I don’t know what is happening on Stephen’s planet, but the revelations that Paul Bongiorno was passing on info to Latham during the 2004 campaign came as no surprise to people actually working at Liberal HQ. In fact, they explain a lot.

One of the great mysteries of that campaign was why Bonge bagged us every night on TV and smoothed over Latham’s faults like an Italian concreter. Each night the media unit – which did a précis on the news coverage – would document multiple instances of bias. And they never could work out why, given that we thought Bonge would be more likely to be on our side during the campaign.

He was a huge disappointment, not even coming close to being balanced in the campaign. At the time, we put it down to the fact that Channel 10 was simply sucking up to their core demographic – the Cs and Ds that take their news lite, and may have had a fancy for the likely lad from Green Valley. But now it looks like he actually was working for a Latham win. The penny drops!

Stephen Mayne’s assertion that there might have been some sort of quid pro quo with O’Leary is not just fanciful speculation, it is just plain wrong. We got nothing out of Bonge, and anyway after the first week of election coverage he was persona non grata with the media advisers anyway. One section at HQ actually ran a “w*anker of the day” award and Bonge won more than his fair share of those.

The simple fact is that Bonge only played for one side in 2004 and it wasn’t ours, which is plainly evident if anybody has the time or inclination to view every Channel 10 news item during the election.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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