The Walkleys – more have their say

December 5, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Members of Australia’s Jewish community have slammed the Walkleys for awarding the highest journalistic honour in Australia to  Ruth Pollard, John Lyons and an ABC-Four Corners team.

Fairfax Media’s Pollard and The Australian’s John Lyons who worked in conjunction with the ABC received their rewards for their reportage on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dr Colin Rubenstein

Dr Colin Rubenstein

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council’s executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said: “The decision to bestow what was once considered this nation’s highest journalistic honour on skewed pieces of work by John Lyons and Ruth Pollard  that are replete with distortions and contain blatant factual errors and glaring omissions  – as AIJAC  demonstrated in detailed blog posts earlier this year on Lyons’ work on Feb 13 and Feb. 24 – only serves to further  discredit and devalue the Walkley Awards.

The fact the judges could have considered these flawed contributions the best of the best – where sensationalism, dramatic half-truths and compassionate posturing appear to trump reliable  professionalism and a primary devotion to truth and factual accuracy makes one worry for the state of journalism in this country.”

Federal Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby criticised the Walkley Foundation for its decision. “The Walkleys exist to reward excellence in journalism”, he said. “This article was an example of poor journalism, and should not have been acknowledged.”

His statement:

Background

While the human tragedy of warfare is a worthy subject of news journalism, Pollard’s account failed to note the widely known fact that al-Shifa Hospital acted as Hamas’s de fact headquarters during this and previous rounds of conflict. This is a war crime. The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/while-israel-held-its-fire-the-militant-group-hamas-did-not/2014/07/15/116fd3d7-3c0f-4413-94a9-2ab16af1445d_story.html), among others, reported this.

Michael Danby

Michael Danby

Nor did Ms Pollard report that journalists frequented al-Shifa Hospital, as doing so provided easy access to Hamas officials. If she had done so, the Walkley judges might not have erroneously commend the “courage Pollard demonstrated in securing access to this war zone morgue”.

By failing to report—in this story or others—these salient facts, Ms Pollard revealed herself highly biased. Indeed, the winning article’s headline, “If this happened in Europe, the world would not be silent”, is further evidence of this bias. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the most reported conflict on the planet. The world—represented by the UN, politicians and social media—is far from silent on it, with a constant flood of condemnations of Israel and, like Ms Pollard, wilful ignorance of Palestinian war crimes. Indeed, the world is silent about many other conflicts, not least on the atrocities carried out in South Sudan. A better headline would have been, ‘If Israel wasn’t involved, the world would be silent’.

The Washington Post also posed 40 questions (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/07/31/forty-questions-for-the-international-media-in-gaza/) for journalists covering the Hamas–Israel fighting. Among these was, ‘Did you see any Hamas terror personnel inside Al-Shifa hospital?’ And ‘Have you interviewed a Hamas spokesperson inside Al-Shifa?’ Ms Pollard should have included the answers to these questions in her reporting without having to be asked by the Washington Post.

Comments

9 Responses to “The Walkleys – more have their say”
  1. Samuel Terry says:

    There were 710 foreign journalists accredited to report from Gaza. There were no Israeli journalists, unless they were embedded in the IDF attacks. It is most unlikely that there are any fair reports in Israel about events in Gaza for this reason. It is most unlikely that you will publish this comment.

    • Rami Reed says:

      Where do you get that info from? As far as I know, reading the reports in the Israeli press, it appears to me that there were indeed Israeli journalists in Gaza with or close to the troops.

      • Samuel Terry says:

        Where exactly the “710” came from, I cannot recall now, but I was sure at the time I read it, that the source was creditable. However, as far as I know, Israelis are not allowed by law to enter Gaza. The only Israeli journalists there had to be embedded in the IDF. It therefore follows, that their reporting printed in the Israeli press, had an IDF bias, or was directly from IDF press releases.

  2. Rami Reed says:

    I am not surprised. As soon as I heard that it was under consideration, I knew they would get the award. As long as it is anti Israel the judges knew they were on a winner. Anti Israelism is in their DNA and they don’t care a hoot about the automatic bias and the numerous errors

    • Samuel Terry says:

      Examples of the automatic bias or the numerous errors, please?

      • Otto Waldmann says:

        Sam Terry, here’s some options for you and your “investigative credibility”; you are:
        a) irreversibly daft not to have detected that one of the main reasons for the entire Hamas lead offensive against Israel was not to defeat an enemy some one million times stronger, but to amass a public relation arsenal which was to be effectively used in the political real offensive in all international fora against Israel. To this end, media was the strongest weapon and, as such, it had to be utilised in the best strategic manner. If you’d ever acquire the intellectual means of observing phenomena in an objective, rational way, you will, then refrain from asking stupid questions such as the one above. The entire reporting from Gaza was criminally bias not only because it accused falsely Israel of intentional “war crimes”, but because it gave condemnation of Israel succor, that strategic support by INTENTIONAL exposure and sacrifice of local Gaza residents they and you would call “palestinians”, in order to crucify Israel.
        All reports from Gaza relied on daily increased numbers of “victims” in the most horrendous circumstances , all paraded with gusto in order to amass extended hatred of Israel, all with the intention of mobilising greater anti Zionist fervour, keeping, at the same time “palestine” at the forefront of the greater islamic world offensive, coercing otherwise decent democracies ( such as Sweden ) to join in the assault on the Jewish State.
        These barbaric animals rely on useful idiots to intercede, among other stuff, with Jewish dedicated sites and incite to this kind of discussions. Little do they/you know that we can sense your stench from the first premeditated vile syllable of base, primitive, moronic intent. YOU, mate, possess nothing that could impress us, we’ve seen and dealt with your kind for ages and know what insalubrious hole you hail from.
        b) kindly requested to bugger off !!!!

        • Rami Reed says:

          Ditto…

        • Samuel Terry says:

          A simple question of ten words certainly provokes a response if no answers. Has anyone read or watched the two items that were rewarded, before putting pen to paper (or keyboard)?

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          I must balance a phrase above with a sequential argument.

          Hamas used its best arsenal, the residents of Gaza, as the most effective ammunition against Israel, both as active fighters, but, more so as the victims of Israel, an Israel “revealed” as a murderous, vile entity, worth only the condemnation of the entire civilised world, a world thus aligned with the most pernicious, most horrendously criminal contemporary ideology. From Tehran to Sudan, crossing Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Arabic Peninsula, spread all over the islamic slices of Africa and, then back to Asian portions of backward muslim nations, Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, in these beacons of culture and liberal ethics,Israel’s name is chanted in vicious cries of death wish. To these kennels of misery, real bastions of decency, Sweden, England, France add their support, to a great degree due to the success of the narrative of the Gaza “human tragedy” at the hands of the Zionist aggressor !!!!
          Then, we have some little insignificant couch ignorant offering comment and doct advice from the disturbed workings of a mind dominated by his own self-satisfied residues of antisemitic venom.

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