Bizarre, Dangerous Staging of Pictures for News Story

This report from the Australian Broadcasting Company’s MediaWatch program is downright sickening in showing just how far some people in the media are willing to go to manufacture details to make a news story more sexy.

The article details a news story filed by Australian Broadcasting Company television reporter Gina Wilkinson, who is stationed in Iraq. Wilkinson’s story was about the dangers posted to children by unexploded munitions left over from the recently concluded war. Wilkinson wanted to emphasize that children might play around and on the munitions, and so she and her assistant managed to convince several children to do just that for their cameras. MediaWatch provides the following transcript of tapes that were leaked to it,

Wilkinson’s Assistant, Mr. Saadi: You want to show the children on there?

Wilkinson: Yeah, that would be good. Yeah, if they donÂ’t mind.


– (trans) You want them to stand over there to be filmed?

– (trans) Come on sweetie. WhatÂ’s her name?

– Noona

– (trans) I’m worried about them.

– Sit. Sit on this.

– (trans) I’m worried about them.

– (trans) Sit on the edge.

Wilkinson: Please God, don’t let this thing explode now.

. . .

Wilkinson: Mr Saadi?

Saadi: Yes.

Wilkinson: Can we get these two kids to walk around underneath the missile?

Just around it?

Saadi: Mohammad. Mohammad.
Wilkinson: And this one?
Saadi: (trans) Come here. Go up there. Go with him. Casually, casually. Walk behind him. Go with him.

Wilkinson: Mr Saadi, could you ask them to do that one more time for me?

Saadi (trans): This time in reverse?

(trans): No no no.

Wilkinson: Excellent.

At least when Jayson Blair manufactured things for the New York Times he didn’t endanger the lives of children to do so. Unfortunately, the only comment that MediaWatch gets from the ABC about how they will deal with Wilkinson are words to the effect that its an internal matter. She should be fired immediately, and in a very public manner for acting so unconscionably.


ABC Baghdad: Kids and bombs. MediaWatch, Australian Broadcasting System, September 29, 2003.

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