Journalism for suckers

By July 26, 2022Australian Politics, Media

Scott Morrison’s staff pressured the Australian Border Force to draft and issue a statement about an asylum-seeker boat from Sri Lanka, intercepted on election day and before the interception operation had finished, a damning departmental report has found. This formed the basis for a last-minute text message scare campaign, on the day of the election, from the NSW Liberal party urging voters to “keep our borders secure by voting Liberal today”1.

At a press conference on election day, Morrison ‘teed up’ Jennifer Bechwati to ask a question, when he pointed to her and called her name ‘Jen’ (18 seconds in on Media watch2). She asked “[unintelligible] … now that a vessel had been intercepted in an attempt to illegally enter Australia from Sri Lanka… what’s your response to that?” Morrison pathetically replied with a word salad [46 seconds]: “Well, I can confirm that, that there has been an interception of a vessel en route to Australia. That vessel has been intercepted in accordance with the policies of the government and they’re following those normal protocols and I can simply say this: I’ve been here to stop this boat, but in order for me to be there to stop those that may come from here, you need to vote Liberals and Nationals today. And in the interests of full transparency in the middle of an election campaign, the Labor Party was advised of this and a statement has been issued by the border protection authorities”2. Morrison has in the past repeatedly refused to answer questions regarding ‘on water matters’, but given his desperation to avoid a massive loss in the election was very happy to oblige this time. 

Bechwati works for the Kerry Stokes owned Channel 7 and after this, was hammered on social media to the extent that she apparently closed her Twitter account. Paul Barry, on Media Watch [5:10] maintains that this ‘savage fire’ on social media was not deserved. He continued “Most reporters in her position would surely have done just the same”2. I suspect this is not always the case. Some of he more astute among the media would have realised this leak was a ‘put-up job’ from a government desperate to hold onto power, or at least save some of the furniture. Bechwati apparently was not astute enough to realise this. She should have been if she had been watching the Morrison government for any length of time. This is because, under the Morrison government such leaking of information for political advantage has been taken to levels unseen before. They have been turned into a potent political weapon with a single goal: to damage, deflect or mislead. The Morrison government has turned the journalists’ game back on itself3. Leaks used to be about getting a scoop, about winkling out a story that the government doesn’t want to see the light of day. Now however, journalists are being played for suckers by the very people they are writing about, and many of them are falling for it hook, line and sinker. Bechwati is just the latest.

No doubt many in the mainstream media will rail against social media, especially Twitter, for the appalling treatment meted out to Bechwati. Having been on Twitter for five and a half years, and ‘knowing’ many of the politically engaged people on the platform, I suspect it was frustration at a journalist being so naive that they were so easily suckered into playing Morrison’s game.




  • Jon says:

    Bechwati should have known better – she was a just another Morrison gull. Barry, like Bechwati, also should know better than excusing that, unless he thinks she was so dull-witted that she didn’t know she was being used.

    Morrison’s reply didn’t make sense when I read the story the other day and re-reading it now, no manner of special parsing or allowance for poli-speak can change it from the unintelligible tosh it is. Perhaps he was speaking in a pentecostal tongue, or maybe his god garbled what he meant to say because he/she (the god) was fed up with his lies and attempts to scapegoat refugees? I suspect Morrison knew his reckoning was nigh and such is the “man” that I have little doubt he would have thrown anyone under the bus if it meant there was a slim chance of saving his political arse.

    Speaking of arses, does anyone have a list of staff in Morrison’s office at the time? Hopefully Labor does because these people, and others who did his bidding, should never be permitted to taint the parliamentary office or be considered for public roles again. Especially Klunkel and Gaetjens.

    All that pales into insignificance against the fact that Morrison claiming Labor had been briefed (as if that would give their dog whistling some legitimacy – they really do have a low regard for the Australian voter) was yet another of Morrison’s numerous lies.

    The UK had Johnson, the USA Trump, we were lumbered with the pharisee Morrison. That these three nations would be lorded over by vacuous, self-centred, incompetents at the same point in history is quite incredible to me.

    • admin says:

      These three tossers have only been elected because of criminals like Murdoch, whose main aim seems to be to destroy democracy so the money can continue to flow from the public purse into his coffers.

    • Jon says:

      Yaron Finkelstein. Remember the name. Another crony from the appalling Morrison office. Former principal private secretary.

  • Russell says:

    Nothing like a massive dummy spit to make one feel better in a long bout of freezing bad weather… and after driving the Mitchell Highway, testament to the bloody lack of care for country-regional infrastructure in this woebegone, unbelievably corrupt, mega-privatised state of NSW.
    They, the bureau-cruds and their grifting, exploitative masters on Macquarie St, couldn’t organise a ro……er, sex act in a brothel if the Madam let them in for free, nor buy a toy train from Korea with the engineers sensibly realising the tunnels west of Springwood can’t take the carriages, being a poor fit. That last one is thanks to Gladrags Barilarjiklian, who naturally, as one does in NSW, flew the coop to a better paid opportunity, being the usual rank phoney in the tradition of useless, lying Fatty O’Barrel of Grange wine.

    (And you should hear me when I’m slightly dissatisfied !!)

    • admin says:

      Yep; a good dummy spit is required occasionally. The last time I had one was funny. I wrote and edited (?) a booklet for my organisation and it went up to ‘the communications unit’, where they turned some of the English into gobbledygook. I made some revisions but jacked up about the gobbledygook and sent it to them again, and they made it even worse second time around. When it came back to me, I was in my office reading through it and started banging my fist on the desk and uttering a few expletives. The bloke in the office next to mine stuck his head around the door jamb and asked if I was OK. I explained what happened and we both laughed. The upshot was I wrote a letter to the top banana and gave examples of my stuff and what it had been turned into, and the booklet was then sent to a self-confessed word-nazi instead of the word-muppets, and everything was sweetness and light.

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