Two small syllables sum up the all-consuming story that stood out in 2006: Wa-Wa. The little menu item was meant to save Today Tonight host Naomi Robson’s credibility but instead sunk it (helped along by her lizard shirt) and got her deported. The bewildered (and apparently cursed) little boy might have been set to be eaten by cannibals but that was the least of his problems: Wa-Wa had 60 Minutes’ Ben Fordham chasing down the TT crew at Melbourne Airport as they left for the wilds of West Papua in a bid to out-scoop their rivals. Meanwhile, head of Channel Nine news Garry Linnell told radio, “there’s no indication at all that this kid is going to be eaten, at least in the next decade…” Po-faced, self-important, greedy tabloid journalism at its grisliest – but gee, it was fun to watch.
Not to be outdone in the voyeurism stakes is the infamous affidavit that launched the now beloved terms “boning” and “sh-t sandwich” into the popular lexicon. First published by Crikey, the Llewellyn affidavit soon took on a life of its own. Reading the sensational document was like eavesdropping at the door of one of the most powerful boardrooms in the nation, and it made our ears burn, not to mention Jessica “where are we going to bone her?” Rowe blush and PBL spit chips. PBL threatened Crikey with legal action but by then it was too late: the must-read memo landed on front pages around the country, vindicated Llewellyn and provided Eddie with the first of many hairy moments for 2006.
Honourable mention: The ABC’s in-fighting, again. In a year of yet another controversial board appointment, Mark Scott’s new editorial guidelines to ensure against “bias” and conspiracy theories that the popular Glass House was axed because of said bias, the venerable public broadcaster remains riddled with internal bickering, much to the dismay of Aunty lovers.
2005 Winner: Joint winners: Kerry Stokes v The World for the C7 conspiracy theory played out in court. Plus, the fight over a very disobedient Mark Latham as Lateline double-crossed Enough Rope, who News Ltd thought had double crossed them, who then double-crossed everyone by prematurely publishing extracts from the Diaries.