Indeed. What about “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. So, if you live in peace with them, they will live in peace with you. But if you go out and kill some of theirs, theirs may sooner or later hit back and kill some of yours. Back to the Seminary, Tony, and don’t forget the hair shirt.

  30. David Hand

    My point is it’s terrorism.

    No amount of sophistry by Crikey and its pals will alter that fact.

    Oh and someone should tell those fools at DFAT in Canberra to get a life and get on with their work rather than evacuate the building over a back pack left in the cafeteria.

    Good grief! What are these people afraid of? THey should take a lesson from such experts as Jennywren and dogs breakfast. At least you guys know how to deal with such a threat.

  31. Terrence John Snedden

    While all sorts of theories continue to flourish in the absence of factual information and this incident is bannered as a terrorist attack rather than something quite different from the global terror attack in sleepy hollow, I was particularly disappointed that the ABC engaged in the low grade, beat-up that you describe. While the politicians were circumspect and constrained photo opportunities before the alter of Christ are also to be avoided.

  32. less eismore

    i would suggest the media lost their credibility long before yesterday

  33. JennyWren

    The only people I have spoken to who cacked their pants about terrorism were not in the city yesterday. There was no fear whatsoever. People were crowded around watching or they went home.
    Commendable and the public by large were not terrorised.
    Saddened yes

  34. Graeski

    Do yesterday’s events seem to anyone else like the culmination of a self-fulfilling prophecy? That we’re stuck on a path that was laid out before us months ago when Tony Abbott first started using national security concerns as a deflection for his budget woes?

    David Hand’s posts seem almost gleeful.

  35. Dogs breakfast

    Apparently cops teeming around equals a fearful populace.

    Well done Mr Hand, non-sequitur of the year.

    People staying home, as per police requests late last night, equals fear.

    I doubt that people are staying home out of fear, but you just write you own story, don’t you DH.

  36. Dogs breakfast

    You’re dead right Bernard, this should have been reported as “delusional, criminal, wife beating and suspected murderer loony tune, with a chip on his shoulder the size of Jupiter, decides to take out his (male) frustrations in a most heinous way and hype it up as a political protest. What a tosser!”

    And how did the Tele, a newspaper last I saw, scoop the TV media that had their cameras trained on the store? How does that work?

    As for Sydney being afraid, goodness gracious Mr Hand, you do live in a different world to me.

    I couldn’t imagine a city dealing with it with more aplomb and decorum, even yesterday in the midst of it. No panic, calm response, go about it and get home.

    I doubt that there really are anything but a tiny minority of people looking over their shoulders in fear, except perhaps for muslim women afraid of being tarred with the same brush as this madman.

    Oh, but that’s right, a buttload of Sydney people expressed their willingness to ‘ride with them’.

    Quite frankly, I couldn’t imagine a more sophisticated and under-stated response by a populace to such craziness.

    In the midst of madness, a flower of civilisation, decency and stocism bloomed.

    Couldn’t be prouder of Sydney at the moment. Old fashioned character in the midst of crisis.

  37. cassandra lane

    Credit to SBS for reporting on it during the news and during news breaks but otherwise continuing with regular programming. It wasn’t a spectator sport although you would certainly be forgiven for thinking so with the breathless moment by moment reporting by all the other free to air channels

  38. David Hand

    OK Lloyd.
    You’re right.
    All those cops teeming through the CBD can go home then. All those people staying home today should be ashamed of themselves.

  39. lloydois

    ‘The city is in shock today. People are looking over their shoulders. Everybody is afraid.’

    That really is one of the dumbest things I’ve read today or am I living in a different city? Yes we are feeling raw and sad but I’m sure as hell not looking over my shoulder any more than I was yesterday and no one i’ve spoken to has expressed anything like these sentiments.

  40. Mark out West

    +1000000
    Well done Bernard it must be hard to be YOU amongst the walking dead (MSM). Thank you for making some of us feel less abnormal as we are not running scared.

    @Mark D
    The flag was an Islam quote not an IS flag. His demands were not demands that aligned with the IS agenda. There was no IS connection as Bernard points out he was Shia not Sunni, opposite side if you didn’t realise.
    @Russell, the ideologically driven right use fear like Hilter did re the Jews, is it in any way justified to promote fear far beyond what is reasonable, absolutely not.

  41. puddleduck

    I concur with tonysee’s comment. Virginia Trioli’s question to Monis’s one-time lawyer this morning, asking whether he felt guilt about having represented the man, was a new low for a journalist I don’t have much time for. Why is she still employed, I wonder?

  42. doug hynd

    Mark duffett the flag display contained a basic affirmation made by all Muslims of whatever background and affiliation. How that becomes a political agenda is unclear to me. His profile looks a good deal like many of the males of that age who become involved in domestic violence. I doubt that he had a clear idea what he is doing and why except that he was as mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore.

  43. David Hand

    You should ease up on the faux outrage against the Tele’s IS link. When IS Imams are calling on good Muslims to go out there and kill infidels and one of them does, there’s a link.

    Oh and what we saw in Sydney is terrorism. Pure unadulterated vanilla terrorism. An act designed to terrorise the community. A successful terrorist act. Sorry Bernard, spin it how ever you want, point to the gunman’s mental state or support Shakira Hussein’s absurd view that it was, “the stock-standard post-divorce mid-life crisis Australian man who reacts violently ……. to the loss of what he considers to be his entitlements” if you like.

    We saw it ourselves. 4 TV channels gave it total coverage. The city is in shock today. People are looking over their shoulders. Everybody is afraid.

    Terrorism mate, and linked to IS. Go on, keep denying it and keep looking silly.

  44. tonysee

    While I take your point, Bernard, I’m not really clear what you think a ‘mature coverage of terrorism’ would look like under these circumstances.

    Notwithstanding that, I was particularly taken aback by Virginia Trioli on News24 this morning when she interviewed Manny Conditsis a lawyer who represented Man Haron Monis (about 12 months ago).

    I could cope with her trying to draw out as much information as she could about Monis, but she really stretched the friendship when she asked Conditsis if he felt a sense of ‘guilt’ because Monis was set free. Conditsis got to the point where he said he took offence at her tone and he was right, she was well over the top.

    Perhaps News24 management have to make it clear that being as obnoxious as some of their competitors is not a reasonable benchmark?

  45. Patrick Brosnan

    Excellent work Bernard. I’ve been worn down to the point of resignation by the stupid utterings of supposedly educated and credible people who are paid salaries. Anyone who takes an interest in events, both contemporary and historical (a requirement for a journalist you would think), cannot but nod in furious agreement with your assessment of the media’s efforts as bland, asinine and bereft of any scepticism. The fact that the media wore their compliance with police instructions like a badge of courage confirms that they are bereft of credibility.

  46. James O'Neill

    Well said Bernard. The rush to over dramatise the events is indicative of many serious failings in the media. I noted the early references to “Arabic” writing on the notices held up to the window by the hostages. Nobody seemed to notice that as the deranged idiot inside was Iranian and not Arab and would therefore in all likelihood not be putting up a sign in Arabic. No doubt the politicians will use this as an excuse for yet more restrictions on our liberties. As the historical examples you give show, we seem incapable of learning from history.

  47. Miowarra Tomokatu

    What credibility, Bernard?

  48. David Camfield

    special mention to Ray Hadley also

  49. zut alors

    Quite right, Bernard. Your final sentence sums it up.

    Why ABC1 chose to wipe most of its scheduled programming to provide identical coverage to ABC24 remains a mystery.

  50. Mark Duffett

    “No explicit ideological agenda”? How do you square that with the display of a flag apparently chosen to ape as closely as possible those used by militant Islamism, and with what one of the hostages was quoted as saying:

    “I’m at the Lindt Café at Martin Place being held hostage by a member of the IS….The man wants the world to know that Australia is under attack by the Islamic State.”

    For all that Man Monis may turn out to have been unhinged, how could the ideological agenda apparent at the time have been any more explicit?

  51. Russell

    Not sure why Crikey felt the need to use this to bash Murdoch again. Really, you are starting to sound just as nutty and obsessive as Gerard Henderson’s banging on about the ABC constantly… Or why we have to point the finger (yawn) at the meeja – or at least the dead tree lot. Many of us in Sydney are feeling a bit raw today, and point scoring like this seems unnecessary. Naturally the Guardian was exemplary (as it always is!)

    Like most people in Sydney I was riveted by the events yesterday. As well as listening to the radio all day I clicked on several websites – but the SMH’s didn’t respond on several occasions, apparently unable to cope. The Tele’s was better.

    This morning when I instinctively purchased my dead tree, I got my usual Herald, and (very rare, this) a Tele as well. They had at least got another edition (front page plate change only) out, but the poor old Herald hadn’t managed. The Tele’s coverage concentrated on the human angle with personal stories of those involved. It was deeply moving. I had to stop and blow my nose several times.

    Re: Ray Hadley’s role. You correctly praise his conduct. But I was haunted a bit by the similarities to I am a bit haunted by how similar some was to the plot of a recent Korean B-movie action thriller called The Terror, Live where a terrorist demands to speak to the Korean PM and go on air live to convey his demand via a radio shock jock. The radioman sees it as rating and career boost, and agrees (He dies in the end! Fortunately Ray Hadley took a wiser course of action)

  52. Bill Hilliger

    According to MSM a criminal act becomes a terrorist act when a person of Muslim persuasion is involved. The 24 hour MSM, including the ABC it seemed could hardly contain their glee when to so called terrorist / non terrorist was going on. An excerpt from the Guardian made a pointed reference on how everyone is /was cashing in on the unfortunate event:

    A stampede of politicians, State and federal, took to the airwaves to tell us how to feel. The incident was “horrifying” said Bill Shorten. Attempting a Churchillian gravitas, the opposition leader declared that “Australians are shocked, but won’t be shaken.”

    But it was the State premiers who most clearly illustrated the paradox that governed political reaction: The further from the incident, the greater the distress.

    Victoria’s Daniel Andrews declared that it was a “terrifying incident”. He gravely assured Victorians that the gunman in Martin Place posed no known threat to the people of Victoria.

    Queensland’s Premier Campbell Newman ordered “all available police out there” to “protect Queenslanders”.

    The reaction of most media for most of the day was to cheerlead the hype and to provide a ready platform to any politician who wanted to insert himself into the event.

  53. Raaraa

    I was disturbed that some media outlets see this event as the “perfect storm”. Something they must be the first to report and be proud of that fact.

    Rupert tweeted:

    AUST gets wake-call with Sydney terror. Only Daily Telegraph caught the bloody outcome at 2.00 am. Congrats.

    Source: https://twitter.com/rupertmurdoch/status/544587566297522176

  54. andrew

    Well said.

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