In other words, there was plenty for The Drum panel to have an opinion about, and intelligently discuss.
The panel's attitude to the Wikileaks story was, and remains, inexplicable.
And why host Steve Kinnane didn't rein them in and give them some direction, also remains inexplicable.
Assange has scooped every mainstream journo on the planet. He's rewritten the rules of investigative journalism with his massive dump, and he's not even a journalist. Reporters have to go to the secondary source because Assange controls the primary. He's not one of them. He's an outsider. He plays by his own rules. And he pays the price.
Loewenstein suggested that envy and jealous rivalry might be a contributing factor in the Australian mainstream media's apparent determination to give the Wikileaks story as little in depth attention as possible. This the only explanation I can find, unless they're in cahoots with the Gillard government to give the matter the minimum amount of credence, as authorised by the PM, and instead to distract us by focusing on Assange's hair colour, temperament, and how he should list his occupation on his CV.
Wait a minute. Isn't that what they did all through the election campaign? Gillard's earlobes? Abbott's swimmers? Devastating dearth of substantial policy discussion? Buried us instead under great mounds of twaddle till we couldn't bear to listen to the news one more time. Could that also have been a conspiracy between media and politicians to keep the punters deep concerns repressed, and thus less troublesome?
Fortunately, outlets such as the Guardian, the New York Times, Al Jazeera, and many other international mainstream media have had the sense and the integrity to set their egos aside and report fully on what Wikileaks continues to dump. Perhaps these media organizations are not as afraid of the US as are the Australians?
Lowenstein also suggests that some Australian media are far too cosy with centres of power, and far too impressed by them. They are thus rendered incapable of comprehensively analysing an attack such as Wikileaks has made on that centre. He gives the example of the ABC's World Today Eleanor Hall, of whom he comments: "It was painful on Monday listening to ABC radio's The World Today grilling a New York Times journalist about his paper's decision to publish some of the revelations. Virtually every question asked by host Eleanor Hall could have come from the State Department. The contents and implications of the cables were mostly ignored."
This is scary stuff. Is it now becoming the media's role to shoot the messenger and ignore the message? To ask questions on behalf of a government? To put obstacles in the way of the public dissemination of subversive material?
Thank you, Antony Loewenstein for sticking your neck out on this matter. I hope they'll still give you gigs on The Drum.
And thank you, Julian Assange. Better not stick your neck out for while though mate.
And thank you bloggers, OLO, overseas news outlets and other online sites where a person can still find something with a bit of grit and substance to get her teeth into.
Discuss in our Forums
See what other readers are saying about this article!
Click here to read & post comments.
37 posts so far.