Editor Chris Mitchell has sunk a rusty nail into a decaying Press coffin
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
As sure as “The Bulletin” died a sudden death with Kerry Packer so too will die “The Australian” with the death of Rupert Murdoch. They may be on borrowed time but journalists should never reveal their sources or confidences. They should rightly go to jail rather than do so. So when a former editor of a national daily broadsheet like “The Australian” spills his guts to eager TV hosts he is playing the last post for the Press.
He has smugly told of his close association with Australia’s Prime Ministers and what he said to them and their otherwise embarrassing replies to him... and that is unforgivable because he has disadvantaged every existing and future journalist in being able to foster trusted confidences politicians once had in editors.
I have never worked for or with this Mitchell bloke and I’m glad I never knew him because he defies all I have held to be sacred about newspapers. To expose your sources is to kill them, yourself, and cripple many others who come after you.
Now future leaders may think twice before privately exposing themselves to journalists who may decide to create a headline or sell a book by quoting what was said.
During the years I spent in Canberra I made close friends of Prime Ministers and Party leaders on both sides. They have described opponents and associates alike as useless c***s and worse, but that is forbidden territory for a newspaper bloke. Oh, it would make great copy or promotion for a book but the cost is far too high.
Among a list of other betrayals Mitchell cites what Rupert Murdoch told him over lunch was his devastation "at the closeness between his wife Wendi Deng and former UK prime minister Tony Blair. I couldn't sleep, I thought we had a wonderful, happy marriage. Obviously, we didn't." wrote Mitchell.
Rupert had trust in Mitchell and would have been devastated to see his private thoughts in print, and authored by one of his senior staff.
There is some explosive stuff said privately in Canberran offices or over dinner and at cocktail parties and to use that in print is to betray confidences that ensure you will never be invited again.
It’s easy to go “Making Headlines”. Male members of Parliament have affairs that would likely kill their families. I have been asked by leaders of Parties to “look after” their female "friends" in their absence. Beautiful females, one was a Miss Australia, each had an affection for the respective politician, not for me, and on his return to Canberra the three of us would have dinner, then I would disappear for the duration of the sitting of Parliament.
Mitchell claims he has not betrayed confidences... bullshit! That typifies his lack of respect for Press ethics. He is promoting his book called “Making Headlines” but he is now making his own headlines and in the worst possible way.
He exposes what we already suspected Gillard had said of Rudd and what Rudd had said of Gillard. He tells of how they courted him. He has misread what was happening... they were not courting him or confiding in him as a trusted friend or associate, THEY WERE SIMPLY USING HIM. And when an editor can’t tell the difference it’s time for him to go, and it’s good that he has gone.
I sincerely hope he doesn’t sell a single copy of his damned ill-conceived book...scumbag.