If you watched this story on Monday night’s Media Watch about Channel Seven’s “expose” on security at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, you might have concluded that reporter Mr Duffy has some real questions to answer:
So what strikes me as particularly interesting about the unusual and extraordinary step that he and Channel 7 are taking in response, that of actually suing Media Watch for defamation, is the noticeably limited portion of the allegations that they’re apparently disputing:
But Seven has hit back, defending Duffy’s story, saying he was in possession of a full remote detonation kit for 24 hours and that he did walk into a secure area with a case containing detonation components.
I suggest rewatching the ABC video and noting all the allegations that Seven’s defence notably ignores. Assuming that The Australian‘s report is complete, that seems to me to be fairly obvious admission by omission – and hardly leaves them looking like a competent, reliable news organisation. Frankly, it makes them look like tricky, disingenuous charlatans.
Meanwhile, check out the glass jaws:
Seven took the unusual step yesterday of sending a legal letter to other media outlets warning them not to repeat Media Watch’s allegations — although that did not stop the Nine Network from following up the story last night on A Current Affair.
It’s a funny old area, defamation – you need to strike while the iron’s hot, but that’s also a less than ideal time to be making good, sensible decisions on the overall advisability of legal action. Particularly in public. I suspect, in time, Seven might come to regret adding fuel to this fire. Even a minor victory, even if they managed one (and that’s a big “if”), would probably not compensate for the increased damage they would be doing to themselves and their reputations by running it. Particularly given the elements which they’re apparently not contesting, which they’ll be taken as effectively conceding, and which will be repeatedly raised until the matter is finalised – and beyond – and have greater light shone on them as a direct result of this action proceeding.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad that more attention will be paid to the dodginess of their reporting, and potentially the real damage it’s caused. But I don’t think they should be.
UPDATE: Crikey has a copy of the lawyers’ letter.