Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's Wrong With The Canberra Press Pack?

Today I saw a Canberra press-pack political journalist and dedicated Twitter user, Latika Bourke, trying to hold Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to account for double standards on political scrutiny. Excellent, I thought - a bit of real journalism, speaking truth to power!

I jumped in to mention the irony of Gillard's FOI opacity on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks...

As you can see from that little exchange, Latika (a) had no idea about Senator Ludlum's FOI requests, and (b) didn't bother reading the WikiLeaks Central link I sent her. 

So I gave her a little time (see footnote) and then checked to see if she had educated herself...

 * crickets *

Sorry, that should have been "you AND your press pack mates"!

A fellow WikiLeaks supporter chipped in, only briefly interrupting Ms Bourke's Twitter chats about sewing, knitting, and "girliness"...

As you can see, @Karwalski and I tried to reach out politely. And while it's nice to get a response from a busy (?) Canberra journo, the substance of our tweets was totally ignored.

Worse yet, @Karwalski then got BLOCKED by Ms Bourke for the following observant tweet:

It is interesting to consider this little exchange in the context of another Journos v. People debate that was happening simultaneously in Australia today. A Fairfax journo wrote a rather predictable article about the agonisingly slow death of corporate media. Then Crikey's brilliant Bernard Keane took him out back of the sheds and slapped him around a bit.

But it's distressing to think that Latika Bourke's indifference and ignorance regarding Julian Assange's legal battles might reflect broader attitudes among her Australian media colleagues. Not to mention the politicians who drip-feed them their daily talking points.

There appears to be a widespread, nasty, and very jealous attitude towards Assange within Oz media ranks, even though (or especially because?) he won a Walkley Award - plus much more - and has been feted globally for his breakthrough, world-changing journalism. Is this just petty jealousy from wannabe hacks? Or something far more sinister?

Yes, there are a few outstanding Aussie journos doing their best to stand up for Julian Assange, freedom of speech, and the right to publish. But given the importance of this case, why hasn't every Australian journalist at least familiarised themselves with the FACTS?

I am just a humble peasant with a wife, three kids, a cat, and a full-time job to go to in the morning, so I must go to sleep now and leave readers to cogitate that last point themselves. But I will also leave you with an illuminating selection of further tweets from @latikambourke following our conversation today...

FOOTNOTE: The times on the right hand side of these tweets are not indicative of the live conversation. I captured the images from my timeline later in the evening.

1 comment:

  1. To one degree or another, be it important or not, however you see things yourself, the mere nature of this episode of discourse is itself quite remarkable. Ignoring the question of who is more incorrect/correct, the fact journalists and citizens are basically increasingly indistinguishable and...perhaps even more capable of direct, cheap and open discourse with each real-time....that alone basically produces a far higher quality of conversation...whether the topic is growing some nice vegies or trying to 'formally' define what actually constitutes journalism in the 21st century...