Monday, May 08, 2006

Vale Carlton

It is many years since I have been forced to endure Sixty Minutes. It is a tv show that I detest, probably without a really good reason. But my knowledge of the now late Richard Carlton goes back a good bit further.

"Do you have blood on your hands today Mr Hawke?" That must have been in 1983, but he was around as a jounalist well before then. He was on his own show with his co-host Max Walsh when he asked the question of Labor Party leader Bob Hawke after Hawke had overthrown previous Labor leader Bill Hayden. I think the show was called the Carlton Walsh Report. It was generally abbreviated to the Carwash Report.

Carlton could be terribly smarmy and you could not accuse him of being subtle. I was with friends last night and a tv was on. Sixty Minutes had been brought forward an hour for whatever reason. The first story was presented by Carlton and it was about the mining disaster in Tasmania. Bar myself only, no-one else of five people knew that the mine collapse was caused by the mine and not natural geological underground movements. They do now. He asked challenging and legitimate questions of union spokesperson Bill Shorten. As informed as I am about the mine disaster, I did not know about one worker defying instructions and the law. He went to where the dead miner lay and heard the voices of the surviving miners screaming out to stop blasting with explosives. The operation then turned into a rescue rather than a body retrieval. Carlton and his staff had certainly done some good investigative journalism.

At a press conference he asked a salient question, then collapsed and died soon after. But the story that ran just a few hours later was in the can, so to speak, and it was a fine piece of television and a fitting tribute to Richard Carlton.

1 comment:

  1. I've seen him in all sorts of great stories from all over the world. He never really backed away from questions we wanted him to ask and it wasn't often that his subject got the better of him. He died obviously doing what he loved and will be missed. Quality journalism has just moved down a peg with his absence.