Crikey
hears that a huge Liberal Party fund-raiser is being held in Sydney on
Thursday, May 20. For a mere $8000 you can sit at the same table as the
PM, or for $245 you can sit at the table furthest away from the PM, and
various amounts in between.

Who is the MC? Alan Jones, of course.

And
who has been busy over the past few weeks recording interviews with
citizens of note paying tribute to the PM? For use on a big video
screen to encourage guests to fork out more dollars to the Liberal
Party?

John Mangos! The same John Mangos who was the MC for Philip Ruddock’s fund-raising dinner last September.

The
function is being organised by the Millennium Forum (Yabsley, Photios
etc), but questions remain about whether performing these roles at
political fundraisers would raise doubts about his impartiality when he
fronts Sky News and does freelance shifts on 2UE?


In defence of John Mangos


Sealed section – 3 May

Sky
News presenter John Mangos has been in touch after Friday’s sealed
section. In an email to Crikey he said, “in my position as a high
profile television journalist I am often asked to MC functions for a
variety of charities and organisations”.

“I have compered many functions for both sides of politics, but I have never been paid by either party.

“As
a credible working journalist who has served in the Canberra gallery I
have done this work for both parties (ALP and Liberal) to maintain my
network and political contacts.”

This is a pretty good defence,
as it is also good marketing for Sky which needs to be on the political
radar as much as possible as an emerging news service covering politics.

However,
you could argue the toss about the appropriateness of donating your
services to a major political fundraiser in an election year. After
all, by not charging this allows the political party to make more
money. Isn’t it just a donation in kind?

A subscriber has also emailed to confirm John’s impartiality:

“John
is certainly ‘independent’ – he does both Liberal and Labor fundraisers
in the best of Greek traditions. I recall attending a Labor Party
fundraiser for Noeline Brown (Labor’s perennial candidate for the NSW
State seat of Southern Highlands). John positively gushed over the
Premier and other Labor luminaries present.”

CRIKEY: This issue
seems to fall into the same category as media training. Should
journalists do it? Crikey has spoken to several political groups,
especially Labor branch meeting. However, we would never get involved
in a political fundraiser. Given that we have hundreds of politicians
and staffers getting these emails, let us know what you think by
emailing boss @crikey.com.au.

Two mangoes – different seed

Meanwhile another subscriber writes:

So,
Graham Kennedy’s former sidekick John Mangos expands his role to
donating his services for John Howard fundraisers leading into an
election? Is this the same John Mangos whose brother, Michael, worked
on Bob Hawke’s electoral staff for many years and was also press
secretary for then Defence Minister Robert Ray? It certainly is!

Clearly these Mangoes came from a different seed, although at least John does unpaid work for both sides.

Does John Mangos regret his Howard tribute?

Sealed section – 21 May

Crikey revealed a few weeks ago that Sky News presenter and occasional
2UE radio host John Mangos was putting together the tribute video for
John Howard at his 30th anniversary tribute dinner.

We erred in saying that he was being paid and the lad fired off an email saying “the matter was now in the hands of my lawyers”.

Naturally we corrected the payment fact in the next edition and we
haven’t heard anything since. However, on reflection we felt that it
was almost worse to be donating his services to a political party
fundraiser in an election year because it reduced the cost of the
evening and put more money in the Liberal Party bank account.

After seeing all the television coverage of the Alan Jones hosted
evening, we now think it was clearly a mistake because the video was
released to the media and hundreds of thousands of Australians have now
heard the voice of John Mangos singing the praises of John Howard.

It is one thing to donate your services to private fundraisers for
political networking purposes but when your voice is then used in the
mass media, it does reflect on your credibility as an independent news
reader. What next, donating your voice for political advertising during
the forthcoming campaign?

Mangos points out that he donates his services to both sides of
politics, but on reflection we hope that he can see the perception
problems in doing it so close to a federal election.

We all know that Alan Jones is disgracefully partisan, but that doesn’t
mean that other commercial broadcasters shouldn’t strive to absolutely
preserve their perceived political independence.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW