Genevieve Jacobs makes ‘Media Watch’ after the Pilger explosion

IN a recent Canberra Confidential item, “CityNews” raised the matter of the local ABC radio’s astonishing bust-up between the queen of morning radio Genevieve Jacobs and one of Australia’s best known exports, John Pilger.

genevieve jacobs

ABC mornings radio host Genevieve Jacobs.

This week’s “Media Watch” program  has seen fit to rehash the explosive interview, along with the much anticipated transcripts and audio.

The heat of the moment in live radio is a devilishly hard thing to manage and most would agree Pilger was at best churlish, something of a stock in trade for him.

Your correspondent however remembers with considerable regret losing his rag when peppered by hostile tweets on Jacobs’ (then afternoon) show.

For most media professionals getting hauled over the “Media Watch” coals is a red badge of courage. We all make mistakes and the show rarely goes after small fry.

It’s hard to see a ticking off from Paul Barry being cause for more than a moment’s pause for the steel magnolia of Canberra’s morning radio.

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4 Responses to “Genevieve Jacobs makes ‘Media Watch’ after the Pilger explosion”

  1. Russ
    April 9, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    The moral of the story is not that “we all make mistakes”, but that ABC radio and the vast majority of media constantly serve up uninformed dross rather than using their substantial resources in a way that does justice to the issues. As an example from Tasmania, about a month after the head of the EPA went against the agency’s policy and licensed new mines in the Tarkine wilderness (the EPA’s obligations on their website were deleted to cover it up), he had a very pleasant interview on ABC radio and the issue was not even raised. I spoke to the ABC producer who claimed not to have heard of the controversy, despite it making the pages of that obscure rag The Australian just weeks earlier. This story is similar to the Pilger story in that in both cases our ABC chose the lazy option of not doing even the most basic research, and instead gave credibility to the status quo… that the senior public servant is a good chap, and Pilger is a propagandist that reasonable people should dismiss. Unfortunately most ABC presenters seem committed to mediocrity.

    • John Griffiths
      John Griffiths
      April 9, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      Fair enough Russ, but Pilger would be pretty disappointed if everyone declined to discuss his movie until after they had seen it.

      (He would find himself a long time waiting in most cases)

      • Russ
        April 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

        Hi John, thanks for publishing my comment. Your observation that few people will have actually seen Pilger’s film is true, in part because serious documentary has been all but abandoned by the Australian screen industry.

        I still think it is a professional obligation that journalists, presenters and producers be informed about the stories they cover. For an example of how well informed and engaging media presenters can be, check out Democracy Now! (online), which I am sure runs on a fraction of the budget of one local ABC radio station.


        • John Griffiths
          John Griffiths
          April 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

          It’s always good to have had more time to do research Russ, but calling up the film maker and asking them to explain their work is not a bad way to learn about it surely?

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