Laurie Oaks is one of the most respected and feared political journalists in Australia today. He is relatively bipartisan in his approach, and gives me the impression that he detests hypocrisy and loves exposing it. His technique is sometimes referred to as dropping bombs although it is more like an ambush.
Seeing Laurie get to his feet to ask a question gives politicians that feeling a right leaning blogger would have on opening the paper after getting a tip that he was going to see his name linked romantically with Arianna Huffington, Chris Mathews, or both. This is his ‘gotcha’ moment with Gillard.
Others attempt to emulate this including Mark Riley from the 7 Network, the problem for him being that he was totally dishonest in his attempt to prove that Tony Abbott trivialized the death of Australian soldier, Jarred MacKinney:
After listening to the US officer explain that the troops were well supported by all the firepower he was shown and more, Mr. Abbott remarked, “Nah it’s pretty obvious that um … well sometimes shit happens doesn’t it?”
7s, attempt at claiming to be honest in this is negated by the fact that they excised the following remark by the commander of Australia's Middle East forces, Major-General John Cantwell, who nodded agreement and added, "It certainly does, yeah.”
They have also claimed that the footage was obtained over the objections of Abbott, which is wrong. Abbott had asked that footage of him firing weapons not be released, but when a FOI request was made he did not object to it.
In essence they have used their tech support to decipher an inaudible conversation, which was an aside to the images they wished to portray, then tried to misrepresent the facts and have been caught out at it. 7 has to face the facts that Australians are just not as PC as they would wish them to be to the point that even the government has declined to take a free hit at Tony over this. They have tried to make themselves the story, and have. Its just not the one they expected.
Keith Payne, the Victoria Cross winner from Vietnam Commented:
… Mr Payne told The Australian the Opposition Leader's words were not offensive and were understood on the frontline.
The same could not be said for Network Seven's Mark Riley, who had brought journalism to a new low, said the war hero, who was awarded the VC for "conspicuous bravery" in Vietnam in 1969.
"This reporter (Riley) did a very, very bad job," Mr Payne said. "He wasn't on the spot (in Afghanistan) and you have to realise what the mood was like (there). His (Abbott's) comments were not derogatory towards the family. In actual fact, he was expressing grief -- this shit happens!"
He queried why Seven edited out the former commander of Australian forces, Major General John Cantwell, agreeing with Mr Abbott's comments.
And Mr Payne issued his own dire warning to Riley. "Should that reporter ever come near me for an interview, I will tell him: this shit can happen to you."There is some conjecture about Abbotts reaction and the silence which I take to involve, “ Left hook, or right uppercut, … no I’d better not hit the bastard, … although he richly deserves it, … no it won't look good on prime time tele, but shit, no one could blame me for it, … no, I‘d better not.”
Perhaps Laurie Oaks is right, “Tony and Julia are both lightweights.”