More on the Fitzgibbon affair, Bolt, and other trivia

The weekend papers have furnished us with yet another episode in the Joel Fitzgibbon affair.   On March 26 the Sydney Morning Herald splashed the headline Defence leaks dirt file on own minister’  The Age and The Canberra Times did similarly.  The story, by Philip Dorling, Nick McKenzie, and Richard Baker, alleged that an officer from the Defence Signals Directorate had accessed Fitzgibbon’s IT system, a move that was said to have arisen from concerns about ‘possible security implications’  of Fitzgibbon’s friendship with a ‘Chinese-born businesswoman’ Helen Liu, a long-time friend of the Fitzgibbon family.  The concerns were said to have been passed on to top Defence officials but had been ignored.  The saga was commented upon on The Political Sword first in The China intrigue on March 28 and followed up with What has become of the Fitzgibbon affair? on April 27. More...

The Rudd essay on the GFC – was he right?

This is a follow up to a piece posted on 7 February Kevin Rudd’s essay on the global financial crisis and another piece posted a month later The Turnbull answer to the Rudd essay.

The Monthly, which published the Rudd essay, has published in its May issue The Rudd Essay & the Global Financial Crisis in which the opinions of what it describes as five ‘influential thinkers’ from the international scene are given.  Its reason for doing this is stated as being its disappointment at the media response to the essay: “The overwhelming majority have been carping and superficial.  Virtually no one has offered a penetrating critique or proposed an alternative account of the most significant economic calamity since the Great Depression.”   Even the ABC comes in for criticism for not conducting an interview with the PM on the essay.  More...

How do you rate our TV and radio journalists?

What was intended to be a two part piece needs another – this is about TV and radio journalists.

Some of these are the most acerbic and intimidating interrogators.  They look for and enjoy the gotcha moment, and because they are well known for this propensity, politicians are wary of them and cautious with their remarks for fear of them returning in a disadvantageous video clip.  I am most familiar with national journalists.  Let’s start with Kerry O’Brien. More...

How do you rate our political journalists?

The last piece How should we rate the quality of our political journalists? outlined the criteria that might apply when judging their quality.  This piece reflects on individual journalists.  Your views are invited.

First let’s deal with editorials which are a particular problem in appraising quality in journalism. When there is a named author it is possible to compare any particular piece with others by the same person; with editorials, the author is usually unknown and often changes. Editorial writers hide behind the paper’s banner, yet their words are meant to reflect the paper’s stance and potentially have an important influence on readers’ opinions.  Maybe because they are generally anonymous they seem to be bolder in their assertions and opinions.  They often speak with the authority of Moses descending from the mountain with wisdom engraved on tablets of stone.  It’s pretty hard to hold them to account; the only recourse for readers is ‘Letters to the Editor’ published in the newspaper; there seems to be no online opportunity for this. More...