Poor old Aunty — she can’t seem to catch a break this week.
This morning, The Australian ripped into 7.30, courtesy of Tony Abbott’s outrage, for showing a video of euthanasia advocate Max Bromson ending his own life using a self-administered dose of Nembutal (the video was taken for the protection of his family — so it couldn’t be alleged they helped him in any way). Fresh from causing trouble from his leader, Abbott told the Oz:
“Surely not even the ABC is so irresponsible, I am simply appalled … Regardless of where you stand on the issue, there have to be standards of reporting. This is death voyeurism, not journalism.”
3AW’s Neil Mitchell also stuck the boot in this morning. “I strongly support voluntary euthanasia, but this was a blatant and irresponsible piece of attention-seeking by the ABC,” the top-rating Melbourne radio host thundered:
“I doubt they’ll answer to it. I’ve invited them on the program. But they usually don’t answer to criticism — they’re above that.
“What they did was wrong. It was self-serving, self-indulgent journalism.”
Former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes did come on 3AW — he didn’t see a problem with the report, though he said he could see where Mitchell was coming from.
Mitchell might not think the ABC will respond, but they have. In a statement sent out this morning, the ABC slammed the Oz for not seeking comment on its story, and defended itself against claims of sensationalism.
“Max Bromson was a tireless activist for euthanasia In South Australia. He died in July 2014, at age 67, not of the bone cancer that made his last years so painful but from a fatal self-administered dose of Nembutal. He died surrounded by family with a camera rolling. The vision was filmed by a family member and provided to the ABC for broadcast with the clear approval of the family and of the dying man himself …
Voluntary euthanasia bills are set to come before two state parliaments this year — South Australia and Tasmania — and in Victoria a cross-party state committee has recommended the State Government legalise it. ABC News believes there is a strong public interest in telling his story and showing this powerful vision at this time. It shows in a clear and compelling manner the human and legal dilemmas at the heart of this debate. It shows for the first time, exactly what is being debated.
In preparing the story, 7.30 and reporter Alex Mann were acutely aware of the need to tell the full story of Mr Bromson’s decision while avoiding the possibility of encouraging or being seen to facilitate suicide. Key aspects of the methods used by Mr Bromson have been omitted from the story in accordance with accepted media guidelines in relation to suicide. While Mr Bromson is seen losing consciousness, the moment of his death is not seen.”
It is, of course, not the first bout of ABC-bashing to take place this week. — Myriam Robin