Binge-drinking on Rove. As Kevin Rudd ramps up his anti-bingeing campaign perhaps he should have a word to Rove. On Sunday night, cheeky side-kicks Hamish and Andy filed a report from their trip to Afghanistan. At the end of the segment, Hamish is shown spewing into a bucket after having one “non-alcoholic” beer too many (the 14th apparently…). Watch here

Where’s the good news? The news has been particularly depressing over the last couple of days. A digger’s death in Afghanistan; cabbie stabbed; woman strangled; man found dead at bottom of a cliff; ski jet death. Another cellar girl found in Austria. Todd McKenney in trouble. And now this via CNN: “A 30-year-old dolphin at Sea World has died after colliding with another dolphin while performing aerial tricks, the Orlando, Florida, amusement park said Monday … The dolphin who died was named Sharky. The other dolphin, Tyler, is being watched by veterinarians but appears to be fine, Bides said.”

Littlemore still giving them hell:  Nice to see former Media Watch host Stuart Littlemore still lifting a sarcastic eyebrow and giving Today Tonight hell,  this time in court. The QC is currently representing Mercedes Corby (sister of Schapelle) in her defamation case against Seven Sydney Pty Limited, Seven Network Limited and Australian News Channel Pty Limited, which aired the shows on Sky TV. The programs aired an interview with Corby’s former best friend who claimed Mercedes was a drug smuggler. Littlemore told the jury that Seven had used “chequebook journalism” in its “hunger for ratings”. “There is really nothing Channel Seven will stop at in lying to its audience,” he said.

Roy Greenslade’s date with The Age‘s Andrew Jaspan. I am going to be out of touch for a day or so because I’m flying to Australia to speak at a conference in Sydney on the future of journalism. Philip Meyer of The Vanishing Newspaper fame is also taking part, via satellite. The trip also gives me a chance to meet several former colleagues: Anne Fussell , once a Daily Star sub and now a News Ltd executive; ex-Sunday Times staffers Amanda Wilson and Keith Austin (both with the Sydney Morning Herald); and Andrew Jaspan, now editor of The Age in Melbourne. — Greenslade, Guardian

Twenty20 double whammy. Check out the fictional Twenty20 teams invented for Monday’s SMH. We’re wondering how the PC-slaying “Hot Curry Poofs” didn’t get hit for six…

New York Times had the blockbuster story of the Pentagon peddling its propaganda (then did nothing with it). On April 20, the New York Times featured a blockbuster story on “message force multipliers” – the Pentagon‘s use of “retired” military experts, kept on the government payroll to peddle good news and propaganda about the Iraq war effort. It was a splashy and significant story, the sort that has major impact on the national conversation and gets editors thinking about the possible accolades to come. One has to wonder, however, if those most closely associated with the journalistic efforts that spawned the piece are still in a triumphant mood. Since its publication, there’s been plenty of cause for unease and discontent over the way the Times has treated the story. — Huffington Post

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Seven News won with 1.677 million viewers on average. Border Security was 2nd at 7.30pm for Seven with 1.594 million and Today Tonight was third with 1.571 million. The launch of Big Brother, 1.511 million viewers, Home and Away, 1.367 million and Desperate Housewives on Seven at 8.30pm, 1.312 million. Nine News was 7th with 1.285 million and A Current Affair averaged 1.260 million in 8th. Sea Patrol was 9th at 8.30pm for Nine with 1.258 million and Seven’s Serious Crash Unit at 8pm was next with 1.1750 million. The fine episode of Australian Story was 11th with 1.148 million, Life In Cold Blood on Nine at 7.30pm was next with 1.142 million and 13th was the 7pm ABC News with 1.084 million. More than Enough Rope at 9.30pm averaged 1.031 million and the repeat of Two And A Half Men at 7pm by Nine averaged 1.011 million for 15th spot. Ten’s Good News Week averaged 918,000 just after BB. Deal or No Deal on Seven at 5.30pm averaged a very high 923,000. No wonder Seven’s 6pm News was so strong.

The Losers: Seven’s Dirty Sexy Money at 9.30pm: 757,000. That’s Canal Road or worse, but Seven has stayed the course. CSI New York on Nine at 9.30pm: 979,000.

News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight again won nationally and in every market, continuing their recent strength. The 7.30 Report averaged 816,000; Four Corners, 887,000, Media Watch, 781,000, Lateline, 405,000 and Lateline Business, 146,000. Ten News averaged 915,000, the late News/Sports Tonight 300,000. Nine’s Nightline averaged 220,000. SBS’s News 6.30pm, 199,000, the 9.30pm edition, 234,000. 7am Sunrise, 384,000, 7am Today, 259,000.

The Stats: Seven won the 6pm to midnight all people battle with 27.6% (30.8% a week ago) from Nine with 25.5% (28.7%), Ten with 23.9% (18.3%), the ABC with 17.6% (17.0%) and SBS with 5.4% (5.2%). Seven won every major metro market bar Adelaide where Nine got home easily. Ten leads the week, 28.2% to Nine with 26.0% and Seven with 25.9%. In regional areas a very different result for the second night running. Nine won through WIN/NBN with 31.2% from Prime/7Qld with 26.0%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 20.5%, the ABC with 16.6% and SBS with 5.7%. It is as though Big Brother didn’t exist in regional areas.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Despite the success of Big Brother last night, it was a one hit wonder for the network. Nothing else did well. Ten obviously needs two really solid programs sharing five to six nights a week. Without that support Big Brother will be a lone fader and Ten’s impressive start to the year will fade over the next three months. Ten needs something like Thank God You’re Here right now on Wednesdays at 7.30pm. But so far, not a word from the network if we will see it in 2008. On a night like last night Nine and Seven were never going to win the younger and middle demographics from BB. But that fact that Seven won, with Nine second, shows you can’t do well with just one program aimed at 16 to 39s and 18 to 49s: You need more in the armoury. Tonight Ten has that with the excellent Bondi Rescue, which is a lesson to all reality/observational doco makers. As was Australian Story last night on the tragic death of Ten Network News reader, Charmaine Dragun.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports