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Victorian Bushliars II

A Melbourne-based friend attended the taping of Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program with Mike Munroe, a week after the firestorm dubbed Black Saturday.

She reports the program – taped after a weekend in which hundreds died, thousands became homeless, and inestimable wildlife was destroyed – brought together the Victorian campaign manager for The Wilderness Society (TWS), politicians, Christine Nixon, ‘experts’ complaining about conservationists, and an audience of survivors from freshly-decimated areas.

Premier John Brumby and two local mayors left before taping, leaving Gavin McFadzean (TWS) to deal with the anti-Green backlash that has emerged around prescribed burning. Basically, “it’s the environmentalists/city people’s fault.”

In the face of grieving people dealing with loss and a media machine keen for conflict, McFadzean was the sole voice arguing that 10 years of drought, record temperatures and ferocious winds (ie. climate change) had more to do with the cataclysmic fires than any environmentalist.

According to our source, “although the tone changed once he explained that TWS have lost friends and colleagues as well, he was howled down by traumatised people needing someone to blame. Mike Munroe was appalling.”

Responding to a complaint about the “tawdry piece of journalism” and its inappropriate exploitation of loss and grief, the show’s producer said, to paraphrase, that it had been “a toss up to see what would happen”.

Anybody finding the corporate media’s sense of basic morality should kindly return it to reception.

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