One of the biggest media events of the year took place on Monday night with the second annual Crikey Awards acknowledging everything that is bad about the media and PR.

Eddie polled about 25 votes, finishing well ahead of Andrew Bolt (16), Alan Jones (15) and other finalists such as Piers Akerman and John Laws.

Each guest collected a name tag of a short-listed finalist so the lucky man wearing Eddie’s tag was none other than actor, unionist, activist and intellectual Kevin Summers who collected the wonderful $390 antique mirror kindly donated by Tony and Trina Knoll from at 128 Gertrude St in Fitzroy.

We’re hoping Eddie won’t sue for defamation over this because he is currently going hammer and tongs at The Age in the Supreme Court over a Dave Bernstein column which called him a “hopelessly conflicted tabloid muckraker”. Crikey would not take offence at being called a tabloid muckraker but would never call Eddie such a thing because we think he’s a broadsheet intellectual.

Enough from me, let’s check out who picked up the other 20 Crikey Awards last night.


Eddie McGuire: for triple dipping with Triple M, Nine and the Herald Sun and being a dollar-conscious millionaire hosting Who Wants to be a Millionaire and getting involved with many corporate deals going around despite having significant conflicts of interest as a media player and Collingwood president.


News Ltd foreign correspondent Bruce Wilson leaving Pakistan the day the bombs started to drop and the company’s failure to have anyone in Afghanistan for the duration of the war servicing the popular dailies such as the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, Adelaide Advertiser and Courier Mail.


Joint winners: John Howard, Peter Reith and Phil Ruddock for beating up the concocted yarn about babies being thrown in the water and then releasing the video at the end of the campaign just to get everyone talking about asylum seekers again on polling day.


Jonathon Harley for at least 6 attempts over 2 weeks which finally got the Mullah from the Taliban to say Australia was included in the Jihad. Joint winner is Herald Sun editor Peter Blunden for splashing with this beat up.


Alan Jones for giving only 4 positive mentions to Labor during the campaign out of almost 400 political comments. Given that Jones is a failed candidate for Liberal preselection and regularly hosts Liberal fundraisers, he really was a lay down misere for this one when you consider he did campaign interviews suggesting a formal apology might lead to the establishment of a separate Aboriginal state.


Southern Cross Broadcasting CEO Tony Bell for closing regional newsrooms in Cairns, Townsville, Darwin, Canberra and Alice Springs just days after the election. He’s now sacked more than 300 media workers in three years.


Lynton Crosby, federal director of the Liberal Party, for claiming that ‘economic management and leadership’ won Howard the election rather than xenophobia and fear.


Mark Westfield from The Australian for his glowing cover-story in the Media Section about News Ltd CEO John Hartigan. Apologies to Mark Day for earlier crediting him with this effort. However, Day did write a very positive column about Harto and disclosed that they are old mates who even own a farm together.


Rene Rivkin for his current defamation frenzy against Seven’s Witness program, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review over the antics of his former driver Gordon Woods and The Australian for its coverage of his questionable share dealings.


John Laws for going soft on gambling whilst taking 6-figures from the Penrith Panthers Leagues club. NSW is the gambling capital of the world and Laws has literally received millions from the industry which he rarely criticises. The 2UE website says he is contracted until 2005 “to promote the image, football teams, facilities and services of Penrith Panthers.” The facilities include a few hundred poker machines.


Neil Mitchell: the diminutive 3AW breakfast host went troppo when interviewing ABC rival Jon Faine this year and even more berserk when Pru Goward criticised him for equating tax changes that affected his position as a contractor to being raped with a gun at your head. Mitchell is probably the biggest journalistic ego in Melbourne and really shouldn’t be President of the Melbourne Press Club. When Crikey called him soft a couple of years back, the thin-skinned one labelled me a “dill, idiot and not a journalist’s bottom”.


Emma Tom for constantly talking about herself such that even The Australian has buried her back in the paper now. Another one of Lachlan Murdoch’s mistakes.


Peter Beattie: for literally jumping into a tank full of sharks to distract attention away from vote rorting. He then gloated about what a success this was on the Sunday program. Any politician who publicly admits they are a “media tart” deserves this prize in perpetuity.


Ross Hampton: Peter Reith’s press secretary who when asked what time it was would say this was a defence operational matter and he could not answer. The contrast between the Tampa blackout and all the positive media around East Timor could not have been starker. Shame Ross, shame.


Crikey’s Col Allan grovel after he took offence to a letter about his efforts as a journalist in London. It read as follows:


For the record, we’re happy to say that Col Allan was one of the most outstanding foreign correspondents ever to work in London and that the criticisms from this grizzily and sour rival are completely baseless.

Col generated countless scoops out of London off his own bat and was a warn and generous colleague widely admired by those he worked with, including some of the more seasoned Fleet Street veterans who were inspired by Col.

It was his supreme performance in London that set him on the road to what he is today – the greatest tabloid editor in the world and a model for thousands of journalists throughout the world.


Ray Martin’s interview with Tom Cruise when he failed to ask anything even vaguely controversial and didn’t give the issue of our Nicole the airing it deserved.


Tony Jones interviewing the PM on Lateline two days before the election when the PM whined that several of the questions were offensive.


Melissa Hoyer: The Sunday Telegraph’s fashion and social columnist gets more invites than almost anyone else. She’s a lovely person and very good but for sheer weight of freebies it is hard to go past her. News Ltd does not have a decent policy on freebies and The Sunday Telegraph is the biggest selling paper in the country based in the fashion and party capital of Australia so this all stacks up to Melissa winning the Crikey.


Marco Bass and Mike Sutherland for punching on at the Walkleys. Marco heads ABC news in Victoria and reportedly called Sutherland a disgrace for accepting a redundancy when he had another job to go to. Marco’s glasses went flying and Mike’s nose was badly broken in the ensuing fracas.


Kerry Packer for backing Howard for 5 years and then allowing A Current Affair to run a vicious anti-GST story two days before polling day suggesting the GST was killing kids because parents couldn’t afford swimming lessons any more.

ends Your recommendations before the judges

Dear Stephen,

Just a few suggestions for some of the Crikey Awards:

1. For the want of being boring but probably contributing to a unanimous verdict the award for the most shameless self promotor would have to go to Natasha Stott-Despoja.

8. The most shameless lie told to the media this year would have to go to the St. Kilda Football Club who shamelessly told everyone about the vigourous process used to find a replacement for sacked coach Malcolm Blight, and proceeded to protect their lie by actually spending more time selecting the panel who would actually rubber stamp the appointment of caretaker coach Grant Thomas.

13. Most thin skinned journo without a doubt would have to go to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell. Who seems to go “troppo” and gets very precious when interviewing other journalists on his program. In particular this year when he interviewed ABC Radio’s Jon Faine earlier this year, this follows on from last years distinguished interview with then “A Current Affair” staffer, Chris Smith.

19. Weakest interview of the year lay down misere to Ray Martin’s recent interview of Tom Cruise.

Kind Regards, Michael

These are some of the suggested categories and winners that have come in from Crikey subscribers before we posted the final categories:

The John Fitzgerald award for most unfortunate selection decision

This has to go to Jo Moore, one of Tony Blair’s spin doctors in the Dept of Transport, Local Govt and the Regions. Less than an hour after the second plane smacked into the World Trade Centre on September 11, Jo fired out her now-famous email to the department: “It’s now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury. Councillors’ expenses anyone?”

Unfortunately for Jo the playing conditions did not suit spinners that day.

Cheers, anon.



1. The ABC blokes at the Walkleys, of course

2. Peter FitzSimons and Imre Saluzinszky at the SMH, after Fitz wrote that if Imre was so keen on the war, he should be sent to Afghanistan

3. Miranda Devine and Ruth Ritchie at the SMH, after Ritchie wrote to her own newspaper letters page calling Devine a disgrace.


1. Margo Kingston at the SMH, who wrote that the war was a quagmire, that millions would flee, that America had no idea what it was doing — just days before Kabul was liberated.

2. Bob Ellis for predicting an ALP Federal election win, at least one year before the poll.

3. Phillip Adams, for doing the same.

4. ABC news for claiming, two days after the US election, that Al Gore was “within sight” of the US Presidency


1. Peter Berner at the Sun-Herald, for instructing people to fill their ballot forms in without using consecutive numbers (ie, 1-2-2-2-2) after doing so had been made illegal.

2. The Oz, for a front-page story after the US election that claimed Al Gore had “forced” a re-count — when a recount was required under Florida law.


1. Margo Kingston, who once argued that Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech to Parliament should not be reported at all, now calls for immigrants to Australia to be forced to subscribe to a charter of Australian values.

2. Stephen Mayne, for his conversion from Liberal to Green/Democrat after the Tampa incident. (CRIKEY: Liberals can have a social conscience you know pal.)


1. Col Allan on CNN, talking about the anthrax attack on the New York Post, and not even bothering to do up his tie

2. Bob Ellis mumbling that the Chaser kids were immature and had small minds

3. Tim Blair on ABC claiming that he never listened to Phillip Adams on Radio National, then quoting from the Adams show in his next column.

4. Emma Tom on ABC saying that most columnists were “ancient old men”. As opposed to all the ancient young men.


1. Daily Telegraph, for believing the bogus Nostradamus quote about September 11 attack, and running it in large, bold type.

2. Margo Kingston, for believing the George Bush IQ hoax story weeks after it had been exposed as bogus.

3. David Penberthy, for paying a huge amount (nearly $7000, I think) for a buggered HR Holden to cover the election in. Even some of the people he interviewed said “they sure did see you coming, mate.”


1. Bob Ellis, for writing in the Canberra Times that America deserved to be attacked.

2. Phillip Adams for writing in the Oz that America deserved it.

3. Triple J’s Darwin staffer, who put up a poster of bin Laden in the ABC’s Darwin office

Frank Devine loves the PM

Another reader writes:

If there is an award for most biased journalist, I’d like to nominate Frank Devine. The guy must get the PM to vet his columns first!

Or how about David Flint as a runner up for his column on how the PM would have won the Nobel peace prize if the Tampa hadn’t been a Norwegian vessel?


Not checking the facts

The worst case of unchecked facts – preferably with repercussions?

Andrea Carson, while Urban Affairs Editor at The Age for her “exclusive” reporting that Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok had won the $1.8 billion tender for Victoria Harbor at Docklands, beating Australian company Lendlease. Didn’t exactly boost Lend Lease’s share price.

Regards, Muffin

Most shameless cross-promoter – individual

Lay down misere Eddie McGuire. Has used his Herald Sun column to promote everything about the footy show and every business enterprise he has an interest in, has used the Footy Show to shamelessly promote every business enterprise he has an interest in and everything about the Footy Show. In the final episode of Miyyoinairre, a question about the United Arab Emirates led him to make reference (to the surprise of no one) to the fact that Emirates Air were Collingwood FC sponsors.

Most shameless cross-promoter – group

Channel Ten: Big Brother. Those nobodies appeared anywhere and everywhere on Channel Ten. Good Morning Australia, Rove, Spring Racing Carnival, News, Sports Tonight, 05The only shows they didn’t appear on were the network’s numerous imports. However, we understand that neighbours of the BB compound on the Gold Coast will appear on Judge Judy in an action against the producers complaining about Sarah Marie’s King Kong keister blocking out their enjoyment of natural sunlight.

Most baffling journalism award

Patrick Smith sports column of the year for his piece of fiction on Rod Butterss, Grant Thomas and the St Kilda football club. There was no journalistic merit in this piece all it involved was Patrick’s pathetic attempts at humour in poking fun at Butterss’ assertion that Thomas “eats pressure for breakfast”. No news, nothing based in fact, except that it was based on a stupid quote from the hapless Butterss an especially soft target. Who decided to give Patrick an award for this piece of crap?

Most prescient and humourous footy tipping previewers

Crikey’s very own Jackson Capper and Edna Richards. ‘Nuff said.

The most wined by Carr award

The “My Dinner With Bob” Award; for the commentator/journo that’s been most wined and dined by Bob Carr.

At a press conference last week and shown on Stateline last Friday, Bob Carr gave Quentin Dempster a fearful belting suggesting that he had been to dinner at Bob’s place some time ago and before sitting down for the meal peered up the spout of a champagne bottle and was most distressed that it was finished. QD apparently wailed “It’s empty”.

QD had the good humour to show this incident on the NSW edition.

Cheers, Chris

Some tips from a Canberra press gallery journalist

The nation’s most boring columnist? Easy, Angela Shanahan – for vapid ramblings she has no peer. Most rabid shock jock? Jonesy, natch. The U-turn award? Angela’s hubby Dennis. His head is still spinning and nauseous from desperate attempts to please Rupert each time the new dad changed tack.

Cheers, Name Withheld

CRIKEY: think that might be a bit unfair on the Shanahans but this person is a bone fide gallery type in Canberra and this is a genuinely held viewpoint.

Andrew Bolt for worst shock jock

Dear Crikey

I nominate Andrew Bolt for your worst ‘shock jock’ or ‘columnist’ award. I realise that the title ‘shock – jock’ really applies to the kings of talk back but it seem a particularly appropriate description of Mr Bolt. Add an ‘e’ on the end of his surname and he could be the reincarnation of a deceased Victorian Premier. I have had the distinction of Andrew Bolt calling me a ‘tree hugger’ and ‘a bleeding heart’ when I protested in the Hun over precious elm trees being axed for a carpark. I wear my Andrew Bolt epithet ‘tree hugger’ with great pride. Tree Huggers Unite!

Yours sincerely, Julianne

Henry Bosch’s lame performance

Hi folks,

Sorry I can’t be with you on your awards night – it clashes with a long established evening – I am hoping that there will some dragging on of your agenda as I may get there later.

I am nominating an award for “the wettest public argument put by a person who ought to know better”.

And the winner is former NCSC boss Henry Bosch – for his argument on television that director’s fees have gone berserk because of the enforced disclosure in published accounts.

I was reminded of this stupidity by today’s email about Dick Warburton and his attempt to use this same unconvincing statement.

Interesting thought – which PR genuis invented this furphy for “Boys’ Club” use?

Regards, Brian

Paddy McGuiness for shameless grovelling

Dear Crikey,

I would like to nominate Padraic McGuinness for a Crikey award. Yesterday’s email suggested one of the awards along the line of “Shameless grovelling to the Howard Government.” Paddy’s diatribes usually fit the bill, but his columns in the last week of the election campaign (I think it was the Friday 9/11 or the weekend SMH of 10/11) was pure drivel and more bile-ridden chattering classes and elites bashing.

Paddy seems to hold himself up as a man of alternative views fighting the good fight against all these left wing columnists. His writing are the journalist equivalent of Alan Jones shock jock rubbish.


Sucking up to the proprietor

Most egregious suck-up to the proprietor. My entrant: “How truly Great Lachlan Murdoch Is” in the Media section of the Aust, 22nd Nov 2001.

Most obvious cross-promotional flannel. (there are too many)

Most painful direct lift from the press release. (ditto, particularly items on science, and anything else the journo was bad at in high school).

Most tragic use of the word “but” to begin a sentence completely unrelated to the preceding one.

This is degenerating into a list of things that piss me off in the media so I will stop now. One overall suggestion though: Please decide on your categories then give us enough time to collect examples. Most of us are not big enough media heads to remember the who when & where of these transgressions 24 hrs after reading them.

Cheers, GVK

Jonathon Harley’s Jihad must be commended


I hope there will be an award to the ABC reporter who badgered the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan so much and coaxed him into stating Australia would be a target of the Taliban even though I doubt he (the ambassador) even knew where Australia was. The ABC reporter deserves this award for his efforts to fill the newspapers for a couple of days.


Crikey will win the unchecked facts award

How about the journo to incite the most racial hatred? Should be a bit of competition for that this year.

Or the worst case of unchecked facts – preferably with repercussions? Crikey could have a crack at that.

Or the most blatant plug for ethically challenged journos and those with conflicted interests?

I’m sure you’ll come up with some goodies.


Worst coverage of the Middle East

I’d love to see a category for worst coverage of middle-eastern issues – my nomination is Richard Carleton for his interview with Nabil Shaath, Palestine Liberation Organisation, on Sixty Minutes.

Name Withheld

Biggest flip-flops and one for the Howard grovellers

Some suggestions for the Crikey media awards at the Imperial.

The “Flip-flop” Award: for the media outlet that most dramatically changed support for a political party during the Federal election campaign.

The “Howard’s Own” Award: for the most blatantly pro-Howard commentor. (perhaps Allan Jones should be excluded to make it more competitive).

The “Man Overboard” Award: for the best single attack on Kim Beazley. The BRW “Don’t vote for this man” cover comes to mind.

The “Fuzzy-wuzzies don’t like it up ’em” Award: for the most jingoistic support of Oz involvement against the Taliban.

The “What’s Good For My Business Is Good For Australia” Award: for the most enthusiastic media support for taxpayers to prop up a failing business.

Cheers, Renn

Is there really anyone uglier than Piers Akerman?

Really there’s so much to choose from. However, here’s my suggestions for award categories.

Journalists uglier than Piers Ackerman who continue to make sexist comments about women’s appearance.

The Bettina Arndt award for the female journalist who consistently dumps on women. Stephanie Bunbury might be in with a chance here.

The Derryn Hinch award for best self-promoting journalist. John Faine is my own nomination for this one.

Finally an award to Crikey for the most mentions/references to a certain London public toilet incident without incurring defamation action.

We are only going to announce 20 on the night and here is the account of last year’s winners to give you some guide on how it all worked.

Winners Of The Crikey Awards Announced On May 22 In Sydney The I Award For Columnists
Winner: Emma Tom, The Australian.

Commendations: Corrie Perkin (Sunday Age), Richard Glover (SMH), Helen Razor (The Age)

Most Grovelling Apology
Winner: The Australian to Optus CEO Chris Anderson over a hard-hitting Mark Westfield column. Westfield was not even consulted about the grovelling apology which retracted most of the comments.

Most Litigious Dickhead
Winner: Alan Jones, 2UE, for constantly threatening and suing Fairfax. Commendations: Kerry Packer, Rene Rivkin, Jeff Kennett

The Don’t Report On Your Proprietor Prize
Winner: News Corp papers around the globe for sycophantic coverage on China and negligible coverage of Rupert’s marriage to Wendi Deng.

Failed Campaign Prize
The Australian’s pro-republic stand which included an unprecedented front page editorial.

Weakest Interview Of The Year
Winner: 3AW’s Neil Mitchell after the Bolte portrait finished up in Jeff Kennett’s house and he refused to ask any tough questions. Commendation: The Herald Sun for its exclusive with Jeff Kennett during the state election which billed itself as “tough” but involved questions such as “Are footy fans being looked after?”

The Beat Up On Your Proprietors Enemies Prize
The Daily Telegraph after the digital TV decision for “KPTV” and “PM’s son in death house”.

Most Ridiculous Front Page Story
Hobart Mercury about couple using a microwave to have sex at a party. Pic was of microwave.

Most Inappropriate Media Director
Winner: Michael Kroger at the ABC given his Liberal and Packer connections.

Commendation: The Packer associates on the Fairfax board, most notably Sir Rod Carnegie given his family’s investment in Text Media.

Biggest Stuff Up On Air
Channel Ten’s live cross from Colonial Stadium where security guard jumps reporters.

The Fly Around The World Junket Award
Bruce Mansfield from 3AW thanks to Lauda Air

Best Newspaper Letter

Howard’s fail fashion test

“I was appalled by the lack of style displayed by the Howards in the picture accompanying Stephen Koukoulas’s article (‘Costello’s chance: don’t just sit there – do something’, AFR, May 2). John Howard looks like a sack of potatoes and wears a Vodafone advertisement! Mrs Howard looks far from elegant, but was conscious enough to have her face obscured.

I appreciate they do not have much to work with, but while they are representing us overseas they should try harder.”

Don Brown,

Lindfield NSW.

The Most Disgraceful Cash For Comment Trophy
Winner: Star City for complaining about John Laws mentioning the Dalamangas death at the casino.

Commendation: Walker Corp for paying Jones and Laws vast sums to spruik the Woolloomooloo finger wharf development and selling them a penthouse each.

The Both Sides Of The Street PR Backflip Award
Ian Kortlang for advising on AMP demutualisation, GIO on its takeover defence and then new AMP CEO Paul Batchelor.

Most Shameless Spindoctor Award
Ken Hooper, Nick Greiner’s former chief of staff, for pretending to be a community group against Westfield’s competitors at the Arnotts biscuits site in Sydney.

Biggest Lie Told To The Media
SOCOG denying that tickets had been set aside for the rich

Most Tarnished Celebrity Manager
Joint winners: John Fordham for promoting John Laws’ cash for comment and Harry M Miller for promoting Alan Jones’ cash for comment.

The Shoot The Messenger Award For Political Media Bashing
Pauline Hanson

The Person Most In Need Of A Good Spin Doctor
Kevan Gosper

Most Ingenious Method of Avoiding Unpleasant Media Attention
Cheryl Kernot and the Red Wig.

Most Consistently Unpublished Letter-Writer
The Senator for Fashionable Causes, Natasha Stott Despoja

The Disloyalty Award For Bagging Your Own Outlet(s)
Stephen Mayne for dumping on The Age, the Herald Sun, the AFR and Jeff Kennett on

Commendation: John Singleton for dumping on The Eye.

Minister For Picture Opportunities Award
Amanda Vanstone at every Federal Police drug bust

The Dish It Out But Can’t Take It Award
Ray Martin for moaning about John Safran and Shane Paxton going through his garbage.

The Take Anyone’s Moulah PR Prize
Winner: IPR Shandwick for accepting $80,000 a month from Carlos the fugitive Mexican banker and for representing disgraced Coles Myer CEO Brian Quinn on his release from jail.

The Self-Appointed Bullshit Lobby Group Award
Ray Regan from the Tax Accountants Association who once gave a doorstop from hospital bed when recovering from a hernia operation.

Biggest PR Department Award
Telstra with something approaching 50 spinners and support staff.

The stupidest cut to editorial resources prize
Channel 10 for closing Perth studio and having newsreaders in Sydney.

The Lachlan Murdoch Internet Luddite Award
John Cowley for refusing all Courier Mail journalist internet access and the Daily Telegraph where the internet reporter has no terminal access

The Kelvin McKenzie Stick It Up Your Punter Prize For Jackboot Journalism
The Daily Telegraph for “GOSPER: Greedy, Obstinate, Selfish, Pompous, Egotistical, reptile”

The Overexposed Prize
Winner: Eddie McGuire for calling the footy on Triple M, hosting The Footy Show on Nine, penning a column in the Saturday Herald Sun, hosting “Who wants to be a miyonaire” on Nine and having an opinion on everything as Collingwood President.

The Shameless Vanity Prize for TV
Sam Newman for his facelift.

Most paranoid press secretary
John Howard’s spinner Tony “Whose was the arsehole quote” O’Leary.

The Media Tart Award
Winner: Peter Beattie who at least admitted it.

Commendations: Alan Fels and Tim Costello

Most Unpopular Editor With Staff
Winner: Col Allan, Daily Telegraph

Commendations: Glenn Burge, Financial Review. Brian Crisp, Sunday Times in Perth.

Holier Than Though Media Hypocrisy
Paul Murray for bagging commercial radio when editor of The West Australian and then becoming a 6PR shock jock

The Look After Your Directors Prize
The West Australian for not reporting the 38 houses severely damaged by the $500 million Northbridge tunnel done by a company owned by WA News director Harold Clough.

Media Misjudgement Prize
Winner: Kevan Gosper for Sophie’s torch carrying

Commendation: ABA chairman David Flint for attending the Packer wedding whilst investigating the FXF Trust and being interviewed by John Laws on the Republic whilst conducting the cash for comment inquiry.

Most Disgraceful Media Sacking
Winner: John Singleton for sacking Tim Shaw from his weekend shift on 2GB two hours after the Demtel man, as an independent director of NRMA, voted against Singleton Ogilvy Mather winning a $2 million NRMA advertising account.