Australian hostage in Iraq Douglas Wood has gone from hero to zero on his return from captivity.
In a distasteful display of partisanship, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the left-wing mainstream media have condemned his selling his story (to the media!), saying he should use the money he makes to repay the Australian taxpayer for costs incurred in trying to secure his release.
Conservative Prime Minister John Howard told Channel 7 he didn't think Australian taxpayers would want him to repay the costs. Channel 7 responded with a phone-in poll that suggested 75% did.
While Seven's attitude may be partly influenced by the fact that they lost out on the bidding war for Wood's story to rival Network 10, a large part of the MSM's hubris and the sole reason for the ALP's has to be Wood's apology to PM Howard and US President Bush for saying nasty things about them under duress and his resounding endorsement of US-Australian Government policy in Iraq.
Nora may differ with me on a further observation, but one must state that the results of the Channel 7 poll also appear to reflect a growing meanness on the part of the Australian public, a meanness I attribute entirely to years of being under assault from mean spirited political correctness which appears to be rubbing off on them. Aussies, as they like to be known, used to enjoy cocking a snoot at the establishment. Now they are in danger of becoming it.
On the contrary, I concur entirely with my dear Nicky and would like to add a further thought with regard to Mr Wood.
Why shouldn't the poor man protect himself from exploitation (by the media) by hiring an agent to manage his new commodity (fame)?
After all, it is the media proprietors who will reap more in financial terms than Mr Wood. His alleged 'six figure sum' pales in significance to increase in circulation and ratings enjoyed by the media outlets who carry this man's remarkable story.
Those circulation and ratings figures, of course, dictate the advertising rates. Considering that advertising was a $9.1 billion industry in 2004 it seems somewhat churlish to begrudge the man a modest windfall when you consider what a mere 5% increase in ratings and circulation and its resulting flow on will net Mssrs Moguls in TV and Printland.
Oh, before I go. Must say I do quite like the G'itmo T-shirts I saw on sale at that nice Mr Rush Limbaugh's web site.
Although not fond of orange as a rule (it makes me look rather sallow), it's nice to see one can still have a sense of humour in difficult times.