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2  SCooP    WINTER 2008
Di  Jim Jessica Strutt was behaving gormlessly, according to the WA Attorney-General. Gormless isn’t a bad word. It means lacking in intelligence: the etymology is the old English gaum, or attention/understanding. “Oh Jessica, can I say most of the other journalists at The West can appreciate that the winds of change are blowing,” Mr McGinty said at a presser. “You gormlessly seem to go on not appreciating that.” Oh Jim! Anyone who knows Jess Strutt knows she’s not gormless. Determined, resourceful, resilient – yes. But she’s got plenty of gaum. I was once labeled gormless by another Fremantle identity. In 1997, when he was campaigning to be mayor of the beautiful port city, Richard Utting said in a letter to the Fremantle Herald I was short on gaum. Mr Utting has moved on, but I’m still here. The Attorney-General will move on sooner or later – and Jess Strutt will still be there. In fact when we’re all pushing up daisies, The West Australian , and journalism and fearless reporting, will still be around.  Our state daily is a proud paper with a long and distinguished history. No matter who’s owned it, it’s been a vital part of free speech and informing the public in Western Australia. It’s dim of Jim not to invite its reporters to his pressers. Perhaps Jim is being badly advised. Of course, he has form in the black-ban area: a few years ago I was working for the Australian Nursing Federation as its media officer and writing stories for the union’s monthly member mag The Western Nurse . I turned up at GMO HQ with my Western Nurse hat on, only to find I was PNG. I made it to the thirteenth floor, but was intercepted by Jim’s media advisor and ushered back into the lift. What’s the point? One of the functions of a journalist is to remember. We’ll all remember the Attorney-General’s tetchiness with West reporters and journalists from The Sunday Times . We’ll remember his unhappiness at being asked questions about what his government is doing. Reporters Without Borders didn’t accuse the Attorney-General of impotence, cowardice and duplicity when it comes to freedom of
The watchdog didn’t mention Mr McGinty. Instead it concentrated on countries such as Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Niger, Chad and Iraq. But isn’t banning papers, belittling reporters and generally throwing your toys out of the pram not defending the values the Government supposedly stands for? Perhaps our Jim will get a mention next year from Reporters Without Borders if he keeps on with the gormlessness.
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