Feeling threatened, Shane?

Has Shane Wright just thrown his reputation overboard?

The MGH is saddened to even have to pose the question after it read a certain paragraph from his essay in last Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald News Review section.

And here it is. But first, those who believe that Wright, the economics writer for both the SMH and The Age, remains one of the few fair and decent scribes left at the SMH as the masthead drifts – if that’s the right word – to the right may want to turn away now.

Ready? Here it comes.

Threatened? Threatened, Shane Wright?

While we soberly and somberly reflect about Wright’s long career in journalism and the direction it might be heading under Nine Entertainment Co. ownership and under new SMH editor Bevan Shields, let’s listen to the ABC 7pm’s news reporter on the same night on the same subject – the release after 20 years of Howard Government Cabinet material from 2001.

Stephanie Borys nailed what just about anyone across the disgraceful, shameless, opportunistic, totally dishonest vilification of refugee people to help win an election back in 2001 knows as the absolute truth: “As the election campaign began in October, the government controversially claimed that children had been thrown overboard. The claim was later proven to be untrue.”

Let’s look at Wright’s own paper’s record of what was said at the time.

Or this extract from Virginia Trioli’s Walkley Award-winning interview on the ABC Drive radio program with Defence Minister Peter Reith at the time.

Any use of the word “threatened” in any of that, Shane Wright?

Ivan Milat would never have had the bad press he got if he had only threatened to show backpackers the delights of the Belanglo State Forest.

It beggars belief that any journo worth their salt – and judging by photos, we suspect that Shane Wright would have probably been in the trade well before 2001 and certainly well before Ms Borys – would not be totally aware that Howard and his ministers wilfully, dishonestly, cynically crucified those refugee mothers and fathers with a pack of lies for their own sordid political gain.

The Tampa refugee incident had begun to fade in voters’ minds and by vilifying refugees with those disgusting fibs, Howard brought border security back into election focus so he could garner votes with his “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come” line of attack.

Shane Wright should and must have known that and the weasel word “threatened” should never, not for a moment, have entered his thought process let alone make its way down to his typing fingers.

DISCLAIMER: The Bug and especially its Media Glass House writers and researchers are forever trying their utmost to be fair and reasonable. We accept there’s a possibility that a sub-editor might have changed Wright’s copy and inserted “threatened”. Who knows? Maybe Nine Entertainment Co chair Peter Costello had been wandering through the newsroom at the time and put his sub-editor’s cap on. We invite Wright to let us know if something like that happened. For his sake, we hope it did.