The ABC’s Media Watch last night tackled major Australian media outlets – the Daily Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, Melbourne’s Herald Sun, the Murdoch-owned PerthNow, and this site – over the issue of online comments:
For those eager to express their prejudices, there are plenty of new forums in the new media.
The major metropolitan papers have embraced the electronic era and they actively encourage their readers to respond to stories online.
Click for the rest. Media Watch also encourages responses; editors from all of the above-named publications were contacted prior to last night’s broadcast and allowed the opportunity to explain their comments policies.
Well, almost all. They didn’t contact me. And it’s not as though Media Watch doesn’t have my contact details, for in 2002 I corresponded with Media Watch executive producer Tim Palmer – then the ABC’s Middle East correspondent – over a matter that might relate to the program’s current issues with freedom of speech.
Palmer first contacted me in June, 2002, about this post, in which I sought the origin of a unsourced Shimon Peres quote that appeared in a Palmer article. He vowed to sue me unless I published an apology and withdrawal. I was a freelancer at the time, without the finances to challenge any serious legal action, so – following lengthy email exchanges – I eventually caved:
I wish to apologise to Tim Palmer for any inference that the quotes attributed to Shimon Peres in the above article were concocted or invented, and to acknowledge that his report as originally submitted to the ABC was accurate and reliable.
I gave in after Palmer told me he was contacting his lawyer that very day to file lawsuits against other journalists who’d criticised him, and that it would be a simple matter to add my name to his list. Apology published, Palmer’s next email congratulated me for being “honourable”.
I didn’t reply.
Two years later, after the Sydney Morning Herald’s Miranda Devine had written something nice about me, she received an email from Palmer gloating about the time he’d forced me to publish a “craven” apology. I sent him a note:
At the time of our dispute over your Middle East reporting, you emailed me to say my apology was “right” or “honourable” or some-such form of words.
Now I discover via my friend Miranda Devine that you believe my apology was “craven”.
I’m confused. Was my apology/correction good or bad?
PS: How did all your other lawsuit threats work out?
which lawsuits would those be tim? accuracy simply ain’t your strong point is it?
Oh, no; he’d forgotten his earlier claims. Palmer had evidently lied to me in order to force an apology, then – two years on, and without recalling the details of our exchange – was contacting journalists to smear me. A final email extract from ethical Tim Palmer, Media Watch executive producer:
I have the right to tell as many people as I like about your shoddy work and about the fact that you, after much posturing, fell in a heap and apologised. I’ve told plenty.
Tell them about your lie, mate.
UPDATE. At Media Watch’s heavily-moderated site, you’ll find this:
The only understanding I can make is that MediaWatch carries the torch for Globalism and maybe even Zionist groups as they are known to push Hate Speech laws so they can’t be questioned themselves in crime. ABC is starting to show a disproportionate number of Jews in the places of power in the ABC.
AC and TT are both reactionary propaganda mouthpieces of the government and big business. The vilification of Muslims, single mothers and the unemployed is rampant on both of these reproachable programs.
Their function is to confuse workers by blaming minority groups that are easy targets and cannot defend themselves, for the declining standard of living and attacks on workers rights, diverting the focus away from the real cause, which is government policy.
The Muslims especially are used as scapegoats domestically, and internationally to defend the crime of the war in Iraq. They serve the same purpose as the Jews of Hitler’s Third Reich.
Jewish folk might not appreciate the comparison.
(Via sparrow in evil comments)