Just after the Shuttle launch the ‘News Hour with Jim Lehrer’ had a segment discussing the pros and cons of the Shuttle program. In the w/e Australian following that programme, Robert Lusetich wrote an article which was basically an unattributed cut, shuffle, and paste of that programme. The only real difference was that whereas the NHJL was a balanced discussion, RL rewrote it as a sneering attack on the worth of the Shuttle.
A couple of things:
1. What’s the point of a Los Angeles correspondent whose research could eqaully well have been done from a sofa in Brisbane?
2. Is this the sort of thing that MW should have a problem with?
Indeed he is correct. Mr Lusetich's article is here. Compare to News Hour's transcript and NBC here.
For those who don't wish to link off here is a comparison:
"Short of another accident, this is about the worst thing that could have happened on this launch, for the reason that this was exactly the problem that caused the last accident and that NASA has been studying and working on for 2 1/2 years," he said.
"They've told us the shuttle was safe to fly, and it's not. What are they going to tell us next time? If they try to fix this and come back and tell us that now it's really safe to fly, do they have any credibility left?"
ALEX ROLAND: I think it's about as serious as it can get; short of another accident, this is about the worst thing that could have happened on this launch for the reason that this was exactly the problem, the shedding of this insulation that caused the last accident and that NASA has been studying and working on for two and a half years. And it's hard to imagine the circumstance after two and a half years and more than a billion dollars of expense.
They've told us the shuttle was safe to fly, and it's not. What are they going to tell us next time? If they try to fix this and come back and tell us that now it's really safe to fly, do they have any credibility left?
But NASA is standing firm, at least for now. No one was folding their tent, said flight operations manager John Shannon.
Former NASA administrator Sean OKeefe also defended the shuttle, calling it "the best truck going".
“No one is folding their tent,” says NASA Flight Operations Manager John Shannon, adding, “No one is down in the mouth.”
Still, former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, now an NBC analyst, argues the shuttle flights must continue to build and supply the international space station.
“The shuttle is the best truck going,” he says. “It's the best capacity to actually haul the cargo and get it there.”
And to his questions the answers are:
1. Yes. New York Times Jayson Blair was sacked when his similar brand of armchair journalism became public.
2. Yes. I look forward to seeing this on Media Watch next week (haaa, haaaa, haaaa, haaa)
The District Attorney in me feels compelled to note that there may be a slim defence option for The Australian and that is the possibility that the transcript of NHJL may be available subsequent to broadcast for republication by other subscriber news outlets.
However I would advise my client in these circumstances to make a full and clear declaration of attribution of the original source or sources, such as 'by Robert Lusetich, Los Angeles correspondent and wire services'.
As a longtime enthusiastic follower of the space program I am saddened to have to also add that on one thing Mr Lusetich is absolutely correct - the shuttle has had its day.