The Decline of Investigative Reporting
Filed Under: Politics, World | Posted: 07/22/2010 at 6:26AM
Comments | Region: Australia
While the US comes to terms with the reactionary chain of events since Fox News duped itself and the public about a black woman’s racism, the Australian media pursues its own self destructive path. The ABC political reporter, Chris Uhlmann now breaks a page one story that vaguely refers to anonymous sources in what amounts to character assassination of the recently deposed Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.
Rudd is reputed to have treated Australia’s national security with disdain by appointing a young deputy to appear in meetings for him on some occasions.
The timing and placement of this story is what makes it stink with political agenda. Rudd has begun to steal the media limelight from the caretaker Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, as journalists gravitate to the story of his election campaign appearances in his seat of Griffith, in Brisbane
Uhlmann’s online report is like tabloid television, devoid of the most important detail: who makes these accusations? Yet it set the news agenda immediately and the Sydney Morning Herald made a more stinging online lead story headline, "PM by Committee," with a toothy picture of Rudd that makes him appear a little like a shark. Their story simply quotes Uhlmann and echoes his anonymous accusations.
What’s wrong with this narrative-line? If someone wanted to be rid of the media eclipsing effect of Rudd on the campaign trail, or do damage to the Labor Party, or perhaps nullify Rudd as a threat to the stability of the current government, what kind of story would need to be leaked to the likes of Uhlmann?
"Oh, what a terrible leader Mr Rudd was he was while he was PM! Let me tell you what nameless commonwealth officials have to say about him!"
Did Mr Uhlmann consider that he might be played like a game fish here? Apparently not when it’s guaranteed a front page lead story status that would echo around the shallow confines of populist Australian journalism. And sadly so far today it does, as if it’s true.
Who on earth wants this story to be told Mr Uhlmann? Whose political agenda have you stooped to fulfill?