Guest post by Paul Walter, a longtime friend of No Place for Sheep
Fans of Media Watch will recall from twenty years ago an episode where Channel 7’s TDT got caught out on a profound fraud involving the pursuit of Christopher Skase in Spain.
Now, why am I bought to mind of this?
At the moment a big story has broken involving the arrest of a 60 minutes team in Beirut during an episode about a “recovery” of children held by their father who had failed to return them to their mother after a holiday.
Now, my sympathies are deeply for this woman, but my real interest in the event is a growing unease in my own mind about what on earth possessed Channel Nine to pursue a risky and violent stratagem in pursuit of a story. In fact I am inclined to wonder to what extent the woman was exploited and now risks jail for such a venture, let alone the crew and highly paid rescue team
Did Nine choose the story in the hope of hope impressing their public or was this a genuine interest and concern in the issue of custody battles involving kids in different countries?
I believe what changes the issue is the use of Muslims as a subject at a time when an election is due and emotions have been high concerning what some term “Islamophobia”, as well as a crass faux conservative feminist aspect (I did say earlier my sympathies are with the woman and I bear no grudge against feminism itself, the point is the pretence of feminism as a means for reinforcing political and ethnic tendencies in an audience, as well as providing a cognitive pay-off for the continued watching of such reports; no nuances, just heroes and villains brought to book by 60 Minutes heroes.)
Now, what further arouses my reawakening of scepticism about what happens behind the scene with this sort of television comes from the old issue of chequebook journalism and the lack of much information about how these events are constructed.
What local msm seem not to have reported is the huge sum paid a mercenary rescue crew to do the snatch whist conveniently watched by cameras for a bit of drama. But the violence of the snatch caused a nasty incident, not a heroic moment for 60 Minutes and jeopardised this woman’s chance of getting her kids back.
No doubt a huge campaign will be launched further valorising 60 Minutes and worsening our relationship with mid-easteners, perhaps also ramping up emotion with local Muslim youth as well…cultural sensibilities.
My opinion is that this sort of thing is reckless and dangerous and done for a whole bundle of poor reasons, yet the truth must “out” as to the reliability of media and press as sources of information, these days.