Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tony Abbott vs Seven Nightly News

They may have made their peace but The Australians recent ediorial cuts through on Sevens framing of the Opposition leader:

SADLY, unnecessary additional trauma has been inflicted this week on the widow and family of Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney. The memory of this fallen soldier and his tragic death have been revisited and trivialised, not by politicians, but by the Seven Network. The station went to extraordinary technical lengths to resurrect Tony Abbott’s private battlefield briefing about this fatality, and then misrepresented it. The episode can only undermine public confidence in the media.

On Tuesday, the network breathlessly claimed the Opposition Leader “insults a fallen soldier” and was “caught on camera making an insensitive remark about the death of one of our soldiers during a visit to Afghanistan”. The trouble for Seven and its chief political reporter, Mark Riley, was that these allegations simply weren’t true....

Clearly, in this case a television program has chosen to promote its own interests by dishonestly seeking to damage Mr Abbott....

But what of the rest of the media? As a conservative Liberal, Mr Abbott is seen as fair game by many in the press gallery with some holding him in open contempt. So while they agreed the Opposition Leader had said nothing wrong in Afghanistan, many journalists still attacked him for his awkward response to Seven’s claims. It seems like something of a witch trial to condemn a man for his reaction without taking into account the egregious nature of the allegation to which he is responding.

This is symptomatic of a culture of “gotcha” journalism, where one reporter strikes and the pack feeds. It also amplifies suggestions that hunting conservatives is a favourite sport of the Canberra clique.

Read the whole editorial here
In the end, it was notable that Riley engaged in more damage control than Abbott ...

UPDATE

Mark Riley responds diplomatically, hence damage control!
Dear Otto,

It's regrettable you feel that way.

I can only assure you that my intention on each and every day of my 31years in journalism is to report in a fair and balanced way, without fear or favour.

That is what I did in this case.

Regards,


Mark Riley
Political Editor
See also: Low, deceptive tricks by Channel Seven spark fury

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