John Faine refused to debate Kevin Bracken, a caller to his Melbourne ABC 'talk back' show on the September 11 terrorist atrocity, after which Faine, in league with Labor and Coalition politicians and the corporate newsmedia, seemingly attempted to whip up a national witch-hunt against Bracken, who was critical of the official account of 9/11. However, the would-be witchhunters, got more than they bargained for, with public opinion swinging behind Kevin Bracken and Bracken demanding a right of reply. Faine has attempted to regain public sympathy by turning reality on its head, now claiming himself to be the unfair target of attacks by 9/11 "conspiracy nutters". We have transcribed in full, with comments, one of Faine's videoed "defences" of his conduct, so that readers can judge for themselves.
Editorial comment: I have fully transcribed the brief talk by Jon Faine, because Jon Faine's words, as text, show up even more clearly than the live broadcast, that his treatment of Kevin Bracken and other "conspiracy nutters" as he describes them, and his reasons for doing so, are completely contrary to the principles of democracy, free speech and fairness that many probably expected of a journalist and qualified like Jon Faine to be guided by. - JS
And welcome to the Friday wrap-up. It is a bit chaotic today. We've got Di Fingleton, Bill Mc Innes and a cast of thousands.
It's been an extraordinary week , too.
(Inaudible response to Jon Faine.)
I don't want to talk about 9/11 conspiracies theorists and the like. Well, I kind of do, but I don't. I don't want to start it up again.
Editorial comment: After refusing to debate Kevin Bracken and starting what came close to becoming a national witch-hunt against Bracken for his supposedly outrageous questioning of the official account 9/11, Faine tells his listeners that he, himself "kinda do[es]" "want to talk about 9/11 conspiracy theorists and the like." Perhaps he should explain to his listeners why he thinks he should judged any less harshly than he judged Kevin Bracken for raising the taboo topic of questioning 9/11 on his 'talk-back' show.
We are clearly being targeted now after what happened on Wednesday afternoon when Kevin Bracken from the Maritime Union and the President of the Trades Hall chose to call in1. We didn't call him. He called us. ...
Editorial comment: It's a talk-back show, I would have thought. What is Jon Faine trying to say? That he thinks that a member of the public, such as Kevin Bracken, with a view about the principle justification for this country's, so far, nine year intervention in Afghanistan, is not entitled to ring up a talk-back show in order to put that view?
... He said you can't have a parliamentary debate about Afghanistan unless you are prepared to talk about what really happened and the truth of what happened at the World Trade Centre in New York on 11 September and off it went. ...
Editorial comment: So Jon Faine believes that the principle justification for the war in Afghanistan should not be discussed by the very same body which voted to send our soldiers to fight in that war?
...And now it's Friday and I have probably countless e-mails, text messages and phone calls. We are clearly being targetted now, by all the people who think there is more to it than we've ever been told and "the media" (with a gesture with both hands indicating quote marks) are part of the conspiracy. And having just got a little crack in the door open, we're getting phone calls from all around Australia. We're getting e-mails from around the world. People are saying "Uhh! Here is a point where we can have our claims fully explored. It's been a very intense week because of that. Ahh! On the other hand, I stuck my neck out. I've called them loonies. I've had a go.
I think this is corrosive of peoples' trust in the rule of law and democracy. I still believe that. I don't resile for a moment from anything I've said. , but in the background you can see that --- There's John Standish, one fo my producers -- dealing with all the complaints of people saying that we're arrogant, we're high-handed and we're dismissive and that's not our role here at the ABC and that will take weeks for us to deal with. Such is life!
1. [back] See also PM story "Vic union leader says September 11 attacks a conspiracy" for some of the dialogue and my comment. As with the dialogue show above the actual words of a person, baiting someone for having expressed an honestly held opinion about an important issues do that person making those remarks no credit.