Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Great Unwinding

18 Responses

  • nzlemming,

    SBS are complaining about a programme they broadcast? Wow. That's fucked up.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2080 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    SBS are complaining about a programme they broadcast? Wow. That’s fucked up.

    No, they’re complaining about our programme to the New Zealand BSA (or not -- it's unclear whether it's a formal complaint or a defamation threat) – after *the ABC’s* Media Watch used a comment made by Jon Stephenson on Media7 as part of a clinical appraisal of the SBS dateline programme.

    Yalda Hakim, the Dateline reporter has, meanwhile, alerted her Twitter followers to this screed, which contains this bizarre passage:

    All implications of the American government’s desperate effort to silence doubts about its version of events, including by applying pressure to President Karzai, who’s utterly dependent upon U.S. backing, to get him to change his public statements on the matter, are invisible to the credulous “Media Watchers” – who are obviously not “Government Watchers” – at ABC.net.au. Tellingly, though I haven’t investigated the facts myself, a comment by Gillian Tebbutton quickly posted on the story-related Media Watch webpage noted this about McClatchy’s “special correspondent” Jon Stephenson:

    “Did nobody at Media Watch look into the journalistic history of the New Zealand reporter who called Dateline’s story into doubt?!! Better check, guys. The man whose stories are run by Stars n Stripes magazine has a background worth exploring…"

    The author very clearly did not “investigate the facts” if they believe Jon Stephenson is a US military stooge.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18839 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yalda Hakim, the Dateline reporter has, meanwhile, alerted her Twitter followers to this screed, which contains this bizarre passage:

    Way too many scare-quotes in that screed. Apparently Jon Stephenson is a "New Zealander", a "reporter" and a "special correspondent".

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 796 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    Considering that even witnesses's stories can be confused, embellished or contradictory this is par for the course. Any viewers who think that all the truth is being told in the first reports must have a low credulity level.
    This seems to be just another journalistic spat over terms such as witness, exclusive or even 'incredible' which have lost most of their original meaning.
    I suppose we can be grateful they weren't reporting live from the carpark of the Afghan embassy in Canberra.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 219 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    This post by 'powow' on the debatingchambers website seems to give an opposite point of view than that given by Mediawatch
    http://debatingchambers.com/310_panjwai-march-11-2012-eyewitnesses-to-the-slaughter-of-innocents#comment-23
    Have we moved past the slaughter of innocents to a real battle in the media

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 219 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    No, they’re complaining about our programme to the New Zealand BSA (or not -- it's unclear whether it's a formal complaint or a defamation threat

    Oh, I misread, sorry.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2080 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Way too many scare-quotes in that screed. Apparently Jon Stephenson is a “New Zealander”, a “reporter” and a “special correspondent”.

    Indeed. It's the kind of reference point by which you assess a text. The fact that the author clearly hadn't even googled Jon's name before potting him as an American stooge certainly informed my reading of the rest of it. The author also seems unaware that Stars & Stripes -- which takes stories from Jon's employer, McClatchy, and other agencies -- isn't a US government newspaper and has run stories that have aggrieved the military establishments many times.

    I think Yalda Hakim needs to be a bit careful of what she endorses. Seriously.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18839 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    Are we seeing the same ‘Murdoch effect’ here in New Zealand? The wings are being pulled off public broadcasting in favour of Sky TV……which (last time I checked) is 44% owned by Rupert Murdoch. Sky Chairman, Peter MacCourt, come from Murdoch’s News Limited in Australia, where he has worked since 1983. If I have any of this wrong, please correct me and cite a verifiable source (just for certainty).

    We don’t have to look to the UK to see harm Rupert Murdoch does to media. The National Party is firmly in his pocket right here at home.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    Another illustration that very little we get fed by the media is sufficiently trustworthy. Any one who has been involved in an event that has become the focus of media attention quickly learns to treat other events' reporting with great caution as one's own event's mis-reporting must inevitably be replicated in events about which one knows little or nothing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Steve Withers,

    Pretty much right on the ownership. The Companies Office reports Sky Network Television Limited's shareholdings as:

    Total Number of Shares: 389139785
    NEWS LIMITED
    43.65% 169854716
    TODD COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED
    11.11% 43220277
    HSBC NOMINEES (NEW ZEALAND) LIMITED
    3.15% 12259317
    NATIONAL NOMINEES NEW ZEALAND LIMITED
    2.94% 11436132
    Accident Compensation Corporation
    2.66% 10356379
    J P MORGAN NOMINEES AUSTRALIA LIMITED
    2.42% 9409124
    NEW ZEALAND SUPERANNUATION FUND NOMINEES LIMITED
    2.35% 9160800
    Cogent Nominees Pty Limited
    2.31% 8986576
    NATIONAL NOMINEES LIMITED
    2.11% 8217018
    T.E.A.CUSTODIANS LIMITED
    2.08% 8095633
    HSBC CUSTODY NOMINEES (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED
    1.53% 5945859
    Citicorp Nominees Pty Limited
    0.65% 2522474
    PREMIER NOMINEES LIMITED
    0.17% 664388
    Unknown
    22.87% 89011092

    though those nominee companies could be hiding anyone ;-)

    Just because Murdoch is an arsehole, though, doesn't mean the Nats are actually in bed with him. They can just as easily take advantage of the climate he creates.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2080 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    a heartfelt +1!
    My experiences with some media people has made me determined to never have anything more to do with them (reguardless of whether it’s an event or a person.)

    O, except for the tribe...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    As Russell and others have pointed out, one explanation for the free ride Sky TV has had in NZ is because they have a full-time lobbyist (Tony O'Brien) in Parliament, who has privileged access to all areas, representing the interests of monopolistic private company.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2307 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    Just because Murdoch is an arsehole, though, doesn’t mean the Nats are actually in bed with him. They can just as easily take advantage of the climate he creates

    In the interview I did with him today, Bryan Gould suggested that Murdoch doesn't need to seek regulatory favours here as he has in Britain, because there is essentially no regulation at all of his company's actions. Why bother, basically.

    The interview will be excerpted on the show itself and posted in full on the TVNZ website.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18839 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    My issue is with what terrible stewards the National party are of our public assets. Ripping up public broadcasting and defaulting to Sky seems a terrible way to enhance the value and returns from the public media assets we all have a share in. The same goes for the asset sales program. It only makes sense if this government has the aim of transferring public assets into private hands....and not for the benefit of the public. It's a wonder anyone votes for these thieves.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • James George,

    Perhaps if Brown & co had put an equal amount of effort into investigating those news broadcasts by the BBC, CBS & A-J english, that are just trite regurgitations of the talking points daily foisted upon us by the governments of the nations that instigated the murderous and unwarranted invasion of Afghanistan, it may be possible to take the nit-picking over the SBS coverage more seriously.
    Still, Brown knows if he reduces the debate to poor little kiwi battler being bullied by big bad aussie media outlets, he's prolly onto a winner; no matter what the truth of the issue is.

    One surviving child said she saw lights of other US soldiers in the yard while her family was being massacred, Brown and co reckon that is dodgy reporting eh?
    Meanwhile, according to Brown, a kiwi 'reporter' who claims third hand statements passed on to him by the US soldiers he is in bed with - sorry embedded with, is obviously more credible .

    But the big gobsmack was the crazy notion that the US government subsidised Stars and Stripes, whose editorial offices are in the process of being moved to Fort Meade that would 'just coincidentally' mind you, put the editorial offices in the same facility as one of the military’s main public-affairs operations, is an independent publication free from US government interference.
    Maybe Brown would like to argue that point with Congress who have just further regulated Stars n Stripes future in the “2013 Defense Authorization Bill”.

    Stars & Stripes may be independent on a few side issues such as whether or not vets get decent hospital care, but they are not objective in their judgements about major US policy matters.
    Eg
    When wikileaks published its release of Afghan data, the Stars n Stripes 'ombudsman' was prevented from discussing any matter concerning US troops that arose from information contained in the Wikileaks release. This is exactly the same restrictions as those put on the State Department and the Department of Defense.
    Their readership is actively involved in the murder & rape of Afghans every day. As if that fishwrap is going to publish any news story by any journo that doesn't, at least tacitly, support this horror.

    Claiming that Stars n Stripes isn't an apologist for US war crimes is about as silly as saying that Rupert Murdoch's kiwi lackey doesn't expect to get his own way on things like the closure of TVNZ 7, when he donates big bucks to a political party's campaign funds.

    Since Sep 2007 • 91 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Medication time.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2080 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James George,

    One surviving child said she saw lights of other US soldiers in the yard while her family was being massacred, Brown and co reckon that is dodgy reporting eh?

    Two experienced, courageous and respected war reporters, Jon Stephenson and Bette Dam, who were there on the scene and interviewed witnesses find fault with the Dateline report on multiple counts. In particular, they regard the “multiple shooters” theory as deeply flawed.

    One surviving child said she saw lights of other US soldiers in the yard while her family was being massacred, Brown and co reckon that is dodgy reporting eh?

    Basing such a claim on the witness of a traumatised six year-old (whose carers did not want her to be interviewed) would be wrong, yes. Especially when Afghani sentries have very clearly said they saw only one soldier leaving and returning to to camp and reported as much.

    Meanwhile, according to Brown, a kiwi ‘reporter’ who claims third hand statements passed on to him by the US soldiers he is in bed with – sorry embedded with, is obviously more credible .

    I’m guessing that either you don’t have a clue about the work Jon has done in the past and does now, or you know you’re lying and you don’t care.

    In his most recent time in Afghanistan, Jon Stephenson has been McClatchy’s Kabul correspondent. If you know anything about McClatchy, you’ll know that it’s regarded as the best and most independent of the war news services.

    McClatchy is also one of the news services used by Stars & Stripes. Stephenson does not work for Stars & Stripes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18839 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Because of Dateline’s complaint, which appears to be more in the form of a legal threat than a formal BSA complaint, and subsequent communications from SBS, I’m unable to continue this discussion beyond what I’ve already said. I presume Jon is in a similar position. I find this extremely regrettable.

    What I can do is address some of the crazier claims about Jon by pasting in his short biography here:

    Jon Stephenson is a New Zealand investigative journalist with extensive experience reporting conflict and trauma.

    In addition to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, Jon has reported on the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon, and from Gaza, East Timor, and Zimbabwe, as well as on natural disasters such as the 2004 tsunami in Asia-Pacific region, the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, and the 2008 earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province.

    A graduate of the University of Auckland in history and philosophy, Jon has received numerous awards for his journalism, including the Bayeux-Calvados Prize for War Correspondents (twice). He was a 2008 Ochberg Fellow at the US-based Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, and is a member of the centre’s Australasian advisory board.

    Jon Stephenson has won the written press trophy at the prestigious 2011 Bayeux-Calvados awards for war correspondents, for his Metro feature Eyes Wide Shut, on New Zealand’s involvement in the transfer of detainees to torture in Afghanistan.

    In 2006 Stephenson received the same award for a two-part Metro report from Iraq.

    And with that, I think I have to close this thread. This is a situation created by Dateline and SBS. Colour me appalled.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18839 posts Report Reply

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