Crikey editor Misha Ketchell writes:

With little new to report as the rescue operation drags on in Beaconsfield, the media has turned its attention to eating its own. This morning The Age’s Jano Gibson tucked into the feast with this story on a Nine reporter who tried to bribe rescue workers to let him film inside the mine:

As hundreds of journalists flood into Beaconsfield to cover the mine rescue, locals are coming to terms with the pushy tactics used by some in the media, including one who apparently offered a bribe for footage inside the mine.

The assistant manager at Beaconsfield’s Club Hotel, where many of the rescue workers are staying, says police were called yesterday after a journalist approached a team of rescue workers to offer them money in exchange for footage.

“We’ve got a lot of mine rescuers down here and [the journalist] came in the dining room without permission and went upstairs and apparently offered the rescue squad a bribe to take a camera down below,” Ken Pinner said.

“[The rescue workers] rang the police. The police arrived here and said “did we give permission for the journo to go upstairs” and we said “no way.”

Mr Pinner said the journalist was well-dressed in a long, navy-coloured coat and had told the rescue workers he was from Channel Nine.

The only piece of information missing from Jano’s report was the name of the well-dressed journalist – Nine investigative newshound Darren Lunney. We rang Lunney to find out how he felt about being fingered for one of the most inept attempts at chequebook journalism in recent times.

“You’ll have to talk to [Director of News] Michael Venus,” he told us this morning. “I’m not confirming, nor denying it. If I made a comment I’d get my bum kicked.”

Peter Fray

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