What’s With All The Caro Bashing?

So Fairfax’s football editor, Caroline Wilson, has written another couple of articles about North. And it took the NMFC peeps on the BigFooty forums all of 5 minutes (literally) to start sticking the boots in.

It’s not something new. Caro has been copping it from all directions throughout her now substantial career reporting on the AFL. Frankly, I don’t get it, and I’m beginning to get pretty fucking sick of the personal attacks she cops. The footy media is full of shit journalists, but Caro isn’t one of them. The whole thing reaps of the sexism that footy has failed to shake-off, despite a relatively good track record (at least when you compare it to the other football codes).

The truth is Caroline Wilson can write, she has good contacts within the AFL, has a nose for a story, isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions and is yet to go to the gutter – all traits of a good, ethical journalist. Fans, footy personalities and colleagues alike take every opportunity to bag her. Some say she makes shit up under the guise of confident sources, yet they seem to know nothing about the confidentiality issues surrounding journalists’ sources. Some say she is too quick to stick the boots in, failing to recognise the measured justification for her opinions, and that it’s her job to provide them. Some criticise the headlines of her column – she doesn’t write them. Nearly everyone criticise her coz she’s ‘never played the game’ – fuck off! Football itself is probably the most straight-forward aspect of the AFL to analyse. But Caro, having never played it, doesn’t touch it. Administration, politics, personnel management, public relations and the myriad of other non-football issues are her bread and butter, and she does it as well as anyone.

Don’t get me wrong, I often disagree with Caro and regularly find her annoying. But there’s no way she deserves the shit she gets. Particularly when you compare her to the dreggs of society competing for her exclusives. Here’s a very brief dishonour roll:

  • Craig Hutchinson– Hutchy is a disgrace. By his own admission, Hutchy has no basis to provide comment on football itself, so, like Caro, is confined to behind-the-scenes stories. The only thing is, he has no ethics. Can by found going through the bins of footballers to break the next exclusive.
  • Dylan HowardSacked by Channel 7 after the medical records purchasing debacle, again, has no ethics. Who employed him afterwards? Hutchy. I rest my case.
  • Mike Sheehan – News Limited journo who forgot to learn how to write. I shudder at the thought of reading his work without an editor’s eye.
  • Patrick Smith– Writes uneducated columns for uneducated readers (ie. Sydney-siders). Appears to know more about the state of meat pies than football.
  • Scotty Palmer – He may have had something to contribute in 1975 (I doubt it, but I wasn’t around then so it’s a possibility) but certainly doesn’t now. No nose for news.
  • Sam Newman – If he stuck to talking about the game (ie. the only thing he’s qualified to comment on) he’d be top shelf. The problem is he does everything but.
  • Lou Richards – It’s not his fault he’s lost his marbles, he’s just old. Channel 9, do everyone a favour and give the man a rest.

And that’s the end of my story.

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16 Comments

Filed under Off Field

16 responses to “What’s With All The Caro Bashing?

  1. magpie

    I agree, Caro has heaps of integrity if you ask me (not that you did). This is pretty unusual for a journo, and as you’ve said – unheard of for a footy journo.

    And go easy on Lou. He’s a total champ.

  2. Z

    She pushed an AFL agenda.

    The trade off for her inside info was that she keep the pressure on North while we were at our most vulnerable. She knew how the AFL were using her, but that didn’t matter because she got all their info first.

    If you call that ethical, you have a different definition to me.

    Nothing really wrong with her articles today, but never forget that she played an important part in trying to kill our club.

    North people are entitled to a bit of bitterness.

    The gender reasoning is a cop out.

  3. revshinboner

    Z – I wasn’t aware of that conspiracy theory. Is it true?

    Regardless, it sounds to me more like the AFL played the public relations war better than North, rather than Caro being a mouthpiece for the AFL (which would be unethical). But I’ll stand corrected if solid evidence is put forward to the contrary …

  4. Hammer

    Looks like Fairfax agenda to me. No rubbish journos at Spencer St?

    • revshinboner

      Looks like Fairfax agenda to me. No rubbish journos at Spencer St?

      Plenty of crap journos at Spencer St, but no extreme cases. And more importantly, no gutter journos. So no point naming names unless they are offensively bad.

      But Fairfax also has some quality – Martin Flanagan and John T. Harms are two of the best storytellers in footy.

  5. ken garou

    To be fair to the punters at bigfooty many comment favourably on these two articles seeing them as part of a more savvy media presence at North.

    Caroline Wilson’s campaign to push North to the Gold Coast last year was neither journalism or meaningful commentary. Any journo worthy of the name would have realised the real story was the shafting of a 139 year old football club by some insiders and the AFL.

    Wilson’s contacts at the AFL are all well and good but to be their mouthpiece throughout the relocation saga was disgraceful.

  6. ken garou

    revshinboner – the AFL completely botched (thankfully) the PR on the relocation at every turn & that is why the endless series of Caro articles about “cash-strapped” North and the “relocation is inevitable” caused so much angst and outrage for many North supporters.

    The WANM and Roosistence mob showed the AFL how an effective PR campaign should be run & they did it on the smell of an oily rag armed with a body of evidence to support the case for staying in Melbourne.

    • revshinboner

      ‘the AFL completely botched (thankfully) the PR on the relocation at every turn & that is why the endless series of Caro articles about “cash-strapped” North and the “relocation is inevitable” caused so much angst and outrage for many North supporters.

      The WANM and Roosistence mob showed the AFL how an effective PR campaign should be run & they did it on the smell of an oily rag armed with a body of evidence to support the case for staying in Melbourne.’

      Ken – I don’t entirely disagree. I thought the AFL started playing the PR game far better than North (remember that the NMFC Board was deeply divided at the time with very few positives coming out in the media, except the on-field performance!) but there was definately a turning point. From nowhere, different articles started to emerge – first the “5 white knights” and then the lucrative sponsor that had been lined up contigent on North staying in Melbourne (see here for those who don’t know the background). All of a sudden North’s Board came across as far more effective, and holes in the Gold Coast offer started being exposed as the deal-breakers that they were (the lack of a stadium deal and the AFL owning NMFC being the obvious two).

      Roosistence and We Are North Melbourne (WANM) certainly helped North ultimately win the PR battle and provided Brayshaw and his team with the grass-roots support that they needed – and I commend all those who banded together in such a unified manner. But ultimately I have to say that it was Brayshaw’s media nouse that swung the tide back in North’s favour more than anything else.

      I know I’m preaching to the converted here, but Brayshaw is undoubtedly the real hero of the story. I just think it’s unfair that Caro is so often portrayed as the villan.

  7. G’day, nice post mate.

    I don’t mind Caro at all. She is certainly a breath of fresh air on the otherwise rather putrid ‘Footy Classified’, but that’s not too difficult when you’re put next to (Gary ‘Always on the Fence’ Lyon and Glenn ‘What’s a scentence?’ Archer). Then there’s Hutchy, but I think I know where you stand with him!

    Of the other journo’s you mentioned, I’d give Mike Sheehan a pass mark – but the others I think you’re basically spot on.

    Being a Carlton man, I have a soft spot for Rob Walls – who I’d consider my favourite (paper and radio), though many would disagree I’m guessing.

    Anyway, I’ve just found your blog so I’m going to have a read through.

    Cheers.

  8. Hammer

    ‘Plenty of crap journos at Spencer St, but no extreme cases. And more importantly, no gutter journos. So no point naming names unless they are offensively bad.’

    How is Mike Sheehan offesively bad? If his writing is worse than Caro’s I’m reading different papers to you. I just love the Caro uses the term ‘The Age understands…’ as a way of launching into hunches and half-truths.

  9. Royalblueroo

    you’ve gotta be kidding!

    Caro went out of her way to push the AFL agenda of moving the NMFC to the Gold Coast.

    She lied, saying that the players and coaching staff preferred the GC option.

    Her constant “the Age understands…” crap — always putting a negative spin on things

    I do agree however that references to her gender and the ‘usc’ rubbish are worse than unnecessary.

    btw are you ‘Pharro’? not that i know you/him at all, but if you are i reckon you should come back to bigfooty!

  10. — revshinboner said @ 12/02/2009 at 5:49 pm
    “…rather than Caro being a mouthpiece for the AFL (which would be unethical). But I’ll stand corrected if solid evidence is put forward to the contrary …”

    I give you, exhibit A:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080202233501/www.goldcoasttruth.org/propagandacarolinewilson.html

    • revshinboner

      I give you, exhibit A

      HeyTRooBlue – thanks heaps for posting that link (sorry it didn’t go up straight away, wordpress thought it was spam). There’s a shirtload of information in there that will take some time for me to get through, but I will do my best to provide a response in the next few days.

      PS: Royalblueroo, no, I’m not ‘Pharro’. I do enjoy browsing BigFooty though – there’s a great community of passionate NMFC peeps there. Some just get a bit overzealous sometimes …

    • A full response to the comments is provided here.

  11. Hey Revshinboner,

    Will you be posting your thoughts on North Melbourne’s performance on Friday night? Not too flash, eh – with not many players to come back. So what went wrong then?

    Luke.

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