Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oh gods. Keep an eye out for the Four Horsemen

... I just found myself agreeing with Andrew Bolt.

He was just interviewed on Triple J and Michael Atken, the interviewer, was indulging in the worst kind of blinkered harassing push-interviewing. Bolta made some comment about how there's been a dramatic reduction in troop numbers since the surge strategy and this is a good sign - so far I'm with him - but then spun that to a claim of victory and stated that the violence that's happening now is no threat to the stability of democracy in Iraq. Well, Andrew, I'm sure the innocent civilians dying will be glad to know it's the good kind of violence that's occurring right now.

My problem with Atken is he kept trying to hammer the point that Bolta was an insensitive, logic-impervious, America-cheerleading war-hawk jackass. Given that Andrew Bolt *IS* an insensitive logic-impervious America-cheerleading war-hawk jackass, that should be a doddle. Except if you pick completely irrelevant statistics, try to thwap down strawmen and completely ignore any re-directions or clarifications that your interviewee comes out with, putting words in their mouth instead. And Atken kept doing it even after Bolta called him on it.

I've been a big fan of the Hack show for a long time, but this kind of thing is happening more often and it's more worthy of the so-called current affairs shows on commercial TV than of the excellent journalistic team that Triple J has (Ronan Sharkey, Ali Benton, Kate O'Toole et al are fantastic). Joe Hockey's interview with Kate O'Toole was a great example of what the team can do when they don't try to make a nutter look bad, but just give him enough rope to hang himself.

Lift your game, Triple J. Journalism is about investigation. If you can't out-argue Andrew freakin' Bolt, you shouldn't have aired the interview. And if necessary take some crib notes from Anonymous Jeremy.


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