I always assumed that the Religion Report would be improved with the removal of Stephen Crittenden. But this morning’s program – completely lacking in any manifestation of the presence of Stephen Crittenden whatsoever – was just plain boring. They just played an edited lecture on “Blasphemy”. There was no explanation for Crittenden’s absence. And even less explanation of why would would want to hear a lecture on this subject in the car on the way to work in the morning…
So, okay, we all know now that the life of the RR is drawing to a close, and we all know that Crittenden probably deserves to lose his job along with it for the gratuitous remarks that he made about the ABC management last week, but does Aunty need to punish her loyal listeners too?
Well, she does it to this listener every time I tune in – which is why I do it less and less.
After extensive research (via Google!!!), I’ve never been able to find what relevant qualifications Stephen Crittendon and hosts of similar “religion-related” programmes on the ABC have.
However, to give credit, I have regularly found the Encounter programme on ABC radio (produced by Florence Spurling) both interesting and intelligent. They cover important subjects and give a voice to the people, rather than peddling the views of the ABC presenter. A lot of ABC programmes claim to do this, but in my opinion fail miserably, but Encounter is a glowing and honourable exception.
What qualifications were you looking for Paul?
I gather he’s been a journalist for 20+ years. How is that not a qualification to be a specialist broadcaster?
(Must do some Google research to see if Schütz is qualified to run a blog! ;-) )
I’d rather see an end to the career of Crittenden’s “Producer”, Noel Debien.
Of course being a journalist is a good qualification for someone to relay the opinions of others. But not, I suggest, to filter others’ opinions through his own.
The alternative is to be a commentator, but I believe that requires some committment or knowledge of the subject. Kerry O’Keefe is a sports commentator, but not a financial commentator, he leaves that to Alan Kohler.
By the way, your comment that David Shutz not qualified to run a blog must mean that although he obviously has spent many years studying religious matters, (including, I believe as a minister), you don’t think he is qualified as a blog writer. Does that mean he has no special knowledge of suitable typefaces, or other “blog” qualifications.
Then again, I have no special qualifications in either religion or blogs, so I’d better not comment further.
Tony, I hope you take my comments as constructive, but I wanted to express my concern about the way the media can be vague about whether it is offering reporting, comment or special knowledge.
Paul, thanks for the defence of my qualifications! I agree, there is a world of difference in being qualified to be a blogger/journo and being qualified to comment on matters of religion. One is the technical skill required (for instance, I am qualified to be a blogger but my mother isn’t) the other is the knowledge needed to deal with the subject matter (I am generally not qualified to blog on sporting matters; my father-in-law, on the other hand, is).
On Encounter, Ms Spurling etc. there is a very clear difference between the personal/communal experience approach of Encounter and Spirit of Things compared to the current affairs/public square approach of the Religion Report. Both have a place.
By the way, did you hear the excellent Encounter program on the Mormons and the descendants of Joseph Smith in Australia just recently? That was really good.
I see what you mean about the different styles of programming, but even the personal experience style is open to distortion by the TV producers. For example, after WYD, the ABC Compass Show had two programmes called “Catholic dilemma” and part 2 was on women in the Church. The whole programme was devoted to 4 women who complained that they were being stifled and suppressed, but no other voice was allowed to be heard. (the only other voice that crept in was a comment from one of the women who was busy rewriting the Scripture readings to be “inclusive” and complained that she was being criticised by the other parishioners!!!)
I wrote to the ABC and complained about the one-sidedness, and received a reply that said, in part “It is clear that you found the program one-sided and would have preferred to hear views opposing those expressed by the four women.
However, the ABC considers that it is legitimate for Compass, a program about religion, faith, and ethics, to explore personal perspectives such as these as a way of examining a significant issue facing the Catholic Church in Australia.”
In other words,”we think the other side is heard too much already, so we reserve the right to positively discriminate our way in choosing the contributors. If you don’t like it, tough luck, buddy!!”
So truth is not in the eye of the beholder, it is in the eye of the producer.