….Appalling republican allegation…
New Idea and the Drudge Report behaved appallingly in leaking the story that Prince Harry was serving at the front line.
But in actually blaming the Royal Family for the leak, Mark Day deserves the mace of the week, if not the month. (The Australian “Story to get Harry home leaked to mag with no idea,” 6 March, 2008).
This is made worse by his suggestion that it might have even been a “deliberate move.” ( He does at least suggest the motive for a deliberate leak was to force an evacuation because of worries about the dangers Prince Harry faced.)
So what was Mark Day’s source for his extraordinary allegation? He had none.
The basis for his accusation was his years of observing what he calls the Royal Family’s “media manipulations.” On the basis of this , he thinks a royal leak is a “real possibility.” That’s it. Nothing to go on, but years of observing the Royal Family.
And it is on this flimsy basis that Mark Day makes this appalling accusation against a whole family.
Now when it comes to the Royal Family, the usually affable Mark Day is not just another journalist. He is one of those republicans who are usually described as “passionate”. Until he fell out with Malcolm Turnbull, he was in the inner leadership circle. So his years of observing the Royal Family were hardly those of a neutral objective reporter. He should have pointed that out.
Mr Day, the former proprietor and editor of the Melbourne Truth, has for years been arguing that ethically broadcasters should disclose any conflict of interest. What is that about people who live in glass houses?
While Day will believe anything against royalty, it seems he’ll believe anything the Taliban say. He tells us, as if we hadn’t read this piece of puerile propaganda: “Recent reports suggest the Taliban did, indeed, know and had been hunting for Harry’s prize scalp since mid-January.”
Surely he hasn’t really swallowed this ordure? This is just an attempt, and an obvious attempt, to cover the terrorists’ embarrassment. To paraphrase Mandy Rice –Davies, they would say that, wouldn’t they?
This appalling piece recalls the lesson Lord Hunt drew from the BBC’s mishandling of the affair which led to the suicide of Dr David Kelly. This is that no journalist should be allowed to impugn the integrity of anyone without his work being subjected to an independent editorial assessment.
So who isn’t doing their job at The Australian?
…The Australian :"Fiendish Republican Plot"…
The Australian published our letter on 7 March, 2008 under the headline, " Fiendish republican plot."
"I HAD thought no outlet could do worse than New Idea until I read Mark Day actually blaming the royal family for the leak about Prince Harry (“Story to get Harry home leaked to mag with no idea’’, Media, 6/3).
"He doesn’t even claim a source for this. It’s just his years of observing the family’s media manipulations.
"On this, Day’s not just another journalist. He is such a passionate anti-royal republican he was once part of the leadership of the republican movement. What’s that about declaring conflicts of interest?
"While Day will believe anything against royalty, it seems he believes anything the Taliban say. He actually swallows their lie that they knew the prince was in Afghanistan. To paraphrase Mandy Rice Davies, they would say that, wouldn’t they?
David Flint "
[ We sent a similar report to this to Crikey.com, which was published in their newsletter and on their site www.crikey.com.au on 6 March 2008, as well as this letter to The Australian. A reader, Norman F. Pollack, has also posted his views on this on this site. This can be found with this column of 5 March 2008, Prince Harry: " You don't have to be a monarchist…" ]