typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

4 Corners – The Tassie Pulp Mill Process Exposed.

with 2 comments

Tonight, 4 Corners ran Liz Jackson’s investigative floodlight, Grist To The Mill, looking at the Gunns pulp mill approval process in Tasmania. With so much material to have to choose from, the piece that made it to air focussed on getting up close and personal with the main players, viewpoints, and recent histories on the ground in Tassie.

It would have been a bastard of a job – all things, lies, dramas, and shady players considered. Ultimately, tens of thousands of tv sets tonight beamed a significant tale to a broader audience. They weren’t exposed to the detail of ongoing court battles, they weren’t forced to question their opinion of Malcolm Turnbull’s ecological sincerity, and they weren’t asked to consider where Peter Garrett has been in all this. The story was kept simple, but not stupid – and there is a big difference.

My belief is that by now, all ABC journos are made acutely aware that they are suspected of bias in everything that they do. While not overcompensating by becoming Keith Windshitholes, there is a strict approach to objectivity which is simultaneously frustrating and refreshing. Refreshing, simply because the viewer is assumed to have an IQ greater than commercial news anchors. Frustrating, because it would be nice if reliable, skilled investigative journalists could point at an elephant on national television and avoid any risk of persecution in loudly proclaiming it to be an elephant.

I think that Stephen Colbert summed it up pretty well when basting Dubya: “Pay no attention to the polls, Sir. They are just a statistical representation of what people are thinking in ‘reality’, and ‘reality’ has a well-known liberal bias.”

Hopefully people won’t need to beaten about the face and neck with the detail of Tassie’s pulp mill any longer to object loudly to the obviously corrupt process which has got it this close to approval. Almost all environmental and social victories radiate from grassroots resistance or inspiration. But they depend on broader support that can only come from actual understanding. From ABC’s broadcast and Liz Jackson’s obviously thorough work, it’s quite possible that many more media-literate Australians now have that necessary understanding.


Written by typingisnotactivism

July 31, 2007 at 12:47 am

2 Responses

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  1. Actually, the more I think about this program and discuss it with people close to the process – the more unsatisfying it feels. But, I still think that it showed that even under heavy questioning, the case by opponents stands up, whereas under light questioning the case by the proponents falls down… Would like to know how other people went with it.


    July 31, 2007 at 12:21 pm

  2. Overall it was factual, credible and in giving a balanced unbiased story infact highlighted that the whole process has a smell about it. For those who don’t keep a fast on eye on the whole process or aren’t victims, it would have been an eye opener, and obviously Mr Wright gave it at lot of credibility. Lennons dry mouthed splutter will not go unnoticed either. Judges or even ex judges obviously make him nervous, wonder why!! A full, no holes barred story, going right back to the begining would have been a 6 hour epic. There are a lot of twists and turns and the chipping away (in more than just the forests)that has been going on for years now by this bunch isn’t easily or quickly told in a factual. balanced sense, especialy without incurring the wrath of he who hands writs out like they were donation attempts to buy back his soul. But overall was left feeling a little disappointed, it won’t start an inquiry, that silver bullet just didn’t appear. Mr Hammond was great, a bit of hard hitting passionate gusto, but not mean spirited like some pro millers are. Would have liked to have seen a bit more on the “feedlot” forests and how that will affect the environment and peoples lives too. Unsure why the links to the big Mac Question Mark where left out. But where would you stop, there is so much that has gone on. A movie would be good! But suppose will have to wait until they all die off from chronic foot in mouth disease before that will happen.

    Charles & Claire

    July 31, 2007 at 3:48 pm

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