Saturday, March 19, 2011


IMAGE – Emma ran away in stark terror when she saw this pikkie. She hates guns despite never having met one. Poor Emmie’s employer exempts her from handling Tasmanian stories ‘cos ‘Gunn’s’ is mentioned so often. Yep; Emmie works in an ABC newsroom despite her abysmal spelling.
For those interested, the rifles top to bottom – cal.303 Lithgow (oh yes, LITHGOW) carbine – Cal.303 RIC pattern carbine – cal.303 SMLE heavy barrel range rifle – cal.7.7mm Schmidt Rubin (one of the few that’s never been used as a cricket bat & has original owner’s namecard under the buttplate)

The decision was made some time last night (Australian time)17 March, for a ‘no fly zone’ over Libya.
Once that had been decided, Australian opinion has to be bent toward being on the side of the OzGov approved ‘good guys’.

And the best way of mustering that opinion is to convince Australians that ‘good Libyans’, revolting Libyans, are ecstatic about military intervention and in consequence countless thousands of them are letting rip with a feu de joie.

That must have been the justification for the sound recording of a 50 cal browning machine gun being fired into a berm (or some target not far from the firing point) accompanying Peter Cave’s radio news report this morning. (most shots fired into the air don’t produce a target impact signature a fraction of a second later)

An isolated incident?
Of course the ABC is notorious for getting sound effects and details wrong but any old sound bite will do when the cash strapped and technically challenged ABC want to get a story out.

Their recent documentary attempt about the St Patrick’s Battalion, Irish soldiers fighting for Mexico in 1848, had for sound effects the whiplash report of modern high velocity rifles rather than the authentic hollow thump of musketry of the era.

So what, who cares – it’s only a docco. Everyone’s entitled to a few technical mistakes.

Fair enough. Maybe they didn’t have soundtrack of musketry in their files; or maybe ‘Emma, the studio gofer’ hates guns so simply chose the nastiest gunfire tape she could find in the 30 seconds it took her to become terminally offended with the task.

Or is it that a gender lopsided, politically correct, ABC no longer employs anyone possessed of any breadth of life skills or technical knowledge?

Nitpicking; but that is the point -
The ABC still pretends to be a government entity with some sort of code of ethical practice which a reasonable person could expect to relate to accuracy in content.
Their task is to educate, inform and keep society au-fait with danger.
All of which is a duty of care increasingly being abused through omission or misinformation.

Is it at all important for the media to do their best to ensure technical accuracy in news reporting and documentary production?

Put it this way –
Q - Did anyone who was of the military, of a shooting club or knowledgeable of firearms fall victim to whatever happened at Port Arthur?
A – No.
Q - Why?
A – Firstly, probably because they wouldn’t be impressed with the sort of tawdry masquerade of faux troops popping off reproduction muskets at that tourist trap.
They’d avoid the overpriced dump to save money for target practice - but had they been there the significant difference between the dull report of a blank firing musket and the distinctive crack of a modern high velocity rifle would have immediately put them on their guard the second they heard it.

The lemming syndrome –
Hollywood does it so well. There’s that same old take of a disaster crowd scene yet again.
They all stand stock-still – or mill about shrieking until, at the whim of the director, they all rush off directly towards the maximum danger.
Yet this is exactly what so often happens in real life situations involving crowds and unexpected events.
Just like at Port Arthur.

A conspiracy theorist might easily contrive a scenario whereby the mainstream media are colluding with movie makers to keep the masses misinformed about risky situations.

Risk management; educate the public -
So doesn’t the ABC and their mates in the media have a moral duty to report everything technically accurately, whenever possible, right down to the background noises a person might hear if caught up in a dangerous situation?

We’ve had some bad weather in Oz. lately -
The ABC have been commendably good about advising the public to avoid crossing flooded roads and the like.
In that regard they seem to be able to call upon information and advice from a wide range of expertise.
The problem with the ABC’s approach is that it marches in step with the ‘lowest common denominator’ line taken by authority.

The other side of the coin –
Stay there – don’t move – if you move, you’ll be punished. This is the message declaimed by authority and willingly disseminated by the news media and the movie industry.
In so many ways we have been denied or lost contact with the cues that once offered we humans ‘situational awareness’.
In any given scenario a person cannot exercise appropriate risk management procedures if they are neither attitudinally situationally aware nor aware of inherent risk.

Please read -

Which gives the above cynical conspiracy theorist the opportunity to say –
“Well of course, my boy; it’s all a conspiracy doncha know. One stupid, punitive, past government once gave little boys uniforms, sharp knives and enough knowledge of fieldcraft for them to grow up to be good little soldiers. This stupid, punitive, government wants ‘em all to grow up to be useless bloody sheep – then forces ‘em to stay that way all their lives.”

Some more reading -

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