Ooh wah! A big slap from Andrew Denton. For all his long-windedness in
yesterday’s Crikey, responding to my piece on Tuesday, having Mr Denton
“hit back” at me was akin to being assaulted with a wet tissue.

Mr Denton says Enough Rope is not an outsourced entertainment
program. Instead, he described it as a co-production commissioned by
the ABC. Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes at the ABC would
call that an outsourced program – the ABC commissions it and gives
money to Denton’s company to make it. Spin all you like, Andrew, that’s
outsourcing.

Mr Denton says he didn’t lobby Russell Balding but, instead, he went to
the acting head of TV, Sue Lester. Oh, I stand corrected. Denton is
telling us he managed to get the acting head of television to bump a
news and current affairs program from its regular time-slot when Lester
is not supposed to be in charge of News and Current Affairs. That’s
even more disturbing than what I said. Nevertheless, regardless of who
Andrew spoke to, I prefer to believe the widely reported version of
events that it was Russell Balding who made the final call to bump
Lateline.

Mr Denton’s silliest assertion is that I am guilty of “intellectual
snobbery” by taking the side of the insiders. Anyone who knows my
relationship with the ABC will know I am neither an insider myself nor
a supporter of insiders. I have never called Enough Rope “light-weight”,
nor have I ever argued that entertainment programs shouldn’t be allowed
to interview politicians – I think Kerri-Ann and Bert are great
interviewers.

It is very vogue at Aunty right now to accuse people of intellectual
snobbery whenever they dare to question the ABC’s growing preference
for entertainment over news and current affairs. The new attitude at
the national broadcaster sits neatly with the Howard Government’s
attack on so-called cultural elites.

CRIKEY: Check out the full debate including Feneley’s complete response on the website.

Peter Fray

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