John Quiggin has a useful wrap-up on David Burchell’s peculiar piece of newsnannyism in the Oz. David and his fellow journalists are clearly the nannies, and clearly it’s their job to look after the news. No-one else gets a look in, presumably because we’re, ahem, not worthy. Burchell buckets all and sundry, albeit obliquely, while the article itself seems to have been hacked about rather badly by the sub. The second half is an informative description of a popular Cuban blog that clearly deserves wider notice.
Still, overzealous subs aside, the piece is enough of a roman a clef to make it reasonably clear that Tim Lambert is one of the intended targets. I have no idea who the ‘sacked diplomat’ may be, and don’t much care. I’d just like to take issue with Burchell’s support of journalists’ persistent attempts to claim some sort of moral high ground coupled with a rich sense of their own entitlement (and expertise). Word, guys. You have none of these things.
I disagree with Tim Lambert on many things, but he has forgotten more about statistics than all of Australia’s journalists bar none. The two Andrews likewise when it comes to public policy. The two Johns when it comes to economics. The psephs like Possum Comitatus when it comes to numbers. And Legal Eagle and I make a pretty good fist of stuff when considering matters lawyerly.
Indeed, it’s matters legal that more than anything else forced me to observe how stupid most journalists really are. I’ve spent a goodly fraction of my life watching journalists cause mistrials. They decide, for example, to tell their audience that such-and-such case is a retrial. Or try to interview jurors during a view. Or offer jurors a lift to the crime scene to conduct ‘personal investigations’. Or bail up witnesses in between chief and cross during a break in proceedings. Or try to buttonhole counsel. Or photograph judges and court staff in the middle of proceedings without permission.
Trials cost big bikkies, too. And in criminal trials, it’s the taxpayer footing the bill.
Memo to the Burchells of the world: if all you can get on bloggers is the occasional snark or flame war, then I’d recommend removing the beam in your own eye before commenting further.
/rant. And wish me luck in my evidence exam tomorrow afternoon (UK time). I’m sure I’ve got better things to do than sit in the Examination Schools dressed like a penguin while writing for 3 hours solid, but it’s not as though I have a choice.