It’s a bit baffling why senior 60 Minutes reporter Michael Usher was the one tasked with presenting us with a five-minute apology for the show’s poor form in being involved in that mess in Beirut, but still it was an apology.
In begging for forgiveness, the apology also highlighted that Channel 9’s involvement in trying to bring two children back to Australia with their mother was ‘not worth the risk’.
“We sincerely apologise,” Usher said. “There is a lot to learn from this experience for us at 60 Minutes and for the entire network.”
It was then that the show’s founding boss and co-author of the internal inquiry report into the issue announced that the child abduction adventure should never have been commissioned and that judgement and priorities were awry.
When Usher asked Stone why the producer, Stephen Rice, was the only person involved in the incident to have been put out of a job he said there was “no doubt” that the judgement of both Rice and reporter Tara Brown was blurred; he just didn’t believe a journalist should have to take the fall.
Stone said the failed mission to return Sally Faulkner’s children to Australia in April was “without doubt the greatest misadventure in 37 years of 60 Minutes.”
Naturally, there was criticism on social media that Brown was not the one to sit before us and make the apology on Sunday, May 29.
Weak As Piss #60Minutes to have Michael Usher delivering an apology and not Tara Brown poor form
— Stevie (@SPH1967) May 29, 2016
— ABC News 24 (@ABCNews24) May 27, 2016
Also a notable exclusion from the discussion was the child recovery agent Adam Whittington, who remains in jail in Lebanon.
Through his lawyer Whittington responded to the 60 Minutes apology saying Channel 9 has abandoned him and others recruited for the mission and had moved to “settle the matter without us” when negotiating the release of Sally Faulkner and the 60 Minutes crew.
The only comment made about Whittington was this from Michael Usher: “There is an ongoing criminal case in Lebanon involving our crew and the child recovery team led by Adam Whittington and for legal reason we’re not able to say any more about that.”