PM praises Lateline grilling

2014-10-09_1123ABC’s Lateline has been in the firing line in recent weeks but last night it got an endorsement from the Prime Minister following a heated interview between Emma Alberici and Wassim Doureihi, a spokesman for Islamic State supporters Hizb ut-Tahrir.

In the interview Doureihi dodged many of Alberici’s questions, resulting in both talking over one another.

EMMA ALBERICI: And with respect, many commentators all over the world have made that very point. What I’m asking you specifically is their tactics. Of course people are angry; we understand that. But what I’m asking you is the tactic that’s being employed to push back. Do you support it?

WASSIM DOUREIHI: Well let me explain something very clearly. I will explain very clearly.

EMMA ALBERICI: Answer my question, please.

WASSIM DOUREIHI: I’ll explain to you why the question itself is quite disconcerting, because what we’re talking about is a particular reality where millions have lost their lives. Countries have been destroyed, homes …

EMMA ALBERICI: You are clearly obfuscating …

WASSIM DOUREIHI: Absolutely not.

EMMA ALBERICI: … and I did not invite you …

WASSIM DOUREIHI: No, I reject that, I reject the accusation.

EMMA ALBERICI: … onto this program to do that.

WASSIM DOUREIHI: I’ll say very clearly: why is it not offensive …

EMMA ALBERICI: Why will you not point blank condemn the actions of IS fighters?

WASSIM DOUREIHI: Why is it not offensive – because the question itself is offensive.

EMMA ALBERICI: Men who cut off the heads of innocent journalists and aid workers. Why will you not take the opportunity?

WASSIM DOUREIHI: You can ask the question – you can ask the question …

EMMA ALBERICI: You have a national platform here.

WASSIM DOUREIHI: Yes. And I’m quite aware of that.

Tony Abbott applauded Alberici for grilling Doureihi as he tried to avoid her questions.

“Good on Emma Alberici, she’s a feisty interviewer… I think she spoke for our country last night,” he told 3AW this morning.

The Prime Minister said Doureihi’s views did not represent the wider Muslim community and said extremists would not be welcome.

“It’s wrong, it’s un-Islamic, it’s un-Australian and I hope he wakes up to himself,” he said.

“I regard it as un-Australian, to stand up there and make excuses for terrorism. To blame everyone but the terrorists for their actions. What the terrorists are doing in the Middle East is abhorred.”

Lateline has attracted its own criticisms lately amid looming budget cuts and questions about its own TV ratings.


  1. I stumbled into the interview mid-point channel surfing. It was great to see a pro-IS person on TV. I wanted to see him explain why he supports the group. But he didn’t. I couldn’t keep watching the conflict between him and Emma. It wasn’t going anywhere.

    I don’t know what he was aiming to achieve. It seems it was to broadcast a polemic to a wide audience. That didn’t work for him.

  2. Not enough of this stuff on TV anymore.

    To many Journos take the softly softly approach.

    Someone with attitude with no bias is what we need.

    Give Steve Price a show so he can rip into some people…..but with no political Bias…..that’s the problem.

    The ABC is becoming more and more Important. They might be a little left……but not as far right as as some on Sky News.

    Down the middle please.

  3. This is absolutely why we need the ABC journalism. This very interview would have been tabloid crap on 7 or 9. I love journalists who take their profession seriously. I also understand that the ABC often has case to answer as they regularly push an agenda but they are the best we have on FTA. The Conversation is the best online political blog in my opinion. I like to think the 2 keep my political views balanced but who knows. You go Emma.

  4. A tough interview for Ms Alberici, but well done. We need more hard journalism on our TV. I remember a time when Negus, Ray. Martin, jeez even Liz Hayes could make people squirm.

  5. tvwillalwaysrule

    I agree with Tony, absolutely brilliant interview. That deserves to go viral. Perhaps Today or Sunrise could fill their 3 hours with this viral video rather than the ones they fill with currently

  6. @Jason – That wasn’t what AA was saying. What he was saying was that the PM doesn’t like Doureihi and so was happy to see him grilled. If Ms Alberici had used the same interview technique on someone Abbott supported however, then it is likely he would have condemned the interview (just as he did when he was “grilled” himself a few years ago when he displayed the same obfuscating behaviour, and still does in many interviews).

    This is why I like (and we need) the ABC. When they ask a question they reasonably enough expect it to be answered and so continue to press. They do this to everyone, equally. It is rare to find journalists such as these in today’s climate.

  7. @easygoing777- ??? ABC wasn’t “sucking up” to anyone.
    @Armchair Analyst – “he (the PM) praises people he doesnt liked being grilled”. I didn’t hear anything anywhere where he was praising the person (Doureihi) being grilled. “Tony Abbott applauded Alberici for grilling Doureihi as he tried to avoid her questions.”
    @remote – “I don’t think a shouting match does much to serve the issue or educate the public”. It turned into a shouting match because Doureihi would not answer any questions but was determined to sprout his evil, toxic babbling.

  8. Armchair Analyst

    I didnt watch the show but the comment made by the PM says a lot about him as a person. It shows that he is not very enlightened and is as usual going for the lowest common denominator. He and his Govt. do not like to be critisised by the ABC yet as usual and as expected he praises people he doesnt liked being grilled. Oh well life goes on.

  9. @jezza, I think Emma could have just given him enough rope to hang himself, free of the need for a shouting match, but I got the impression this sort of interview may have been the intention from the start. Can’t say I enjoyed it or got a whole lot out of it.

  10. jezza the first original one

    @remote I agree with you to a certain extent. However it did highlight the toxic supporters of evil and that they are content to stir up hatred within our nation. Well done Emma

  11. I don’t believe they wouldn’t have known exactly what sort of guest they were getting and what sort of interview would likely result. I don’t think a shouting match does much to serve the issue or educate the public and it’s ten minutes that could have been better spent. I’m sure it will attract the odd cynic who may believe it was intended to provoke attention to questions over the program’s future.

  12. Turned on Lateline half way through this interview. How awesome is Emma Alberici! Such interviews highlight what a fantastic programme Lateline is, and how good its presenters are. Why is it that it seems only the ABC can do this kind of stuff with any conviction?

  13. It was magic TV last night. Just pity the closed captioning person trying to keep up with it, but he/she did a great job.
    The PM/3AW/Lateline piece was carried ‘live’ on ABC24 this morning.
    And of course, Doureihi would not be at all happy being grilled by a female.

  14. I watched Emma Alberto’s interview last night. It’s so good to see an interviewer making sure that questions are answered with the PR spin that guests so often use.

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