Sunday, May 07, 2006

Richard Carleton: A Man And His Ego

Veteran television journalist Richard Carleton died today as he lived - asking rude, obnoxious and inappropriate questions.

Carleton spent his entire career following two different types of story - one which put him as the star of the piece; the other, a grubby manipulative foot-in-the-door style of report which cared more about sensation than truth.
As one might guess, Nicky and I were not fans of the recently departed, but since my mother taught me that one ought not speak ill of the dead, I shall let others say it for me.

Let's take a look at Carleton's greatest hits:

"The Nine Network’s $500,000-a-year chief media whore (Richard Carleton) lied about the purpose of the interview in order to ambush his victim. Archbishop Pell had no knowledge of David Ridsdale’s accusations and no idea that their examination would be the central object of the interview."

"Chutzpah is an apt term in reference to 60 Minutes reporter Richard Carleton. In the absence of a precise translation of that venerable Yiddish word, a cross between "nerve" and "gall" will have to suffice. That this applies to Mr Carleton will not be news to anyone who follows his reports. His trademark – a braggart, confrontational style of reportage and interviewing – has variously angered and perturbed others. For instance, following a much-criticised trip to East Timor in 1999, both Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, and his opposite number, Laurie Brereton, criticised Mr Carleton for stirring up tensions that they said could lead to attacks against Australians."

"Even the police apparently cowed. Houses in Liquica, where 60 Minutes reporter Richard Carleton provoked militias this week, were burning. A church has been attacked in Becora. The list of trouble spots seems endless."
There are more stories which reveal Carleton's perfidy - these are but a few.

Like many bully boys, he could dish it out but he couldn't take it.

He sues Media Watch when they reveal that he plagiarised whole sections of a 60 Minutes report from a BBC documentary.

But in his defence:

"Not misleading in any meaningful way, sir," said Carleton. "I would be enhancing the viewers' understanding of what happened in Srebrenica by showing ... that footage ... that is in the technical meaning of the word ... misleading."

Tobin suggested the scene also fitted the "technical meaning, perhaps, of the word lie".

Carleton denied it. But after Tobin raised with him a hypothetical situation in which a TV show sought to portray the survivors of a sinking boat "as if it were people throwing their children overboard", Carleton conceded that "in so far as that misleading is taken to mean lying, yes, I lied".
Maybe this from Carleton's own biography on the 60 Minutes web site is the most telling of all:

Richard Carleton is a reporter not so much interested in winning friends but influencing people.
The words say volumes.

It is perhaps appropriate to let a dignitary have the final word as we lay the memory of one man's shoddy journalism to rest.

From former Prime Minister Paul Keating on Richard Carleton joining Channel 9 in 1987:

"You (Richard Carleton) had an important place in Australian society on the ABC and you gave it up to be a pop star...with a big cheque...and now you're on to this sort of stuff. That shows what a 24 carat pissant you are, Richard, that's for sure."

-- Nora

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