How the media reacted to the end of the Ben Roberts-Smith case


Yesterday, one of many most consequential defamation circumstances in Australian media historical past got here to a detailed. One wonders how Ben Roberts-Smith, absent from courtroom and noticed in Bali as just lately as Wednesday, spent the afternoon as Justice Anthony Besanko discovered the 2018 reviews alleging that he had dedicated quite a lot of battle crimes — revealed by The AgeThe Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Occasions, who he then sued — have been considerably true.

Given the testimony the case had caused and the unbelievable particulars publicised, even had he received it could have been the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory. Because it occurs he misplaced, and misplaced and misplaced.

Right here’s how the media reacted to a case that rippled by way of Australia’s media, made worldwide headlines and interrogated our nationwide myths.

The 9 papers

The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald staked big assets, and in some ways their reputations as information shops, on their reportage alleging Australia’s most adorned dwelling soldier, a high-profile exemplar of a sure nationwide excellent, was actually a assassin and a battle felony. It isn’t in the least stunning then that the mastheads greeted the choice with a way of vindication and triumph:

(Supply: The Sydney morning Herald)
(Supply: The age)

In an editorial that pays tribute to the victims, the witnesses who got here ahead and the work of army sociologist Samantha Crompvoets, the SMH summed up:

This masthead you help has prevailed in defending itself in opposition to the cost of defamation, and the courtroom has discovered that the person who introduced these accusations, funded by a rival media firm, actually dedicated battle crimes and murders. That Australian, who acquired the very best army ornament our nation can bestow, whose phrases and actions turned a part of the material of the Australian Struggle Memorial, has been proven to have dedicated these acts in a battle waged on our behalf. And we should always not overlook that in a distant land, fathers and sons have been minimize down unjustly by overseas forces — our forces.

All that mentioned, The Age might wish to have a fast phrase with whoever controls their advert placements:

(Supply: The Age)

Given it was additionally named within the declare, it must be mentioned that The Canberra Occasions is remarkably chill about all this — a little bit of commentary and a cartoon apart, the case barely registers on its homepage, the place, at time of writing, that is the highest story:

(Supply: The Canberra Occasions)

Different media

The Australian reported the choice comparatively straight, with a wierd concentrate on one of many imputations the choose discovered hadn’t been sufficiently supported by the proof 9 introduced: that Roberts-Smith had been violent in the direction of a girlfriend.

(Supply: The Australian)

Predictably there’s additionally a whole lot of “larger image” commentary in right this moment’s version, akin to the next:

Many Australians will likely be extra inclined to the view of 1 soldier who testified in opposition to Roberts-Smith however was however spittingly offended {that a} man he revered was being hounded for ‘killing dangerous dudes we went over there to kill’.

If Roberts-Smith had been content material to let it go at that he’d nonetheless have half the nation behind him.

Stephen Rice’s view, that mainstream Australia might need been largely tolerant of what was alleged in opposition to Roberts-Smith, is… fascinating.

We additionally observe that in describing Seven Community chairman Kerry Stokes, who bankrolled Roberts-Smith’s case in opposition to his media rivals at 9, as “the nation’s richest media mogul”, Rice tacitly acknowledges that the proprietor of his personal masthead has gone out of his method to be un-Australian.

The West

It was all the time going to be fascinating to see how the choice could be reported within the properties owned by Stokes. Whereas each different outlet and community revelled within the drama of the choice and the case that led to it, Seven took a extra restrained method, within the course of attaining the primary recorded occasion of anti-clickbait :

(Supply: 7News)

The West Australian was notably late to the story yesterday afternoon, and on its front-page piece right this moment, it has used a picture of Roberts-Smith that was photoshopped to clean out a badge displaying the Crusader’s cross:

(Supply: The West Australian)

Share post:


More like this

World News: Stay Updated with Global Headlines

In today's fast-paced world, staying updated with global headlines...

The Evolution of Entertainment: A Journey Through Time

The world of entertainment has undergone a transformative journey,...

Breaking News 2024: Navigating Through the Maze of Information

In today's rapidly evolving world, staying informed about the...

Embracing the Magic: A Journey into the World of Entertainment

Entertainment, in all its forms, has the remarkable ability...