A senior ABC journalist writes:

Glenn Dyer’s reports on the shenanigans over ABC TV’s Latham interviews are flat wrong in one important respect.

Tony
Jones did record his interview with Mark Latham on Thursday, but came
back prepared to spend a couple of days editing it and preparing it for
air. I can categorically tell you that Lateline at no time intended to run it until Monday night.

Tony’s agreement with Mark Latham was specific – that Lateline would not run with the interview until after Enough Rope had screened theirs. The assumption was that that was going to be on Monday night. Neither Tony nor Lateline ever intended to breach that agreement.

Enough Rope did panic when they heard about the Lateline
interview, but ABC News and Current Affairs management assured ABC
Senior Management, Andrew Denton and his producer Anita Jacoby that
nothing had changed – they were still intending to hold the Tony Jones
interview until after Enough Rope.

It was just after 3pm on Thursday that Enough Rope panicked further and decided, with senior management approval, to screen their interview regardless.

When that decision was made, and only then, did News and Current Affairs decide to go with the Lateline interview – and still only on the basis that it would run after Enough Rope. In other words, there was never any intention to “gazump” Denton.

The attempts by Enough Rope and Melbourne University Press’s Louise Adler to blame Lateline are disingenuous.

The
real reason for panic was not Tony Jones, but the behaviour of News
Limited papers, which had indulged in their own shark-frenzy that
morning, and which had essentially thrown away the book in terms of the
pre-publication arrangements.

Peter Fray

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