Was that reasonable?

I’ve been a journalist since I was 17 and it means I’m wary of the media. I understand their hunger for scoops, clicks, ratings, headlines.

Kathleen Folbigg speaking publicly for the first time – from prison – was a big score for Australian Story last night.

The story was prompted by frustration over how long it is taking the Governor to consider a Petiton by a group of lawyers to review the case. It’s been almost three years now. That’s far too long.

I was involved behind the scenes and it made me nervous – I’ve been burnt by fellow journalists who say one thing to your face then another to the microphone after you’ve left the studio.

However, I thought the ABC could be relied upon … a little more than most … to be balanced in its reporting.

Journalists at reputable news outlets are taught to sit on the fence. You don’t put your opinion in the story – unless it’s an opinion piece – you are simply there to present both sides to your readers/viewers.

In this dog-eat-dog media age, where clicks are so important, sometimes that gets forgotten. The ABC is supposed to be different, it’s not meant to care about the commercial stuff.

I’m a bit deeper into the Kathleen Folbigg case than most, but I don’t think the Australian Story episode sat on the fence.

I thought it had been vigorously edited – down from two episodes to one – in a way that gave more air time to the against. And the against was presented with far greater vehemence.

I would have liked to see both sides given an equal amount of time and compelling vignettes.

I couldn’t understand why, for example, someone who was the director of the DPP at the time of Kathleen’s convection was given so much air time to protect the decisions his department made.

What the ABC screened left me thinking what was the point of that?  

I felt underwhelmed and blank when the final credits rolled, like I’d wasted 30 minutes of my night.

The barristers, pathologists and experts involved in the Petition want reasonable doubt to be carefully considered – are we SURE a guilty woman is behind bars?

For some reason the ABC chose not to do that. I don’t know why. Even if its editors were simply chasing ratings, wouldn’t it be better to leave your audience questioning than closing them off?

I can’t even begin to imagine how those closer to it, who had given so much to it, must be feeling.

As for Kathy, sitting alone in her prison cell …

There’s no song of the day. My heart isn’t singing this morning.

Here’s a link to Australian Story

And here’s a link to the kind of story I’d have liked to see, from Joanna McCarthy at The Newcastle Herald: Free Folbigg now, hold enquiry later says barrister.

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4 thoughts on “Was that reasonable?

  1. Feeling cheated, actually. I know alot of what i said would have been great to get out to the general public, Kath as a parent, my anecdotes that prove the crap Lea Bown has sprouted all these as the crap it is about her ‘partying & gymming’… & where thr HELL was the clips of her friend Karren, the 1 who was minding Laura when she stopped breathing? That she wasnt shown is disgusting. ABC, that whole show was a waste of the months her friends have invested in this!! Pathetic effort

    • Totally agree that it would have been more interesting to see the other side of Kathy instead of all the rehashing. And that’s appalling about the missing Karren stuff.

  2. I can imagine how you feel angry but I don’t think it was as bad as that – this is from someone not close to the events at all but a strong believer in her innocence. I watched it with my husband who had previously been very uncomfortable about the diary entries. I thought the second half of the show was stronger and gave more airtime to Emma Cunliffe, the scientist and put the diary entries in context. I think reasonable people watching would think that the show established that there was reasonable doubt.

    I agree there was far too much airtime given to Cowdery but I got the impression he had the guilts about the whole thing and had gone back over everything to assure himself he did the right thing. It wasn’t relevant. He could say that a jury at the time could reasonably come to the conclusion they did given the evidence but he can’t predict what a jury would do if they heard it today. That bit should have been edited out.

    At least he said that the review should be done – hopefully that will spur the AG into action.

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