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Friday, February 26, 2010

Birmingham's hilarious take on security




www.theage.com.au/opinion/blogs/blunt-instrument/the-man-with-the-golden--cufflinks-and-matching-tie-pin/20100224-p39q.html


ASIO Recruits Latte Sippers John Birmingham Blunt Instrument
I am indebted to my Facebook buddy Sasha Uzunov for alerting me to this advert for ASIO surveillance officers published in a local rag in Melbourne: ...

Blunt Instrument
John Birmingham tells stories.

The Age
The man with the golden ... cufflinks and matching tie pin

February 25, 2010
Comments 56

We are doomed.

Not because, as the government has suddenly realised in its Counterterrorism White Paper, the beardy nut-jobs are here to stay, but because our response to this is to unleash on them the awesome power of a fully operational espresso machine. While the Ruddbot and his national security advisers are worrying late into the night about national resilience, counter-intelligence, and terrorism as a "persistent and permanent" condition, the front line agency charged with protecting us from things that go boom in the nightclub has decided to recruit its next generation of spies from the idle wanker demographic.

I am indebted to my Facebook buddy Sasha Uzunov for alerting me to this advert for ASIO surveillance officers published in a local rag in Melbourne:

see link: http://teamuzunovmedia.blogspot.com/

Australian Government Australian Security Intelligence Organisation ASIO YOU'RE SITTING AT YOUR FAVOURITE CAF [sic] ON CHAPEL QUIETLY WATCHING THE WORLD GO BY. YOU'VE ORDERED THE USUAL. THERE'S A MAN SITTING ACROSS FROM YOU. YOU NOTICE THE PATTERN ON HIS SHIRT IS SIMILAR TO THE PATTERN IN THE FROTH OF YOUR CAPPUCCINO. HE'S ON HIS OWN. HE LOOKS UP, PAUSES FOR A MINUTE AND SCRIBBLES SOMETHING DOWN ON A SERVIETTE. HE DOES THIS AGAIN. HE MUST BE A WRITER, YOU THINK. THE NEXT TIME HE LOOKS UP, YOU CASUALLY ASK WHAT HE'S WRITING ABOUT. JUST JOTTING DOWN IDEAS FOR HIS NEW BOOK, APPARENTLY. PERCEPTIVE. INTUITIVE. ASSURED. YOU DON'T THINK TWICE ABOUT IT, UNTIL YOU DISCOVER THESE ARE THE QUALITIES YOU'LL BE VALUED FOR AS A SURVEILLANCE OFFICER. ASIO.GOV.AU/SURVEILLANCE WE ACTIVELY ENCOURAGE WOMEN AND ETHNIC MINORITIES TO APPLY.

One hardly knows where to begin extracting the urine. With the effete, latte-sipping obsessive compulsive shirt pervert, who loves nothing more than to attract attention to him or herself by questioning the members of the public about their private business? Or with the seething, medieval bazaar of Chapel Street in which shady frock sellers mingle with former KGB baristas and rogue CIA sauvignon blanc fanciers in a dangerous world of fast-paced espionage, state-sponsored murder, and retail therapy.

I mean, WTF? I'd always assumed the reason that the government refused to comment on anything involving security or intelligence matters was because somewhere out there in the dark we had a legion of cruel spies and agents and rogue death-dealing assassins harvesting our enemies as soon as they foolishly put their heads up.

Oh how my heart thrilled this morning when I read that some of the cold-eyed killers who necked that Hamas villain in Dubai were carrying Aussie passports. That's the ticket, I thought. Our tax dollars well spent in the dark arts of statecraft and political murder.

But no, the truth is much scarier, if more predictable. They weren't gallant little vegemiters at all. Probably just your common and garden variety wet work squad from Mossad or one of the cooler arms of the CIA. Our government, of course, won't comment.

The reason it won't comment is because we would die of shame to discover that our national security is being safeguarded by the sort of inner-city fops and dilettantes who'd be more at home in a vegan yoga class than getting split up the middle by a laser beam in Auric Goldfinger's torture dungeon. Not for our spies a silenced pistol and a spring-loaded throwing knife. No, not when they might clash horribly with the delightful little Burberry clutch they picked up in Chapel Street when they should have been gouging eyeballs and pulling teeth on the North-West frontier.

We are doomed, I tell you. Doomed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ASIO WANTS LATTE SIPPERS AS SPIES




US tennis champion Serena Williams spotted in Chapel Street doing some shopping but no sighting of Osama Bin Laden as yet. Canadian journalist Scott Taylor dressed as a local in Kandahar, Afghanistan, having a cappuccino. Photos by Sasha Uzunov copyright.

ASIO WANTS LATTE SIPPERS AS SPIES

by Sasha Uzunov

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), this country's domestic spy agency, has put out a job ad looking for nosey, coffee drinking people who hang out in Melbourne's fashionable Chapel Street, Prahran.

As yet there have been no sightings of terrorism supremo Osama Bin Laden in the Latte Strip, only celebrities checking out the boutiques...

Concerned and security conscious Australians should contact TEAM UZUNOV if they see or hear of any suspicious activity in Chapel Street. Please note: Young men doing burnouts in cars or fighting outside nightclubs does not count as suspicious activity.

The best people to recruit as surveillance officers for ASIO are the ordinary Australian men and women who work as private investigators for insurance companies such as workers compensation or do marital infidelity cases.. Most of these people blend in and are never noticed... Food for thought!

It is nice to see our taxpayer dollars being used "wisely" in the war against terror!

Read the ad below:

About the Job

Australian Government Australian Security Intelligence Organisation ASIO

YOU'RE SITTING AT YOUR FAVOURITE CAF ON CHAPEL QUIETLY WATCHING THE WORLD GO BY. YOU'VE ORDERED THE USUAL. THERE'S A MAN SITTING ACROSS FROM YOU. YOU NOTICE THE PATTERN ON HIS SHIRT IS SIMILAR TO THE PATTERN IN THE FROTH OF YOUR CAPPUCCINO. HE'S ON HIS OWN. HE LOOKS UP, PAUSES FOR A MINUTE AND SCRIBBLES SOMETHING DOWN ON A SERVIETTE. HE DOES THIS AGAIN. HE MUST BE A WRITER, YOU THINK. THE NEXT TIME HE LOOKS UP, YOU CASUALLY ASK WHAT HE'S WRITING ABOUT. JUST JOTTING DOWN IDEAS FOR HIS NEW BOOK, APPARENTLY. PERCEPTIVE. INTUITIVE. ASSURED. YOU DON'T THINK TWICE ABOUT IT, UNTIL YOU DISCOVER THESE ARE THE QUALITIES YOU'LL BE VALUED FOR AS A SURVEILLANCE OFFICER. ASIO.GOV.AU/SURVEILLANCE WE ACTIVELY ENCOURAGE WOMEN AND ETHNIC MINORITIES TO APPLY.

Job Code
2015367
Date Posted
17/02/2010
Category
Government, Defence & Emergency

Link: http://www.careerone.com.au/




Full link:

http://jobview.careerone.com.au/GetJob.aspx?JobID=86347659&q=security&lid=137&sort=dt&cn=&rad=50&rad_units=km&cnme=Melbourne&sid=97&brd=1&pp=50&vw=b&AVSDM=2010-02-17+12%3a38%3a00&pg=1&seq=40


---------------------------
other link:

Letter to the Editor - The Age newspaper
http://www.theage.com.au/national/letters/good-deed-kept-secret-for-so-long-20100214-nzdh.html

15 February 2010 by Judy Crozier, Preston

Beware the trilbied men in overcoats
I WAS sitting at my favourite cafe in Brunswick Street when I noticed the ASIO advertisement in The Age (13/2), seeking surveillance staff. The blurb posits an imagined (perceptive, intuitive) person sitting at a favourite cafe (on Chapel Street) noticing a man taking notes on a serviette - he claims to be jotting down ideas for his new book.

OMG, but that's what I do! Over coffee, I jot down ideas for my book or short story. Does this make me a suspect? I glance about myself, a light perspiration upon my lip. Over there, could that be a (perceptive, intuitive) surveillance officer?

read on...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Evans dispels Vietnam Biggles myth

Above: Ex-Australian Foreign Minister, Gareth Evans, nicknamed Biggles after a fictitious British World War One Fighter Ace (below).


Exclusive: GARETH EVANS DISPELS VIETNAM BIGGLES MYTH
By Sasha Uzunov

Australia’s former high profile Foreign Minister and International trouble shooter, Gareth Evans, has finally put to rest a long running urban legend about a combat plane ride he allegedly took during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s.

The former politician was recently appointed Chancellor of the Australian National University in Canberra.

“Gareth Evans (ANU Chancellor) has asked me to convey to you that he was not the person in your anecdote. He believes there may have been a journalist of the same name in the region around that time,” Mr Simon Couper, an ANU spokesman said.

In 1983 Evans, as Federal Attorney General and a Senator, was the nicknamed Biggles, a fictitious larger than life British World War I fighter ace, for using the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to spy on anti-dam protestors in Tasmania’s wilderness.

As Foreign Minister from 1988 to 1996, Evans was criticised for being too close to Indonesia during its brutal occupation of East Timor and his cynical deployment of Australian soldiers into combat in Kuwait, Somalia, Rwanda and Cambodia in an attempt to win the Nobel Peace Prize and become United Nations Secretary General.

A former Australian diplomat, the New Zealand born Alastair Gaisford has been critical of Evan’s failure to save Australian David Wilson, who was kidnapped and later murdered in Cambodia in 1994.

A number of high profile Australian Army pilots who saw combat action in the Vietnam War with the Army Aviation Corps unit 161 Recce Squadron made the interesting claim that a journalist “Gareth Evans” was given a joyride in a Cessna spotter plane in Vietnam, circa 1967-68 One of the pilots has also claimed that the name "Gareth Evans" is in the flight log book.

According to Mr Ashley Ekins, an official historian of the Vietnam War with the Australian War Memorial, there was a “Gareth Evans” who was a journalist in Vietnam. One of Evans’ articles is in the footnotes of the book, an official history of Australia’s Vietnam War, called ‘On the Offensive.’

Mr Ekins said:

“The reference you mention is to a newspaper article in The Sun of 11 October 1967 (On the Offensive, p. 253, p. 567 n. 71) quoting Brigadier Stuart Graham, commander of the 1st Australian Task Force.

“I’m unable to confirm whether the writer of that article, Gareth Evans, was the same Gareth Evans who later served as Attorney General and Foreign Minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor governments. However, it seems unlikely. Gareth Evans the politician initially pursued a career in law.

“Notwithstanding his later expressed position on Vietnam, as President of the Student Union at the University of Melbourne in 1965, Evans supported Australian and American involvement in the Vietnam War in student debates and letters to the Melbourne Age on 7 May 1965 and The Nation on 15 May 1965 (although he was opposed to the sending of conscripts).”

The authorised biography of Gareth Evans, the ex-Foreign Minister, by ex-Foreign Affairs (DFAT) staffer, Keith Scott, makes no mention of any specific visit to Vietnam during the 1960s.
There is a reference to Evans being on a United States Navy ship in the south Pacific and later backpacking through South East Asia and Indochina before taking up a post as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in the United Kingdom in August 1968.

In 1965 Evans as President of Melbourne University’s student union (SRC) threw his weight behind the Vietnam War though he opposed conscription (the draft). He was born in 1944 and just missed out on the national service call up when it was reintroduced for Vietnam.

He was selected by the United States State Department as a student leader to undertake an overseas trip talking about the War but later grew opposed to it.

Mr Noel Turnbull, an arts patron, public relations guru, academic and former journalist, knew Evans during their university days.

“I am not aware of Gareth making a private visit to Vietnam,” he said. “You should ask him directly.”

Mr Turnbull, who is regarded as a living legend within public relations circles in Australia, was himself conscripted for Vietnam War service as an Army Artillery officer in 1968.

There was a Gary Evans who worked as a journalist for the Brisbane Courier Mail, The Sunday Mirror in London and the Australian Associated Press, and did a stint as a Vietnam War correspondent. He is now a member of The Australian Press Council. A message was left for him at the APC over whether he was the Gareth Evans in question. No response as yet. We will keep you posted on any further developments. Link: www.presscouncil.org.au/pcsite/about/members/journmems.html

(end)

Links:

www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=8673&page=0
When politicians should step aside - On Line Opinion - 19/3/2009

http://teamuzunovmedia.blogspot.com/2009/03/cambodia-murder-controversy.html
Team Uzunov: Cambodia murder controversy

http://teamuzunovmedia.blogspot.com/2009/07/15th-anniversary-of-david-wilson-murder.html
Team Uzunov: 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF DAVID WILSON KIDNAPPING/MURDER

www.smh.com.au/opinion/by/alastair-gaisford
Alastair Gaisford - National Times - smh.com.au

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tony Jones & ABC running scared on defence debate?

Tony Jones & ABC running scared on defence debate?
by Sasha Uzunov

The host of the ABC TV's Lateline and Q & A programs, Tony Jones, has a reputation for being a media tough guy, who is willing to ask tough questions and scrutinise delicate issues. But it would appear that both Jones and the ABC are petrified by an email campaign organised by Vietnam Veterans over military superannuation.

Brigadier Neil Weekes (retired), a Vietnam War hero who won a Military Cross for bravery during the famous Battles of Coral/Balmoral in 1968, has revealed:

"I have just received a call from the Executive Producer of the ABC Q&A Show, asking me to contact the veteran community with a request to stop sending any more emails on the DFDB/DFRDB issues. In particular he has asked that we stop sending "nasty" emails to Tony Jones.

"He told me that the ABC has received more than 1,000 emails on the DFDB/DFRDB topics, that the ABC is aware that this is an organised email campaign and that once a question has been posted once, there is little point in repeating it. He advised that, while he is personally interested in the topic, he cannot guarantee that any of our questions will receive a hearing tonight."

In 2004 on Lateline Tony Jones played hardball with Liberal political head kicker Tony Abbott over his alleged secret meeting with Catholic Cardinal George Pell to discuss government policy. There were overtones of a dark conspiracy between the Abbott and the Catholic Priest. There were dark overtones of a Dan Brown Davinci Code Conspiracy. It was actually more high farce on Jones’ part. But when it comes to defence experts, Jones’ blowtorch is nowhere to be seen.

In this day and age, where ABC journalists openly question Jesus, the Prophet Muhammed and the Buddha, big name Fairfax journalist and "war expert" Paul McGeough is above scrutiny.

In a remarkable email, Jonathan Holmes the host of the ABC TV's Media Watch program revealed:

"Paul McGeough, who you so snidely deride, has probably spent more time in the “Afghan war zone” – and in Iraq, for that matter – than any other Australian journalist – including you. The fact that he doesn’t have a military background is to my mind entirely irrelevant."

Trying to extract information from ABC and SBS journalists is like having your sore wisdom teeth pulled: its is very painfull but very necessary. In trying to discuss defence and national security issues over the past couple of years I have encountered either silence or a haughty manner from our public funded journalists.

Media tough guy Peter Charley has a reputation for speaking his mind. As Executive Producer of ABC TV program Lateline in 2006 he issued this statement to me over my criticism of why Lateline was reluctant to open up Australia’s defence debate:

“It is neither wise nor clever to suggest that "little ol' Lateline” is "afraid" to have anyone on the program…” (Friday 13 January 2006, email).

The rhetorical question is why is it not wise or clever?


---
Backrgound:

http://teamuzunovmedia.blogspot.com/2009/10/abc-media-watch-responds.html

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ABC MEDIA WATCH RESPONDS
TEAM UZUNOV POLICY IS TO OPEN UP AUSTRALIA'S DEFENCE DEBATE.
Therefore, we encourage diversity of opinion on ths issue

The host of the ABC TV's Media Watch, Jonathan Holmes, responds to the TEAM UZUNOV story: ABC-Fairfax hissy fit at Afghan news.

MEDIA WATCH DEFENDS PAUL McGEOUGH

“ABC and Fairfax big name reporters spit the dummy over not being able to navigate through Afghan warzone without a helping hand from the ADF...”

Not on Media Watch, they didn’t. No ABC journalist was quoted complaining about ADF media policy on our program. Nor was ABC News. The only ‘big name journalist” who was quoted was Ian McPhedran, defence correspondent for News Ltd. And he was complaining about the lack of access to Australian troops on the ground, not about his inability to ‘navigate through Afghan warzones”.

The same complaint as John Martinkus makes in his New Matilda piece.

Paul McGeough, who you so snidely deride, has probably spent more time in the “Afghan war zone” – and in Iraq, for that matter – than any other Australian journalist – including you. The fact that he doesn’t have a military background is to my mind entirely irrelevant.

- Jonathan Holmes
----------------------------------------------

TEAM UZUNOV RESPONSE:
PUT DEFENCE DEBATE TO THE PUBLIC

Thank your for your prompt and frank reply..

But asking Paul McGeough why he didnt volunteer for military service is highly relevant, much in the same way we would scrutinise medical doctors, mechanics, etc over their "qualifications."

The general public has an interest in the issue, which is why it keeps me in print and above the poverty-line! (freelanceer's attempt at humour!)

It only seems journalists without actual military experience who oppose such scrutiny. If it is irrelevant why not put it to the test? Why not ask the public?

Why do certain sections of the media, namely ABC Media Watch, avoid this issue? Is it because by opening up this debate to the public that big name reporters at the ABC will have their lucrative business of writing books and appearing on television threantened?

Furthermore, when McGeough refuses to answer the question put to him but then complains when politicians deny him information it is hypocritical. It is a case of wanting to have his cake and eat it too.

Mate (Jonathan Holmes), you're a big name ABC reporter and you sounded as though you were upset at the ADF denying reporters info....Therefore my story is correct...

I can supply you previously published stories with quotes from your former colleagues Chris Masters and Max Uechtritz and their "views" on military service....

link: www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=9078

MEDIA WATCH (Jonathan Holmes): News Ltd is not the same as Fairfax. Or hadn’t you noticed?

TEAM UZUNOV: I wasnt focusing on News Ltd but Fairfax.... You're forgetting Cynthia Banham's gabfest at ANU..

A WORD FROM JO PUCCINI, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF MEDIA WATCH:
Thanks for your email Sasha. I appreciate your perspective.

(end)
------------------------------------------------

http://teamuzunovmedia.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
MEDIA HISSY FIT AT AFGHAN NEWS
WAR & PEACE INCORPORATED

By Sasha Uzunov

Australia’s big name journalists who write on defence and national security issues have the double advantage of making a lot of money as well as indirectly influencing government policy but without having to face the electors.

However, in recent times certain sections of the media have been chucking a hissy fit at the Australian Defence Forces and its public relations arm for allegedly denying journalists access to combat troop operations in Afghanistan.

read on...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

With a new Australian television ratings season about to kick-off, the search for the next Jana Wendt, super reporter, continues...

ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=10004&page=0

Reporting on the reporters
By Sasha Uzunov - Thursday, 4 February 2010

With a new television ratings season dawning on the horizon, some of Australia’s heavy hitters in television journalism, no doubt, have been in search of the Holy Grail that is to find the next Jana Wendt. One media boss might have struck gold in the shape of SBS TV Dateline reporter Sophie McNeill.

Wendt in her heyday - the late 1980s and early 90s - was unbeatable. She is a highly educated woman who speaks many languages and could out-interview some of the big names of politics and celebrity. Her nickname was the perfumed steam-roller and she picked up a Gold Logie as Australia’s top television celebrity in 1992.

Legendary news bosses Peter Meakin and John Westacott made their names at the Nine Network when Wendt was hosting the A Current Affair program.

Since Wendt’s retirement, Nine has focused its attention on current ACA host Tracy Grimshaw, who is a formidable interviewer in her own right, to carry the torch. But Wendt and Grimshaw are as different as chalk and cheese. Grimshaw recently went head to head with foulmouthed Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay, with the result that the tough guy lost

Meakin, after a bitter falling out with Nine, took his bag of tricks to the Seven Network. At first the beautiful, blue-eyed brunette Naomi Robson was the host of Today Tonight, Seven’s answer to A Current Affair, and began to beat Nine at its own game. In a takedown over a cannibal story in West Papua, Robson was left with egg on her face in 2006. The Seven network counter-claimed that she was set up.

Reporter Anna Coren was poached from the Nine network and filled the breech at Today Tonight. Coren was sent, wearing a flak jacket, into the short lived Israel-Lebanese Hezbollah war. But Coren had other ambitions and left for US media giant CNN.

Coren, who was the subject of many send ups by comedy team The Chaser from ABC TV, had this to say about her war reporting: “The highlight was going to Israel and covering the war against Hezbollah. It was fascinating being in a place where air-raid sirens were going off all the time and rockets were falling; it makes you feel very alive being in that particular environment."
So that now brings us to Sophie McNeill, video-journalist with SBS TV Dateline program. McNeill was in Afghanistan last year reporting from the frontlines about alleged civilian casualties caused by Australian soldiers.

In 2008 she was named Young Australian Journalist of the Year and is an accomplished film maker.

In fact her rise has been meteoric. She was hailed as child prodigy and a wiz kid way back in 2003 by George Negus, legendary reporter, on his ABC TV show George Negus Tonight:

Sophie McNeill is a remarkable young woman who's been a political activist and social campaigner since the age of nine. When she was 15 she went, alone, to Timor and produced a self-funded documentary (Awaiting Freedom) that received national praise. Earlier this year she produced another on the death of a detainee asylum-seeker. Sophie is now 18 and studying politics at Curtin University in Western Australia. … working in Sydney as an investigative journalist for the SBS programme “Insight”.

Negus is now the host of SBS TV's Dateline program. In 2008 McNeill requested that I not contact her to discuss media issues, including Afghanistan. She has no previous military experience.

Her boss is the veteran, wily and street smart Peter Charley, who replaced “Iron” Mike Carey as Executive Producer of Dateline in 2007. Charley was previously EP of the ABC TV’s Lateline. Carey told me that Charley is a close personal friend of his.

Charley has a reputation for speaking his mind. (As EP of Lateline he issued this warning to me over my criticism of why Lateline was reluctant to open up Australia’s defence debate: “It is neither wise nor clever to suggest that "little ol' Lateline” is "afraid" to have anyone on the program…” (Friday January 13, 2006, email). Why is it not wise nor clever?)

I had observed that Lateline had only used one Australian journalist with actual military experience to comment on defence issues and that was legendary newsman Gerald Stone, the founding producer of Australia’s version of 60 Minutes on the Nine Network in 1979 and a former US Army officer. You would think that Stone would have been utilised more often and other journalists with military experience given a chance to speak on Lateline.

In 2004 Lateline host Tony Jones played hardball with Liberal political head kicker Tony Abbott over his alleged secret meeting with Catholic Cardinal George Pell to discuss government policy. There were overtones of a dark conspiracy between the Abbott and the Catholic Priest. It was actually more high farce on Jones’ part. But when it comes to defence experts, Jones’ blowtorch is nowhere to be seen.

Ironically, Charley served his apprenticeship as a producer under the master Gerald Stone on a failed show called Real Life on the Seven Network in 1992-93. Charley is an award winning journalist but has never served in the military.

I have spent years studying Stone’s playbook. In all seriousness the man is a genius, whether you like or dislike tabloid TV news. You have to give him his dues. The great man is now Non-executive Director and Deputy Chairman of the SBS Board.

In the late 1970s Stone probably sensed an Australian society needing strong masculine heroes to fill the void left by the controversial Vietnam War which had overturned traditional stereotypes. He recruited three journalists, Ray Martin, Ian Leslie and George Negus. As canny Mark Day, a newspaperman of the old school, observed:

I guess we can blame Gerald Stone and George Negus for the emergence of the celebrity journalist - at least in Australia.

Stone was executive producer of the Nine (TV network) clone of CBS’s 60 Minutes when it launched here in 1979 with the premise that the reporter was the story.

George, along with Ray Martin and Ian Leslie were sent into war zones, deep jungles, and dark places in search of ripper yarns, and the cameras tracked them tracking down the story.

George, coat slung over his shoulder, embraced this role with a particular gusto, adding his idiosyncratic commentary into which he wove his personal beliefs.

It wasn’t long before George was a bigger celeb than any of the news makers he pursued, even after being savaged by the likes of Margaret Thatcher.

Negus was dubbed the Balmain Cowboy after a tough working class inner Sydney suburb because of his macho image, even though he never served in Vietnam but was a school teacher who dabbled in journalism and later became a press secretary to a politician, Lionel Murphy.

But with the resurgence of the Anzac Legend and in particular a new respect for those who serve in uniform, where does that leave the war reporter in society’s eyes after having fulfilled the role of surrogate “warrior” stereotype during the 1970s and 80s?

Rival Australian television networks, in a game of one-upmanship, have inadvertently brought the notion of the warrior-as-reporter to the surface. A famous case involved veteran Nine Network reporter Jim Waley wearing a the flak jacket in Iraq in 2004 as opposed to his competitor Adrian Brown of the Seven Network who did not. Both were metres away from each other in Baghdad.

Australian soldier Mark Donaldson’s award of the Victoria Cross medal for bravery in Afghanistan has now well and truly put an end to the era of the media tough guy as society’s hero. Perhaps this is where McNeill fits in. Women can also be seen as brave role models.

Maybe Charley, in taking his master’s game plan and tweaking it for the 21 century, could be onto a big winner in the form of McNeill.

The Dateline website blurb about McNeill once read:

“Pick, arguably, the most dangerous region in the world today and that’s where you'll find Sophie McNeill.”

The current big star of Dateline is reporter Mark Davis. Davis, a former lawyer turned video journalist without military experience, has his own unique style of going into war zones carrying his own camera, which stays focused on himself most of the time. This style has earned him pop-star status but SBS TV insiders say that there may not be room for two big stars at Dateline. The word is McNeill maybe given her own current affairs show at SBS or even head hunted by a commercial network, perhaps CNN.

Time will tell.

(end)