It is probably this kind of approach that led to Paul Sakkal, a political reporter for The Age, accusing the Victorian premier Daniel Andrews of making an "extraordinary and deceitful statement" when the latter issued a release about a story on the state's Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.
Sakkal, apparently, had second thoughts about his comments, as he deleted the tweet in question. But then deleting such things from Twitter does not always ensure that they disappear, as one can see from the image below.
[Full disclosure: I worked for the website of The Age for nearly 17 years, from June 1999 until May 2016.]
I did respond to that tweet of his saying that I hoped Dan Andrews would consider legal action because that so called journalist would have had great difficulty in proving his tweet was not defamatory in court— Heather Holcombe (@spirited62) November 5, 2022
But let me not put the cart before the horse. Sakkal's tweet came in the wake of a report he filed last week claiming Andrews had been subjected to questioning by the IBAC as part of an inquiry into suspected corrupt conduct.
The commission then suggested that there should be laws put in place to make it an offence for journalists to publish anything about its inquiries before they were made public. Andrews says he has no intention of going down this path.
On Saturday, Andrews issued a statement in which he said, "regardless of any smear, innuendo or media reporting based on anonymous sources" he would not comment on any IBAC matters apart from the commission's final reports.
And he added, "I act appropriately at all times and in all things. That is the oath I swore and I take it very seriously."
Wasn’t The Age claiming that this election would be different, that they would “focus on what Victorians want to discuss”? Effing joke!— Cam Anstee (@camanstee) November 5, 2022
Andrews' statement was tweeted out by ABC reporter Bridget Rollason, and it was in reply to this that Sakkal's rather injudicious tweet was sent.
As I commented on an earlier occasion, The Age, the smaller of the two main papers in Victoria — the other is Rupert Murdoch's Herald Sun — has always been at pains to project itself as unbiased in its coverage, a claim it made prior to the federal election in May as well.
At the time of the federal election in May, the editor of The Age, Gay Alcorn, wrote in one of her letters to subscribers [which for some curious reason was placed behind a paywall] that the paper had not moved to the right.
This was to counter the fact that many people believe the paper — and its stablemates at Nine Entertainment, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review — tend to tilt towards the right as Nine's chairman is Peter Costello, the erstwhile federal treasurer under John Howard for 11 years.
Sakkal called me as soon as he received an email I had sent, asking for his take on the issue. He said he did not wish to say anything for publication.
Perhaps The Age should exercise some restraint on reporters who tend to get emotionally involved in their reporting.