The four winners of Crikey’s Weekly Wankley are:

Today Tonight:

Today Tonight this week argued that we should bring back corporal punishment, in school and at home. Hey, it worked in the good old days!

Apparently, kids are getting ruined by PC policies. It’s horrific that teachers are now speaking to students to break up fights rather than touching them (a little). Kids are dosed to the eyeballs on ritalin, joining gangs, and worse. Why? Because we can’t give them a little whack from time to time when they’re naughty.

What was TT’s argument in favour of the smack based on? A new study, perhaps, experts’ considered opinion? No, a bizarre combination of a reader’s email, interviews with three generations and extreme enacted imagined scenarios comparing punishment now and then.

Watch TT‘s gift to the far Right here.


Fairfax’s cosy partnership with Earth Hour has raised some interesting questions about newspapers’ duty to readers, and how it’s affected by love-ins with big events.

The company’s support of Earth Hour ensured that word got out about the event, no doubt raising climate change consciousness, as well as the number of people taking part. But this same support seemed to preclude most of their writers from eyeing the event critically. And there were some important questions to be asked. Is it simply a free kick to corporate Australia? Is it just another innocent fad?

But Fairfax stuck mainly to self-congratulation, leaving little room for questioning.

In an article for the SMH titled, “Please take a bow, Sydney”, Terry Smyth wrote that “last night, during Earth Hour, Mother Earth hosted a candlelight supper for a few million close friends.”

Gary Tippet and Orietta Guerrera went even more over the top in The Sunday Age, bashing cynics, praising the rest:

Well, that felt good, didn’t it?

Lights went out all over Melbourne last night. The famous smile was wiped off the face of Luna Park; the Arts Centre spire disappeared from view; those flatulent fireballs sputtered out at Crown Casino; shouting neon signs were silenced and the CBD dimmed. There were a thousand candle-lit dinners and at least one wedding illuminated in the old-fashioned way.

Lovers and friends met under the clocks at Flinders Street Station in unaccustomed gloom while across the road at Federation Square more than 1000 people marked Earth Hour with torch-lit family events and unplugged music.

There was darkness — and we saw it was good.

And so now we can all lie back in the afterglow, feeling pleased with ourselves and how we all did our 60-minute bit for the planet. And wait another year for another hour.

That will be the cynics’ view of last night’s successful Earth Hour: a feel-good stunt. A single hour of abstinence amid 8765 other hours of annual energy gluttony. But that’s to miss the point. No one pretends a single hour will do anything to put a dent in greenhouse gas emissions.

Conflict of interest isn’t any less real, just because it’s for a good cause.


After last year’s Anzac Day debacle — Sunrise’s supposed attempts to move the dawn service in Vietnam so it could be shown live during peak ratings time were met with vet anger — you’d think Channel 7’s morning program might have learned not to rock the boat when cashing in on feelgood photo-ops.

But the handling of Sunrise ‘s exclusive coverage of a celebrity cancer fundraising walk over the Great Wall of China — with Olivia Newton-John no less — has left the PR Department in tears again. It was revealed in the Herald Sun that Sunrise has withdrawn its support of the event because the charity and sponsors were unable to meet its production costs.

Media Watch:

Last week, Crikey engaged in a crowd-pleasing rally with The Australian over its coverage of Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin’s stay on the MV Pikkuw in Aurukun.

On 26 March, Padraic Murphy wrote (on the front page) that Macklin had snubbed the local guesthouse for a $680 a night luxury boat. “What a beat-up!” retaliated Chris Graham, editor of the National Indigenous Times, in Crikey on the same day. You’ve ignored a few essential facts. It’s not exactly boutique. And it was built by locals through a CDEP program with all money spent on the boat going back to the community (we even had photos of locals building Pikkuw). Macklin’s support of the venture was not, it turned out, the root of all evil. There was argument over the cost of the stay (with stumbles on both sides). The debate continued the next day in both publications. 

On 31 March, Media Watch covered the story, taking Murphy to task. Crikey’s pursuit of the story was nowhere to be seen — though the transcript does link to Crikey’s articles. It was a strange omission, though we suppose that when it comes to appearing on MW, you should be careful what you wish for…

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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