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Media Watch -

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CC show, aka Media Watch. Welcome to the hypocritical idiot I'm Jonathan Holmes. 40 years ago, The army couldn't pay much either,

and sent to Vietnam. when Normie Rowe was conscripted whinge about it then, But Normie didn't and he isn't whingeing about it now. GIRLS: Normie! in flogging his new CD, These days, Normie's more interested and good luck to him. decided to dig up an old chestnut, It's Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' that and call it a scoop. Alan Howe isn't just any reporter. He's a prominent columnist for, of the 'Herald Sun'. and executive editor His story ran hot on morning radio. But within hours, chucked a bucket of cold water on it. the Australian War Memorial that Normie Rowe's birth-date The media release stated was properly drawn, on September 8th 1967. in a supplementary ballot And it concluded - And so indeed they were. the Sunday Herald Sun at the time? And guess who was editor of That's right, Alan Howe. the supplementary ballot? No. So, did he forget about think the 1994 report was conclusive. He told Media Watch he just didn't when he talked to 2UE's Steve Price - That was Alan Howe's line not the War Memorial, The Department of Veterans Affairs, should be the proper record-keeper. Surprised to hear it? 14 years earlier. His own paper had published it Department of Veterans' Affairs, That evening, the secretary of the media release. Mark Sullivan, issued a scathing You can check it out on our website. that Howe didn't tell the DVA In summary, it claims he was enquiring about Normie Rowe. the 1st of February 1947 He simply asked whether conscription ballot in 1967, had been drawn in the main to which the DVA said 'no'. with the Australian War Memorial, The DVA, Mark Sullivan said, agreed was properly drawn that Normie Rowe's birth-date And he added - in a supplementary ballot. Alan Howe has fired back, In a statement to Media Watch, with equal ferocity at Mark Sullivan. date, and didn't mention Normie Rowe. Alan Howe agrees he asked about a to rely on the response he got But he insists that he was entitled

Department of Veterans' Affairs, from the which he says confirmed that - a week after his first story, And besides, source to back up his theory Alan Howe had found a new that Normie's call-up was dodgy. and told him that his father, A police sergeant had contacted Howe a Lieutenant Colonel in the army, back in 1978. had made a deathbed-confession Coultman-Smith is sincere. There's no doubt Sergeant Grant that his father told him But he told Media Watch in a ballot. Yet it was. Normie's birth-date was never drawn In the National Archive of Australia, prove it, among them, this one. Media Watch found the documents to a little bit of digging, Alan. It just needed an independent historian We also consulted Australian National University. from the Dr Knott told us - conspiracy theories. And it's all too easy to perpetuate reports, it seems to me, What's missing from Alan Howe's thoroughness we're entitled is the professional scepticism and of his standing. to see in a journalist And lack of scepticism is the problem medical miracle yarn. with this classic Coming up: much of the finger. It took off probably about that this man regrow a severed finger. The medical breakthrough that helped The story aired by SBS World News reporter, Matthew Price. was filed by the BBC's New York of Cincinnati, Ohio, It was about Lee Spievak, sliced off by a model aeroplane. who had the tip of his finger are pretty graphic. The photos of his severed finger said he'd lost it for good. You can understand why doctors with the help of a mystery powder. But it grew back

skin in just four weeks. Nerves, tissue, blood vessels, powder on his finger. Miracle man sprinkles miracle pixie dust. (Laughs) Lee Spievak: Maybe they call it Sprinkle, and it grew back. Exactly, they call it pixie dust. the story went on to explain, The pixie dust, extra-cellular matrix, was actually stuff called at the University of Pittsburgh. developed from pig's bladders powers with this remarkable graphic - And the BBC illustrated its alleged we scar, Normally when we are wounded, extra cellular matrix on the wound but the scientists say putting the to regrow instead. stimulates the cells Pretty amazing, eh? Price didn't tell his viewers. But there were a few things Matthew extra-cellular matrix First, that doctors have been using since the 1990's. to help regenerate tissue happened way back in 2005, Second, that Lee Spievak's accident in America and in Australia, and was extensively reported, in Sydney's 'Sun-Herald'. in early 2007. For example,

accurately pointed out that - 'The Sun-Herald' from the BBC's ridiculous graphic. You wouldn't have guessed that

TV news report didn't mention. And there's another thing the BBC's on the powder that Lee Spievak The company that owned the patent was owned by his brother Alan. sprinkled on his finger interviewed in the story, And the expert senior scientific adviser. was that company's a mention either on ABC News, None of those details rated of the pixie dust story, when it ran its own version the miraculous BBC graphic. complete with Sophie Scott, At least ABC medical reporter, to consult local experts. took the trouble But they hardly made matters clearer. the reason the treatment worked According to Australian doctors, bone and nail remained intact. was because the patient's finger, no bone, no muscle The finger pulp in fact,

and that is possible, yes. or no nail part has been regrown that this much finger was removed. Que? But we saw Lee Spievak show us Meanwhile, back in England, scathing criticism - the BBC story had sparked some in 'The Guardian'. for example, from Dr Ben Goldacre It certainly wasn't news, of a miracle yarn, just another reheated chestnut no clinical trial, with no verification, publication to back it. and no peer-reviewed ABC News told Media Watch:

The ABC has added an editor's note to its website and the BBC has heavily qualified its own story.

And now from science, to art. Or should I say, child pornography? The media has covered the debate about Bill Henson's photographs of young nudes with relish. But in some cases, they've gone a step further. Last Tuesday morning, the good citizens of Newcastle, two hours north of Sydney, woke up to a stirring headline in their local rag. Ahh, those passive verbs are a giveaway. It emerged. The pictures were hardly a secret. The gallery had owned them for four years. And they'd been part of a touring exhibition, funded by the Federal Government. 'The Newcastle Herald's story went on: There's that passive mood again. Police were "told". So who "told" them? Why, 'The Newcastle Herald', of course, the night before. Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox told Media Watch: Did anyone else in Newcastle raise the issues of the photographs with the police?

'The Herald' told us that it was simply doing its journalistic duty: And sure enough, on the Wednesday 'The Herald' had itself another story. Well done, 'The Newcastle Herald'. A cracking front page yarn -

and the good burghers of Newcastle protected from the perils of art, in their own art gallery - all in one afternoon's work. That's all from us this week. Lots more detail on tonight's stories on our website. Have a look, drop us a comment, and join me again next week. Closed Captions by CSI


Good evening. The Government

has taken a hammering in the

latest opinion poll, falling by

5 points. Kevin Rudd predicted

last week he'd be whacked by

the voters over petrol policy

and Cabinet leaks, and he was

right. The Prime Minister's

personal approval rating is

down 10%. Mr Rudd stands at

66, with the Opposition Leader

Brendan Nelson on 17. The days

of ducking across the

Queensland border for a tank

full of cheap petrol will soon

be over. The subsidised fuel

is meant to be exclusively for

Queenslanders, but plenty of

people from northern NSW have

been taking advantage of it.

As of next April, only drivers

with a Queensland licence will

be able to get the 8 cent a

litre State subsidy.

Interstate truckies say they'll

also be disadvantaged. The big

wet in South East Queensland

continues to cause havoc

continue, with flooding

expected in parts of the Gold

Coast hinterland. The low

pressure system which dumped

more than 220 millimetres on

the Sunshine Coast has now

moved south, and more than

1,000 homes in northern

Brisbane have lost power

because of heavy rain. A

number of people have had to be

rescued from the floodwaters.

Tomorrow, that heavy rain will

ease in Brisbane.

More news in 'Lateline' at


THEME MUSIC Good evening. Welcome to the final More Than Enough Rope for this series. Tonight, we celebrate older women and most particularly this one. I think there are some rather horrid habits that I do have. One of them is farting... ..which I allowed your producer to share in today. So few guests bring something that we can keep. Thank you. That's actress Miriam Margolyes. We'll take you behind the scenes of her interview later in the show. I have to warn you though, she's not everyone's cup of tea. Of the various complaints about Miriam, this is my favourite. "Miss Margolyes is a disgrace to females and normal mankind. The language and sexual comments from her last night was an affront to the viewers. Mr Denton should have stopped the interview or at least made it very clear to her that this show is nationally broadcast and goes into the lounge rooms of normal family homes." Ah, yes - the normal family home. That would be yours, wouldn't it? After all, when it comes down to it, isn't everyone else just a bit peculiar? There are so many reasons to celebrate older women. Let me count them. Number one - because we miss out when we treat them like they're invisible.

To a lot of people, you are little old ladies.

What is it...? We'll punch him later. I reckon I can take one of you but two, I'm not too sure. Now, listen. Would you call Nelson Mandela a little old man? No. I'd call him Mr Mandela. Yeah. Well, we're not little old ladies. No, we're not. We're feisty old people. So just watch it. I'm backing right off.

We've reached the age where we can hopefully say what we want,

do what we want - within reason. Not breaking any laws or upsetting people deliberately. But why can't we say what we want? Why can't we have our opinion? Why do people not worry about the way that we feel? I mean, you walk along the street and people don't even try to sidestep. They just knock against you. Seriously? Yeah. True. Do they just view you as pre-dead? Ready to go? Yeah, we're transparent or something. The older you get, the more you get to the top of the dead list.

Number two - because they've thought it through and they're confident. Do you think men were intimidated by you? If they were, it's because they're insecure in themselves. That's not something that I've done to them. That's within themselves. Do you like the fact that there is something about your reputation that actually does make people sit up if not sit back? I don't really give a damn. I don't care. Why would I think that...? Why would I even think that thought? I wouldn't even think like that. Because it's a leverage, it's a power. But I don't have... That's the difference between men and women. Men have egos and we don't.

Women don't have egos? No. It's a big call. (LAUGHS) They agree with me. Number three - because of their frankness. Maggie Tabberer, for example, claimed that she'd lived her life with the sexual freedom of a man. But you list a number of lovers and liaisons and so on in your book. I wonder if we could go back to the ra-meter. If we can rank a couple of them. (LAUGHS) A Melbourne footballer with a mo? Raaaa! (LAUGHS) This is very good. A Swedish astrophysicist. Have I got that right? Ra! (LAUGHS) Wealthy Tasmanian grazier? Raaaa! Oh! Wealthy Sydney businessman with a great wit. (LAUGHS) He's a friend so I can't say the ra there. He's a friend, he might be watching. He might appreciate a little ra.

Oh. Raaaa! (LAUGHS) You're wicked, Andrew.