Dissecting A Media Beat Up – The MP and the Channel 7 reporter, and the Ch 7 reporter admits making it up

Channel 7 ran a story that a senior Labor MP told PM Gillard to her face that she no longer had her support.

That is channel 7 news with 2 million viewers, those viewers who will now go away from that story believing that… But what if it wasn’t true. How would you know? Would you even be told they got it wrong? Or even made the whole thing up completely?

Latika Bourke, of ABC, (who gets credit for once, for going to the source, the subject of the story, and not merely parroting Tony Abbotts interpretation) asked Joel Fitzgibbon, Chief Government Whip, if the story from Sarah Wiley, channel 7 reporter, was true

Latika Bourke: Hey @fitzhunter, can you confirm the 7 report you told PM Julia Gillard personally that you no longer support her?

Joel Fitzgibbon: @latikambourke not true!

But that is not good enough for some intent on destabilising a successful government, or a bit-part reporter trying to make a name for herself.

Sarah Wiley: 7 confirmed Joel Fitzgibbon told PM face 2 face she’d ‘lost his loyalty’ and he’d no longer mobilise numbers for her ( @latikambourke )

Latika Bourke: @SarahWiley8 but Joel Fitzgibbon himself says that’s not true. Hmmm.

Sarah Wiley: @latikambourke but which part is he saying isn’t true ?

Latika Bourke: @SarahWiley8 all of it.

Sarah Wiley: @latikambourke just repeating what he told us

At this point, another channel 7 reporter jumped in

Alex Hart: @latikambourke @sarahwiley8 game of semantics… 7 confirmed fitz told pm no longer has loyalty

The source is denying it, yet the channel 7 reporters keep insisting it is true. As Sarah said HE told US, not, we were told

Latika Bourke: ‘Not true’ ain’t exactly ‘semantics.’ RT @alexhart7: @latikambourke @sarahwiley8 game of semantics… 7 confirmed fitz told pm…

Both Sarah and Alex defend the story

Sarah Wiley: @latikambourke perhaps he’s back tracking ?

Alex Hart: @latikambourke I think that may relate to the use of the word “support”

CFMEWHO?: #politicalreporterdispute @latikambourke v @SarahWiley8

Sarah Wiley: @CFMEWHO @latikambourke it’s not a dispute. Just letting you know what we were told

Latika Bourke: @SarahWiley8 @CFMEWHO I’m with you on this Sar.

Because clearly, what would Joel Fitzgibbon know? Choosing sides, and Latika takes the word of the reporter over the MP, with no fear of missing out on future exclusives, because all reporters stick together.
[editted to add: Correction: I’m with you means Ms Bourke agrees that it was not a dispute, not that she was siding with Sarah Wiley against Fitzgibbon, apologies]

But Joel Fitzgibbon, the supposed source, is having none of this ‘maybe’, ‘perhaps’, he denied it once, he denies it again

Joel Fitzgibbon: @SarahWiley8 @latikambourke no “back tracking”, simply and absolutely untrue!

And then suddenly the truth comes out, and it the channel 7 reporter who is doing some backtracking…

Sarah Wiley: sorry quote not from @fitzhunter but from a reliable source. ( @latikambourke )

Yet the source who turns out wasn’t the source, and the reporter admitting the source wasn’t, Latika persists with trying to wring a story out of a non-story

Latika Bourke: okay @fitzhunter, which story is right here? Can you clear this up. RT @SarahWiley8: @latikambourke just repeating what he told us.

Joel Fitzgibbon: @latikambourke @sarahwiley8 for the last time, completely untrue and it appears 7 has now conceded so!

Latika Bourke: @fitzhunter Thanks Joel.

Sarah Wiley: I stand by that original quote I tweeted

So the story that the Prime Minister had lost support, turns out, was completely made up by the channel 7 crew. First Sarah says, ‘he told us’, then later on she corrects herself, it is what a source told them, who remains unnamed

Perhaps their source is a member of the Liberal party PR team, we don’t know, but we are expected to believe the story, because THE TV SAID SO!!. Really dodgy to go to air with those kind of untruths.

If that doesn’t make you wonder how much other news, from confirmed sources, is not exactly as true as reported to be… then it should.

23 Responses to “Dissecting A Media Beat Up – The MP and the Channel 7 reporter, and the Ch 7 reporter admits making it up”

  1. Well I can understand poor Sarah Wiley not knowing who she was talking to. I believe that along with other male Labor MPs, Joel Fitzgibbon is in fact faceless. Obviously poor Sarah was so confused by this facelessness that she just had to pluck a name out of the air for her fairy tale.

  2. typical ,the media do not deserve the moniker…they are nothing but a bunch of old dears back bitching and telling complete untruths……doesnt matter who said wat its all made up.you know the old saying NEVER LET THE TRUTH GET IN THE WAY OF A GOOD LIE ……OOPS STORY

    • who can know… Wiley says “sorry” and changes her story, unless she really didnt know who they (ch7) talked to or suddenly remembered he was off the record, makes everything Wiley says more questionable
      -99 for Turn Left

  3. The reporter should be dismissed from the job. channek seven has lost its credibility and must take necessary steps to correct this kind of jounalism. It spelts and smells of absolute dishonesty.

  4. “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” – Groucho Marx

  5. Fitz could quite easily still be “the reliable source” — if he told the journalist it was “off the record” or “not for attribution”! If so, then the journo’s error was in naming Fitz as the actual source rather than saying it was from “a reliable source” in the first place. Politicians of every stripe play this game with journos all the time. When a source says it’s “off the record” that means they can and do reserve the right to flatly deny it as “absolutely untrue” if they are ever names as the source.

  6. What a sorry state of affairs when we can not believe the media to tell the trueth. This is corruption and should be dealt with as such. The Media and Polititions should be made accountable for what they say to the world. This is just a Lynch mob onto our Prime Minister and it must be stopped now. Its time our Government held the Media and the Oppersition Leader accountable and take court action against them.

  7. Disgraceful media, AGAIN. This is out of control.

    • this story is unrelated to anything that happened this weekend (26-27 may), this was 3 weeks ago (wow, they recycle their stories fast) but shows that we shouldn’t automatically jump to the conclusion that there is any truth to the rumours… agree disgraceful
      -99 for Turn Left

  8. See today’s events on TWitter, similar players.

  9. Thank you for setting out the chronology of this particular misadventure against the current ALP Government. I might be old fashioned, but I can remember a time when journalist would not run their stories without at least two confirmed sources saying the same thing! This does not appear to have happened in this instance.
    A question that arises in my mind is what standards do Gen X and Y journalist hold dear! I think the answer is obvious. Many of these baby journos would be thinking that with a change of Government new employment opportunities as Media Advisers, staffers and perhaps even a cherished Media guru to a Minister will arise and they want to be in a good position to snaffle any jobs going.
    Even though Ms Bourke has corrected the impression that she sided with Ms Wiley, it does point out how quickly the new social media can be used to embed a story with a dubious beginning.

    • First Wiley said that Fitzgibbon himself told Ch7, then she later “remembered” it wasnt him, but someone else, surely these people know who theyre are talking to, really, they get confused? and if Ms Bourke never asked Mr Fitzgibbon, Im going to assume this whole fiasco would have gone by unnoticed.

  10. And just yesterday, I heard Patrick Smith, a SPORTS JOURNALIST, on radio, berating another sports journo who reported a “someone said something” story without basis and without naming the source. Patrick said that it “is not and never will be, journalism”.
    Seems like there may be one or two left of the old school style journalists out there, while the rest are running about chasing sensational headlines and a glittering public profile.

    Will they ever be shown up to be the empty vessels they are?

  11. Good piece. I believe less & less of what I see in the media every day. As for their political coverage, I believe none of it.
    It will all be filtered to provide the effect they desire.

  12. Lesson learned: do not ever, ever get the truth, even from the source, deny a good story!

  13. Well let’s hope Sar has learnt her lesson and cuts that IPA/Coalition source off and never uses them again.

  14. Typical MSM. They just plain make things up,just like Abbott and his misfits. Fair dinkum if you were in the trenches the last people you would want behind you is any journalist or media “personality” because you just could not trust them to watch your back. These same misfit reporters have the sheer hide to say the Gillard Government cannot get their message across, what a sleazy lot of bastards they really are. At least they have it right in the UK when there is a report saying Rupe is not a fit person to head a major company and where do the misfits from The Australian put that story, not on the front page but buried in the back of the rag. Just typical. Journalists, what a waste of space.

    • Ive criticised Ms Bourke a lot recently, but she got the ch 7 reporter to admit it was made up, and there will be maybe 100 people that saw the original story and the reporter admit it was made up. Most ch 7 viewers will believe that Fitzgibbon challenged Julia.
      Because media no longer care about truth and because this shows how easily lies can go air, nothing from the media can be believed


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