Thursday, July 26, 2012

"A Severed Head Just Rolled By Me etc etc"

THE POST below, which touches on the mushrooms of the Melbourne press and their apparent acceptance of the official view that citizens do not need to be informed of threats to their safety, brought back memories of the days when news organisations actually covered the city in which they make their money (one of them, anyway). Sunday morning after Mass, the roast in the oven and 3UZ's Newsbeat bringing atmospheric reports to the kitchen from the scene of the night before's car accidents, fires, and, in the early Sixties, the latest Italians associated with vegetable wholesaling to be knifed or shot.

Well memory deceives. It seems at least some of those gripping accounts were about as credible as a David Hirst column on America's gun culture. Still, even if radio reporters were making it up, at least they covered something. Not like today.  

6 comments:

  1. Professor, the live actuality of Newsbeat on 3UZ on a Sundat morning is as fresh as yesterday. "That was the sound if a man dying," says reporter Peter Ford after holding a microphone in the face of a gurgling road accident victim. It was live, immediate and uncensored except for swear words, of which there were plenty, as Newsbeat covered many brawls. Because the Fairfax half of the newspaper industry has decided to stop reporting news and replace it with party-line propaganda, the radio news, which used to rely on the papers for content to rewrite, is now like a lightweight gossip segment, including official media releases fromn the police's propaganda unit. "News" has become Orwellian doublespeak for "what you are allowed to know today". Never thought I'd see the day one of the pillars of democracy - a robust press - was castrated without a whimper of protest by either the public or journalists. In fact, the public protest is simply to stop buying Fairfax newspapers. As a result, the company is bleeding to death.

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    1. Newsbeat included a short segment - what we'd call today an op-ed - on doings in the Melbourne underworld, presented by a guy with a Walter Winchell-esque staccato delivery whose name escapes me. He'd use phrases like "these criminals are so dumb that they probably think the Dandenong Ranges are a troop of mounted police", or "they're so work-shy that they thing manual lobour is a Spanish nobleman". That was pretty funny stuff c.1960. Can anyone remember his name?

      Consuela Potez

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    2. No, it wasn't Consuela Potez, more Irish than that...

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  2. What really gets codger news hounds ready to bounce bonces is the tepid acceptance by police reporters of old information. The jacks keep something to themselves until they run out of leads then release it to slavish press gullibles, sometimes months after the event. And editors, like the unlamented Pristel, allow its publication under their mastheads. There was a time when police reporters came close to praying that their bosses had not got wind of a yarn they'd missed just before the previous deadline. Nowadays, such concerns would merely attract the seemngly universal "whatever''.

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    1. A Herald Sun insider wrote yesterday with the rumour that Pristel is bound for Channel Seven. The correspondent suggested shorting the stock, if true.

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  3. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 26, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Severed heads and the jawbone of of a big herbivore? Biblical imagery abounds in posts today, Prof. Gotta love the Bible, it never missed a good story, really knew how to report a gory massacre with animal weaponry or a belly-dancing evening that turned into a murderous incident spiced up with a truly shocking kiss of death. Certainly kept the punters happy.

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