It wasn’t the finest hour for Today Tonight and new host Anna Coren last night. Just ten days after blitzing its bitter rival, A Current Affair, Coren and the program were forced to eat a very humble pie last night.

It seems a reporter named Nicholas Boot (which sounds like a character from the Evelyn Waugh novel, Scoop), bodgied up a particularly graphic story on Tuesday night which claimed that a little old lady in a nursing home was being chained to her bed.

Dramatic stuff but then last night … ooops, no chain. It was all a stunt gone horribly wrong. According to Seven, the little old lady had asked Boot to bring a chain along to the interview to help her make a point.

How that progressed to the idea that she was being chained to her bed (implying that the operators of the home were perhaps responsible) is the subject of investigation.

What it does show is that there is no quality control at TT, no-one running a sniff test across stories and questioning them. It sort of summed up what was a schizophrenic program last night: a very good investigation about a dodgy truck operator in NSW that ran a brave ten minutes or so, the apology over the chain and then two outright plugs for Seven programs or products: Dancing With The Stars (understandable given that it is a big program) and the competition linking Seven’s new program Ugly Betty with Pacific Magazines’ faltering rag, Famous.

Or should that be Fatuous.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey