Who gives a f-ck if it’s Sam Chisholm, John Alexander or Ian Law who is responsible for Channel Nine’s woes. You guys are continually missing the point about the sickness in the joint. Margaret Simons is right and good on her for saying it like it is. The fact is it’s real, and getting worse every day.

What none of us can understand is why the financial press cravenly inserts itself up the rear end of Park Street every week and slavishly reports the brilliance of James’ latest private equity deal or, as last week, the split up of the media and gaming.

Nick Tabakoff’s weekly plaudits for Park Street make us all puke. There needs to be a public debate about what rapacious, greedy, self-centred little sh-ts have done to a once-great media organisation… and why the Howard Government is letting this happen to a joint that used to – used to – do some tough news and current affairs.

None of us can understand what CVC thinks is worth paying $4.5B for 50% of the joint we now know about. The only thing that adds value to Nine is its culture and staff knowledge base and they’ve pissed that up against the wall for the last five years of cost-cutting.

Here in News, the people who used to know how to help a young reporter write a script have left the building in disgust. Most people who know how to run a TV station have left the joint and the TV station is now run exclusively by newspapermen and accountants. The equipment is held together with band-aids (and that is Sam’s fault as much as everyone else’s) and they’ve cut archives, maintenance, capital expenditure and staff hiring so tightly that not only is the place looking tatty, people are totally crushed and despondent.

Start reporting the detail … the full extent of the ratings slump, the complete lack of a corporate plan other than carting out tired old repeats, the complete lack of imagination and repeated meddling by Park Street.

Someone ask John Alexander what his grand plan is – because he doesn’t have one. He’s just maximising his own short-term returns and he’s delegated running Nine to Chris Anderson, Linnell, Law … all tired old newspaper men. None of us can understand why Nine is worth $4.5B … and we all reckon there’s got to be a massive crash in the share price when the shareholders start asking questions.

Nine is a textbook study in a corporate failure and the full extent of it has not yet been told.

Peter Fray

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