Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Ho hum, Chris Masters

Lately, “4 Corners” has been rather losing the plot.

Last week’s expose on Gitmo Bay resident, and Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib took at 180-degree turn at about the three-quarter mark.   After quite convincingly – I thought – establishing that Habib had been 100% his own architect of the events which see him currently held at Gitmo Bay, the sympathy card was pulled out of nowhere, and apropos of nothing.  So some of Habib’s fellow touristic jihadis – from Germany – got off scot-free when they got back there?  I doubt that it’s that simple – and if Germany is indeed a soft-touch for middle-management Islamic terrorists, as the ABC implies, then they should really be following that up.

More troublingly, the “expose” on Habib failed as a matter of basic journalism.  The café-owner, with a wife and four kids in Sydney, went off to Pakistan – twice – for months at a time, with no visible means of support.  Even better, Habib’s lengthy missions there were said to be to find a suitably strict Islamic school for his boys to attend.  Err, Mrs Habib and Mamdouh’s taxi-driver friend:  to find a school in Pakistan that teaches the pure Koran and nothing but (apart from a bit of weapons training, wink, wink) is as hard as looking for the nearest street corner – Saudi-financed fundamentalist madrassahs are everywhere.

Similarly devoid of cohesive editorial steering was last-night’s wishy-washy piece on police corruption:

CHRIS MASTERS: As experienced cops often say, "You don't see the line until you've crossed it." A first step might be something as innocuous as a half-price hamburger or a share of an insurance payout.
Now, I’m no big fan of cops getting freebies at fast-food multinationals – but my aversion here stems mainly from (i) innate dislike for these multinationals’ labour practices, and (ii) dislike for life imitating art, a la the fat, porcine cop from “The Simpsons”.  In any case, for Chris Masters to compare receiving fast-food freebies/discounts as morally equivalent to the “innocuous” matter of committing insurance fraud is just ludicrous – and sad, given his sterling corruption-busting work in the 80s.  

Then there’s this curious interview excerpt and voiceover:

DEBORAH LOCKE, FORMER DETECTIVE SENIOR CONSTABLE, NSW POLICE: I mean, I'm reminded every day of the Wood Royal Commission when I look at my boy. And, you know, he's eight next week and he's just got out of nappies, you know?

CHRIS MASTERS: Another whistleblower, Deborah Locke, went into labour while giving evidence.
That ex-cop Deborah Locke went into labour while giving evidence against her colleagues is deeply unfortunate, particularly if it led to medical complications.  But as for the stress of being Crown witness, long ago, causing her son to not be toilet trained until almost the age of eight, pull-eaze

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