The Chaser team is supposed to push the boundaries. It’s what they do. Aren’t they entitled to assume that if they go too far, the layers of ABC management above them will pull them back? Amanda Duthie, Head of Arts, Entertainment and Comedy at ABC Television, told Media Watch that she did view the “Make a Realistic Wish” skit before it aired and she had approved the skit for broadcast.

But what Ms Duthie and Media Watch didn’t say is that The Chaser program is actually pre-recorded on Tuesday nights, 24 hours before it goes to air. Ms Duthie and her friend and boss, the ABC’s executive head of content, Courtney Gibson would have had a long time to view the finished program. Hours and hours.

Ms Duthie has the gig because she’s nominally in charge of the program, but Ms Gibson is head of all content on ABC TV and given The Chaser‘s background, you’d be entitled to expect that senior executives would view every program every week. But from what Ms Duthie says, she’s taking the can.

The Chaser is now off air for two weeks while the ABC reviews the processes. It doesn’t take two weeks to review the processes. That could be done in a day. The Chaser is really off air to let the publicity subside and be replaced by some other cause or scandal in the public’s eye. There’s nothing wrong with the process, it’s those who implement who are at fault and that’s where the axe should fall, if anyone is going to take the fall on this skit.

It’s likely that after 10 days there will be a press release from the ABC trumpeting new processes etc, The Chaserettes will appear contrite and go through a ritualistic self cleansing for the TV cameras and outside media and every episode will be reviewed by the relevant executives, who should have done so in the first place.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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