Tuesday, 6 November 2007

wild goose chase by Victorian police

Dear Sir,
One of the Sunday Age pieces on Victoria's stolen construction vehicles written
by Mark Russel
"Made in China (from goods stolen in Victoria)" is really an eye opener.
It seems anywhere there is a problem,
journos can link it to and blame it on China, and they don't need to
substantiate. The story is basically on a local Victorian problem and on
organised crimes by local Australians, but the title of the piece screams of
bad apples in China. China bashing is indeed an enjoyable and no cost fun game
for some. The local sergeant on the case provides little of China -related
evidence, hard evidence, but is courageous enough to make a quantum leap in
investigation by saying that definitely stolen goods went out of Australia
China bound. He perhaps understands fully that no one can really challenge his
speculations and allegations, because no one has anything on that speculated
link. Now your journalist comes in to fill up the gap, by drawing a picture of
massive construction projects in China for the coming Olympics. Better still,
even sporting venues and facilities in Beijing are in fact all built with great
Australian help, some way or other. The sergeant in question is overwhelmingly
happy to cooperate on this, giving your journalist whatever the writing of the
piece needs. Along the same vein of reasoning by the sergeant, stolen
construction vehicles could well be for the building of the Sydney Olympics,
because he just loves to link lost properties with international sporting
The wild guessing and irresponsible accusation in the piece reflects a darker
side of human beings, that is the tendency to blame others for the troubles
one faces. This is not something new, as shown in European news in previous
years of missing well covers on public roads for the shortage of copper in
China. These wild rumours die down after a flash and storm, but what caused
these spreads of rumours remain in people's mind, that is a whispering of
suspicion on the behavours of China and self-righteous ways of detecting
The allegations in the piece are unfounded and unsubstantiated. Since it is
published in a local newspaper on the weekend, it is not likely China formally
responds to these accusations. So this may pass as a non-occasion, giving the
official and journalist in question no reason to get nervous of consequences of
misleading. The question is really how journalists write their pieces with
integrity. There are of course correct information included in the piece, such
as detailed numbers and values of stolen properties, and building frenzies in a
far away land, but this does not form the foundation for the writer to jump on
conclusion of supposed links. The intriguing thing is the way the writer
peppers over those correct information with leading words and then makes bold
as well as wild speculations. Journalists would better work harder on the part
of providing information and shy from pursuing a career of a detective on a
wild goose chase.

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