MSM arrogance

The Australian have outed Grog’s Gamut secret identity. It’s not clear to me why this is newsworthy or in the public interest.

It seems Grog tripped up the ABC recently.

The identity of Mr Jericho, who shot to prominence after making some sharp observations about media coverage of the 2010 election and subsequently has written for the ABC’s The Drum website, has triggered much speculation in recent weeks on Twitter.

That amounts to voyeurism. There is another argument that The Australian makes.

The prolific blogger shows a strong preference for the ALP, despite the Public Service code of conduct stating that “the APS is apolitical, performing its functions in an impartial and professional manner”.

You’d be as shocked as I am to discover that public servants tend to support the ALP. The linking with the APS code of conduct is immaterial in this case – unless Grog was blogging in the area of his actual work and/or his blogging was influencing his work then there is no case there.

The Australian media editor justifies the outing with this

IF you are a public servant and blogging and tweeting, sometimes airing a partisan political line, do you deserve anonymity? No.

Journalists and editors grant anonymity to sources and whistleblowers but Grog’s Gamut, or as we know now, Greg Jericho, is an active participant in the public debate via Twitter and his blog. The ABC’s managing director Mark Scott cited “Grog’s Gamut” criticism of media’s election coverage at an ABC news meeting and as a result “we adjusted our strategy”.

Fair enough. But if you are influencing the public debate, particularly as a public servant, it is the public’s right to know who you are. It is the media’s duty to report it.

Get the message – you can only be anonymous if the mainstream media grants you that privilege.
While we are fans of The Australian newspaper this argument that they get to choose who maintains their secret identity and the terms under which those identities are maintained is just bullshit. Mind you, if you don’t want people to find out who you are, don’t turn up at blogging conferences.

Mr Jericho, who was the subject of intrigue at the Media 140 conference in Canberra last Thursday as an “embedded” but anonymous blogger, wore a nametag that gave his first name but not his last.

Update: Grog’s Gamut tells his side of the story here.

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22 Responses to MSM arrogance

  1. Tillman says:

    But if you are influencing the public debate, particularly as a public servant, it is the public’s right to know who you are.

    He wasn’t influencing the debate as a public servant. He was influencing the debate as an anonymous blogger.

  2. jtfsoon says:

    I think the gist of Sinkers’ post is that he’d agree with your comment Tillman. This is a sleazy move from the Oz, they’re acting exatly like how the LP whinge brigade imagines they operate.

    It’s a catch-22 really, the guy was trying to avoid the conflict of interest thing by blogging anonymously, it’s a bit rich then for this journo to accuse him of influencing the debate as a public servant when he was precisely the one who took the mask off.

  3. FDB says:

    The Oz is a fucking disgrace.

  4. . says:

    I reckon this journo would be shitty if his sources were all exposed.

  5. Tillman says:

    I was disagreeing with the Oz not Sinclair.

  6. JC says:

    Never heard of this blogger until now.

  7. JC says:


    Did I ever hear you say that when Tim Lambert (UNSW) decided to publish what he thought was my name, or is this just a case of you know… “sore losers”.

    And so….

    Fuck him. If he’s peddling leftwing shit during working hours I then say the Tim Lambert (UNSW) standards apply and he deserves being outed.

  8. FDB says:

    I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about JC, as is often the case. But if Lambert tried to ‘out’ you for no good reason then he’s just as bad as the OZ, on that score at least.

  9. boy on a bike says:

    This sucks. Massola is an idiot.

  10. boy on a bike says:

    Or should I say, “Massola is an asshola”

  11. Amos Keeto says:

    He wasn’t “outed” because he went to #media140, Massola has known his identity for nearly a year.

    Chris Mitchell at his finest, grub.

    [Yes – that’s what Grog says at his post on the whole matter. I wrote the post before I saw that, hence the update. Sinc]

  12. ken n says:

    Seems to me that the paper’s arguments that it was in the public interest are pretty hollow.
    But I can’t see that a blogger has a right to keep his real identity secret. Outing someone who writes – anywhere – must be all part of the game.

  13. dover_beach says:

    Yes, this is totally uncalled for. If you write anonymously and you don’t use that anonymity improperly, your anonymity should be respected.

  14. Yobbo says:

    Its no secret that MSM don’t like bloggers and will do anything they can to stop them.

  15. ken n says:

    Does the ABC pay for contributions to the Drum website?

  16. This is why LE (Katy) was so paranoid about being outed when she was writing anonymously at our place. They really go after you if you’re anonymous, but by the same token I lost count of the number of journos who got in touch with us wanting ‘inside’ information on Australian law firms and/or other forms of legally related commentary.

    Hypocrisy, thy name is journalism.

  17. C.L. says:

    There’s a kind of philosophically scatterbrained vibe to The Australian and it doesn’t seem explicable in terms of diversity of opinion or attitude. I think this very VexNews-ish piece of undergraduate bastardry – driven by the now endemic envy and fear that mainstream ‘journalists’ feel towards the blogosphere – is a good example.

  18. Hypocrisy, thy name is journalism.

    Here, let me FTFY.

    Journalism, thy name is journalism.

  19. How times have changed.

    I still note with pride that all three of the blogs mentioned at the bottom of the piece are hosted by yours truly.

  20. A feather in your cap, Jacques. Well done.

  21. Peter Patton says:

    That “granted” was both fucked and chilling. Time to shut The Oz down.

  22. paul walter says:

    Am releived to read Sinclair Davidson’s take- nice to think we’ve woken up and found ourselves back in Australia in the twenty first century, after all.
    All the tabloids do when they resort to this sort of thing in the face of dissent is raise people’s suspicions, as to their motives and agenda.
    “We won’t debate with you; we’ll silence you”.
    Not a good look.
    Have a nice day and a good weegend, Catallaxy

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