‘Dingo’s Got My Baby’: Trial by Media | Retro Report | The New York Times

‘Dingo’s Got My Baby’: Trial by Media | Retro Report | The New York Times

27 thoughts on “‘Dingo’s Got My Baby’: Trial by Media | Retro Report | The New York Times

  1. I find it very offensive to hear people laughing at what happen to azaria ,its pure ignorance ,if these people took the time to understand ,that a dingo is a Australian native dog and it is involved in the death of a 9 week old baby, would they still make there sick poor taste jokes

  2. "The dingo took my baby" is a funny line and was made like that by the movie. On the other hand, the movie was extremely effective in clearing her name, specially outside Australia – since, according to the NYT piece, it wasn't so effective there.

  3. Lindy Chamberlain and her then-husband Michael, a Seventh Day Adventist pastor, had three children before the loss of their infant daughter Azaria in a wild animal attack. Her real "offence" consisted of failing to act, speak and even dress in the culturally-prescribed, "appropriate" ways that much of the Australian community deemed to be the norm for a grieving mother. Add to that the dogmatism and hubris of the Northern Territory Police, the Chief Minister and the Attorney-General, as well as the damning forensic science findings—later discovered to be wrong—of the recklessly inept Cambridge professor, James Cameron. (His egregiously flawed expert testimony was ultimately the crucial factor in securing the guilty verdict.) Commercial television and elements of the press, notably the major Darwin newspaper and the Murdoch tabloids, fueled the public hysteria. In that toxic climate, which allowed the outrageous procedural unfairness and technical error that had characterised the investigation to extend into the conduct of the subsequent trial, a wrongful conviction became inevitable, and imprisonment followed. Michael Chamberlain received a conviction also: on the charge of accessory to murder after the fact. But to the chagrin of the Crown Prosecutor he was spared a custodial sentence so that he could continue to look after the surviving children. After some years the emergence of new physical evidence and the competent re-examination of what had been so outrageously mishandled previously led to the quashing of the parents' respective convictions, and slowly, grudgingly and painfully the miscarriage of justice was remedied. Even so, the human injustice suffered by the Chamberlains and their family continues to exact its toll today.

    Lindy and Michael Chamberlain were no more nor less negligent of their child's safety than many other parents who camped at Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park in 1980. They, like other Australians, naively did not foresee (as recalcitrant conspiracy mongers continue not to see even today) that dingos might be a potential threat. Fault can certainly be attributed, which it belatedly was, to the Park authorities and the Northern Territory Government. The former were present all the time and observed the local dingo population becoming gradually less timid and avoiding of humans, motivated by the increased food-scavenging opportunities provided—too often deliberately—by the growing numbers of tourists. Yet nothing was done to curtail this ominous change in behaviour or to alert visitors to any emerging threat. Although they had at least reported their concerns to the NT Government, the latter also failed to take timely preventive measures that might have been politically controversial or risked affecting the lucrative tourist industry. The Chamberlains were tragically unfortunate that their visit coincided with the occasion that one hungry animal at last felt bold enough to enter a camper's tent.

    Hypocrisy and petty-mindedness, given public expression as stereotyping and scapegoating, are not unique to any country. But the Chamberlain affair unleashed these vices in a peculiarly Australian cultural context. Not since the spectacular and bloody outlaw career of the Kelly gang a century earlier, which culminated with the trial and execution of Ned Kelly, had Australians been so rancorously divided by a court case and the nation's collective psyche been disturbed so deeply. But whatever the broader societal rights and wrongs of that earlier saga, that Ned was guilty as charged was never seriously in question. Who in 1980 could have imagined that once again an often complacent and self-regarding society was about to be confronted with an uncomfortable view of itself that it is still finding very difficult to acknowledge.

  4. poor woman … all theese years having everybody thinking she was a killer … making fun of the horrible situation … however I do understand the feeling people got, when she explains the way a dingo eats meat … she looks chilling, but no matter that, the evidence is quite clear, and it shows she was indeed innocent.

  5. What's crazy is that the loss of a baby thirty years ago became the entire centerpiece and focal point of a person's life when she personally had done nothing to cause the death. What's the lesson there? Moms, don't you dare go on a vacation or set your baby down for even a minute? And this had to take a toll on everyone in the family left alive- the kids who lost their sibling, then having parents too distracted by court to comfort them, mom being locked up, the wedge between spouses, all their relationships would suffer, and the baby's existence being totally overshadowed by the way she was taken from them. What a bunch of unneccessary suffering. RIP little baby! She looked very sweet.

  6. NO need to compare American "health care" to any other. Here is a close up:
    A friend got sick, realized he couldn't afford health insurance (or if he did, the deductibles, and co pay and red tapes alone would ruined him financially). He's not old enough for medicare but old enough to get old time illnesses. So, he went to a hospital or a clinic, and asked them what would he do as an "American" for healthcare if he couldn't afford insurance, the lady at the desk gave him an application for charity.
    America, Nation on charity for its survival

  7. I don't think I could live knowing a Lynche mob was out for my blood all day and all night. I thought that kind of animalist behavior from people faded out with the witch trials in Massachusetts.

  8. Her not grieving during court is 1 a brave face 2 shock I mean you lose a kid to a dingo and now your being called a murderer how would you react? I would be stunned into silence too.

  9. I remember this story, and I felt sick for this woman. There's fact that everyone here was joking about it just made it worse. I cannot imagine how horrifying this must have been for her

  10. I don't know why, but there is a large portion of people, who, once they are told someone is responsible for a murder, will never believe that person is innocent, even if there is film showing that that person was not responsible. Once an authority figure tells these people something is so, they will never, ever think differently.

  11. I had hard "the dingo took my baby" but i never realized what it was about, even if she had done this, i'm not sure why anyone would have thought it would be something to joke about. regardless if she was innocent or not, its not a laughing matter.

  12. i was there camping that night with a group of american students. it was one of the most wonderful nights of my life. we didn't know anything about what happened in the other campground till we got to Sidney a week later.

  13. I was only a child when this happen but i alway beleive her that a dingo killed her baby. I have never changed my mine in that fact. Only thing that has ever bothered me is what were they doing camping with a 9 month old baby.

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