Introducing the inaugural Crikey Wankley Award, a weekly event recognising excrescence in Australian journalism.

And what a week it was.

The death of Heath Ledger, and the news vacuum left by the wait for the coroner’s findings, meant that as sure as night follows day, a barrage of inane and inaccurate speculation would spew forth. Then there was more Corey, and new Carey.

For perfecting the art of having its cake and eating it too, ACA deserves a special mention. America’s two most-watched entertainment shows, Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, decided not to run “explosive” footage — is there any other kind? — of Ledger discussing his drug-taking, purportedly “out of respect for Heath Ledger” but really because they were pressured by a PR firm which represents A-list celebrities.

ACA told this story. And just to show they weren’t PR-whipped sissies, used the juiciest bits of footage to highlight just what the others wouldn’t be running. Ledger isn’t actually taking drugs in the video (well, he’s drinking a beer), but talks about smoking pot. (For the report, click here).

Meanwhile, you have to admire the Herald Sun’s audacity in presenting Wayne Carey’s girlfriend Kate Neilson’s “love for Wayne”, the man who allegedly smashed a glass in her face, based on an 11-month-old MySpace entry. It was so good it lead the paper. Crikey had the story yesterday.

But the winner, for most effective use of dramatisation, is Today Tonight, for its astoundingly appalling re-enactment of the alleged Wayne Carey Miami incident, complete with American cops with Aussie accents and “Carey” headbutting the glass partition in the police car. Click on the image below to watch the full horror. We’ll be back next week with another deserving Wankley winner.